G1 Climax 30 Report: Oct. 14 – Tanahashi vs. SANADA, Goto vs. EVIL

Mark Buckeldee reviews Wednesday's B Block show featuring Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. SANADA, EVIL vs. Hirooki Goto, plus the latest standings.

Photo courtesy: NJPW

By: Mark Buckeldee

Welcome to POST Wrestling’s report on G1 Climax 30 Day 16. This is the penultimate show from B Block and the last event in G1 Climax 30 that is not held in Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo. The show instead comes from the Yokohama Budokan in Yokohama.

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 of what is worth your time without spoiling any surprises for you.

  1. Yota Tsuji vs Yuya Uemura – Short and compact with no wasted time. Uemura shows great technique and Tsuji showed a new card in his deck. – RECOMMENDED
  2. B Block – KENTA vs YOSHI-HASHI – A good match with KENTA working on the arm but a little too long.
  3. B Block – Juice Robinson vs Zack Sabre Jr – Both wrestlers relied on trying to counter each other as Sabre Jr targeted the arm. – RECOMMENDED
  4. B Block – Toru Yano vs Tetsuya Naito – Naito tried to beat Yano at his own game. Yano learned a lesson about New Japan’s equipment.
  5. B Block – Hirooki Goto vs EVIL – Goto’s arm was a bit stronger, EVIL relied less on Dick Togo, but it was still a 2020 EVIL match.
  6. B Block – Hiroshi Tanahashi vs SANADA – Good opening mat work, good leg work, and some great counters but still containing SANADA’s inherent flaws. A bit too long for some. – RECOMMENDED

Yota Tsuji vs Yuya Uemura

After the initial lock-ups Uemura quickly focused on Tsuji’s arm before using a hip-toss to set up the Short Arm Scissors, a submission that was often used in New Japan back in the ’70s & ’80s. Tsuji eventually used his strength to throw off Uemura to escape the hold and he followed up with a scoop slam, flipping senton, and running splash combo for a 2 count. Uemura soon regained control with a Judo throw and an armbar but Tsuji blocked the arm trapped suplex and countered into a Boston Crab. This gave Tsuji time to recover and both wrestlers traded forearms, but Tsuji won the exchange with a spear, followed by a giant swing into the Boston Crab to force Uemura to tap out.

Yota Tsuji submitted Yuya Uemura (7:56)

This was one of the best Young Lions matches on this tour. It felt like they had less time so focused on their strengths. The result was a match with almost no fat, a good and evolving story that hinged on Tsuji learning and developing a counter to Uemura’s arm trapped suplex. Uemura and Tsuji both showed good fire and execution here. Exactly what you want from a Young Lions match.

B Block – KENTA vs YOSHI-HASHI

YOSHI-HASHI started aggressively, bringing it to KENTA with strikes and an early Headhunter. KENTA recovered on the outside, baiting his opponent by playing with YOSHI-HASHI’s big stick. Sadly, YOSHI-HASHI fell for it and got thrown shoulder first into the ring post. KENTA focused on the arm with submissions, arm breakers, and kicks. YOSHI-HASHI finally managed to gain some time using a suplex and relied on his chops to control KENTA. This did not last, and KENTA got in his standard mid-match offense before going back to kicking the arm. A strike exchange ended with KENTA hitting the hesitation dropkick and a top rope double stomp for 2.

YOSHI-HASHI turned things around with a Dragon Whip and a well-timed Superkick, followed by a Liger Bomb and the Butterfly Lock. After the hold was released KENTA dodged a double knee attack and fought for the GAME OVER, but YOSHI-HASHI grabbed the ropes before it could be locked in. KENTA went back to the arm/chest area with kicks, which led to a passionate strike exchange that KENTA won with back fists. The Go to Sleep was countered with a DDT before YOSHI-HASHI got a near fall after a Dragon Suplex and a Lariat. KENTA overcame his opponent’s momentum to lock in GAME OVER and YOSHI-HASHI had to verbally submit.

KENTA submitted YOSHI-HASHI (17:39)

This was a good match but, like many YOSHI-HASHI G1 matches this year, it felt a bit too long. YOSHI-HASHI showed heart and KENTA looked good with his strategy and game plan but YOSHI-HASHI did not sell the arm at all when he was on offense. It was not egregious as he does not use his left arm often, but it was still noticeable. I enjoyed this but felt that it could have been better, and it will be one of the many B Block matches that are quickly forgotten.

