By: Mark Buckeldee
Welcome to POST Wrestling’s report on G1 Climax 30 day 10. Today’s show is the westernmost show of the tour, coming from Hiroshima Sun Plaza in Hiroshima. The crowd was one of the liveliest on the tour so far.
At intermission New Japan officially announced that the World Tag League and Best of the Super Juniors tournaments will both be running on the November-December tour. The tour will contain 7 World Tag League shows and 7 Best of the Super Juniors shows, with the finals for both happening on the last day of the tour. This structure suggests that both tournaments will probably consist of 2 blocks of 8. The BOSJ will be the most interesting due to the relatively shallow Jr division so I would expect some outside talent on those shows.
The start of these Block B reviews will feature a short, spoiler-free summary for each match highlighting any matches that I recommend, highly recommend, or anything that is must-see. This should help give you, the reader, an idea for what is worth your time without spoiling any surprises for you.
- Yuya Uemura vs Yota Tsuji – The crowd got behind this battle of Uemura’s technique vs Tsuji’s power. Lots of fire from both in a good match. – RECOMMENDED
- B Block – Hirooki Goto vs Toru Yano – Short, sweet, and logical.
- B Block – Zack Sabre Jr vs SANADA – A great match between 2 wrestlers trying to outthink each other with an interesting finish. – RECOMMENDED
- B Block – Juice Robinson vs EVIL – A good heel vs face match based around EVIL attacking the back. Decent but nothing special.
- B Block – YOSHI-HASHI vs Tetsuya Naito – YOSHI-HASHI looked credible, if slightly unbelievable, in an exceedingly long but exciting affair that had the crowd gasping out loud. – RECOMMENDED
- B Block – Hiroshi Tanahashi vs KENTA – KENTA and Tanahashi both targeted the legs in a long but enjoyably dramatic heel vs face match. – RECOMMENDED
Yuya Uemura vs Yota Tsuji
Tsuji came into this match leading the Young Lions block. This one with exchanges of basic holds. Uemura attempted Tiger Mask’s Tiger Spin, although it lacked fluidity and panache, before controlling the match with a great headlock control sequence. The crowd got behind Tsuji, who gained control with a scoop slam before they started throwing chops and forearms. The match slowly built with some big slams and a near fall from a Tsuji running splash. Uemura fired up and eventually applied the Boston Crab but Tsuji grabbed the ropes. Uemura tried to hit the arm trapped belly to belly suplex but Tsuji blocked it, hit the spear, and applied his own Boston Crab. Uemura escaped and both wrestlers exchanged gnarly slaps as the time ticked away. Uemura tried to steal the match in the dying seconds with a small package but the time ran out.
Yuya Uemura vs Yota Tsuji went to a time limit draw (15:00)
This was the second time limit draw on the tour. Like their earlier matches, Tsuji had a clear power advantage at points in this match, but Uemura has now been established as having better technique which gave him an advantage. I liked how Uemura has made the headlock such a big part of his matches. Both wrestlers showed a lot of fire here, especially in the big strike exchange at the end of the match. It was not the most creative Young Lions match, but the simple story and passionate performances had the crowd was invested. One of the better Young Lions matches so far.
B Block – Hirooki Goto vs Toru Yano
Yano repeated his opening tactics from his last match, offering Goto a T-Shirt. Goto proceeded to attack Yano from behind and applied the Goto-Shiki cradle for a very quick win. Yes, that was the whole match.
Hirooki Goto pinned Toru Yano (00:18)
Although it was ridiculously quick, the match made Goto look smart as he seized an opportunity to win the match early. Yano learned that sometimes even master thieves get robbed
This was the 2nd consecutive Goto match under 5 minutes and it played into the tournament long story of Goto trying to overcome the arm injury that has limited his offensive capabilities.
