G 1 CLIMAX 30 – A BLOCK OCTOBER 16 – A BLOCK FINALS
By: Mike Murray
This is the final night of A Block matches and for the first time this tournament there is live English commentary on NJPW World. Kevin Kelly, Rocky Romero is calling the action off-site. Chris Charlton is in the arena. Today’s show comes from Ryogkoku Sumo Hall.
John and Wai have a FREE show covering today’s A Block show and prep you for tomorrow’s B Block finale.
With White, Okada and Ibushi tied atop the block, and Ospreay still not mathematically eliminated, the second half of the card will be full of important matches to determine the A Block winner. Here are the scenarios:
If White wins his match, he wins the A Block.
For Ibushi to win the block, he must beat TAICHI and White has to lose to Ishii.
For Okada to win the block, White and Ibushi must lose and Okada has to beat Ospreay.
For Ospreay to win, White and Ibushi must lose their matches today and he must beat Okada. Ospreay then advances to the G1 Finals on Sunday. Ospreay, Ibushi, and White would each have two tiebreaker points and then the tiebreaker would be individual record against the next highest point total getter, and that would be TAICHI if Cobb loses. This scenario is quite complicated, and I don’t see it playing out this way, but you never know.
The opening video is fantastic showing the highlights of the A block.
Mike’s Match Ratings out of 5
Gabriel Kidd vs Yota Tsuji 3.25*
Yujiro Takahashi vs Jeff Cobb – 2.5*
Shingo Takagi vs Minoru Suzuki – 3.75*
TAICHI vs Kota Ibushi – 4.25*
Jay White vs Tomohiro Ishii – 4*
A BLOCK STANDINGS
YOUNG LIONS SHOWCASE – GABRIEL KIDD (4-5-1) VS YOTA TSUJI (5-4-2)
Tsuji comes flying right out of the blocks as the bell rings and hits Kidd with a dropkick immediately. Tsuji hits a splash and gets a two count, but immediately covers Kidd again. And when Kidd kicks out again, Tsuji covers him again. This was great and really showed that this match was important to Tsuji to win.
Kidd applies a great headlock and cranks on it and rotates the hold, going all around Tsuji. Tsuji hits a somersault sexton that Kidd quickly turns into a rollup.
The finish comes where after Tsuji applies the Boston Crab, he turns it into a Giant Swing and reapplies the Boston Crab and Kidd taps out.
WINNER – Yota Tsuji: Boston Crab in 6:53 minutes
Dominant win by Tsuji as he was all over Kidd in the match. With the win, Tsuji wins the unofficial C Block.
MATCH 1 – YUJIRO TAKAHASHI (0-8) VS JEFF COBB (4-4)
The commentary team brings up Yujiro’s G1 record in Ryogoku Sumo Hall over the years is 4-2. Nothing to detected about here unless you are a Yujiro fan. The finish comes when Yujiro shoves the referee, grabs his “pimp cane” and hits Cobb with it. Yujiro hits an Olympic Slam. The Miami Shine for a two count. And finally, Pimp Juice for the three-count.
WINNER: Yujiro Takahashi – Pimp Juice in 10:32 minutes
The English commentary team really was putting Cobb’s performance during the tournament over throughout the match. This was a slow and plodding match. Neither guy comes out looking great, but Cobb is at least protected somewhat with the finish. With Cobb’s loss, Ospreay can still have a chance of winning if White and Ibushi lose.
MATCH 2 – SHINGO TAKGI (3-5) VS MINORU SUZUKI (3-5)
A rematch from Summer Struggle from the end of August where Takagi lost the NEVER Openweight Championship to Suzuki. Big forearm striking exchange to start out. They brawl outside and Suzuki starts to focus his attack on Takagi’s right arm. This causes Takagi’s Pumping Bomber and heavy use of lariats to be less effective. The crowd is totally into this match.
Takagi goes for a Pumping Bomber that Suzuki catches and turns it into a flying armbar. Then a triangle and Takagi tries to lift him up to slam Suzuki out of it and he escapes. Suzuki gets back at and just keeps kicking Takagi’s arm. Takagi got Suzuki up in a fireman’s carry and Suzuki fought out and forced Takagi down to the mat and applied a Fujiwara armbar. Lariats by Takagi and Suzuki refuses to go down, and Takagi flexes and winces in pain after each shot that he delivers.
