Clash of the Stables at the G1 Climax 30 is a cannot miss! Tonight’s G1 card sees Block B action, as we get a collision of the Bullet Club between EVIL and KENTA, and a big main event between Tetsuya Naito and his own stablemate, SANADA.
There’s no time to waste so let’s head straight to the ring!
If you’ve happened to have missed any of our previous G1 coverage, use the links below:
Preliminary Match: Gabriel Kidd vs. Yota Tsuji
Another night, another Young Lion opener. Except, this might have been the best Young Lion match of this G1 yet.
It was really in the second half of the match that things kicked into gear. Kidd has incredible intensity and knows how to work a crowd, uttering some primal “oi’s” to get the crowd clapping. His grappling game is sharp, showing great balance in escaping a head scissors, and he’s athletic too, nailing a beautiful dropkick near the end.
Tsuji, meanwhile, showed great strength by crawling to the ropes a few times while trapped in Kidd’s Boston crab, showing resilience each time he was pulled away until he got to the ropes. His spear is a thing of beauty, and his striking game is stiff.
A series of roll-ups occurred as the 15-minute time limit was reached. This only seemed to enrage both men as they started trading wild blows before falling to the mat in exhaustion. Kidd then threw his pack at Tsuji in fury.
We’re definitely looking at future stars here.
Toru Yano vs. Juice Robinson at Clash of the Stables
I shouldn’t have enjoyed this…I really do know better…but, bloody hell, was I entertained by that. It was like a puroresu Laurel and Hardy. The fact that it was short and to the point helped its case.
Yano is annoyed that Juice is taking so long with his shirt. He offers Juice a spare Yano T-shirt as a ‘gift’, but as Juice puts it in, Yano tries a roll-up. He then pushes the ref to cause a distraction and sprays water in Juice’s eyes! Juice gets revenge by emptying water over Yano, who returns to the ring and eventually gets a turnbuckle pad off. Juice gets rid of it and rips his T-shirt like he’s Juice Hogan.
Yano provokes Juice to come outside, where he reveals some hidden tape and wraps it around Juice’s ankles. Juice’s infuriated hopping back to the ring was great. A full nelson slam took Yano down, giving Juice chance to remove the tape. Yano countered a Pulp Friction attempt but found himself rolled up for the 1-2-3.
That’s another fine mess you’ve gotten me into, Yano…
Hirooki Goto vs. Zack Sabre Jr. at Clash of the Stables
This was a crazily short match at only four minutes, which leads me to believe Goto’s arm is more shot than we’ve realised. If that’s so, New Japan might need to ask some big questions about his participation in the rest of the G1.
Zack logically went for that bad arm of Goto’s locking in an armbar and refusing to let go at five as Goto made the ropes, even pushing the ref away so he could carry on kicking at the injured limb. An Octopus stretch followed, but Goto was able to come back with a lariat and an ushigoroshi, but Sabre snuck out of a GTR attempt and rolled Goto into a Japanese leg clutch for the very quick win.
Whether the decision to end the match that quickly was made in the ring or before, I don’t know. The match itself had promise, it just wasn’t given the time to do it justice. Although I did enjoy Zack cockily referring afterwards to his victory as a “piece of p**s”, as well telling a fan to “stop clapping, moron”. What a gent.
YOSHI-HASHI vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi at Clash of the Stables
This was an interesting experience for me, in that I think I preferred the story that was being told than the grappling used to tell it. That doesn’t sound like the best recommendation, I know, but there really was a compelling story being told between the lines.
Tanahashi tried throughout the match to rally some offence together but continuously found himself being taken down and surprisingly dominated by YOSHI-HOSHI, who worked that tender knee of Tanahashi in the earlier parts of the match before moving into more high-impact offence.
