At long last, the G1 Climax 30 is upon us! While the G1 is usually a summer event, this year’s unprecedented pandemic couldn’t even keep the G1 from coming. We’ll be sticking with the action for the tournament’s duration, keeping up on results and points throughout. It all starts with the first step, and this is Night 1 of the G1 Climax!
Starting off the G1 was an exhibition between NPJW Young Lions, wrestlers still training in the New Japan Dojo. Yota Tsuji and Yuya Uemura kicked off the action, which would see the wrestlers from Block A competing. The veteran, Tsuji, seemed to have the match in hand for its majority, with strikes and a hard hitting style. Yuya ended with the win though, with an explosive double arm suplex and a high angle Boston Crab. Yuya seems to have a natural connection with the crowd. His athletic body, mixed with a fighting spirit have him pegged as a great future prospect.
The first G1 match this season pitted Will Ospreay against Yujiro Takahashi. This was Will’s first G1 match as a heavyweight, having competed last year as a junior weight. Yujiro has competed in a total seven G1’s. Will was the first of many unexpected entries, as speculation had run wild if many foreign wrestlers would be able to travel into Japan. The fans at Osaka seemed to feed of his positive energy, though, showing their appreciation for being there. If there were any doubts about Will changing his style with the jump to heavyweight, they were quickly quelled; Will had no problem flying through the air in this match. Yujiro managed to control the tempo of the match with underhanded tactics and slow, deliberate offense. Ospreay still managed the win with his Storm Breaker, pulling off the first win of the season.
The next G1 match saw Jeff Cobb vs Taichi. Both were competing in their second G1 overall. Taichi’s approach in the match seemed almost lackadaisical, relying on the ropes to break many holds. Cobb finally got Taichi, sending him retreating to the outside, where Taichi was able to sneakily use the timekeepers hammer for the early advantage. Cobb’s power and surprising athleticism was able to keep him in the match (prettiest moonsault for a man his size), yet Taichi was able to pick his spots. Taichi’s timely reversals allowed him to find Black Mestipho for the win!
The third match for the G1 had Never Openweight Champion Minoru Suzuki vs Tomohiro Ishii, in a match that promised to be a hard hitting spectacular. Right at the bell both pounced and exchanged blows, both men not willing to give an inch. At many points, both men would stand center ring, teeing off against each other as the forearms and slaps echoed throughout the hall. it was a classic exhibition in the brutal side of Strong Style wrestling. Minoru managed the last move, hitting the Gotch Style Piledriver to put Ishii away.
Jay White and Shingo Takagi would face off in the fourth match. Shingo started off hot, with his fierce power and agility. Jay White was saved with Gedo, who accompanied him to the ring and was always willing to get his hands dirty to help turn the tides. Jay was able to stay in the match by repeatedly grabbing hold of the ref. Shingo did manage to hit Last of the Dragon, but knocked down the ref while doing so. Never one to pass on the opportunity, Jay hit a low blow and his Switchblade for the win.
The main event for the night was a rematch of Wrestle Kingdom’s night one Main Event. Last years G1 winner Kota Ibushi vs the record holder for longest IWGP Heavyweight reign, Kazuchika Okada, who achieved 720 days on his fourth reign. Once the match started, neither seemed quite sure how to start against the other. When they did lock up, they went back and forth with some chain wrestling, until Kota was able to overcome with a hurricanrana. Okada proved cunning though, able to take the upper hand on the outside of the ring. Ibushi managed to overcome, beautifully executing a middle rope springboard moonsault onto Okada. Neither man was holding anything back, begging the question on if they will have much in the tank as the tournament continues. Ibushi was able to reverse Okada’s dropkick into a powerbomb, allowing him to hit the Kamigoye, stamping himself the victory.
Overall a great show to start the season. Block A has set the bar high, and Block B will have their work cut out for them to follow up. While these early points can be misleading to the final results, there is no doubt that no one will complain with getting any and all points, no matter how. The journey to see who will “Be the One” has just begun!
Jay White: 2 points
Kota Ibushi: 2 points
Minoru Suzuki: 2 Points
Taichi: 2 Points
Kazuchica Okada: 0 points
Shingo Takagi: 0 points
Tomohiro Ishii: 0 points
Jeff Cobb: 0 points
Zack Sabre Jr.:
Feature Image Credit: Matthew Boyce/ Game Changer Sports Network
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