Tonight, Block B continues! Hiroshi Tanahashi takes on Toru Yano in what will surely be a workrate spectacular, and in our main event, it’s Zack Sabre Jr vs Tetsuya Naito!
Let’s watch some wrestling, shall we?
Oy, I’ll tell you something. I have been knocked the f--- out for the last few days, to the point where I thought I might have been hanging in the AEW or NXT locker rooms, if you see what I’m saying. Luckily, it was a quick one that I got over fast, but hopefully that doesn’t happen again and I can stay on a regular schedule here. Regardless, sorry about the delay on this one.
A Block Day 1 (Fitzgerald) – https://blogofdoom.com/index.php/2020/09/19/new-japan-pro-wrestling-g1-climax-30-19-09-2020-a-block/
B Block Day 1 (Poehling) – https://blogofdoom.com/index.php/2020/09/21/new-japan-pro-wrestling-g1-climax-30-b-block-night-1/
A Block Day 2 (Fitzgerald) – https://blogofdoom.com/index.php/2020/09/23/new-japan-pro-wrestling-g1-climax-30-23-09-2020-a-block-night-two/
Tonight, our matches are:
SANADA vs Hirooki Goto
EVIL vs YOSHI-HASHI
Juice Robinson vs KENTA
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Toru Yano
Zack Sabre Jr vs Tetsuya Naito
As always, though, we begin with the C Block!
Yuya Uemura vs Yota Tsuji
You know, I’m sure that by the time we hit day 14 or so, I’m gonna be tired of the same 3 Young Lions going at it; but I’m not quite there yet. The Lions have been bringing it in these openers. This isn’t the best one but it’s perfectly fine, as Yuya especially is just absolutely great at selling how into the match he is with his intensity and facials. He almost slips out of the Boston Crab at the end with his bendiness, but alas Yota sits on in and gets the tap. (Yota Tsuji over Yuya Uemura, submission, 8:13)
SANADA vs Hirooki Goto – B Block match
Goto is 9 years older than SANADA, and I bet that when SANADA looks at Goto, he sees his future. Hey, if I’m wrong, I’m wrong, but SANADA, no matter how desperately they want it to happen, strikes me as a guy who’s always going to be just a bit outside of the tippy-top guys in NJPW. Goto controls early, but gets dumped the floor and sent to the railing. He fires a clothesline at SANADA, but misses and hits the post instead with his injured arm. Well, serves him right for throwing a clothesline with an injured arm in the first place.
SANADA goes to work on the arm and shoulder now, a shark drawn to blood. Some cool stuff follows, including SANADA missing a standing moonsault, but landing on his feet and dropkicking the injured shoulder for two. Goto finally makes a comeback after SANADA misses a clothesline in the corner, landing a Saito suplex and a bulldog for two. We go back and forth a bit, with SANADA hooking Skull End off a rollup in a nifty little bit, but Goto makes the ropes.
Big lariat from Goto and both guys are down. Back up and the GTR is reversed into the Skull End, then Goto takes that to a sleeper and they trade off that before Goto gets a modified La Majistral for two. SANADA looks for the TKO, but decides to hit an ushigoroshi instead. Snap slingshot suplex by SANADA hits, but Goto moves on the moonsault. Goto with the reverse GTR using the top rope, then a weird-looking almost Death Valley Driver, then a kick and the GTR finish SANADA clean as a sheet. That one surprised me. (Hirooki Goto over SANADA, pinfall, 11:02)
THOUGHTS: ***. This was fine, but not much more. The arm and shoulder work from SANADA in the beginning meant nothing to the overall finish, and the more times that SANADA hooks the Skull End in and the opponent either makes the ropes or escapes it, the less it means, and Goto did both in this match. Both guys are fine workers and they’re not really going to give you a BAD match, but the thing is, they’re not really going to give you a great one either – it’s going to be okay most of the time unless magic happens. It can, but it didn’t here. This was just decent. I freely admit that I thought this was going to be the year they really pushed SANADA in the G-1, and it certainly isn’t too late for that, but him starting 0-2 did kind of make me do a double take. We’ll have to see what happens.
