Recommended Matches --
- Jay White vs. Jeff Cobb
- Kazuchika Okada vs. Minoru Suzuki
- Tomohiro Ishii vs. Taichi
- Kota Ibushi vs. Will Ospreay
Yuya Uemura defeated Gabriel Kidd (7:51)
In terms of excitement, this was one of the weaker Young Lion matches on this tour. It wasn't bad, but there was much more of a focus on technical wrestling exhibition than a competitive fight.
There was a test of strength at the start. Both men had their hands locked for a long time. Kidd won the power battle, but Uemura's bridge was too strong to break.
Uemura locked on a long side headlock. They didn't throw a single strike until nearly five minutes in, where they had a forearm battle. Kidd got the upper hand with a big overhand chop but Uemura fought back with a shoulder tackle and an elbow smash.
Kidd hit a dropkick and went for his underhook suplex, but it was turned into a cradle exchange. Uemura applied the Boston crab. Kidd reached the ropes, but Uemura immediately hit his overhead belly-to-belly and locked on a Lion Tamer variation for the submission.
G1 Climax A Block: Shingo Takagi defeated Yujiro Takahashi (13:39)
This was no good, one of the least exciting matches from the entire tournament. It was perfectly serviceable in-ring but there was no energy or crowd investment and the ref bump nonsense is way overdone. At least the other Yujiro matches have been much shorter.
After an early shoulder tackle, Yujiro was sent outside. Shingo attempted to whip Yujiro into the barricade, but Yujiro blocked and forced Shingo himself into the barricade.
When trying to re-enter the ring, Yujiro drove his boot into Shingo's head, but Shingo clotheslined Yujiro's legs and he took an apron bump. After a brief fight, Yujiro hit a reverse DDT on the apron.
Yujiro continued to beat down Shingo until the latter fired up with chops and forearms. Yujiro bit his way out of a suplex attempt. Shingo took advantage with a shoulder tackle and escaped a fisherman's buster with the same bite move that Yujiro uses.
Yujiro fought his way out of Noshigami and hit the fisherman's buster for two. They each avoided each other's running power moves. Shingo finally hit a Pumping Bomber but Yujiro popped up right away and nailed a lariat of his own.
An Olympic slam from Yujiro and his swinging fireman's carry slam got two. He went for another lariat but Shingo hit his signature striking sequence and a sliding lariat.
Shingo went for Last of the Dragon but Yujiro fought his way out with another bite while shoving down the official. He tried to attack with his staff but Shingo broke it in half with a forearm.
With the referee back up, Shingo hit another Pumping Bomber and the Last of the Dragon for three.
G1 Climax A Block: Jeff Cobb defeated Jay White (12:26)
I don't know if it was ring rust or something else, but Cobb has gotten better with every single match on this tour. This was an excellent babyface performance showcasing his power and athleticism, and against all odds he upset Switchblade in picking up the win.
White went for takedowns at the bell but they were all easily countered by Cobb. He gave Cobb a quick slap and then powdered to the outside to stall. Back in, Cobb hit a huge dropkick. There are lots of excellent standing dropkicks in NJPW, but Cobb may have the best one outside of Okada.
Gedo entered the ring. Cobb clunked Gedo and Switchblade's heads together, but White took advantage after Gedo grabbed Cobb's leg. White beat Cobb down in the corner. After a while, Cobb hit a Samoan drop to even the playing field.
A massive overhead belly-to-belly gave Cobb the advantage, followed by a corner splash and a running back suplex. White fought back with uppercuts and a head-and-arm suplex into the turnbuckle pad. White hit Bladebuster for two.
The two men traded strikes in the center of the ring. Cobb won the striking battle but White turned a lariat into a flatliner. White attempted a German suplex but Cobb fought out, so he turned it into a uranage for two.
White picked Cobb apart but Cobb just whipped him headfirst into the corner. Cobb hit his catching suplex and a standing moonsault for two. White fought his way out of Tour of the Islands and attempted the Blade Runner, but Cobb fought out and hit a German.
Gedo entered the ring and distracted Cobb which allowed White to hit a sleeper suplex. Cobb popped up and hit Tour of the Islands. Gedo tried to interfere again but Cobb press slammed him into White and hit a second Tour of the Islands for the win.
***** Intermission *****
G1 Climax A Block: Kazuchika Okada defeated Minoru Suzuki (14:20)
They're telling a story with Okada and his Money Clip submission, namely that it usually doesn't work. The match was a good technical battle that never really sniffed greatness.
It was evident based on the crowd response at the bell that they were excited about this one. They wrestled back and forth at the start. Okada went for his corner elbow but Suzuki avoided it and locked on his rope-assisted armbar, sending both men outside.
Suzuki sent Okada into the barricade and beat him down with kicks. Back in the ring, Suzuki hit a soccer kick and went for a double wristlock, but Okada reached the ropes. Suzuki continued to target the arm.
Okada avoided a boot in the corner and hit a neckbreaker for his first bit of real offense eight minutes in. They exchanged forearms. Suzuki hit his crushing forearms to end the back-and-forth.
Suzuki applied the sleeper and went for the Gotch piledriver, but Okada turned it into the air raid crash neckbreaker. They continued to exchange forearms as Suzuki dared him to hit him.
Okada hit his dropkick and a tombstone before locking on the Money Clip. Suzuki rolled out and turned it into an armbar but Okada reached the ropes. Okada went for a Rainmaker. Suzuki kicked his arm away, but Okada hit a short Rainmaker anyway.
