10/6 NEW JAPAN G1 CLIMAX RESULTS – NIGHT 10: Wells’s report on Tanahashi vs. Kenta, Sanada vs. Sabre, Naito vs. Yoshi-Hashi


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WELLS’S G1 CLIMAX 30: NIGHT 10 REPORT
OCTOBER 6, 2020
HIROSHIMA, JAPAN
AIRED LIVE ON NJPW WORLD

(a) YUYA UEMURA vs. YOTA TSUJI

Mat work to open. Tsuji evaded a takedown and Uemura did the same. Reset. Collar and elbow led to a Tsuji headlock, but Uemura reversed into a headlock on the mat. Tsuji reversed to one of his own but Uemura trapped Tsuji in a headscissors. The two jockeyed for position and ended up on their feet again. Uemura tried to work an arm and the two traded control. Uemura hit a snap mare but Tsuji went right to a hammerlock. Uemura reversed to a headlock and Tsuji tried to break with a rope run but failed. A second attempt broke the hold but Uemura hit a shoulder tackle for two. Uemura worked a headlock and Tsuji attempted a rollup to break, then reached his feet and Uemura still wouldn’t break. Tsuji reached a foot to the rope to finally break the hold.

Uemura tried to work an arm and Tsuji hit a body slam. Tsuji applied a cravat and added some knees, then hit a snap mare and kicked Uemura in the back. Big chop by Tsuji. Uemura returned with a could of chops. Hip toss and a two count by Tsuji. Camel clutch by Tsuji. Uemura broke and worked a headlock on the mat, and Tsuji broke with the rope again.

Uemura threw a couple of forearms and a chop. Body slam by Uemura got two. More forearms by Uemura, who then ran the ropes right into a back bodydrop. Body slam by Tsuji. Senton and a splash by Tsuji got two. Uemura fought off a Boston crab with a rope break. Tsuji threw some forearms and whipped Uemura, who returned with a running elbow. Whip by Uemura and a huge dropkick in the corner. Body slam by Uemura. Uemura worked Tsuji into a Boston crab and dragged him into the middle of the ring and Tsuji fought his way to the ropes to break. Uemura stomped Tsuji a couple of times and picked him up for some forearms. Double-underhook suplex was blocked twice. Uemura ran the ropes but Tsuji speared him. Tsuji fired up and went for a Boston crab, and dragged Uemura to the center of the ring. Uemura fought through the agony and hopped over to the ropes to break. Tsuji threw some forearms and Uemura hit a palm strike. The two exchanged palm strikes and Uemura exploded off the ropes with a forearm. Forearm exchange in the center of the ring. Both went for rollups and time elapsed.

TIME LIMIT DRAW at 15:00. (***)

(Wells’s Analysis: Another great outing for the Young Lions leading to the second draw in the “unofficial C block,” as Kevin Kelly is calling it. These matches are likely treated as skippable by many, but I would consume every match available of any combination of these two and Gabriel Kidd)

(1) HIROOKI GOTO (2 points) vs. TORU YANO (6 points)

The announcers immediately mentioned Goto’s shoulder injury that’s being used as the excuse for his poor G1 performance. Yano tossed his t-shirt to Goto, who knew better. Goto trapped Yano’s legs and rolled him up for the win. Goto, all business, walked down the ramp after the win as Yano sulked.

WINNER: Hirooki Goto at 0:18.

(Wells’s Analysis: Kelly confirmed that this was the shortest match in G1 history.)

(2) SANADA (2) vs. ZACK SABRE JR. (4)

Quick reversals and pin attempts to start that didn’t get a one count. Hip toss by Sanada, then some more reversals for a lot of one counts and a couple of twos. Rope run, both guys put on the brakes, and reset. Waistlock by Zack into a rollup for one. Zack worked a hammerlock on the mat and Sanada escaped with a sitout. Takedown by Zack, who focused on Sanada’s knee. Another reset after some quick reversals.

Armbar by Zack, who dropped to the mat to yank Sanada’s arm in a shoulder stretcher. Sanada reversed to the same hold, and Zack couldn’t break as Sanada kicked him to the mat as he found his footing. Zack rolled out and worked Sanada’s arm. Sanada got to his feet and and flipped into an elaborate reversal until Zack caught him in a headscissors. Sanada escaped and started running the ropes, but Zack bailed from the ring and took his time. Zack ran the ropes and then bailed; Sanada followed but Zack caught him in an octopus hold. Both entered the ring and Sanada hit a dropkick. Both sold for a moment. Sanada blocked a PK and hit a dragon screw.

