We’re back to Korakuen Hall for another night of G1 action, with Tomohiro Ishii and Shingo Takagi main eventing on this night of block A matches.
Yota Tsuji submitted Yuya Uemura in 7:34 (**¾)
G1 Climax 30, Block A: Minoru Suzuki pinned Yujiro Takahashi in 7:55 (**½)
G1 Climax 30, Block A: Kota Ibushi pinned Jeff Cobb in 10:43 (***¼)
G1 Climax 30, Block A: Kazuchika Okada defeated Taichi via referee stoppage in 17:03 (***¼)
G1 Climax 30, Block A: Will Ospreay pinned Jay White in 18:46 (***¾)
G1 Climax 30, Block A: Tomohiro Ishii pinned Shingo Takagi in 25:59 (****)
Yuya Uemura vs. Yota Tsuji
It’s neck and neck in the unofficial Young Lion’s round robin, after Uemura’s win over Kidd yesterday…
Uemura tries to dictate the pace from the off, taking Tsuji to the mat before reaching a stand-off. A knuckle lock follows, with Tsuji edging ahead there, forcing Uemura to bridge back before he unsuccessfully tried to break the bridge. Instead, Uemura monkey flips his way free as he went for Tsuji’s arm… but Tsuji manages to counter back with a side headlock as he kept Uemura at close quarters. A cravat helps snapmare Uemura down, as a forearm to the lower back followed, as Tsuji looked for a Boston crab, but Uemura dragged himself to the ropes before he returned with a dropkick. Uemura keeps going with running elbows for a two-count, before taking Tsuji to the corner for chops and stomps.
Tsuji responds with a spear out of the corner, before a Boston crab had Uemura back in trouble. Tsuji leans back to make it more like a Lion Tamer, but Uemura holds firm, only to get rolled back around into a Giant Swing. I love that move. It’s back to the Boston crab from there, with Tsuji sitting down low, dragging Uemura back away from the ropes before the submission. Basic, but extremely effective, as none of the Young Lions are able to pull out of the pack… and we’ve got Kidd/Tsuji again tomorrow! **¾
G1 Climax 30 – Block A: Yujiro Takahashi vs. Minoru Suzuki
It’s a fourth singles meeting between these guys – with all three prior matches in the G1. Unsurprisingly, Suzuki won all three of those in 2012, 2013 and 2014…
Suzuki gets right in Yujiro’s face before the bell, and they start things off at some sort of pace, trading front kicks before a big boot knocked down Yujiro. El Desperado’s doing TV commentary, and is watching as Yujiro knocks Suzuki to the outside ahead of a chest-first trip into the guard rails… before he used his pimp cane RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE REF. No DQ. A running low dropkick on the outside almost looked like Yujiro slipped in a puddle as he stayed on top of Suzuki… but this only seems to be prolonging his eventual fate. Back inside, chops just anger Suzuki, who returned fire by throwing Yujiro outside and into the guard rails. Again, chest-first.
Out comes a chair, which Suzuki used to get his receipt before he tossed the referee aside. A second chair followed, which Suzuki smashed the seat out of on the guard rails, before using the time keeper’s microphone to choke Yujiro with. Forearms from Yujiro just earn him an elbow on the floor, before he choked out Yujiro back inside the ring. That led to a rare pin from the choke for Suzuki, who got a two-count, before a PK was caught. Yujiro sweeps the leg ahead of a low dropkick, before a Fisherman buster dropped Suzuki for barely a two-count. Suzuki hits back as he boots Yujiro in the back, then traded elbows… including my favourite CLONKER.
Yujiro strikes back with a clothesline, before Suzuki slipped out of a Miami Shine. Yujiro grabs the ref to get himself free, then lands a thrust kick to Suzuki as that looked to lead to a Pimp Juice… but Suzuki rolls free, going back in with a rear naked choke, before a Gotch piledriver got the win. Perfectly serviceable stuff, with Suzuki winning in short order, in spite of Yujiro’s attempts. **½
G1 Climax 30 – Block A: Jeff Cobb vs. Kota Ibushi
A rare first-time match-up this, and this could be a somewhat interesting clash of styles, with one man toning down his flips and the other one able to bust them out.
