We returned to Block A for Night 11 of the G1 Climax 30 tournament. There are some big first-time matches tonight, with Kazuchika Okada taking on Jeff Cobb and Will Ospreay hoping he doesn’t get obliterated by Minoru Suzuki. The biggest match, of course, sees Kota Ibushi take on Shingo Takagi in the main event for what, to many, is a real dream match.
Let’s head to the ring and get straight into the action!
If you’ve happened to have missed any of our previous G1 coverage, use the links below:
Yujiro Takahashi vs. Tomohiro Ishii
How do you defeat a beast like Ishii if you’re Takahashi? Jumping him before the bell and knocking him down with a clothesline is not a bad idea. Takahashi followed this up with a reverse DDT on the floor. Were we going to have ourselves a major upset?
Surprisingly, this was a very even match-up, with both men exchanging flurries of offence. My problem with this was two-fold: one, Takahashi is not the most riveting wrestler on the planet, so it’s disheartening to see him get so much offence, and two, after war he had with Taichi, were we really to believe he couldn’t squash Takahashi?
Entertaining when Ichii took the lead, noticeably less so when not, Ichii thankfully took the win with his sheer drop brainbuster, eliminating Takahashi from having a chance of winning this year’s G1. There’s speculation Ishii’s in a bad way, which is why Takahashi got so much offence in. It could be, in fact, that they wanted to make Takahashi look strong in defeat so he wasn’t totally squashed out of the tournament. The next Ishii match will be revealing, I’m sure…
Jeff Cobb vs. Kazuchika Okada
This was honestly quite a strange match; while it was definitely entertaining, it felt like it ended just as it was about to enter that next gear. Consequently, the ending felt slightly anti-climatic, which is a shame, as everything leading up to the finish was very good.
The match was pretty even, with Okada looking to chain together neckbreakers to soften Cobb up for the Money Clip. He also used a Rainmaker and a DDT to solid effect. Cobb, meanwhile, often threw Okada around like a ragdoll, utilising a big overhead suplex, a back suplex, a big standing moonsault and a superkick.
In one impressive moment, Cobb simply deadlifted Okada up and swung him around in a gut wrench as if he was made of straw, before dropping him with a spinning side suplex. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Okada be manhandled quite like that before.
Both men went for their finishers, the Money Clip and Tour of the Islands, without fully being able to do so effectively and Okada managed to sit on Cobb and hook the legs for the simple pinfall victory.
As I said, very good, but I’d like to see them again in a longer match.
Will Ospreay vs. Minoru Suzuki
I might be biased because it’s my boy Suzuki, but I really enjoyed this one. It told a good story in that Ospreay, the budding heavyweight, faced a test against a real tough, legit heavyweight in Suzuki and had to try and adapt, often failing, but just grabbing the win. It certainly does no harm to Ospreay’s growing legitimacy in Japan as a heavyweight.
Ospreay tried to use his speed and aerial skills early on, diving onto Suzuki on the outside but, in a cool move, a leap over the guard rail so Suzuki catch Ospreay’s arm and take him down to the floor in an arm bar. It looked extremely fluid. Suzuki then proceeded to bend the hurt limb around the ring post, leaping up to apply an arm lock using the ring post for extra pressure.
Back in the ring, Ospreay found his usual aerial offence would not do him much good as Suzuki was always thinking one step ahead. A springboard forearm saw Ospreay caught and pulled down to the mat for another arm bar. He headed upstairs only for Suzuki to follow him up and lock on a double wristlock on the top of the ring post! Crazy.
Suzuki hit Ospreay with his usual fierce bombs, but Ospreay made the mistake of hitting back with his injured arm, hurting himself in the process. While you’d think it would be common sense not to hit someone with your injured arm in the first place, it’s still interesting to see Ospreay adapt to the striking game and learn he has to switch arms.
In the end, Suzuki locked in a rear naked choke, but fell to an enziguiri. A Storm Breaker followed for the 1-2-3. I know there are people out there upset about Ospreay winning, for various reasons. I will say that it felt like it was designed on purpose that Ospreay looked lucky to win, like he’d just scratched out a victory barely. I appreciate that detail. Ospreay’s getting the big New Japan push—whether we like it or not…
Jay White vs. Taichi
When two s**t-stirring, provocative heels get together, what do you get? In this case, comedy. Not that this was a comedy match but there was a great sense of two heels trying to out-heel the other and having fun doing it. Taichi singing to Jay White while Jay clapped in time, then doing a pose-off as the audience clapped certainly tickled me. Taichi making hand gestures to say that Jay talks too much was great. As was Taichi heading straight out of the ring as Jay did at the start, as if to say he knew Jay’s tricks only too well. Jay looked bemused—maybe you need new material, sir!
