For the first time since King of Pro Wrestling just over a year we return to hallowed halls of Ryogoku Sumo Hall in Tokyo for the final 3 nights of the G1 Climax 30! Night 17 is all about who will represent A Block in the final and, oh boy, is it complicated. Now, there are generally some very straight forward ways this could pan out and, all credit to Chris Charlton, I will try and explain the main possibilities on offer. There are scenarios involving second tiebreakers against lower ranked competitors that could play a factor which mean even the Takagi/Suzuki and Cobb/Takahashi matches that seemingly have no direct implications in the block result may actually play a part after all. I refuse to give myself a migraine and I doubt and hope that New Japan doesn’t go down that road either. At the time of writing even the card order hasn’t been announced yet and this is a guess based on who is most likely to progress to the final but could turn out not to be the case at all.
Yota Tsuji v Gabriel Kidd
At the time of writing night 16 has yet to occur so it’s hard to see exactly how the unofficial C Block will pan out. The simplest way of viewing it though is a win will be crucial for both as things are tight. I know it sounds like a bit of fun but winning this unofficial competition will be a sign of confidence in the Young Lion who wins it. Remember how Karl Fredricks won the Young Lions Cup last year? He’s no longer a Young Lion and with excursion seemingly out of the equation most likely due to Covid-19 I expect to see the Young Lion who wins this move to the main roster in the next 6 months or so.
Shingo Takagi v Minoru Suzuki
Well, this should be a lot of fun! We saw these batter the hell out of each other at Jingu Stadium a couple of months ago when Minoru Suzuki regained the NEVER Openweight Championship from The Dragon. The match was a bruiser and this should be too with neither man having a reverse gear. They’ve both had a mixed bag of a G1 and sit a 6 points which is not disastrous it is certainly not good. 8 points is probably par so both have a lot to fight for.
Jeff Cobb v Yujiro Takahashi
Yujiro is out to avoid becoming the first man since Tomoaki Honma in 2014 to lose every match in a G1 block. He has to get through Jeff Cobb however who has had a strong finish to his tournament including throwing a massive spanner in Will Ospreay’s last time out in Hamamatsu. A win here will send Cobb to 10 points which would be a huge statement by him now he’s a NJPW guy and not just an ROH guy coming over for a tour.
Kazuchika Okada v Will Ospreay
I expected this to be the main event, however, as things stand these are the two with the longest shot at the final. Ospreay especially.
The Rainmaker’s path to the final is simple to explain but highly unlikely. He has to win of course but also requires Ibushi and White to lose their matches due to his defeats to the 2 earlier. If Okada has the same points as Ibushi and White he loses the tiebreaker because of those defeats.
For Ospreay it gets really complicated. He obviously needs to win and have Ibushi and White lose. This would result in a 4 way tie at the top. Due to the way the tiebreakers work, which you need a degree to figure out, Ospreay also needs Yujiro Takahashi to have beaten Jeff Cobb earlier as, in a multiman tiebreaker, results against lower ranked competition would come into effect and Ospreay lost to Cobb last time out. So, one would expect that the Yujiro v Cobb match will go on before Ospreay/Okada so Ospreay could be officially out before he even steps into the ring.
Aside from all the ridiculous maths surrounding the G1 this is an intriguing match anyway. Okada was the man who brought Ospreay into NJPW and Chaos after the 2 had an awesome match in Rev Pro in England a few years ago. Ospreay has since become Chaos’ designated Junior Heavyweight singles ace until he stepped up to Heavyweight full time after losing the Junior title to Hiromu Takahashi at Wrestle Kingdom. Since his return in Osaka at the start of the G1 we’ve seen Will Ospreay adopt a much cockier attitude which has even annoyed Chaos partner Rocky Romero on English commentary. Could we be seeing Okada trying to kick some sense into Ospreay as well as trying to progress to the final?
Kota Ibushi v Taichi
We are in reasonably straightforward territory for Kota Ibushi’s G1 title defence. If he wins and Jay White doesn’t then Ibushi is one step closer to two G1 Climax titles in a row and a shot at redemption at Wrestle Kingdom 15. That’s a big ask though. Taichi will be no pushover and will be desperately wanting to go over .500 with a win to take him to 10 points which would be a considered a massive step forward for the Holy Emperor.
For Ibushi this is his chance to cement a legacy. He won last year and made the final in a losing effort to his god, Hiroshi Tanahashi, in 2018. Three finals in a row would put him up there with the greatest G1 performers of all time. Taichi is a nefarious git though who will take great pleasure in derailing the dreams of the Golden Star.
Tomohiro Ishii v Jay White
The Bullet Club leader has the most straightforward task tonight. Simply put: Jay White beats Tomohiro Ishii under any circumstances then he wins the block. He beat Ibushi and Okada so his tiebreakers beat theirs in a 3 way tie at 14 points if it goes that way. The Stone Pitbull will prove a formidable opponent though. Ishii has had a mixed bag of a tournament this year. He only has 6 points which is below par and will mark a step down for Ishii who is a perennial player in the G1 even if he’s never actually won it or made the final.
The road to victory for Jay White will probably follow a similar path to his win over Minoru Suzuki. Against Suzuki he was dominated trying to fight head on but as soon as he went to Suzuki’s legs he got the advantage, Expect the same here and to see White try and use the TTO at some point as well. Also, remember Gedo. Never forget Gedo.
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