G1 CLIMAX 30 – A BLOCK OCTOBER 10 – SHINGO TAKAGI VS KAZUCHIKA OKADA
By: Mike Murray
First, I want to wish a happy Thanksgiving to all the Canadian POST Wrestling readers and I hope everyone has a safe celebration this weekend. These are certainly strange times but if we stop and think, I am sure that there are things that we are thankful for.
NJPW returns to Osaka and today’s show from the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium, which was also the site of the first two days of the tour. The G1 is in the final stretch as each block has only three shows left. Today’s card looks stacked.
Mike’s Match Ratings out of 5
Yuya Uemura vs Yota Tsuji – 3.75 *
Jeff Cobb vs Tomohiro Ishii – 4.25*
Jay White vs Yujiro Takahashi – 2.5*
Will Ospreay vs TAICHI – 3.5*
Minoru Suzuki vs Kota Ibushi – 4.5*
Shingo Takagi vs Kazuchika Okada – 4.25*
YOUNG LION SHOWCASE – YUYA UEMURA VS YOTA TSUJI
Uemura focused his attack on Tsuji’s left arm and besides a sloppy looking hip toss, this was very good. Uemura used a short arm scissors a couple of times and a series of European uppercuts to Tsuji’s arm as well. A lot of different arm holds and other various attacks by Uemura all on Tsuji’s left arm. All that focus on the arm came into play as when Tsuji did get the upper hand and tried for a Boston Crab he was unable to get Uemura to submit and actually had to switch the hold and try to hook both of Uemura’s legs in his right arm but Uemura got a rope break.
Uemura gets a double overhook and hits a belly to belly overhead suplex into a bridge for the three count.
WINNER: Yuya Uemura – double overhook, belly to belly overhead suplex in 9:05 minutes
Very good match. Uemura’s focused attack on Tsuji’s arm was fantastic and he got to show a number of holds in his arsenal.
MATCH 1 – JEFF COBB (2-4) VS TOMOHIRO ISHII (3-3)
These two had an excellent match in last year’s G1 that Ishii won. Each guy took turns knocking the other down with a shoulder block. Ishii hit a Saito suplex. Ishii no-sold Cobb’s chops and hit a headbutt. Cobb was knocked down and into the corner by a series of vicious throat chops by Ishii. Cobb hit a capture overhead release suplex and threw Ishii across the ring. Cobb follows that up with a backdrop suplex. Both guys lock up and struggle to try and hit a vertical suplex but neither can get the advantage to deliver the suplex. There is a forearm exchange and Ishii drops Cobb. Cobb catches Ishii and hits an overhead belly to belly suplex. Ishii comes back and hits a powerslam and a German suplex.
Cobb hit an Exploder suplex and when he tries to hit a lariat, Ishii lariats Cobb’s arm to block it. Ishii follows that with a headbutt that staggers Cobb who then hits a lunging headbutt that looked like it hit Ishii right on the chin, both guys are down on the mat.
Cobb gets up and hits a thrust kick. He grabs Ishii in a gut wrench, shakes him around, and hits a German Suplex. Cobb attempts a Tour of the Islands that Ishii blocks with a lariat. Cobb hits a lariat of his own and follows that with a standing moonsault for two-count. Ishii escapes from another Tour of the Islands attempt and hits an enzuigiri. Both guys are down again and Ishii is grabbing at his taped-up knee. Cobb drops Ishii with a right hand and Ishii gets up and hits a lariat that drops Cobb. Ishii gets Cobb to a sitting position and goes for a sliding lariat but Cobb catches him. Ishii hits a full nelson suplex then a big lariat for a two count. Ishii attempts a Brainbuster that Cobb escapes from and hits an Athletic-Plex. More headbutts and both guys are down again.
Ishii tries to get Cobb up for a vertical suplex but Cobb resists and tries to hit a vertical suplex of his own but Ishii hits a headbutt.
Cobb hits a pop up powerbomb and follows that with a modified Tour of the Islands for the three count
WINNER: Jeff Cobb – Tour of the Islands in 14:58 minutes
Lots of big strikes in this hard-hitting match. Ishii’s selling of both the damage he took in the match as well as the weight of the loss as he walked to the back, was fantastic. This was easily Cobb’s best match of this year’s G1and he got to hit a variety of suplexes on Ishii. Great start to today’s Block matches.
MATCH 2 – JAY WHITE (4-2) VS YUJIRO TAKAHASHI (0-6)
Two Bullet Club members meet up for the first time. White is not wearing his ring gear, instead, he has on track pants, a Bullet Club t-shirt and sneakers – and a headband?!? Gedo, White, and Yujiro connect for a three-way Too Sweet before the match starts. White gets the crowd to applaud to the rhythm he wants. Yujiro lies down in the middle of the ring. White goes for the cover and gets off him a couple of times as the ref hits a one-count. At this point, Yujiro is looking a bit pissed that white is fooling around. White covers Yujiro again and Yujiro kicks out at two. White asks him if he is ready and covers Yujiro who kicks out at two again. White seems shocked but Yujiro goes for a quick roll-up and White kicks out at two.
