New Japan Pro-Wrestling
G1 Climax 30: Night 14
October 11, 2020
Aichi Prefectural Gym
Aichi, Japan

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VOW G1 Climax 30 Standings & Scores: http://voicesofwrestling.com/g130pickem/

We are getting closer and closer to the end, my friends (after my reviews we’re still friends, right?). B Block is ready to go and try to wow us, so let us give them a fair shake!

Gabriel Kidd def. Yota Tsuji

They didn’t waste time throwing forearms this match. I’ve gone on about how good a dropkick Gabriel can throw, but Tsuji reminded me he can put a good one down also as he hit Gabriel Kidd with a nice looking one in the early portions of this match, followed by tying Gabriel Kidd in a painful knot/pinning combination. It wasn’t long before, wouldn’t you know it, I’m enjoying another Young Lion’s opener. The shock, I know. By this point, both men just work well together, and you are pretty much guaranteed a solid to very good effort with them working in the ring.

It’s Young Lions, so you never get anything over the top or extravagant, but they also are proving that they don’t need to in order to put on quality outings and efforts, and that’s something that will always come in handy. They got the necessary standard tools down, and that’ll always be in their kit and be important. This was a good solid opener that both men can add to their collection of good solid openers throughout the tournament. Bonus points to Gabriel Kidd talking some trash over a fallen Yota Tsuji after the match. More of that, fewer handshakes and shows of mutual respect in wrestling. ***

G1 Climax 30 B Block
Zack Sabre Jr. (8) def. YOSHI-HASHI (2)

YOSHI-HASHI has made the most of being in the G1 this year and has put on a solid tournament. That’s not fair, he’s been putting on a GOOD Tournament and has proven being here wasn’t the sore spot some of us admittedly thought it was. He’s in there with Zack Sabre Jr. so he ended up experiencing technical difficulties. (Get it? Because Zack’s style is… never mind.) The first portion of this match proves that correct as Zack just grounds him and torments poor YOSHI with hold after hold while being all nonchalant and cocky about it; in particular, YOSHI’s poor arm. If that’s not your thing, don’t worry, YOSHI doesn’t take forever to finally start taking it right back to Zack and delivering some shots of his own.

We have a period of YOSHI-HASHI attempting his butterfly lock submission that I never bought into, although Zack Sabre Jr. tried his hardest to get me to do so. I find the more damage done in a match, the better chance I have of actually biting on that hold. Zack ends up going back on attacking that arm (which I appreciate) when it’s time to turn the tide back once more. Limb work not being wasted is a bonus. At one point YOSHI reverses the armbar attempt into a pin and I bit on it legit. He then attempts to turn one into a powerbomb attempt and he pays dearly for that, as Zack decides he’s in need of a pretzel and YOSHI-HASHI makes a perfect candidate. It’s not pleasant looking. In the end, I found myself enjoying this. ***1/4

G1 Climax 30 B Block
KENTA (6) def. Toru Yano (6)

I told myself if this match ended with an immediate hard kick by KENTA and then a pinfall I’d give it the full ***** stars just because. Ref check found objects on Yano and I am shocked, shocked I tell you. Then KENTA picked up his briefcase, Yano has a chair, and I knew I wasn’t getting my wish. Okay, Kenta tricking Yano two times into giving up his weapon and then not doing so did amuse me. That earned a chuckle. KENTA did his best impression of my former 1982 Pontiac Sunbird, lots of stalling. We got Yano shenanigans (water bottles and turnbuckle pad throwing) and I’m just not into any of it.

They fight over a hand sanitizer bottle and the ref takes a bump after getting doused with it. Look, if you like what Yano matches do, you’ll probably find amusement out of this. I have fully admitted to being the fuddy-duddy. Truth is though you live by the shenanigans, you die by the shenanigans, and Yano fell to his shenanigans in this match, as he sometimes does. At the very least I’ll give credit to KENTA doing his part quite well in this match, and for that, I’ll bump this to a full star. I’ll also say Yano matches know their shelf life and very rarely overstay their welcome. At the same time, I never complain when they do leave. *

G1 Climax 30 B Block
SANADA (8) def. Juice Robinson (6)

Juice brings a lot of personality and energy to go with his talent and it helps him stand out and enhances things. SANADA, well, he’s a really good wrestler who sometimes disappoints and fails to connect with me. Juice controlled the first portion of this match and it felt standard and going through the basics. Crowd clapping along quite a bit did its best to get me into it, although it felt half-hearted at best. When SANADA hit his double leapfrog/dropkick spot I hoped things would pick up/pull me in a bit more, but it was the Paradise Lock (which I don’t like) that got the crowd really amped up, so putting my personal opinions aside it works.

