OCTOBER 17, 2020

Daily Audio Reviews:
VOW G1 Climax 30 Standings & Scores:

NJPW’s G1 Climax 30 B Block will end thing tonight. We got our chance for our share of drama as those in the running will try to cross that finish line, and those out of the running will try to make their mark potentially at the expense of those trying to win. A Block hit a homer in their finale, will B Block follow along?

Gabriel Kidd def. Yuya Uemura

In a year of uncertainty, at least G1 Climax 30 has given us the consistency of fun Young Lion matches to start these shows. That is very appreciated. Just about every pair up of these Young Lions throughout this tournament has been enjoyable. Immediately into this match, I knew this would be no exception. Uemura focuses on Kidd’s arm and at one point locks him in an arm lock and rolls him around in a cool spot. Targetted limb work from one deserves it from the other and Kidd decides he wants the leg, so we get a battle of body parts between the two competitors. It’s fine stuff from both and I have minimal complaints.

Things pick up and forearms get thrown and as with yesterday, I don’t know what more to say. This is too Young Lions working well with each other just the same as just about every other match during this G1. Gabriel hits that dropkick of his that I enjoy, Uemura eventually succumbs and that’s all they wrote. Maybe on the lower end of Young Lion matches, I enjoy, but still a satisfying opener. There’s really little going wrong with what’s being offered here, and it’s always a good taster before we get down to business with the tournament matches. This lady is gonna go with the three stars but it’s earned three stars not a generous one. ***

G1 Climax 30 B Block
YOSHI-HASHI (4) def. Toru Yano (6)

YOSHI-HASHI has had a damn good G1 Climax 30. I’m happy for him. Toru Yano has had, a very Yano G1. Tastes and opinions on that may vary. We know how I feel about Yano matches, but maybe I’ll enjoy this one in the end? Yano not surprisingly has extra athletic tape everywhere and YOSHI-HASHI has hm discard it. Wait? This starts out as a straight forward wrestling match? I mean there are some shenanigans with the corner pad but we get locking up and chops! Huh. I’m slightly enjoying Yano’s tricks keep getting used against him. I admit I chuckled when it gets shown that YOSHI-HASHI has tape of his own. You get him YOSHI-HASHI!

Poor Yano’s arm is tied on the other side of the guardrail to YOSHI-HASHI’s stick which makes getting back in the ring difficult. Am I getting into this? What has happened? Yano goes for low blows, YOSHI-HASHI ain’t dealing with that today and YOSHI-HASHI finally gets his second win in what was a surprisingly fine match to me. I will never be on the Yano bandwagon by any stretch, but I didn’t mind that. It was short, involved YOSHI-HASHI turning Yano’s antics against him, nothing felt like it was too overdone or ridiculous. I’ve been hard on Yano throughout this entire tournament, perhaps to the point I come off hating fun. So here, I thought that was fun. ***

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G1 Climax 30 B Block
Juice Robinson (8) def. Hirooki Goto (8)

Neither has any chance, so this is more for pride and ending on a high note than anything, which can be motivation enough. I must be right as the slugging it out starts the match. Both men seem to have some energy and a pep in their step for this match, which is fine by me and hopefully bolds well! The first portion of this match involves Juice targetting Goto’s wrapped up shoulder which is definitely a target. To me, it wasn’t the most interesting of work, but it also made sense to do. Just as a random observation I enjoy me Goto’s running bulldog. He hits it during this match and it just looks nice. The work is fine, but up until a superplex from Juice it’s not really doing much for me. After that connects I find myself getting into it just a bit more and hope that my early premonitions about this match end up turning true after all.

They do get a bit of that fire back in them in and have a nice sequence where they go to execute, and fail, to hit their respective finishers. Match seems to have a little bit more energy now and I bite into a near far where Goto chokes him out and then rolls him into a pin which I liked. Another nice sequence with Goto trying to pretend Juice’s hand of god punch from happening fails and not long after that, it ends with Juice getting to eight points. The G in G1 does not stand for Goto I’m afraid. That struggled for me. It had it’s moments where I did get into it, but it never held me consistently. I was expecting a bit more from both men. We did get some nice sequences and a nice build to the finish. It’s a good win for Juice, and I didn’t hate it but I think it remained solidly in the like column and never flirted with me loving it. I’m about to throw out another three stars and it’s occurring to me that’s where I’ve been at all night so far. ***

G1 Climax 30 B Block
Hiroshi Tanahashi (8) def. Zack Sabre Jr. (10)

Both men are fighting to end on a strong note here. Knowing Zack, in order to do so, Tanahashi is going to have to give up an arm and a leg to accomplish this feat. It is mentioned they are 4-4 against each other going into this match which gives off how evenly matched they are. I find Zack and Tanahashi matches CAN be great but also at times good but underwhelming. This match starts off with quick pin attempts and good wrestling work between the two as I hope this lands in the great category. Despite my prediction of the arm and a leg it seems Zack Sabre Jr. fancies necks tonight. That’s what the first portion of this match focuses on as Zack Sabre Jr. really targets the next with Tanahashi struggling to avoid and get out of these situations. Usually not to the results he wants as Zack Sabre Jr. is stubborn as hell and just won’t stop with it. At one point Tanahashi despite being in a triangle reverses it into a version of a Scorpion Deathlock and it was an interesting spot that I liked.

