We’ve made it through a month of tournament action, 9 match days each, and we’ve come to the culmination of all this work! Kota Ibushi vs SANADA for the G1 Climax 30!
Aside from the main event, we’ve got the first official match of Will Ospreay’s new faction. Shingo and Suzuki look to collide for their rubber match, so we’ve got a tag match to wet the whistle.
There are also a lot of interesting possible stories depending on who wins the other matches. Perhaps challengers for the 6 Man belts appear? Maybe EVIL or KENTA make their challenge towards Naito since they beat him in the round robin?
Let’s get down to it!
- Suzuki-Gun (Taichi, DOUKI, El Desperado & ZSJ) vs CHAOS (YOSHI-HASHI, Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano): DOUKI wins via Zack Mephisto @10:34 – ** ½
- LIJ (Hiromu Takahashi & Shingo Takagi) vs Suzuki-Gun (Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Minoru Suzuki): Hiromu wins via Time Bomb @11:54 – *** ¼
- Hiroshi Tanahashi, Jeff Cobb, Juice Robinson & Master Wato w/Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs Bullet Club (Taiji Ishimori, Gedo, KENTA & Jay White): Tanahashi wins via Texas Cloverleaf @9:12 – ***
- Great-O-Khan & Will Ospreay w/Bea Priestley vs Kazuchika Okada & SHO: Ospreay wins via Figure Four @12:36 – *** ½
- Darkness Club (EVIL w/Dick Togo & Yujiro Takahashi) vs LIJ (Tetsuya Naito & BUSHI): EVIL wins via Scorpion Deathlock @14:14 – ***
- G1 Climax 30 Finals: SANADA vs Kota Ibushi: Ibushi wins via Kamigoye @35:12 – ****
Suzuki-Gun (Taichi, DOUKI, El Desperado & ZSJ) vs CHAOS (YOSHI-HASHI, Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano)
Taichi actually wants to start, and handpicked Ishii; and we all know Ishii isn’t one to back down from a fight. This start really embodies the shift Taichi has taken as of late. He’s more serious, showing more of the Kawada style that we once expected, and not the character driven heel stuff Taichi was infamous for, for about a decade or so.
As for the match, it follows the normal multiman methodology. Each person gets time to come in and do a few things, nothing really overly surprising or noteworthy until the end. HASHI was starting to build some steam and show that fighting spirit that he’s been reinvigorated by, but Suzuki-Gun decided that wasn’t the story they were telling. After the usual everyone runs in and clears out spots, Dangerous Tekkers are still standing and hit Zack Mephisto on HASHI, then drape DOUKI over him.
🏆🍁G1 CLIMAX 30 FINAL🍁🏆
— njpwworld (@njpwworld) October 18, 2020
DOUKI doesn’t have many pinfall victories in New Japan, and him being a Junior Heavyweight covering a Heavyweight; it’s just an interesting look. DOUKI seems to have issued a challenge for the 6 man titles, so at least we have something for those belts going toward Power Struggle.
LIJ (Hiromu Takahashi & Shingo Takagi) vs Suzuki-Gun (Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Minoru Suzuki)
As we can expect, there’s bad blood everywhere in this match; and a lot of short tempers. Suzuki goes after Shingo immediately to show the bloodlust and need for the impending rubber match; while Hiromu and Kanemaru take control of the ring with Hiromu trying to prove something. Remember, Hiromu and BUSHI lost the Jr Tag tournament to Kanemaru and Desperado, so Hiromu has been on a bit of a losing streak.
Hiromu doesn’t get too much revenge since Suzuki takes a pot shot and gives Kanemaru the advantage. When Kanemaru brings in Suzuki, Suzuki mostly toys with Hiromu, even going as far as applying a Boston Crab for disrespect. Hiromu gets the tag into Shingo and he comes in hot, like we all expected. He takes it to both Suzuki-Gun members and then focuses on Suzuki himself.
They trade, they goad at each other, Shingo removes the athletic cuff and trainers tape from his banged up right arm, and they keep going at it. Forearm shivers, Tenryu Elbows, lariats, a Gotch Style Piledriver attempt but Shingo wriggles free hits the Death Valley Driver, Suzuki no sells and PK’s Shingo as they both fall to the mat looking for tags.