Taichi had initial control, choking out Jay with a camera wire. But Jay was able to come back, and took out Taichi’s knee in the ring, leaving him to struggle on the one lower extremity. Taichi was able to hit an Axe Bomber, Kawada kicks and a Dangerous Backdrop Driver, as well as an enziguiri to keep the pressure on, while White utilised a DDT, Blade Buster, uranage and dragon screw.
In the end, after some typical Gedo nonsense involving a distraction and low blows, Taichi went for Black Mephisto, which White tried to counter with a Blade Runner. Taichi avoided this but White was determined and finally nailed the Blade Runner for the victory.
Afterwards, Jay teased Taichi with his own microphone stand, so Taichi get a chair and tried to get in the ring with it. You know, I genuinely want to see these two feud now. The chemistry’s there, they both want to one-up the other, and we’ll get more fun matches like this…if you’re reading, Gedo…
Also, how over was Taichi with the Hiroshima crowd? Wow.
Kota Ibushi vs. Shingo Takagi
What. A. Match. Certainly, the match of the G1 so far. This had been a dream match for many for so long and now that it’s actually happened, it did not disappoint.
Both men were hungry for the win and it showed. Not only did they have their reputations to think of, but Shingo needed the win here to stay as a valid potential winner in the G1 running. A loss here would make a comeback difficult. Kota, meanwhile, needed to win, as he does all matches now, to prove he is God. A win against Shingo would certainly help his cause.
Both men started out aggressively, with Kota noticeably picking up more momentum. Shingo cut him off by clotheslining Ibushi to the outside and DDTing him on the floor. Shingo slowed the pace then with a slingshot knee drop and a crisp vertical suplex, but things picked up with a rapid exchange if strikes between the two. Kota piled on the pressure with a hurricarana, a standing moonsault and a plancha to the outside, but Shingo was able to back drop his way out of a Last Ride attempt and battered Ibushi with strikes and clotheslines.
From here, both men went for the kill. Kota snuck out of a noshigami but missed a Kamigoye, allowing Shingo to successfully hit the noshigami. The pair exchanged big suplexes before trading some nasty-looking strikes. Kota amazed me by bouncing off the ropes while being German suplexed and cracking Shingo right in the back of the head with a running kick. Ouch! Likewise, Kota’s panicked facial expression when he realised Shingo was about to drop him with Made in Japan was a sight to behold.
A pumping bomber nearly took Ibushi out of his boots. Shingo went to end things with Last of the Dragon but couldn’t nail it, so he knocked Ibushi down with a lariat. Kota comes back with a lariat of his own but Shingo blocks a Kamigoye and finally nails a Last of the Dragon for the hard-fought win.
It was the right result. Shingo’s still in the running for the G1, and Kota still has further to go in his journey to become God, allowing more growth for him. Great work all round.
This was a really good show, with only one match I didn’t really care for (Ishii/Takagashi). We got a solid undercard otherwise, with a main event that will be talked about for a long time. Block A is proving to be where the best action is and Night 11 did not disappoint.
If you only watch one match this G1, as it stands, make it Shingo and Kota—it’s that good.
1. Kota Ibushi (4-2) (8 pts)
2. Jay White (4-2) (8 pts)
3. Will Ospreay (4-2) (8 pts)
4. Kazuchika Okada (4-2) (8 pts)
5. Taichi (3-3) (6 pts)
6. Minoru Suzuki (3-3) (6 pts)
7. Shingo Takagi (3-3) (6 pts)
8. Tomohiro Ishii (3-3) (6 pts)
9. Jeff Cobb (2-4) (4 pts)
10. Yujiro Takahashi (0-6) (0 pts)
1. Tetsuya Naito (4-1) (8 pts)
2. Juice Robinson (4-1) (8 pts)
3. Toru Yano (3-2) (6 pts)
4. EVIL (3-2) (6 pts)
5. Hiroshi Tanahashi (3-2) (6 pts)
6. KENTA (2-3) (4 pts)
7. Hirooki Goto (2-3) (4 pts)
8. SANADA (2-3) (4 pts)
9. Zack Sabre Jr. (2-3) (4 pts)
10. YOSHI-HASHI (1-4) (2 pts)