It’s the last day on this stretch of the G1, as we head to Okayama for another round in block B, with EVIL and Hiroshi Tanahashi on top.
Gabriel Kidd pinned Yuya Uemura in 8:47 (***)
G1 Climax 30, Block B: Hirooki Goto pinned YOSHI-HASHI in 14:12 (***)
G1 Climax 30, Block B: Zack Sabre Jr. submitted Toru Yano in 12:21 (***¼)
G1 Climax 30, Block B: SANADA pinned KENTA in 11:25 (**¾)
G1 Climax 30, Block B: Tetsuya Naito pinned Juice Robinson in 25:01 (***¾)
G1 Climax 30, Block B: EVIL pinned Hiroshi Tanahashi in 19:58 (***¼)
This one’s at the ZIP Arena in Okayama… as usual, it’s Japanese-only commentary for the live watchers, with Kevin Kelly filling in on English as soon as they can.
Gabriel Kidd vs. Yuya Uemura
After being swept aside quickly yesterday, Kidd’s currently propping up the table in the unofficial Young Lions block.
Action gets underway with Uemura tripping Kidd by the leg, before they spun back-and-forth in the search for a front facelock. After a reset, they try to lock-up, but Kidd just goes for an overhead wristlock, before some arm wringing back-and-forth led to Kidd regaining that wristlock. At least until Uemura switched around into a headlock takedown, but headscissors free Kidd, only for Uemura to headstand his way out of it as they hit another stand-off. A knucklelock has both men looking for the upperhand, with Kidd bending Uemura into a neck bridge. It’s held, too, but Uemura monkey flips free before Kidd returns the favour, leading to some double pin attempts before they got back up. Kidd tries his luck with a double wristlock, but Uemura frees himself to take down Kidd, before he went for a full nelson that Kidd tried to escape… only to end up right back in the hold.
Kidd drops down to escape… but rolls back into the hold, before he got to the ropes. A snap suplex has Uemura roll Kidd to the mat, but he’s able to find a body part and twist Uemura in a toe hold on the mat. A second toe hold follows, before he looked to roll Uemura into a half crab. Uemura gets free and charges in with a running forearm, before a slam and a Boston crab looked to give him the win, but Kidd gets to the ropes for safety. An uppercut stuns Kidd as Uemura looked for a capture suplex, but Kidd gets to the ropes once more, then suckered Uemura with an elbow. He gets one in return, before Kidd returned with a dropkick and a suplex for a near-fall… with a double underhook suplex following for the win. A nice competitive outing this, with Kidd getting back in the winning column. He’s got Yota Tsuji in his next match on Sunday… ***
G1 Climax 30 – Block B: YOSHI-HASHI vs. Hirooki Goto
It’s a second-time meeting, with YOSHI-HASHI hoping that he’ll finally be able to get a reward for his recent good performances – especially given how banged up Goto’s been lately. Goto won their only prior meeting back in 2017, at roughly the same stage of the G1 as we are now…
So, two-thirds of the NEVER trios champions get going with a lock-up, with YOSHI-HASHI taking Goto into the ropes for a chop. We’ve long gone past the point where Goto snatched the win against Toru Yano on Tuesday, as YOSHI-HASHI shoves him into the ropes for see-saw shoulder tackles, before a hiptoss and a shoulder tackle from Goto charged down YOSHI-HASHI. An Irish whip takes YOSHI-HASHI into the corner, but he goes back with an elbow to Goto’s taped arm, before shoving it into the corner. Another arm jerker has Goto down, before YOSHI-HASHI snapmared Goto to the mat for an eventual double wristlock attempt. He switches into a scissors armbar, but Goto’s able to scoot his way towards the ropes for the eventual break.
YOSHI-HASHI slaps Goto, which annoys him (naturally)… and then YOSHI-HASHI comes in with a gut punch. An attempted suplex from YOSHI-HASHI is blocked, with Goto slipping free before he ducked a chop in the corner and hit a back suplex out of it. A spinning heel kick and a bulldog drops YOSHI-HASHI for a near-fall, only for YOSHI-HASHI to return with a Head Hunter. YOSHI-HASHI tries to push on, but runs into an ushigoroshi, before he recovered to land a Western lariat on Goto for a near-fall. A Dragon suplex folds up Goto, before YOSHI-HASHI dives in with a running Meteora for a near-fall… and then it’s off to the Butterfly lock as YOSHI-HASHI looked to force the submission. A keylock followed, then a rear naked choke as Goto’s pulled back to his feet for a back cracker.
