Wrestling Review: NJPW G1 Climax 30 (Day 14) (2020)

[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 are officially at two weeks of action in New Japan Pro Wrestling’s (NJPW) annual heavyweight tournament, the G1 Climax 30. On day 14, the B Block will once again compete, with the main event match being a huge title rematch between current champion, Tetsuya Naito, and his former friend and most recent double title holder, EVIL. Hiroshi Tanahashi and Hirooki Goto will also collide in a battle of former tournament winners, while Juice Robinson will look to finish strongly against SANADA. The no-nonsense KENTA will have to deal with the tricky nature of Toru Yano, and Zack Sabre Jr. faces off with YOSHI-HASHI, the latter of whom has already been mathematically eliminated from the tournament.

+ Tetsuya Naito vs EVIL (G1 Climax 30 B Block Match): this was the third big match these two have had in a relatively short period, and I’d argue it was maybe the best. Certainly better than the Jingu Stadium main event, this match was back and forth with the same EVIL shenanigans we’ve come to expect, but a wily champion that was willing to out-dirty the Bullet Club leader if he had to. I liked this a lot
+ Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Hirooki Goto (G1 Climax 30 B Block Match): I really liked this match. Goto last won the G1, arguably his biggest accomplishment in NJPW, in 2008 and I’ve been rooting for him since in any and all big matches, and this was no exception. Tanahashi, meanwhile, is a three time G1 winner, most recently in 2018, and has looked great this year. Goto still has fan support in his underdog role, and Tanahashi will have support until the day he retires and probably long after, so this was a phenomenal ‘good versus good’ match
+ Yota Tsuji vs Gabriel Kidd: this was another perfectly adequate match between my favourite young lion paring; not the best they’ve had, but by no means the worst

Naito is never looking at the camera when his nameplate comes up and he does the LIJ pose. I had to settle for a blurry entrance shot

Juice Robinson vs SANADA (G1 Climax 30 B Block Match): this was technically fine, perhaps even above average, but as much as Juice tried he could just not get the crowd into the match. SANADA’s style has fallen flat this whole tournament, and maybe the lack of crowd noise is a big part of that. Either way, this was another boring match
Toru Yano vs KENTA (G1 Climax 30 B Block Match): this was slow, sloppy and seriously over-thought. I did not like this
YOSHI-HASHI vs Zack Sabre Jr. (G1 Climax 30 B Block Match): it’s hard to get into matches where someone is already eliminated at the best of times, and when they are two people who I never thought stood a chance (don’t @ me, I love ZSJ as much as anyone, but he’ll never win a G1) this was a hard pass from the moment it began

> there was a baby crying in the crowd for the main event entrances and introductions, which got a bit of a chuckle from even the most stone-faced EVIL

Should you watch this event: The young lions match notwithstanding, you can probably skip the first four matches of this show and not miss anything of great importance. Give Goto/Tanahashi and the Naito/EVIL main event a watch, though.


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