G1 Climax 30 Report: Oct. 11 – Naito vs. EVIL, Tanahashi vs. Goto

Mark Buckeldee reviews Sunday's B Block card from Aichi featuring Tetsuya Naito vs. EVIL, Tanahashi vs. Goto, SANADA vs. Juice & more.

Photo courtesy: NJPW

By: Mark Buckeldee

Welcome to POST Wrestling’s report on G1 Climax 30 day 14. This show comes from Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium in Nagoya. The venue is about 20 miles from YOSHI-HASHI’s hometown.

The start of these Block B reviews will feature a short, spoiler-free summary for each match highlighting any matches that I recommend. This should help give you, the reader, an idea for what is worth your time without spoiling any surprises for you.

  1. Yota Tsuji vs Gabriel Kidd – An aggressive, strike heavy Young Lions match.
  2. B Block – Zack Sabre Jr vs YOSHI-HASHI – A cocky Sabre Jr targeted the arm while YOSHI-HASHI fought to survive. – RECOMMENDED
  3. B Block – KENTA vs Toru Yano – A goofy, antics heavy clash of trickery and dirty tactics that answered the big question of the G1; What is in the briefcase?
  4. B Block – SANADA vs Juice Robinson – A good match with lots of reversals in the finish. A typical SANADA affair but Robinson made this a bit more structured.
  5. B Block – Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Hirooki Goto – Tanahashi targeted Goto’s knee to neutralize the GTR, but was it enough? A great, short match. – RECOMMENDED
  6. B Block – Tetsuya Naito vs EVIL –A decent match but it went too long and had a lot of interference. If you did not like their previous matches, then this will not change your mind.

Yota Tsuji vs Gabriel Kidd

After a hard lock up this quickly focused on strikes, with a forearm exchange that eventually saw Kidd’s gain him the advantage. Kidd dominated Tsuji on the mat before Tsuji hit a big dropkick. He followed it up with running splashes and then a new Llave style Stump Puller submission into a pin. Kidd fought back with strikes before he hit a suplex, but Tsuji blocked the Double Arm Suplex attempt and hit a big Powerslam to set up the Boston Crab. Kidd grabbed the ropes and escaped an Avalanche Hold. A Tsuji Spear attempt was met with a dropkick and Kidd pinned Tsuji with the Double Arm Suplex.

Gabriel Kidd pinned Yota Tsuji (7:09)

This was a bit more urgent than we have seen from the Young Lions in the last few shows. The pace was faster, and it spent much less time on the mat. Kidd was extremely aggressive with his strikes and fire. Tsuji’s big moves were well placed and looked good; I liked his new Stump Puller style submission and his Powerslam lets him stand out among the other Young Lions. A good match with a nice change in focus.

B Block – Zack Sabre Jr vs YOSHI-HASHI

The match started with both wrestlers trading holds before Sabre Jr targeted the arm. The opening holds had some strikes sprinkled in, which added a little spice. Sabre Jr was cocky with mocking kicks but got flattened with a chop. The Brit would stay in control though, cranking away on the arm. YOSHI-HASHI eventually jumped over a leg sweep and hit a Dragon Whip kick to gain some time and go on the attack with strikes. A powerbomb by YOSHI-HASHI was blocked and Sabre Jr hit a vicious stomp to the arm before cockily mocking YOSHI-HASHI. This let YOSHI-HASHI hit a big chop after Sabre Jr rebounded off the corner.  Sabre Jr countered the Butterfly Lock into a Cobra Twist but YOSHI-HASHI managed to counter it back into his trademark submission.

Sabre Jr escaped the Butterfly Lock and had to use little tricks to keep in the match. Tempers flared as they exchanged strikes. Sabre JR craftily escaped Karma twice but YOSHI-HASHI nearly got a shock roll up victory. Sabre Jr kept applying different holds and YOSHI-HASHI kept fighting to survive before he was trapped in the Clarky Cat double armbar and the referee called for a stoppage.

Zack Sabre Jr beat YOSHI-HASHI by referee stoppage (13:34)

This was a really good match where YOSHI-HASHI had to fight to overcome Sabre Jr’s superior skills. Sabre Jr worked the limbs well but would constantly get frustrated which gave his opponent opportunities. YOSHI-HASHI did a good job with his striking and fighting back through determination with a couple of good counters that did not feel too unrealistic. The nearfall after the 2nd Karma counter honestly had me thinking YOSHI-HASHI was winning. Unlike his usual finishing stretches, YOSHI-HASHI did not get a big run of offense. Instead the finishing sequence was about YOSHI-HASHI trying to overcome the odds and it felt like a good change. While the limb selling was not noticeably good or bad, I enjoyed this one a lot and it was my 2nd favorite match on the card.

