[Please note: there may be spoilers for any and all previous days of this tournament. Because real life doesn’t stop when daylight savings changes, I am also one day behind for the foreseeable future.]
We’re into double digits as the G1 Climax 30 continues to Day 10. It’s time for the B Block competitors of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s (NJPW) annual heavyweight tournament to shine, the main event see Hiroshi Tanahashi face the man who defeated him soundly last year, KENTA. The current and defending, but no longer undefeated champion, Tetsuya Naito will be in action against YOSHI-HASHI, while Juice Robinson will test his might against the imposing EVIL. Fresh off his first win, SANADA will face Zack Sabre Jr., and the no-nonsense Hirooki Goto will look to keep his tournament hopes alive against the tricky Toru Yano.
+ Hiroshi Tanahashi vs KENTA (G1 Climax 30 B Block Match): like several of the matches before it, I wasn’t entirely into this one until the final stretch, but then it completely hooked me… before losing me again at the end. Tanahashi must be sore at his age, as well, and KENTA just looked a class beyond. KENTA is a really good heel that it’s almost a shame has has to be part of the Bullet Club, because he could be an ass-kicking freelancer in the NJPW world
+ YOSHI-HASHI vs Tetsuya Naito (G1 Climax 30 B Block Match): despite being so high on the card, I can’t say I gave YOSHI-HASHI even the slightest hope of pinning the double champion. That thought is what made this match so good, because if I’m wrong I get a good match, and if I’m right I’m not disappointed. Naito was still a step slow, and it’s clear he’s not at his physical best and YOSHI-HASHI is still only sort of close to his level, but this was still fun by the end
+ SANADA vs Zack Sabre Jr. (G1 Climax 30 B Block Match): SANADA has not had a blowaway tournament by any means, but his chemistry with Sabre is never in question. These two traded technical holds for a while before it predictably broke down into a striking brawl. I enjoyed this, like I do all Sabre/SANADA matches, even if it wasn’t quite their best
+ Yota Tsuji vs Yuya Uemura: I wasn’t thrilled on this to start, but it ended up being very, very good. Tsuji is a beast, and Uemura is so good. This was a lot of fun
– Juice Robinson vs EVIL (G1 Climax 30 B Block Match): this was acceptable, but it was so predictable. EVIL has had a template through this tournament, win lose or draw, and this was no exception. The crowd was hot (in clap form) for Juice, but admittedly he hasn’t found that fire he had in his first match just yet. This was basically what you’d expect, and that’s just not good enough in a G1
– Hirooki Goto vs Toru Yano (G1 Climax 30 B Block Match): I think we’ve all been waiting for this one. It wasn’t bad, but it was still a negative
> these shows are just running so much smooth with none of the preliminary tag team matches. Giving the young lions more of a spotlight is a huge positive
> this show and perhaps a little bit on the previous, was the first time I heard the crowds going ‘ooooh’, when someone kicked out and they weren’t expecting it. It’s such a little thing, but I’ve missed it
Should you watch this event: I feel so fickle on days like this, because SANADA was involved in the only match I can even partially recommend. EVIL’s Bullet Club schtick, Tana and Naito being broken down and maybe some G1 fatigue of my own setting in meant this was another lacklustre day, right in the middle of the tournament run.