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Kevin’s NJPW G1 Climax 30 Night One Review

September 19, 2020 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
Kota Ibushi NJPW G1 Climax 29 Final
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Kevin’s NJPW G1 Climax 30 Night One Review  

NJPW G1 Climax 30 Night One
September 19th, 2020 | EDION Arena Osaka in Osaka, Japan | Attendance: 2,401

It’s a bit later than usual but the G1 Climax is back. It’ll be an interesting year considering the lack of crowds and just how strange 2020 has been overall. Just a note of how I’d rank the G1s that I’ve seen so far. 24 > 27 > 28 > 26 > 23 > 29 > 25.

A Block: Will Ospreay [0] vs. Yujiro Takahashi [0]
I will do my best to not harp on it but it’s disgusting that Willy is still being booked by NJPW. I always knew he was scumbag and the #SpeakingOut movement only added to it. I feel the same way about the others continuing to be booked, so it has nothing to do with how I previously felt about him. No PIETER with Yujiro, so is it really even the G1? My biggest complaint about Willy’s G1 outing last year was that they tried to make him into the a guy that he wasn’t. He’s not the 25-30 minute guy. He’s at home in shorter matches and thankfully, this was kept short. It helps that Yujiro isn’t a guy who works long, so this might be a one-off. Hopefully not. This allowed Ospreay to get all of his signature stuff in and showcase the fact that he can still move quickly despite bulking up. Yujiro also wrestled this straight-up, avoiding underhanded tactics. Ospreay won with Stormbreaker in 7:34. [***]

Post-match, Ospreay cut a HILARIOUS promo where he called himself the best wrestler in the world. And people thought it was funny when Seth Rollins said WWE had the best wrestling in the world. I don’t expect Will to win this but if he does, it’ll be a really bad look for the company.

A Block: Jeff Cobb [0] vs. Taichi [0]
Cobb beat Taichi in the G1 29 (**¾). Both guys had pretty mediocre runs last year. I think the only great match either man had was with Ishii. Taichi opted for a more traditional and straightforward approach. Maybe without Fale and Tama Tonga around, the G1 will actually feature less nonsense but Gedo’s booking so I doubt it. When Taichi drops all that, he’s pretty solid. This worked out to be a good match that featured Cobb’s power game against the cunningness of the Suzuki-Gun member. A lot of this followed the G1 formula of starting slow before picking up down the stretch. Once Cobb began throwing him around, it got better. Taichi won with Black Mephisto in 12:47. Good, quality pro wrestling and I can’t ask for much more from these two. [***¼]

A Block: NEVER Openweight Champion Minoru Suzuki [0] vs. Tomohiro Ishii [0]
Their last G1 meeting came way back in 2013 (****). Their other singles matches were over the RevPro Title. I saw two of those (***¾ and ****¼). As you’d expect, they went right into it by hammering away at each other. There’s no wasting time with these two. They are there to beat the hell out of each other and go home. I love that mentality. This reminded me a lot of Suzuki’s New Japan Cup bout against Yuji Nagata in that it just felt angry. You got the sense that they disliked each other even if they don’t have a long history. There were points where they weren’t even hitting each other hard. They were just slapping and kicking each other as a way to talk shit. After tons of strikes, they moved into counters, blocking each other’s suplexes and such. Eventually, Suzuki used the Gotch Style Piledriver to win in 13:00. We’ve seen it a ton from these guys and together, they do it well. A sprint where two guys tried to murder each other. Look NJPW, just keep things short and sweet. [****]

A Block: Jay White [0] vs. Shingo Takagi [0]
White beat Shingo in last year’s G1 (***¼), ironically on the same night as Taichi/Cobb. It’s Jay’s first match in Japan since the pandemic. He was back to his old shenanigans of taking a powder at the bell and doing all of the little heel things expected of him. The issue for him was that Shingo had the size advantage. Wild to think that the man was booked as a junior heavyweight for a while. He battered White whenever he got an opening and the former IWGP Heavyweight Champion looked overwhelmed. You also got the sense that White was a bit rusty as some of his stuff didn’t quite have you’d want from it. After a ref bump, White hit a low blow and Blade Runner to win in 19:28. Another good match but one that felt like it needed White to be a bit more ready for this spot after so much time off. [***¼]

A Block: Kazuchika Okada [0] vs. Kota Ibushi [0]
This was mostly protected for a while. They met in 2014 (****¼) when Ibushi was Jr. Champion and in 2017 when he was Tiger Mask W (****). Last year, Ibushi beat him in the G1 to win his block (****) and Okada bested him at Wrestle Kingdom this year (****¼). Early on, we got the expected G1 slowdown as they soaked in the crowd adoration. Almost immediately, you could tell that this would follow Okada formula. However, those who watched the New Japan Cup saw that it doesn’t really work with lesser crowds as it often relies on the crowd reacting big late. Of course, you know that Okada formula means the final few minutes were pretty fantastic. I liked the way they cut off some of each other’s top moves, clearly having scouted one another. Whenever they moved to strikes, Okada found himself in trouble and was wobbly-legged. Okada avoided Kamigoye but then Ibushi got going with a sitout powerbomb and running knee. He added Kamigoye for a surprisingly definitive ending after 21:35. I appreciated them seemingly building towards testing the time limit only for Ibushi to snuff him out in the end. Very good main event but a step below their prior matches. [***½]

A BLOCK POINTS B BLOCK POINTS
Kota Ibushi 2 (1-0) EVIL 0 (0-0)
Jay White 2 (1-0) Hirooki Goto 0 (0-0)
Minoru Suzuki 2 (1-0) Hiroshi Tanahashi 0 (0-0)
Taichi 2 (1-0) Juice Robinson 0 (0-0)
Will Ospreay 2 (1-0) KENTA 0 (0-0)
Kazuchika Okada 0 (0-1) SANADA 0 (0-0)
Shingo Takagi 0 (0-1) Tetsuya Naito 0 (0-0)
Tomohiro Ishii 0 (0-1) Toru Yano 0 (0-0)
Jeff Cobb 0 (0-1) YOSHI-HASHI 0 (0-0)
Yujiro Takahashi 0 (0-1) Zack Sabre Jr. 0 (0-0)
7.0
The final score: review Good
The 411
A good start to the tournament. You had nothing bad and everything got at least ***, with one match clocking in at ****. Consistent and relatively short, which is just what I’m looking for.
legend

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G1 Climax 30, Kevin Pantoja