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Kevin’s NJPW G1 Climax 30 Night Five Review

September 27, 2020 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
Jay White NJPW Best of the Super Jr. 26, NJPW G1 Climax
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Kevin’s NJPW G1 Climax 30 Night Five Review  

NJPW G1 Climax 30 Night Five
September 27th, 2020 | Kobe World Hall in Kobe, Hyogo | Attendance: 2,548

We’ve got quite the lineup today. Rematches from last year’s Best of the Super Juniors Finals, Wrestle Kingdom 13, and past G1 classics.

A Block: IWGP Tag Team Champion Taichi [4] vs. Yujiro Takahashi [0]
Two slimy wrestlers. Both are guys who I don’t usually look to for strong performances. However, Taichi has been very good so far while Yujiro hasn’t shit the bed. For the most part, this was relatively solid. It’s just hard to get invested when neither guy is someone to really root for. They both tried their hand at some underhanded tactics like choking and such. That was basically the story here as each guy did their best to be scummier than the other. In the end, Taichi got that win with a low blow and Gedo clutch after 11:03. A bit long for these two but I didn’t hate the story. Plus, it was more enjoyable than what Okada did with Yujiro. Basically, Taichi > Okada. [**¾]

A Block: Jeff Cobb [2] vs. NEVER Openweight Champion Minoru Suzuki [2]
The only meeting between these two in the past came in RevPro. Jeff Cobb is such an odd case for me. Hoss gaijins usually excel in NJPW. Look at War Machine, Vader, and even terrible people like Michael Elgin. Cobb should be in that conversation but he has continued to peak at just being good. I’m still waiting for him to hit that next level. Along those lines, this match should rule on paper. Suzuki was game to grapple with Cobb and when Cobb tried to trade forearms with him, the NEVER Champion laughed them off. He was not in a good mood after losing to Taichi. They kept this relatively short and it never felt like Cobb really challenged Suzuki. Suzuki won in 9:24. It was kind of the most 6/10 match you could ever see. [***]

A Block: Kota Ibushi [2] vs. Tomohiro Ishii [0]
These guys have three prior meetings. One at Back to Yokohama Arena in 2014 (****¾) that Ishii won and two Ibushi wins in the G1 27 (****¼) and G1 28 (****½). Needless to say, I have high expectations. I don’t think there’s a protected match that can headline the Dome in 2021, so why not say screw it and book Ishii to win the G1? Dude has been MVP of it for YEARS. This was kind of the Ishii G1 special. It was two guys hitting each other hard and trying to prove who the tougher man was. I liked that it felt like a true fight at times. You got the sense that Ishii was desperate to not fall to 0-3 and Ibushi wasn’t about to lose two straight on his road to a possible third straight finals appearance. It never felt like it fell into the slow start/hot finish formula, as it was a war from the opening bell. Ibushi hitting his own brainbuster was pretty rad. The fact that they were wailing on each other allowed for the bigger offensive moves to really hit home and get a pop. My favorite spot might’ve been Ishii chopping Ibushi in the throat, only for Ibushi to punch him there in response. The finish saw Ishii fall to some knee strikes and Kamigoye after 15:41. That felt like a true struggle, didn’t overstay its welcome, and was just what I want from these two. [****¼]

A Block: Shingo Takagi [0] vs. Will Ospreay [4]
Their BOSJ finals meeting last year was called the MOTY by many. It didn’t even crack my top 50 but I still enjoyed it (****¼). It suffered from going too long and going overboard with the false finish/big spots late. Thankfully, there’s a time limit in the G1, so that should help. Also, Will Ospreay is an awful person. With that out of the way, it’s onto today’s match. They opened this with one of those fast paced rope-running spots filled with counters and near-misses. It was ATROCIOUS. None of it looked even remotely like it could have connected. I appreciate the athleticism it takes for these and often like them but not when they look like this. It also seems a bit out of place for them as they’re now heavyweights. Anyway, the stuff that didn’t look contrived came off really well. I dug the fact that even though Willy has bulked up, Shingo could still murder him with a clothesline or two. It would stop him in his tracks. There were plenty of the great exchanges you remember from last year and ones that looked far better than that opening. This was a war but came across as being different from the previous match, which was appreciated. Some of the closing stretch stuff went back to being contrived as well, though I did appreciate them keeping this to 22:03. Shingo won with Last of the Dragon. Not as good as last year’s encounter due to some of the issues I noted. Shingo winning is big and I know it won’t happen but I’d be down for him in the finals. He and Hiromu have been the company’s best for a while now. [****]

A Block: Jay White [4] vs. Kazuchika Okada [2]
I love Jay White. Okada, not so much. Their history is an interesting one. White beat him in the G1 28 (***¾) and again at Wrestle Kingdom 13 (****). Unjustly, White’s run at the top was cut short for a boring Okada reign when the Okada beat him at G1 Supercard (***). The thing is that Okada has been wildly mediocre in 2020 (and honestly in 2019 but nobody wants to admit that). That doesn’t lend itself to success here. This fit a lot of the trends that we’re becoming used to in White matches. He’s so good at being a dick heel and nails every little mannerism that he has to. Okada played off of him well here but still feels like he’s a step behind a lot of guys in this G1. Okada actually seemed to have White beat at a few points but made a critical mistake. He kept going for the Money Clip (cobra clutch) to win. White continually had that weak move scouted and eventually countered it into the Switchblade to win after 18:48. Hell yeah! End that Okada main event in under 20, baby! I’m here for the Jay-1 Climax. A pretty good match that was boosted by White’s character bits. [***¼]

Jay White 6 (3-0) Tetsuya Naito 4 (2-0)
Taichi 6 (3-0) Toru Yano 4 (2-0)
Kota Ibushi 4 (2-1) Juice Robinson 4 (2-0)
Minoru Suzuki 4 (2-1) Zack Sabre Jr. 2 (1-1)
Will Ospreay 4 (2-1) KENTA 2 (1-1)
Kazuchika Okada 2 (1-2) EVIL 2 (1-1)
Jeff Cobb 2 (1-2) Hirooki Goto 2 (1-1)
Shingo Takagi 2 (1-2) Hiroshi Tanahashi 0 (0-2)
Tomohiro Ishii 0 (0-3) SANADA 0 (0-2)
Yujiro Takahashi 0 (0-3) YOSHI-HASHI 0 (0-2)
The final score: review Good
The 411
This show was rather indicative of the G1 30 so far. There were flashes of brilliance but also some underwhelming bouts and nothing that honestly feels like it’ll be all that memorable once the tournament is over. This was a strong night, with things ranging from pretty good to great.

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G1 Climax 30, Kevin Pantoja