Sanada wanted a figure four but Zack trapped him quickly and locked his arm again. Triangle by Zack. The audience looked to will Sanada into it and he reached the ropes to break. Rope run and Sanada put on Skull End, leading to a number of pin attempt counters with Zack getting a near-fall with his arms-crossed pin attempt. Zack Driver was blocked. Sanada bridged into a cover for two. Zack put Sanada in a headlock but Sanada worked his way out of it and went up and hit a moonsault to finish.

WINNER: Sanada at 14:33. (***3/4)

(Wells’s Analysis: A very good counter-hold mat affair with the finish coming from the one high-impact move of the match. These two always have strong chemistry together, and I’m surprised it didn’t go on later and get more time)

-Power Struggle was announced for November 7th and the World Tag League and Best of the Super Juniors were announced to run concurrently from November 15th to December 11th.

(3) JUICE ROBINSON (6) vs. EVIL (w/Dick Togo) (4)

Evil charged in with a kick just before the bell. He wrenched Juice’s arm in the corner. Juice ran the ropes and hit a cross-body. He got the crowd into it and chopped Evil hard against the ropes three times. Togo tripped up Juice briefly at the rope and Evil clotheslined him over. Togo whipped Juice into a barricade, and Togo tied up the referee while Evil stacked up a pile of chairs outside. Evil whipped Juice into the barricade and hit a snap suplex on the pile of chairs, then reentered the ring. Juice laid on the outside selling the shot while Evil removed one of the corner pads. Juice crawled back in at 12.

Evil whipped Juice into the exposed pad and then put the boots to Juice. Snap suplex by Evil and a cover for two. Single-leg crab by Evil, and Juice crawled to the rope to break. Juice threw some lefts and Evil went for an eye rake. Evil again whipped Juice into the exposed corner, then tried to charge in with a back elbow, which Juice blocked. Juice hit a spinning heel kick to take Evil down, then continued to sell his back. Juice threw his trademark jabs and a chop, then hit Evil with a spinebuster. Juice cleared Dick Togo from the apron, then splashed him on the outside. Evil was still sitting in a corner and Juice hit him with a cannonball. Juice went up a hit a flying cross-body for two. Juice put Evil in a full nelson, and Evil fought off the bomb and did his ref-assisted kick to the abdomen. Both guys sold on the mat.

In the corner, Evil slammed Juice and stomped him as the match reached ten minutes. Evil tripped Juice, then missed a senton, opening it up for Juice to hit a senton. Juice hit a running clothesline in the corner, then set Evil up on top and hit a superplex. He rolled through, not releasing Evil, and hit a jackhammer for two. Juice went for the Juice Box, blocked. He tried Pulp Friction, which Evil fought off. Togo hit a chair shot from the outside, allowing a spinebuster and Darkness Falls for Evil, both of which got a two count. Juice slipped out of Everything is Evil and went for Pulp Friction, but had to settle for running the ropes and hitting a lariat. Togo hit the apron and Juice used Evil to knock him off, then hit the Juice Box lungblower for two. Juice got the crowd to clap rhythmically and struggled to his feet.

Evil went for a low blow, which Juice caught. Juice missed the Left Hand of God but hit a right, and Evil hit a low blow while the ref was with Togo. Everything is Evil finished.

WINNER: Evil at 15:36. (***)

(Wells’s Analysis: Evil has joined a very crowded field at six points. I’m not sure how long the block will be presented as this much of a logjam, but I expect Evil to separate himself from most of the field within the next few nights and potentially win the block. Good psychology in the match with Juice having to work in a different way because of the early injury to his back)

(4) YOSHI-HASHI (2) vs. TETSUYA NAITO (6)

Kevin Kelly told the story of this being a different Yoshi-Hashi than the one Naito has beaten six times in the past. I can appreciate the “respect tour” story for Yoshi-Hashi, but on the other hand, it’s pretty much the story they tell with him in every G1 in which he appears.

Kelly announced that Naito, in this tournament, has three of the longest tournaments ever in the G1 where a decision was rendered. Arm wringer and a takedown by Yoshi-Hashi, who stretched Naito’s arm. Some quick mat reversals led to a Naito headscissors. Yoshi-Hashi escaped and Naito did his tranquilo taunt from the mat. Reset.

