At the end of the second week of G1 Climax 30, there were five participants in A Block tied on 6 points, and three in B Block also tied on 6. Heading into the halfway point of the tournament, it was still anyone’s to win.
Night 9 – October 5th
The week started off with Yujiro Takahashi still trying to get his first win, this time taking on Shingo Takagi. They started with a lock-up but Yujiro quickly tried to take the easy way out by pulling Takagi’s hair, Takagi reciprocated, pulling Yujiro’s hair as well. On the outside, Yujiro takes control, throwing Takagi against barriers and ramming his head on the ring apron, then stepping on his head. Takagi turned the tide by knocking Yujiro off his feet onto the apron, but Yujiro came back with a reverse DDT on the edge of the ring. Yujiro maintained control for much of the match, being able to shut down Takagi’s momentum several times, once by biting his hand. Again, Takagi didn’t just take this, and blocked Yujiro by biting his hand too.
Towards the end of the match, Yujiro absorbed a full-force shoulder tackle from Takagi and managed to hit an Olympic Slam. Yujiro escaped a Last of the Dragon with another bite. The referee had been knocked down, so he tried to attack Takagi with his cane, but Takagi broke it in half. Takagi finished things off with a Pumping Bomber, then Last of the Dragon for the win. This was Takagi’s second win of the G1 Climax and he moved up to 4 points, while Yujiro remained on 2.
This match was one of my least favourite of the tournament. It went on for a bit too long and I didn’t really buy into the toughness Yujiro was showing. It also didn’t help that there were two occasions where Takagi paused, clearly waiting for Yujiro to do his next move. I can’t remember the last time I saw that sort of miscue in an NJPW match.
Up next was Jeff Cobb facing off with Jay White. Cobb got off to a good start, grounding White, White tried the same but Cobb countered him and White quickly crawled to the ropes. White then went outside to stall.
Back in the ring, Cobb hit a dropkick. When Cobb went to drag White away from the ropes, White grabbed Gedo to try to anchor himself, but Cobb pulled both of them into the ring and hit their heads together. Getting back in the ring, Gedo grabbed Cobb’s foot, letting White finally take control of the match.
White tried to keep Cobb on the ground, using a camel clutch and knees to the back. Cobb came back with a Samoan drop after white gauged his eyes on the first attempt. Cobb was getting some momentum back, ramming White with shoulders in the corner and then a big overhead belly to belly suplex. He followed up with a running uppercut to White in the corner and a running backdrop for 2.
White got out of a brainbuster and hit a DDT, then running uppercuts to Cobb in the corner, he finished with Bladebuster for 2. He tried to get Cobb with Bladerunner but couldn’t lean him over enough.
White went for Cobb’s knee with a chop block and inverted dragon screw, then kicks. Cobb came back again, slamming White out of the corner, then hitting a standing moonsault for 2. Both tried their finishers but escaped. Gedo tried to interfere but Cobb saw him, the distraction let White hit a suplex, but Cobb got out of another attempted Bladerunner with a slam. Gedo got into the ring again, so Cobb threw him at White then hit Tour of the Islands for the win.
This was a great match and a huge win for Cobb, he dominated much of the runtime and defeated a former IWGP Champion in the process. This put Cobb on 4 points while White was on 6.
The third match of the night saw the NEVER Openweight Champion Minoru Suzuki take on Kazuchika Okada. These men have had some memorable matches, including a great exhibition in the rain for Suzuki’s 30th anniversary in wrestling in 2018, which went to a 30 minute time limit draw, and an IWGP Heavyweight Championship match which headlined NJPW’s first major UK event, Royal Quest in 2019, that ended in a loss for Suzuki.
They started off cautiously, feeling each other out. Okada got the advantage, taking Suzuki down by his leg, then starting to focus on his knee. Suzuki got him into a facelock, but Okada escaped and back to his knee, twisting ite. Suzuki was able to escape again and lock in a camel clutch then a front facelock, and armlock. Okada got to the ropes. It was a great sequence.