B Block – Zack Sabre Jr vs SANADA
There was another fast start here with lots of quick pin exchanges which ended with an awfully close near fall. The pace slowed down with both wrestlers trading hold and looking for opportunities. SANADA tried to use his speed and agility to get the edge but Sabre Jr grounded him with a head scissors. Sabre brought the strikes and, although SANADA initially got the upper hand, a Plancha was countered into a Manjigatame by Sabre jr. SANADA briefly targeted Sabre Jr’s taped right knee while Sabre Jr aimed for the left arm. Sabre Jr constantly had an answer to every move that SANADA made. There was a sequence of European clutch reversals that referenced their previous matches. The finish centered around the Skull End, with Sabre Jr applying a version of his own. SANADA escaped into a reverse chancery and hit Sabre Jr with a Cutter while Sabre Jr’s feet were balanced on the top rope. This was a modified version of Nigel McGuinness’ Tower of London. This gave SANADA the opportunity to hit a Moonsault for the win.
SANADA pinned Zack Sabre Jr (14:31)
A really good match with an enjoyable story of familiarity and trying to outthink your opponent. Like the previous matches between these 2, SANADA was portrayed as being at a similar level to Sabre Jr in terms of technique. This was a very technical hold-based match where the pace and style felt different to most of the matches on this tour, aside from Sabre Jr vs Naito. They constantly tried to predict each other’s next move, which is why I loved the finish. SANADA won because he had never used the Tower of London before today. This was one of their better matches against each other, a great little match that felt like a breath of fresh air compared to much of the tournament. To me, this was SANADA’s best match of the G1 so far. The Tower of London is a good addition to SANADA’s arsenal as the set up for the Moonsault.
B Block – Juice Robinson vs EVIL
Robinson got jumped by EVIL after removing his shirt, only for Robinson to hit a running crossbody and get the crowd behind him. Not long after that he was attacked on the outside with a suplex onto a pile of chairs and whipped into an exposed turnbuckle. EVIL dominated by targeting the back, using dubious tactics to cut off Robinson’s hope spots. Robinson got back into it with a sidekick, nailing a Spinebuster on EVIL and a Plancha on Dick Togo. Robinson got a near fall with a flying crossbody, but his back was clearly hurting which allowed EVIL to get back into the match. Robinson used the Superplex-Jackhammer combination but the damage to his back prevented him from making an immediate cover.
A chair shot to the back from Dick Togo saw the match swing back in EVIL’s favor. After a series of counters, Robinson hit a big Lariat and the Prince’s Throne for another near fall. Eventually EVIL hit a low blow behind the referees back and the EVIL to steal the win. The crowd was immediately flattened and utterly silent as soon EVIL won the match.
EVIL pinned Juice Robinson (15:35)
This was a good heel vs face match that was really helped thanks to the Hiroshima crowd, probably the hottest crowd since the opening weekend. They were firmly behind Robinson and the match would have been much poorer without it. The match itself was decent, with great selling by Juice but some spotty execution and the usual EVIL tactics that have left many people cold. EVIL has not changed anyone’s opinions in this G1. Robinson has added some good new elements and knows how to work a crowd but his in-ring work has a ceiling unless he is in there with the right opponent.
B Block – YOSHI-HASHI vs Tetsuya Naito
The match started with an exchange of grappling before YOAHI-HASHI sent Naito to the outside with a head scissors. Naito quickly goes control with flashes of signature offense, although it was often scrappy. Naito dominated with stomps and neck submissions before YOSHI-HASHI countered a swinging DDT into a neck breaker. YOSHI-HASHI hit a flip dive over the top rope, which you rarely see from him. A top rope Headhunter got a 2 count, and it was clear that YOSHI-HASHI was putting in a lot of effort against the double Champion.
Naito countered a Liger Bomb with a head scissors, followed with the Combination Cabron but he felt the effects of YOSHI-HASHI’s earlier offense. A top rope Frankensteiner by Naito was countered into the Liger Bomb but soon after Naito finally hit the Swinging DDT. Naito was back on top using his big moves, landing the Gloria but the 1st Destino attempt was blocked and a 2nd was countered with a clothesline. There was a dueling forearm exchange that Naito won but YOSHI-HASHI hit a shoulder-breaker and applied the Butterfly lock. YOSHI-HASHI stopped Naito from getting the ropes by using a back-cracker and then reapplied the Butterfly lock. The crowd urged Naito to escape, which he eventually did to the crowd’s audible relief. After Naito regained control with his new arm thrust elbows YOSHI-HASHI fired up with an energetic run of offense. The crowd gasped when Naito kicked out a Lariat and was very audible from then on. This had some good counters and a YOSHI-HASHI Brainbuster had me thinking that was it. YOSHI-HASHI would kick out of the Valentina but he fell to the Destino after a strong showing.
