Block B of the G1 gets a look-in today, with Hiroshi Tanahashi and KENTA headlining in Hiroshima.
Yota Tsuji and Yuya Uemura went to a 15:00 time limit draw (**¾)
G1 Climax 30, Block B: Hirooki Goto pinned Toru Yano in 0:18 (NR)
G1 Climax 30, Block B: SANADA pinned Zack Sabre Jr. in 14:30 (***¼)
G1 Climax 30, Block B: EVIL pinned Juice Robinson in 15:35 (***½)
G1 Climax 30, Block B: Tetsuya Naito pinned YOSHI-HASHI in 24:44 (****)
G1 Climax 30, Block B: Hiroshi Tanahashi submitted KENTA in 23:40 (****)
This latest leg travels to the Sun Plaza Hall in Hiroshima, as the busiest week of the G1 continued…
Yuya Uemura vs. Yota Tsuji
Our never-ending battle between Young Lions got going with Uemura trying to take Tsuji’s back early on, and instead ends up Gator rolling him into the middle of the ring before reaching a stand-off.
A lock-up leads to a side headlock from Uemura, before he took down Tsuji in a drop toe hold as they went back-and-forth. Some headscissors keep Tsuji down before he got free, countering with a leg spreader as he went into more side headlocks and another stand-off. Uemura goes back to the arm as he bamboozled Tsuji… only to get caught in a wristlock after they rolled to the mat. The wristlock turns into a hammerlock, with Uemura rolling free and back to a side headlock that he kept a firm grip of before getting shoved off… and he returns with a shoulder tackle for a two-count.
A chinlock follows on the mat, before Tsuji got to the ropes, where Uemura followed up with elbows to the back of the head, then a cravat. Tsuji frees himself with a slam, as he applies a cravat of his own, following in with knee strikes and a snapmare before he booted Uemura in the back. Tsuji keeps going with a chop, but Uemura chops back, only to get hiptossed out of the corner for a two-count. I have a feeling we may be going long here, folks. A Camel clutch follows as Tsuji rolled Uemura into the hold, but it’s escaped as Uemura went to a side headlock on the mat, grounding Tsuji back into the ropes for another break.
More chops from Uemura follow as he then slammed Tsuji in the middle of the ring for a count of two, before he got dumped with a back body drop by Tsuji. Another slam leads to a running flip senton and a running body splash from Tsuji, who then went for a Boston crab… only for Uemura to grab the ropes. Uemura fights back with a wild dropkick into the corner as we hit the ten minute mark, following up with a slam as he went back to a Boston crab, pulling Tsuji into the middle of the ring as he was left pulling his hair, trying to figure out how to get free… before hand-walking his way to eventually grab the rope. That looked awfully close to a submission…
Frustrated, Uemura puts the boots to Tsuji as he then threw elbows and uppercuts ahead of a capture suplex attempt. Tsuji blocks, then charged back with a spear as both men crashed to the mat, before Tsuji monstered up in his search of a Boston crab. This time, Uemura tries to block, but he gets rolled over as the match entered the final two minutes… Tsuji drags him away from the ropes, then sat down on him as Uemura teased tapping, grabbing the referee for what little help that gave, before bouncing his way to the ropes.
Both guys have had near misses, but it’s Tsuji who stays on top as he battered Uemura with elbows as we went into the final minute of the time limit. Palm strikes see them slap the taste out of each others mouths, but a forearm from Uemura has Tsuji down. They go back to elbows before Tsuji went for a spear… only to get rolled up. He kicks out, only for Uemura to catch him with another roll-up as the clock ran out. This was pretty good, but they told on themselves with the time limit draw early on with all those headlocks in the opening stages. **¾
G1 Climax 30 – Block B: Toru Yano vs. Hirooki Goto
Despite them going 50-50 in their past ten singles matches, I have a feeling this’ll be blink-and-you’ll-miss-it stuff. Yano’s got his t-shirt as a present, since that worked so well last time…
He throws it at Goto, who tosses it aside, before clotheslining Yano as a wacky submission-turned-roll-up got the win inside 18 seconds. That’s a new record!
G1 Climax 30 – Block B: SANADA vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
This match ought to go a little longer… with these two having a lot of recent singles matches, as Sabre holds a 3-2 record. Crucially, perhaps, both of SANADA’s wins were in the G1…
Neither man charges out at the bell, but when we do get going, we’ve back-and-forth pinning attempts until Sabre wangled his way into a Cobra twist. SANADA hiptosses free, but gets pulled into more back-and-forth pinning attempts that almost saw us with a second quick win in as many matches, as ZSJ barely kicked out in time. After recomposing himself, Sabre locked up with SANADA, then rolled him to the mat as he worked a hammerlock. SANADA frees himself as Sabre rolled away, before a trip led to Sabre coming back in with a toe hold. Zack turns it into a bow-and-arrow hold, but SANADA flips free as we reached another quick stand-off. Sabre goes back to the arm, rolling SANADA to the mat in a cross armbar, only for SANADA to counter with a cross armbreaker of his own as the pair went back-and-forth, exchanging the same hold.