The tone of the match soon changed, with the two moving quickly on from the mat-based beginning into trading forearms. They brawled on the outside and went back inside for more striking until Suzuki got the upper hand again with a PK to Okada. He went to work on Okada on the mat, hooking in an armlock, then grabbing his leg too, twisting both, Okada managed to struggle to the ropes.
They went back to trading stiff forearms, but Suzuki took Okada down, then trying a submission but Okada countered with an air raid crash.
The match continued with the two men trading more stiff strikes and headbutts. Okada broke through with a spinning Tombstone and then the Money Clip submission. Suzuki reversed it into an armbar, but Okada got another rope break.
Suzuki zeroed in on the arm he had been using submissions on with hard kicks. Okada came back with a with a forearm but screamed in pain, then hit a lariat which also hurt his arm. He tried a Rainmaker but Suzuki reversed it into a sleeper. Okada attempted to power out but Suzuki stayed on him. Okada struggled up enough to hit a backdrop into a pin for the win. Okada had now reached 6 points, with Suzuki also on 6.
This was a good bout between two of the greats. I was a bit surprised by Suzuki focusing his attention on Okada’s arm rather than his already injured back, which didn’t take much damage in this match at all. It was an unusual strategic error that cost him a win. I liked the quick pin ending, the Money Clip just isn’t the devastating submission Okada wants it to be, but he can still get victories without using the Rainmaker.
Next we had Tomohiro Ishii taking on Taichi. I was looking forward to this one since Ishii went out of his way to bring out the best in Taichi at G1 Climax 29 and it seems to have been a catalyst for Taichi’s performances ever since.
Taichi was stalling from the off, fixing his hair in the corner. When the match properly started, they went at each other with chops and strikes until Taichi took Ishii down. Taichi took things outside, throwing Ishii into a barrier, then choking him with the bell hammer. He rammed Ishii’s head into ring post, then rolled him back in the ring and started choking him.
Ishii started to gain some momentum, but Taichi blocked a suplex attempt and got Ishii in the corner and hits a high kick. Taichi blocked a brainbuster and took Ishii down with another big kick. Sensing an opportunity, Taichi prepared for a buzzsaw kick, but Ishii jumped up, attacking with a forearm. Taichi took him down again with a jumping kick. They went back and forth with Ishii attacking with forearms and Taichi flooring him with kicks.
Taichi hit an ax bomber to the back of Ishii’s neck. He went for Black Mephisto, Ishii countered and hit a buckle bomb then a lariat to take Taichi down. Taichi shoved the referee, but Ishii blocked a low blow. Taichi hit Ishii with a hard kick to the side of his head, but he just popped back up.
Ishii again started to get some momentum with a huge clothesline for 2. He tried the brainbuster, Taichi blocked it and got the low blow in then a Taichi clutch pin for 2. Taichi hit a big powerbomb for another 2 then called for a buzzsaw kick, Ishii countered it and they went back and forth with reversals until Ishii took Taichi down with a German suplex. Taichi got straight back up and Ishii puts him back on the mat. Ishii psyched himself up, headbutting the turnbuckle pad, and hit a big lariat for 1.
Taichi staggered back up, and started kicking Ishii. Ishii blocked Black Mephisto. He hit a sliding lariat for 2, then finally finished it with a brainbuster for the pin.
I thought this was a brilliant match, the best of Taichi’s in the G1 Climax so far. Ishii really does drag out the best in him. Ishii came out on 4 points, with Taichi still ahead of him on 6.
The main event was one of the most anticipated matches of the tournament, Kota Ibushi against Will Ospreay.
They started off with some counters and back and forth. Things started picking up on the outside with Ospreay hitting a running knee to Ibushi from the apron. Ospreay took control of the match from here, ramming Ibushi’s head into the corner and following up with strikes and then a leg submission. Ibushi got to the ropes, but Ospreay kept on him with stomps and a big chop before Ibushi was able to come back with a dropkick.
