G 1 CLIMAX 30 – A BLOCK OCTOBER 13 – Okada vs. Ishii, White vs. Suzuki
By: Mike Murray
NJPW returns with night 8 of A block matches. Today’s show comes from the Hamamatsu Arena in Shizuoka, Japan. There is a log jam with four wrestlers sitting at 10 points going into the second to last night of Block matches.
Mike’s Match Ratings out of 5
Gabriel Kidd vs Yuya Uemura – 3.25*
Jeff Cobb vs Will Ospreay – 3.75*
Yujiro Takahashi vs Kota Ibushi – 3.25*
TAICHI VS Shingo Takagi – 3.5*
Jay White vs Minoru Suzuki – 3.75*
Tomohiro Ishii vs Kazuchika Okada – 4*
A BLOCK STANDINGS
YOUNG LIONS SHOWCASE – YUYA UEMURA (4-4-1) VS GABRIEL KIDD (4-4-1-)
The Young Lions matches have been a pleasant surprise throughout the G1 and today was no different. Uemura focussed his attention on Kidd’s arm using wrist locks and short arm scissors to weaken the arm. Kidd initially zeroed in on Uemura’s leg but it was his fire that was on full display with some of the strikes he threw at Uemura. I quite liked his escape from a short arm scissors that Uemura had him in. Kidd rooted to his feet and stomped Uemura twice in the chest and finally slapped him in the neck and Uemura released the hold.
The finish came after Uemura had weakened Kidd’s arm through the match, he went for his double overhook belly to belly suplex that he has been using for a finisher. Uemura bridged Kidd for the pin and the three count.
WINNER: Yuya Uemura – Double Overhook Suplex in 8:38 minutes
MATCH 1 – JEFF COBB (4-3) VS WILL OSPREAY (5-2)
Ospreay starts out like he is looking to end this early and get to 6 wins. Ospreay goes for a handspring but Cobb catches him by his waist at the ropes. This was the first of several sequences where the combination of Cobb’s strength and Ospreay’s athleticism led to some pretty cool sequences.
Cobb catches Ospreay but Ospreay ends up standing on Cobb’s thighs, jumps, and hits a dropkick.
Ospreay missed with a Hidden Blade and tried to kick Cobb in the midsection but Cobb caught the leg and hit a lariat on Ospreay while still holdings leg.
Cobb went for an Athletic-Plex but Ospreay escaped and hit a modified Canadian Destroyer.
Later on, Ospreay goes for an OsCutter that Cobb catches and Cobb hits an F-5.
Cobb tries for a Tour of the Islands but Ospreay avoids it and attempts another OsCutter hat Cobb catches it again. Cobb throws Ospreay over into the corner and Ospreay hops on the second rope and hits the OsCutter for a two count.
The finish of the match comes when Ospreay gets Cobb up for Stormbreaker but Cobb slides out the back. Cobb grabs Ospreay and pops him up onto his shoulder in an electric chair position. Cobb drops Ospreay down from his shoulders, catches him at his waits and hits a German Suplex. Cobb picks up Ospreay, shoots him into the ropes, and hits Tour of the Islands for the three-count.
WINNER: Jeff Cobb – Tour of the Islands in 12:22 minutes
Very good match as Cobb was the base for some inventive moves by Ospreay and Ospreay agility and athleticism allowed Cobb to pull out some impressive sequences. Ospreay’s facial expressions are still way too cartoonish for my liking.
MATCH 2 – YUJIRO TAKAHASHI (0-7) VS KOTA IBUSHI (5-2)
Not much to see here. Yujiro worked at his standard, plodding pace. The only interesting part of the match was the closing sequence.