Waistlock by Yoshi-Hashi. After a couple of reversals, Yoshi-Hashi hit a shouldertackle and a back elbow, then a rana. Uncharacteristically, he did Naito’s chest bump and fist in the air taunt. Naito left the ring and Yoshi-Hashi followed. He stomped Naito and chopped him in the corner, then hit an Irish whip. He charged in and Naito got his legs up. Rope run and an arm drag by Naito, who then hit an inverted atomic drop and a neckbreaker for two. He hit another neckbreaker against his knee and tied up Yoshi-Hashi’s arms and wrenched his head forward with his legs. Rope break. Rope run and a back elbow by Naito. He dropped an elbow for two.

Naito stomped Yoshi-Hashi’s head and worked his neck again. Yoshi-Hashi broke with some elbows to the midsection. Yoshi-Hashi blocked a tornado DDT and hit a neckbreaker. The announcers sold the hypothesis that Naito was underestimating his opponent. Yoshi-Hashi hit a couple of chops and a headhunter. Yoshi-Hashi put Naito on the outside and hit a tope con giro. He let out a battle cry and the audience clapped rhythmically for him. Back inside, Yoshi-Hashi hit a top rope headhunter for two. Naito blocked a running powerbomb and threw a few quick shots to create separation. Spinning heel kick by Yoshi-Hashi. Naito reversed a powerbomb with a Frankensteiner, then hit Combinacion Cabron in the corner.

Naito reached his feet first and set up Yoshi-Hashi on a turnbuckle. Yoshi-Hashi escaped through the bottom and hit a running powerbomb for two. Butterfly Lock by Yoshi-Hashi. Naito reached his feet and hit a tornado DDT. Naito hit a neckbreaker against his knee in a corner and then hit Gloria for two. He looked to finish, but Yoshi-Hashi blocked Destino. Spinebuster by Naito got two, and Yoshi-Hashi countered Destino with a lariat. Both guys sold the effects of the match on the mat.

Forearm exchange, first from the knees, then on their feet. The pace picked up and Naito got the better of the exchange and hit a big palm strike. Yoshi-Hashi reversed a whip and hit a chop, then a shoulder breaker. Butterfly Lock on the mat, and Naito tried twice to reach the ropes. Yoshi-Hashi yanked him back, hit a back cracker, and applied the Butterly Lock again. Naito scooted to the ropes again and once more, Yoshi-Hashi dragged him further into the ring. Yoshi-Hashi added a double-wristlock. He sat over Naito to block him from escaping as Red Shoes Unno continued to ask Naito if he wanted to tap. Finally Naito reached the ropes to break, and Yoshi-Hashi elbowed the mat in frustration as the twenty minute mark passed.

Naito blocked a suplex and hit a couple of back elbows, then a couple more after recovering further. He went back to them after getting to his feet, and Yoshi-Hashi hit a headbutt and a dragon suplex. He ran the ropes and hit a big lariat for a long two count. He set up Karma but Naito countered in the air and then went for Destino, which Yoshi-Hashi countered into a brainbuster for two. Yoshi-Hashi went for Karma again and Naito broke with an elbow. Thrustkick by Yoshi-Hashi. He got closer to hitting Karma and Naito broke and hit an enzuigiri. Naito hit a Capo Kick and Valentia for two. Destino was good to finish.

WINNER: Tetsuya Naito at 24:44 (***3/4)

(Wells’s Analysis: Naito is the first to reach eight points and sits alone at the top, while Yoshi-Hashi has another near-miss with a signature G1 win. Even when he wins 3 or 4 matches in the tournament, he never seems to be given a high profile win against a pillar of the compnay. As always, the announcers put him over in defeat in what for me was Yoshi-Hashi’s best match in a good tournament for him so far)

(5) HIROSHI TANAHASHI (4) vs. KENTA (4)

Collar and elbow. Tana took Kenta to the ropes and broke. Collar and elbowagain, and Tanahashi took Kenta to the opposite rope, where Kenta reversed and smeared his elbow across Tana’s face. Kenta bailed during a rope run and circled the ring. He rolled in one side and rolled out of another. Tanahashi slipped out and took a shot and moved back in. Quick reversals and Tana hit a cross-body and briefly offered some air guitar. Kenta took a shot at Tanahashi’s bad knee, then dropped it over his own knee again and mocked Tanahashi’s air guitar. Kenta dragged Tanahashi to the corner and wrenched Tana’s leg around the post twice. Kenta swept the leg in the ring and worked a leglock.

