Welcome everyone as today is the first day of New Japan’s G1 Climax! I am happy to say that Andrew and I will be teaming up together once again to cover this tournament as we did a couple of years ago. I will be covering the A Block this time around while he covers B Block, so be sure to check out both our coverages as we do this for your reading pleasure. Both blocks are stacked and the filthy gaijins are returning to Japan for this tournament. Who will be getting some points on the first night? Who will be the one!?
Let’s find out as we…dive right in.
- A Block Winner: Jay White
- B Block Winner: SANADA
- G1 Winner: Jay White
Star Rating System:
- 0 Stars: Dave Meltzer
- 1 Star: Vince Russo
- 2 Stars: Tony Schiavone
- 3 Stars: Eric Bischoff
- 4 Stars: Bruce Prichard
- 5 Stars: Jim Cornette
G1 Climax A Block Match
Will Ospreay vs. Yujiro Takahashi
Review: We kick off A Block with Yujiro Takahashi taking on the returning Will Ospreay! The last time Will appeared was before the quarantine and Will has officially moved to the heavyweight division after winning the Rev Pro British Heavyweight Championship. It’s been a while since Yujiro was apart of the tournament and is looking to make a big splash on the first night by defeating Will. Who wins the first match of G1?
We see an emotional Will making his entrance as you can tell how happy he is to be back in Japan. Yujiro had a quick little beatdown session to Will until he turned it into a Hurricanrana to send the pimp to the outside. You can well Will bulk up a bit during the quarantine but he was still able to show he’s still athletic in the ring like he always was. With Yujiro involved in these matches, I don’t fully expect anything stellar to happen but he does do his job well as the heel beating down the babyface while still making sure Will showcased his arsenal to make the match exciting for the fans.
Will finally lands a few forearms into the pimp after taking a beating for a brief while but Yujro would counteract with biting onto Will’s hand to make him let go. How did Will respond? By kicking his head in with his little springboard kick. Will chops Yujiro down and does a Running Shooting Star Press as Yujiro kicked out and Will quickly goes to the apron, jumping up the ropes to hit a Diving Forearm. Will attempts to hit the Oscutter but Yujiro pulled him in to hit the Olympic Slam and gets him down. Yujiro attempts the Pimp Juice but Will rolled behind him to roll him up as Yujiro kicked out at two. Yujiro hits a Lariat and calls for the Pimp Juice one more time as will fights out of it to hit a Hidden Blade out of nowhere! Will then picks Yujiro up to hit the Stormbreaker and gets the first victory in G1!
Rating: Tony Schiavone and three quarters
G1 Climax A Block Match
Jeff Cobb vs. Taichi
Review: Time for our next match as we have Jeff Cobb taking on the Holy Emperor himself, Taichi. These two fought each other last year on B Block where Jeff would defeat Taichi and is looking to do the same again for this tournament. Jeff has also signed a New Japan contract before this and he looks to make an impact as an official part of the roster. Will Jeff beat Lord Taichi twice or does the Holy Emperor get revenge?
Jeff keeps on attempting to lockup with Taichi but he would keep getting by the ropes, for now, causing Jeff to back up and keeps Taichi safe for a moment. Taichi would attempt a handshake with Cobb but he knows better than to call for a trick like that as Tichi attempts a kick as his foot is caught and Cobb chops him a bit. After a Dropkick from Cobb, the two are outside as Jeff looks to beat down the emperor some more but Taichi hits Cobb’s leg with a hammer and hits it a couple more times before dropping it to attack him. Taichi has been having an impressive year since they came back and he’s showing that he’s someone they can keep investing in if New Japan chooses to. Cobb’s performance at the last G1 was underwhelming and is looking to show he can do better in this match and he has shown signs of hope for that regard to happen.
Taichi had control of the match when they got back in the ring. only for Cobb to hit a Lariat to get him down and the ball is now in his court. Cobb leaps pretty far into the ropes to splash into Taichi and picks him up for a Back Suplex as he ran with it. Cobb lifts Taichi up as the emperor rakes his eyes and kicks his leg a couple of times but Cobb was able to throw him into the corner, rushing into him as Taichi jumped out of the way this time and hits his head in. Time for the pants to come off as Taichi rips them off before attempting a kick as Cobb catches his leg and pulls him up for a Fireman’s Carry as he tosses him to hit a Brainbuster, and a Moonsault after but Taichi kicked out! Cobb attempts a Tour of the Islands as Taichi rolled forward with him to attempt a Small Package as Cobb kicked out at two. Cobb attempts a Splash in the corner as Taichi moved again to kick him in the back of the head and pulls him in to hit the Backdrop. Taichi calls for the Black Memphisto but Cobb fights off to hit a Gutwrench Suplex, then hits another one, and before he could do it a third time, he had him up for a Powerbomb but Taichi squirmed out of it but Cobb catches him for a Spinning Back Suplex. Cobb goes for the Tour of the Islands again and Taichi fights out of it, hitting his leg with a kick and then a Jumping Kick to Cobb’s head as he hulked up, only to be caught in a Superkick. Taichi picked him up to hit the Black Memphisto and get the pinfall victory over Cobb!