Yujiro hits a Super-Fisherman’s Suplex from the second rope and follows it up with another Fisherman’s suplex for a two count. Ibushi’s kick-out was awesome and the crowd seemed to bite on the near fall. Yujiro tries for a Pimp Juice but Ibushi pushes him off. ajar goes for a lariat that Ibushi ducks and turns into a backslide and Ibushi grabs Yujiro’s wrists and tries for Kamigoye but misses. Yujiro picks up Ibushi for Miami Shines but Ibushi escapes out the back. Ibushi hits a V Trigger, takes down his knee pad, and hits Kamigoye for the three-count.
WINNER: Kota Ibushi – Kamigoye in 12:27 minutes
Even Kota Ibushi could not drag a good match out of Yujiro. Entirely skippable match.
MATCH 3 – TAICHI (3-4) VS SHINGO TAKAGI (3-4)
TAICHI avoids Takagi by continually getting into the ropes as the two hook up at the beginning of the match.
Not long into the match, both guys are outside the ring and once again TAICHi grabs the timekeeper’s hammer and works over Takagi. You would think that the timekeeper would learn to stash the hammer during a TAICHI match.
Good striking exchange just before the ten-minute mark point of the match as TAICHI hits kicks to Takagi’s thigh and Takagi hits chops to TAICHI’s chest. Once again, Takagi sells the potency of his opponent’s offense by clearly bracing for the impact prior to the barrage of kicks.
Takagi hits a short-arm lariat, TAICH tries for a lariat but Takagi ducks it and gets TAICHI up in a pump handle wrist clutch and hits Made in Japan fora two-count. Takagi then hits a Pumping Bomber for a two count. He gets TAICHI up for Last of the Dragon, but TAICHI rakes Takagi’s eyes and escapes. TAICHI then hits a modified Last of the Dragon on Takagi for a two count. TAICHI tries to kick Takagi in the midsection but Takagi catches his leg. TAICHI then hits an enzuigiri and gets a Gedo Clutch for a two count. Both guys are stunned, Takagi hits a headbutt and TAICHI hits a thrust kick. TAICHI grabs Takagi and hits Black Memphisto for the three-count.
WINNER: TAICHI – Black Mephisto in 16:22 minutes
Good match where TAICHI showed he could hang with one of the heaviest hitters in NJPW. TAICHI got hit with some of Takagi’s big moves and kicked out at two of both Made in Japan and a Pumping Bomber. TAICHI stares down Liger at the commentary table after the match.
MATCH 4 – JAY WHITE (5-2) VS MINORU SUZUKI (3-4)
White starts out by immediately rolling out of the ring and stalling White tries to frustrate Suzuki into chasing him. Once White tries to go for a waist lock, Suzuki gets ahold of his hand goes to work manipulating White’s fingers and wrists.
Everything that White tries for, Suzuki seems to have an answer for. Suzuki gets White in the rope and applies his arm triangle and as Suzuki is balanced side down on the apron, Gedo comes over and looks to help White but thinks better of it when he looks into Suzuki’s eyes. Outside the ring, White runs Suzuki into the barricades and chokes him with a microphone cable. White wraps Suzuki’s arms around the barricades in from of Liger at the commentary table and White chops Suzuki in the chest, but this just pisses Suzuki off.
Gedo grabs a chair and distracts Red Shoes, and this allows White to get a chair and bring it into the ring. White doesn’t get to use it though as Suzuki grabs the chair off of him and hits White with it.
Several times White is dropped by a single vicious forearm strike by Suzuki but one of the best sequences from thematic has Suzuki down on his knees and White chops his chest. Suzuki grits his teeth and cranes on his knees to White looking for another chop. This happens several times as Suzuki keeps coming at White on his knees but White can’t chop him down.
The finish comes when White tries for a Blade Runner and Suzuki does an awesome transition into an armbar. Gedo tries to come into the ring and while Red Shoes is distracted by him, White taps to the armbar. Suzuki releases the hold and hits Gedo and drops him on the apron. Suzuki returns to White and hits him with a flurry of palm strikes. White ducks a swing by Suzuki and goes for Bladerunner that Suzuki escapes from and applies a sleeper. White gets out and tries for another Bladerunner but Suzuki pulls White’s hair and hits a big forearm strike. Suzuki gets another sleeper and transitions to the Gotch-Style Piledriver just as Gedo, on the floor outside the ring, grabs Red Shoes by the pants and pulls him to the mat. White hits a low blow on Suzuki and then hits Blade Runner for the three-count.