Toru Yano vs Hiroshi Tanahashi – B Block match
Oh, fine. We’ll watch the match FIRST. Jeez. The ref searches Yano to the point of sexual harassment, but finds nothing. Of course not. Why do they always persecute Yano? I hope he sues and wins the entire company in the inevitable judgment. New Japan Pro Yano. NJPY. I’d watch it and so would you.
In a show of great sportsmanship, Yano rolls to the floor to allow Tanahashi the chance to finish warming up. What a gentleman. Back in after Tana gets in some air guitar reps, and they grapple with Yano taking him to school on the mat with a headscissors. To continue ensuring a fair contest, Yano checks on one of the turnbuckle pads to make sure they’re securely fastened, and Tanahashi attacks from behind like a coward. He goes to untie the turnbuckle pad to use as a weapon (CHEATER), but Yano goes across the ring and gets one of his own, because he cares about Hiroshi and wants him to have something to cuddle after Tana loses this match.
Tana does a bit of air guitar with it like the show-off he is and tosses it back to Yano, who doesn’t want to take away the only thing that gives Hiroshi joy, so Yano tries to quickly return it, but Tanahashi uses it to flip Yano over! WHAT A DICK. Yano rolls outside as he’s stunned by this betrayal, but the scurrilous Tanahashi has a blood lust that can’t be contained and he gives chase. Taking the fight to the floor. Jesse Ventura would be so ashamed of Tanahashi.
Yano heroically fights him off out there and they head towards the entrance, assuredly so Yano can take Tanahashi to the back to get Harold Meij to fine Hiroshi for his unethical behavior in this sporting contest. Tanahashi, probably flat broke in addition to clearly being outclassed by Yano in the ring, begs off this just action by Yano by firing forearms, returned by Toru in a stunning display of fisticuffs. This man can do it all!
They finally sprint back to the ring with Yano winning by a mile, and back in Yano continues his mastery by rolling up Tana for three, even though the clearly paid-off ref only counted two. He’s a New Japan ref, what do you expect? They’re basically tissue paper made to look like a man. Tana backs Yano into the exposed buckles because there’s no depths he won’t sink to in his quest to steal this match, then sends Yano across the ring. More Tanahashi cheating before Yano gets sent outside and Hiroshi gives chase again. My God.
Yano sends Tana to the barricade to allow Tana the chance to lean up against something, then finds some athletic tape to help make sure that Hiroshi is properly equipped for the rest of the match. Tana kicks Yano (probably low) and now he uses the tape in a nefarious way, putting tape over the eyes of Yano! Why, Tana, why? He attempts the cheap win by countout, but Yano is made of sterner stuff than that and gets back in as Tanahashi tries to take advantage of a blind man now. There’s your hero, New Japan fans. Tanahashi goes for the Sling Blade on the referee now, but Yano moves him out of harm’s way, then hits a perfectly legal(ish) kick and rolls Tanahashi up, 1, 2, WHAT THE F---? (Toru Yano over Hiroshi Tanahashi, pinfall, 7:16)
THOUGHTS: **3/4. It was a fine comedy match and both guys played their part (I especially liked how Yano won even though Tanahashi was the one who cheated with the tape), but now I’m a bit worried about Tanahashi in this G-1; I would assume either him or SANADA gets the big comeback story in the Block, but I don’t know if both of them are going to. I mean, someone has to finish in 2nd place to Yano, and I assume that at least one of them has to rebound from this start, but oy. I did not expect him to start 0-2.
Yano won that match blind, by the way. BLIND. Just give him the Block now.
Let’s take an intermission to recover from that classic.
CJ Parker vs Hideo Itami
Juice Robinson vs KENTA – B Block match
That’s better. Juice brought the goods against YOSHI-HASHI in the first round, while KENTA had a perfectly cromulent match against Goto, so hopefully they’re ready to rock here. KENTA stalls to start as usual, but Juice gets the advantage back with a jab that sends KENTA back to the floor. Back in now, and it’s KENTA with kicks and a kneedrop. More beatings with a snapmare and kick from KENTA, and this is already better than the Goto match and I’ll tell you why; Juice is much better at selling his frustration with KENTA’s tactics and mixing it with his selling. Seriously, he’s a much better fit as an opponent for KENTA than most would be. Juice’s ‘big’ mannerisms are perfect in contrast to KENTA’s sublime heel work.