Rating: Eric Bischoff and a quarter
G1 Climax A Block Match
Minoru Suzuki vs. Tomohiro Ishii
Review: We’re at the halfway point for day one now as the NEVER Openweight Champion, Minoru Suzuki will take on Tomohiro Ishii. These two always bring out the best of each other and there’s no doubt they’ll do it again in the first round. Suzuki was unable to participate last year and is looking to show why that was a big mistake on New Japan’s part. Will the champ get the first win or does Ishii take him down a peg?
Welp, if you wanted a war with these two, this is what you got in this match as these two destroyed each other here. The two started punching and slapping each other soon as the bell rang and it seemed like it wouldn’t stop until Suzuki doesn’t give Ishii a chance when the king chops and punches him into the corner but Ishii quickly stood up and sends him into the corner with some stiff forearms. I never expected them to disappoint me in their matches and the whole thing had a NEVER Openweight type fell in here without the title even being on the line. The two of them hit hard and bring that extra intensity to each other to make sure the match was a not missed type. Whenever these two hit each other, you can just hear how hard the impact is without the need to slap their thigh or anything, and there comes a point in time that you just feel it, that’s how hard they’ve hit each other here.
The two exchange punches but the king get Ishii into the corner to chop and beat him down once again as Ishii fights off after getting hit with a running kick and attempts a Back Suplex, making Minoru fight it a bit but Ishii hits it this time. They both go blow for blow now and you can just hear the thud when they hit each other with their forearms and it just keeps getting more painful than the previous hit to each other. Suzuki would eventually win that little battle as he hits Ishii with three stiff forearms, making the Stone Pitbull fall down to the mat. Suzuki attempts to kick him in the face but Ishii moved out of the way and went behind him to hit a German Suplex. Suzuki has the Sleeper locked in for a moment before turning Ishii around to hit the Gotch Style Piledriver but Ishii had him up Alabama Slam style and drop him on his head to stop him. Ishii goes to pick him up as Suzuki turned it into a Sleeper once again before attempting the Gotch Style Piledriver one more time as Ishii flipped him over to stop him again. The two have a slapping contest again with Suzuki getting him down again and hits a Sliding Kick as Ishii got up right away and hits a Lariat onto the king! Suzuki starts laughing for a moment but Ishii shuts him up with a Headbutt and another Lariat as Ishii calls for the finish. Ishii attempts the Vertical Drop as Suzuki counters by rolling him around and twists him a bit to get the Gotch Style Piledriver as it connects, giving the king his first victory in the G1!
／— njpwworld (@njpwworld) September 19, 2020
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Rating: Bruce Prichard and a half
G1 Climax A Block Match
Shingo Takagi vs. Jay White
Review: It’s now time for the semi-main event as we have The Dragon, Shingo Takagi taking on the returning leader of Bullet Club, and The Switchblade, Jay White. Jay appears to be the odds on favorite to win the whole thing and a win here could help increase his chances. The two fought last year as Jay was able to defeat Shingo and odds are that it could happen again. Will Jay beat Shingo twice or does Shingo prove he’s better?
It’s good to see Jay back in the ring and it seems like he hasn’t changed a bit as he rolls to the outside of the ring once the bell rang, annoying the dragon along with the crowd with Jay taunting them saying it’s going to be his year. The two finally locked up and it seems as though Jay has control at first and kept holding onto the headlock, even when Shingo tries to escape, Jay finds a way to get him back into it. Shingo eventually fights him off, hitting Jay with a couple of Lariats into the corner and as Shingo climbs to the top rope, Jay rolled out of the ring once again. Shing would eventually follow him as Gedo hits him from behind to give Jay some time to breathe. When Shingo had his sights on Gedo, Jay would attack him from behind and slammed Shingo’s back into the guardrail a few times for good measure while taunting the commentators. There are times where it felt like Jay doesn’t fully need the interference in his matches but at the same time, he’s able to make them work the way he does here and doesn’t feel overdone like when EVIL was doing it during his short rise to the top. While their match last year was better, this was still an enjoyable contest and it was good to see Jay back in a New Japan ring, working with one of the best like Shingo for a return match.
Jay hits Shingo with an Atomic Drop and would quickly hit the DDT to get the dragon down onto the mat for a moment. Jay hits a couple of European Uppercuts onto Shingo but Shingo caught the third one and turns it into the Blood Fall as it connects. Jay was slowly crawling to the corner but Shing would reel him in wheel barrel style and hits a German Suplex. Shingo was attempting to hit the Made in Japan but White kept struggling, so Shingo would turn it into a Gutbuster for now and Shingo pins him for a two count. Shingo hits Jay with a back elbow after failing to hit the Made in Japan again but Gedo is up on the apron to try and distract Shingo, leading to Jay to roll him up as Shingo kicked out at two. Jay picks Shingo up to hit the Kiwi Crusher as Shingo kicked out at two. Jay calls for the Blade Runner but Shing would pull his hair to try and stop him, leading to Jay hitting a few elbows and as he goes to swing, Shingo moved and catches Jay for the Made in Japan, and Jay kicked out at two! Gedo tries to distract Shingo again but gets knocked out before he goes to Jay, hitting him with the Pumping Bomber. Shingo goes for the Last of the Dragon as Jay struggled to hold onto the ropes and makes sure Red Shoes gets knocked down before Shingo hitting the move, making the ref unable to cover and Shingo was unable to get that win. Shingo gets Jay up while the ref was still down as Jay hits Shingo with a low-blow to get him down. Jay hits Shingo with the Regal Plex as Shingo kicked out at two and Jay would eventually hit the Blade Runner onto the dragon, getting his first win in the tournament to knock down the dragon!
