G1 Climax 30 Night 5 (September 27th) Review

Night 5 of the 2020 G1 Climax came to us live from Kobe World Hall. Today’s stacked A Block card saw the much-anticipated rematch between Will Ospreay and Shingo Takagi in the semi-main, while heavy favourite Jay White took on Kazuchika Okada in the main event. Let’s take a look at what went down.

If you’ve missed any of our coverage for any previous G1 shows, check them out here:

Night 1 | Night 2 | Night 3 | Night 4

Preliminary Young Lions Match: Yota Tsuji vs Gabriel Kidd

Match Time – 7:40

As with all shows on this tour, tonight’s show kicked off with a Young Lion showcase match between Yota Tsuji and Gabriel Kidd. When looking at the singles record between the two, it seemed like a near certainty that Tsuji would pick up the win.

The two ‘rookies’ (I use this term loosely when regarding Kidd, who already has 7 years of wrestling experience) brought a great intensity to a very strong showcase of the in-ring fundamentals. Tsuji targeted his adversary’s leg in the earlier stages of the match, which led to a half-crab attempt that the crowd got invested in.

In what can be seen as somewhat of an upset, Kidd got the win with his new double-arm suplex, bringing his record on this tour to 2-1.

This was a great opener that hyped the crowd up for a stacked night of tournament action. Both men continue to show immense potential, I look forward to when they go on their excursions.

Winner – Gabriel Kidd (Double Arm Suplex in 7:40)

G1 Climax 30 A Block – Taichi (4 points) vs Yujiro Takahashi (0 points)

Match Time – 11:03

A strong opener was followed by a shockingly decent contest between Yujiro and Taichi. After a shock win over faction leader Minoru Suzuki in his last match, very few (if anyone) expected Taichi to lose here.

Yujiro had one of his best showings all year and Taichi impressed, as he has done all year. He’s become one of my favourite talents in New Japan over the last 9 months, one that gets nowhere near the level of credit he deserves.

The Holy Emperor eventually picked up the 2 points with a Gedo Clutch, which was quite surprising but a fine end to a fine match.

Winner – Taichi (Gedo Clutch in 11:03) – Taichi advances to 6 points

G1 Climax 30 A Block – Jeff Cobb (2 points) vs Minoru Suzuki (2 points)

Match Time – 9:24

Much like Cobb’s match with Taichi, this started out slow and somewhat clunky but really picked up in both pace and quality in the later stages. I didn’t care much for the action being brought to the outside, but it didn’t go on for too long and we quickly found ourselves back in the ring.

There was a moment that saw Cobb seemingly miss a shoulder tackle, but this can be overlooked. Let’s remember that these guys are still human and will naturally make mistakes from time to time.

A great closing stretch saw Cobb hit some well-executed suplexes, which eventually led to an attempt at ‘Tour of the Islands’ that Suzuki brilliantly avoided. The King used a snap mare to roll Cobb through, before quickly transitioning into the GSP for the win.

Winner – Minoru Suzuki (Gotch-Style Piledriver in 9:24) – Suzuki moves to 4 points

G1 Climax 30 A Block – Kota Ibushi (2 points) vs Tomohiro Ishii (0 points)

Match Time – 15:41

This was excellent. Truly brilliant.

As we’ve seen in all of their past meetings, Ibushi and Ishii like to hit each other really hard to see who cracks first. Then when the person does crack, they do it some more. And it’s great.

Ibushi showed a dangerous edge to his in-ring repertoire, toying with Ishii in certain points of the match with pushes to the head. This was refreshing after seeing him play a white meat babyface for the most part alongside Hiroshi Tanahashi this year.

There were some great striking exchanges that made me smile a great deal, including a spot with both men on the floor which escalated rather quickly into kicks to the head and an eventual slap exchange.

Similar to the Okada match on night 1, the finish seemed a bit rushed to me. There was nothing wrong with the match ending here, as the two had put on a great battle, but the absence of the explosive, dramatic closing sequence was noticeable. This is more of a personal gripe than an actual complaint, though—everything about this match was good at worst and brilliant at best. Ishii’s counter to the Kami Goye attempt (a headbutt to Ibushi’s chest) was something I hadn’t really seen before, which is always a good thing.

Ishii trailing at 0 points is quite a surprise to see, but I feel this will lead to a strong run of form for the remainder of the tournament – especially with contests against Jay, Okada and Shingo still to come.

Winner – Kota Ibushi (Kami Goye in 15:41) – Ibushi moves to 4 points

G1 Climax 30 A Block – Will Ospreay (4 points) vs Shingo Takagi (0 points)

Match Time – 22:03

This was good if you like the Ospreay match formula. But I don’t see it as the instant classic that many are already claiming it to be.

