NJPW G1 Climax 30 Day Eighteen: Results & Ratings (EVIL vs. SANADA, Tetsuya Naito vs. KENTA)
Kota Ibushi won the A-Block, and now it’s time to see who will win the B-Block. There are only three men in the running, those being EVIL, SANADA and the current IWGP Double Champion, Tetsuya Naito. Everyone else has been eliminated, making those top two matches on the card the important bits on this card. Who will go on to face Kota Ibushi in the finals?
G1 Climax 2020 Block B Match – Toru Yano vs. YOSHI-HASHI
Kicking off this night, we will see YOSHI-HASHI look to finish strong in a G1 where he had some of his best matches ever. He faces fellow CHAOS member Toru Yano, and after some clashes in the summer over the NEVER Openweight Six-Man Titles, it’s time to see who is better in singles.
Yano started this one in ‘Fair play’ style, throwing away all his athletic tape and instead just grabbing a corner pad to use as a weapon. On the other hand, YOSHI-HASHI hid some tape in his trunks, threw his entrance staff over the guard rail, taped Yano to it, and trapped him. Yano slipped through the opening in the guard rail and got into the ring, but he’s got a weapon! The referee would unarm Yano, YOSHI-HASHI wanted to hit a low blow, but instead blocked one from Yano for a roll up win. This was a fun way to start the night, and it’s nice to see Yano getting a taste of his own medicine. Yano ends with 6 points, YOSHI-HASHI ends with 4 points.
Match Rating: 2/5 (**)
G1 Climax 2020 Block B Match – Hirooki Goto vs. Juice Robinson
This tournament didn’t go as planned for Juice Robinson, who fell apart after a hot start with a three match win streak, before losing six in a row. He tried to stay upbeat and aimed for 10 points, and failed to do that. Now he faces Goto on the last night of B-Block, and we might see a more serious side of Robinson come out.
Robinson went right after the hurt shoulder of Goto at the start of this match, setting the tone for a very physical match. Both men gave all they had left to give, and after a seemingly endless array of counters at the end, Robinson hit Pulp Friction for a win. A solid but unremarkable match, This moves him to 8 points, and lets Robinson move on from the G1, and perhaps set his eyes on back to back World Tag League wins alongside David Finlay.
Match Rating: 2.5/5/5 (** ½)
G1 Climax 2020 Block B Match – Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
One of the big feuds in NJPW this year has been over the IWGP Tag Team Championships, with Tanahashi & Ibushi clashing with Dangerous Tekkers (ZSJ & Taichi). In the A-Block, Ibushi & Taichi kicked each other for 17 minutes on the last night, with Ibushi winning out, and now Tanahashi has a shot to break the 4-4 draw with ZSJ. This is for bragging rights alone, neither man being able to win the tournament this year, but if Tanahashi wants to still be called ‘The Ace’, he needs to win.
This was always going to be a technical wrestling focused match, and they know each other well after eight singles matches. Tanahashi was trying to survive the early onslaught of submissions, as ZSJ tried to find which limb to target, while avoiding Tanahashi’s signature Cloverleaf submission. It was a calculated sprawl of a match, rarely leaving the mat for more than a few moments. ZSJ thought he had Tanahashi after countering the ‘Aces High’ crossbody, but Tanahashi got the better of the pin to end this match.
Tanahashi ends this tournament with 8 points, while ZSJ finishes with 10 points. ZSJ & Taichi as the IWGP Tag Team Champions are a lock for World Tag League, but Tanahashi could lack a partner if Kota Ibushi wins the G1 Climax.
Match Rating: 3.75/5 (*** ¾)
G1 Climax 2020 Block B Match – KENTA vs. Tetsuya Naito
After winning double gold in the Tokyo Dome, Naito was attacked from behind by KENTA, and though he’d successfully defend at New Beginning, the wound is still there. Now they meet on the last night of G1 action, and KENTA stands between Naito and being the first IWGP Heavyweight Champion to win the G1 in 20 years. KENTA is eliminated from the G1, but ruining that moment would be a very personal victory.
Naito has had a looooooong tournament, one of the best of his career as shown by him near the top of the block even now. Tetsuya Naito has wrestled over three hours in this tournament, and if this match goes over a few minutes, he’s had the most in-ring time in G1 Climax history. Considering their last clash went 35 minutes, that’s likely, as is a time limit draw.
It was a game of cat and mouse, both men having a slow start until KENTA hit Naito with that IWGP United States Championship briefcase, and Naito was in trouble early. The neck would be softened up for the Game Over or Go To Sleep, but Naito would work on the neck of KENTA as well for that Destino. This back and forth pace would continue throughout the match, both men getting near falls along the way. Signature move after signature move, until KENTA shocked everyone with a flash pin for the win 21 minutes in. This ends Naitos tournament at 12 points, and EVIL wins in a tie. KENTA crushed Naito again, and might have earned another shot at the IWGP Double Gold.
Match Rating: 4.25/5 (**** ¼)
G1 Climax 2020 Block B Match – SANADA vs. EVIL
Former IWGP Tag Team Champions, former best friends, and now bitter enemies. This side of the tournament comes down to EVIL & SANADA, especially after Naito losing. EVIL comes in with 12 points, SANADA with 10, but a win here has SANADA move to the finals in a block. Historically, they’ve met in two prior G1’s, evenly tied. It can honestly go either way, and was going to be an epic.
We didn’t get the calm, cool and collected SANADA we usually see in this match, he came ready to win. However it was two on one with Dick Togo at ringside, and this gave EVIL a constant advantage as he grinded SANADA down. SANADA used the Paradise Lock and his insane agility to even the odds, and their chemistry shined through as this match went on. It was evenly matched, but EVIL got close with a Scorpion Deathlock midway into the match, followed by Darkness Falls.
SANADA fought off the STO attempt, apply the Skull End but EVIL just needed to grind out the clock. A series of moonsaults would land flush, but Dick Togo pulled out the referee at two and hit SANADA with a chair. EVIL & Togo would hit the Magic Killer, and Hiromu Takahashi would rush the ring to try to save his stable mate, only to fall to a low blow and Magic Killer. With just five minutes left, EVIL would take his eyes off the ball, and SANADA had been given time to recover. Hiromu would neutralize Dick Togo, SANADA got the European Clutch, and he moved to the finals of the G1 Climax. A messy match at the end, but incredibly satisfying.
Match Rating: 4.25/5 (**** ¼)
The finals are now set. Tomorrow it will be Kota Ibushi vs. SANADA for the chance to go to Wrestle Kingdom and enter the main event. Who will win the G1 Climax? Let us know what you think in the comment section down below.
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