9/20 NEW JAPAN G1 CLIMAX REPORT – NIGHT 2 (B Block): Naito vs. Tanahashi, Yoshi-Hashi vs. Juice Robinson, Sanada vs. Yano, Kenta vs. Goto, Evil vs. ZSJ, more

By Rich Fann, PWTorch contributor


SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

NEW JAPAN G1 CLIMAX – DAY 2 (B Block)
SEPTEMBER 20, 2020
OSAKA, JAPAN AT EDION ARENA AT OSAKA PREFECTURAL GYM
AIRED LIVE ON NJPWWORLD.COM
REPORT BY RICH FANN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

(1) Yota Tsuji vs. Gabriel Kidd

The show kicked off with a Young Lion battle that was short and sweet. Kidd has been focused on living up to the challenge of NJ USA dojo trainer Shibata and Tsuji the respect/honor of the mainland trainees. Tsuji got the win via a late Boston Crab on Kidd.

WINNER: Yota Tsuji by submission (Boston Crab) in 9:15 (**)

(Fann’s Analysis: Solid open, and it’s clear that Kidd took the chastisement from Shibata to heart – and is focused on making these opener matches akin to the “C block” of 2 years ago.)

(2) YOSHI-HASHI vs. Juice Robinson – Block B Match

This next match was a battle of the returning Juice Robinson, who came in looking like the Brooklyn Brawler gear-wise, and YOSHI-HASHI IWGP 6-man Tag Champ, with belt to boot. The end came for YOSHI-HASHI after a Karma attempt was blocked and Juice nailed a hard right and his Pulp Friction to get 2 points in block B.

WINNER: Juice Robinson by pinfall on YOSHI-HASHI (Pulp Friction) in 15:57 (**1/2)

(Fann’s Analysis: Robinson noted going into the tournament that he wasn’t sure of the crowd energy and how that would affect his wrestling, and it seemed both were on the money today. The crowd was completely into Juice and his “We Will Rock You” stomps, to the point he yelled “again” in Japanese prior to a continued beat down of YOSHI-HASHI, which they obliged. With his return to the G-1, YOSHI-HASHI was figured to be a struggler in the tournament, but my hope is 6-8 points for his – and my friend Chris’ – sake.)

(3) SANADA vs. Toru Yano – Block B Match

The match was your traditional comedy G-1 match with Yano, which started with the master thief’s usage of the cleaning spray to “clean” the ref. SANADA thought that a Paradise Lock on the outside would get him a win. However, one of the young lions at ringside rolled Yano over – and once Yano was free the king of cheats taped SANADA to said lion and gleefully sprinted back to the ring in time to get the win.

WINNER: Toru Yano by count out in 6:16 (*)

(Fann’s Analysis: Typically, I would be beside myself with the result of this match – as I am of the opinion that SANADA will have a great G-1 this year. However, this loss to Yano made sense, as it was a direct payback from last year’s match between the two, where SANADA used the Paradise Lock and tape to get the count out. Instead, a more-honest-than-needed young lion thwarted SANADA’s plans.)

(4) KENTA vs. Hirooki Goto – Block B Match

Goto spent most of the match trying to avoid KENTA’s focus on the arm by in turn putting focus on KENTA’s arm as well. KENTA was the more vicious of the two however, and got the win with his Game Over submission after a hellacious shotgun dropkick

WINNER: KENTA by submission (Game Over) in 17:15 (***1/2)

(Fann’s Analysis: Li’l K is one of my favorites in this tournament not only because of his G-1 29, but because of his social media interaction since his heel turn in 2019. To wit, prior to this match, KENTA called he would win his match with Game Over, because he’d done the same to win NOAH’s GHC title in the same venue. That’s a level of smug one aspires to. Goto was his usual G-1 self, and acquitted himself well.)

(5) Zack Sabre Jr. vs. EVIL – Block B Match

The story of this match was ZSJ in the role of babyface(??) while EVIL beat upon the smaller man. ZSJ was not without his own offense however, as EVIL’s arm and neck area were the submission master’s focus. Late in the match Dick Togo attempted to interfere, but when EVIL went to hit Everything is EVIL, Zack snuck a European Clutch in to steal the win and escape the ring.

WINNER: ZSJ by pinfall (European Clutch) in 15:54 (***1/2)

(Fann’s Analysis: As I mentioned during the round table preview of the G-1 Climax 30, EVIL needed to rehabilitate himself after that IWGP Double Title run and this match was a good start. Dick Togo’s interference late was expected, but his match made more sense – it was more of a match worthy of the G-1 instead of the slogs that EVIL had as champion. Zack Sabre Jr. played face in peril – despite being a heel – quite well.)

(6) Tetsuya Naito vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi – Block B Match

Main event time.

Naito and Tanahashi had a great match, whose focus was the battle of Naito’s knees being wrecked by Tanahashi. Tanahashi even had a great call-back in the middle of the match when he used the Texas Clover Hold on Naito – which he’d famously used to win the Intercontinental Title a few years back. Tanahashi flew too close to the sun with a High Fly Flow that Naito moved away at the last moment from. After Tanahashi was downed, Naito pressed the advantage – and two Destino’s sandwiched between Gloria and Naito had the win.

Post match, Naito thanked the fans and closed the show out with his usual roll call.

WINNER: Tetsuya Naito by pinfall (Destino) in 27:16 (****)

(Fann’s Analysis: Naito and Tanahashi, even with a smaller crowd gave a big match feel. The time limit came into play late with the announcement of time left vs. time passed and the possibility of a tie loomed. While I think Tanahashi will acquit himself well in this G-1, but he’s definitely due for a veteran’s 8-10, not near top of the block.)

Overall Thoughts (8.5): Great crowd reactions, wrestling was top notch and while this has been seen as the “other block” compared to the heights expected in A block from a quality standpoint, tonight’s show illustrated that B block is going to be able to provide some quality, even among the comedy and gaga.

Contact Rich at PWTDive@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/rich_fann.

CATCH UP: 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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