As we got into the second half of the match, I kept waiting for it to hook me, and to their credit when they got to a Skull End/Pulp Friction reversal after reversal spot they finally succeeded. SANADA was rather stubborn about that sleeper but it was the moonsault that ended things. You may find yourself liking this more than me, but from my viewing, I found it paint by the numbers with a good segment that I did enjoy near the end, but not enough to convince me of having too high of an opinion about this match. They worked fine, it was solid, it makes it above three, but not by much. ***1/4

G1 Climax 30 B Block
Hirooki Goto (8) def. Hiroshi Tanahashi (6)

No matter the opponent, Goto’s theme always gets me amped for his match. Throw in that it was Tanahashi as the opponent and I had good expectations. Tanahashi wasted no time focusing on Goto’s leg (including a nasty looking knee breaker), which given Tanahashi’s submission finisher I was all into. Goto is banged up (or playing banged up really well), and he made sure to make it known his knee was getting damaged, which adds to the match and puts over that Tanahashi’s focusing is working. Small details can pay big dividends. They have the common forearm battle and both competitors seem to have a pep in their step when throwing them, and I’m hooked on this match and enjoying it.

Ten minutes went by but it hadn’t felt like ten. Goto hits a nasty Ushigoroshi from the top rope and remembers to sell the knee after doing it, and then shortly after the match comes to an end, and I am disappointed as I felt they could’ve been more of the match to be had. Guess it’s never too bad a thing when your complaint is you want a few more minutes. All that said they worked well together, Goto continued to sell the knee and sell it after the match, more damage done to an already battered Goto. While I wanted more time, this has been the best match on the show so far. Good wrestling from two wrestlers you shouldn’t expect anything less from. Bonus, Goto wins so I get to hear that sweet theme music one more time. ***3/4

G1 Climax 30 B Block
EVIL (10) def. Tetsuya Naito (10)

Dreaded this match going in. I was willing to concede the work might be good, but I was worried excessive interference and shenanigans would take me out. I knew there was going to be shenanigans. It was just a matter of how much and in what way. Also at this moment I looked at the time and sighed as I realized this might be going quite long. What didn’t take long was for Dick Togo to live up to his first name and start interfering and getting in his share of Naito abuse. Good solid action breaks out from there with EVIL dominating quite a bit at first, but Naito always getting enough of a turn so that it never feels more one-sided than it needs to. Ten minutes didn’t feel long but the fifteen-minute mark felt a bit longer. That said I wasn’t disliking the match while at the same time dreading how far over twenty it might choose to go.

I felt things picked up slightly from there and I found the work to stay around solid. Naito at least gets to fight off the few extra attempts to interject Togo, so it’s not too bad. I don’t mind watching Togo get denied. They have some fine sequences and I’m allowing myself to like the match. Surprisingly, the Togo shenanigans weren’t as bad as I thought they were going to be! A blessing to be sure, and actually enhanced EVIL’s victory in the end (that came after a nice sequence) even more. The final section of this match really helped it. Overall I thought it ended up good, it didn’t go too over the 20-minute mark (like I was originally fearing) and the Dick Togo shenanigans weren’t too terrible. This was a good main event to end this night. Nothing you have to make time out to see though. ***1/2

B Block Standings

EVIL [10]
Tetsuya Naito [10]
Hirooki Goto [8]
SANADA [8]
Zack Sabre Jr. [8]
Hiroshi Tanahashi [6]
Juice Robinson [6]
Toru Yano [6]
KENTA [6]
YOSHI-HASHI [2] – Eliminated

Final Thoughts

It was a ***-plus night which, while not necessarily a bad thing, doesn’t exactly make this show something you have to go out of your way to see. We are heading into the final bits of the Climax now. Only two shows remain before the three-night finale. With luck the B Block will put their best foot forward and try to end strong. This wasn’t strong. I didn’t regret watching it, but don’t feel you need to go out of your way to view.