Kanemaru and Hiromu lock up in the crazy Junior way of fast strikes, inventive counters and a lot of intensity. Kanemaru brings Suzuki in for a tandem spot, which gets punctuated by a PK to Hiromu’s back from Suzuki and a Bakatare Sliding Kick from Kanemaru; Deep Impact follows the double team, but Shingo breaks it up. After Suzuki and Shingo brawl on the outside, Shingo and Hiromu do their own tandem move. Which amusingly, Shingo charges Hiromu and Irish Whips him into the corner against Kanemaru, and Hiromu has this wild happy look in his eyes. So it was just good amusement, Shingo goes back to Suzuki, Kanemaru tries to cheat with the whiskey bottle, but Hiromu gets away from it, Death Valley Driver in the corner, Time Bomb.
This sets up nicely for the NEVER Openweight rubber match and could also imply that Hiromu and BUSHI will be challenging for the Junior tag belts.
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Jeff Cobb, Juice Robinson & Master Wato w/Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs Bullet Club (Taiji Ishimori, Gedo, KENTA & Jay White)
— njpwworld (@njpwworld) October 18, 2020
So this was more of a fun style tag match. There are a lot of threads that can be pulled at in this match, but it just seemed like most of the wrestlers were having fun. Jay White starts bullying Wato a bit, even going as far as to mock Tenzan’s Mongolian Chops, to which Tenzan makes sure to retaliate when the referee isn’t looking.
Funnily enough, they didn’t play on the NJPW Strong story between KENTA and Jeff Cobb, they focused more on KENTA and Tanahashi. Juice was more of his goofy self in this match, Cobb actually looked more like a powerhouse catching and tossing a few Bullet Club members into one another.
Most of us could tell from his inclusion, that with Gedo in the match, he was going to eat the pin. We get Juice’s punch combination, Wato hit a nice Tornillo, Gachimuchi Sault from Cobb and the Texas Cloverleaf makes Gedo tap out.
Wrestle Kingdom 15 is announced as a 2 day event again! January 4 & 5, 2021!
Great-O-Khan & Will Ospreay w/Bea Priestley vs Kazuchika Okada & SHO
Body language is fun in the introductions. O-Khan comes out doing his gimmick, Will motions behind him to summon Bea and they walk out like smug posh royalty. Whereas SHO and Okada walk out somber, Okada just stares at the ring, SHO puts his mouth guard in, and once they get in, they rush O-Khan and Ospreay. Okada is pissed, and SHO is more than happy to help Okada with this problem.
This had a great dynamic of showing off O-Khan and getting across Ospreay’s new persona/faction identity. O-Khan started again SHO, and SHO was dominated early. We saw both O-Khan and Ospreay just beat on him, double team him, hell Bea got involved a few times for a triple team. SHO managed to scrap away some space and bring Okada in, and that was more like a chance to go even.
Okada struggled against O-Khan a bit, between his size and his interesting nearly feral Mongolian style. Mongolian Chops, Mongolian Shoteis, just great power and an old school Killer Khan vibe. Will on the other hand was very much the opportunistic shitty heel , coming in with a Pip Pip Cheerio on Okada, which stings. Stings because when Okada went Balloon Crazy and started doing his Scooby Dooby Doo Crossbody, it was because of Ospreay, sure it was his own naivety thinking Pip Pip Cheerio was just silly words, but that move meant a lot as how Ospreay initiated contact with Okada.
SHO was begging for a tag, so Okada obliged, since SHO has his own revenge to seek. And boy did SHO come out swinging on Naito. This feels even more like a family break up than EVIL leaving LIJ. Sure Naito and Hiromu were sad and hurt by the betrayal, but Okada and SHO are pissed at the insolence. Ospreay proved to be selfish and belligerent; so you could see it more as Okada failed him, and that fueled the Rainmaker.
However, since we’re establishing a new faction, they aren’t going to lose. Ospreay starts to fight back against SHO, even after gorgeous triplicate German Suplexes ( drei freunde if you will). Will places SHO’s right leg in the ropes, hits a Rolling Elbow and just drops him backwards, torqueing the tied up knee. Bea makes her presence felt again, and Dragon Screws SHO’s caught leg. All of this was to weaken the leg so Will could apply the Figure Four, as O-Khan used the Iron Claw Slam on Okada again, leaving a scene of carnage in their wake as SHO taps out.
Plays nicely into the Tag League coming up, but hopefully they don’t rush an Okada vs Ospreay match. I’d rather see some space build up between the two after the tag league.