WINNER: Jay White – Blade Runner in 20:30 minutes.
Very good match. I thought Gedo actually added a lot to this as he was clearly afraid of mixing it up with Suzuki. Whether this advances the Bullet Club story of Jay White questioning Gedo after his match with Yujiro we will have to wait and see.
Suzuki was amazing in this match. His submission attempts and the variety of them were fantastic, BUT the most amazing part of Suzuki’s performance in this match was his facial expressions. The camera people really deserve some praise for being in the right place and getting the right shots to show off Suzuki’s expressions. The look that Suzuki shot White as the Young Lions tried to get Suzuki to leave the ringside area was incredible. With the low brow by White and Gedo’s interference, looks like we might get a rematch sooner rather than later.
MATCH 5 – TOMOHIRO ISHII (3-4) VS KAZUCHIKA OKADA (5-2)
Ishii’s knee is taped up and Okada’s chest is a mess after his match against Shingo Takagi. The match starts with a collar elbow tie up as both guys are cautious. Okada’s focus, as usual, is attacking the neck to soften up his opponent for the Money Clip. Ishii seemed to be looking to get Okada to show some fighting spirit. Ishii’s vicious strikes throughout the match seemed to remind Okada who he is and he would show some fire in his responses to Ishii’s attacks.
There was a great spot where Okada puts Ishii up on the top rope and looks to hit his dropkick that would knock Ishii to the floor BUT as Okada hits the dropkick, Ishii has braced himself for it and held onto the ropes so he does not fall over onto the floor. Okada lands on his back on the mat and Ishii hits a King Kong knee drop.
The finishing sequence of the match sees Okada hit a spinning tombstone piledriver. Both guys are down and worn out. Okada grabs Ishii’s wrist and the crowd seems to be clapping RAIN-MA-KER! RAIN-MA-KER!
Ishii headbutts Okada and hits an enzuigiri. Okada springs up and hits a dropkick. A spinning lariat by Okada lets him apply the Money Clip. Ishii refuses to give in so Okada tries to soften him up with a backbreaker but Ishii flips out of the Money Clip and hits a headset right under Okada’s chin. Ishii hits a big running lariat for two-count and he gets Okada up for a Brainbuster but Okada drives his knee into Ishii’s head and escapes. Okada gets the Money Clip again but Ishii hits a Codebreaker to escape.
Okada hits a short-arm lariat, then both guys miss lariats. Okada hits a dropkick and applies the Money Clip again. it looks to be fading, but he fires up and tries to escape. Okada hits the backbreaker and reapplies the Money Clip and Ishii passes out.
WINNER: Kazuchika Okada – Money Clip in 26:14 minutes
This was a very good main event. Okada showed more emotion and fire in this match than any other so far in this year’s G1. Ishii’s case for G1 MVP is locked up.
A BLOCK STANDINGS
Not the strongest card of A Block this year but still a very good show. With his loss, Ospreay is eliminated because Ibushi is ahead on points and holds the tiebreaker over him.
The final night of the A Block is Friday and things are still up for grabs. The card looks like this:
Okada vs Ospreay
Ibushi vs TAICHI
Cobb vs Yujiro
Suzuki vs Takagi
White vs Ishii
If White beats Ishii, he wins the block because he has the tiebreaker over Okada and Ibushi.
Okada needs Ibushi and White to lose or draw and he must beat Ospreay to advance.
Ibushi holds the tiebreaker over Okada, but he needs to beat TAICHI and White needs to lose for Ibushi to advance to the G1 Finals.
Does Yujiro finally get a win? Do Suzuki and Takagi have a show-stealer early on in the card?
Check back on Friday to see how all of this plays out.