B Block – KENTA vs Toru Yano

KENTA got referee Marty Asami to check Yano for tape and unsurprisingly tape was found in Yano’s lumpy looking waistband. A shouting match with red foreign object accoutrements started the match, with KENTA refusing to throw away his briefcase. Eventually, KENTA dropped the briefcase and immediately rolled out of the ring. There was a count-out tease while they yelled at each other on the outside. The match went over 3 minutes before there was any contact. Yano nearly got a count-out win thanks to alcohol spray and throwing a turnbuckle pad at his opponent. KENTA would soon return the favor. Asami got caught in the face with alcohol spray and both wrestlers fought over the briefcase at the entrance. The Briefcase burst open to reveal rolls of tape and KENTA won the match by taping Yano to the entrance set. KENTA would walk past Yano and mock him as he made his way backstage after the victory.

KENTA beat Toru Yano by count-out (8:56)

This was a very goofy comedy match, but it put a smile on my face. KENTA cheating and stealing Yano’s antics suited his attitude and made for some big laughs but it was messy. It went a little too long and the alcohol spray spots were a bit too scrappy. It is not for everyone and will annoy quite a few people but then again, it is a Toru Yano match.

B Block – SANADA vs Juice Robinson

After Robinson got the crowd behind him, SANADA quickly showed off his speed and athleticism to keep Robinson off balance. The American would stop a Paradise Lock attempt and hit a Spinebuster before attacking SANADA on the outside. Robinson dominated SANADA, who got some chances but not enough to turn the tide. SANADA did manage to dodge a Cannonball and followed up with a dropkick and a Plancha. An attempt at the Prince’s Throne was countered into the Paradise Lock, which got a massive applause from the crowd. A SANADA springboard Moonsault was countered into a Full Nelson Slam by Robinson and a successful Cannonball. The superplex-Jackhammer combination that followed only earned Robinson a 2 count. SANADA literally fell out of a Powerbomb attempt but was hit with a 2nd one. He managed to apply the Skull End, but Robinson countered it into a Pulp Friction attempt. This started a long series of reversals between the Skull End and the Pulp Friction that included a shock roll-up attempt.  In the end, SANADA used the Skull End to set up the Moonsault to win the match.

SANADA pinned Juice Robinson (15:06)

In many ways this was a typical SANADA match: Athleticism, technique, missed Moonsaults and a finish based around the Skull End. Robinson controlled the early goings, so the match felt a bit more structured and less aimless than some of SANADA’s other matches from this G1. The execution was mostly good, the timing of the spots was good and the counter sequence at the end was well thought out but there was nothing special to this one. Your enjoyment of this ultimately depends on your opinions on SANADA.

B Block – Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Hirooki Goto

These 2 have had 13 singles matches against each other before today and Tanahashi has only lost once. There was an early roll-up attempt from Tanahashi and he quickly targeted Goto’s knee, the one that Goto uses for many of his big moves. This was an interesting strategy considering Goto’s taped shoulder. Tanahashi applied a Prison Lock to put pressure on the knee. Goto fired back with slaps but Tanahashi would keep using the knee to try and cut off his opponent. An Ushi-Goroshi was blocked and Tanahashi hit multiple Dragon Screws but his opponent managed to reach the ropes before the Texas Cloverhold could be locked in.

Tanahashi keeps kicking away at the knee but Goto still hits the Ushi-Goroshi, although it hurts his knee even more. There was a passionate forearm exchange and Goto’s arm appeared to be much stronger now as he won the exchange with a Lariat. They fought over a front chancery and Tanahashi succeeded with the Twist & Shout, followed by a Sling Blade. Goto escaped a Daruma style German Suplex but Tanahashi rocked him with a headbutt. A dazed Tanahashi was caught on the top rope with an avalanche Ushi-Goroshi that left both men reeling in pain. An eventual cover only got Goto a 2 count. Goto hit his big middle kick but the pain meant that he was slow to follow up with the GTR. Tanahashi tried to escape but he ate a reverse GTR instead. Goto blocked a Samson Clutch attempt by Tanahashi and hit the GTR to beat Tanahashi in a singles match for only the second time in Goto’s career.

