New Japan Pro Wrestling
G1 Climax 2020 Night 4
September 24, 2020
Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center
Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan
Good day, Jeri here once again diving into the B Block to give you all my thoughts and opinions on the ongoings of this G1 Climax 30. We have what could possibly be a very good to great main event. The remaining matches ehhhhhh, I’m very underwhelmed at what is being offered but this is the G1, and stepping up and over delivery can and will happen so perhaps I’ll be made to eat my words and thoughts by the end of this review! Enough of an intro, you know what this tournament is, let us dive right in!
Yota Tsuji def. Yuya Uemura
Never skip Young Lions.
No, I will not stop repeating that throughout these reviews. Uemura has a really nice dropkick. I love it so much. This match started and stayed pretty pedestrian for a good chunk of its short life span. There were some nice basic grappling exchanges and hold trading to start, then eventually Uemura hits that dropkick and things pick up a bit and we also get a pretty good Tsumi dropkick as well and the crowd starts to clap along. At this point, my interest in the match gets much better and I really enjoy the little bit of fire and passion we get in the final portions of this match
I never expect a whole lot of razzle or dazzle in Young Lion matches, I expect them to be simple, basic, but as long as it has energy and fire I’ll end up getting it a thumbs up. Where that was missing in the first portion of this match it would find itself coming into play in the second and we get some nice stuff from Tsumi in particular with a nice looking spear and running power slam I actually bought would be a successful pin attempt, but instead, Uemura would rightfully fall to that Young Lion killer that is the Boston Crab. Maybe I’m being generous, but I feel like giving this a classy lady’s three. I do love me Young Lions after all. ***
G1 Climax 30 B Block
Hirooki Goto (2) def. SANADA (0)
This is the opening tourney match proper? Huh, that catches me off guard a bit. I hate Sanada’s new mask, looks like I could buy it on sale at the Toy Section in Walmart. Also on another side note, Goto’s theme ALWAYS gets me pumped up for an upcoming match. Goto’s arm is not having a good tournament so far as it was once again a focus in the beginning as after hitting it on the outside post Sanada made sure to zone in and target it with strikes and holds. Could this possibly end up being a tournament long struggle for Goto? I don’t mind people having an injury/flaw to overcome so I’m not against that. This could be a make or break him scenario especially when he goes up against those who have high submissive abilities.
The body of this match is solid, well worked, if not anywhere close to spectacular. There was nice trading of pin attempts that while I never bit on them were well done and looked good and felt like actual attempts at ending the match and not just a cute sequence of holds for the sake of doing it. I don’t like the Skull End, but Sananda is always good at finding ways of applying it and does so several times in this match. What I’m trying to say is this isn’t the most exciting of matches, but it is well worked and nicely wrestled, which from these two shouldn’t be a surprise.
Honestly, this ends up turning into a good solid match with Goto succeeding at getting a pretty straight forward victory to send Sanada to 0-2. This won’t get out of the three-star range but it was well worked, both wrestlers executed well enough, the wrestling was smart and even though I used phrases such as not exciting truth is through consistent work and effort they got me into it by the end and I found myself thinking it was a good effort. That shouldn’t go unrewarded. Several more minutes added for some extra drama and they might have convinced me to go higher on this. Goto still has that damaged arm that’ll no doubt come back into play. Sananda is now in a hole and will have to crawl his way out of it. ***1/4
G1 Climax 30 B Block
Toru Yano (4) def. Hiroshi Tanahashi (0)
Was reminded on Twitter that these two once went to a 30-minute time limit draw. That’s not happening here. Unless 2020 digs its claws into this match. I don’t have the highest hopes for this match, but we’ll see, maybe I’ll get caught off guard (like all of Yano’s opponents seem to do) and get into it. As I type that Yano after some stalling goes for the wrestling! Maybe I’ll like this match? Okay, we’re too shenanigans. Back to our regularly scheduled Yano. Listen up, if spots such as Tanahashi dragon screwing the turnbuckle pad to twist Yano inside out are your thing, these spots are definitely for you and I won’t stop you. They just don’t do it for me, although Hiroshi Tanahashi doing air guitar with one of the pads did bring a slight smile to my face. It didn’t last, but I can’t pretend it didn’t happen.
Tanahashi hit some of the offense you’d expect out of Tanahashi, then we got perhaps one of the more ridiculous spots we’re going to get as Yano got the tape wrapped around his eyes and is now blind and can’t see AND STILL SOMEHOW MANAGES TO MAKE IT BACK IN THE RING AND PIN TANAHASHI THROUGH SHENANIGANS. I already hear people lapping it up and talking about how fun and entertaining that was. So what I’m trying to say is clearly I’m not people. I didn’t care for that at all. I will say I do hear the sound of hundreds of brackets everywhere screaming in terror and then silence. So for that, I’ll give this match above a star. Yano is the killer of brackets, the destroyer of pick ’ems, the cold hand of death of contest chances. He’s now 2-0 and Tanahashi is 0-2. The world’s turned upside down.