Kicks from KENTA and an arrogant cover for one, then back to a chinlock. Juice fights up, big belly-to-back suplex turns the tide. As usual, Juice knows exactly how to fire up the crowd, slamming his elbows into the mat to get them clapping. He fires jabs, then fakes out KENTA with a Hand of God and DDTs him for two instead. KENTA right back with kicks and Fisherman’s suplex. He snaps Juice’s neck on the top rope, then hits the flying clothesline for two. KENTA has been in control for most of this match, to be sure.
Juice counters into a flapjack to get some space. Corner to corner with clotheslines, then a cannonball by Juice. That gets two. He goes for a superplex, but KENTA counters with headbutts, then just destroys Juice in opposite corner after coming off with a missile dropkick. Delayed dropkick from KENTA is followed by the top rope double foot stomp for two. GTS is blocked by Juice, but a rope-assisted DDT gets two for KENTA. Running knee from KENTA is avoided, full-nelson slam by Juice! They slug it out and we get a tremendous sequence where KENTA hits Juice with two spinning backfists, but goes for a 3rd and Juice just drops his ass with a lariat!
Juicebox from Juice hits for two. Juice has had enough and the STRAPS ARE DOWN. Well, at least so much as a tank top has straps, I suppose. He goes for Pulp Friction, but KENTA rolls him up for two. KENTA unloads with palm strikes and goes for the GTS, but Juice blocks it and hits the left Hand of God. Again! Pulp Friction….hits! 1, 2, 3! Juice wins! (Juice Robinson over KENTA, pinfall, 17:02)
THOUGHTS: ***1/2. I saw some reviews on this one saying this match dragged, and I couldn’t disagree more with that statement. Yes, KENTA took most of the match and his work is slow and methodical. But Juice has proven that he’s actually kind of excelling in this environment right now. He’s just fantastic at figuring out ways to get the crowd involved without cheering, which makes him a fabulous face-in-peril for the heels to work off of. I thought the pacing of this match, with what they were going for, totally worked. KENTA gets to control most of it, get a bunch of decent shine off his moves, then take a few big shots in a row and lose. Both guys look okay, with Juice getting a big win he needed and it didn’t kill KENTA or anything. The match had a bit of stiffness, and that was one of the better ‘slug it outs’ I’ve seen in a bit near the end. Overall, I thought this was really good.
EVIL vs YOSHI-HASHI – B Block match
This is an interesting choice for the semi-main. EVIL attacks with a chair before the match starts, but YOSHI ducks it and goes to work on EVIL with his cane! Damn, YOSHI. Bring the thunder. He chokes EVIL with the stick and tells the ref to ring the bell, and Red Shoes is like “Eh, why not? Yeah, one guy is rolling around in agony after being attacked with a weapon before the bell, but all’s fair.” YOSHI tosses away the cane and just pounds the holy s--- out of EVIL in the corner with rights. Good ones, too! Giving YOSHI that NEVER title may have been the best decision that GEDO has made for YOSHI-HASHI ever. Big shoulderblock from YOSHI and he stomps away on EVIL, who now BEGS OFF FROM YOSHI-HASHI. Call the coroner, because I’m DEAD. 2020 has been a f------up year, everyone.
EVIL takes the ref after reversing an Irish whip, and that allows Togo to pull YOSHI to the floor and beat on him for a bit. EVIL sets up a bunch of chairs in this non-hardcore match and snap suplexes YOSHI onto them. This is fine, because New Japan. Back in now, and EVIL goes to work, sending YOSHI to an exposed buckle and hitting a backbreaker for several two counts. YOSHI fires up after reversing a suplex and destroys EVIL with chops and a neckbreaker! Go YOSHI, go! He takes out Togo and hits a pair of dropkicks for two.
