G1 Climax 30 continues in Japan, as Block B makes its debut. With Block A having set the bar, the wrestlers of Block B will be looking to meet and exceed expectations, and start racking up the early points. While the tournament is still in its fledgling stages, everyone is looking to a positive lead to start their G1 season.

The nights action started off with another face off of Young Lions, with Yota Tsuji returning against Gabriel Kidd. Gabriel hails from New Japan’s dojo in L.A. A rivalry of sorts has broken out between the L.A. Dojo and its original counterpart, with Young Lions from both dojos trying to prove superior to the other. The two started out with some great chain wrestling, where Gabriel seemed to have the upper hand. When the match moved to strikes, though, Tsuji took over with dominance, brutalizing his opponent. Despite Gabriel’s best efforts, Tsuji hit a hard powerslam and forced Gabriel to tap out to the Boston Crab.

Block B kicked off its season with Juice Robinson making his return against YOSHI-HASHI. YOSHI looked a bit different with a title finally around his waist as part of the Never Open 6-man Tag champ. This is his first New Japan title since he returned to New Japan from excursion in 2012. Juice, meanwhile, had changed his look almost entirely. Coming to the ring looking like a third Blues Brother, and wrestling the match in a white tank top. Despite the colorless gear, Juice was still very much his colorful self. He managed to stay in control of the match for its majority, while keeping the crowd pumped up. While YOSHI fought valiantly, it seemed almost inevitable that Juice would be the victor. Hitting the Left hand of God and following it up with Pulp Friction allowed Juice to walk away with the two points.

The second match up saw LIJ’s SANADA take on one of the most unpredictable wrestlers in the tournament, Toru Yano. With Yano’s 15 G1 entries, he one of the most seasoned veterans in the field this year. He’s also never opposed to win by any means necessary, being well known for his timely low blows, use of tape, and any other means of getting a win. And that seemed the plan tonight, as the ref found two tape rolls hidden in his tights before the bell! A third was found by SANADA when he managed to grab a waist lock, calling over the ref to remove the roll. SANADA seemed t be more than ready to handle Yano’s antics, at one point, dueling with the large turnbuckle pads. once the action moved outside, SANADA had the match all but won, trapping Yano in the Paradise Lock, a hold that has the victims own weight trapping themselves from moving. SANADA was on his way to return to the ring for the easy count out victory, but a Young Lion came to Yano’s aid and freed him. Losing an easy victory, SANADA went to put the Young Lion in the Paradise Lock, but Yano struck, taping the two together, and ran to th ring. SANADA and the Young Lion were unable to three legged walk in time for the count, allowing Yano the count out victory!

The third G1 match of the night pitted 2008 G1 winner Hirooki Goto against KENTA, who holds the rights to challenge the IWGP US Champion. Both are very well versed in a hard hitting style. KENTA avoided the fight at first, forcing Goto to give chase. KENTA used Goto being out of place to start his attack, when Goto rolled into the ring. The usual mantra of Pro Wrestling in Japan is take 9 shots to give out 10, and KENTA seemed to use this mentality against Goto. He dished out the shots, and avoided Goto’s strikes, locking in submissions. While perhaps stratigically sound, it was not looked upon fondly by the fans, who are used to the fighting spirit most wrestlers attempt to harness. With the less than honorable tactics, KENTA was able to wear Goto down, finally getting the submission victory with the Yes Lock.

The fourth match would be a tale of two styles. EVIL the former Double Champion and winner of the New Japan Cup earlier in the year, against Zack Sabre Jr., a specialist in technical submissions. EVIL attacked before the bell, and was able to quickly brutalize his lankier opponent early. But once ZSJ was able to find an opening and a hold, he was able to exact pain with surgical precision. EVIL’s power and willingness to skirt the rules was able to get him back into the match, as well as a downed ref and a healthy dose of help from his partner, Dick Togo. Things looked bleak when EVIL hit Darkness Falls, and went for Everything is Evil. ZSJ was able to reverse the move and countered with a quick pin for the win!

The main event featured 19 time G1 participant Hiroshi Tanahashi vs the holder of both IWGP Intercontinental and Heavyweight titles, Tetsuya Naito. With Tanahashi’s 3 G1 wins and Naito’s 2, this match would be a fight that could be a tipping point for these two, if tied at the end of the tournament. Two of New Japan’s beloved wrestlers, both for the character and brand they bring to the ring. Tanahashi’s high energy and willing to give his all and Naito’s chip on the shoulder Tranquillo attitude. Going for Naito’s bad knee, Tanahashi was able to take the early advantage in the match up. Yet, despite the early attacks, Naito was able to play mind games with Tanahashi, using his tranquilo attitude to swing the match in his favor. It wouldn’t be long lived, as Tanahashi fed off the energy from the fans, hitting a High Fly Flow off the top turnbuckle, onto Naito who was standing outside the ring! The knee was a key target for Tanahashi, hitting multiple dragon screws and submissions. This will no doubt create some problems for the Champion as the G1 wears on. Desperation and the knowledge that the two points may be the most important in the block seemed to motivate both men. Eventually it was Naito with the Destino that would be the victor.

Block A:

  • 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
  • Will Ospreay: 2 points
  • Yujiro Tanahashi: 0 points

Block B:

  • EVIL: 0 points
  • Hirooki Goto: 0 points
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi: 0 points
  • Juice Robinson: 2 points
  • KENTA: 2 points
  • SANADA: 0 points
  • Tetsuya Naito: 2 points
  • Toru Yano: 2 points
  • YOSHI-HASHI: 2 points
  • Zack Sabre Jr.: 2 points

Block B matched the opening night of the G1, able to really show case their skills. Now, with both blocks having competed, the fields are set. 10 wrestlers already find themselves behind the curve, while 10 more are all in a struggle to gain on their lead. Block A competes next on the 23rd, and no doubt everyone will be in a struggle to separate from the pack.

Feature Image Credit: Matthew Boyce/ Game Changer Sports Network

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