The tournament resumed Wednesday in Sapporo, Japan with A Block action
(Photo via NJPW1972.com)
Spoilers ahead for G1 Climax
‘The Dragon’ Shingo Takagi (0) vs Jeff Cobb (0): 3.75/5 stars
This was a great “hoss fight,” as they like to say
The match started with a strike-off between the two powerful wrestlers. Jeff Cobb won the exchange and started to show his strength.
Cobb had his way with Shingo early, hitting him with a hanging backdrop. However, Shingo quickly returned the favour, taking down Cobb with a standing lariat.
‘The Dragon’ continued to build momentum, but was surprised when his attempts at both a brainbuster and running lariat were thwarted by his opponent. A high IQ play saw Shingo pull Cobb off the ropes for a side suplex.
As the match continued, both men took turns hitting an exploder suplex on the other. This was a fantastic spot.
Shingo wasn’t satisfied and yelled “come on!” at Cobb, which proved to be a bad idea. Cobb delivered a strong punch and Lariat to Shingo.
However, Shingo began to charge back, flying off the ropes for his signature Pumping Bomber. Cobb wouldn’t stay down for the three-count and kicked out
From here Cobb gained control, landing a pair of side suplexes, a powerbomb and a standing moonsault on Shingo. This sequence has become a staple of Cobb’s offense.
However, Shingo would not go away easily.
The former NEVER Openweight Champion was perched upon Cobb’s shoulders, but reversed the move into a DDT. He then delivered a sliding lariat followed by Made In Japan to Cobb, but he kicked out.
The finish of the match came nearly out of nowhere.
Shingo attempted another Pumping Bomber, but Cobb dodged the move, which caused Shingo to hit the ropes. Cobb used Shingo’s reverse momentum to catch him and deliver a suplex.
Shingo then found himself being thrown into the ropes and being caught by Cobb for his finisher, Tour Of The Islands out of nowhere. Cobb had done it, he pinned Shingo for the upset victory and earned his first victory of the G1.
It was a great showing between two of New Japan’s strongest singles stars. If this match had been given more time it’s rating probably would’ve gone up.
While Cobb can soak in this victory, Shingo is now in the midst of a three singles match losing streak. One has to wonder if ‘The Dragon’ has lost his fire.
Kazuchika Okada (0) vs Yujiro Takahashi (0): 2.75 stars
This match was the weakest on an otherwise great card.
It’s fine when matches are slow and methodical, but this contest had too much of it. If you stripped away all of the rest periods and shenanigans on the outside, you’d have a really good match.
Okada and Takahashi's clash was good, but not great.
To his credit, Takahashi has really stepped up his game through two G1 30 matches. In fact, he was in control of this match for so long, it appeared as though he might win.
However, Okada wouldn’t be outdone by the ‘Tokyo Pimp.’ He turned things up just in time in this one, before hitting an abrupt rolling lariat and cinching in the Cobra Clutch for the win.
Taichi (2) vs Minoru Suzuki (2): 4/5 stars
Faction warfare was on display when Minoru Suzuki and Taichi of Suzuki-Gun fought in the third match of the night.
Before the referee could even ring the bell, the two began to brawl. The referee tried very hard, but couldn’t separate the men on two attempts, which caused him to be thrown from the ring.
Suzuki is an opportunist and used this chance to introduce a steel chair into the match. Taichi is no rookie either, he always brought a chair of his own to the ring.
The two men swung the chairs violently at each other, landing a total of zero blows.
However, shortly following this spot, Suzuki would make up for the lack of chair shots by cracking one over Taichi’s back. He then drove Taichi into the barricade.
Suzuki continued his assault on the outside, wedging Taichi’s head through the guardrail and choking him out.
Like we said before, Taichi is no slouch and it was no surprise to see him use his mic stand as a weapon. Then, the ‘Holy Emperor’ choked out Suzuki using a ringside chord.
The match finally came back inside, but Taichi’s pants didn’t. This meant it was time to get serious.
The two exchanged a series of elbows and of course, Suzuki laughed as Taichi’s elbow came crashing into his face. Taichi also laughed in Suzuki's face too.
As the match continued, Taichi reversed Suzuki’s sleeper hold attempt and hit a backdrop. When Suzuki rose to his feet he struck him with a high kick and a Gamengiri.
The match was reaching its end and Suzuki believed he had it won. He locked in a sleeper, then went for a Gotch Style Powerbomb, Taichi reversed the move.
What followed was Taichi delivering his finisher, Black Mephisto, to Suzuki for the win. This victory greatly excited the crowd.
After pinning the current NEVER Openweight Champion, a title shot should await Taichi. If he wins, Two-Belts Taichi will be born.