YOSHI goes up, but EVIL recovers enough to crotch him on the top. Superplex by EVIL gets two. He sends YOSHI to the exposed buckles twice, then hits Darkness Falls for two. YOSHI blocked Everything is Evil, then sends EVIL to the exposed buckle, head-first! Again! Strike battle is won by YOSHI, then he catches a charging EVIL with a lariat! Delayed Fisherman’s Buster gets two for YOSHI, and he goes for the Butterfly Lock, but breaks it to take out Togo on the apron. EVIL tries to send YOSHI into Togo, but YOSHI reverses and EVIL knocks Togo to the floor, then YOSHI hits a lungblower! Butterfly Lock is in!
They have a LONG battle in the Butterfly lock, with EVIL getting cut off every time he tries to make the ropes, including YOSHI turning it into a combo Butterfly/Hoverboard Lock and EVIL teasing a pass out before he finally makes it. EVIL goes for a ballshot, but YOSHI catches it, YOSHI comes off the ropes, EVIL murders him with a lariat. Everything is Evil is blocked again, this time into a snapdragon suplex and a Meteora for two from YOSHI! YOSHI goes up, swanton! 1, 2, NO!
Unfortunately, now the match gets dumb after being awesome, as EVIL grabs the ref on a waistlock and takes him for an absurd amount of time, long enough for Togo to hit YOSHI with a chair, then strangle him with the garrote…..but YOSHI escapes the garrote and nails Togo to the floor! EVIL charges, big lariat drops EVIL! Karma attempt, but EVIL again manages to distract the ref and low blow YOSHI, then hit Everything is Evil to get the pin. Damnit. (EVIL over YOSHI-HASHI, pinfall, 17:21)
THOUGHTS: ***3/4. I dunno, I went back and forth on this one quite a bit. I really, really wanted to go **** here, because this was the match of YOSHI’s entire YEAR up to this point and the thought of giving a YOSHI-HASHI match **** without a trace of irony would have been tremendous. But man, that finish after the absurd amount of ref distractions in this match…..I was all-in on YOSHI, man! Like, that was a legitimately better match than any of EVIL’s matches with Naito; think about that. Better pacing, better near-falls, better everything. And if YOSHI would have somehow overcome everything that EVIL and Togo threw at him and won the match anyway, it would have been SUCH a great ending that I may have gone even higher. But the absolute bad taste that finish left in my mouth just wouldn’t go away, so I went a shade under **** for it. Anyone who wanted to go higher, I wouldn’t argue that much, because this was just great pro wrestling and a fantastic performance by YOSHI; and it’s certainly plausible to argue that EVIL’s heel tactics were a huge part of that. Who saw any of this coming?
Zack Sabre Jr vs Tetsuya Naito – B Block match
One of the reasons I love the G-1 is that without Taichi anchoring ZSJ to his cheap heel b-------, I get to see ZSJ actually wrestle. They go to the mat quickly, where one would think that ZSJ has the advantage. Indeed he does, and he controls as they end up in the ropes, so Naito rolls out to take a breather. Back at it and ZSJ takes him back down with a wristlock, forcing Naito to the ropes for a break. More arm work by Sabre, who continues to dominate hold for hold.
Naito comes back with a whip reversal and a ‘rana that sends ZSJ to the floor. Naito does the running Tranquilo pose, so ZSJ decides to punish him for his showboating, as he comes back in and crucifixes Naito for two, then rolls him over and gets multiple two-counts right after. Naito to the mat with a headscissors, and ZSJ is forced to the ropes to break. Octopus attempt by ZSJ is countered with a hiptoss, but ZSJ rolls through into snapping the neck with his feet twice to wrench it good.
Zack with a headscissors/double armlock combo on the mat, forcing Naito to make the ropes. Naito charges, but gets sent to the apron and Zack sweeps the leg to send him to the floor. Naito rolls back in at 17, and ZSJ is right on him. Uppercut in the corner and a snapmare that ZJSJ rolls through into a cravat. Naito escapes that and hits a neckbreaker. Naito with a dropkick, then the corner leg sweep/dropkick combo to try to rally a bit. Naito goes back to the headscissors, but ZSJ pops the hips and rolls into the ropes. I’m sorry there’s not much to say here, but this is really good wrestling and I don’t have any snark for it.
