G 1 CLIMAX 30 – A BLOCK OCTOBER 7 – SHINGO TAKAGI VS KOTA IBUSHI, WILL OSPREAY VS MINORU SUZUKI
By: Mike Murray
NJPW is back for the second of back to back shows in Hiroshima at the Sun Plaza Hall. The G1 is in the back 9 as we have passed the halfway point and are right in the middle of the most grueling part of the tour, the third day of four straight.
Mike’s Match Ratings out of 5
Gabriel Kidd vs Yota Tsuji – 3.25*
Tomohiro Ishii vs Yujiro Takahashi – 3*
Kazuchika OKada vs Jeff Cobb – 3.25*
Will Ospreay vs Minoru Suzuki – 4*
Jay White vs TAICHI – 3*
Shingo Takagi vs Kota Ibushi – 4.5*
YOUNG LIONS SHOWCASE – GABRIEL KIDD VS YOTA TSUJI
Kidd gets right in Tsuji’s face and we get a forearm exchange to start out. A European uppercut by Kidd rocks Tsuji. Tsuji hits Kidd with a dropkick coming out of the corner. Kidd hits a scoop slam and a suplex on Tsuji. Kidd tries for his butterfly suplex but can’t get Tsuji over. Tsuji hits a powerslam and a spear for a two count. He tries to apply a Boston Crab on Kidd who crawls closer to the ropes but before Kidd can reach for a rope break, Tsuji drags Kidd back into the center of the ring and really sits down into the Boston Crab and Kidd taps out immediately.
WINNER: Yota Tsuji – Boston Crab in 6:43 minutes.
Another good Young Lion match to start off the card. Tsuji is really starting to expand his repertoire of offensive maneuvers. Each of the Young Lions has a defined role in their matches with Kidd being the most aggressive, Uemura the most technical, and Tsuji the power guy. I am really enjoying watching this series of matches with the three of them throughout the G1 tournament.
MATCH 1 – TOMOHIRO ISHII (2-3) VS YUJIRO TAKAHAHSHI (0-5)
Yujiro hits a lariat before the bell rings and maintains the advantage through the early stages of the match. Outside the ring, Yujro tries for a Pimp Juice that Ishii avoids but Yujiro is able to get a reverse DDT on the floor. He throws Ishii back in the ring and the audience applauds. Yujiro is all over Ishii in the first few minutes and is focusing his offense on Ishii’s head and neck, all of that is somewhat negated as Ishii uses a fair number of headbutts in the match.
Ishii finally gets some offense as he hits a suplex and when he tries to follow it up with a powerbomb, Yujiro bites his thumb. Refusing to release the thumb from his mouth, Yujiro eventually eats a forearm from Ishii.
Yujiro gets in more offense than probably any of his matches so far in the G1 as he hits an Olympic Slam and a Miami Shine, each for a two count.
The finishing sequence sees Ishii tighten up his arm support and hit a big lariat. Ishii tries for a Brainbuster but Yujiro turns it into a small package for a two count. Yujiro gets a backslide and tries for another Pimp Juice attempt but Ishii hits a lunging headbutt. A sliding lariat by Ishii gets a two count. Ishii picks Yujiro up and hits the Brainbuster for the three-count.
WINNER: Tomohiro Ishii – Brainbuster in 15:27 minutes
Although Yujiro was on the offensive for a lot of the match, his slow, plodding pace is not engaging. Yesterday’s card saw YOSHI-HASHI attempt to up his game in a match against Tetsuya Naito and make the most of his opportunity against the double champ in a semi-main event. Yujiro has not really answered the bell in matches against some of the best workers in the world.
I loved how Ishii no-sold Yujiro’s attacks until he would knock Yujiro down and then show the effects only while his opponent was down.
MATCH 2 – KAZUCHIKA OKADA (3-2) VS JEFF COBB (2-3)
The audience is clapping to O-KA-DA as the match begins. Cobb has the early advantage with his power as Okada tries for a shoulder block and bounces off Cobb onto the mat. Cobb hits a delayed vertical suplex and Okada rolls out of the ring for a breather.
As usual, Okada’s offense is focused on his opponent’s neck as he hits elbow strikes to the back of Cobb’s neck, a couple of neck breakers, and a DDT. Later on, Okada hit a dropkick and followed up with a tombstone piledriver and applied the Money Clip but did not get a submission.
Cobb gets to show some more of his power as he has Okada up in a gut wrench but twirls his around a few times. He pops Okada to his shoulders and it looks like he is going to hit a powerbomb, but instead, he lowers Okada and delivers an Athletic-Plex and gets a near fall. Cobb hits a standing moonsault and gets a two count.
The finish comes when Cobb hits a dropkick to Okada and does a Rainmaker pose of his own. Cobb grabs Okada’s wrist and ripcords him into a Tour of the Islands that Okada escapes from. Okada misses with a lariat but Cobb grabs him and hits a German suplex. Cobb shoots Okada into the ropes looking for Tour of the Islands but Okada hits him in the face with a boot. Thrust kick by Cobb and both guys are down on the mat. Cobb is up, grabs Okada but misses with a lariat. Okada hits a lariat that Cobb shrugs off. Cobb throws a lariat that Okada blocks. Okada tangles Cobb’s arms, lifts him, and backdrops him. Okada sits down on Cobb and pins his shoulders with his knees and hooks the leg for the three-count.
