Photography via New Japan Pro-Wrestling
The battle of Los Ingobernables de Japon headlined the eighth night of G1 Climax 30. SANADA, in a milestone moment, beat Tetsuya Naito on Thursday in the Niigata Perfecture at City Hall Plaza Ao-re Nagaoka.
SANADA scored his first win in the round robin tournament with a victory over his leader. The double champion, and head of LIJ, fell to his rising stablemate in the main event. They still came together for a fist bump in a show of respect after the match, but the champion possibly has a new challenger for the future.
Another faction had problems of its own tonight: The semi-main event featured a clash between Bullet Club members EVIL and KENTA. EVIL (with Dick Togo) used underhanded tactics to steal the win, and tension emerged among the Bullet Club ranks.
YOSHI-HASHI’s renaissance continued in a spectacular encounter against Hiroshi Tanahashi. Although he was unable to beat “The Ace,” YOSHI-HASHI continued his run of hard-working performances during G1.
Zack Sabre Jr. surprised a winged Hirooki Goto in another tournament match. Sabre preyed on a bandaged arm, and he went on to capture Goto in European Clutch for the pin.
Toru Yano’s winning streak came to end when Juice Robinson defeated him in a comedy match. Yano suffered his first loss in the tournament this year, but he remains at the top of B Block in a three-way tie alongside Robinson and Naito.
The show itself opened with two Young Lions going Broadway (time-limit draw) in the opener on a card headlined by clashes within factions.
The Battle of Los Ingobernables de Japon
Not only did the a faction member defeat the group’s top star, SANADA scored a clean pinfall in a non-title match over the holder of both the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental titles. Theoretically, that sets up SANADA challenging Naito for the double championship at a later date.
SANADA also snapped a three-match losing streak to earn his first points in the tournament standings. Though his record for now keeps him at the bottom of B Block, SANADA did score a monumental win. Naito in losing sees his winning streak came to an end, but he still remains in a top spot among B Block.
The match began with grappling, but they were soon brawling. Naito targeted a shoulder, and SANADA fought back to rally. Naito regained control before a series of great sequences. SANADA came back with a Tiger Suplex, but Naito cut him off again.
They traded many near falls including Naito doing a top rope Frankensteiner. Naito broke out an Esperanza, and went for a Destino. SANADA countered Destino to deliver a Diamond Cutter. The led into a striking exchange, then SANADA moonsaulted into an application of a Dragon Sleeper. Still applying the hold, SANADA lifted Naito off the ground into a giant swing. From there SANADA dropped into Skull End.
Breaking the hold to go for a moonsault proved to be a mistake, as SANADA splatted on the mat instead. Naito delivered Destino for a near fall, but SANADA countered a second attempt. Naito escaped another Dragon Sleeper, only for SANADA to give him Naito’s own finisher with a Destino. SANADA followed with a pair of moonsaults, and he covered Naito for the deciding pinfall.
Showing all is well in the faction, they fist bumped after the match. SANADA then had the ring to himself as the arena lights went dark. The spotlight shined on SANADA. Lights shining from the crowd illuminated the building, setting the mood for an emotional post-match speech in a hero’s sendoff.
SANADA snapping his losing streaks gives him a 1–3 record, and earns him two points. Naito with his first loss moves to a 3–1 record with six points so far in the tournament.
The Bullet Club Showdown
EVIL defeated KENTA for a tainted victory over a fellow Bullet Club member. Although all part of the same faction, division changed the odds. KENTA was outnumbered with Dick Togo in the corner of EVIL. They plotted against KENTA to steal a victory from someone that should otherwise be an ally.
Before the match began, the division was clear when KENTA was left out of a “too sweet” hand gesture between EVIL and Togo. KENTA had his own game plan doing a Larry Zbyszko stalk early on. He tried to whisper in Togo’s ear, but Togo dismissed him. KENTA was clearly on his own in this match.
Togo went on to interfere by tripping KENTA. That allowed EVIL to use a chair on an injured shoulder. KENTA eventually fired up, and the match intensified down the stretch. EVIL with an ax bomber got a two count. KENTA came back to rock him with strikes. Togo botched some interference when he jumped into the ring.
KENTA had Togo in a fireman’s carry when EVIL sneaked up behind him for a low blow, because every NJPW card lately has at least one low blow. The Everything is Evil finisher put away KENTA, and EVIL covered him for a tainted three count.
The outcome ties EVIL and KENTA at an even 2-2 record, with each having four points.
Phenomenal Match Between “Ace” & YOSHI-HASHI
Hiroshi Tanahashi and YOSHI-HASHI proverbially tore down the house in an outstanding bout. “The Ace” proved he will not be written off yet, and YOSHI-HASHI continues to prove wrong those that tried to already write him off.