It was time for Ibushi to get some momentum, but when he tried for a powerbomb, Ospreay got away and hit Pip Pip Cheerio, then a Sasuke special. Ospreay went to the top, but Ibushi grabbed him and landed some strong elbows. He looked for a super tiger driver, but Ospreay powered out. Ibushi attacked with more strikes, Ospreay knocked him over the he rope. Ibushi came back in with a springboard frankensteiner, but Ospreay landed on his hands and jumped back up, Ibushi was in disbelief.
They traded forearms, and Ospreay took Ibushi down, following up with Kawada kicks. The switch in Ibushi flipped, and he got the thousand yard stare. He caught Ospreay with a big strike then quick stiff kicks. Ospreay came back with a high kick, he went for an Oscutter but Ibushi grabbed him and hit a German suplex. Ospreay dodged the Kamigoye, and Ibushi countered Stormbreaker. Ospreay took Ibushi back to the mat, and called for Hidden Blade. Ibushi was back up with an elbow and a kick to the side of Ospreay’s head then a Last Ride for 2. Ibushi pulled down his kneepad, but Ospreay countered the Kamigoye again, this time into a pin for 2. Ibushi blocked Stormbreaker, then turned an Oscutter into Kamigoye for the win. This took Ibushi to the top of A Block with 8 points, while Ospreay stayed in the group of competitors on 6.
This was a brilliant main event, and another one that lived up to expectations. I can see Ospreay and Ibushi having a great series of matches over the next few years, possibly even at the Okada and Omega level.
Night 10 – October 6th
Over the halfway point of the tournament now, and the night started with Chaos stablemates Toru Yano and Hirooki Goto squaring off.
Yano tried to trick Goto into trying on a t-shirt, but Goto had seen Yano’s match with Juice Robinson and threw it back at him. Goto then hit a clothesline and rolled Yano up for the quickest win in G1 Climax in history at 18 seconds!
I loved this, Yano should have known that Goto had seen all of his tricks and wouldn’t fall for the t-shirt. For Goto to get a Yano-style quick roll-up pin was perfect. Goto moved up to 4 points, and Yano remained on 6.
Next we had SANADA in a match with Zack Sabre Jr. This was the fifth time the two had faced each other in singles matches and we can always expect good things from them.
They started with a series of quick roll-up attempts, ZSJ got SANADA in a submission to briefly break it up, but they went back into quick pin attempts.
ZSJ then took control, keeping SANADA on the mat. They moved into an exchange of armbars but neither could get an advantage. ZSJ changed the style of the match so far when he attacked SANADA with strikes, SANADA came back with a dropkick, knocking ZSJ to the outside. He went for a plancha over the ropes but ZSJ caught him in a Cobra.
Back in the ring, ZSJ went back to SANADA’s arm. They moved on to exchanging dragon sleepers. ZSJ seemed to have the advantage when he locked in another dragon sleeper, but SANADA was able to escape, hit a TKO and then a Muto moonsault for the win.
It was a decent match that focused on submissions and counters, SANADA essentially beat ZSJ at his own game. It wasn’t at the same level as some of their previous encounters but it was a good watch.
This was now two wins in a row for SANADA after a poor start to the tournament, bringing him up to 4 points, level with ZSJ who was also on 4.
We then moved on to EVIL against Juice Robinson. Dick Togo got involved early, attacking Juice on the outside. EVIL pulled out a pile of chairs and suplexed Juice on top of them. EVIL continued the assault, throwing Juice into an exposed turnbuckle. Juice started to come back with a great spinebuster, and knocking Togo off the apron. He hit a running cannonball in the corner, then a crossbody to EVIL off the top turnbuckle.
EVIL started to regain momentum, hanging Juice on the middle rope and stomping him off it. Juice managed to get out of the way of a senton and hit his own instead.
Picking up the pace towards the end, they reversed each others finishers. Juice threw EVIL into Togo and hit a Juicebox for 2. He got the crowd going with a ‘We will rock you’ clap and stomp, and hit a superplex on EVIL, he kept hold of him and followed up with a vertical suplex for 2.
