G1 CLIMAX 30 – A BLOCK DAY 1
By: Mike Murray
Welcome to the first of POST Wrestling’s G1 Climax 30 reports. I will be covering the A Block match reports and Mark Buckeldee @Monkey_Buckles will be writing reports for the B Block matches. John and Wai will have shows coming out each day after every G1 Climax show for POST Wrestling Café members. The Day 1 podcast is available this afternoon for Café members and for everyone later tonight. This is the perfect time of year to sign up for their Patreon and become a Post Café member to listen to every one of their reviews of every G1 show, as well as access to all their shows in the archive going back to 2017 and supports the POST Wrestling site. Café access is $6 (U.S.) per month.
Day 1 of this year’s G1 comes to us from the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium in Osaka, Japan. I would say, by looking at the crowd in the building, it looks like it is at around 75 to 80% capacity – New Japan announced a figure of 2,401. There looked to be quite a lot of people in the audience and the crowd was much less spaced out than it was at Summer Struggle – the outdoor stadium show – from last month.
Mike’s Match Ratings
Yota Tsuji vs Yuya Uemura – 3*
Yujiro Takahashi vs Will Ospreay – 2.75*
Jeff Cobb vs TAICHI – 3.25*
Tomohiro Ishii vs Minoru Suzuki – 4*
Jay White vs Shingo Takagi – 3.25*
Kota Ibushi vs Kazuchika Okada – 4*
YOUNG LIONS SHOWCASE – YOTA TSUJI VS YUYA UEMURA
This was a pretty strong Young Lion match to get the crowd into things. The final sequence with Uemura trying to lock in a Boston Crab and Tsuji struggling to get out was very good.
WINNER – Yuya Uemura in 6:57 minutes
MATCH 1- YUJIRO TAKAHASHI VS WILL OSPREAY
Ospreay comes out to a pretty big round of applause. He was a fancy new rig entrance jacket with a huge fur, and maybe feathers, shoulder pad on it. He is wearing the Rev Pro British Heavyweight Championship.
If you were hoping that this first match back in NJPW for Osprey would be his triumphant return, you are going to be disappointed. With Yujiro as his opponent, you could say Ospreay was grounded.
Through the match, Ospreay played to the crowd – a lot. Really this is a skippable match. Yujiro did not bring a lot to this match, and Ospreay did not have to pull all of his tricks out of the bag.
The finish came when Ospreay hit Stormbreaker for a three count.
WINNER – Will Ospreay in 7:44 minutes
Ospreay stayed in the ring after the match and was given a mic. He said that he was home. That he is the best wrestler in the world and that this G1 about being the one and you are looking at him.
MATCH 2 – JEFF COBB VS TAICHI
Cobb tries for a single leg and TAICHI gets to the ropes. TAICHI offers a handshake and as Cobb accepts, TAICHI tries to kick Cobb but Cobb blocks it. Cobb chops at TAICHI. TAICHI goes to the floor and Cobb eventually follows. TAICHI grabs the timekeeper’s hammer and hits Cobb in the knee with it. TAICHI wraps Cobb’s knee around the barricade. Back inside the ring, TAICHI continues to work on the knee.
Cobb ends up getting the advantage and throws TAICHI around the ring. TAICHI hits a big head kick that drops Cobb.
TAICHI rips his pants off, goes for a big kick but Cobb catches it and suplexes him.
TAICHI tries for Black Memphisto but can’t get it. Cobb hits a series of rolling gut wrench suplexes. Cobb hits a Tour of the Island and a standing moonsault for a two count.
The finish comes as TACHI gets Cobb up and hits Black Memphisto for the three-count.
WINNER – TAICHI in 12:47 minutes
MATCH 3 – TOMOHIRO ISHII VS MINORU SUZUKI
Suzuki is not wearing his NEVER Openweight Championship belt. The match starts with both guys slapping each other in the face and right away trying for their finishers: Suzuki with the Gotch Style Piledriver and Ishii with the Brainbuster. Suzuki ties up Ishii in the ropes and applies an armbar, draping backward over the ropes. Both guys head outside the ring and Suzuki wraps Ishii’s arm around the barricade.
Back inside the ring, Ishii hits a side suplex and stares down into Suzuki’s face, berates him, and slaps him. Both guys are up in the middle of the ring and there is a huge forearm exchange that Suzuki gets the better of. Suzuki delivers three PKs to a sitting Ishii. This leads to a headbutt exchange, on their knees, which transitions to another forearm exchange. They stand up and still laying in the forearms, then the slaps and palm strikes.
Ishii lifts Suzuki over his back and hits an Ishii Driller – which is a vertical suplex into a piledriver behind Ishii. Suzuki was dropped practically on his head. Ishii follows that up with a sliding lariat but only gets a two count. Ishii tries for a Brainbuster but it is turned into an armbar by Suzuki and both guys are down.
Suzuki tries for a Gotch Style Piledriver, but Ishii counters it with a backdrop. Ishii tries for another Brainbuster, but Suzuki escapes and transitions into another Gotch Style Piledriver that this time he hits for the win.
WINNER – Minoru Suzuki in 13:00 minutes
Very good match. Ishii ate a lot of shots, took a ton of punishment from Suzuki but kept firing up and had great comebacks. Both guys beat the snot out of each other. After the match, Ishii stumbled and staggered his way to the back, selling the beatdown he took.
MATCH 4 – JAY WHITE VS SHINGO TAKAGI
Jay White is back in NJPW for the first time, and Gedo is with him. Red Shoes is your referee.
