The tournament continued with B Block action Thursday
By Gavin Axelrod
(Photo via NJPW1972.com)
Spoilers for G1 Climax 30 night four ahead
Hirooki Goto (0) vs SANADA (0) 3/5 stars
This was one of those matches where you could tell Goto and SANADA had each other well scouted.
The match started fast with the two exchanging counters on multiple occasions. It was SANADA who gained control in the early goings.
Goto began to build momentum later in the match, stringing together a side suplex followed by a running bulldog. However, SANADA would put a stop to his hot streak with a dropkick and a high crossbody to the outside.
It wasn’t a long match, but it was an entertaining opener.
Goto would hit a GTW and a GTR in the match. His signature GTR helped him earn a pinfall victory, which felt like a bit of a surprise.
SANADA has been marked as a favorite to win this year’s G1, but an 0-2 start won’t do him any favours. He’ll need to pick up the slack soon.
Toru Yano (2) vs Hiroshi Tanahashi (0): 1/5 stars
Let’s keep this one short, shall we?
Yano defeated Tanahashi in an entertaining comedy match, which if you want a good laugh you should totally go back and watch.
The Ace of the universe got Yano’d so hard in this one and is now 0-2 in the G1.
Juice Robinson (2) vs KENTA (2): 3.25/5 stars
Now for the match that had everyone buzzing this week, mostly for Juice’s post-match promo about sharting. Yes, you read that right.
Robinson is one of the best babyfaces in New Japan, while KENTA is one of the most hated heels. This dynamic played a big factor in the match.
KENTA started the match in firm control, but Robinson quickly bounced back hitting a backdrop, a trio of punches and a DDT. However, KENTA is always one to throw in a cheap shot, which is exactly what he did by raking his opponent's nose.
With Robinson bent over in pain, he used it as an opportunity to hit a powerslam followed by a fisherman’s suplex and a swinging neckbreaker on the ropes.
KENTA remained in control once again, but Robinson wasn’t done yet.
As the match rolled on, they engaged in a series of elbows. Robinson won the exchange and was able to charge across the rink for a cannonball.
His momentum was stopped there, with KENTA hitting two backhand strikes. However, Robinson fired back and struck his opponent down.
KENTA bounced back and tried to hit a GTS, but Robinson countered.
In what felt like the blink of an eye, Juice managed to hit his finisher, Pulp Friction and pin KENTA for a huge victory.
By winning the match, Robinson should be awarded the chance to challenge for KENTA’s IWGP US Championship match contract.
YOSHI-HASHI (0) vs EVIL (0): 3.75/5 stars
YOSHI-HASHI continued to show why he’s NJPW’s lovable underdog, in this one.
This match was a great example of how to book a heel. YOSHI-HASHI had EVIL on the ropes all match, but at every turn, EVIL pulled a cheap shot out of his back. It’s these kinds of antics that make you want YOSHI-HASHI to overcome the odds.
However, on this night it wasn’t meant to be. It was another valiant effort for YOSHI-HASHI, but after fighting off inference from Dick Togo all match a low blow from his opponent lead to his downfall.
EVIL hit his finisher, Everything Is EVIL for the win, but this was a great contest. It continues EVIL’s great string of G1 matches thus far.
As for YOSHI-HASHI, it’s going to be a huge moment when he gets his first win of G1 30.
Zack Sabre Jr. (2) vs Tetsuya Naito (2): 4/5 stars
This was an exciting main event to finish off a pretty solid card.
Naito needed to pull out all the stops in this 25+ minute thriller. It may not have been a sprint, but the number of near falls made it seem as if either man could win the fight at any time.
Zack Sabre Jr. isn’t for everyone, but his last two matches have been really good. One day he’s going to make a great babyface in New Japan.
His arsenal of submission moves was on full display in this one and after he beat EVIL with the European Clutch, he nearly put Naito away with it twice.
After looking pretty beat up just a few months ago, Naito has looked great in the G1. It will be interesting to see if the company starts to save him as the tournament hits its stretch run.
B Block is a lot less stacked than A Block, but with stars like Sabre Jr. stepping up, there’s bound to be some surprisingly good matches.
In the next B Block date, Naito will main event the show against Hirooki Goto, which should be a great match.
Next up: The G1 rolls on at the famous Korakuen Hall with A Block action featuring a main event between Jay white and Kazuchika Okada