Togo then distracted the referee, and EVIL hit a low bow and Everything is Evil for the win. EVIL moved up to 6 points, while Juice was on 6 as well.
This was a good match that was a little slow in places. The usual end to an EVIL match spoiled it a bit as well.
Next it was IWGP Intercontinental and Heavyweight Champion Naito against YOSHI-HASHI.
This was another match the started with some back and forth on the mat. Naito took the advantage with leg scissors until YOSHI-HASHI made it to the ropes for the break.
YOSHI-HASHI was able to get a lot of offence in the early stages of the match, but Naito was always there to put a stop to it. He did seem to be getting frustrated after a while though, hitting YOSHI-HASHI with some wild strikes. YOSHI-HASHI came back with a kick, he tried a powerbomb but Naito countered it into a Frankensteiner. Naito hit strikes on YOSHI-HASHI in the corner, but YOSHI-HASHI picked him up for an impressive running powerbomb for 2.
YOSHI-HASHI got the Butterfly lock on Naito, but he powered out and caught him with a tornado DDT off the ropes. YOSHI-HASHI blocked a Destino attempt and hit Naito with a lariat. They traded forearms for a long time. YOSHI-HASHI got Naito with a shoulder breaker and then into the butterfly lock again, this time locking it in fully. Naito took a long time to struggle to the ropes for the break.
Naito was back up with strikes to YOSHI-HASHI, but YOSHI-HASHI hit a dragon suplex and lariat. He countered the Destino a second time and hit Ushigoroshi for 2.5. He tried for Karma, but Naito countered with Valentia and then Destino for the win.
This was another enjoyable match from YOSHI-HASHI. While it never really felt like he could win, he went toe to toe with the Champion and looked great doing it. Naito, though, is on another level to YOSHI-HASHI, and at this point, the rest of the block as he got up to 8 points while YOSHI-HASHI lingered on 2.
The main event of night 10 was the second encounter between KENTA and Tanahashi. KENTA won their first at G1 Climax 29.
Shortly into the match, KENTA started to target Tanahashi’s knee. He used knee breakers, strikes, and wrapped his leg around the ring post for leverage.
Tanahashi came back with a dragon screw, and seemed to be building a head of steam but a snap suplex from KENTA stopped him . KENTA went straight knee with kicks, then a tornado DDT over the top rope. He locked in a figure 4, but Tanahashi reached the ropes for the break. KENTA tried to get Tanahashi back through the ropes into the ring, but he dragged him out to the apron where they started trading forearms. KENTA hot a low dropkick to Tanahashi’s knee then a dragon screw to the floor.
KENTA dominated Tanahashi with kicks and a double foot stomp. He tried for GTS but Tanahashi got out. KENTA went straight for the knee again and locked in figure 4. Tanahashi escaped this too, so KENTA went for Basaiko knee and got caught with a sling blade.
They started trading forearms and hard slaps. Tanahashi hit a dragon screw on KENTA through the ropes, then attacked his knee and locked in a Texas cloverleaf. KENTA dragged himself to the ropes for the break.
The referee ended up getting knocked out when Tanahashi went for a sling blade and KENTA pushed him into him, then jumped on both of them with a splash. KENTA floored Tanahashi with a DDT and went outside for his US Championship contract briefcase. He hit Tanahashi in the face with the case, then hit him with a PK. He followed up with Basaiko knee for 2.
KENTA went for the GTS, but Tanahashi escaped and hit three Twist and Shouts, then a sling blade for 2. He hit Aces High then locked in the Texas cloverleaf, KENTA couldn’t get to the ropes and had to submit, giving Tanahashi the victory.
It was a brilliant match to end the night on. KENTA was in control for the majority of the time, but that just made Tanahashi’s comeback at the end all the better. Tanahashi joined top half of B Block with 6 points, and KENTA stayed on 4.
Night 11 – October 7th
We kicked off with Tomohiro Ishii against Yujiro Takahashi. Yujiro went on the offensive straight away, taking the action to the outside and hitting a reverse DDT to Ishii on the floor. Back in the ring, he continued the assault with a powerslam for an early 2-count.