Goto’s back up again for a kumagaroshi, which nearly gets the win as we pass the ten minute mark. Karma looks to follow, but Goto rolls out and lands the GTW… but couldn’t go for the pin as both men get back up and trade elbow strikes. One of those knock down YOSHI-HASHI, as Goto began to tee up for kicks… but YOSHI-HASHI caught it and slapped him, before nailing another lariat. From there, YOSHI-HASHI picks up Goto for Karma, but it’s slipped out of… only for YOSHI-HASHI to retaliate with a headbutt. Goto gives him one back, before booting him to the mat ahead of a GTR for the win. That officially eliminates YOSHI-HASHI from the G1, after a solid outing that caught me by surprise if only for how long it lasted. Goto’s shoulder is clearly knackered, but something tells me that the YOSHI-HASHI story this year is to be another year of failure? Especially when that Butterfly lock wasn’t able to put away someone whose shoulder was in this state… ***
G1 Climax 30 – Block B: Toru Yano vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
These two have only one prior meeting, back in 2018’s G1, where Sabre pinned Yano in a little over ten minutes. Given Yano’s not gone ten minutes in this G1, that may be a stretch…
ZSJ chucks away Yano’s KOPW trophy during his entrance, while Yano willingly threw away rolls of tape at the bell. That’s got to be a “lull them into a false sense of security” deal, right? From the opening lock-up, Sabre takes Yano to the ropes for a clean break, before Yano returned the favour. Yano eludes Sabre as he proceeded to do a wrestle, before dropping into the referee’s position. Sabre gladly capitalises as he rolled into a grounded Octopus… right in the ropes for an instant break.
Sabre offers to return the favour, but Yano just goes to the corner for the turnbuckle pad. Sabre stops that, before rolling Yano to the mat in search of Orienteering with Napalm Death… but Yano got to the ropes again. They head outside, with Sabre being thrown shoulder-first into the guard rails… then Yano heads into the crowd for a chair and some tape. Of course, that’s almost your finish, as he tapes a chair to Sabre’s wrist through the guard rails, with Zack figuring out how to free himself just in time. He brings the chair into the ring, and threw a fit at the referee as they struggled to remove the taped-up chair. Yano apologises and asks “why you mad?” like a troll would, before going back to actually wrestling.
A belly-to-belly off the ropes surprises Sabre, who’s then unceremoniously tossed outside. Sabre reverses an Irish whip, but Yano puts the brakes on, only for Sabre to roll him down for an ankle lock on the floor. He walks Yano into the crowd as the referee started to count, reverse-marching him towards the entry way before sprinting back to the ring… but Yano’s able to beat the count. Sabre stomps away on Yano’s knee and ankle back in the ring, before trapping Yano in another ankle lock. They end up in the corner, before Yano bounced Sabre across the ring, giving him time to undo a turnbuckle pad. Hobbling, Yano tries to swipe at Sabre… and actually sweeps the leg with the turnbuckle pad for a near-fall, before almost nicking the win with a reversed sunset flip.
Yano uses the ref to mask a low blow, but Sabre catches it as Yano keeps going for wacky roll-ups. They don’t work, so Sabre charged at him… and hit the exposed corner before Yano went for an unconventional powerbomb. Sabre makes him pay by switching into a guillotine, which is broken via a charge into the corner before an inside cradle almost gets the win. Yano again goes for a low blow, but his mule kick is caught as Sabre pulled him down for another ankle lock… ending with Yano unable to free himself as he whacked Sabre with the pad, before a deathlock was wrenched on until Yano tapped. This one started out comically, with ZSJ being a hell of a foil for Yano’s comedy, but things kinda ran out of steam the longer the match got. ***¼
G1 Climax 30 – Block B: SANADA vs. KENTA
Another second-time match, with SANADA beating KENTA at about this stage of last year’s G1…
KENTA uses his briefcase as a distraction before the bell, throwing it in the air for the referee to catch so he could get some cheap shots in on SANADA early. They head outside and into the guard rails, with SANADA also getting posted, before a neckbreaker back inside gets an early two-count. Stomps and kicks from KENTA target SANADA’s left shoulder, following up with a chinlock as he dragged SANADA to the mat, before a back elbow off the ropes got another two-count. Slow and steady stuff, this, with KENTA taking SANADA down for some Figure Four headscissors before kneedrops to the back of the head set up for… another chinlock.
SANADA bursts back into lift with a backdrop suplex, before he rolled KENTA into a Paradise Lock – something that woke the Okayama crowd up, as he teed up for the low dropkick to free the former NEVER champ for a near-fall. KENTA returned with a scoop slam off the ropes, as my feed began to buffer a little. It’s back with KENTA sweeping SANADA’s leg on the apron, before a Green Killer draping DDT got KENTA another near-fall. The hesitation dropkick crushes SANADA in the corner as KENTA went up top for a double stomp, which landed firmly in the ribs for another near-fall, before an attempt at Game Over ended in the ropes as SANADA avoided the hold being fully put on. SANADA’s quickly back with a TKO, before KENTA returned again with a DDT.