We’ve a tentative start, with Ibushi stinging Cobb with kicks early on, before Cobb took him down by the legs, looking for an early half crab. Ibushi rolls out and into the ropes to force a break, but Cobb’s right back in with wristlock, only for Ibushi to escape with headscissors as they go back into the ropes. Irritated, Cobb chops Ibushi, who responds with elbows… so Ibushi goes back in with kicks, knocking the big man down ahead of a standing moonsault that barely gets a two-count. A leapfrog/dropkick combo from Cobb takes Ibushi down, followed by an uppercut to the back, then a series of headbutts and an overhead belly-to-belly that flung Kota across the ring.
Ibushi responds with a ‘rana to take Cobb outside, following up with a plancha before returning to the ring to land a Goomba stomp as Cobb looked to go for his legs. Cobb’s back with shoulder tackles, before he charged Ibushi into the corner, following with a leaping uppercut before a back suplex and a standing moonsault got a near-fall. A superkick from Cobb is followed up with a lariat that spun Ibushi to the mat, before he burst back in with some rolling gutwrench suplexes. An attempt at a powerbomb is blocked by Ibushi, who just ends up getting F5’d by Cobb for a near-fall, before a second attempt was escaped, as Ibushi slips out to hit a head kick. Cobb tries to get back in, but runs into a knee strike before a swift Kamigoye ends things – a pretty solid outing from Cobb, but in the end while his power game gave Ibushi a scare, it only took a knee and a Kamigoye to turn out the lights. ***¼
G1 Climax 30 – Block A: Taichi vs. Kazuchika Okada
There’s only been two prior singles matches between these two – the most recent back in February, where Okada took over half an hour to beat Taichi at the New Beginning in Sapporo. Before then? You’ve gotta go to 2008 where a pre-excursion Okada lost to Taichi.
Taichi sang at Yoshinobu Kanemaru, who was on the “other” commentary crew today. That must have been a rib, given that El Desperado was cackling away. There’s a jump start from Taichi, who went for Okada as he took his jacket off, throwing him outside and into the guard rails as he looked to maximise his chances against the stuttering former champion. Taichi looks under the ring for a chair, and couldn’t find one. So El Desperado leaves the commentary team to offer his… which distracts the referee as Taichi found a chair after all, and used it on Okada’s back. That’s followed up as Taichi charged Okada into the ring post, but back in the ring referee Marty Asami refused to count the pin because of Taichi’s misdeeds. The recent ones.
We’re back outside as Taichi charges Okada into the ring apron again, but all of this eventually wakes up Okada, who fought back with elbows, only for Taichi to respond with a rear spin kick. Boots and a diving uppercut got Okada back in it, following up with a sliding back elbow off the ropes before a back elbow into the corner and a DDT out of it saw Okada maintain his momentum. Okada goes for the Money Clip early, but Taichi charges him into the corner… only to get lifted up top and dropkicked to the floor. On the outside, Okada reverses an Irish whip to take Taichi into the rails, before splatting him with a DDT. Back inside, Okada whiffs on a missile dropkick, with Taichi side-stepping, before Taichi added a tiltawhirl backbreaker and a half crab to the mix.
Okada manages to dive for the ropes to force the break, before he blocked a powerbomb attempt, responding with a neckbreaker slam instead. Taichi comes back with a leaping enziguiri into the corner, then avoids an Okada dropkick and returned fire with another head kick. Off come the trousers, as a buzzsaw kick was teed up… but Okada stops it with a dropkick, before a tombstone was slipped out of. Taichi teases a dangerous backdrop driver, and eventually lands it as Okada kept going for the Money Clip. He finds a second wind, landing the tombstone after countering out of the Last Ride, and of course, it’s that bloody Money Clip. Taichi gets a way out, and ends up eating something like a Rainmaker as the camera zooms in on Okada keeping hold of the wrist. Will he?
