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G1 Climax 30, Night 2 Preview

September 14, 2020
By: Lou Pickney

Here is a preview of the second night of G1 Climax 30, the annual two-block heavyweight round-robin tournament in New Japan Pro-Wrestling. In recent years, the G1 has featured a flurry of ultra high-end matches.

The star ratings are from highly respected journalist Dave Meltzer in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (WON). The number next to it is the cagematch.net (CM) score for the match as of last check before publication.

IMPORTANT: A subscription to the New Japan World streaming service (¥999/month) is required to watch the linked videos.

G1 Climax 30, Night 2 (B Block)
September 20, 2020 — Osaka, Japan

1) Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Tetsuya Naito

Two of the top stars in New Japan Pro-Wrestling from the past decade, Tanahashi and Naito meet once again in opening night of B Block in Osaka. Tanahashi leads the series 7-6-1.

But Naito is 4-0-1 against Tanahashi in the G1. After a time limit draw in the 2010 G1, Naito beat Tanahashi in the 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2017 G1 tournaments. The 2013 match was the tournament final.

Naito is the Double Champion (IWGP Heavyweight & IWGP Intercontinental) and this tournament will likely set up at least one contender to challenge Naito between here and Wrestle Kingdom 15.

This is the first singles match between Tanahashi and Naito in more than three years. Tanahashi winning to set up a championship match seems like a viable possibility.

Previous singles matches, with the winner listed in bold

1. Tanahashi: December 22, 2008 — Tokyo (Korakuen Hall)
New Japan Next ~ Catch the Victory III
WON: N/A & CM: N/A
This match is not currently available on New Japan World

2. Naito: March 20, 2010 — Nagoya, Japan
NJPW The Perfect Generalist
WON: N/A & CM: 6.43
This match is not currently available on New Japan World

3. 30-minute time limit draw: August 8, 2010 — Nagoya, Japan
2010 G1 Climax
WON: N/A & CM: N/A
This match is not currently available on New Japan World

4. Tanahashi: October 11, 2010 — Tokyo (Ryogoku Sumo Hall)
Destruction 2010
WON: N/A & CM: N/A
This match is not currently available on New Japan World

5. Tanahashi: December 12, 2010 — Nagoya, Japan
New Japan Alive 2010
WON: N/A & CM: N/A
This match is not currently available on New Japan World

6. Naito: August 14, 2011 — Tokyo (Ryogoku Sumo Hall)
2011 G1 Climax
WON: N/A & CM: N/A

7. Tanahashi: October 10, 2011 — Tokyo (Ryogoku Sumo Hall)
Destruction 2011
WON: ****1/2 & CM: 8.48

8. Tanahashi: April 5, 2012 — Tokyo (Korakuen Hall)
2012 New Japan Cup, Second Round
WON: ****1/4 & CM: N/A
This match is not currently available on New Japan World

9. Naito: August 11, 2013 — Tokyo (Ryogoku Sumo Hall)
2013 G1 Climax Final
WON: ****1/2 & CM: 8.75

10. Naito: July 26, 2015 — Hiroshima, Japan
2015 G1 Climax
WON: **** & CM: 8.02

11. Tanahashi: October 12, 2015 — Tokyo (Ryogoku Sumo Hall)
King of Pro-Wrestling 2015
WON: ***1/4 & CM: 6.55

12. Naito: January 4, 2017 — Tokyo Dome
Wrestle Kingdom 11
WON: ****1/2 & 9.29

13. Tanahashi: June 11, 2017 — Osaka, Japan
Dominion 6.11
WON: ****1/2 & CM: 9.25

14. Naito: August 11, 2017 — Tokyo (Ryogoku Sumo Hall)
2017 G1 Climax
WON: ***** & CM: 9.40

2) EVIL vs. Zack Sabre Jr.

A somewhat strange pairing out of the gate with former Double Champion EVIL facing ZSJ in the semi-main. They're putting this match above Goto vs. KENTA, and New Japan doesn't do things like that arbitrarily.

Sabre, while also a rudo, has played the prick heel role exceptionally well. It's Dangerous Tekkers (Sabre & Taichi) vs. Golden Ace (Tanahashi & Ibushi) at the on the top of the list for 2020 Feud of the Year on my Observer ballot as it stands now.

But without any prelim matches this year, there's not any in-ring build for EVIL vs. Sabre. This will be their first meeting since EVIL turned on Los Ingobernables de Japon and joined Bullet Club.

EVIL leads the series 2-1, all held within a six-month span 2019. That includes a win over Sabre in last year's G1 Climax 29 tournament.

Previous singles matches

1. EVIL: February 2, 2019 — Sapporo, Japan
New Beginning 2019
WON: **** & CM: 7.38

2. Sabre: March 10, 2019 — Amagasaki, Hyogo, Japan
2019 New Japan Cup, First Round
WON: ***3/4 & CM: 7.44

3. EVIL: July 27, 2019 — Nagoya, Aichi, Japan
2019 G1 Climax
WON: ***3/4 & CM: 7.01

3) Hirooki Goto vs. KENTA

In one of New Japan's best storylines of 2019, KENTA turning on Katsuyori Shibata and friends led to grudge matches with Tomohiro Ishii and Yoshi-Hashi on the way to a Wrestle Kingdom 15 showdown with Goto.

They slow-built it and the match delivered, a great match that saw Goto recapture the NEVER Openweight Championship.

This will be the first match for KENTA in Japan since before the start of the pandemic.

Previous singles match

1. Goto: January 5, 2020 — Tokyo Dome
Wrestle Kingdom 14
WON: ****1/4 & CM: 7.82

4) Sanada vs. Toru Yano

In three previous singles matches, including a pair of G1 matches, Sanada has won every time and no match has gone longer than 5:22. Both of Sanada's G1 victories over Yano happened by way of countout.

Previous singles matches

1. Sanada: July 27, 2017 — Nagaoka, Niigata, Japan
2017 G1 Climax

2. Sanada: March 15, 2018 — Tokyo (Korakuen Hall)
2018 New Japan Cup, Second Round

3. Sanada: August 4, 2018 — Osaka, Japan
2019 G1 Climax

5) Juice Robinson vs. Yoshi-Hashi

This will be their first-ever meeting in a singles match, though they've been involved in more than 40 tag matches. Mostly on opposite sides.

I hope Juice can regain the mojo he had the night of the NJPW Cow Palace show in 2018.

Juice is returning from injury, while Yoshi-Hashi has been busy with the split-squad shows. It seemed to really mean something to Yoshi to have a championship belt (NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Title) to wear to ringside for his G1 matches.


G1 Climax 30, Night 1 Preview
G1 Climax 30, Night 2 Preview
G1 Climax 30, Night 3 Preview
G1 Climax 30, Night 4 Preview
G1 Climax 30, Night 5 Preview
G1 Climax 30, Night 6 Preview
G1 Climax 30, Night 7 Preview
G1 Climax 30, Night 8 Preview

See any mistakes, omissions, or needed corrections? Please let me know: @LouPickney

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