The implication here was a continuation of the story told throughout the Ace’s feud with Jay White, and then his tag-team with the younger Kota Ibushi—that Tanahashi is perhaps on the downwards curve of his career now and is perhaps not quite the wrestler he once was. It’s the old question of whether it’s better to burn out than to fade away. Tana can still go, of course, so it will be interesting to see where this goes.
It also did YOSHI-HASHI some good, showing that he can go against the big dogs convincingly. Yes, the match wasn’t the most exciting—YOSHI-HASHI still leaves a lot to be desired in that area—but the story it told, leading to Tana semi-ekeing a win with a High Fly Flow, is worth emotionally investing in.
EVIL vs. KENT at Clash of the Stables
It was the battle of the Bullet Club and I was curious as to how this would pan out. Would they go gentle at first out of respect, only for tempers to flare later on?
As it happens, KENTA went for the ‘Too Sweet’ to start as EVIL clapped, only for EVIL to disrespect KENTA by giving the ‘Too Sweet’ to Dick Togo instead. And I was I thinking KENTA was going to be the asshole.
It led to an interesting story through the match; the new boy EVIL disrespecting his stablemate because he wants the glory. Much like what he did to Naito, in fact. It paints EVIL as a man not to be trusted and an agent of dissension in the Bullet Club.
KENTA was not best pleased, threatening Dick Togo and sending EVIL to the guard rail outside. Back in the ring, he used EVIL as a football, kicking him right in the back. And still, no respect was given, with Togo pulling KENTA out of the ring and EVIL giving him a taste of the rail. But that wasn’t evil enough, so EVIL took it further and put KENTA’s injured arm in a chair and smashed it into the ring post. Nothing sweet about that.
EVIL sensibly worked the arm, but KENTA returned fire with fire by cracking EVIL with the briefcase before hitting a double stomp. Big moves were unleashed, with EVIL landing Darkness Falls, whilst slipping out of a Go 2 Sleep attempt by KENTA. Dick Togo slipped in to distract the ref, so KENTA hoists him up for the Go 2 Sleep. Dastardly Dick grabbed the ref, though, allowing EVIL to hit a low blow and Everything is Evil to take the victory.
I enjoyed this much more than I thought I would. The Bullet Club dissension was interesting, as KENTA came out looking like a real face, and you can tell people are dying to cheer for him. A physical battle, this one is recommended.
Tetsuya Naito vs. SANADA at Clash of the Stables
Talking of stablemates going one-on-one, it was Los Ignorables de Japon’s turn to go to war against each other. And while the competitors here were certainly more respectful to each other than the Bullet Club previously, they didn’t shy away from throwing everything they had at each other.
Guard rail hits, the Combinacion Cabron, a rope-assisted neck breaker, a plancha, a swinging DDT, a neck breaker off the top, a Skull End; the action didn’t let up a second. There was also a lot of counter-spots later in the match as Naito was insistent on nailing the Destino and SANADA was understandably keen on not being nailed on it! SANADA actually nailed Naito with a Destino of his own but in the end, it took two moonsaults in a row for SANADA to put down for the surprise victory. There was no reason to suspect Naito wouldn’t win here, which means this was booked either to give Naito a loss so it wouldn’t look like he was steamrolling through, or they’ve got something planned for SANADA. I hope it’s the latter because it would be a waste of a loss for the IWGP Heavyweight Champion if there wasn’t something meaningful attached to it. We shall see.
The one thing I will say is that this match did go on a little longer than it needed to and felt artificially epic rather than naturally so. I was drained by the end and was glad to hear the final bell. It’s ok to have just a 20-minute main event guys, honest!
This was a good show but not a great one. When the Young Lion match is one of the best on the card, you know it wasn’t the strongest card—and that’s no disrespect to the Young Lions. Yano was Yano and your mileage will vary there. Zack and Goto had potential but was understandably very short. Tanahashi and YOSHI-HASHI told a compelling story but didn’t necessarily have a compelling match. Thankfully, the Bullet Club collision and the main event brought some quality back to the card. But as a whole, this didn’t feel like an essential show.