New Japan Pro Wrestling
G1 Climax 30 – Finals
October 18, 2020
Watch: NJPW World
Meet our reviewers
Paul: Just woke up at 6 AM on a Sunday so this show better be good. Won an amazing come from behind victory in the VOW Quiz Night yesterday. Insert clever social media plug here.
Jeri (@Jerriest_Jer): Half awake, half sane and ready for the finals. Pretty much drinking coffee from the pot. I’ve watched and reviewed too much and am suffering side effects such as rooting for Yujiro to win matches. Send help.
Jeff: Giving this a shot to see if my fandom is dead in light of my rather bitchy disposition towards the product in recent months. A heel Ospreay faction with SANADA as the conquering babyface winning the G1 sounds like something conjured from my worst nightmares, so here’s to hoping that absolutely doesn’t happen!
Suzuki-Gun (Taichi, Zack Sabre Junior, DOUKI & El Desperado) def. CHAOS (Toru Yano, Tomohiro Ishii, YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto)
Paul: The MVPs of each block facing off against each other here with Taichi and YOSHI-HASHI. HASHI gets geekified again after a lauded tournament as he gets pinned by DOUKI, who is arguably the lowest non Young Lion on the roster. He got an assist from Zack and Taichi but its a curious choice nonetheless. Otherwise it was an ok opening tag where everyone got about equal time to shine. Highlight of the match was Zack reattaching the turnbuckle pad after Yano took it off. DOUKI challenged for the NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag titles afterwards
Jeri: Alas, we do not start off with Young Lions and my soul is sad. DOUKI pins YOSHI-HASHI (With help from Zack and Taichi). A good portion of them are either banged up or coming off banged up. Started off well with Taichi and Ishii and everyone got to look decent to good, although I’m not sure how I feel about the ending. As an opener I guess it did it’s job and I didn’t mind the match. YOSHI-HASHI had a good G1, but I guess now that we’re done with that we’re back to how things usually go.
Jeff: This was certainly a match that happened. In fact of all the matches that have happened tonight I think I can comfortably say this happened the most. Every 8 man you’ve ever seen, but YOSHI-HASHI is returned to geek status by getting pinned by Douki. For reference, that means you, the person reading this, can pin YOSHI-HASHI. This was a fine little opener that doesn’t really warrant a great amount of reflection.
Los Ingobernables De Japon (Hiromu Takahashi & Shingo Takagi) def. Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki & Yoshinobu Kanemaru)
Paul: Pretty fun tag match. Hiromu and Shingo have great chemistry and it showed here. Suzuki was his usual surly self and Kanemaru meshed well with these guys. Looks like Hiromu is going to challenge for the IWGP Jr tag belts and Shingo will clearly get his rematch for the NEVER belt. Pace of the match itself was very high, which kept it entertaining.
Jeri: There was a high chance I would enjoy this with three of my favorites (and Kanemaru) going at it. Not a knock on Kanemaru he did his fair share in this match. Fun stuff. Enjoyed pretty much all the combinations in the rings. I never found myself bored and they never let the action lull or linger for any point. Suzuki was grumpy, Shingo gave it right back, Hiromu was fun, and Kanemaru reminds me I got to stop forgetting about him. He did quite well in this match and delivered the goods even if him taking the fall was probably not that difficult to figure out. Still good stuff, didn’t come close to overstaying its welcome, and I enjoyed it. This paired with my third, fourth, I’ve lost count, cup of coffee woke me up a bit.
Jeff: Suzuki is great but the real star of this match was Kanemaru. Kanemaru is another one of these old vets in New Japan that doesn’t get the shine and reverence he probably deserves. The ending portion of this match between Kanemaru and Hiromu was really great, lots of high speed action that was enough to make me put my phone down throughout the encounter. Suzuki Shingo exchanges were fine, I’m not really as high on their feud as others are and would like to see something different for both of them and yet, here we are. Worth a watch if you’ve got some time to burn!
Master Wato, Jeff Cobb, Juice Robinson & Hiroshi Tanahashi def. BULLET CLUB (Jay White, KENTA, Gedo & Taiji Ishimori)
Paul: Wato nearly hit his head on the apron on a dive but otherwise a fun match overall. Juice has the worst look in New Japan right now. I get that its a Blues Brothers reference which played in his home town but that does not change the fact that he looks like shit. Tanahashi potentially challenging KENTA for the US title briefcase is an interesting wrinkle. He has been the one that most commonly has teased opening the forbidden door to AEW so him winning and challenging Mox would make a ton of sense. We get the official Wrestle Kingdom announcement after the match and they are doing two nights again. Did not expect that given that attendance is going to be restricted.