The opening exchanges were just the usual quick reversals and blocks, which have long become tiresome. Sure, it presents a sense of familiarity and intimacy that the two men should have after their acclaimed BOSJ final, but when we’ve seen it so many times in big stakes Will Ospreay matches, it loses its appeal, which is a shame.

Ospreay dominated a fair portion of the match, which made many of the audience believe that The Assassin was going to advance to 6 points. Fortunately, he didn’t.

After a strong closing sequence, Takagi hit ‘Last of the Dragon’ for the three count, bringing the record between the two men to 1 win apiece, and Shingo getting his first 2 points in this year’s competition.

I really didn’t want to be so critical of this match. But I went into it with rather high expectations, expecting them to top their previous effort in a more intense affair, considering the time limit was half of what we saw in the Super Junior final last year, and ultimately they didn’t do a lot to deliver for me. I can understand why the majority will love it, but it just wasn’t for me. Sorry.

Winner – Shingo Takagi (Last of the Dragon in 22:03) – Shingo moves to 2 points

Main Event – G1 Climax 30 A Block – Kazuchika Okada (2 points) vs Jay White (4 points)

Match Time – 18:48

This was genuinely one of the most surprising results of the tournament so far, which made a good match even better.

Even with Jay considered by many to be the favourite for this year’s tournament, many people (myself included) expected Okada to halt his perfect start.

But he didn’t.

Jay fought his sort of match. Being the excellent heel he is, King Switch used all of his best tricks to anger the Rainmaker, which allowed him to take advantage. He manipulated the crowd extremely well throughout, mocking Okada’s stomp/clap combination that he has used since the comeback—demonstrating why he is, without a doubt, the best heel in wrestling today.

Okada’s back became a target for Jay throughout. This was a nice callback to Kobe 2 years ago, where Okada was attacked from behind by both Jay and Gedo. It also did a good job at reducing the effectiveness of moves like the Tombstone and allowed Switchblade to control the pace of the match and take control when needed.

Okada sold the back really well for the most part, really putting over his pain through facial expressions and his inability to lift his adversary up. Jay’s avoidance of Okada’s big dropkick only added to the Rainmaker’s back troubles.

A stellar closing sequence saw King Switch counter Okada’s ‘Money Clip’ (Cobra Clutch) with a suplex and a ‘Blade Runner’, taking him to 6 points and keeping him undefeated. This was very, very good. Probably my favourite Okada vs. Jay match to date.

WINNER – Jay White (Blade Runner in 18:48) – White advances to 6 points

What Made This Match So Good?

The Gedo interference was done right as it didn’t play into a direct finish, Jay’s targeting of the back was both logical and symbolic of the events of the past, and the win gave Jay some more momentum while putting Okada into a very interesting position. Where does Okada go now, after losing to 2 men he’s beaten in high stakes matches? Where does he go after only managing to beat Yujiro this year?

It certainly creates a lot of possibilities for both men. I’m very excited to see where things go.

Final Thoughts

This was one of the better nights of action so far. A strong card on paper was executed extremely well for the most part, with Jay/Okada and Ishii/Ibushi being the highlights for me. Even Ospreay/Shingo was a great match when viewing it as a purely athletic spectacle.

Taichi leading the blocks alongside Switchblade is very surprising, but a welcome turn of events. The whole tournament has delivered thus far, for the most part, exceeding many people’s pretty lofty expectations from an in-ring standpoint. The direction of many competitors (primarily Kazuchika Okada) is extremely interesting, I’m very curious to see where they go and what becomes of Okada in this tournament.

If you’re strapped for time, I’d recommend Ishii vs. Ibushi and Okada vs. Jay, with Ospreay vs. Shingo being a great choice if you enjoyed their BOSJ final from last year. But there wasn’t anything overly bad on this card.

G1 Climax 30 Standings after Night 5

A Block:

Jay White6 points (3-0)
Taichi6 points (3-0)
Minoru Suzuki4 points (2-1)
Will Ospreay4 points (2-1)
Kota Ibushi4 points (2-1)
Kazuchika Okada2 points (1-2)
Jeff Cobb2 points (1-2)
Shingo Takagi2 points (1-2)
Yujiro Takahashi0 points (0-3)
Tomohiro Ishii0 points (0-3)

B Block:

Tetsuya Naito – 4 points (2-0)
Juice Robinson – 4 points (2-0)
Toru Yano – 4 points (2-0)
KENTA – 2 points (1-1)
Hirooki Goto 2 points (1-1)
Zack Sabre Jr 2 points (1-1)
EVIL 2 points (1-1)
0 points (0-2)
0 points (0-2)
Hiroshi Tanahashi
0 points (0-2)

Written by Conrad Newton

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