NJPW G1 Climax XXX: Day 1

NJPW G1 Climax XXX: Day 1

By Big Red Machine
From September 19, 2020

NJPW G1 Climax XXX: Day 1


Great Young Lion stuff. Uemura won with what was technically a Liontamer and not a Boston Crab. Are young-boys allowed to do that? This match made me wish we got a G2 round robin with the Young Lions on the undercard of the G1 shows.

Will Ospreay vs. Yujiro Takahashi - 6.25/10

Ospreay won and cut a promo telling everyone how happy he was to back and saying that he was the “best wrestler in the world right now.” This is the sort of promo that would have sounded like an arrogant heel promo coming from most people but somehow didn’t from Ospreay.

Jeff Cobb vs. Taichi - 3.75/10

Jeff Cobb’s facial hair is terrible. He looks like Big Dick Dudley and Al Snow had a baby. Taichi went to the outside so Cobb chased him. The referee did not count them out. Nor did he disqualify Taichi when Taichi hit Cobb with the hammer for the ring bell. If I’m Jeff Cobb and I get my hands on that referee, I’m picking him up and seeing how far up the ramp I can throw him.

Taichi started to work over Cobb’s knee. It’d have been nice if they just stuck to this, but apparently that’s beyond Taichi’s capability, as this quickly turned into every Taichi match ever. He has the opponent down and taunts him. The opponent starts throwing strikes but Taichi floors him with a strike, then starts blatantly choking him. The referee comes over and tries to pull Taichi off before counting to four, whereupon Taichi releases hold, rinse, wash, and repeat. If the dude could just cut that sh*t out of his repertoire and do “cheating for the sake cheating” spots in the same spots every time and set up in the same way, his matches would be much better.

Another thing that would have made this match better was if Cobb had remembered to sell his knee once his comeback started. Taichi won.

Tomohiro Ishii vs. Minoru Suzuki - 9/10

They had a tremendously intense opening segment, and that intensity was what made me love this when I usually hate Ishii’s no-selling crap. If you’re going to do something like this, being calm and letting the other guy hit you and pretending it doesn’t hurt doesn’t work. You have to show yourself fighting through the pain, and includes having a sense of urgency to get out of the painful situation.

The way they used the forearm battles did a wonderful job of making it mean so much more when Suzuki went down on the first strike after Ishii blocked the soccer kick, and the look of relief on Suzuki’s face the first time he floored Ishii with just one good shot was excellent. This was a prideful intense brawl throughout, with the strikes to the head also helping to set up both men’s attempts that their grappling maneuver finisher in the later stages of the match.

Shingo Takagi vs. Jay White (w/Gedo) - 6.5/10

And we start off with Jay White stalling. Why do they keep doing this crap? It doesn’t get heat. It doesn’t make me want to see White lose more. It just makes me like the match less.

They finally start doing some basic opening stuff. Eventually White rolls to the outside to get out of the way of an impending top rope move. See, that I have no problem with. It’s the Cody/Jay White “I’m going to stall to get heat” crap that annoys me.

Shingo follows White out and throws him into the post. He then catches Gedo trying to sneak up on him, gras him by the shirt… and then spends a while just holding his fist up threateningly instead of punching him. It’s Gedo! PUNCH HIM!

This, of course, bought White time to recover and attack Shingo from behind, which again annoys me because they took so much time teasing that Shingo might punch Gedo that it feels like the reason he didn’t just punch Gedo was because he was buying time for White to recover and sneak up behind him. In other words, his choices were not natural and organic, but rather were dictated to him by the needs of the story, which is bad storytelling.

Shingo actually managed to hear White coming (a benefit of having so few fans, I guess), and was ready to counter the sneak attack. He rolls White back into the ring, then warns Gedo not to interfere. Shingo hops up on the apron… and Gedo immediately interferes. He grabs Shingo’s ankle and holds onto it so he can’t move as White charges forward and knocks him off the apron. Gedo, Shingo, and White are all over here, how did Red Shoes not see Gedo hugging Shingo’s ankle? It’s not even like he was bending down below the apron to hide himself.

This led to White hitting his most commonly used move in New Japan: run the opponent into the guardrail. He does this a bunch of times while Red Shoes doesn’t count, even though both wrestlers are on the outside. White gets back into the ring and wants Red Shoes to start counting. I have vivid memories of Red Shoes refusing to count Jay White’s opponents out in this very same spot in the past, but this time apparently it’s okay, so he starts counting.

White went outside and broke the count to hit a back suplex on the apron for a count-out tease. EVIL beat it at fourteen, but White started stomping on his back as he slid in, so at least we’ve got a nice story going here of White working over Shingo’s back.

While I’m on the subject, yeah, it all contributed to the story of White working over Shingo’s back, but I really would have preferred it had White not been cheating so much during that first section of heat. He was locking on a submission using the ropes or dragging Shingo down by his hair for pretty much the entire in-ring part. If guys are going to cheap constantly, it just makes the referees look dumb. Granted, Red Shoes doesn’t need much help looking like an idiot, but it’s not a good look for the promotion overall. Do a Boston Crab or something.

When Shingo took control back, he sent White to the outside and beat him up out there for a while, with Red Shoes not counting them out because he can’t be bothered to do his job. At this point it feels like they’ve spent more time outside of the ring than in it.
After that point they seemed to lose the story of the match and it turned into some work on White’s neck and just hitting each other. There was a weird spot where they were doing a criss-cross and White just sat down in the middle of the ring, at which point Shingo went behind him, came off the ropes and hit him in the back. Why did White stop running and sit down?

Shingo hit a bunch of lariats and some other stuff but Gedo got up on the apron to distract him, allowing White to roll him up. White put his feet on the ropes but Red Shoes caught it at two. Finishers were hit and kicked out of, and heel shenanigans happened but Shingo survived them. Red Shoes counted the pin on a Regalplex where he could not have possibly seen one of Shingo’s shoulders. Then White hit Blade Runner and got the win. This started off well, but by the end they had completely lost any semblance of a story and were just doing moves and shenanigans.

Kazuchika Okada vs. Kota Ibushi - 7/10

This was extremely disappointing, considering the talent involved. The match felt very disjointed. There were parts where Okada worked on Kota’s neck, parts where Kota was on offense doing his semi-random collection of moves, and parts where they would trade strikes, the parts with the strikes didn’t ever feel like they flowed naturally from either of the other two. The match also felt like it ended before they could really kick it up to that next gear that you would expect from a big main event. At least Ibushi finally figured out that he’s been using Nakamura’s finisher.

Final Thoughts
This was a disappointing start to the G1, all things considered, but that Ishii vs. Suzuki match makes the show feel like it was still worth my time to watch. You should go out of your way to make sure you see that. I will probably only be watching the Block A shows this year due to the timing of several things going on in my life right, but if a Block B match gets attention, I’ll make sure to watch it.

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