G1 Climax 30 Report: Oct. 17 – B Block Final from Sumo Hall

Photo courtesy: NJPW

By: Mark Buckeldee

Welcome to POST Wrestling’s report on G1 Climax 30 day 18, the B Block Final. This is the 2nd of 3 events from Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo with an attendance of 2,917. After yesterday’s surprising, varied, and entertaining A Block final, it is now B Blocks turn.  The show started with a highlight video for each wrestlers’ performance in the tournament.

Only 3 men can make it to the G1 Climax 30 Final on Sunday, and this is how they can do it:

EVIL – Win his match vs SANADA

Tetsuya Naito – Win his match vs KENTA and EVIL loses to SANADA

SANADA – Win his match vs EVIL and Tetsuya Naito loses to KENTA

  1. Yuya Uemura vs Gabriel Kidd – Short and technical with both Young Lions showing their growth.
  2. B Block – Toru Yano vs YOSHI-HASHI – Simple and fun, with YOSHI-HASHI being wise to his teammate’s tricks.
  3. B Block – Juice Robinson vs Hirooki Goto – Good but very much a Goto/Robinson formula match that was not very memorable.
  4. B Block – Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Zack Sabre Jr – A constant battle of grappling and mat work focused on seizing opportunities. Reminiscent of matches like Inoki vs Fujinami at times. – RECOMMENDED
  5. B Block – Tetsuya Naito vs KENTA – An awfully slow start with a good finishing stretch. Too long, although the finish is good.
  6. B Block – SANADA vs EVIL – Long, bloated and lacked chemistry at times. A heel vs face match designed to build heat and get the face over.

Yuya Uemura vs Gabriel Kidd

The Young Lions started with wrist locks before a test of strength and Uemura subverted the monkey flip sequence that they have used in previous matches by attacking the arm. Uemura used this tour to develop a winning strategy based on working the arm and he used it here. Kidd got to the ropes after a rolling Short Arm Scissors and managed to get the upper hand with a series of submissions. After an exchange of roll-ups Uemura won a passionate strike exchange but ate a Dropkick and fell victim to Kidd’s match-winning Double Arm Suplex.

Gabriel Kidd pinned Yuya Uemura (8:16)

This was a good Young Lions match that captured both competitor’s growth. Both have honed their technical skills, developed winning strategies, and constantly added new weapons to their arsenal. I liked the way they added new elements to their submission game while still relying on the dropkick as a big turning point. The tournament has succeeded in establishing all 3 Young Lions as feeling distinctly different.

B Block – Toru Yano vs YOSHI-HASHI

Hiromu Takahashi joined the Japanese commentary team for this match and stayed for the rest of the show. YOSHI-HASHI searched Yano for tape before the match began. After a cleanish start, YOSHI-HASHI hit a home run on Yano with a turnbuckle pad and took over with chops and a neck breaker. Yano got sprayed in the face with alcohol spray and YOSHI-HASHI used his own roll of tape and his big stick to tie Yano to the guardrail. Yano eventually squeezed through the rails and climbed back in to avoid a count-out. YOSHI-HASHI escaped multiple roll-up attempts, blocked a low blow, and countered it into a cradle to win the match.

YOSHI-HASHI pinned Toru Yano (6:10)

A simple comedy match where YOSHI-HASHI was wise to his teammate’s tricks. Some fun spots based around the alcohol spray and the tape, although these have been used before. Still, it was fun and did not outstay it’s welcome while also giving YOSHI-HASHI another win. He deserves a lot of credit for his performances in this year’s G1 Climax. He was put in a tough spot where people doubted him, and he put in his best run of performances in years.

B Block – Juice Robinson vs Hirooki Goto

Both wrestlers were motivated, and Robinson quickly used a Plancha before he established his “Don Don Pah” clap. Robinson targeted the right shoulder that has been Goto’s weakness for the whole tournament. Goto got a string of offense after a backdrop suplex but Robinson regained control with the back senton and the Cannonball. This was followed with a Superplex, but the Jackhammer was blocked by Goto. There was a clash of Lariats before Goto hit the Ushi-Goroshi. Goto dodged the Pulp Friction after a string of counters but Robinson landed a right punch to the jaw. The Pulp Friction was countered with a sleeper into the Goto-Shiki cradle, but it was not enough. Robinson then landed 2 big left-hand punches and pinned Goto with the Pulp Friction.

