G 1 CLIMAX 30 – A BLOCK SEPTEMBER 27 – KAZUCHIKA OKADA vs JAY WHITE
By: Mike Murray
Welcome to POST Wrestling’s coverage of the third night of A Block matches from NJPW’s G1 Climax 30. Today’s show comes from Kobe World Hall in Hyogo, Japan on NJPW World. When the G1 shows were announced, this card stood out with several matchups that could end up being the match of the tournament – Ibushi vs Ishii; Ospreay vs Takagi in a rematch of last year’s BOSJ Finals; and White vs Okada as two of the favorites to win the whole tournament renew their rivalry. I will be joining Wai Ting for POST Wrestling’s G1 Climax Day 5 podcast later on today to talk about the show.
Mike’s Match Ratings out of 5
Gabriel Kidd vs Yota Tsuji – 2.75*
TAICHI vs Yujiro Takahashi – 2*
Jeff Cobb vs Minoru Suzuki – 3*
Kota Ibushi vs Tomohiro Ishii – 4.75*
Will Ospreay vs Shingo Takagi – 4.5*
Kazuchika Okada vs Jay White – 3*
YOUNG LIONS SHOWCASE – GABRIEL KIDD VS YOTA TSUJI
Good match to start off today’s card. The Young Lions start off with chain wrestling to try to gain an advantage. Tsuji ends up stringing together a backdrop, body slam and follows that with a splash. After the flurry of offense, Tsuji puts Kidd in a half crab but Kidd gets a rope break. The crowd was into Kidd’s comebacks and offenses. Tsuji bounces Kidd’s head off the corner padding and follows that up with a shoulder tackle. Kidd lays in some forearm strikes and Tsuji hits a vertical suplex. With Kidd in the corner, Tsuji hits him with a jumping elbow strike but Kidd comes back and hits a dropkick. Kidd grabs Tsuji and hits a butterfly suplex for the three-count.
WINNER: Gabriel Kidd – Butterfly Suplex in 7:40 minutes.
If you skip the Young Lion matches it won’t interfere in your enjoyment of the G1, but having the chance to watch Kidd, Tsuji and Yuya Uemura literally develop in front of you as they progress through their series of one on ones throughout the tournament is pretty neat. All of their matches so far have been good and their ability to have entertaining matches using only what some would say is a simplistic offense style, is pretty incredible. All three guys are solid in the ring. Kidd has his character down and I am waiting to see what Tsuji and Uemura can show over the next month in their character development.
MATCH 1 – TAICHI (2-0) VS YUJIRO TAKAHASHI (0-2)
On paper, this might be the worst matchup of the whole tournament and it is entirely skippable.
The finish comes as Yujiro sets up for Pimp Juice, TAICHI pushes him back. Yujiro comes at him and tries to kick TAICHI, who grabs his leg. TAICHI shoves the ref into the corner, kicks Yujiro between the legs, and pins Yujiro
WINNER: TAICHI – pinfall after a kick to the Yujiros in 11:05 minutes
This was not good, but to be honest no one was expecting much from it. Unlike some other wrestlers who might have to slow down their style or wrestle down to Yujiro’s level, TAICHI and Yujiro are a little closer in talent than say Okada and Yujiro. Harsh? Yes.
I am not sure what is more shocking: TAICHI being 3-0 or that he did not even use Black Memphisto as the finisher against Yujiro. Does Yujiro win a single block match?
MATCH 2- JEFF COBB (1-1) VS MINORU SUZUKI (1-1)
The crowd came to clap along to Kazi ni Nare and of all the things that have changed in pro wrestling because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the crowd not being able to sing along with Minoru Suzuki’s theme is one I really miss.
The match starts out with some good mat wrestling that culminates with Suzuki getting an ankle lock and Cobb gets the rope. Suzuki gets his upside-down armbar in the ropes and both guys end up outside where they brawl with Suzuki taking advantage and running Cobb into the barricades.
Cobb hits two gut wrench suplexes and Suzuki blocks a third with a wrist lock. Cobb hits a powerslam and follows that with a standing moonsault. The finish comes when Suzuki grabs a quick sleeper and hits the Gotch-Style Piledriver for the three-count.
WINNER: Minoru Suzuki – Gotch-Style Piledriver in 9:24 minutes.
Match started out great with the mat-based exchange but after that, it never really got going. Cobb missed with a shoulder tackle that just grazed Suzuki and a forearm shot during a striking exchange that did not come close. It did not look good. The finish really almost came out of nowhere and I would say a disappointing match that I was looking forward to. I had thought Cobb might win and set himself up for a NEVER Openweight title shot but…
MATCH 3 – KOTA IBUSHI (1-1) VS TOMOHIRO ISHII (0-2)
Coming out of the intermission, Ibushi and Ishii tried to murder each other. In singles matches, Ibushi has a 2-1 advantage over Ishii and both of the twins were in G1 block matches. This match was incredible. Ishii trying to bully Ibushi and absorbing his best shots. Ibushi eating forearms and chops from Ishii. This was a hard-hitting slugfest and is up there as one of the best matches of the tournament so far.