I didn’t enjoy this. I will not be rating it highly. Some of you reading may go much higher if you aren’t a fuddy-duddy like me and enjoy Yano’s contributions he brings to the table. I get and accept he’s a welcome reprieve during this tournament for many of you, I just don’t get into him as much. I’ll also push this star rating closer to two because Tanahashi to his credit played along and reacted well to Yano and even if I don’t enjoy the match I can respect and appreciate the effort in that. I can appreciate it, but I can also flat out say I find this skippable. *3/4
G1 Climax 30 B Block
Juice Robinson (4) def. KENTA (2)
What I was hoping for going into this match was a fun and enjoyable clash of styles. Juice Robinson with his flamboyancy, personality, and style. KENTA with his all work no play attitude, his hard-hitting, and no-nonsense way of going about things. I thought this had a low key possibility of having two incompatible characters mixing it up for the first time and having a match exceed at being a surprise hit. It wasn’t a full-on swing and a miss, but it was a foul bunt. There was an effort but it leads to nothing. At times it was a snore, a chore, but at least succeeded at not being a full-on bore. There were sparks of fire here and there, but those sparks would smolder out quickly and suddenly and go back to the crawl this match choose to go.
Slow wrestling matches aren’t necessarily a bad thing in every scenario, but they can be when it feels like a slog, and this match at points felt like a slog and a sense of urgency and importance never was felt throughout this match. Juice is a good and capable wrestler (as seen in the opening match of this tournament) but it should be noted when his matches miss the mark, they miss the mark by a wide margin. KENTA is not his old self (and we need to stop pretending and demanding him to be) but is capable of having good and great matches, and no doubt he had his flare-up moments in this match that helped it along, but they weren’t enough and this match couldn’t hold my full attention throughout.
There is stuff to like in this match, it isn’t void of complete enjoyability. I have confidence that during this tournament with other opponents both men are going to put on good to great efforts and have some matches that I’ll speak much higher about going on. Their opening day matches were pretty good after all, but this just didn’t succeed in my eyes. Near the end, things started to finally pick up, but by then the damage had been done. Where Goto/Sananda got me into their match near the end, with Juice and Kenta I was so far gone there was no bringing me back. I look forward to seeing better matches from both though. **1/2
G1 Climax 30 B Block
EVIL (2) def. YOSHI-HASHI (0)
I absolutely love the match starting with YOSHI HASHI not having EVIL’s chair swinging opening shot shenanigans and using his staff in retaliation. YOSHI HASHI starts the match with some fire and energy this show needed. This match had energy and urgency to it. You know what, this match was a lot of fun. Even the Dick Togo shenanigans didn’t ruin it for me, they surprisingly added to it and made me frustrated for poor YOSHI-HASHI. Wait, I’m showing concern for YOSHI-HASHI? THIS CAN HAPPEN? G1 Climax 30 BABY!
Seriously, YOSHI-HASHI just seems motivated as heck right now, a man with something to prove, and this combined with night 2 he’s been showing quite the effort in his performances and he can remain this consistent throughout we mind end the Climax admitting YOSHI-HASHI had himself a very good tournament. EVIL had a pep in his step as well in this match and his contributions should not go unremarked. He made YOSHI-HASHI’s offense look good and was on point when he was the aggressor and never came off as wasting time or slowing things down too much. This match just hit notes I wasn’t expecting, and the crowd played along and got into it well and were clapping throughout.
After the previous two matches, this match was quite welcomed to this reviewer. Also, this is where surprise winners in previous nights come into play as I bought into the possibility of YOSHI-HASHI winning, and hell in an ultimate rarity I got into the butterfly lock. My second least favorite submission (next to Okada’s). It took some effort to achieve that, but lord they got me and I bought it as possibly ending the match. YOSHI-HASHI also fended off Dick Togo interference and made me buy into him winning, but a low blow and EVERYTHING IS EVIL would put away the unexpected dream of a YOSHI-HASHI victory. Very good stuff, and I had fun. No complaints. ***1/2
G1 Climax 30 B Block
Tetsuya Naito (4) def. Zack Sabre Jr. (2)
Been looking forward to this match. This show needed a great main event, and it got one. They baited me and I took the bait. They made it feel/seem like this would go the distance and I looked at that dangle bait and accepted it. This went over 28 minutes and it paced well, built nicely, and in the end, I thought the show ended on the high note that is desperately needed to end on. I always find myself enjoying Zack Sabre Jr./Naito matches and while this wasn’t the best they had, it’s another solid and great addition to their collection of matches.
I just love watching Zack Sabre Jr., and he kept me interested in watching him try to ground down Naito with various submissions and pinfall combinations and Naito having to find ways to kick out and get out of them. Naito for his part was gamed and he did his best to grind down and get submissions and strikes in on his own against Zack Sabre Jr. Not everyone can adapt and work well with Zack Sabre Jr’s style, but Naito is one of those that can and he adapts very well and compliments Zack Sabre Jr’s choices of offense and maneuvers allowing things to click, feel organic and mesh together. The match starts off slowly giving you the feel right away this was going long and potentially the distance, and then picks up and then picks up more as the time starts to tick away and that race to earning those two points begins.
Both men through the match hit nasty Tornado DDTS, both men throughout catch me thinking they have the match won only for the match to continue, and in the end both men worked hard, worked well, and we had ourselves a well put together main event that was worth the journey. If I had any complaints that caused me to dock points I do wish the pace had picked up a bit sooner in the first half of the match. While it did trick me into thinking this would possibly go the distance, I do feel it held this match back from reaching its highest potential. All that said this main event was great, and it’s another notch in Naito’s belt as he’s now had two back-to-back main events that are worth your time, are different styles of matches, and end the evening on a high note. ****1/4
The final two matches save this show. You can add SANADA/Goto to your viewing if you so choose, but the two matches sandwich between the opener and final two matches are definite skips for different reasons. You do get a great main event on this night paired well with a very fun semi-main so this show ended up not being a complete loss by any means.