B Block – Juice Robinson vs Zack Sabre Jr

This was the battle of the 2 B Block Westerners. A strong lock up evolved into an opening wrist lock exchange where Juice held his own. That aggravated Sabre Jr, who threw the 1st strike in anger. Both wrestlers constantly out thought each other, whether it was Juice’s Manhattan Drop or Sabre Jr countering a senton with a Jujigatame. Sabre Jr went back to the arm with stomps and a seated armbar. Sabre Jr mocked Juice by giving him opportunities to throw a punch, only to eat a senton. Sabre Jr tried to end a series of Robinson punches with a running Guillotine Choke but instead ate a Spinebuster. A Superplex attempt was blocked when Sabre Jr grabbed the arm and then jumped off the 2nd rope to apply a Guillotine choke. Sabre Jr switched into a modified Cobra Twist, but Robinson fell into the ropes.

Sabre Jr escaped a Prince’s Throne attempt and hit 2 Penalty Kicks and a rebound Tornado DDT for 2. The kick-out was immediately followed up with a Jujigatame, which Sabre Jr transitioned into a Triangle Choke. Robinson finally powered out using a Powerbomb for a near fall, but not before Sabre Jr got dropped on his head at one point. The Cannonball hit its target, but Sabre Jr countered the Pulp Friction into a Manjigatame, which was in turn countered into the Prince’s Throne by Juice. Sabre Jr quickly went for the arm but ate a big punch. The match ended with an initially clumsy roll-up sequence with saw Sabre Jr trap Robinson with the European Clutch to win the match.

Zack Sabre Jr pinned Juice Robinson (14:30)

This was one of Robinson’s better matches in this year’s G1. Robinson’s arm selling was great, and I liked how back and forth this felt with the counters being spread out. Some of Robinson’s execution was off at times, including the scary moment in the triangle where Sabre Jr landed on his head. Sabre Jr’s offense was more explosive and flashier here and that helped a match that was good and enjoyable but, ultimately, it will not really stand out from most of the B Block matches.

B Block – Toru Yano vs Tetsuya Naito

Yano got very agitated with how long Naito took to undress, peaking when Naito struggled to undo one of his shirt buttons. After initial tomfoolery, Naito got an early schoolboy so Yano stormed off out to the outside and nearly got counted out. Naito was on top until Yano low bridged Naito, faked a dive, and mocked Naito’s Tranquilo pose. The double Champion ate a couple of turnbuckle pad shots, but he avoided getting taped to the guardrails.

Yano sprayed both Naito and Young Lion Yota Tsuji in the face with alcohol spray and then tied them together with tape wither side of the Guardrail. Naito managed to pull Tsuji through the gap in the Guardrail and get back in with Tsuji tied to his arm. Naito offered Tsuji the LIJ fist bump, only to fake him out and slam him onto Yano. The match would end with Yano eating a low blow but giving one to Yano in return and using the Jackknife Cradle for the win.

Tetsuya Naito pinned Toru Yano (8:04)

This was a good Yano match with Yano being the frustrated one. The near fall with Tsuji was well worked, with Yano being foiled by his inability to judge the width of Young Lions. The LIJ fist bump was a fun spot and Tsuji’s involvement will probably be the most memorable thing in a fun match.

B Block – Hirooki Goto vs EVIL

Goto was strong on offense at the start so of course, Dick Togo pulled him out of the ring. EVIL used the opportunity to target Goto’s right shoulder and a few left-handed chops were not enough for Goto to overcome his opponent. Goto dodged an EVIL charge and hit a backdrop suplex to start his comeback. EVIL soon cut him off, hitting a Fisherman Buster for 2. Both EVIL and Goto used their rope running tricks but Goto won that exchange with the Ushi-Goroshi. Goto was still feeling the effects of his injured right shoulder and Togo’s interference let EVIL hit a Lariat.

That was not enough to beat Goto and neither was the Darkness Falls that followed it. Goto escaped the EVIL and used his right arm to win a strike exchange and clothesline EVIL to the outside. This was followed with a Plancha by Goto and a top rope elbow drop back in the ring. The GTR was countered with a thumb to the eyes. Togo tried to interfere with the Garotte but was seen off thanks to an Ushi-Goroshi. Goto landed the big middle kick and hit the reverse GTR for a 2 count. After a counter sequence EVIL managed to hit the EVIL and pin Goto.

