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Kevin’s NJPW G1 Climax 30 Night Eighteen Review

October 17, 2020 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
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Kevin’s NJPW G1 Climax 30 Night Eighteen Review  

NJPW G1 Climax 30 Night Eighteen
October 17th, 2020 | Ryogoku Kokugikan Sumo Hall in Tokyo, Japan | Attendance: N/A

After an A Block finale that was quite surprising (Kota going for a third straight year, Willy’s new stable), B Block has a chance to do something similar. Or they could keep things simple. It’ll be interesting to see which route they go.

B Block: Toru Yano [6] vs. YOSHI-HASHI [2]
Surprisingly, the CHAOS buddies only met once in singles competition back in the G1 26, which Yano won (**¼). There’s nothing on the line here. Yano was up to his usual antics and found himself taped to YOSHI-HASHI’s bow staff and the guardrail. He squeezed through the railing to beat the countout but now had an illegal object taped to him. Yano got free and went for a low blow but HASHI caught it and rolled through into a win after 6:10. It was fine but it’s hard to really get behind this stuff when it has no impact on the tournament. [**]

B Block: Hirooki Goto [8] vs. Juice Robinson [6]
They’re 2-2 against each other. Goto won their two NEVER Openweight Title matches at New Beginning in Sapporo 2017 (***¾) and Road to Wrestling Dontaku 2018 (****). Juice took the two G1 outings in 2018 (***¼) and 2019 (***½). Juice made it clear that he wanted to get to at least 10 points this year. As he has struggled, his demeanor backstage has changed and he’s given less interviews and such. As usual, these two put on some good back and forth. You got the sense that Juice was dying for that win. He’s consistently put on good matches in the G1 but his point totals are low or a guy with such talent. Near the end, Juice had Pulp Friction blocked multiple times, which has happened a bunch in this tournament. I’m thinking he gets a new finisher soon. Still, he weathered the storm here and won with Pulp Friction after 12:08. Quality pro wrestling. [***¼]

B Block: Hiroshi Tanahashi [6] vs. IWGP Tag Team Champion Zack Sabre Jr. [10]
Long history here. They’re 4-4 against each other in 8 contests since 2017. ZSJ won in the G1 27 (****¼), 2018 New Japan Cup Finals (****½), G1 Supercard last year (****), and Destruction in Beppu (***¾). Tanahashi won at Destruction in Hiroshima (***¾), 2019 New Japan Cup (****), G1 29 (****¼), and Royal Quest (****). It’s usually really good stuff. The positioning of Tanahashi is interesting. Where does he go now that he’s finished with single digit points for two straight G1 tournaments? You know how Taichi/Ibushi was just two guys kicking each other non-stop? Well, this was just two guys working the mat in terrific fashion for most of it. There were smooth counters galore and you could see them trying to outdo one another. I loved that it played into the finish. Tanahashi hit Ace’s High but Sabre Jr. rolled through into a pin, only for Tanahashi to keep rolling. He secured a pin and won in 12:02, yet he also kept hold of the pin for a count of 7 or 8 just rub it in. Really good stuff here and they got me invested despite the lack of stakes. [***¾]

B Block: KENTA [8] vs. IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Champion Tetsuya Naito [12]
If Naito wins, SANADA is out and only EVIL would have a chance to win the block. Their only prior meeting was at New Beginning in Osaka this year (***½). Obviously, there’s bad blood from that and KENTA’s attack at Wrestle Kingdom. KENTA went for quick pinfalls to start, which is interesting and needs to be attempted more in the G1, even if we don’t bite on the near falls. Other than that though, it was worked at a very slow pace and that meant it was going to last a while. KENTA’s heat segment was rather dull, though it picked up a bit in the back half. They had some good exchanges, like the GTS counter, but again, you don’t bite on that first Destino. It’s like a rule. The finish was quite cool, as KENTA countered Destino into an inside cradle to win in 21:06. More people should have counters like that ready for a move Naito does so often. This was pretty good. Naito is now eliminated. [***]

B Block: EVIL [12] vs. SANADA [10]
Winner takes the block. EVIL holds a 2-1 advantage in their head-to-head history. SANADA won in the G1 27 (****) but EVIL won in the G1 29 (***¾) and this year’s New Japan Cup (***½). This is really cool on paper. LIJ worked as a stable as it set up Naito’s #2 and #3 as future stars who a G1 block can come down to. Plus, they’re former tag champions. Unfortunately, neither guy has been killing it in the ring lately and have regressed since the early LIJ days. Unfortunately, this featured a lot of the stuff from their recent work that I don’t enjoy. EVIL had a lot of help and is not really the guy who should be working these long matches. Remember when he used to look awesome in 12-15 minute sprints? He did plenty of stalling to pad out the runtime and SANADA isn’t the guy to get me invested in his work against that. EVIL’s offense was sluggish as hell. SANADA’s was better and I did get a kick out of the Paradise Lock getting put on both guys. When Togo got involved again, Hiromu Takahashi, who was a guest on commentary, hopped in to even the odds. After a LONG 27:01, SANADA won with a surprising Japanese leg clutch. It had a few shining moments and SANADA was solid on offense. That said, it went way too long, lacked drama, was dull, and not even Hiromu could make it much better. [**½]

SANADA vs. Kota Ibushi is your finals.

Kota Ibushi *WINNER* 14 (7-2) SANADA *WINNER* 12 (6-3)
Will Ospreay 12 (6-3) EVIL 12 (6-3)
Jay White 12 (6-3) Tetsuya Naito 12 (6-3)
Kazuchika Okada 12 (6-3) Zack Sabre Jr. 10 (5-4)
Taichi 8 (4-5) KENTA 10 (5-4)
Jeff Cobb 8 (4-5) Hiroshi Tanahashi 8 (4-5)
Shingo Takagi 8 (4-5) Juice Robinson 8 (4-5)
Tomohiro Ishii 8 (4-5) Hirooki Goto 8 (4-5)
Minoru Suzuki 6 (3-6) Toru Yano 6 (3-6)
Yujiro Takahashi 2 (1-8) YOSHI-HASHI 4 (2-7)
The final score: review Average
The 411
That was a show that happened. Until the main event, it moved along relatively quickly and didn’t feature anything that was outwardly bad. However, it lacked a lot of what made yesterday’s show so strong and ended on a whimper. Gedo’s love for overly long main events has been a problem for YEARS in NJPW even if some are only noticing it now.

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G1 Climax 30, Kevin Pantoja