Tetsuya Naito pinned YOSHI-HASHI (24:43)
This was the longest semi-main event of the G1 Climax so far and the crowd loved this one. YOSHI-HASHI looked great by his own standards. The execution was often scrappy or sloppy, there were moments of miscommunication and he technically hit the Shoulderbreaker on the wrong arm. Despite those flaws, when he has a good performance YOSHI-HASHI clicks for me. I find myself getting behind him like an unseeded tennis player in the US Open or a low-level team in the FA Cup. I know that I am in the minority with YOSHI-HASHI and I will admit that he probably should not have looked that competent against Naito, even if he was put away quite easily at the end.
For all the execution issues YOSHI-HASHI knows how to structure the Butterfly Lock sequences to get the most out of it. One of the questions about Naito going into the tournament was how much effort he would put in against lower-level opponents. He did a great job of making YOSHI-HASHI look good and it was often a thrilling match, although it should have been shorter. In summary, this was a good Naito style match and one of YOSHI-HASHI’s best matches, even if his flaws were still noticeable.
B Block – Hiroshi Tanahashi vs KENTA
KENTA bailed at the start but Tanahashi took him out with a baseball slide dropkick. KENTA draped Tanahashi’s neck over the ropes and targeted the Ace’s left knee with a chop block and stomps. KENTA mocked his opponent by playing an “airbase”, then repeatedly rammed the knee into the ring post. KENTA was vicious as he targeted the leg with kicks and a Figure Four leglock, although the latter was applied to the wrong leg. Tanahashi got a brief run of control after a Dragon Screw on KENTA but was soon caught with a powerslam. KENTA used his signature offense before going back to the Figure Four leglock. A Green killer attempt ended up with a series of forearms on the apron and a slightly lethargic Dragon Screw to the outside by KENTA.
Tanahashi fell victim to a hesitation dropkick and a top rope Double Stomp. KENTA cleverly blocks a Dragon Suplex with a kick to the knee and another Figure Four leglock. The Ace caught KENTA with a slap, so KENTA broke the hold and grumpily hit Tanahashi with mounted forearms. There was a series of big dueling forearms with some wicked slaps and back fists. Tanahashi seized an opportunity and hits multiple Dragon Screws, but he struggled to maintain a Texas Cloverhold as his left leg could not handle the pressure. Tanahashi hit his own corner dropkick and sadly we get a ref bump that this match did not need. This was an excuse for KENTA to hit a briefcase shot. Yet again in this tournament, it was not used as a near fall. Instead, it enabled KENTA to hit a Penalty Kick and a Busaiku Knee kick. KENTA hits a nasty knee strike but the Go to Sleep was countered by 3 Twist and Shouts. Tanahashi struggled to stand up but he still managed to hit the High Fly Flow before using the Texas Cloverhold. This time he managed to keep on his feet long enough to force KENTA to tap out.
Hiroshi Tanahashi submitted KENTA (23:41)
This match was fought at a deliberate pace, which suits both KENTA and Tanahashi’s physical condition. While it was a little too long it had a great story with the leg work, built to a great dramatic match, and hid KENTA’s limitations. Tanahashi’s leg selling was sometimes spotty but the Texas Cloverhold which failed because his knee kept buckling was excellent. You could be picky and complain about KENTA using the Figure Four on the wrong leg but then again, submissions were never the priority in Pro Wrestling NOAH. My main problem with the match was the ref bump and briefcase shot. As the crowd cannot boo it does not really add extra heat and it slows down the match. A kick to the knee would have worked much better. Despite that, this was a fitting main event, although it was quite different from most of the main events that we have seen in G1 Climax 30.
This was the longest show of the tour so far due to the last 2 matches both going over 20 minutes and Tanahashi’s 1st post main event celebration in G1 Climax 30. It was also my favorite B block show since day 2. The crowd was hot throughout the show with Sabre Jr vs SANADA and Yano vs Goto providing memorable variety. EVIL vs Robinson was one of the better EVIL matches due to the crowd’s support for Robinson and the two main events were both great in their own way, even if they both had their flaws and went a bit too long. While this show may not be for everyone, if you are cherry-picking your B block shows then this is one to consider watching.