Okada attempted another Rainmaker but Suzuki turned it into a rear naked choke. Okada fought his way out and attempted the Money Clip. Suzuki tried for the Gotch, but Okada turned it into a cradle for the win. This was the same finish as the first fall in his Omega classic and against Jericho at Dominion last year.
G1 Climax A Block: Tomohiro Ishii defeated Taichi (18:36)
Ever since their first singles match last year, we've known that Ishii is Taichi's best opponent. They affirmed this here with a pretty unbelievable closing sequence, on the level of any stretch from Ishii/Shingo on night seven.
They both fired out of the gates with offense right away. Ishii hit chops and Taichi hit kicks. Taichi won when Ishii's leg gave out and the action moved outside, where Taichi hit Ishii with the ring bell mallet and choked him with it.
Taichi kept up the advantage in the ring with strikes. Ishii eventually powered up and hit a powerslam. Ishii alternated strikes and forearms in the corner. They continued to battle with strikes until Taichi hit an enzuigiri in the corner.
Ishii avoided the buzzsaw kick and attempted a suplex, but Taichi fought his way out and hit the kick. The pants were off, and Ishii fired up. They collided and Taichi hit another enzuigiri. Taichi went for Black Mephisto but couldn't hit it. Taichi hit Ishii with Kawada kicks, a forearm smash, an Axe Bomber and a backdrop driver.
Taichi tried for Black Mephisto once more but Ishii turned it into a buckle bomb and a lariat. Taichi pushed the official, but Ishii blocked a low blow. Ishii completely no-sold a buzzsaw kick and leveled Taichi with a forearm and a powerbomb for two.
Two huge lariats turned Taichi inside out for another two. Taichi fought his way out of the vertical drop brainbuster, pushed Red Shoes out of the way, hit a low blow, and applied the Gedo Clutch for a great near fall.
The Last Ride powerbomb stacked up Ishii for another good near fall. Ishii hit a German suplex. Taichi fired up, so Ishii just downed him with a clothesline. Another clothesline led to Taichi kicking out at one and hitting another Axe Bomber and backdrop driver for two.
They traded signature offense and strikes once more, with both hitting an enzuigiri for a double down. Ishii hit a sliding lariat for two, followed by the vertical drop brainbuster for three.
The Young Lions had to separate them post-match.
G1 Climax A Block Kota Ibushi defeated Will Ospreay (15:54)
This had very good, hard-hitting, fast-paced action but it never came close to reaching the level of their previous two singles matches, mostly due to the relatively short match length. Still, this was a worthy G1 main event.
I really hope they're not trying to portray this version of Ospreay as a babyface, because he's such a blatantly unlikable presence, out-of-ring concerns notwithstanding.
Ospreay teased Ibushi with the Okada rope break and a walk-over sequence before sending him to the outside with a hurricanrana.
Ibushi immediately attempted the Kamigoye but Ospreay escaped and hit his handspring kick. Ibushi avoided a plancha but fell victim to a soccer kick.
Back in, Ospreay nailed big chops on Ibushi in the corner before locking on a modified scorpion deathlock. Ibushi escaped and they battled with strikes before Ibushi took the advantage with a dropkick. Ibushi hit his signature striking combination and a standing moonsault for two.
They had a really cool counter-based strike exchange which Ibushi concluded by just crushing Ospreay with a double foot stomp. Ospreay hit Pip Pip Cheerio followed by a picture-perfect Sasuke special.
A lifting inverted DDT from Ospreay got two. They fought up top, which led to Ibushi hitting a springboard hurricanrana where Ospreay landed on his feet, the same spot we see in every Ospreay/Ibushi match.
Ospreay laid in forearms and Kawada kicks, but Ibushi entered his glassy-eyed trance-like state. Ibushi leveled Ospreay with a palm strike. Ibushi continued to beat down Ospreay with kicks, but Ospreay hit his backflip into an enzuigiri. He went for the handspring kick again but Ibushi turned it into a German suplex followed by the Bomaye for a near fall.
Ospreay avoided the Kamigoye and hit a hook kick. Ibushi fought his way out of the Stormbreaker, but Ospreay hit a Liger bomb for two. Ospreay went for the Hidden Blade but was downed with a high kick and the Last Ride for two.
Ibushi removed his kneepad and called for the Kamigoye, but Ospreay turned it into a cradle. Ospreay went for the Oscutter but Ibushi kneed him out of midair and hit the Kamigoye for the win.
Post-match, Ibushi cut a short promo.
G1 Climax 30 Standings
- Kota Ibushi -- 8 points (4-1)
- Kazuchika Okada -- 6 points (3-2)
- Jay White -- 6 points (3-2)
- Will Ospreay -- 6 points (3-2)
- Minoru Suzuki -- 6 points (3-2)
- Taichi -- 6 points (3-2)
- Tomohiro Ishii -- 4 points (2-3)
- Shingo Takagi -- 4 points (2-3)
- Jeff Cobb -- 4 points (2-3)
- Yujiro Takahashi -- 0 points (0-5)
- Tetsuya Naito -- 6 points (3-1)
- Juice Robinson -- 6 points (3-1)
- Toru Yano -- 6 points (3-1)
- Zack Sabre Jr. -- 4 points (2-2)
- EVIL -- 4 points (2-2)
- KENTA -- 4 points (2-2)
- Hiroshi Tanahashi -- 4 points (2-2)
- Hirooki Goto -- 2 points (1-3)
- YOSHI-HASHI -- 2 points(1-3)
- SANADA -- 2 points (1-3)