With the referee down, KENTA grabs his briefcase and swung for SANADA with it… but he misses as SANADA ends up taking KENTA down… but a quick attempt at a moonsault lands in KENTA’s knees. A Go 2 Sleep’s countered out of, but KENTA hits back with an inside cradle, before an O’Connor roll and a Japanese leg clutch got SANADA the win. This one completely washed over me – with little juice to it or anything like that, it felt like guyz doing movez. It kept the lights on, but KENTA picking up so many losses by this stage feels odd. He’s getting a lot of challengers for that US title shot that’s not likely to be redeemed anytime soon… **¾
G1 Climax 30 – Block B: Juice Robinson vs. Tetsuya Naito
This is the fourth time these guys have met in singles action, with Naito winning every single time – be it an Intercontinental title defence in 2017, or G1 wins in 2018 and 2019.
Juice mocks the inordinate amount of time it took for Naito to get ready, before referee Red Shoes seemingly prompted him to get the “We Will Rock You” claps going. Naito, meanwhile, just frustrates as he avoids Juice’s attempts to lock up, before Juice grabbed an arm wringer, working in a wristlock before they went to ground briefly. A headlock takedown from Juice is quickly nullified as Naito did the Queen rhythm to his Tranquilo fist-bump, which got the crowd going. Juice comes in with a backbreaker and a Russian legsweep, before a back senton squished Naito out of the ring, where he’s taken into the guard railings. Back inside, Naito hits an armdrag and some tijeras to take Juice down, with Naito doing his best Jay White impression on the outside, whipping Juice between the guard rails and the ring apron.
Back inside, Naito stomps away on Juice, before he pulled him into a neckbreaker and some headscissors on the mat. There’s even some mocking elbows as Naito did the Tugboat-like “Juice” taunts, before he took Juice into the corner with a cravat for some more elbows. Juice fights back with a spinebuster, before hitting those Dusty punches and a snap DDT as Naito looked to duck the Left Hand of God. That gets Juice a two-count, before he went up for a crossbody… which is aborted as Naito came bank with a hiptoss and a low dropkick. Another pair of neckbreakers gets a near-fall before Naito rolled in with a Pluma Blanca, but Juice is able to get himself to the rope to force the break. Gloria looked to be next, but Juice elbowed free before he managed to sidestep a leaping forearm as he dumped Naito with a full nelson slam.
A cannonball followed in the corner for Juice, as he then got the crowd going again in the search for a superplex, which bounced Naito in the middle of the ring. Juice rolls the hips to follow it up with a Jackhammer, but it’s not enough as Naito kicked out at two. Naito pushes away a Pulp Friction attempt, then wriggled out of a Juicebox before he was decked with an elbow smash. Down come the straps as Juice sensed victory, but another crack at the Juicebox was countered into a reverse ‘rana. A series of short-range elbows from Naito leave Juice down in a heap, before they headed up for a top rope ‘rana. Naito tries to rush in from there with a Destino, but Juice evades and returned with a leg lariat to flip the double champion to the mat.
We’ve somehow crossed the 20-minute mark, as Juice looked to come back with a powerbomb, only for Naito to try and counter with a swinging DDT. That’s blocked as Juice went for another Jackhammer, but Naito countered that into a Destino for a near-fall, before a second Destino’s blocked with Juice finally landing that powerbomb. From their knees, Naito and Juice trade elbows – a headbutt just makes Naito do the Tugboat thing again – as they begin to wheel away on each other. Dusty punches from Juice led to him eating an enziguiri, before he lariats Naito down for a near-fall. Another Pulp Friction is avoided, with Juice eventually landing that Left Hand of God, before Naito avoided Pulp Friction yet again to land Destino for a near-fall! One more Destino followed though, and that was enough to get the win. For me, this was a match of two halves – with the first half really not connecting with me on any level, but the longer it went, the more I got into it, even if I didn’t buy Juice picking up what’d have been a major upset. ***¾
G1 Climax 30 – Block B: EVIL vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
We’ve got history here too, with four prior meetings – but save for a win in 2017’s New Japan Cup, EVIL’s not done too well against the Ace.