Rating: Eric Bischoff and three quarters
G1 Climax A Block Match
Kazuchika Okada vs. Kota Ibushi
Review: It’s now time for the main event of the show as Kazuchika Okada takes on Kota Ibushi. The two fought each other on the final day last year with Kota defeating Okada to advance to the finals, and even win the whole tournament. The rematch was at Wrestle Kingdom 14 where Okada defeated Ibushi to avenge his loss and retain the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at that time. This time, Okada has no belt and things could be different this time around. Who will win this rubber match?
The two start off with a simple lock-up and the two began to do chain wrestling to get the crowd warmed up without doing anything particularly crazy in the match yet. Soon as Okada was able to get back control, Ibushi catches him for a Hurricanrana, causing Okada to roll to the outside. Ibushi attempted a Baseball Slide as Okada moved out of the way but got hit anyway before Ibushi attempts an Asai Moonsault, making Okada pull him down and throw Ibushi into the guardrail. Okada would eventually have control of the match for a moment after while still keeping things even with Ibushi. Okada threw Ibushi into the ropes as Ibushi would hit him with a jumping kick and then would get to have some momentum in the match after hitting a beautiful Dropkick. If you had to compare their previous trilogy, this one would be considered the weakest of the three while still being a great match, it just felt like it was missing that one element to surpass their last two encounters and this one felt a little more basic compared to them.
Ibushi attempts a German Suplex as Okada fought it off but Ibush would Irish Whip him as Okada hits him with an elbow and gets the crowd hyped up. Okada attempts to get Ibushi over his shoulders but Ibushi fights him off for a moment until Okada hits an Uppercut to get him into the corner. Okada ran after him as Ibushi rolled out of the way and hits Okada with a Pele Kick. Okada does his first attempt to apply the Cobra Clutch as Ibushi knees him in the gut to break the hold and ran towards him, only to be caught into a Reverse Neckbreaker and Ibushi is down. Okada quickly gets him into a Russian Leg Sweep and would turn it into the Cobra Clutch again and has it locked in until Ibushi’s foot got to the rope to break the hold. The two are outside as Okada is looking to hit the Tombstone but Ibushi was able to escape and hits an Asai Moonsault to the outside and was a thing of beauty. Ibushi gets him on the top rope and was going for the Hurricanrana but Okada catches him and sets him up for the Tombstone position as Ibushi fought him off and barely catches him for Hurricanrana! Ibushi attempts to long dart him as Okada filled over him to attempt a Tombstone but Ibushi would flip over him next to get a package in but wait, Okada flipped over again and hits the Tombstone this time. The two would eventually get up and meet each other with forearms until Ibushi hits one to get Okada down again. Ibushi would go to the corner as he attempts the Boma Ye, only to be caught by Okada as he hits a spinning Tombstone this time around! Okada applies the Cobra Clutch again, attempting to make the Golden Star tap out but Ibushi flips him over to break loose as Okada ran towards him to attempt a Dropkick as Ibushi moved out of the way. Okada attempts one more Tombstone as Ibushi fought off and ran into Okada, only to be met with a Dropkick and Okada throws him into the ropes to hit another Dropkick. It looked like Okada was gonna attempt the Kamigoye but Ibushi caught him midair with a Powerbomb and would hit a running knee to daze him. Ibushi quickly got up and hits the Kamigoye onto Okada, getting the big victory over the former champ! Okada hasn’t attempted a single Rainmaker in this match which was shocking but also protected it. Since Okada isn’t the champ right now and is in a cool down phase, we might be able to see him lose more than two matches this time around.
Rating: Bruce Prichard
Overall: Plenty of fun matches to go around for the first day of the G1 Climax and we’re in for a ride if they can keep this up for the remainder of the tournament. Not many shocking victories for this day but they’ll be happening for the rest, that’s for sure. And away we go.
Favorite Match: Minoru Suzuki vs. Tomohiro Ishii
Least Favorite Match: Will Ospreay vs. Yujiro Takahashi
A Block Standings:
- Kota Ibushi: (1-0) (2 Points)
- Jay White: (1-0) (2 Points)
- Minoru Suzuki: (1-0) (2 Points)
- Taichi: (1-0) (2 Points)
- Will Ospreay: (1-0) (2 Points)
- Kazuchika Okada: (0-1) (0 Points)
- Shingo Takagi: (0-1) (0 Points)
- Tomohiro Ishii: (0-1) (0 Points)
- Jeff Cobb: (0-1) (0 Points)
- Yujiro Takahashi: (0-1) (0 Points)