Juice Robinson pinned Hirooki Goto (12:07)

This was a good match but not the best showing from either man, fitting for a match with no stakes. What they did was a well-executed “NJPW house style” match but I will only remember it for 1 spot and the fact that it followed their usual formula. Robinson has had a good G1, but it did show that he has a ceiling in terms of his in-ring performances.

B Block – Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Zack Sabre Jr

The match started with Sabre Jr searching and fighting for roll-up opportunities. Tanahashi relied on a headlock to control Sabre Jr and they did a great job with the struggle for control during the grappling. Sabre Jr used an opportunistic neck snap and targeted the neck with head scissors. Tanahashi kept fighting back with traditional New Japan techniques but Sabre Jr was able to keep control. They exchanged multiple moves and Tanahashi nearly applied the Texas Cloverhold before it got countered into a Triangle Choke, which Tanahashi somehow turned over into a modified Boston Crab.

The crowd rallied behind Tanahashi as they exchanged Cobra Stretches and Japanese leg roll clutches before Tanahashi hit a dropkick to the knee. Tanahashi used Dragon Screws but Sabre Jr reversed one and applied the Guillotine Choke, only for it to be countered with a Twist & Shout. Both wrestlers kept anticipating and countering before a High Fly Flow was rolled through into a Jujigatame, only for Tanahashi to roll through that into a roll-up for the win.

Hiroshi Tanahashi pinned Zack Sabre Jr (12:01)

Tanahashi’s grappling and mat work are underrated until he gets a chance to showcase it. This was a great example as they just constantly looked for opportunities and tried to out wrestle each other. This felt like trying to find a way to win instead of executing a strategy or game plan. They have great chemistry and really milked the holds. At times the moves, style, and pacing reminded me of the matches that Tatsumi Fujinami and Antonio Inoki used to have. It felt like an ode to classic New Japan at times with a modern veneer. It is not a style for everyone and may not have hit that big finish and top gear that we are used to. Personally, I really enjoyed the way it flowed into the finish and how you never knew how the match would end.

B Block – Tetsuya Naito vs KENTA

After a slow and cagey start, Naito tried to control KENTA with a headlock before sending KENTA outside with a head scissors. That was at the 5-minute mark. KENTA constantly wasted time outside and engineered an opportunity to hit Naito in the head with the red briefcase. KENTA worked over Naito, targeting the neck before the Double Champion eventually fought back. KENTA regained control back with a Fisherman’s Buster and a DDT for 2. This was followed with a diving double stomp for a near fall. KENTA had the advantage until Naito used a reverse Rana.

Naito’s top rope Frankensteiner and Gloria signaled the start of the big bombs and counters. KENTA hit a Busaiku Knee for 2 and then used a series of slaps to down Naito. The Go to Sleep was countered into Destino for a near fall. KENTA tried to repeat his trick with the slaps, but Naito hit Valentina. However, KENTA reversed the Destino attempt into a roll-up to pin Naito and ensure that the B Block finalist would be either EVIL or SANADA.

KENTA pinned Tetsuya Naito (21:06)

This was awfully slow and dull to start before venturing into that typical Naito finishing stretch. The combination of Naito having to go over 20 minutes and KENTA’s style just dragged in the 1st half. The action heated up, but your mileage is dependent on how much the start burned you out. The actual finish was great and unexpected, but the match length and the glacially paced start hurt my enthusiasm for this match.