Ishii finally managed to take some control of the match with a suplex and strikes. Yujiro stopped Ishii’s momentum by biting his thumb. Ishii ran at Yujiro but got dropped on the top rope, then tried some forearms to Ishii’s head, which Ishii barely noticed. Ishii took him to the mat with a side suplex. After a bit of back and forth, Yujiro hit the fisherman buster.
Ishii came back again with a massive vertical superplex for from second rope for 2. Yujiro showed his resilience, able to get back up and hit an Alabama slam, strikes, and an Olympic slam for 2. He tried for Pimp Juice but Ishii countered with a German suplex.
Ishii got Yujiro up for the brainbuster but Yujiro managed to get back down and hit a suplex. Ishii tried the brainbuster a second time but Yujiro countered into a small package for 2. Third time lucky, Ishii finally hit the brainbuster for the win to move on to 6 points.
Yujiro’s clearly trying his best, but realistically I think he’s going out of this G1 Climax on 0 points. Anyone he beats would be tarnished by the loss. Ishii, however, did get a good match out of him, so it was a solid start to the evening.
Cobb and Okada were out next, they were meeting in a singles match for the first time. Cobb was coming off his big win against Jay White, while Okada had scraped a win against Suzuki. Cobb caught Okada early with a great stalling vertical suplex, once again showing off his impressive strength. Okada came right back with a neckbreaker and a low dropkick to Cobb’s head. Okada didn’t have tape on his back for this match, and his back did seem to be able to withstand more judging by the quick return to offence.
Okada hit several neckbreakers on Cobb, possibly softening him up for the Money Clip. He moved on to a front facelock with his knee in Cobb’s back. Cobb elbowed out, then dodged a running strike in the corner. Cobb threw Okada into the corner twice then got him with an overhead belly to belly. and a running back suplex. He tried Tour of the Islands but Okada escaped, Cobb came back with a German suplex then another Tour of the Islands attempt but Okada rolled him up for 2. Okada connected with a spinning Rainmaker but Cobb was still up. They went back and forth until Okada got Cobb into a sitting cradle pin for the win.
This was a good match, Cobb is continuing to show he belongs in the G1 Climax tournament. Okada with another quick pin victory to take him to 8 points while Cobb was only on 4.
Next up was Minoru Suzuki facing off with Will Ospreay. They started off trading strikes and ended up on the outside. Ospreay attempted an Oscutter but Suzuki caught him with an armbar. He wrapped Ospreay’s arm around the barrier and kicked it, then twisted the arm around the ring post and wrenched at it. Suzuki put a lot of focus on the arm, Ospreay hit a weak chop, and Suzuki connected with a stiff chop back. He continued chopping Ospreay, then wrapped him in an octopus hold which he escaped.
Ospreay built up some steam with a handspring lariat, then a double hand chop and a standing shooting star press for 2. He tried Pip Pip Cheerio but Suzuki grabbed him into another armbar, twisting his fingers back too. Ospreay got to the rope for the break.
In an odd display, Ospreay hits Suzuki with his bad arm a few times, and Suzuki knocked him down. Eventually Ospreay realised he had a second arm and used that instead. Suzuki got in some stiff shots to Ospreay, then kicked his arm. Ospreay connected with Pip Pip Cheerio for 2. Ospreay climbed the turnbuckle but Suzuki followed him and grabbed his arm again. Ospreay headbutted him off, and tried a 450 but Suzuki rolled out of the way.
Ospreay went for Stormbreaker, but Suzuki grabbed onto his arm. They traded some hard shots, then Ospreay tried a handspring but got caught in a sleeper hold, he reversed into a suplex for 2. He missed with Hidden Blade and Suzuki kicked his bad arm. Suzuki got him with another sleeper which Ospreay escaped a kick. He tried Stormbreaker again but dropped into another sleeper, he managed to get out again and finally hit the Stormbreaker for the win. This kept Ospreay at the top end of A Block with 8 points, Suzuki was still on 6.