EVIL starts off with a kick to the gut as he looked to take control in the opening stages, but his side headlock on Tanahashi is countered out of, as Tanahashi took him down to the mat with a headlock of his own. Tanahashi resists the headscissors escape, and EVIL’s attempt to push away, before they both went for the hair, with Tanahashi taking EVIL into the corner. A back elbow and a crossbody out of the corner keeps Tanahashi ahead, before EVIL whipped Tanahashi into the ropes, where Dick Togo was waiting for a trip. Tanahashi’s pulled outside and sent into the railings, as EVIL went under the ring for some chairs as he swung for the fences.
Yota Tsuji randomly gets involved, as EVIL suplexes Tanahashi’s cheerleader onto a pile of chairs – perhaps thinking that if he couldn’t rally the crowd from ringside, Tanahashi would struggle? Back in the ring, EVIL’s undone a turnbuckle pad, and tries to get a pin when Tanahashi returned to the ring… but Red Shoes wouldn’t count. EVIL stomps on the leg, then grapevines it as he tried to wear down Tanahashi’s famously-bad wheel. Tanahashi gets free, but ends up being thrown into the exposed corner before EVIL tried to do the thrust kick with the help of the referee. Tanahashi blocks that, and after telling the ref to put his leg down… does a Dragon screw to EVIL.
Tanahashi keeps going, slamming EVIL by the corner for a flip senton that gets a near-fall, before another trip attempt from Goto distracted. It’s shrugged off as Tanahashi went for a Slingblade, but gets thrown outside… as he has to skin the cat, only to get caught with a German suplex. EVIL tries to follow that up with a Darkness Scorpion, but Tanahashi fights it away before tripping EVIL for a Cloverleaf. Except EVIL grabs the ear to save himself, before a baseball slide from Tanahashi stopped Togo in his tracks as another trip was coming up. A Dragon screw in the ropes stops EVIL, as Tanahashi keeps going with more of those as a set-up for the Cloverleaf, with Tanahashi really torquing away on the hold, only for EVIL to drag his way into the ropes to force the break.
Tanahashi blocks a low blow and sends EVIL into the corner… before a reversed Irish whip took Tanahashi back into the exposed corner again. Yota Tsuji is back to cheerlead as EVIL tried to build up steam, confusing Tanahashi with some misdirection ahead of a clothesline for a two-count. Everything is EVIL is twice teased, but Tanahashi gets free before countering Darkness Falls into a Slingblade. From there, Tanahashi heads up for a High Fly Flow, with Yota Tsuji dealing with Dick Togo at ringside. Tanahashi lands Ace’s High instead, before rolling EVIL into another Cloverleaf, only for EVIL to grab the ref and hide the fact that Togo was choking out Tanahashi with the garrote wire.
Except Tanahashi’s able to overpower Togo, punching him out as a Twist and Shout waited for EVIL. A Slingblade followed for a near-fall, before Tanahashi went up for a High Fly Flow to the back… Togo interferes again, pulling Tanahashi into the ropes as he went up for the second High Fly Flow, having distracted the referee with a chair. EVIL tries to capitalise with a superplex, bouncing Tanahashi into the middle of the ring for a near-fall. Darkness Falls is next as EVIL comes closer, before he spun Tanahashi into Everything is EVIL for the deflating win. I mean, they found a way to take a 15 minute match and stretch it out for another five minutes – while also killing off that bloody garrote wire. Although you just know that’s going to remain part and parcel of this act, right? ***¼
So, six matches deep, and Tetsuya Naito is the first man to reach double-figures – as both blocks now have someone eliminated.
Kota Ibushi, Kazuchika Okada, Will Ospreay, Jay White (4-2; 8pts)
Tomohiro Ishii, Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, Shingo Takagi (3-3; 6pts)
Jeff Cobb (2-4; 4pts)
Yujiro Takahashi (0-6; 0pts) * eliminated
Tetsuya Naito (5-1; 10pts)
EVIL (4-2; 8pts)
Hirooki Goto, Juice Robinson, Zack Sabre Jr., SANADA, Hiroshi Tanahashi Toru Yano (3-3; 6pts)
KENTA (2-4; 4pts)
YOSHI-HASHI (1-5; 2pts) * eliminated
(Unofficial) Block C (W-L-D)
Yota Tsuji (4-2-2)
Yuya Uemura (3-4-1)
Gabriel Kidd (3-4-1)
We’ve a day off, with the G1 returning on Saturday in Osaka for block A action with Okada vs. Shingo in the main event, with Kota Ibushi vs. Minoru Suzuki providing a curious semi-main event.
Today was “bang average,” as some might say. The proverbial “gentleman’s three” of a wrestling show, this stop on the G1 perhaps will be the show that a lot of people were hand-waving anyway. The outcomes probably won’t change that perception, although that Juice/Naito match may well influence your thoughts on this night’s action – which largely felt more like a house show than anything else.