Will Ospreay (2) vs Tomohiro Ishii (0): 5/5 stars
This was an absolutely incredible match and it has been crowned our first five-star match of G1 30.
Ospreay and Ishii went back and forth in a high-speed war. Ospreay is known to be one of the most agile and quick wrestlers in the world, but Ishii matched him speed-for-speed in this one to a tee.
The match began with Ospreay offering to shake Ishii’s hand, who instead swung for his head. Ladies and gentlemen, we were officially off to the races.
Ishii found himself backed into a corner following a series of stiff strikes. He didn’t take too kindly to Ospreay smacking him in the face so he did what anyone would do, he obliterated Ospreay with a chop.
Once Ospreay got to his feet, he landed an overhead kick on Ishii, then took to the ropes and hit Pip Pip Cheerio, a flying forearm.
The action continued, but without warning started to spill outside. There was an impressive sequence on the apron, which was too fast for the naked eye.
Soon Ospreay would find himself being thrown into the barricade, but he jumped up and hit a ridiculous OsCutter on Ishii. Ospreay retreated to the ring and nearly won by count-out, by Ishii broke the plane at 19 seconds, one second away from a loss.
While Ishii tried to recover and get back to his feet, Ospreay hit him with a top rope dropkick. Ospreay went back up to the top rope, but Ishii launched himself at the ring cables causing him to fall down.
Ishii then picked Ospreay up off the top rope and nailed him with a huge backdrop. When both men got to their feet, it was Ospreay who drilled Ishii with two kicks to the head, but couldn’t connect with another OsCutter.
The ‘Stone Pitbull” delivered another huge strike to Ospreay and launched himself off the ropes. Ishii sprinted towards his opponent, but the lariat attempt was reversed into a Spanish Fly.
It looked as though the match was over as Ospreay hit another OsCuter, but Ishii kicked out just in the nick of time!
The match continued and Ishii delivered a violent headbutt to Ospreay. However, his momentum was short-lived as Ospreay attempted an avalanche OsCutter, but pinned Ishii with a high kick instead.
This match was now moving at 100 miles an hour, but it was Will Ospreay who delivered a sit-out powerbomb to Ishii in an impressive feat of strength. Both men traded a pair of high kicks and Ishii kicked out after a lariat.
The contest neared its end and Ospreay tried to go for the kill by attempting another one of his finishers, Stormbreaker. However, this first attempt was countered by Ishii who popped right back up.
Ospreay had to pull out all the stops to win this one, which is why he unleashed the Hidden Blade, a vicious elbow shot to the top of Ishii’s head, and hit Stormbreaker to end a thrilling match.
The action didn’t end there.
Kota Ibushi (2) vs ‘Switchblade’ Jay White (2): 4.5/5 stars
Jay White and Kota Ibushi had the tough task of following Ishii-Ospreay in the main event of the evening.
The two rivals put on a great match.
White kicked things off by egging on the crowd to cheer, not just clap for Ibushi. However, to their credit, the fans refused to break the new cheering rule.
Instead, they clapped to the beat of I-bu-shi.
Ibushi wasted little time going after White, hitting a mid kick and high crossbody to the outside. However, White was soon able to lure Ibushi into a knee crusher on the apron, the hardest part of the ring and then wrenched his back against the guard rail.
The ‘Golden Star,’ Kota Ibushi made his way back into the ring and hit White with a combination of kicks, then followed it up with a beautiful standing moonsault.
White charged at Ibushi, but was caught with a power slam and a DDT. Both men came crashing to the mat.
The two fighters finally began to get back in it. Whtie drilled Ibushi with a brainbuster, an STO and then suplexed Ibushi right on his neck.
White was in firm control, but his lackadaisical knee shots humoured Ibushi. The Switchblade's lackey Gedo saved him from a deadlift german suplex on the ropes.
The distraction allowed White to hit a leg whip on Ibushi. White tried to go for a Kiwi Crusher, but Ibushi reversed it into a driver.
White continued to attack his opponent's knee, which awoke the beast inside him known as ‘MurderBushi.’
Ibushi stood up and struck White with a fist so hard it sent him flying outside of the ring. He followed this up by nearly taking White’s head off with a lariat.
The two traded half-nelson suplexes and White tried to hit Bladerunner, but Ibushi countered with a high kick.
Gedo nearly threw in the towel towards the end of the match. Ibushi probably would’ve won, if it weren’t for the low blow he received following the distraction.
White locked in a submission hold to weaken Ibushi’s knee, but he fought out. Ibushi began to build momentum.
He delivered a strong running knee to White and a high kick to Gedo. However, just as it appeared Ibushi was going to emerge victorious, Jay White caught him and wasted no time hitting Bladerunner for the win.
Next up: The tounrmanet continues Thursday in Sapporo, Japan with B Block action!