The semi-main event would be a battle of two of the most villainous NJPW wrestlers, Taichi and Jay White.
Taichi escaped an early Switchblade attempt to the outside, when White followed him he got choked with a cable. White then threw Taichi into the barriers several times.
White took control from here, with a neckbreaker and strikes keeping Taichi grounded.
Taichi eventually came back with side suplexes. They started calling for trading forearms but traded kicks instead. Taichi took White down with a jumping high kick and attempted a pin with the Gedo clutch, but Gedo distracted the referee. Taichi almost hit a low blow but the referee caught him. The referee was distracted again, and Taichi kicked Gedo low, stopped White hitting a low blow and kicked White low too, he tried for a pin but only got 2. Taichi followed up with a huge powerbomb to White for another 2.
They countered each others finishers, and Taichi connected with a strike to take White down, but White got back up with a Bladerunner for the win. 2 more brought White up to 8, Taichi remained on 6.
The main event was another match I had been waiting for in this G1 Climax, Shingo Takagi v Kota Ibushi.
They went back and forth to start in a nice sequence. Takagi grabbed Ibushi off the top rope when he tried to springboard and dropped him on the rope and connected with a lariat to the outside. He followed up with a DDT to Ibushi on the floor.
Takagi jumped over the ropes to drop a knee on Ibushi, then stood on his face. Takagi absorbed some shots from Ibushi then dropped him with a forearm. He attempted Noshigami, Ibushi countered, but it was futile as Takagi eventually hit it for 2. Takagi shut down Ibushi’s momentum several time through the match, but Ibushi kept coming back.
They moved into an exchange of hard chops and stiff kicks. Takagi tried Last of the Dragon, Ibushi got out and hit Boma Ye, but Takagi got away from the Kamigoye and connected with Made in Japan for 2.
After striking with a Pumping Bomber for another 2, Takagi dragged Ibushi up. Ibushi used strikes to get away from a Last of the Dragon attempt. Takagi ran at Ibushi but got taken down with a lariat. Ibushi with a Boma Ye for 2, Takagi blocked Kamigoye and hit Last of the Dragon hit for the win. Ibushi couldn’t even move away from Takagi and looked to be unconscious. I was sure Ibushi was about to win but Takagi pulled out a huge victory to get to 6 points, Ibushi was still on the top half of the block with 8.
This was a fantastic main event, and one that I recommend anyone watches if they’re looking for the top matches of this year’s G1 Climax.
Night 12 – October 8th
The last night of the week started with another intra-stable match, this one between Chaos teammates Hirooki Goto and YOSHI-HASHI.
After some back and forth, Goto got the advantage, but YOSHI-HASHI came back almost immediately, and started focusing on Goto’s taped arm. He trapped Goto in a variant of the triangle, locking up his arm and utilising his legs for more leverage but Goto was able to reach the ropes for the break..
After some more back and forth, Goto finally hit a big move with the Ushigoroshi. YOSHI-HASHI, though, seemed to be able to come back from all of Goto’s moves, and took him down again. He went back to the shoulder, then hit running double knees for 2 and followed up with the Butterfly Lock, adding a wristlock after keeping Goto locked in for some time. Goto nearly got to the ropes, so YOSHI-HASHI turned the lock into a sleeper, then tried a pin when he thought Goto was out but only got 2.
They started trading forearms, and YOSHI-HASHI got the worst of the exchange. Goto’s strikes were just more powerful, overwhelming YOSHI-HASHI. Goto finished him with a GTR for the pin.
This was an enjoyable match and showed that Goto is stable able to go in the tournament after people started raising concerns about his shoulder. YOSHI-HASHI had another good performance, delivering most of the offence in the match. Unfortunately, he remained on one win with 2 points, and Goto moved up to 6.
