[Please note: this is the final for the B Block side of the bracket, with full spoilers for the entire rest of the tournament to this point.]
With a winner already crowned on the A Block side, it is now time to determine his opponent on night 18 of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s (NJPW) annual tournament, the G1 Climax 30. Only three men can currently win the block, each relying on various outcomes:
- Tetsuya Naito – must defeat KENTA, and EVIL must lose to or draw with SANADA
- EVIL – must defeat SANADA
- SANADA – must defeat EVIL, and Naito must lose to KENTA
Former friends and stablemates, EVIL and SANADA will collide in the main event, where the winner will most likely win the overall block. Looking to play spoiler to that outcome, however, is the current champion, Tetsuya Naito, who will be looking to cement his spot by overcoming KENTA (eliminated). Hiroshi Tanahashi (eliminated) will also look to finish on a strong note against Zack Sabre Jr. (eliminated), with potential tag team championship implications, while Juice Robinson (eliminated) will face Hirooki Goto (eliminated, but only just). In the opening contest, Toru Yano (eliminated) will look to redeem his tournament stumble against YOSHI-HASHI (eliminated).
+ SANADA vs EVIL (G1 Climax 30 B Block Match): the deliberate slow pace of these EVIL matches throughout the tournament has mostly been a detriment, but it worked to the match’s benefit here. SANADA was always going to be the underdog against his heated, albeit new, rival EVIL, and it made his comebacks, or attempts thereof, that much more important. SANADA has had a somewhat understated tournament, but he is so athletic that his matches are always a visual spectacle. EVIL is a good bad guy, the crowd seems to like SANADA overall, and the shenanigans involved made it that much more fun
+ Tetsuya Naito vs KENTA (G1 Climax 30 B Block Match): this one started pretty slowly, and I was ready to rag on it, but hot damn once KENTA starting slapping the piss out of Naito I was all aboard the hype train. Naito’s speed and countering ability meant that this could, and often did, turn around at the drop of a hat. With both men fighting for a tangible goal — winning the G1 for Naito, and earning a double championship match for KENTA — this was really exciting
+ Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Zack Sabre Jr. (G1 Climax 30 B Block Match): these two always have good chemistry and this was no exception. Sabre can realistically tap Tanahashi out at any point, and it is only Tanahashi’s never-give-up attitude that keeps him safe… most of the time. I really like Sabre in these NJPW tournaments, and this was no exception, and I even started rooting for Tanahashi due to Sabre’s dickishness
+ Yuya Uemura vs Gabriel Kidd: although Yota Tsuji has already claimed the win in the unofficial C Block, this was another banger of a match with second place on the line. Kidd has great striking ability, and Uemura has great fire and connection with the crowd. It’s a shame the winner was already crowned outright yesterday because I think all three guys deserved that same hype in their matches
– Juice Robinson vs Hirooki Goto (G1 Climax 30 B Block Match): this was fine, perhaps even good, but must like many others in these final two days it’s just hard to muster up excitement when there is nothing substantial on the line. Goto has had a good tournament, and Juice has had a really, really good tournament, so it’s a shame this had such low stakes
– Toru Yano vs YOSHI-HASHI (G1 Climax 30 B Block Match): this didn’t do it for me. Once we get to these final nights for the block, Yano’s main appeal is lost unless he is somehow still in the running, and a match with YOSHI-HASHI is not one I was overly interested in either way
> the commentary sounds much better today, compared to yesterday
> I had plans to get photos of Naito, EVIL, and SANADA, but I forgot. Please forgive me
Should you watch this event: Overall, this was a good show. The main event, Sabre/Tanahashi and especially KENTA/Naito are all worth seeing, and the winner is certainly a good opponent for Ibushi tomorrow. This could be really good.