G1 Climax 30: ZSJ v Tanahashi
A Classic Wrestling Math
While neither former eight-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion, G1 Climax 17 winner, G1 Climax 25 winner, and G1 Climax 28 winner Hiroshi Tanahashi and former four-time Revolution Pro Wrestling (RevPro) Undisputed British Heavyweight Champion and Suzuki-Gun member Zack Sabre Jr remained able to win the G1 Climax 30 B Block and advance to the finals, the match remained an important one for both.
While Tanahashi had been on great form throughout the tournament, his inability to get key results raised questions from some regarding his future as a top-flight singles competitor. G1 Climax 30 saw Tanahashi eliminated from a possible finals appearance earlier than he has in approximately a decade, perhaps signaling that his singles downfall is in full swing.
Zack Sabre Jr wanted the victory so he could move to a strong 12 points and make his steak as a top-shelf singles competitor in New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) while being one-half of the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions (w/Taichi as Dangerous Tekkers).
The two have a long history against one another and always have highly technical singles matches against one another. This contest wasn’t any different, yet Zack Sabre Jr passed on opportunities to attack Tanahashi’s knees.
Once Tanahashi saw the chance to attack Zack Sabre Jr’s bandaged knee, he quickly took the opportunity, eventually leading him to gain a victory by cradle at the 12 minutes and 1-second mark to finish his G1 Climax 30 campaign with 8 points.
Tanahashi showed up Zack Sabre Jr by keeping him in the cradle long past the three count, leading to a skirmish to break out between them that needed to be broken up.
While a frustrating finish to his campaign, the Suzuki-Gun member showed how quality he is when on form. Yet, he still has tactical lapses brought about by his ego getting the best of him.