Very technical and submission focused match with pin attempts and some other offense sprinkled in here and there. Tanahashi goes after the leg deciding he wants a body part for himself. Things pick up a bit as there’s a bit more speed into their actions and then just as I type that it ends with Tanahashi rolling up Zack Sabre Jr. and getting the victory. Zack Sabre Jr. is upset and goes after Tanahashi after the match frustrated that he got caught. I’m frustrated because it felt to me we were leaving the opening act, and then just skipped straight to the end. The work was fine, both men looked alright, and I convinced myself perhaps this was going to be a building block match. They laid a foundation down and then decided to just end it is how it felt. Those feelings aside I think it turned out well. The good news is I’d gotten myself out of the consistent three-star ratings as I do feel this was above that. The work was good, they mesh well, and I liked the neck work and the bits of fire we did get from each of them. This doesn’t get a bad rating, I just wanted to be able to get it a bit higher. ***1/2

G1 Climax 30 B Block
KENTA (10) def. Tetsuya Naito (12)

Naito needs to win and then needs Evil to lose. KENTA has no chance to advance but can make a huge statement here getting a victory over Naito. Their previous match got mixed feelings from everyone, I was in the camp of enjoying it so hoping this ends up being good, potentially great. I love KENTA goes for a surprise pinfall to start. I didn’t bite on it, but I appreciate the thought and beginning things that way. Match just feels slow and at times grounded at the beginning which isn’t me saying that’s a negative, just how the speed feels to start. We get a ref bump and a briefcase shot from KENTA very early on as Kenta gets himself a share of Naito abuse. The match is continuing at the same speed and I don’t have anything to really add to this summary.  Other than Kenta after the briefcase spot focuses on the neck and head. KENTA’s control segment is really uninteresting, especially with the lack of KENTA kicks other than a couple. I’m trying not to rush to judgment because I’ve learned a match can always switch gear later on and make up for the earlier portions.

After the ten minute mark, we start to get a bit more variety in offense and pace. Despite my initial hesitations I’m starting to enjoy this a bit more. I got to remember you got to let things build. I’ve also learned to never bite on the first Destino, and I don’t here when he reverses a GTS attempt into one. You could also see it coming to be honest. I absolutely like the ending where KENTA catches a Destino attempt with an inside cradle ending the match with the very move he started the match with. I liked that touch, it was nice. KENTA succeeds at removing Naito from the G1 contention and Naito is disappointed. I don’t know how I want to rate this. I don’t think it was bad, but I had a hard time getting into it and finding it interesting at times. I feel it’s going to be like their match back in February, people will have mixed opinions and views on it. I think it was a fine match, but one that never elevated or got to another level. I don’t think it came close to great but avoided the three stars plateau. We’ll go with ***1/4

G1 Climax 30 B Block
SANADA (12) def. EVIL (12)

Here we.

It comes down to the main event. It’s simple, the winner makes it to the Finals. If there’s a draw EVIL makes it to the final. The bottom line SANADA must win.  This is where I’m going to have to overcome a bit of bias as I’m not looking forward to this match up at all. I don’t have the highest of hopes. I will give them a chance to prove me wrong though, it does happen. Often if I’m to be fair. I’m stating the obvious but Dick Togo looks fly as fuck.  We get the EVIL shenanigans, stalling, Dick Togo interjecting, chair offense. Nothing you don’t expect. This isn’t very interesting to me and I find hands hovering over the keyboard not having anything to say or offer up. EVIL on offense is just a slog. Both Togo and EVIL get put in the paradise lock next to each other in what I guess is an amusing bit although it didn’t do much for me. I just don’t like the hold. When SANADA is on offense it’s a bit better, It does help though as SANADA does get some good moves in, and at the very least there feels like there are some attempts at life.

My favorite moment so far in this match is both missing clotheslines and SANADA hitting a nice springboard dropkick which did give me a desperately bit of waking up. It helps, but it’s not enough as I’m just not getting into this match at all. Even when SANADA gets some nice moments they are dragged down by how boring EVIL in control is being. This match makes me want to go back and upgrade several matches I was negative about due to pace/speed because this is putting me to sleep. We hit 20 minutes and I feel it. Things finally feel like they pick up slightly but it needed to much much earlier. SANADA gets a log extended Skull End attempt, and it doesn’t look very good to me. The match almost mercifully comes to an end but Dick Togo decides he must do things. I am totally out of this. Himoru, who was doing commentary, has enough and comes in to help and suffers for his efforts. We get even more Dick Togo shenanigans but they backfire and SANADA gets the victory. Being negative isn’t food for the heart or soul, and I will admit I could possibly being WAYYYY too harsh here, but that was my least favorite match in this whole G1 Climax. SANADA gets the victory, and it should feel big and special, but instead, I’m just relieved this is over. DUD

Final Thoughts

This didn’t come close to the A Block final, in a lot of ways it didn’t even try. Nothing must-see, nothing that I would say to go out of your way to see, and I loathed the main event. Maybe you’ll like it more. Even then, this show needed a bang and it was lucky to achieve a whimper.