Wrestling Review: NJPW G1 Climax 30 (Day 5) (2020)

[Please note: there may be spoilers for any and all previous days of this tournament.]

It’s time for more A Block action as New Japan Pro Wrestling’s (NJPW) annual heavyweight tournament, the G1 Climax 30, reaches day five. Headlining a show of huge match ups, in the main event Kazuchika Okada and Jay White renew their rivalry, over two years since White betrayed Okada and joined the Bullet Club. Meanwhile, Will Ospreay and Shingo Takagi replay their match of the year from 2019 from when the two were in the finals of the Best of the Super Juniors, and Tomohiro Ishii and Kota Ibushi put their bodies on the line to try to score the points. The powerhouse Jeff Cobb will face the psychotic Minoru Suzuki, and Taichi and Yujiro Takahashi will do battle in the opening contest.

+ Jay White vs Kazuchika Okada (G1 Climax 30 A Block Match): a bit slow to start, but ended up being pretty good. Okada is not doing it for me, much like Tanahashi in 2018, so I guess Okada is going to win the whole thing. Jay White is a fantastic bad guy in Japan, even for Bullet Club members, and he was the major reason this was listed as a positive. Okada, step it up
+ Shingo Takagi vs Will Ospreay (G1 Climax 30 A Block Match): ooh baby, these two definitely aren’t Juniors anymore. This was my match of the year from last year and I was salivating to see it again, and it did not disappoint. Takagi is just fantastic and I love everything about him (his facial expressions, his speed, his voice) and Ospreay has already proved me wrong after not missing him all that much. Originally I was not thrilled this went on after Ishii/Ibushi, but they quickly made me forget all that backstage, match order stuff and focus entirely on their match. A very choregraphed opening stretch was fun and it only got better from there
+ Tomohiro Ishii vs Kota Ibushi (G1 Climax 30 A Block Match): Jesus, this was fucking fantastic, from the beginning of Ishii’s theme up until well past the final bell. These two are the absolute best at that cold stare that signifies you really messed up, and they did it to each other at several points. This was hard hitting and incredibly quick, and I cannot stress enough how good it was
+ Taichi vs Yujiro Takahashi (G1 Climax 30 A Block Match): I enjoyed this more than I thought I would. Though not as much fun, this reminded me a lot of the Taichi/TAKA Michinoku match from the Best of the Super Juniors a few years back, as the two dirty cheaters tried to be a bigger dirty cheater than their opponent. Yujiro is still not great, but Taichi is quickly becoming a favourite, instead of an ironic favourite

Jeff Cobb vs Minoru Suzuki (G1 Climax 30 A Block Match): this was unfortunately another sloppy night at the office for Jeff Cobb. I don’t know if there is perhaps a language barrier, or maybe Cob is feeling some nerves or something, but this was the second miss in a row for someone who impressed me in his opening round match with Taichi of all people
Gabriel Kidd vs Yota Tsuji: the most striking thing about these young lions, aside from just how good they are for their experience level, is the subtle ways we are told they are growing in importance; for example, did you realise Tsuji is now walking to the ring, and not running? Add in the chance that either of these two (and Yuya Uemura, the third man in the unofficial C Block of the tournament) could bust out new moves at any moment to get a win makes for exciting preliminary contests

Should you watch this event: Go out of your way to watch Ibushi/Ishii and Ospreay/Shingo, but don’t bother with the rest unless you’re a big fan.

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