White focused his offense on Shingo’s back throughout the match. Driving Shingo’s back three times into the barricade. White dropped Shingo back first on the apron and stomped on his back as Shingo slid back into the ring. This was followed by a chin lock in the ropes, wrenching on Shingo’s back. White then drove his knee into Shingo’s back as Shingo was sitting in the middle of the ring.
Shingo hits a clothesline on White and White goes over the top rope onto the floor. Shingo follows and delivers a series of punches and chops, just pummelling White on the outside of the ring. Sing runs White into the barricade. Drops him on his face on the apron and follows that up with a DDT to the mats on the outside of the ring. Back in the ring, Shingo hits a vertical suplex. Shingo modifies his cover attempt as he sells the damage to his back, by driving his elbow into White’s chest and holding his own lower back.
White hits a DDT of his own, then a Brainbuster but only gets a two count. Shingo hits a wheelbarrow German suplex. Then drops a series of elbow strikes onto a sitting White. White hits a Rock Bottom for a two count. Shingo tries for Made in Japan but White blocks it and Shingo hits Sol De Japon instead. White escapes another Made in Japan attempt and eats a huge back elbow instead.
Gedo gets up on the apron, distracting Shingo. White gets a rollup and puts his feet up on the second rope, but only gets a two count. White hits a half and half suplex and follows that with a Kiwi Krusher for a two count. White sets up for a Bladerunner, Shingo tries to fight out, White pounds him with elbows but Shingo still escapes and hits Made in Japan for a two count. Shingo gets White up for a Last of the Dragon but White grabs onto Red Shoes and escapes. Gedo comes in, eats some shots from Shingo, and drops his brass knuckles. White tries for a Bladerunner but Shingo escapes and hits a Pumping Bomber on White. The crowd is clapping and there seems to be some sort of chant from the audience. Shingo gets White up and hits Last of the Dragon, but Red Shoes gets hit in the process. With Red Shoes out on the floor, White gets up and low blows Shingo. White hits a half nelson – fisherman suplex and follows that with Bladerunner for the win.
WINNER – Jay White in 19:31 minutes
This was a good match, but it got overbooked by the end and that hurt it. Referee bumps, interference, low blows… Hopefully, the remaining 8 matches that Jay White has coming up do not all follow this same pattern. Maybe pick one of those. Between the ropes, White can be part of a very good match and doesn’t need all these shenanigans, all the time. Hopefully, we also do not see ref bumps with Red Shoes every night during the G1.
MATCH 5 – KOTA IBUSHI VS KAZUCHIKA OKADA
Okada leads the crowd clapping as he walks to the ring and as he enters the ring, he continues to lead the crowd in clapping and stomps. Okada and Ibushi start out chain wrestling until Ibushi hits a hurricanrana on Okada and Okada went to the floor. Ibushi follows Okada out of the ring but Okada drives him into the barricade. Okada then hits a DDT on Ibushi on the floor mats. Back in the ring, Okada hits a dropkick to a sitting Ibushi. Okayed dares Ibushi to hit him and Ibushi obliges with three strikes. Okada hits a neck breaker. The crowd is stomping.
As the match hits the ten-minute marking, the pace quickens. Okada applies a Cobra Clutch and Ibushi knees him in the chest to escape. Okada hits an Air Raid Crash Neckbreaker. Okada follows that with a Side Russian Leg-Sweep and keeps wrist control as he applies another Cobra Clutch. Ibushi gets a rope break but Okada keeps the hold for a count of four. Ibushi rolls out of the ring for a breather and Okada follows. Okada tries for a tombstone piledriver to the floor but Ibushi escapes and hits an Asahi Moonsault from the second rope to Okada .
Back in the ring, Ibushi puts Okada up on the top rope and he climbs and attacks him, Okada grabs him and looks to hit a tombstone piledriver from the second rope, but Ibushi escapes. Ibushi leaps to the top rope, barely keeping his balance Ibushi somehow manages to hit a hurricanrana to Okada who is still sitting on the top rope. This was some pretty incredible athletic ability on display from Ibushi as he somehow saved this spot!
Ibushi tries for a Bastard Driver but Okada transitions it into a tombstone and both guys are down. On their knees, there is a forearm exchange. Both guys to their feet, the forearm exchange continues until Ibushi just drops Okada with a huge shot! Ibushi kicks a kneeling Okada in the head and tries for a Bomaye that Okada catches and turns into a spinning tombstone. Okada applies another Cobra Clutch and Ibushi powers out of that. Okada gets another Cobra Clutch and Ibushi gets out again. Okada tries a shotgun dropkick but misses. Okada tries for a Rainmaker but eats a head kick from Ibushi. Ibushi follows up with a jumping knee strike. He sets up for a Kamigoye but Okada blocks it and hits a dropkick. After another dropkick from Okada, he tries for his own Kamigoye but Ibushi turns that into a powerbomb and then hits a Bom A Ye. Ibushi grabs Okada’s wrists and hits Kamigoye for the win.
WINNER – Kota Ibushi in 21:36 minutes
Very good match. Started out pretty methodical, but once the ten-minute mark hit, the pace really picked up. Okada’s use of the Cobra Clutch in his matches is still at a really high level, so your mileage may vary.
So Day 1 is in the books. Easy show to watch as NJPW has decided to just hold the G1 matches on these shows and forgo the opposite block tag matches in an attempt to keep the blocks apart and avoid a possible COVID outbreak. Not sure how having the same referees and Young Lions on all the cards helps with those efforts though.
What was your favorite match? How did you do with your picks? Let us know what you thought of Day 1 in the comments below. And make sure you come back tomorrow for Mark Buckeldee’s report of Day 1 of the B Block.