After a chaotic night of A Block action yesterday, the block stage of the G1 Climax came to a close with B Block today. A spot in the finals against Kota Ibushi awaited EVIL, SANADA or Tetsuya Naito; while those already eliminated looked to make one final statement. Let’s take a look at how things went down.
If you’ve missed out any of our G1 Climax coverage, feel free to catch up with the links below!
Gabriel Kidd defeated Yuya Uemura in 8:16 in the preliminary Young Lion showcase match
G1 Climax 30 B Block – YOSHI-HASHI vs Toru Yano
Honestly, this was not a great way to end either man’s tournament. YOSHI-HASHI looked really out of his element in a comedy match, which really shows how hit and miss Yano can be if he isn’t with an opponent who can work a variety of styles. It’s a pretty skippable contest with all due respect to both men, coming to an end in just 6 minutes.
HASHI got his 2nd win of a very strong tournament with a roll-up.
WINNER: YOSHI-HASHI via Roll Up in 6:10
G1 Climax 30 B Block – Juice Robinson vs Hirooki Goto
Strike heavy, great limb work, and performances that made both men look great. Very, very good stuff from Juice and Goto here—something we probably should’ve expected considering the brilliant runs of form that both guys have had in this tournament.
Juice was really efficient in his targeting of Goto’s arm, which forced The Fierce Warrior to fight from underneath.
The collision clotheslines were cool and showed Goto’s incredible fighting spirit—his willingness to use the arm that had been so badly damaged this tournament in order to get a win. It wasn’t enough in the end though, as Juice hit two brutal left hands and a Pulp Friction to finish his campaign on a high note.
WINNER: Juice Robinson via Pulp Friction in 12:07
G1 Climax 30 B Block – Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Zack Sabre Jr
This was one of those matches that really would’ve benefitted from another 10 minutes or so. It was fine for what it was, but it left me wanting so much more—which is a real shame, as Tanahashi and ZSJ are two of my favourite wrestlers.
The counters were very creative, with both men transitioning several of their opponent’s big moves into their own big moves, flash pinfalls or submission attempts. Penalty kicks from Zack were transitioned into sling blades by Tana. The High Fly Flow by Tanahashi was briefly countered by ZSJ, before the Ace rolled through for a roll-up pin.
A mixed tournament for Tanahashi was finished on a high note, while ZSJ finished higher than last year with some impressive victories.
WINNER – Hiroshi Tanahashi in 12:01 via Roll Up
G1 Climax 30 B Block – Tetsuya Naito vs KENTA
I went into this with pretty low expectations after not really enjoying the two men’s battle at New Beginning in February, but it was pretty decent.
The shorter match lengths are often beneficial for a lot of wrestlers and I’ve found this to be the case with KENTA. This was a decent affair that hit the ‘great’ territory in the final minutes. KENTA was absolutely phenomenal with his strikes (as we’ve come to expect from him), while Naito sped things up with a reverse Spikerana and a second rope Rana. The counter to the GTS into the Destino was excellent while being pretty simple to execute on paper, and the roll-up finish kept both men looking good.
KENTA made a monumental statement here, picking up wins over ZSJ, Toru Yano and now Tetsuya Naito—surely lining him up for several title shots. Naito, as many predicted, fell at the final hurdle and was stopped from entering the finals with this loss.
WINNER: KENTA via Roll Up in 21:06
B Block Final – EVIL vs SANADA
A match that we’ve seen many times over, between two men that had become close to intimately familiar with one another.
SANADA, looking for vengeance after a heartbreaking betrayal in the New Japan Cup; looking to fly the flag of LIJ and win the G1 after being dubbed the next big star by many. EVIL, the betrayer. Looking to kill the final remnant of his past. To continue the run of success that he’s seen since the return from lockdown.
A spot in the G1 finals up for grabs.
Surprisingly, it delivered. In a rather big way. 27:01 could’ve easily been cut to sub-20 minutes, but that’s more of a personal issue. Both men played their part extremely well, with EVIL (who has faltered in one way or another since his main event push began) playing the arrogant heel really well and SANADA playing the fiery face.
Hiromu Takahashi on Japanese commentary was a nice touch and his interactions with EVIL made me laugh a fair bit.
In typical Bullet Club EVIL fashion, there was some Dick Togo interference. But it added to the match so much. It was severely reduced compared to what we’ve seen in the past—it was clear that EVIL was willing to give his former partner a fair shot, which ultimately cost him the match.
Hiromu aided SANADA in his victory, kicking Togo in the face, which set up the closing sequence. EVIL knocked Togo off the apron, which allowed SANADA to roll EVIL up into a bridging pin for the shock 3 count.
This was one of EVIL’s best matches since the comeback. There was so much emotional investment from me as a viewer, and the two men told an absolutely wonderful story that more than made up for the slower parts of the match. Really, really good stuff all around—I’m very invested in the paths that both men take moving forward.
And, of course, that SANADA win takes him to the finals, as he holds the tiebreaker victories over Tetsuya Naito and EVIL. A match with Kota Ibushi awaits tomorrow in the finals.
WINNER: SANADA via roll-up in 27:01
While a solid night of action from an in-ring perspective, I was slightly let down by the finishes to the majority of the matches. On a night where statements were supposed to be made as everyone’s tournament comes to an end, things fell flat as no finishers were used to get emphatic wins. This may be due to the upcoming World Tag League tour, which will surely feature many of the G1 participants, but considering the majority of A Block matches ended with a decisive finish, it makes little sense.
A perfectly fine night of action, overall, one that built my excitement up for tomorrow’s final extremely well.