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NEW JAPAN G-1 CLIMAX – DAY 6
SEPTEMBER 29, 2020
TOKYO, JAPAN AT KORAKUEN HALL
AIRED LIVE ON NJPWWORLD.COM
REPORT BY RICH FANN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
(A) YUYA UEMURA vs. GABRIEL KIDD
The show kicked off with a Young Lion battle between Uemura and Kidd. Kidd opened the match with some great work focused on the arm of Uemura to the applause of the crowd. Uemura fought back, and slapped on the Boston Crab for the submission win. Solid finishing sequence with Kidd dragged back to center of ring and given a more high angle variant before submission.
WINNER: Yuya Uemura by submission (Boston Crab) in 9:10 (**)
(Fann’s Analysis: The Young Lions did well here. Really dug the crab being laid in, and I think Kidd has an intensity that will bode well for him post excursion. Yuya as always was solid as well.)
(1) YOSHI-HASHI vs. SANADA – Block B Match
Sanada adopted the super silver hair, which looked great as the pair exchanged holds and counter holds to start. The action went outside for the G-1 pre-requisite 18 count tease, but when the pair returned to the ring the action heated up. Yoshi-Hashi pushed the pace with an array of suplexes and dropkicks to a near fall.
Skull End was worthy of a near submission, but Yoshi-Hashi fought out and somehow got bloodied. When both got back to their feet, the pair exchanged forearms, until Sanada nailed a TKO for a near fall. Yoshi-Hashi wasn’t done though and spiked Sanada with a dragon suplex and then a flurry of moves that ended with a Meteora for another near fall. At this point fans were in a frenzy as Yoshi-Hashi hit Karma for the pinfall win.
WINNER: Yoshi-Hashi at 15:15 (***)
(Fann’s Analysis: The “Hashi Hive” got another one. This was a really good match and despite being underneath for most of the match the furious fight back was a great statement for the underdog. SANADA clearly looked out of sorts and upset after the match. The question going into the heavier period of the G-1 will be can my dear son recover and get back into contention, or is this a humbling reminder how far he’s fallen from his former partner?)
(2) ZACK SABRE JR. vs. KENTA – Block B Match
Kenta opened the match on his butt in an attempt to goad ZSJ into a mat fight. After an exchange, ZSJ returned the favor only to eat a kick to the face from Kenta. ZSJ then tried to absorb a few of Kenta’s kicks to no success.
Zack attempted to counter Kenta’s assault with a few slaps of his own, and when those failed went back to his tried-and-true submission game. Sabre Jr focused on the heavily taped arm and shoulder of Kenta, either with stretches or with kicks to the area. Kenta fought back, but a GTS attempt led to a great sequence of submissions from both men. Kenta got a rope break before ZSJ’s rings of Saturn variant could end the match and then slapped Sabre Jr. to the mat. Kenta countered a flurry of ZSJ slaps with a knee to the head and one G2S later got the points and the win.
WINNER: Kenta by pinfall (Go 2 Sleep) in 15:46 (***1/4)
(Fann’s Analysis: Kenta in his second G-1 has found a great flow thus far. This match was a battle of how much ZSJ was willing to take in an effort to get his submissions off, and KENTA made him pay with each kick. The slapping sequence at the end was biting – you could hear how loud they rang in the arena. Despite being a heel, the applause afforded Kenta on the way out is a testament to his work, not a reflection on the character. Great match.)
(3) HIROSHI TANAHASH vs. JUICE ROBINSON – Block B Match
At the start of the match, commentators gave credit to Juice’s Blues Brothers look as the American had the Ace of the Universe locked in a test of strength. Juice took advantage and spent the next few minutes with shots to Tanahashi as both men acknowledged the other’s delightful hair.
Juice and Tanahashi’s battle was a story of Juice’s frustration that he couldn’t quite finish Tanahashi and the Ace of the Universe focused on ducking Pulp Friction and Juice’s full nelson. Tanahashi went for an Ace’s High and missed, which left Tana open for Juice’s Left Hand of God.
The finish came as Juice tried for a series of Pulp Friction and pinfalls, only for Tanahashi to counter and roll through for a quick pinfall.
WINNER: Hiroshi Tanahashi by pinfall (Roll up) in 14:16 (***1/2)
(Fann’s Analysis: Juice owned this match from the start until the finish. Tanahashi again provided one of his wily veteran counter roll ups and Juice was beside himself post match. Tanahashi moved around alright in the match, but Juice really was the star, and provided a lot of the movement and the offense. Going into the next slate of matches, Robinson has put himself in a position to be seen as a threat to anyone in the block, but if he’d just gone for the win instead of needing to hit Pulp Friction he might have the 2 points.)
(4) TORU YANO vs. EVIL (w/Dick Togo) – Block B Match
The story of this match was a battle of cheats, as both Evil and Yano went to undo the corners with a flurry at the bell. While the ref was distracted replacing the pads, Yano outside brawled with Togo, and taped Togo to the barrier outside. Yano tried to do the same with Evil, but flew too close to the sun and Evil fought back.
Evil thought the match was won with a ref distraction, but Yano used the advantage and fought off Evil and Togo to deliver four successively ridiculous low blows to Togo, EVIL, and then simultaneously Evil & Togo to get the win.
WINNER: Toru Yano by pinfall (Inside cradle) in 4:33 (**)
(Fann’s Analysis: This was funny – though for a guy that wants to be in the top scene, EVIL being in the “silly ball shot sequence” isn’t something he’ll want to make a habit of. However, given the G-1 and it’s Yano, you have to stoop to his level. Yano was great foil to both Togo and EVIL and the win was well-”earned”.)
(5) TETSUYA NAITO vs. HIROOKI GOTO – Block B Match
Naito and Goto had a really good match that showed how mobile Naito was, which has not been the case in the past few years. Goto’s injury coming in (his right shoulder) was the story of the match, as for all the fight Goto had, he couldn’t overcome it. Even on a superplex attempt in the middle of the match you could see the pain on his face as he tried to hoist Naito up.
For every counter Goto had, Naito had an answer, and towards the end of the match Naito’s strikes and enziguiri’s opened the door for the Destino combos and the win for the LIJ leader.
Post match, Naito thanked the fans and closed the show out with his usual roll call.
WINNER: Tetsuya Naito by pinfall (Destino) in 21:58 (***1/2)
(Fann’s Analysis: Naito’s pre-match comments that Goto was just a guy that shows up in G-1 were hurtful, but not entirely untrue. This was a really good match, and Naito is moving a little better than in recent memory. For Goto, after being called out and found wanting, where does he go from here?)
Overall thoughts (8.0):Crowd was good, hot for the main event, all of the matches told a good story. No complaints from me. In particular Yoshi-Hashi vs. Sanda and main event stood out, with Kenta-ZSJ close behind them.
Contact Rich at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/rich_fann.