Jeri: We had an Ab off to start the festivities, and the winner was . . .me. The winner was me. Those shenanigans were probably my favorite thing I’m afraid. This match was my zone out match. Things like why didn’t I ever see Apprentice Wato wrestle before he earned the rank of Master. I tried to get into it but as I watched it I felt my mind drifting off to other things as I tried to focus. I like a good portion of these guys but this just wasn’t much for me. Juice’s look is just terrible even though there are those who try to convince me otherwise. I feel like while everything was fine I barely got an appetizer worth of stuff from people, and poor Wato almost had a dive go quite wrong. That would’ve downgraded his Master ranking for sure, which would be devastating. We might be getting KENTA versus Tanahashi. I keep giving KENTA more chances than some so I’m not shoo pooing it, but can’t quite say I got the vapors from the possibilities either. Also we’re getting two nights in the dome in 2021. Given everything going on, not sure I’m all for that at all. It is happening though. I.C Title one night and the Heavyweight the next?
Jeff: It’s nice to see the next ace Master Wato back in a New Japan ring. This whole Bullet Club feud would be a lot more compelling for me if more than 1 of the pieces involved was a good wrestler. Alas, that isn’t the case and so I’m probably going to be forced to sit here and suffer mightily while pretending there is hope of EVIL or KENTA having a good match in the year 2020. When I watch Wato, I’m always staggered by how unathletic he is by junior standards. Man barely leaves the ground at any point during a match and it’s borderline impressive that he does well in spite of that. To be honest the more of this match I watch the more I realize how top-heavy New Japan is as a roster. When Jeff Cobb and the broken down corpse of KENTA are your go-to depth players, perhaps it’s time to look literally anywhere else for help. More sad than any of this is what has happened to Juice, he’s at the phoning it in phase of his stay in New Japan and seems to realize that there’s no hope of an upwards trajectory. I still wish he could phone it in without looking like an abusive spouse in the Sopranos, but what do you do. This match happened, and that’s all I’ll really say for it. Looks like KENTA might be setting up a match with Tanahashi, maybe? I’d rather see Tanahashi doing literally anything else honestly. KENTA can hit the bricks. WOW WE’RE DOING THE DOUBLE DOME AGAIN? I don’t even have it in me to act enthused about this or come up with something witty.
Will Ospreay & Great-O-Khan def. CHAOS (SHO & Kazuchika Okada)
Paul: Well known submission wrestler tapping out SHO for the victory. Not sure how I feel about Khans look as the trash bag pants are normally a stable of lower Japanese indies. At least the match was pretty clean except a bit of interference by Bea. However, I do welcome a new faction in New Japan as that landscape has gotten very stale so anything new is exciting. They will likely add new members as time goes with someone like Robbie Eagles being a likely recruit. Until he got tapped out SHO actually got his time to shine. Okada mostly stayed out of this match and we got a few teases for the next Okada vs Ospreay singles match we will likely get at Wrestle Kingdom.
Jeri: Khan’s look the night he attacked Okada, I was down for it. Now I see his actual gimmick attire and um . . .that’s something. Yes commentary explained it but still I found it ridiculous. Once he takes off the entrance gear though it looks okay. Ospreay and Great-O-Khan had to win this match, there was no other way for it to go. So they got that right. Bea got involved and Ospreay used that to his advantage and put on a figure four for a submission which I’m fine with. I like it when wrestlers win with something other than their finisher, makes it be shown they can win in other ways. I need to see who else eventually joins Ospreay’s faction before I get too excited for that but I’m willing to see where it goes as it could be a good addition to things. As for the match, SHO looked really good, which shouldn’t be a shock. That’s probably the thing I can highlight the most. The match happened, it was fine but nothing I’ll think about too much. Khan didn’t do much for me, but I won’t write him off, he just returned and I’m willing to give a few chances before the gavel gets dropped.
Jeff: What the fuck is the Great-O-Khan. Why is this on my screen, why am I watching this, why is this what Gedo came up with? O-Khan isn’t nearly big enough for a claw to work, he isn’t a monster and this whole thing just feels like a weird mix. I really don’t like the Empire teams mesh and I don’t think this is the best way to use Will Ospreay going forward. SHO is a shining light of brilliance in an otherwise average match, and he is going to kill it at heavyweight someday. If the GREAT-O-KHAN debuts pinning Okada I might shut the show-off. If I hear the name Genghis Khan again so help me fucking god. Ospreay wins with the Figure-Four for some reason. Match existed.
BULLET CLUB (Yujiro Takahashi & EVIL) def. Los Ingobernables De Japon (BUSHI & Tetsuya Naito)
Paul: At least EVIL can beat BUSHI clean. I was afraid they were going to have him win by interference and luckily they did not do that. An ok match otherwise but nothing special. EVIL and Yujiro are not exactly the most dynamic team and it showed here. Looks like we will get another EVIL challenge as they are really burning through that match up this year.