SANADA gets back up, but is instantly back on the defensive as he floated into a side headlock that was instantly countered with headscissors as Sabre tried to wear him down. SANADA flips free, but Sabre just rolls into the aisle to defuse the situation once more, before he returned to the ring to light up SANADA with uppercuts, only to get caught with a double leapfrog/dropkick… and back outside he goes.
Sabre sidesteps a plancha from SANADA and followed in with an Octopus hold on the floor. He lets go to roll SANADA back in, then returned to twist the left arm between his legs, before SANADA retaliates with a Dragon screw. SANADA tries to follow up, but Sabre goes back to a cross armbar, only for SANADA to pull him up… as he then had to stagger to the ropes to break a mounted Dragon sleeper. Kicks from Sabre keep SANADA in the ropes before he got caught with an O’Connor roll that turned into a Dragon sleeper. Sabre rolled free though, before they countered Japanese leg clutches as Zack almost snatched the victory. SANADA springboards out of the corner into another Dragon sleeper, but Sabre backflips into one of his own, before an overhead kick to the arm led to him getting caught with another O’Connor roll.
Sabre keeps looking to show SANADA how the Dragon sleeper’s put on, but with his own personal twist. Problem is, thost twists allowed SANADA to counter out into an eventual Tower of London neckbreaker, before he hit the corner for a moonsault that suddenly got the win. Zack’s still loopy it seems as he tried to go after SANADA after the bell – and much like yesterday’s Okada/Suzuki outing, this was another match that never really got out of second gear, with Sabre’s fannying around early on making many suspect he was playing the long game, only to get caught out. ***¼
During the interval, they announced World Tag League 2020 starts on November 15… and it’ll be mixed with Best of the Super Junior 27. The tour will wrap up on December 11 in Budokan! That’s gonna be a challenge to keep track of in the same tour, but they’ll apparently be doing alternate nights.
G1 Climax 30 – Block B: EVIL vs. Juice Robinson
Only two prior singles meetings here, with EVIL getting the win in both – including one in the G1 three years ago. That squeak at the start of EVIL’s theme could well be the door closing on his G1 if he loses here…
EVIL attacks Juice as he’s disrobing, as chops and arm wringers awaited for Juice in the corner. A LOT of arm wringers, too. Juice manages to float over EVIL before landing a crossbody off the ropes. Juice returns those chops, but then got tripped by Dick Togo before EVIL knocked him flying to the outside, where he’s taken into the guard rails. I’d forgotten about that mandate tonight! EVIL heads outside for chairs, and luckily there’s a LOT of them under the ring. He piles them up, before suplexing Juice into them… and that landing looked like it sucked, with Juice landing hip-first on the edge of a chair. Back inside, EVIL removes a turnbuckle pad, before another snap suplex drew a two-count on Juice, who was nursing that lower back.
A half crab from EVIL makes it worse, but Juice gets to the ropes and fought back with elbows… only for EVIL to rake the eyes to stop him. Reversed Irish whips take Juice into the exposed corner, before he rebounded with a leg lariat to EVIL. Juice keeps going with a spinebuster, before knocking Dick Togo off the apron as he proceeded to flatten him with a plancha that had Milano Collection AT at ringside clapping like a seal. Juice returns to the ring with a cannonball, before a crossbody off the top almost got Juice the win. The full nelson slam looks to follow, but EVIL counters out with a hair pull before hitting the thrust kick as the referee yet again fell for it. EVIL misses a back senton, then gets squished by one from Juice, as a corner clothesline trapped EVIL by the buckles.
Juice lifts EVIL to the top rope for a chop, following up with a superplex… but rather than go for a pin he swivels the hips and pulls up EVIL for a Jackhammer that almost ends it. A wild back elbow looked to set up Juice for a Pulp Friction, but EVIL backs into the ropes as Togo swings a chair at Juice’s back… Darkness Falls follows for a two-count, before Juice tried to elbow out of Everything is EVIL. EVIL counters out of Pulp Friction, but ends up getting caught with a lariat as he tried for some misdirection. Togo’s back on the apron, but he has EVIL thrown into him as Juice pushes on with a Juicebox for a near-fall. EVIL looks for a low blow, but it’s caught as Juice again went for Pulp Friction… he’s shoved towards the exposed corner before returning with a Left Hand of God. Togo distracts the referee as EVIL finally gets the dick punch in, before putting away Juice with Everything is EVIL. This was largely fine while Juice was in control, although your mileage will vary depending on how much you loathe the Bullet Club shenanigans. ***½
G1 Climax 30 – Block B: YOSHI-HASHI vs. Tetsuya Naito
You’ll not be shocked to learn that Naito’s never lost to YOSHI-HASHI in their six prior outings – the last of which came in February 2018.
