NJPW G1 Climax 30 Night Fourteen: Results & Ratings (Tetsuya Naito vs. EVIL, Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Hirooki Goto)

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The 2020 G1-Climax has been a marathon, but the end is in sight. B-Block action is here once again, with only a few nights to go. Tetsuya Naito is unopposed at the top of the block with 10 points, the potential to end with 16 in sight, while EVIL is right behind with 8 points. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Toru Yano Juice Robinson, Zack Sabre Jr, SANADA, and Hirooki Goto are all coming in at 6 points, KENTA at 4, and finally YOSHI-HASHI is eliminated and can not win. At this point, it’s a race to catch Naito, which is looking impossible.

G1 Climax 2020 Block B Match: Zack Sabre Jr. vs. YOSHI-HASHI

Coming into this match at 2 points with a 1-5 record, YOSHI-HASHI can’t win this tournament, and frankly is looking like he might not make it into next year’s edition of the tournament, if he can’t pick up a few wins in these last few matches. Tonight’s match is also very personal for YOSHI-HASHI, as his history with ZSJ includes him failing to beat ZSJ for a spot in 2019’s tournament. A win here won’t get him near the finals, but it would help shut ZSJ down, which would be a personal victory for YOSHI-HASHI.

This was a fairly standard ZSJ match, with him going for his usual array of strikes and submissions. YOSHI-HASHI fought valiantly, and did his best to overcome an opponent well above his skill level, but in the end, he’d be tied up in a submission with nowhere to go and no limbs free, and have to verbally submit. Zack Sabre Jr. moves up to 8 points, YOSHI-HASHI remains at 2.

Match Rating: 2.5/5 (** ½)

G1 Climax 2020 Block B Match: KENTA vs. Toru Yano

It’s do or die for KENTA at this point of the tournament, needing to win every one of his matches with Naito losing every one of his remaining matches for KENTA to even have a chance of reaching the finals, and it’s Yano time. KENTA is coming into this one with no mood for mischief, which is when Yano can be at his deadliest. If you overthink Yano, you’ve already lost.

This one would start with a weapons standoff and a lot of yelling, as referee Marty Asami probably figured he deserves a raise. Yano would arm himself with turnbuckle covers, as KENTA threatened to use his IWGP United States Championship Briefcase.

Eventually Yano would magically find some tape, and try to use it on KENTA, only to fail and instead spray him in the eyes. KENTA would douse Yano with that liquid, and Asami would get some over him as well. This blinded him briefly, KENTA took Yano up to the top of the stage, beat him with the briefcase, which was full of tape. Yano would be tied to the entrance lighting structure, and KENTA won via countout. KENTA moves up to 6 points,

You’re always gonna get comedy with Yano, and the quality depends on his opponent. KENTA was an okay foil for him, not as good as ZSJ, SANADA or Goto, but he did okay in his unique challenge of a match.

Match Rating: 1.5/5 (* 1/2)

G1 Climax 2020 Block B Match: SANADA vs. Juice Robinson

Juice Robinson knows he isn’t winning this tournament, and has a new goal. He wants to have a career high G1 point total, just 10 points. He’s coming into this one with 6, needing two points to meet this goal, or he might consider not being a part of the 2021 G1 Climax. SANADA meanwhile has his eyes on the finals, with a big win over Naito meaning that if he wins his next three, and Naito only wins one more? He wins in a tie. This is a critical match on both sides.

With these two, you were always going to get an extremely smooth match. It wasn’t the most exciting, wasn’t the greatest story being told, but the action was crisp and the crowd enjoyed both men’s performances a lot. A back and forth match where all the signature spots were hit, They had each others finishers well scouted leading to a nice finishing sequence of hard fought counters, near falls from rollups, and finally SANADA locking in the Skull End and draining the life from Robinson, and nailing the moonsault for the win. SANADA moves to 8 points, Robinson stays at 6 points.

Match Rating: 3.25/5 (*** ¼)

G1 Climax 2020 Block B Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Hirooki Goto

History is not on the side of Goto coming into this match, as he has a 1-11 record against Tanahashi, a long career of losing to the ace in matches both big and small, including four G1 Climax matches. It has been a few years, and they come into this match on equal footing. They have six points each, and need to win to stay alive in the tournament. The finals are still within reach for both men, but after tonight? Only one will have any real chance of making it.

Tanahashi came into this one not targeting the hurt arm like most, but instead the left knee of Goto, all to try and set up his Texas Cloverleaf finisher, while eliminating Goto’s finisher which uses the knee. Dragon Screws, basement dropkicks and more softened up the knee, as did Goto himself when he used the knee for a Ushiguroshi, hurting himself more than Tanahashi.

This is a strategy of someone who’s an expert on how to pick Goto apart. When Goto was able to get some room and throw some strikes, Tanahashi would be beat down, but it never took him much to regain control, considering he had a bad limb on both sides of his body.

Goto tried to fight through the pain, something which has caused him to be so beat up at this stage of the tournament, but also forced him to adapt, and use the right knee for the GTR, allowing him to get the win over Tanahashi. 2-11 isn’t as bad of a record! Goto moves up to 8 points, Tanahashi stays behind at 6 points. Only complaint with this one is that it ended a bit too early, a good complaint to have, these two have such good chemistry that even when nursing injuries, they can steal the show.

Match Rating: 4/5 (****)

G1 Climax 2020 Block B Match: Tetsuya Naito vs. EVIL

The third match in this year’s big trilogy for NJPW caps this night off, and it will be as heated as they come. After trading the IWGP Double Championship in the Summer, it rests on the shoulder of Naito, but the betrayal of EVIL to L.I.J still stings to this day. EVIL is just behind Naito in this tournament, and a win here will allow him to tie the block leader, and it’s a loss just about everyone in the block needs to have any chance. A win here, and Naito might become unreachable.

If you weren’t a fan of their previous matches, you won’t be wild about this one, as it follows a similar formula. Naito plays the babyface, while EVIL & Dick Togo do everything in their power to shut down his bursts of offense. The chemistry between these two is completely fine, and will only get better as time goes on. It was a bit slow at parts, mainy when EVIL was on top, and even to someone who liked their previous matches, something new would have been nice here. In the end, Togo would distract the referee, EVIL hit the low blow, block an attempt at Destino and hit an STO to win the match.

With this win, EVIL ties Naito at the top of the B-Block with 10 points, and makes this block more interesting in the process. It also puts EVIL alongside SANADA in potentially getting a shot at Naitos double gold later this year at Power Struggle.

Match Rating: 3.5/5 (*** 1/2)

After possibly the best night of the tournament on Night 13, this night just feels like a complete flop. There were good matches, and Goto vs, Tanahashi was close to great, but it was a weaker night overall. However, the result of the main event makes this block more competitive again, something that was seriously needed. What was your favorite match of Night 14 of the G1 Climax? Let us know what you think in the comment section down below.

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