Naito with stomps and a cravat of his own, but ZSJ escapes and hits a DDT. He comes off the ropes and flies into a triangle on Naito, and he’s got it in good, but Naito manages to make the ropes. ZSJ with uppercuts and he goes for a big kick, but it gets caught and Naito drags him to the apron before hitting a neckbreaker from the apron to the floor. Ouch. Back in and Naito fires off back elbows, dropping Zack again.
Naito puts Zack on top and ‘ranas him off, but runs into a back elbow when Sabre gets to his feet. Tornado DDT from Naito now, and he puts on a Koji Clutch. ZSJ escapes that and Naito goes for Gloria, Sabre stops that and kicks the arm of the champ. Naito off the ropes, ZSJ catches him with the Octopus and hooks it in. They go to the mat and Zack his him absolutely tied in knots. Naito rolls and rolls and finally makes the ropes.
Both guys stand up as the timekeeper calls 25 minutes as we’re edging close to a draw here. They slug it out and Zack goes for the Driver, but Naito escapes into a Destino. 2nd Destino attempt is blocked and Zack hits the Driver, putting both guys down. ZSJ up first and he hooks a guillotine on Naito, Naito fights out, ZSJ bridges him for a two-count. Naito goes for the enzuigiri, ZSJ flips that into a Japanese leg clutch for two. Penalty Kick from Zack gets two as we’re at 3 minutes left. Zack Driver attempt, but Naito shifts his weight into an inverted DDT, and Naito follows that with another Destino to put ZSJ down for the pin. (Tetsuya Naito over Zack Sabre Jr, pinfall, 28:29)
THOUGHTS: ****1/4. This was killer stuff that I thought was heading for the draw before Naito yanked it out of the fire out of nowhere. Great, great wrestling that saw both guys busting all sorts of stuff out of their repertoire, and they meshed extremely well together. This isn’t going to be for everyone, as it’s a lot of grappling as opposed to action, action, action, but I was deeply into this and thought it was fantastic work.
Post-match, Naito delivers the speech and we’re done.
FINAL THOUGHTS: While not as consistently great as Night 1, this show was excellent, with a tremendous main and another good performance from YOSHI-HASHI where I expected nothing. Sabre/Naito delivered, and the rest of the undercard, depending on your particular Yano preferences, was very good as well.
B BLOCK STANDINGS AFTER NIGHT TWO:
Toru Yano – 4 Points
Tetsuya Naito – 4 Points
Juice Robinson – 4 Points
Zack Sabre Jr – 2 Points
KENTA – 2 Points
EVIL – 2 Points
Hirooki Goto – 2 Points
YOSHI-HASHI – 0 Points
Hiroshi Tanahashi – 0 Points
SANADA – 0 Points
The King of Pro Wrestling title holder sits atop the B Block after Night 2 – all is as it should be. Lord Yano remains in the lead!
Let’s do this – as always, my thoughts are in bold. Ladies and Gentlemen, the scrum:
Yuya Uemura: says they only get to fight in Hokkaido a few times a year, and he lost both yesterday and today. He has no choice but to get back up – this is where he makes his mark and proves his worth!
Yota Tsuji: Coming here always takes him back, and he asks how Henare is doing after they went one on one back in February. He couldn’t get back to Japan, but Tsuji can feel your fighting spirit. He’s looking forward to facing Henare again in a singles next year, he’s not the Tsuji that you knew before.
Hirooki Goto: Earning those kinds of wins gets harder year after year. His body knows it, but what keeps him going are his anger, frustration, and dreams.
Hiroshi Tanahashi: (Kneeling in pain) This is his 19th G-1, and today was proof that every point is hard to come by. But he can still make it – there’s something he has to do, for everyone.
Tanahashi breaks my heart every time he does an interview. In a good way.
Toru Yano: (Being led to the interview area by a Young Lion) He can’t see a thing, so lead him! Is he in the right place? (He’s completely turned around and cutting his promo on the interview backdrop) He can’t see anything, won’t someone say something to help him? Even though he couldn’t see a thing, he still won! Help him to the back!
So, no one even helped him cut the tape off his eyes? Why does everyone hate Yano?