B Block – SANADA vs EVIL

EVIL rolled outside and offered Hiromu Takahashi a too sweet, but Takahashi just gave a thumbs up and smiled. EVIL reentered the ring and immediately tried to hit the EVIL, only to be thrown out by SANADA who teased a dive. A Paradise Lock attempt was countered and EVIL clotheslined SANADA over the top rope after Dick Togo interfered. SANADA was suplexed onto chairs and EVIL was in control, with Togo beating SANADA down on the outside. SANADA eventually gained some control after a dropkick to the knee and a backdrop suplex.  SANADA would apply Paradise Locks to EVIL and SANADA.

EVIL hit a Fisherman Buster for 2 before SANADA nailed a springboard dropkick. EVIL kept escaping the Dragon Sleeper but SANADA hit the Magic Screw and a Tiger Suplex for a near fall. After a swinging Skull End, SANADA missed a Moonsault. EVIL hit a big Superplex and followed up with a Sasorigatame but SANADA grabbed the ropes. A Darkness Falls generated a 2 count as the crowd rallied behind SANADA, who landed a desperation TKO. EVIL rolled through a Springboard Skull End but SANADA fought back to apply the hold. SANADA would not let go, even after EVIL repeatedly grabbed his ear. SANADA hit the Moonsaults to the back and front that has won his biggest matches, but Dick Togo dragged the referee out of the ring.

Togo and EVIL hit the Magic Killer on SANADA but Hiromu Takahashi made the save before EVIL low blowed his former LIJ teammate and hit him with a Magic Killer as well. SANADA got a small package but it was not enough. Dick Togo got involved with his garotte, but Takahashi made the save and SANADA seized an opportunity to win the match with the Japanese Leg Rolling Clutch.

SANADA pinned EVIL (27:01)

This was a clear heel vs face match with some big high points when Takahashi made the save. The interference was not as bad as previous matches in that EVIL did look strong due to his own strengths for a lot of the match. They really built up the crowd’s desire for SANADA to win and it feels like he has arrived as an upper level star. There were many problems with the match. It was too long, and it highlighted many of SANADA’s more irritating tropes. Both EVIL and SANADA are not compelling unless you have a personal investment. Having 2 long and fairly dull matches back to back will hurt a lot of peoples interest in this show and it’s a great example of how the need to follow the modern New Japan house style and tropes actively hurts people’s perception of wrestlers

Show summary

B Block has been the weaker of the 2 blocks by far and the 2 Block finals are a perfect example of that. There were some good matches on the undercard and Tanahashi vs Sabre stood out but ultimately this will be remembered for the final 2 matches getting too much time and coming across as dull. For many, this will feel like a fitting end that sums up the B Block shows.

Top 10 B Block matches of G1 Climax 30 (by date order) 

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Tetsuya Naito (September 20th) – A fantastic battle between 2 longtime rivals, full of counters, desperation, and heart. 

Tetsuya Naito vs Zack Sabre Jr (September 24th) – Two clever wrestlers who really suit each other trying to out-think each other with a constantly changing tempo. 

YOSHI-HASHI vs Hiroshi Tanahashi (October 1st) – An even match where YOSHI-HASHI was booked to look like a match for his opponent. One of YOSHI-HASHI’s strongest looking performances. 

Zack Sabre Jr vs SANADA (October 6th)– A great match between 2 wrestlers trying to outthink each other with an interesting finish. 

YOSHI-HASHI vs Tetsuya Naito (October 6th) – YOSHI-HASHI looked credible, if slightly unbelievable, in an exceedingly long but exciting affair that had the crowd gasping out loud.

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs KENTA (October 6th) – KENTA and Tanahashi both targeted the legs in a long but enjoyably dramatic heel vs face match. 

Zack Sabre Jr vs Toru Yano (October 8th) – The funniest, and best, Yano match this year. This had great chemistry, innovation, and an evolving story. 

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Hirooki Goto (October 11th) – Tanahashi targeted Goto’s knee to neutralize the GTR, but was it enough? A great, short match. 

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs SANADA (October 14th) – Good opening mat work, good leg work, and some great counters but still containing SANADA’s inherent flaws. A bit too long for some. 

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Zack Sabre Jr (October 17th)– A constant battle of grappling and mat work focused on seizing opportunities. Reminiscent of matches like Inoki vs Fujinami.