Jeri: A Yujiro/EVIL tag team, my punishment for being a fuddy-duddy on almost all Yano matches in my reviews. Harsh. Is it wrong that if EVIL/Yujiro wins I want Yujiro to get the victory? I know it is, but here we are. This did not happen, you can’t always get what you want. Didn’t get what I needed either as Bushi loses via submission to EVIL which gave us a stare-off between him and Naito followed by Dick Togo doing Dick Togo things and choking Naito so they can attack him. I didn’t need that. The match ended clean which is nice but this match was just okay. I don’t really have much to say. Yujiro/EVIL existed and weren’t exciting as a pairing at all, but no shock and surprise there. Bushi and Naito did alright but when it’s all written up I can’t say too much because I don’t have a lot of meat to gnaw off this bone. More EVIL/Naito is coming, I’m sure that’s exciting to someone. I don’t know who, but someone.
Jeff: Chris with the 10/10 subtle “maybe EVIL vs NAITO at Power Struggle, MAYBE KEVIN?!” So anyway that’s happening. This match frustrates me on a lot of levels. Naito getting his penultimate reign when he no longer has knees makes me wish we could’ve gotten it 2-3 years ago instead when he peaked. Gedo fucked this up and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Evil is still really bad and Yujiro is bad but endearing because he’s not getting pushed. I’m really not excited for any match where T-Shirt Bushi is the second-best participant. Wow Naito’s a total dumbass in the face of the Evil-Togo choke-out, who’d have expected it. Someone, somewhere is excited to see Naito Evil be mediocre for a fourth outing but I am not that person.
NJPW G1 Climax 30 Finals
Kota Ibushi def. SANADA
Paul: What a weird final that was. It did not really have an interconnecting story but I liked it nonetheless. It felt like a proper G1 final but also was at the lower end of G1 finals. Yet with all that it ended up being a great match. The finishing sequence in this was superb with some of the absolutely closest nearfalls you will see. We are talking about Red Shoes hand being nanometres away from hitting the mat for the three count on Ibushi kicking out of the O’Connor roll. Definitely one of SANADAs best matches of the year. New Japan made the right call giving the briefcase to Ibushi two years in a row. He is a special talent and should now rightfully ascent to the top of the promotion at Wrestle Kingdom.
With this tournament season has come to an end and it certainly was memorable. If I had to rank them it would be 1. N1, 2. G1 and the Champion Carnival would dead last because it sucked. Now if I had to rank the finals though it would be 1. Kento vs Zeus, 2. Nakajima vs Kaito and 3. Ibushi vs SANDA. A fairly strong G1 overall and with Ibushi on top there are some interesting directions New Japan can take now. We get a post-show angle with Jay interrupting Ibushis press conference. We will get Jay vs Ibushi for the briefcase. If he can keep it Ibushi has to be the favourite to beat Naito at the dome and finally win the big belt.
Jeri: Unto all things an ending. I shake with anticipati . . .oh no sorry that’s excessive caffeine consumption. That can’t be good. Not the highest of hypes for this finale, which is a shame, but can’t judge it until it presents itself in full. Well let me get my favorite part of the match out of the way. THAT O’CONNOR ROLL NEAR FALL HOLY SHIT CALM MY TITS THAT WAS DOPE. Messy match at times, not always pretty but in the end, I enjoyed it. Not on the high end of my G1 finals by any stretch but considering my admittedly lowered expectations going in I think it deserves positive reviews from me. Those near falls near the end was absolutely something else and succeeded and putting this match a bit higher than I potentially would be looking at. I almost knocked over one of my lamps on That O’Connor Roll.
Ibushi in my mind is the absolute right call and I was rooting for him to win it all. It took two Kamagoyes to put SANADA down which is fine as this was the G1 Finals and I’m all for the defeated having a little extra omphf in them that has to be knocked out of them in order to be defeated. I am a bit disappointed in the sense over the years I’m use to the G1 Final being near the top if not my top match of the tournament, and this doesn’t achieve that. Still I liked it, I thought it built well even if sloppily, and that closing stretch near falls were the beauty that made up for the earlier uglies. Thirty Minutes (and some seconds) of a match that didn’t feel like Thirty Five minutes, that deserves some applause and respect as well. ****
Jeff: If I see a single paradise lock the review will end. I don’t mean I’ll wait till the end of the match and add some commentary, I mean I will carry my happy ass to bed and sleep this off. Call me a mark or whatever, but I genuinely cannot get behind any kind of nonsensical shenanigans in the G1 Final and if SANADA brings any of that I’m out. Much to my surprise, this match has been entirely serious and the work has been crisp. It’s definitely a movez match and below my expectations for a G1 Final, but it’s better than what I was anticipating it being. The match was better than I expected it to be and I’m more than willing to take the L on this. 4* flat if I had to do dopey star ratings. Ending was fantastic but the match was a little sloppy in places. Still not convinced of SANADA, but this was a good showing for him.