He pulls Taichi up, but Taichi pulls the referee in the way to block a Rainmaker, before a low blow and a Gedo clutch almost snatched the win. A leaping enziguiri knocks Okada back down, before Okada blocked a superkick… only to get knocked down with an elbow. Okada tries to go for a Rainmaker, but instead gets caught with a wind-up Axe Bomber for a near-fall, before Okada’s lifted up for Black Memphisto. Okada slips out and goes back to the Money Clip… but Taichi pulls his way free, only for Okada to go back to the hold. Taichi’s fading, but gets caught in a backbreaker as he’s taken to the mat… where the referee stops the match. Interesting detail there, with Taichi not tapping out, but rather having the match stopped. Okada won, but didn’t force the decision in a traditional sense as the story continues! He avoids falling into a recession because of the reliance on the Money Clip, but barely… ***¼
G1 Climax 30 – Block A: Jay White vs. Will Ospreay
It’s a third singles meeting here, with White having beaten Ospreay on the New Japan 47th anniversary show last year – and Ospreay having won their first meeting back in 2017 on a ROH War of the Worlds show…
Of course, White rolls outside at the bell, before he played cat and mouse with Ospreay, chasing his way into the ropes. A lock-up… ends in the ropes, as does a second, with White on the defensive as he had his hair pulled. He returns the favour, then lit up Ospreay with chops… only for Will to fall him with a chop of his own. They go back-and-forth on chops, until White lashed out with kicks and elbows, but Ospreay’s in with a back body drop before he clotheslined White to the outside. He fakes out a dive, then chopped the Kiwi as White slid back in, before a knee-drop got Ospreay a one-count.
White again goes to the ropes, this time throwing Ospreay over the top via a bad landing on the apron, before White threw him into the guard rails. That must be a contracted spot for every match. Ospreay rolls back in, and gets stomped on, before a half crab and a STF ended in the ropes with White trying to push ahead. A snap slam and legdrop combo gets White a one-count, before Ospreay fought out of a chinlock and looked to go back to the chops. White cuts him off, following in with a chop in the corner before he landed a Dragon screw on the mat. Ospreay pushes away, and comes back with a handspring. A standing shooting star press follows for a two-count, as White rolls outside… and gets pulled aside by Gedo as Ospreay went for a dive.
Gedo distracts again as White rolls into the ring, eventually capitalising with a snap DDT as Ospreay made his way back in. An attempted uranage from White is blocked, with Ospreay coming back with a Tiger flip, which jarred his knee ahead of the enziguiri… as Ospreay’s now limping. He heads up top, but is stopped by Gedo… and keeps that distraction as White looked to drag him back inside, before he countered a leap off the top rope into a Flatliner. A German suplex ragdolls Ospreay next, but a fight on the top rope led to Ospreay slipping out of a superplex as he instead shrugged off the bum knee and went for something else… a springboard dropkick to the back of White on the top rope.
That leaves White in a Tree of Woe, but White gets himself to the outside as Ospreay went for a Coast to Coast… only to switch it up for a Sasuke special. Back inside, a springboard 450 gets a near-fall for Ospreay, as things then break down into a brief strike exchange. A superkick drops White, who then dropped out to avoid an Oscutter as he returned with a uranage. A Kiwi Krusher’s next for a near-fall for White, but Ospreay counters out of a Blade Runner and dumps White with a sitout powerbomb. Another OsCutter’s caught, but White can’t avoid it a third time as he narrowly kicked out in time, before he pancaked himself to avoid a Hidden Blade. Instead, Ospreay dives in with some punches and elbows to the head, as my feed drops. Lovely.
It’s back as Ospreay stopped Gedo using brass knuckles, instead decking him with a rolling elbow, before White went for a low blow. That is also blocked, with Ospreay instead looking for a Hidden Blade, eventually landing another rolling elbow after another flurry of counters. The Hidden Blade lands, then a Storm Breaker, and there’s the streak over – nobody in the block is undefeated anymore, after a match that saw Jay White annoy, but somehow never really felt close to victory. Despite tweaking Ospreay’s knee for a cup of coffee. ***¾
G1 Climax 30 – Block A: Shingo Takagi vs. Tomohiro Ishii
Our main event then, and a third-time meeting as Tomohiro Ishii looks to score his first win of the G1… and his first ever win over Shingo. They met in last year’s G1, while Shingo successfully defended his NEVER title over Ishii back in February, right before the shutdown.