WINNER: Kazuchika Okada – leg hook pin in 11:04 minutes
Two days ago in the match against Suzuki, the leg hook pin seemed like a fluke win. Today it was a planned outmaneuver by Okada. A definite change in direction as Okada appears to be possibly moving away from the Money Clip as he only went for it once in today’s match.
MATCH 3 – WILL OSPREAY (3-2) VS MINORU SUZUKI (3-2)
A flurry of forearms to begin the match and Ospreay hits a dropkick that sense Suzuki outside the ring. Ospreay hits a plancha and they brawl outside. Ospreay tries for a flying forearm off of the barricade but Suzuki catches it and gets an armbar. The veteran than focuses on Ospreay’s right arm wrapping it around the barricade and kicking the barricade. Suzuki continues his attack and wraps Ospreay’s arm around the ring post. Back in the ring, Suzuki continues to work on Ospreay’s arm until Ospreay can reach the ropes with his feet.
For some reason, Ospreay tries to use his injured right arm to hit Suzuki with forearms. Suzuki answers back with slaps to Ospreay’s chest that drops him. After a few times, Ospreay’s chest is bleeding. Ospreay tries for another flying forearm from the top rope but Suzuki catches him again and continues the assault on the right arm. Suzuki tells Osprey to hit him, Ospreay uses the right arm and it has no effect. Finally, Ospreay switches to his left arm and stuns Suzuki with a forearm. Suzuki fires back with a series of forearm strikes that drop Ospreay.
The finish comes with Suzuki having a sleeper hold locked on and Ospreay is fading. Suzuki tries to transition to the Gotch-Style Piledriver but Ospreay hits him with an enzuigiri. Ospreay gets Suzuki up for Stormbreaker but Suzuki escapes out the back and gets another sleeper. Ospreay quickly gets Suzuki up again for Stormbreaker and hits it and gets the three count.
WINNER: Will Ospreay – Stormbreaker in 14:33 minutes
This was a very good match and Suzuki’s focused attack on Ospreay’s arm was fantastic but even my youngest daughter ( staying home from school with a stuffed nose ) was yelling at the TV for Ospreay to use his other arm.
MATCH 4 – JAY WHITE (3-2) VS TAICHI (3-2)
White gets a chair and sits down to enjoy TAICHI’s “singing” and TAICHI comes over to him and stands right in front of White and finishes his song and White gives him a round of applause.
In a match with two heels, each guy tries to out-heel the other. There was some fun stuff in this match. There was a good sequence where each guy dared the other to hit them and offered up their neck, only for their opponent to hit them somewhere else. Far from a serious story being told here. The crowd was behind TAICHI and clapped whenever he got the upper hand.
WINNER: Jay White – Bladerunner in 15:18 minutes
People will either see this match as stupid or entertaining, I side mostly with the latter but it could have been a touch shorter as the middle of the match lost some focus.
MATCH 5 – KOTA IBUSHI (4-1) VS SHINGO TAKAGI (2-3)
The match starts out with both looking for an advantage and for almost the first five minutes, we get two wrestlers feeling each other out with neither really getting an upper hand for more than a few moves. Just before the five-minute announcement, Ibushi goes for a springboard attack from the apron that Takagi catches into a fireman’s carry. Takagi drops Ibushi on the top rope and hits a stun gun. He follows that up with a lariat and Ibushi goes over the top rope to the floor. Takagi drives Ibushi into the barricade and the ring apron and hits a DDT to the floor. Takagi drives his foot into Ibushi’s face back inside the ring and continues his attack on Ibushi’s neck. He hits a suplex and really cranks on a chin lock until Ibushi gets to the ropes for a break.
Takagi kicks at Ibushi’s face and Ibushi tells him to bring it and Takagi does, dropping Ibushi
There was a lot of back and forth and some really heavy strikes in this match. Hard-hitting kicks by Ibushi and everything Takagi does looks like it hurts. About 20 minutes into the match, Takagi hits a Made in Japan for a two count and then a Pumping Bomber for another near fall
The finish sequence was great. Takagi gets Ibushi up for Last of the Dragon but Ibushi fights out of it with some big elbows. Takagi hits him with a huge lariat. Then another and another. Abut fires back with a lariat of his own and he turns down his knee pad. Ibushi hits a Bomaye for a two count. Ibushi grabs Takagi’s wrists and looks to hit Kamigoye but Takagi catches the knee and stand-up and hits Last of the Dragon for the three-count.
WINNER: Shingo Takagi – Last of the Dragon in 22 minutes.
This was an excellent match. Ibushi has really changed up his style and sticks to an almost completely strike based style now. It suits him because his kicks look awesome, but I miss some of those crazy moonsaults we have seen over the years. This year though, with the wrestlers being ordered due to the pandemic, to stay inside the barricades and not being allowed to go out into the audience, we won’t be seeing any of those moonsaults anytime soon. Takagi gets a big win over last year’s G1 winner.
After a lackluster main event performance a few days ago by Ospreay and Ibushi, both guys bounce back and have great matches today. With his sixth straight loss, Yujiro is officially eliminated. After that though, everyone is still in the running except maybe Jeff Cobb.
A BLOCK STANDINGS