The final sequence was amazing. Ishii tries for a German suplex but Ibushi lands on his feet. Ibushi hits a Bomaye for a two count. He grabs Ishii by the wrists to hit a Kamigoye – but Ishii gets one arm free and hits a lariat. Still, with one wrist held, Ibushi hits a knee strike to the side of Ishii’s head. With his wrist still being held, Ishii headbutts Ibushi who then drops Ishii with a huge lariat. A jumping knee strike by Ibushi drops Ishii again. Ibushi grabs Ishii by the wrists and hits Kamigoye for the win.
WINNER: Kota Ibushi – Kamigoye in 15:41 minutes
The great chemistry between these two continues. The whole match stayed within the ropes and inside the ring. Everything built towards the crescendo of that finishing sequence. After the match, with both guys down on the mat and being treated to by the Young Lions, they still tried to hit each other. Fantastic match. Go out of your way to see this one!
MATCH 4 – WILL OSPREAY (2-0) VS SHINGO TAKAGI (0-2)
Last year in the finals of the Best of the Super Juniors, Takagi and Ospreay had what a lot of people thought was the match of the year. Ospreay came out on top and Takagi was pinned for the first time in NJPW.
In the early stages of the match, as both guys are out on the floor, Takagi hits a pop up Death Valley Driver to the floor and begins to focus his attack on Ospreay’s neck. Back inside the ring, Takagi hits a stun gun and then follows that with a spiked DDT. He cranks on Ospreay’s neck and lays in some elbow strikes as well.
Ospreay’s innovative, athletic offense was on full display especially when he had Takagi up for a Storm Breaker and as Takagi tried to escape he found himself in a tree of woe. Ospreay goes to the opposite corner, climbs to the top, and hits a corner to corner dropkick to an upside-down Takagi.
As the match is picking up, Ospreay tries for a Hidden Blade that Takagi senses and ducks right before it is delivered. Ospreay hits three different kicks to Takagi’s head and then hits a Hidden Blade. With Takagi down, Ospreay is appealing to the crowd and signals for the OsCutter. Ospreay climbs up the ropes and tries for the OsCutter but Takagi shoves him and Ospreay is crotched and sitting on the top ropes. Takagi tries for a German suplex from the second rope but he can’t get it so he goes on the apron and drives Ospreay to the mat with a lariat. Takagi grabs Ospreay in a fireman’s carry and climbs up the ropes and hits a Death Valley Driver from the second rope, that looked awesome but by the time Takagi makes a cover he only gets a one-count. Takagi hits a big running lariat that turns Ospreay inside out and picks him up and hits Last of the Dragon for the win.
WINNER: Shingo Takagi – Last of the Dragon in 22:04 minutes
Although they might not have hit that same high note as the BSOJ Finals match again, today’s match was still excellent. With the win by Takagi, we should be seeing a rematch later this year for Ospreay’s RevPro British Heavyweight Championship.
MATCH 5- KAZUCHIKA OKADA (1-1) VS JAY WHITE (2-0)
Jay White holds a 2-1 record over Okada including a win in their only previous G1 block match. Okada’s win was for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in Madison Square Garden back in 2019 where he defeated White in White’s only defense.
White spent a lot of time mocking Okada, mocking the crowd, and stalling getting into the ring. White focused his offense on Okada’s back – running him back first into the barricades, hitting a backbreaker, knees and forearm strikes to Okada’s back. But it just seemed flat. Okada tried for an Air Raid Crash but could not get White up, but later on, in the match, he did hit it.
The closing sequence of the match saw Gedo come into the ring, Okada hits a shotgun dropkick that drives Gedo into the corner. Okada grabs White and applies a Cobra Clutch but White sticks a thumb in Okada’s eye and escapes. Okada hits a clothesline and reapplies the Cobra Clutch and Red Shoes is somehow distracted, and as Red Shoes turns away, White low blows Okada. White picks up Okada and sets up for Blade Runner but Okada escapes and applies another Cobra Clutch. White gets out, hits a snap sleeper suplex and gets Okada up again, and hit Blade Runner for the win.
WINNER: Jay White – Blade Runner in 18:50
Whether it is because of NJPW requesting crowds not to cheer or boo because of the ongoing pandemic OR that audiences are just tired of the Bullet Club schtick of constant interference from Gedo in White’s matches or Dick Togo interfering during EVIL’s matches in the B block, there is very little heat being generated by these heels. Thankfully there was not a ref bump with Red Shoes. This match was pretty dull and felt really flat after Takagi vs Ospreay and Ibushi vs Ishii.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Although this was not the strongest card, there were two must-see matches. Ishii is looking like the early MVP of A block.