We’ve a tentative start, with Naito finally going in for a wristlock on YOSHI-HASHI, who reversed the hold before he got tripped to the mat. YOSHI-HASHI countered with a cross armbreaker attempt, but Naito escaped and caught YOSHI-HASHI with headscissors ahead of a stand-off. YOSHI-HASHI gets back in with shoulder tackles and a tijeras, taking Naito outside… following him for some chops by the guard rails. Elbows follow when they got back inside, with YOSHI-HASHI taking Naito to the corner… but Naito kicks away before he took YOSHI-HASHI to the ropes for an armdrag, a Manhattan drop and a neckbreaker that gets the double-champion a two-count.
Another neckbreaker followed as Naito tied up YOSHI-HASHI on the mat with some modified headscissors, but that ends up in the ropes before a low dropkick got Naito another two-count. Naito looked to swing for YOSHI-HASHI, but kicks him in the gut instead before a swinging DDT was blocked as YOSHI-HASHI returned with a Bunker Buster. Chops from YOSHI-HASHI and a running Head Hunter have Naito down again, before a dropkick took Naito outside. A somersault plancha from YOSHI-HASHI followed, as he took his time rolling Naito back into the ring. YOSHI-HASHI followed up with a Head Hunter off the top rope, which gets him a two-count, before Naito blocked a powerbomb attempt.
A rear spin kick from YOSHI-HASHI led to another powerbomb attempt, but Naito ‘rana’s out and took him into the corner for Combinacion Cabron instead. YOSHI-HASHI tries for his powerbomb again, and lands it after taking Naito away from a superplex attempt, before a Butterfly lock forces Naito towards the ropes. He gets free and spikes YOSHI-HASHI with that swinging DDT, before hanging up YOSHI-HASHI with a reverse neckbreaker in the ropes. Gloria follows for a near-fall, before YOSHI-HASHI elbowed away a Destino attempt… only to get caught with a spinebuster. A Western lariat blocks another Destino attempt, as the pair end up trading elbows from their knees, as they fought back up. YOSHI-HASHI’s elbows looked to be making little impact on Naito, but he finds a way back in with a good, old-school shoulder breaker. I think Papa Shango was the last guy who regularly used that… at least from my viewing.
It’s back to the Butterfly lock, with YOSHI-HASHI dragging Naito away from the ropes, before switching it into a grounded sleeperhold. YOSHI-HASHI pulls up Naito, still in the hold, then dumps him with a back cracker, before going back to the Butterfly lock, eventually switching it into a modified double wristlock as Naito looked to be fading, but he manages to scoot across to the ropes. Naito comes back with some elbows, wearing down YOSHI-HASHI as he looked to set up for a Destino… but a headbutt from YOSHI-HASHI stops all that, as he folded Naito with a Dragon suplex. Another Western lariat almost gets YOSHI-HASHI the upset… only for Naito to come right back with a Destino. YOSHI-HASHI blocks a second one, turning it into a kumagaroshi that inched him closer to the win, before an attempt at Karma was elbowed out of.
YOSHI-HASHI lands a superkick as he went back to Karma, but Naito wriggled free before rushing in with an enziguiri, then a Koppo kick before spiking YOSHI-HASHI with an Emerald Fusion-like sit out side slam for a near-fall. Destino followed, folding YOSHI-HASHI in half, and that’s all folks! As a lot of people probably didn’t give YOSHI-HASHI a chance, this match lacked a lot of drama, but continued to tell the story of how he’s inching closer and closer to finally being taken seriously. ****
G1 Climax 30 – Block B: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. KENTA
A second-time meeting, KENTA getting the win in their only prior meeting as part of last year’s G1.
We open with a tie-up as KENTA’s taken into the ropes, before he returned the favour, ruffling Tanahashi’s mane in the ropes. He powders outside after that, looking to take the sting out of the match, only to boo the crowd… and get caught with a baseball slide dropkick from Tanahashi. Back inside, Tanahashi hits a springboard crossbody out of the corner, before KENTA came back with a chop block to take out Tanahashi’s oft-injured knee. A knee breaker followed, as KENTA then proceeded to wrap Tanahashi’s leg around the ring post as his game plan became clear. Tanahashi tries to fight back, but KENTA just traps him in a leg lock, before he kicked Tanahashi’s leg out of his leg.
