It’s happening a bit later than expected, but it is finally time for the best stretch of pro wrestling each and every year, as New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) presents the annual round robin tournament, the G1 Climax 30. The first five matches of the A Block will get underway, as Kazuchika Okada battles Kota Ibushi, Shingo Takagi faces the returning Jay White, Minoru Suzuki and Tomohiro Ishii look to tear each other apart, Jeff Cobb attempts to outpower Taichi, and the returning Will Ospreay faces Yujiro Takahashi.
+ Shingo Takagi vs Jay White (G1 Climax 30 A Block Match): I always love Shingo, and I’ve enjoyed White on the Lion’s Break show, but dammit I’ve missed big match Jay White. This was a fast, back and forth match and it made for a compelling watch. The speed at which they could counter each other, thought sometimes looking overly choreographed, was really enthralling. Jay White’s trach talking is also something I enjoy immensely, especially as he galled it the ‘Jay 1 Climax’
+ Minoru Suzuki vs Tomohiro Ishii (G1 Climax 30 A Block Match): oh baby, here we are. Suzuki and Ishii are literally incapable of having a bad match together, and it should be no surprise that this was my favourite match of the show. I think there was exactly one pin attempt in this match, and that just made the breakneck speed that much more intense. I loved this
+ Jeff Cobb vs Taichi (G1 Climax 30 A Block Match): I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would, as Cobb hardly blew me away last year. Taichi has had a solid few months, as one of the remaining heavyweights in Japan and Cobb has been pretty good on the Lion’s Break show in the USA. This wasn’t ground breaking, but I enjoyed it
– Kazuchika Okada vs Kota Ibushi (G1 Climax 30 A Block Match): holy smokes this was boring. I don’t know what has come over Okada as of late, but he is working at seemingly less than half effort. That KOPW disaster at the Jingu Stadium show could be forgiven as a fish out of water moment for a four way match, but against someone like Ibushi I expected significantly more. Ibushi was fine enough, but he too seemed one step slower than usual. I seem to say this a lot, but it’s a shame Okada seemed to be the default man to main event these shows, because Shingo/White or especially Ishii/Suzuki would have been far better
– Will Ospreay vs Yujiro Takahashi (G1 Climax 30 A Block Match): from the opening moment, I can say I have not missed Ospreay at all. The match was really good when Ospreay was on offence, but seemed to drag out to hours one end when Yujiro took charge. I realise that partly by design, but it just made for a match that I couldn’t get into. Ospreay has gained a tonne of weight in the time off, both muscles and chunkiness, but he was as agile as ever. I’m willing to lay most of the blame on Yujiro, but this did nothing for me
– Yuya Uemura vs Yota Tsuji: perfectly fine opening match, but paled in comparison to the G1 Climax matches. Both of these two are really good, but Tsuji in particular is really impressive. He was out in the show later, and I couldn’t help but make Shingo comparisons to his size and look
> even with no cheering or shouting, this crowd was clapping like mad for some spots. It was a unique soundtrack to a wrestling show
Should you watch this event: While I’m disappointed that Okada stunk out another main event, Shingo/White, Ishii/Suzuki and even Cobb/Taichi deserve a look. At least Okada and Ospreay can only get better from here?