White yells at Yujiro and asks him what he is doing, Yujiro’s response is another roll up for a near fall. Yujiro shoves White and hits an Olympic Slam for a two count. Yujiro tries for a Miami Shine but White escapes. Yujiro hits a low blow on White behind the referee’s back. Another roll-up by Yujiro for a two count. The crowd is really being Yujiro. Yujiro hits a Miami Shine for a two count.Yujiro sets up for a Pimp Juice but Gedo gets up on the apron and distracts Yujiro and the referee. White hits a low blow and follows it up with Bladerunner for the three-count.
WINNER: Jay White – Bladerunner in 3:31 minutes
The crowd liked Yujiro going out on his own and not following the Bullet Club plan. This is probably the first match I have seen that was less than four minutes long but still had two low blows… Skippable match for sure, but it’s not like you will save yourself anytime really by not watching it. After the match, White grabbed a chair and looked to hit Yujiro with it but Gedo intervened.
MATCH 3 – TAICHI (3-3) VS WILL OSPREAY (4-2)
Ospreay turns his cockiness up in this match. Mocking TAICHI and even messing up his hair. Outside the ring, TAICHI gets the timekeeper’s hammer again and hit Ospreay with it. He chokes Ospreay with the hammer, shoves the referee away, hits Ospreay in the back of his neck with the hammer. TAICHI again uses the hammer to choke Osprey. Back in the ring, TAICHI continues to choke Ospreay.
Ospreay hits a Sasuke Special to TAICHI outside on the floor and tells the camera that “I am so talented.”
A good sequence where Ospreay is on the second rope in the corner and Taichi is lying on the mat. Ospreay does a moonsault from the second rope that TAICHI rolls away from. Osprey lands on his feet and immediately hits a standing moonsault that TAICHi also rolls away from, but Ospreay follows that up with a shooting star press that TAICHI cannot avoid. Ospreay hops back on the second rope and hits a corkscrew dive for a two count.
Later on, TAICHI and Osprey are up on the ropes and TAICHI tries for a Black Memphisto from the second rope but Ospreay escapes and hits a Cheeky Nando’s instead. Ospreay tries for a 450 splash but TAICHI gets his knees up to block it. TAICHI hits a stunned Ospreay in the back of the neck with a lariat to soften up Ospreay for Black Memphisto. TAICHI hits the Last Ride for a two count. TAICHI tears off his pants but it is Ospreay that hits a couple of kicks instead. Ospreay goes for an OsCutter off the second rope but TAICHI kicks him while Ospreay is in the air. both guys are down.
TAICHI tries for Black Memphisto but Ospreay escapes and gets TAICHI up for Stormbreaker but TAICHI gets out of t and hits an elbow strike to Ospreay. TAICHI tries again for Black Memphisto, again Ospreay gets out and tries for Stormbreaker on TAICHI who escapes again and hits a backdrop but Ospreay lands on his feet and Osprey hits an OsCutter and gets a two count. Ospreay sets up in the corner, hits TAICHI with the Hidden Blade, picks him up, and hits Stormbreaker for the three-count.
WINNER: Will Ospreay – Stormbreaker in 16:27
Decent match. Although Ospreay’s cockiness is starting to come out a little more and that was apparent in the beginning stages of the match, it seemed to disappear later on as the match progressed. A lot of Ospreay’s moves seemed telegraphed and a little floppy for my liking. TAICHI continues to improve and has my vote for the most improved wrestler in the tournament.
MATCH 4 – MINORU SUZUKI (3-3) VS KOTA IBUSHI (4-2)
The match starts with both guys sizing each other up in a stand-up, striking exchange. Suzuki gets a single leg and takes Ibushi to the mat. On the ground, both guys are measured in their attempts to try for an advantage. The grappling continues and eventually, both guys get a heel hook at the same time.
The match continues and as Ibushi gets the advantage, a frustrated Suzuki walks out and up the entrance ramp and demands Ibushi to follow him out. There is a forearm exchange on the ramp and Suzuki drops Ibushi. Suzuki gets back in the ring and Ibushi staggers behind him but makes it back in before red Shoes can count him out.
Suzuki smashes Ibushi’s had on the mat and slaps him in the face. Ibushi fires up but Suzuki just laughs in his face. Ibushi hits a dropkick and both guys are down. Suzuki eats a series of combos and kicks from Ibushi but won’t go down. A kick knocks Suzuki on his ass but he still won’t go down. Another kick and Suzuki stagers backward but still won’t go down. Finally, another kick by Ibushi to Suzuki’s chest, and Suzuki is on his back.