We start with the pair hitting the ropes for shoulder tackles, before a chop from Ishii saw things break down into a battle of elbow strikes. It’s back to the shoulder tackles, with Ishii knocking down Shingo before they went right back at it. Chops and elbows, before Shingo got rolled to the mat as Ishii kicks him in the back… but Shingo just invites more of them before they headed outside. An Irish whip takes Shingo into the guard rails, before they battered each other with elbows as referee Red Shoes tried to get them to go back inside. They don’t so he starts counting right as Ishii’s dropped with a clothesline on the outside. Back inside, Shingo keeps going with elbow drops, before some Danielson elbows and a knee drop to the back left Ishii in a heap.
Shingo prods at Ishii with his foot, which just wakes him up as the pair trade chops for fun, with Korakuen clapping along in time. Shingo tries to spin around Ishii to disorient, but gets caught with a suplex as Ishii followed up by trapping him in the corner with chops. Kicks from Ishii keep Shingo on the mat, but he’s back with the elbow, jab and clothesline combo as Ishii threatened to pull away. A backdrop suplex has Ishii down for a two-count, before Shingo kicked the top of Ishii’s head… and found himself taken back into the corner with elbows and chops. Those leave Shingo in a heap again but he’s back up with elbows and chops that went straight at Ishii’s throat, as it seems that everyone’s found his weakness. The miniscule neck. Shingo comes in with a sliding lariat for a two-count. Before back-and-forth clotheslines in the ropes led to them clattering each other as they both fell down. Atishu.
Ishii’s back to his feet first, charging into Shingo with a clothesline in the corner before lifting him up for a superplex that gets a two-count. Shingo tries to retaliate with Made in Japan, but instead hits Ishii with a pumphandle gutbuster, before Made in Japan lands for a near-fall. A Pumping Bomber keeps Shingo ahead, before Shingo looked to haul him up for the Last of the Dragon. Instead, Ishii fights free as Shingo has to land another lariat, before a backdrop driver from Ishii finally bought him some breathing space. A second one quickly follows, as Shingo got back up with jabs and chops, only to get elbowed away as Ishii came back in with a folding powerbomb for a near-fall.
Hitting the ropes, Ishii nails a lariat for a near-fall, only for Shingo to come back with a pop-up death valley driver at the 20 minute mark. Another lariat from Ishii just gets a one-count, as Shingo kicked out, got up then stumbled back to the mat. Ishii tries for a sheer-drop brainbuster, but Shingo knees his way free and returned with a sliding elbow before the pair got up and just butted heads again. Rapid-fire elbows from Shingo just seem to annoy Ishii, who replies with elbows of his own. He charges at Shingo, but ends up caught in the ropes for a hanging neckbreaker, before a Pumping Bomber flattened Ishii for a near-fall. A DDT lands, I guess, before Ishii countered out of a Last of the Dragon, only to eat another Shingo combination.
Another Last of the Dragon’s countered, with Ishii switching it into a swinging DDT instead, before a leaping enziguiri took Shingo back down. A lariat off the ropes followed for a near-fall, before Ishii finally lands the sheer drop brainbuster to grab the win at the 26 minute mark. This almost had a touch of the forced-epic to it – with the pair not really holding back, yet you felt this match could have delivered so much more had it been the semi-main instead. All three of these guys matches have now gone 20+ minutes – my kingdom for a sprint between them! ****
Kota Ibushi, Will Ospreay, Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, Jay White (3-1; 6pts)
Kazuchika Okada (2-2; 4pts)
Jeff Cobb, Tomohiro Ishii, Shingo Takagi (1-3; 2pts)
Yujiro Takahashi (0-4; 0pts)
Tetsuya Naito, Toru Yano (3-0; 6pts)
KENTA, Juice Robinson (2-1; 4pts)
EVIL, Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI, Zack Sabre Jr., Hiroshi Tanahashi (1-2; 2pts)
SANADA (0-3; 0pts)
(Unofficial) Block C
Yota Tsuji (3-2)
Gabriel Kidd (2-2)
Yuya Uemura (2-3)
The G1’s back tomorrow as they head across the country to Niigata for a block B show, headlined by a cross-LIJ battle as the undefeated Tetsuya Naito takes on the win-less SANADA. This was another solid show, but while block A has “had the better workers,” as some have termed it, block A has been rather short on blow-away matches this far. With nobody in this block undefeated anymore, it means block A is likely to be more touch-and-go for the remainder of the tournament, while continuing to progress the big storylines – such as “will Okada finally win of his own accord against a big name?” and “who will emerge from the five-way logjam at the top?”.