Kazuchika Okada and Kota Ibushi are two of the most talented wrestlers in the world today and they proved that once again with their opening match at this year’s G1 Climax tournament.
Before they even locked up the crowd was cheering both men on. Okada and Ibushi were very tentative at the start with neither man willing to make that first mistake. Headlocks and escapes were the order of the day until a hurricanrana sent Okada out of the ring. As Ibushi prepared to moonsault off the apron, Okada caught him and slammed his face into said apron then slung him into the ringside barrier. A DDT on the floor had Red Shoes checking on a stunned Ibushi.
Ibushi got back to his feet and into the ring. He and Okada exchanged forearm shots until Okada rearranged Ibushi’s spine with a neckbreaker. Ibushi fought back with a drop kick to the gut knocking the wind out of Okada.
Quick strikes ended in a kick doubling Okada over. A well-placed knee strike to the gut prevented Okada from putting Ibushi out with a Cobra Clutch. Okada finally locks it in but Ibushi reaches the ropes. Okada doesn’t break when he should. Ibushi avoids a Tombstone Piledriver on the floor to crush Okada with an Asai Moonsault.
Okada goes for a Tombstone Piledriver from the second rope. Ibushi escapes by falling to the apron, leaping onto the top rope and sending Okada to the mat with another hurricanrana. Okada gets his TombStone Piledriver moments later but is too worn out to capitalize on the move.
Ibushi takes two drop kicks from Okada only to respond with a running knee strike and a Kamigoye for the pin. The crowd actually gasps in surprise when Red Shoes slaps the canvass three times in Ibushi’s favour.
In another highlight of a great G1 opener, Will Ospreay was visibly thrilled to be back in a NJPW wrestling ring smiling ear to ear as he made his way to the ring in his new ring gear. Fans showed their appreciation by cheering for him when his entrance music ended. The ovation almost brought Ospreay to tears. It was a fantastic moment to take in. Ospreay has been absent from NJPW since its return a few months ago.
The merriment was short-lived though as Takahashi threw Ospreay into the ringside barrier and reverse DDTed him on the concrete floor. Later on in the match Ospreay foiled Pimp Juice with a roll-up pinning him with Storm Breaker a few seconds later.
“I’m home!” declared on the house microphone.
“I must say it is wonderful to see you all again. I have missed you and I am not going to lie. Just before I came out I was scared. I was nervous. Then, I happened to look in the mirror and said…There is no reason to be nervous because I am Will Ospreay. I am the best wrestler in the world right now. New Japan has been good during the pandemic era; however, it is so much better now that Will Ospreay is back. This G1 is about being The One. You are looking at him,” said a confident Ospreay blowing kisses to the fans.
The winner of the G1 Climax tournament is rewarded with a contact for an IWGP Heavyweight Championship match at the Wrestle Kingdom Tokyo Dome show on January 4th. Often the winner has been forced to, made to or opts to put that contact on the line before Wrestle Kingdom.
G1 CLIMAX 30 Standings
G1 CLIMAX 30 Night One Results
Yota Tsuji vs Yuya Uemura
Winner: Uemura. Uemura forces Tsuji to submit to his Boston Crab.
Will Ospreay versus Yujiro Takahashi – G1 CLIMAX 30 – A BLOCK TOURNAMENT MATCH
Winner: Will Ospreay
Jeff Cobb versus Taichi – G1 CLIMAX 30 – A BLOCK TOURNAMENT MATCH
Taichi uses the bell hammer to hit Cobb in the ribs and knee. Taichi blocks the Tour of the Islands to pin Cobb with Black Mephisto.
Tomohiro Ishii versus Minoru Suzuki – G1 CLIMAX 30 – A BLOCK TOURNAMENT MATCH
The two tough as nails brawlers beat the stuffing out of each other. Suzuki rolls out of the Brain Buster pinning Ishii with the Gotch Style Piledriver.
Winner: Minoru Suzuki
Shingo Takagi versus Jay White – G1 CLIMAX 30 – A BLOCK TOURNAMENT MATCH
Jay White has missed everyone so much he even pats a Young Lion on the chest. “Everyone has been waiting for six months to see this,” says White to Red Shoes as he Too Sweets Gedo. The fans cheer. “It is not G1! It is J1! This is my tournament!” White claims. White clutches onto, distracts Red Shoes so that Gedo can interfere. Shingo just lays Gedo out with a couple of shots. A Pumping Bomber scrambles White’s brain cells. Shingo hits Last of the Dragon but in picking White up, White’s legs clip Red Shoes. Red Shows rolls out of the ring and is unable to make the count. White gets the win with a low blow and Blade Runner.
Winner: Jay White
Kazuchika Okada versus Kota Ibushi – G1 CLIMAX 30 – A BLOCK TOURNAMENT MATCH
Winner: Kota Ibushi
G1 CLIMAX 30 Night One
A solid kick off to this year’s tournament. Not a mediocre or bad match on the card.