More strikes, series of headbutts, the match is really building up and then, Takagi gets Suzuki up and, almost out of nowhere, hits Last of the Dragon for the three-count.
WINNER: Shingo Takagi – Last of the Dragon in 12:21 minutes
Really good match. Lots of stiff strikes. The arm work by Suzuki was amazing. Tons of great submissions and arm holds. And Takagi did a fantastic job selling the damage throughout the match. Suzuki taunts Takagi with his NEVER open weight belt as he retreats to the back.
MATCH 3 – WILL OSPREAY VS KAZUCHIKA OKADA
The English commentary team is pushing the story that Okada is challenging himself to not have to resort to the Rainmaker to win matches. That he feels he needs to test himself… pretty dickish move if you ask me. So Okada is so cocky that he refuses to use his finisher because there is no challenge in using it to get the win.
Ospreay has “Ryan” written on his wrist tape in memory of Ryan Smile, a British wrestler who passed away a few days ago after a long struggle with mental health.
The match starts out with Ospreay hitting a dropkick and knocking Okada out of the ring. osprey follows that with a Sasuke special and rolls Okada back into the ring. Then Ospreay hits Pip Pip Cheerio and tries for Stormbreaker but Okda backdrops his way out of that. Maybe Ospreay is pissed that his stablemate thinks he can win without using his finisher.
Ospreay tries for an OsCutter but Okada catches it and applies the Money Clip. Ospreay reaches the rope for a break. Back outside the ring, Okada runs Ospreay into the barricade and hits a draping DDT from the apron to the floor. Okada really slows the match down now that he has the advantage and works on Ospreay’s neck to set up the Money Clip.
There was a spectacular move by Ospreay as OKada was out on the floor, Ospreay ran across the ring and launched himself through the air, over the ring post, and somersaulted onto Okada on the floor. The commentators explain that the move is in honor of Ryan Smile.
The finishing sequence sees Ospreay hit a Poison-rana on Okada, then an OsCutter. He tries for Stormbreaker but Okada escapes and applies the Money Clip. Ospreay gets out and Okada hits a discus lariat and again applies a Money Clip. Be a Priestley comes down to the ring to encourage Ospreay while he is in the Money Clip. Okada hits a spinning tombstone piledriver and applies the Money Clip again. Priestley got into the ring and distracted the referee while Tomoyuki Oka, who has been on excursion since 2018, comes into the ring, his hand heavily taped up and grabs Okada’s face and then chokeslams him. Ospreay sees his opening and hits Stormbreaker for the three-count.
WINNER: Will Ospreay – Stormbreaker in 17:04 minutes
This was a very good match and the finish opens a lot of doors as Ospreay turns on his stablemates in CHAOS. After the match, Ospreay hits a Hidden Blade on Okada and says: “Fuck you! You held me back.” Not only do we see Ospreay’s significant other get involved, but Ospreay now has his own bearded lackey. The return of Tomoyuki Oka did not get a very big reaction from the audience though. Priestly was wearing a Stardom t-shirt. Okada is eliminated from the G1 and Ospreay is still alive.
MATCH 4 – TAICHI (4-4) VS KOTA IBUSHI (6-2)
The crowd is clearly clapping “I-BU-SHI”. TAICHI beat Ibushi in the New Japan Cup in the summer and these guys have been in a feud for months over the IWGP Tag Team Championship. The match starts out with each guy hitting the other with leg kicks and both guys are no selling it. A little pause and each guy seems to be stretching out their legs and the kicks start again.
Eventually, we get to a point where they take turns sitting on the mat and inviting the other to kick them in the back and take their best shot, and TAICHI doesn’t take the short road by poking an eye or anything, he goes for it and also takes Ibushi’s best shots. Then, they deliver kicks to the chest, and eventually, TAICHI collapses and Ibushi needs a breather as both guys are down. TAICHI tries for a Saito suplex but Ibushi almost lands on his feet and avoids the impact.
