9/19 NEW JAPAN G1 CLIMAX REPORT – NIGHT 1 (A Block): Okada vs. Ibushi, Ospreay vs. Takahashi, Cobb vs. Taichi, White vs. Takagi, Suzuki vs. Iishi


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NEW JAPAN REPORT- G1 CLIMAX 30 – NIGHT ONE (A BLOCK)
SEPTEMBER 19, 2020
AIRED ON NEW JAPAN WORLD
REPORT BY ZACK HEYDORN, PWTORCH COLUMNIST

It was refreshing to see a live crowd again and even seconds into the Young Lion opening contest; you were slapped in the face with a dose of reality that screamed, “Don’t forget, wrestling is better with a live audience.” Even if the reactions are tempered, the response is what has been missing and it made for a memorable night one to kick off the 30th G1 Climax tournament.

(1) WILL OSPREAY vs. YUJIRO TAKAHASHI

Not long enough to be considered an Ospreay classic by any means, but he had the time to get his spots in and the audience seemed glad to have him back. Ospreay and Takahashi exchanged offense for a lot of the match, but the final turn of momentum went the way of Ospreay and he was able to secure the victory after hitting the Stormbreaker.

WINNER: Ospreay via pinfall (2 points) **1/2

Heydorn’s Analysis: A good match and the right match for Ospreay to open with. He seemed more than ready to go and it would have been really easy for him to fit 10 pounds of stuff in a five-pound bag here. With all the other matches he has in this block, showing restraint out of the gate is smart. The post-match promo by Ospreay tells the audience he’s on a mission and now the world knows it.

(2) JEFF COBB vs. TAICHI

This was a smooth affair from both competitors. It felt as if the match had two chapters; one for brawling and one for work inside the ring. Cobb and Taichi pressed on in both, which made for an exciting back and forth battle. Cobb was able to counter Taichi’s heel antics for a lot of the match, but couldn’t overcome in the end. Taichi hit his finisher and then made the cover for the win.

WINNER: Taichi via pinfall (2 points) ***1/4

Heydorn’s Analysis: I was looking to see what Cobb would bring to the table to start things off and this match couldn’t have gone better for him. Yes, he took the loss, but he looked the part of a wrecking machine in doing so. His fire-ups were authentic and believable, which led to increased engagement in the match. Taichi was Taichi and that’s not a bad thing.

(3) MINORU SUZUKI vs. TOMOHIRO ISHII

This was utter insanity from the start. Both men kicked off the match with their traditional strike exchange in the middle of the ring and though other wrestling took place in the match, the action always came back to those strikes. The viciousness ensued from there. Those shots not only anchored the pace and story of the match, but the crowd’s investment as well. In the end, Suzuki over-powered and hit the Gotch-Style Piledriver for the 1,2,3 win.

WINNER: Suzuki via pinfall (2 points) ****

Heydorn’s Analysis: This was just madness. The shots these guys took were painful to watch and almost too much to watch at times. That said, it added tremendous intensity to the bout and audience ate it up.

(4) JAY WHITE vs. SHINGO TAKAGI

In classic Jay White fashion, the match started with him rolling out of the ring and working the crowd, much to their dismay. The action rolled from there and built off the foundation of heat that White set early with his antics. Both guys worked stiff and Takagi proved to be good babyface foil for White throughout. The finish saw White avoid defeat due to an unconscious referee and then connect with Blade Runner soon after to earn the victory.

WINNER: White via pinfall (2 points) ***1/2

Heydorn’s Analysis: Jay White isn’t Will Ospreay in the ring, but he’s special in his own way. From the moment he rolled out of the ring to rile up the fans, he had them in the palm of his hand and manipulated them accordingly. They wanted to see him lose. His work set the tone for the match and for Takagi as well. Takagi took advantage when it was time and looked the part of a top, competitive babyface. Some will roll their eyes at the referee spot at the end, but it falls in line with White’s heel character while protecting Takagi at the same time.

(5) KAZUCHIKA OKADA vs. KOTA IBUSHI

Okada and Ibushi both read the audience perfectly to start the match. When it appeared as if they would head for a lock-up after the bell rang, both men paused and stared each other down as the audience applauded. This took the match to second gear out of the gate, as it was a nod from the audience that acknowledged their history together. From there, it was solid action all the way through. Ibushi worked to get Okada up for a couple Piledrivers throughout the match, but Okada countered and hit them himself. The climax of the match saw Ibushi held deep into Okada’s Clutch submission. This created some significant drama, as Ibushi appeared to have battled out several times only to be put back into the hold. In the end, Ibushi overcame that submission and connected with a barrage of quick strikes that threw Okada off his rhythm. Because of that, Ibushi hit the Kamigoye for the 1,2,3 win.

WINNER: Ibushi via pinfall (2 points) ***3/4

Heydorn’s Analysis: This was not on the level of their Wrestle Kingdom match, but I’d go out of my way to watch it just for the beginning 10 seconds. The slight pause after the bell really got the crowd going and showcased just how great of a chemistry Ibushi and Okada have together.

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