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Kevin’s NJPW G1 Climax 30 Night Three Review

September 23, 2020 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
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Kevin’s NJPW G1 Climax 30 Night Three Review  

NJPW G1 Climax 30 Night Three
September 23rd, 2020 | Hokkaido Sports Center in Hokkaido, Sapporo | Attendance: 1,961

I was going to suggest that NJPW should’ve gone back to putting both blocks on a single night since attendance isn’t going to be up to par anyway but I really like having these things be short events. We’ve got one match from each block so far at ****. However, this is one of the weaker nights on paper. Let’s see how it pans out.

A Block: Jeff Cobb [0] vs. Shingo Takagi [0]
These two had a banger in last year’s tournament (****). Also, it’s another edition of BIG MEATY MEN BUMPING MEAT! They delivered what I was hoping for. They battered each other and there’s honestly not much else to say about this without going into play-by-play. The interesting bit was also the strangest. You got the sense that some of Shingo’s best offense wasn’t quite working as well against bigger lads. That was a story I liked in the previous G1 because he had just come off of destroying junior heavyweights. Now, it makes less sense since he’s actually had success against bigger heavyweights. Made in Japan got two and he couldn’t hit Last of the Dragon, which led to Cobb scoring with Tour of the Islands to take the win in 11:44. The action was really good but like I said, I didn’t dig the story. Still, I could watch these two wail on each other for a while. [***¼]

A Block: Kazuchika Okada [0] vs. Yujiro Takahashi [0]
They’ve previously met in the G1 24 (**¾), G1 25 (***), and Sengoku Lord this year (**½). It’s tough to even find the energy to write about this because it was so bland. Even in a G1 where upsets occurs quite often, I don’t think anyone bought that Yujiro would steal this. He wasn’t even Rainmaker worthy, instead tapping to Okada’s mediocre Cobra Clutch submission after 12:01. Okada couldn’t put Yujiro away in under 10 minutes? [**]

A Block: NEVER Openweight Champion Minoru Suzuki [2] vs. IWGP Tag Team Champion Taichi [2]
Honestly, this was among the most intriguing matchups of the entire G1. Suzuki-Gun is usually kept apart in these tournaments but this was different. Surprisingly, Suzuki was aggressive as hell, going in for a choke before the bell. I know Suzuki’s aggression shouldn’t shock me but this was what he’d do against someone he hated and not a teammate. I liked it. That set the tone for what ended up being a brawl, which is right up the Suzuki-Gun alley and just what I wanted this to be. A ref bump here worked because it allowed them to really go overboard and wasn’t a case of overbooking. It fit with these characters. This also had added layers as you got the sense that Taichi was out for more than just two points. He seemed to be showcasing that he’s the superior Suzuki-Gun member. When he countered the Gotch Piledriver and hit Black Mephisto for the upset, I legitimately reacted. The whole thing went 12:11 and delivered the action I wanted and the story I wasn’t expected. Taichi staring down Suzuki with a smirk after the bell added intrigue. [***½]

A Block: Tomohiro Ishii [0] vs. Will Ospreay [2]
Will Ospreay is a garbage human. There you go. As far as we know, Tomohiro Ishii is a fantastic human being though and also a superior wrestler. Usually, that’s a recipe for Willy to do good. His best matches are against better guys like Tanahashi, Hiromu, Ibushi, etc. Here, they worked well together but it wans’t quite on the level that his matches against those other guys reached. I loved that Ishii declined the handshake at the bell and attacked. Ishii doesn’t care if you guys are buddies outside, once that bell rings, you’re his enemy. I think the biggest issue with this was that it was kind of grounded for most of the action. Ospreay did a lot of moves by the end but it felt like the early stages were just them dragging things out for the sake of it. Considering these two, a sprint would’ve been ideal. Let them hit big shit for 12-15 minutes and get out. While this going 18:20 wasn’t overly long, they didn’t fill it out with something great. There were elements, it picked up in a big way late, and it was very good, just not great. Ospreay hit Stormbreaker to win. [***½]

A Block: Jay White [2] vs. Kota Ibushi [2]
A rematch from last year’s G1 Finals (****) and Wrestle Kingdom this year (**¼). I know that people give Jay White shit for various reasons but I actually really enjoy him. He feels different and has great heel character work which is the variety that this company DESPERATELY needs. Too many guys, despite being great wrestlers in NJPW, feel like copies of copies. He started this by dissing the crowd for not chanting and only clapping, getting major heat. That played into the match as White continued to mock the audience and talk trash to Ibushi. He came across like the cunning heel that I loved from the early Switchblade days. Not the Bullet Club leader who has his matches ruined by overbooking and interference. Instead, he had the upper hand by being cunning and smart. Of course, similar to their Finals meeting last year, it hit a point where Ibushi just manned up. White leveled him and he no sold it before firing off kicks and strikes of his own that floored White. The work White did on the knee helped set up a submission and even though that didn’t get him the win, it still managed to slow down Ibushi some. Gedo hopped on the apron and faked throwing in the towel but they didn’t overdo his involvement. After Ibushi knocked him off the apron, White scored with Blade Runner to win in 20:28. I really dug that. White is such a good jerk heel and Ibushi brought what was needed for the babyface role, all while never going too long or being overbooked. I might’ve liked that more than the G1 Finals. [****]

Jay White 4 (2-0) Tetsuya Naito 2 (1-0)
Taichi 4 (2-0) Zack Sabre Jr. 2 (1-0)
Will Ospreay 4 (2-0) KENTA 2 (1-0)
Kota Ibushi 2 (1-1) Toru Yano 2 (1-0)
Jeff Cobb 2 (1-1) Juice Robinson 2 (1-0)
Minoru Suzuki 2 (1-1) Hiroshi Tanahashi 0 (0-1)
Kazuchika Okada 2 (1-1) EVIL 0 (0-1)
Tomohiro Ishii 0 (0-2) Hirooki Goto 0 (0-1)
Shingo Takagi 0 (0-2) SANADA 0 (0-1)
Yujiro Takahashi 0 (0-2) YOSHI-HASHI 0 (0-1)
The final score: review Good
The 411
Another night that didn’t blow me away but one filled with some very good wrestling. Only Okada/Yujiro was lame. I do have to admit that Ishii/Ospreay and Shingo/Cobb both underdelivered even if they were still good. White/Ibushi was a hell of a main event and Suzuki/Taichi was a blast.

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G1 Climax 30, Kevin Pantoja