Tanahashi managed to roll to a rope to break, and Kenta took a cheap shot at the leg as he broke. Back to the center of the ring, Kenta worked a figure four and Tanahashi quickly reached a rope. Kenta wrapped up Tanahashi in the barricade and kicked his leg, then put Tanahashi back into the ring. Kenta picked up Tanahashi’s leg and drove his left knee to the mat. Kenta kicked at Tanahashi, who invited more. Tanahashi hit his feet and Kenta took a shot at the knee, then charged a corner and Tanahashi caught his leg for a dragon screw. Flying forearm by Tanahashi. Body slam and Tanahashi went up to the second rope for a somersault senton and a two count.

Tanahashi ran the ropes and Kenta blocked a kick, then hit a powerslam to stop Tanahashi’s roll. Kenta hit a back elbow in the corner and took some more shots to the knee, then hung Tana on the top rope. He went to the top for a flying clothesline for two. Figure four by Kenta, which Tanahashi quickly broke by reaching the ropes at the ten minute call.

Kenta put the boots to Tanahashi, then set him up on the apron for a suplex attempt into the ring. Both guys attempted suplexes and Kenta ended up on the apron and the two exchanged forearms. Tana got the better of it until Kenta dropkicked Tanahashi’s knee. Kenta slipped to the floor and hit a dragon screw that took Tanahashi down to the floor. Kenta reentered the ring and the count was on. Tanahashi rolled in at 17 and Kenta hit a flying boot to the corner, then a Shibata dropkick. Double stomp from the top rope got two. Kenta blocked an impact move and hit a dragon screw and went back to the figure four. Tanahashi attempted a palm strike and Kenta mocked him, so Tana reached further and took a shot. Ground and pound by Kenta. Kenta ran the ropes right into a sling blade, and both guys sold on the mat. Yota Tsuji slapped the mat and the crowd clapped and stomped for Tanahashi.

Both guys hit their feet and went for another forearm exchange. Palm strikes got mixed in. Tana ran the ropes and hit the apron, then hit a dragon screw over the ropes. Back inside for an inverted dragon screw by Tanahashi. Cloverleaf by Tana and Kenta reached the ropes quickly as Tanahashi couldn’t really cinch it in. Tanahashi hit repeated forearms in the corner on a seated Kenta, then hit his own Shibata dropkick. Tana got hung up with the referee and Kenta splashed both of them. Kenta hit a couple of kicks and a DDT, then went out and grabbed his U.S. Heavyweight #1 contender’s briefcase and entered the ring. He lurked in a corner until he could smash Tanahashi over the head with it. Kenta sat up Tanahashi and hit a running PK. Red Shoes recovered and Kenta measured Tanahashi and hit running knees for two.

Tanahashi tried some desperation strikes from his knees but Kenta gave him a knee and went for Go to Sleep, but Tanahashi wriggled free and hit Twist and Shout. He held on and hit another, and continued to hold on for a third. He released and got fired up. Sling blade by Tanahashi for two. Tanahashi went to the top and hit a cross-body. Cloverleaf by Tanahashi got applied fully this time, and he dragged Kenta from the ropes and Kenta tapped. Whoa!

WINNER: Hiroshi Tanahashi at 23:42 (***1/2)

After the match, Tana did some mic work and Yota Tsuji tossed him his air guitar for Tana’s first end-of-show rock session in quite a while.

(Wells’s Analysis: This isn’t your father’s Tanahashi, or even that of your older sibling. His matches are paced much more slowly than they were a couple of years ago, relying on the psychology of heels trying to destroy his already hobbled knees, and the formula is working. I wondered if this could be Tanahashi’s real descent down the card, but he’s in the thick of things as the tournament gets past the halfway point. Kenta remains at four but I expect him to be near the top in what seems like a very even block.)


FINAL THOUGHTS: The B block is inarguably weaker than the A block, but Sabre vs. Sanada really shined for the relatively little time it got and the top two matches were both worth seeing. As I type this, the next B block show has finished, but it’s easy to hit a backlog when the tournament gets to these four-day stretches. The booking still leaves the winner of the block up in the air, which is a welcome change from the years where the finals are fairly easy to predict, so it’ll be fun to run toward the finish line and see what happens.

A BLOCK

Kota Ibushi 8
Kazuchika Okada 6
Will Ospreay 6
Minoru Suzuki 6
Taichi 6
Jay White 6
Jeff Cobb 4
Tomohiro Ishii 4
Shingo Takagi 4
Yujiro Takahashi 0

B BLOCK

Tetsuya Naito 8
EVIL 6
Juice Robinson 6
Hiroshi Tanahashi 6
Toru Yano 6
Hirooki Goto 4
KENTA 4
Zack Sabre Jr. 4
SANADA 4
YOSHI-HASHI 2

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