The second match of this night sounded like an odd one on paper with the ‘Submission Master’ Zack Sabre Jr. against the ‘Master Thief’ Toru Yano. It did get odd in practice too, as Yano decided to start off with actual wrestling holds, a side of himself you tend to forget about when watching his usual antics. After two clean breaks in the ropes, the action moved outside. This is where Yano reverted to his normal self, and taped ZSJ to a chair on the opposite side of a barrier. ZSJ eventually realised he could turn the chair sideways to get it through the bars, and got back to the ring just before the 20-count. Amusingly, he had an argument with the referee about bringing the chair into the ring, eventually the referee helped him remove it.
Yano profusely apologised, then picked ZSJ up for a fireman’s carry and belly to belly suplex.
Back on the outside, ZSJ dragged Yano as far from the ring as possible with an ankle lock, but Yano got back in before the count out. ZSJ eventually got Yano into a figure 4, Yano desperately tried to escape by hitting him with a turnbuckle pad, but in the end was forced to admit defeat and tap out. ZSJ climbed to 6 points, and Yano stayed on 6.
This was a fun match from the two, it’s always great when Yano brings out his amateur background for a change of pace, especially during a tournament when he needs to change things up a bit from his usual stuff.
The middle match of the card had KENTA squaring off with SANADA. SANADA was coming off of a technical match with ZSJ, while KENTA has preferred using kicks and bashing people’s heads in with his briefcase. The briefcase still bears the scar of being hit off Tanahashi’s head in KENTA’s previous bout.
KENTA led the offence in the match with elbows and knees, focusing on SANADA’s neck. He wasn’t able to keep SANADA on the mat for long as the Cold Skull was able get the Paradise Lock onto KENTA. He released him with double knees to his backside.
KENTA took back control and hit the Green Killer for 2, then Double stomp for 2. He tried to lock in the Game Over submission but SANADA was struggling too much so he settled for a triangle hold. As he tried to turn it into Game Over, SANADA reached the ropes.
KENTA ran at SANADA, but was met with a TKO. Once he was back up, KENTA shoved SANADA into the referee, hit a DDT to take SANADA down and went out for his briefcase. SANADA avoided being hit with it and dropkicked it into KENTA’s face. After taking a backbreaker from SANADA, KENTA was able to get his knees up when SANDA went for the Muto moonsault and pin him for 2. They traded finisher attempts, with KENTA trying a roll-up for 2, then SANADA trapped him in an O’Conner Bridge for the win. This was SANADA’s third straight win, taking him to 6 points, ZSJ remained on 6.
I liked this one, KENTA’s an excellent heel but it was good to see him getting his comeuppance for trying to use the briefcase again. SANADA continues to impress, and it looks like he’ll be getting a few more wins under his belt before the end of the block.
The semi-main event saw Juice Robinson against Tetsuya Naito. Naito took his time getting his entrance outfit off and ready to wrestle, Juice tried to act like he wasn’t bothered by relaxing in the corner but quickly looked frustrated.
After some back and forth, Naito mocked Juice by starting ‘We will rock you’ stomp and clap himself. Juice got the advantage, though, hitting a senton. Naito rolled out of the ring, so Juice followed and threw him into the barrier.
Naito started picking up the pace, taking Juice to the mat with a rana. This time Juice rolled to the outside, Naito followed and hit Juice off the apron and barricade repeatedly. When Juice made it back into the ring, he was met by stomps from Naito. Naito locked in a leg full Nelson, mocking Juice with fistpumps while he had the submission on and then when he started the attack again.
Juice started to build some momentum, and connected with Left Hand of God for 2.
After some back and forth, Juice got out of a Gloria attempt with strikes. Naito returned with strikes of his own, mocking Juice yet again. He tried a flying forearm but Juice caught him with a full Nelson bomb.
Juice was finally in control. He lifted Naito to the top, looking for the superplex, Naito tried to fight out but Juice hit it and followed with a jackhammer for 2.
Juice tried to keep up the assault, but Naito escaped from Pulp Friction and Juicebox attempts. Juice struck with Left Hand of God again, but Naito escaped the Juicebox attempt with a rana.
Naito went all out with vicious elbows to the side of Juices head. He took him to the top and hit a super-rana. Juice was able to block Destino and hit a high kick but collapsed straight after.