Darkness Club (EVIL w/Dick Togo & Yujiro Takahashi) vs LIJ (Tetsuya Naito & BUSHI)
So the outcome may be a little obvious, but the story here is interesting. Naito Is teamed with probably the most loyal member of LIJ, against two people who betrayed him. Yujiro not only betrayed Naito when he kicked him out of CHAOS and No Limit, but Yujiro also betrayed CHAOS to join Bullet Club to cost Okada the championship. Then we get EVIL who amusingly went through Okada and betrayed Naito to join Bullet Club. So many of the players are the same, and Naito is in the running with Okada on who is the true Sting of New Japan.
Yujiro and Naito start off, and even though Naito does seem to be superior, Yujiro steps up his effort a little. This match did a good job at showing Yujiro with a modicum of dedication, and EVIL being a little less boringly heel in the match. Yes we all expected BUSHI to eat the pin, but the fact EVIL won with the Scorpion Deathlock and just held it, even while Naito tried to break it, sent a message.
Then after the win, Togo jumps Naito, EVIL hits Everything is Evil, and poses with the belts. So I guess the first defense that Naito will have to make, is against EVIL.
G1 Climax 30 Finals: SANADA vs Kota Ibushi
Masahiro Chono comes out to thank the fans and hype the G1, the winningest competitor in regards to G1 Finals. Makes sense to bring him back, but given the fact that Ibushi has a chance to be a back to back winner, and the only other 2 people to do that were Masahiro Chono and Hiroyoshi Tenzan, and they’re both on this show…seems a little sus.
This match started off very slow, but it was still intriguing. It was a feeling out portion that also felt like Ibushi was testing the limitations of his heavily bandaged leg. For about half of the match, it felt like they were both trying to wrestle the other person’s match, and it made for a weird yet compelling dynamic. Yes, there were a few sloppy spots like Ibushi not getting down far enough when ducking SANADA’s Dropkick to he got bonked in the head by SANADA’s arms, or just general footing issues during transitions, but the story made the match length feel much shorter.
SANADA stood up and swung with Ibushi more than you would expect someone to, when the opponent has such a huge target on their left leg. It took SANADA far too long to start aiming for the bad leg, and at that point, Ibushi was adjusting his offense. Ibushi went for the Golden Triangle Moonsault, SANADA moved, tried a low sliding Dropkick across the apron, but Ibushi jumped and landed a double foot stomp in SANADA’s chest for the effort.
Ibushi was starting to get things moving, but SANADA catches him with 2 Magic Screws and a Pop-up Cutter, before missing the second Moonsault and crashing into Ibushi’s knees. SANADA had one last gasp with a gorgeous Japanese Leg Clutch, but Ibushi literally got the shoulder up at 2.999. Ibushi hits a V-Trigger and a normal Kamigoye, but SANADA kicks out. Time to drop the knee pad, Exposed Knee Kamigoye, and Ibushi is the 3rd back to back winner in G1 history!
During post-match interview, Jay White tells him he’s got to defend the rights against him at Power Struggle.
Overall Score: 7/10
Well a fairly interesting but overall luke warm finish to a decent but not great tournament. The show suffered from obvious finishes, but at least they were done well and did build some interest for some angles. SANADA coming up short AGAIN, is probably going to lead to something bigger for him in 2021. He surpassed his old G1 top mark by 2 wins, he’s been a finalist in the two main singles tournaments NJPW has, but he can’t seem to win.
I’m pretty sure Will’s group is going by The Empire, though it should be Diablo Loco; and that looks impressive enough. One has to assume there will be a third male member added soon, maybe Robbie Eagles for BOSJ. Either way, at least that is interesting, especially given the Stardom tie with Bea and the multiple name drops. I don’t think it’s leading to a women’s division proper, but this could be a catalyst to help exposure for the brand.
Lastly, Jay challenging at Power Struggle is interesting. 2020 has been an odd year, Bullet Club has a lot of claims to Naito’s titles and we could see Ibushi lose the briefcase to Jay on November 7th. That would also add to the odd up and down year Ibushi has had, and possibly give some fuel to rumblings before of wanting to split up Tanahashi and Ibushi. We just need Tanahashi and Ibushi to challenge Dangerous Tekkers once more, fail and have Ibushi snap. Since, unless they put the belt back on EVIL (let’s not and say we did), having Jay play the Wrestle Kingdom foil is a lot better than Ibushi since Naito won’t really be a strong heel in Tokyo.
So yeah, it was an alright show, a bit too predictable and the Finals was sloppy even if the story it told did help the 30+ minutes go by quickly.