Back on their feet, Ibushi slaps disrespectfully at Suzuki who hits a forearm shot that drops Ibushi. Forearms by Suzuki kicks by Ibushi. There was a ridiculous forearm exchange that went on forever until both guys had nothing left so they started a palm strike exchange. Suzuki gets a sleeper out of the palm strike exchange. He tries for the Gotch-Style Piledriver but Ibushi backdrops him. Abut tries for a Kamigoye but Suzuki catches his leg and blocks it. Suzuki transitions to a single leg crab then to a Boston Crab and then transitions to a Lion Tamer. Ibushi fights out of the hold.
Ibushi misses with a V Trigger and Suzuki gets another sleeper. Ibushi escapes and tries for another V Trigger that Suzuki catches. Ibushi finally hits a V Trigger and Suzuki is down. Ibushi rolls down his knee pad, pulls Suzuki up by his wrists, and hits Kamigoye for the three-count.
WINNER: Kota Ibushi – Kamigoye in 17 minutes
Really excellent match that built to a good finish. Great grappling and strike exchanges, both guys took a beating in this one. Check this one out!
MATCH 5 – SHINGO TAKAGI (3-3) VS KAZUCHIKA OKADA (4-2)
The match starts with god back and forth until Takagi rolls out and grabs a chair and sits outside for a minute. As Takagi tries to stop get back in the ring, Okada rushes over and kicks him as he is between the ropes.
There was a great spot as Okada has Takagi backed into the corner and is about to hit him with a back elbow, Takagi’s facial expression as he braces for the impact was fantastic.
Takagi is back outside and avoids a plancha by Okada. Takagi hits a DDT to the floor and then pulls Okada’s face into the ring post. Takagi throws Okada back into the ring and as he gets back in, he marches on Okada’s midsection.
Okada goes for an Air Raid Crash that Takagi blocks and hits a pop up Death Valley Driver for a two count. Takagi taunts Okada and tries to fire him up and that leads to Okada hitting the Air Raid Crash.
Okada, outside the ring, hits a draping DDT to the floor, as Takagi’s feet are on the apron.
Things really start to pick up, Takagi gets Okada up for Last of the Dragon but Okada gets out of it and backdrops Takagi who falls on his back. Okada covers him, knees on shoulders, and hooks both legs for a two count. This was awesome and echoed Okada’s last two matches against Suzuki and Cobb. The crowd went nuts.
Okada hits a spinning tombstone and applies the money clip, Takagi reaches for the rope… Okada frustrated back slides Takagi and hits a short-arm lariat with wrist control. Takagi hits a lariat and follows that with a headbutt, and Takagi hits a RAINMAKER! Then Takagi hits a Rainmaker pose and the crowd is losing their minds. Takagi goes for a pumping bomber, but Okada kicks him in the face. Takagi hits a lariat. Okada tries for a lariat hat Takagi avoids and catch Okada’s arm. Takagi turns the lariat attempt by Okada into Made in Japan and gets a two count.
Takagi gets up, signals for a Pumping Bomber, and hits it for another two-count. Takagi can’t believe it. Okada pummels Takagi’s back but Takagi roars back with a huge lariat. Takagi gets Okada up and looks like he is going to hit Last of the Dragon, but Okada escapes. Okada applies the Money Clip but Takagi gets out with an arm drag.
Okada hits a shotgun dropkick and then a lariat. Both guys are down and Okada crawls over and grabs Takagi’s hand and applies the Money Clip. Takagi is trying to fight his way out is punching at Okada with his free arm. The crowd is clapping for Takagi. Red Shoes checks on Takagi and looks to signal for the bell, but Takagi grabs Red Shoes by the shirt to let him know he is not quitting. Okada, still holding the Money Clip, hits a backbreaker on Takagi and still holds onto the Money Clip and drags Takagi into the middle of the ring. Takagi is trying to hit Okada in the face with his free arm. His eyes are bulging out of his head… Red Shoes looks at him and signals for the bell as Takagi passes out to the Money Clip.
WINNER: Kazuchika Okada: Money Clip in 27:46 minutes
Excellent match that really built up until the last ten minutes or so, then it kicked into another gear and the finishing sequence was phenomenal. This was the best use of the Money Clip this year by Okada and Takagi’s struggle to escape and selling of it was fantastic. Whenever Okada hits that Rainmaker pose and hits the Rainmaker, wherever NJPW is, that place is going to come unglued.
The fact that Okada won two previous G1 matches with a hooked leg pinfall, all to set up a near fall in this match… chef kiss! Amazing storytelling.
This was an excellent card with three must-see matches. The top of the standings is still a log jam with White, Ospreay, Okada, and Ibushi all getting wins today and now sitting at 10 points each. Jay White holds tiebreakers over Ibushi and Okada. Ibushi holds the tiebreaker over Okada. Ishii continues to be MVP of the tournament but doesn’t short change Minoru Suzuki who is having an excellent tournament after being left out of last year’s G1. Shingo Takagi has also really delivered in his three main event slots in the A Block. See you back on Tuesday for another A Block report.
A BLOCK STANDINGS