The first headline match of G1 Climax 30 Night 9 saw former five-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion and G1 Climax 22 and G1 Climax 24 winner and CHAOS member Kazuchika Okada against former NEVER Openweight Champion and Suzuki-Gun leader Minoru Suzuki.
Okada came into the match with 4 points during G1 Climax 30 A Block and a win over Suzuki-Gun member Taichi. His early losses to Bullet Club member “Switchblade” Jay White and “Golden Star” Kota Ibushi have put him into a difficult predicament to make his case of advancing to the finals.
Suzuki came into the match 6 points within A Block competition and a recent victory over Bullet Club member Yujiro in his latest match. A victory over Okada would have placed him atop of the G1 Climax 30 A Block, giving him a clear path towards advancing to the finals.
Suzuki would control the majority of the match against the man who held a 5-1-2 (wins/losses/draws) record against him. Yet, Suzuki’s physical style presented questions Okada didn’t have clear answers for throughout the contest.
Okada did show the fighting spirit that helped guide him towards five IWGP Heavyweight Championship reigns, including a record-setting for days (720) and defenses (12) during his fourth reign with the title.
Okada would gain the fall at the 14 minutes and 10 seconds mark with a counter pinfall, surprising Suzuki. The victory moves Okada to 6 points and gives him a direct path to win the A Block.
The loss isn’t a disaster for the NEVER Openweight Champion, but it does put him in a crowded group in block action who are currently also sitting at 6 points.
The tournament for Suzuki will play out over his next two matches against Jay White (October 7th) and Kota Ibushi (October 10th). While Okada needs victories against former NEVER Openweight Champion Jeff Cobb (October 7th) and Los Ingobernables de Japon (LIJ) member Shingo Takagi (October 10th).