KENTA: tells the reporter that he’s fatter than the other one, then asks him to sit down. Damn, he beat me. Juice, Juice! You did great today. But don’t forget, I’m going to pay you back. Let me talk about our story. Back in 2014, they were in the same company, which is the best company in this business; at the time, Juice was a different character, I was a different style. This is huge, huge! I lost a match, no big deal, but a big story. But next time, Juice, next time, I’m going to pay you back. It doesn’t matter where they are, so much as it does what they’re doing. He invites Juice to talk s--- about his career, please do so. He doesn’t give a f---. See you in Tokyo!
Interesting. One would think that Juice will get a shot at the briefcase now, and KENTA referencing WWE as the ‘biggest company’ is kind of weird, even though it’s true.
Juice Robinson: I’m going to be literal for a second. I’m going to be literal. Literally, KENTA just kicked the s--- out of me. (Please don’t prove that to literally be true. Please.) I ain’t kidding, it ain’t a figure of speech, I may have to check my underwear, because I may have sharted. Juice then explains a shart to the reporters: It’s when you think you farted, but it’s a little bit more. (Well, joy.) Enough messing around – there is no one in either A or B Block that has more points than Juice Robinson! Am I right? Does Ishii have more points? Naito? SANADA? EVIL? KENTA? Bitchblade? Okada? Asspray? (HEE.) Not even the great Tanahashi? NO! 4 points for Sweet Brother Joseph. That one, maybe I got lucky – well tonight, I good and lucky. And on the 29th, it’s me against Tanahashi. He knows that Tana used to be his Senpai, that they used be tag partners, that you don’t get the nickname ‘Ace of the Universe’ by drawing it out of an f’n hat! But the law of the jungle says that the old tiger, no matter how sexy his mane, someday a younger, sexier tiger takes him down. Will it be Juice? We’ll find out on the 29th!
Juice, as always, is tremendous.
YOSHI-HASHI: EVIL, you beat me in the Cup and you beat me here today, but I’m going to get back up and beat the crap out of you.
EVIL: Who stands for justice? Who is real? Now you know, right? No matter who stand across from me in this G-1, they’re going to lose! Togo adds that the G-1 isn’t going to be sullied by you rascals from now on.
Dick Togo makes ‘rascals’ sound cool. Just saying.
Back to the ring for Naito’s promo. He greets Sapporo. They were supposed to be there back in July, but COVID got it canceled. Would have been the first Hokkaido tour in 7 years, but it couldn’t happen and he thought it meant they wouldn’t see Naito wrestle this year. But it makes him truly happy to be able to wrestle in front of all of you today, and thanks for coming out tonight. He does the roll call and tosses the mic.
Zack Sabre Jr: (Lying on an ice pack on his back) Touche, Naito. Well-played, dickhead. He could have done it the easy way and beat him tonight, guaranteeing a title match, but now he’ll do it the hard way – he’ll win the league. When he wins the G-1, he wants an IC title match at Power Struggle, then he’ll win the big one at the Tokyo Dome.
I love me some ZSJ, who manages to come off like an asshole win or lose. It takes a special skill to do.
Tetsuya Naito: When I first saw the list of people in the B Block, Zack was the first name I went to. Maybe second or third. He’s always a tough opponent for me, he’s very skilled. I don’t doubt that at all. I thought this match would be the highlight of my tour, but now that it’s over, I see it all went according to plan. Even though Zack is tall, he doesn’t weigh that much, but that doesn’t really matter in pro wrestling. Makes me kind of jealous. Next up is Goto, right? He beat SANADA today, right? A miracle can happen, but they can’t happen often, because then it wouldn’t be a miracle, would it? Goto already used up his miracle, so Naito will win. After that, it’s SANADA, and that should be easy for him. But like Naito always says, “You have to cherish now, because nothing’s promised.” So he shouldn’t worry about SANADA, he should focus on Goto. But he will win easily, like everyone expects. Maybe Goto wants to deny him? Well, go work out under a waterfall, cabron!
Props to ZSJ, major shade at Goto, slight shade at SANADA. Now, I’m not going to tell Naito how to run his faction, but he already lost one guy, does he really want to antagonize another one? Good promo.
That’ll do it for Night 2 of B Block! See you all later this week!
As always, thanks for reading this thing I wrote,
@MrSoze on Twitter