A Figure Four follows, but Tanahashi easily scoots to the rope to force a break, but he’s taken outside and into the guard rails as KENTA went back to the knee. My feed drops out, but returns as Tanahashi took out KENTA with a Dragon screw, before forearms and elbows led to a slam and a flip senton out of the corner. KENTA rebounds with a slam off the ropes before he hung up Tanahashi on the top rope. A flying Kane-like lariat gets a two-count, as he then returned to the leg with another Figure Four – this time blocking the ropes with his ring positioning. Tanahashi gets free though, going into the apron, as KENTA then looked to bring him back in with an outside-in suplex… but Tanahashi puts the brakes on and lifts KENTA onto the apron as the pair traded elbows on the edge of the ring.
The crowd claps along with Tanahashi’s elbows, until a low dropkick from KENTA stopped him as a Dragon screw yanked Tanahashi down to the floor. CHRIST. KENTA returns to the ring as he looked for the count-out, but Tanahashi hobbled back in… only to take a running front kick and a hesitation dropkick in the corner. A double stomp off the top crushes Tanahashi for a near-fall… and despite Tanahashi trying to make a comeback, KENTA kicks out the knee and goes back to the Figure Four as he looked to eke out the submission. Tanahashi clawed his way free, but it just irked KENTA, who came in with some ground and pound punches before he hit the ropes… and got caught with a Slingblade.
They reset with elbows, as both men looked to be swinging for the fences, but a back fist rocks Tanahashi before he got caught on the apron… he manages to counter a Green Killer draping DDT by pulling KENTA through for a Dragon screw in the ropes, before a second Dragon screw back inside left KENTA laying. Tanahashi tries to follow with a Cloverleaf, but he can’t sit down on KENTA for too long as the hold quickly ends in the ropes. Tanahashi issues some revenge to KENTA, hitting him with a hesitation dropkick of his own in the corner, before a Slingblade’s avoided, with KENTA shoving Tanahashi into the ref before dog piling onto the pair of them. Just like back at school!
KENTA hits a DDT as the referee remained down, so KENTA heads out for his New Japan Cup USA briefcase… and waffles Tanahashi with it. A PK followed as the referee was still stirring, while Yota Tsuji tried to gee the crowd up for Tanahashi… who couldn’t avoid a Busaiku knee as he had to kick out to keep the match going. Tanahashi tries to fight back with palm strikes to the gut, but he’s out on his feet as another knee strike dropped him, leading to a Go 2 Sleep attempt… which is countered at the last minute with a Twist and Shout!
Tanahashi keeps hold, and hits a second Twist and Shout… then a third! He’s still loopy as he hits the ropes for a Slingblade, which gets a near-fall, before he headed up top for the Ace’s High crossbody. Rather than go for the High Fly Flow, Tanahashi goes back to the Cloverleaf, sitting down on it at a high angle to force the submission. A fantastic main event, with Tanahashi possibly showing he’s back in his groove after squeaking out a win in a hard fought finale, which led to Tanahashi busting out the air guitar to send the crowd home happy. ****
After five matches each, both blocks have one man standing tall at the top:
Kota Ibushi (4-1; 8pts)
Kazuchika Okada, Will Ospreay, Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, Jay White (3-2; 6pts)
Jeff Cobb, Tomohiro Ishii, Shingo Takagi (2-3; 4pts)
Yujiro Takahashi (0-5; 0pts)
Tetsuya Naito (4-1; 8pts)
EVIL, Juice Robinson, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Toru Yano (3-2; 6pts)
Hirooki Goto, KENTA, Zack Sabre Jr., SANADA (2-3; 4pts)
YOSHI-HASHI (1-4; 2pts)
(Unofficial) Block C (W-L-D)
Yota Tsuji (3-2-2)
Yuya Uemura (3-3-1)
Gabriel Kidd (2-3-1)
The G1 stays in Hiroshima for tomorrow’s show, with block A action featuring Kota Ibushi and Shingo Takagi in a particularly tantalising main event – while Tomohiro Ishii draws the short straw against Yujiro Takahashi, whose elimination is likely to be confirmed on tomorrow’s show.
This was a real show of two halves, this night of G1 action really picked up after the interval, with Naito and YOSHI-HASHI perhaps having the best all-round match on the show, with that ZSJ/SANADA match again showing that Sabre can be his own worst enemy at times.