The match ended with a High Flow Fly and a three count. Though YOSHI-HASHI dropped the fall, he earned yet another moral victory of sorts. YOSHI-HASHI was able to ground Tanahashi in an early portion of the match. Tanahashi kept fighting back as they went on to trade near falls. Two counts got closer and closer to a three.
YOSHI-HASHI with several close near falls before Tanahashi countered him with a Twist and Shout, and he went to work a leg in setting up for a cloverleaf. Countered by YOSHI-HASHI, the hold gave way to them trading cradles. YOSHI-HASHI in the closing minutes came a heartbeat from winning with a great near fall.
Tanahashi rallied in the closing moments. He landed a flying crossbody, and he followed with High Fly Flow. Tanahashi then covered YOSHI-HASHI to score a pinfall, concluding a tremendous match.
Evening his record with the win, Tanahashi moves to 2–2 and four points. YOSHI-HASHI now has a 1–3 record with two points.
ZSJ Scores Surprise Pin
Hirooki Goto fought hard against Zack Sabre Jr., but Goto went into the match with an injured arm. Sabre aggressively went after the heavily taped arm and shoulder, until Sabre had Goto caught in an octopus stretch. Still selling the arm, Goto still escaped Sabre’s clutches — but not for long.
Goto was able to execute an ushigoroshi after Sabre blocked an earlier attempt. “The Fierce Warrior” went for a finisher, but Sabre out of nowhere held down Goto in a bridging cradle to score a three count.
Sabre improves to an even 2-2 record, giving him a total of four points so far. Goto falls to a 1-3 record with only two points.
“The Flamboyant” End To Yano’s Streak
Juice Robinson defeated Toru Yano to end the winning streak of Yano. A lot of gaga culminated in Robinson pinning Yano in a comedy match. Robinson had to outlast a bunch of tricks by Yano.
Yano offered Robinson a free t-shirt in an attempt to trick him into letting his guard down. Moments later, they threw what was supposed to be disinfectant in each other’s faces. Yano lured Robinson outside the ring, where Yano hog tied him with tape.
Trying to beat the count, Robinson had to hop towards the ring like he was in a one-man sack race. Robinson was finally able to untie himself. He went on to block an attempted low blow from Yano, and he cradled him for a pinfall.
Yano and Robinson are now tied, each with a 3–1 record, and six points apiece.
Young Lions Go the Time Limit
Yota Tsuji and Gabriel Kidd wrestled to a 15-minute time limit draw in a fantastic opener. The Young Lions were given the time to have quite possibly their best opener yet in terms of psychology.
The heated non-tournament match ended when time expired, but Tsuji and Kidd kept fighting after the bell before they both collapsed to the mat having went the distance.
The tournament continues with A Block matches on Monday from the Kagawa Prefecture in Takamatsu at the city gymnasium. G1 then moves to Hiroshima for two back-to-back nights on Tuesday and Wednesday.
G1 Standings After Night Eight:
- Jay White – 6 points (3-1 record)
- Will Ospreay – 6 pts. (3-1)
- Taichi – 6 pts. (3-1)
- Kota Ibushi – 6 pts. (3-1)
- Minoru Suzuki – 6 pts. (3-1)
- Kazuchika Okada – 4 pts. (2-2)
- Shingo Takagi – 2 pts. (1-3)
- Tomohiro Ishii – 2 pts. (1-3)
- Jeff Cobb – 2 pts. (1-3)
- Yujiro Takahashi – 0 pts. (0-4)
- Tetsuya Naito – 6 pts. (3-1)
- Juice Robinson – 6 pts. (3-1)
- Toru Yano – 6 pts. (3-1)
- Zack Sabre Jr. – 4 pts. (2-2)
- EVIL – 4 pts. (2-2)
- KENTA – 4 pts. (2-2)
- Hiroshi Tanahashi – 4 pts. (2-2)
- Hirooki Goto – 2 pts. (1-3)
- YOSHI-HASHI – 2 pts. (1-3)
- SANADA – 2 pts. (1-3)
Night Eight Results:
- SANADA defeated Tetsuya Naito
- EVIL defeated KENTA
- Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated YOSHI-HASHI
- Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Hirooki Goto
- Juice Robinson defeated Toru Yano
- Yota Tsuji vs. Gabriel Kidd went to a 15-minute time limit draw (non-tournament)
Next show: Monday in Kagawa at Takamatsu City General Gymnasium starting at 3:00 AM PDT/6:00 AM EDT/11:00 AM BST
October 5th Lineup:
- Kota Ibushi vs. Will Ospreay
- Tomoshiro Ishii vs. Taichi
- Kazuchika Okada vs. Minoru Suzuki
- Jeff Cobb vs. Jay White
- Shingo Takagi vs. Yujiro Takahashi
- Yuya Uemura vs. Gabriel Kidd (non-tournament)