Hirooki Goto pinned Hiroshi Tanahashi (13:38)

This was different from most of Goto’s G1 Climax 30 matches, as Tanahashi targeted his leg instead of the arm. This was some greatly appreciated variety and a logical strategy by Tanahashi, who felt like he relied more on cunning due to his deteriorating physical condition. I also appreciate that it feels like Goto is coming back into top form as his arm seems to be getting stronger. The leg work, the selling, and how it played into the match was great. The finishing stretch was a little underplayed and the match could have gone longer but it was still a great match. It felt like it avoided being counter heavy and like Goto had finally outsmarted Tanahashi. This was not an epic, but it was a perfectly good match and my personal match of the night.

B Block – Tetsuya Naito vs EVIL

Naito quickly took the advantage and used the Tranquilo pose while EVIL regained his composure on the outside. Naito started working on softening up the neck, pulling the hair repeatedly to add insult to injury. Dick Togo would pull Naito out of the ring, where EVIL would hit a drop toe hold into chairs and use his beloved convoluted chair spot on the outside.  EVIL dominated Naito with chin locks and an Irish whip into an exposed Turnbuckle. Naito kept fighting off the Fisherman Buster and he dodged a back senton, regaining momentum and taking out Togo with a baseball slide dropkick. EVIL would grab the hair to escape a Neckbreaker, but Naito applied an ugly Pluma Blanca. Togo tried to interfere, but he was knocked off the apron by a charging EVIL, letting Naito reapply the Pluma Blanca. Naito was confident and mocked EVIL, but he got caught with the Fisherman’s Buster.

EVIL hit a big superplex for a near fall before following up with the Sasorigatame. After being hit with the Gloria EVIL tried for a mule kick but Naito was too savvy. EVIL regained control by blocking a neck breaker and then hitting a senton. Naito was shoved face-first into the exposed Turnbuckle before eating a Half and half suplex and a Lariat for a near fall. The Darkness Falls was countered into the Destino. The match entered counter mode before Dick Togo ran in to stop a Destino and let EVIL hit a low blow. Togo tried to choke Naito with his garotte, but Naito hit Togo a leg sweep and got a huge near fall with a Destino that the crowd all fell for. A follow-up Destino was countered with the EVIL and EVIL pinned Naito. It looks like EVIL still is not done with Naito and the Double Championship.

EVIL pinned Tetsuya Naito (23:57)

Although this was the shortest match in their 2020 series of matches, this EVIL vs Naito match was still over 23 minutes long. The match could have been at least 5 minutes shorter and would not have lost anything. On the one hand, EVIL looked better than in previous matches as he looked stronger during the parts when Togo did not interfere. On the other hand, Togo interfered 4 times and that was way too much. The match itself was not very memorable, although it was not actively bad and there were some good spots from EVIL. In the end, it suffered from a mix of New Japan main event tropes, Naito tropes, and the overreliance on Dick Togo. I just wish New Japan decided to let EVIL channel Riki Choshu and just win a series of main event sprints instead of what we are getting.

Show summary

Your overall interest in this show will depend on how much you enjoy SANADA and EVIL. If you are fine with them then this was a good show. If not, then it was a 2-match show consisting of YOSHI-HASHI fighting to survive against Zack Sabre Jr and an understated clash between 2 veterans. While it was not the weakest of the B Block shows, it was not in the top 3 from the block.

EVIL defeating Naito means that Hiroshi Tanahashi, Juice Robinson, Toru Yano & KENTA are all out of the running. Wednesday’s match between Goto and EVIL now has huge stakes and as expected, it looks like EVIL vs SANADA on Saturday will be decisive in terms of who wins the B Block.

B Block Standings after Day 14:

-EVIL – 10 points
-Tetsuya Naito – 10 points
-Hirooki Goto – 8 points
-Zack Sabre Jr – 8 points
-SANADA – 8 points
-Hiroshi Tanahashi – 6 points
-Juice Robinson – 6 points
-Toru Yano – 6 points
-KENTA – 6 points
-YOSHI-HASHI – 2 points

About Mark Buckeldee 18 Articles
Hailing from Oxfordshire in the UK, Mark Buckeldee writes show reports for POST Wrestling.