EVIL pinned Hirooki Goto (15:33)

This felt slightly less dependent on Togo’s interference than many of EVIL’s G1 Climax 30 matches. Despite that. EVIL always looks weak at the start of his matches until Togo gets involved. This was maybe the most hard hitting of EVIL’s matches but a lot of that was due to a motivated Goto. One of the better EVIL matches but it still felt like a good match and not much more.

B Block – Hiroshi Tanahashi vs SANADA

The match started with both competitors trying to outwrestle each other. This was one of the rare times, outside of matches against Zack Sabre Jr, that SANADA focused on his technical skills and it was even between him and Tanahashi in a period of good mat work. Sadly, this made it clear that the match was going to go long. Tanahashi countered the Paradise Lock into an inside cradle and started to target SANADA’s left leg. The Ace applied a bridging Prison lock but SANADA grabbed the ropes.

SANADA hit a Dragon Screw of his own, controlling the match with a Dropkick and a Plancha before hobbling to sell his leg. SANADA finally applied the Paradise lock and took some time to rest before he hit the follow-up dropkick. That was followed by a Paradise Lock in the ropes and the crowd applauded SANADA. Tanahashi dodged a Moonsault and went back to the knee with a dropkick and a Dragon Screw. This was followed with a big High Fly Flow to the outside.

Tanahashi caught SANADA with more Dragon Screws as he got back into the ring, followed by the Texas Cloverhold but the crowd willed SANADA to reach the ropes. An attempt at a TKO was countered into multiple Twist & Shouts by Tanahashi but SANADA countered the 3rd into a Magic Screw off the ropes. SANADA tried to land on his feet after a dodged Moonsault but jarred his knee, letting Tanahashi capitalize and hit the Daruma style German Suplex.  Tanahashi’s High Fly Flow landed on his opponent’s knees and SANADA soon followed up with the Skull End. That was released to let SANADA go for the Moonsault. So of course, Tanahashi managed to get the knees up.

A SANADA Frankensteiner attempt was blocked and countered into the Texas Cloverhold as the match hit the 25-minute mark. SANADA grabbed the ropes and Tanahashi tries to win the match with a Japanese Leg Roll clutch. They fought over the reverse chancery before Tanahashi hits the Sling Blade. A High Fly Flow to a standing SANADA was countered with a cutter and that let SANADA land consecutive Moonsaults to the back and front to win the match.

SANADA pinned Hiroshi Tanahashi (28:25)

This was one of SANADA’s best matches, and a lot of that was due to Tanahashi making SANADA fit into his style of match. The middle of the match felt less aimless than the SANADA-Naito match. The opening mat work was particularly good although it was just used to kill time. SANADA sold the knee well most of the time well and it was clear that he was popular with the Yokohama crowd. There were some great dramatic moments and the finish worked well but the match did suffer from being too long and SANADA’s usual irritating tropes like the Skull End’s execution and releasing it to hit a Moonsault that misses. So, a good main event but not SANADA’s best match in this year’s G1 (that honor still goes to Zack Sabre Jr).

Show summary

Very few B Block shows have been good all-round shows and many have struggled to have a match that really stands out among the glut of good matches from A Block. This show did not change that, but it is worth watching the main event to see how over SANADA is with the Japanese fans in attendance and there were some worthwhile matches on the card. If you have been skipping Young Lions matches, then I recommend watching this one as you might be pleasantly surprised.

After today’s show the B block can only be won by 3 wrestlers: EVIL, Tetsuya Naito, and SANADA. EVIL is the only one whose destiny is entirely in his own hands, as a win on Saturday sees him win the block. Naito needs EVIL to lose while SANADA needs Naito to lose. As I expected when the line ups were 1st announced, it all comes down to EVIL vs SANADA.

B Block Standings after Day 16: 

  1. EVIL – 12 points
    Tetsuya Naito – 12 points
  2. Zack Sabre Jr – 10 points
    SANADA – 10 points
  3. Hirooki Goto – 8 points
    KENTA – 8 points
  4. Hiroshi Tanahashi – 6 points
    Juice Robinson – 6 points
    Toru Yano – 6 points
  5. YOSHI-HASHI – 2 points

 

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