They went back and forth countering moves, then traded blows on the floor. Juice missed with Left Hand of God, but turned Naito inside out with a lariat for a long 2. He tried Pulp Friction but Naito came out with more elbows. Juice was able to connect with Left Hand of God again, then once more tried Pulp Friction, but Naito escaped and hit a Destino for 2. A second Destino sealed his victory and spot at the top of B Block with 10 points. Juice was left with 6.
Naito mocked Juice again on the mat, he didn’t seem to take a lot of the match seriously until he was in a bit of trouble toward the end. In fact, it looked like he was having a lot of fun. It was a good match, and one of Juice’s best in the tournament, he gave as good as he got from the champion and the crowd continued to show a lot of support for him. This could end up being his breakout year.
Main event time, and tonight’s was EVIL trying to prove himself against the ‘Ace’ Hiroshi Tanahashi.
They started off slow, but picked up the pace shortly into the match, Tanahashi was gaining a lot of momentum, but it was ended by an attack from Togo on the outside. Evil took advantage with his baseball swing using chairs. He also dropped Tanahashi’s young lion, Tsuji, with a snap suplex onto a pile of chairs. In the ring, Evil kept up the pressure with a leglock, targeting the same knee KENTA had focused on, but Tanahashi made it to the ropes..
Every time Tanahashi started to build up some stem in the first part of the match, EVIL was able to close him down, whether that be by pulling Tanahashi’s hair, or throwing him into an exposed turnbuckle.
EVIL threw Tanahashi over the top by his hair, and hit a German suplex when he returned to the ring. Tanahashi escaped from a Sharpshooter attempt, then tried a Texas cloverleaf on EVIL, but EVIL grabbed Tanahashi’s ear to force him to drop the hold.
After getting Togo with a baseball slide, Tanahashi caught EVIL with a dragon screw through the ropes and followed with an inverted dragon screw in the ring. He locked in the Texas cloverleaf, but EVIL got a rope break.
They exchanged moves again until EVIL took Tanahashi down wit a lariat for 2. Tanahashi countered Darkness Falls with a sling blade. Togo was going to interfere, but Tsuji stopped him on the outside. This let Tanahashi hit Aces High, he locked the Texas Cloverleaf back in. EVIL held the referee down, and Togo entered the ring to garotte Tanahashi. Tanahashi was able to power out and take Togo down. He hit Twist and Shout and another sling blade for 2. He went to the top for a High Fly Flow to EVILS back, then up again for another, but Togo threw a chair at him. While EVIL distracted the referee again, Togo pulled Tanahashi down, dropping him on the exposed turnbuckle. EVIL had enough time to recover, climbed up and delivered a superplex from the top for 2. Darkness Falls followed for another 2, and finally Everything is Evil for the win. EVIL finished the night on 8 points, and Tanahashi was lagging at 6.
I quite liked this match. I’ve been getting annoyed at EVIL’s heel tactics becoming formulaic, but here there some imagination used. Togo throwing the chair to distract Tanahashi rather than hit him, and EVIL holding the referee down in the ring while Togo interfered were great spots in the match. Also, it’s the first time EVIL’s won without using a low blow since he joined Bullet Club. Hopefully this is the start of some changes in his matches as the tournament goes on.
Week 3 of G1 Climax 30 delivered more great action. Ibushi and Will Ospreay tore the house down, living up to expectations, Ishii once again brought out the best in Taichi, and Takagi and Ibushi delivered a phenomenal main event on Night 11.
There were also some surprises, Goto’s record-breaking 18 second win over Yano, Cobb beating Jay White by throwing Gedo at him, and Takagi beating Ibushi being my favourites.
The final week begins today with the 13th show in the tournament. Naito is at the top on 10 points, and Yujiro Takahashi remains at the bottom with 0. However, most of the participants still have a chance to win their blocks and it’s all to play for.
We will be posting full results for G1 Climax 30 every day throughout the tournament, so make sure to check back regularly for news, results and analysis.