More leg kicks. Then kicks to the midsection. Then a few head kicks and TAIChi is down and Ibushi also collapses. They get back up, they can barely stand, but still they kick each other.
TAICHI rips off his pants and both guys get fired up and just start laying into each other with their kicks. The pace slows as both guys are hurting and exhausted. Ibushi signals for Kamigoye but TAICHI delivers a sweeping low kick. At this point, the match has been going on for 15 minutes with nothing but kicks. Both guys are using the ropes to get back up and hold onto the ropes to get to each other so they can kick more. They are literally holding onto each other to stand up as they kick at each other.
Ibushi hits a head kick and TAICHI goes down. He grabs the wrists and hits Kamigoye for the three-count.
WINNER: Kota Ibushi – Kamigoye in 17:12 minutes
Wow! What a unique match. Nothing but kicks for 17 minutes. This was fantastic and both guys looked great in the match. The selling by both guys through the match was exceptional. You expect great performances by Ibushi, that is a given, but I have to hand it to TAICHI, he was also excellent in the match. Ibushi limped to the back post-match. Go check this one out. With the win, Ospreay is eliminated.
MATCH 5 – JAY WHITE (6-2) VS TOMOHIRO ISHII (3-5)
The match starts with White immediately rolling out of the ring and stalling. White dances around and Ishii just stands in the middle of the ring. White finally tries to provoke Ishii and slaps him. Ishii’s answer is a strong forearm strike that knocks White to the mat.
There was a great spot with Ishii chopping White down in the corner and White turns his back to cover up, but that doesn’t stop Ishii just lays in the chops to White’s back instead.
White really focused his attack on the taped knee of Ishii. Ishii tried for an enzuigiri but White caught it and hit a Dragon screw leg whip. Then locked on T.T.O. Great camera work as Ishii refuses to tap out and struggles to try and get the rope. Red Shoes keeps checking on Ishii and eventually, Ishii gets the bottom rope. White tries to hit a sleeper suplex, but can’t so he hits a chop block to Ishii’s knee and then hits the sleeper suplex. White follows that up with a Kiwi Krusher and gets a two count. White tries for a Bladerunner but Ishii hits an inverted Dragon Screw leg whip. Ishii then hits a knee breaker on White using his injured knee. And now Ishii focuses White’s knee and gets an ankle lock and then transitions it to a kneebar.
Gedo then comes in and White pushes Ishii into Red Shoes and the referee is down. Ishii looks to hit a Brainbuster on Gedo but White kicks him in the injured knee. White goes for the Bladerunner but Ishii pushes him away and into Gedo. Ishii grabs White and hits a German suplex. He gets white to sit up and hits a sliding lariat for a two count. Ishii gets White up again for a Brainbuster but White escapes and hits a low blow that Red Shoes misses because he is distracted by Gedo.
White hits a Rega Suplex for a two count. He tries for a cross arm DDT but Ishii headbutts him under the chin. White eventually hits a sleeper suplex and again tries for Bladerunner but Ishii escapes and tries to hit a Brainbuster but White escapes. Both guys are jockeying for position, trying to hit their finisher and Ishii ends up hitting a stunner.
Gedo is back up on the apron and he shoves Red Shoes. Ishii hits a lariat on Gedo and then a lariat on White and gets a two count. Ishii gets White up and hits a Brainbuster for the three-count.
WINNER: Tomohiro Ishii – Brainbuster in 24:36
Very good match. Depending on how much you can stomach of Bullet Club shenanigans, your mileage may vary. Ishii’s selling of his injured knee, but even more so, his trying to hide the selling from White was great and added a lot of drama to the match.
Due to White’s loss, Kota Ibushi is the winner of the A Block as he finishes with 14 points and advances to the final on Sunday against the B Block winner.
Shake up in CHAOS. Is Bullet Club fine?
Ibushi, Suzuki, and Takagi all had fantastic matches and really strong tournaments. But Ishii is my tournament MVP. TAICHI was a pleasant surprise throughout the tournament. Lots of really good matches throughout the A Block in this year’s G1. Did you have a favorite?
Thanks for reading the reports throughout the tournament.