[Please note: there may be spoilers for any and all previous days of this tournament. I’m back to watching live!]
After more than two weeks of heavyweight tournament action, New Japan Pro Wrestling’s (NJPW) annual round robin reaches day 15, where once again the A Block takes the stage. As we reach these final stages of the G1 Climax 30, the number of entrants mathematically eliminated grows, with only four men left in the A Block able to advance: Kazuchika Okada, Kota Ibushi, Jay White and Will Ospreay. In the main event, CHAOS members collide as pre-tournament favourite, Kazuchika Okada faces Tomohiro Ishii (eliminated 😦 ). Jay White will look to avenge his loss from two years ago against Minoru Suzuki (eliminated), while Shingo Takagi (eliminated 😦 ) and Taichi (eliminated) also look to finish with some moral boosting wins. It is do or die for Kota Ibushi and Will Ospreay, as they face off with Yujiro Takahashi (eliminated and winless) and Jeff Cobb (eliminated), respectively.
+ Kazuchika Okada vs Tomohiro Ishii (G1 Climax 30 A Block Match): this was similar in a lot of ways to Okada/Shingo from the last A Block show, but I have to admit I love Ishii that little bit more. Ishii has such a connection with the crowd that they truly believe one day he will win the big one, and so when it happens they pop huge. Okada, meanwhile, has not been at his best this tournament, and that Moneyclip/Cobra Clutch hold is a permanent dark mark on his matches (especially that finish to his Shingo match). Nonetheless, this match was good as it was probably always going to be
+ Jay White vs Minoru Suzuki (G1 Climax 30 A Block Match): in only the second match between these two, this was significantly better than the first from two years ago. White’s new character is so defined against the veteran Suzuki that, believe it or not, murder grandpa was the underdog hero! White’s goal was to survive against the Suzuki murder train, and Suzuki was simply looking to put White down. I really liked this
+ Shingo Takagi vs Taichi (G1 Climax 30 A Block Match): I wasn’t sure about this going in, but hot damn what a match this ended up being. Taichi tapped into his thicc boi energy and he and Shingo just laid into each other in the exact right way to get me going on my couch. Stiff lariats, wild throws and the sudden strikes were all I needed to get into this. It’s that easy
+ Will Ospreay vs Jeff Cobb (G1 Climax 30 A Block Match): this was surprising for a few reasons, not least of all that Cobb is such a god damn beast and he appears to have finally found his groove in the G1 — albeit later than expected and probably later than desired. Ospreay was less flips, but lots of jumping around, befitting his stronger style, but it was Cobb’s monstrous F5 that won me over. This was fine
+ Gabriel Kidd vs Yuya Uemura: like all the recent matches, it was not the best but it was fine. I may have been a bit harsh on Uemura when I said Kidd/Tsuji was my favourite pair, because Uemura us great
– Kota Ibushi vs Yujiro Takahashi (G1 Climax 30 A Block Match): slow and uninspired, I thought Ibushi was underwater for a lot of this match. Yujiro is already eliminated (and to this point, winless) so he was a spoiler for Ibushi at best, and if his goal was to spoil Ibushi’s ‘have a good match’ streak, he succeeded
> In all my excitement of watching live again, I forgot to get a screenshot. Today was Ishii’s time to shine
Should you watch this event: It’s a real shame that Ibushi/Yujiro was so bad, because otherwise this could have been the second day in a row worthy of being called the best. As it stands, just watch the rest of the matches.