It’s back to reality for those of us unfortunate enough to have to work for a living and not just pass the time watching pro-wrestling all day. Today’s tournament matches will feature the A Block with the undercard built out with the B Block as G1 Climax 28 Day Three rolls on. Things in the Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center kick off with Guerrillas of Destiny taking on Shota Umino and Toa Henare. GoD picks up the win in mostly dominant fashion, though the young lions did show some fire before being snuffed out. I’m really enjoying watching Shota grow so far and am looking forward to his breakout from the group providing it’s for something a little more refined than The Great-O-Kharn. Also, is it just me or whenever you see Tama Tonga do you imagine how much better WWE would be with him in the Roman Reigns spot and Roman doing… literally anything else?
Next up we’ve got Suzuki-gun represented by TAKA and Zack Sabre Jr. facing off with Chaos’ Toru Yano and Jado. Enough good things can’t be said about TAKA’s “Come Over Here” t-shirt, really. I’m picking YTR as one to watch this tour – his run-up to the G1 included him promising to not cheat (though that self-imposed rule has already been broken) but his first match against Ishii was pretty damn great and showed off a more serious in-ring style from him which I’m hoping to see more of. I didn’t think there could be a more dramatic Flair Flop than the original but the Jado Flop turns the ridiculous up a few notches. YTR chain-wrestles a bit here with ZSJ before grabbing a sneaky pin on TAKA while Jado holds Sabre back. I’ve said it before, but I’m wildly excited for YTR and ZSJ to lock it up on Thursday and this helps build that excitement.
Kota Ibushi and Yujiro pair up to face Juice Robinson and David Finlay in the third match of the night. For me, it’s still odd seeing Kota standing alongside Bullet Club guys in these tag matches. Kenny and even The Bucks I could see, but teaming with Yujiro feels so out of sync with the Golden Star. Nonetheless, this is another adventure in the foibles of Kota – whether it’s getting lost in unfamiliar cities because you can’t remember the name of your hotel, botching your connecting flight, or trying to secure the pinfall on Finlay while not being the legal man it’s just one more reason to love this beautiful doofus. I can’t say that I’ve ever seen Yujiro and been excited for a match of his, but I think he could really turn things around for a lot of people if he’d just have Kota come out wearing one of those bunny head pieces his valets tend to wear. In any event, Juice and Finlay get the win with Pulp Friction on Yujiro while Finlay holds Kota at bay on the outside. Juice and Kota will vie for more tournament points on the 19th in what should be a super fun match. The two have words after the match here but appear to keep it friendly.
LIJ and Chaos are at it again here and, pro-tip, our 6-month old foster Greyhound is not a fan of the opening Ishii’s entrance music. If we’re just judging on body type, if Ishii is the Stone Pitbull does that make ZSJ the Stone Greyhound? Naito is fresh off a hard-fought loss to Kenny Omega the night before suffering multiple spine-tingling piledrivers before being put to rest with the One Winged Angel. None of that seems to be phasing him here, though. Tranquilo and all that. Sho had a nearfall on SANADA before almost putting him away with a Last Ride powerbomb but he fell victim to the Skull End as he passed out in the center of the ring. Naito and Ishii have a date on the 19th with Naito looking to match points with Ishii.
The IWGP Heavyweight Champion and the NEVER Openweight Champion lead teams in the final pre-tournament match of the night as Kenny Omega and Chase Owens face Hirooki Goto and RPG3k’s YOH. Omega is doing some prime heeling so far on this tour despite being painted as the babyface to end all babyfaces leading up to Dominion. I guess once you’ve to the championship and the power of love your true self can come to the light. Goto calls Omega into the ring to start things off and the two champions nearly kick things off before Owens slides into the ring and jumps Goto to start the action. Despite a strong showing early on and coming back from a miscommunication that saw Owens knock Omega out of the ring with a kick, Goto puts Owens away with the GTR.
Onto the tournament matches! Tonight is headlined by Jay White and Hiroshi Tanahashi who had sharp words for one another (with comments from David Finlay for good measure) after the events of the July 15th show.
Hangman Page and Big Dumb Mike Elgin start us off for the evening with Page looking to get on the board with an earned victory after having taken points in a DQ win against Bad Luck Fale on day one of the G1. Unfortunately for everybody, Elgin comes out on top with his patented Big Dumb Sitout Powerbomb for the victory. Page held his own here a bit and matched power for a moment as he hurled Elgin around with a series of suplexes but it was the combination of speed, power, agility, and bad takes on sexual assault that led Elgin to his second pinfall victory of the tournament.
YOSHI-HASHI and EVIL are next up and I think YOSHI might be in contention for the longest and least exciting entrance award. And he doesn’t even have his weird green curtain rod with him! Did he take so long getting to the ring because he couldn’t find it? Has he decided he doesn’t need to bring his interior decorating flare with him to work anymore? Who is going to answer these hard questions?! YOSHI’s hair is on-point here looking like an early 2000’s mother chaperoning a high school dance. All joking a salad, this might be the most fire I’ve ever seen in a YOSHI match and maybe even the first time I’ve seen him make an actual facial expression. There was a scary-looking spot where YOSHI brought EVIL up for a powerbomb in the corner and the momentum toppled both over the top rope and to the floor. It could have been a lot worse but both men survived to get back in the ring and see YOSHI successfully deliver the move. YOSHI scored a number of near falls as the match began to wind down but succumbed to EVIL hitting the EVIL STO for the win. POINTS FOR MY SPOOKY BOY~
Togi Makabe and Minoru Suzuki had exactly the type of match you would have expected. They hit each other hard, they hit each other loudly, and things devolved into a brawl into the crowd with the referee being shoved down multiple times. With the referee down Suzuki was able to take advantage and hit Makabe with a chair in the ring but Makabe refused to stay down. Suzuki would rock him with a number of hard forearm shots sending Makabe to the canvas with a possible knockout looming. Still, Makabe rose to his feet and battled back against The King. After failing to connect with the Gotch-Style Piledriver, Suzuki found himself on the receiving end of a Death Valley Driver before feeling the brunt of the Spider German Suplex and two successive King Kong Knee Drops – one connecting on Suzuki standing in the ring. That was all it took to get the three and for Makabe to walk away with four points while Suzuki sits at zero and continues to bust my bracket.
Okada and Bad Luck Fale began to follow a similar route as Makabe/Suzuki before it with Fale chasing the ring announcer away in order to grab a chair from ringside. As he attempted to enter the ring with it the referee stopped him in his tracks and the distraction allowed Tanga Loa to bodyslam The Rainmaker on the arena floor. From here, Fale took advantage hurling Okada into the barricade before taking out the first several rows of seats in the audience by tossing the former IWGP Heavyweight Champion into the chairs. Okada made it back into the ring before the twenty count and would go on to have a solidly even fight with Fale until the numbers became too much for him. Attempting to hit the Rainmaker clothesline on Fale, The Underboss broke free and was dropkicked into Red Shoes obscuring the official’s view allowing Tama Tonga to slide into the ring and lay Okada out with the Gun Stun. It as academic from here as Fale planted Okada with the Bad Luck Fall before picking up his first win of the tournament.
The main event would see Jay White attempt to carve his way through A Block taking on the Ace of New Japan Hiroshi Tanahashi. The match would begin as a feeling-out process with each man trading the advantage back and forth until White would catch Tana on the second rope with a chop block. Minoru Suzuki started the tournament off by annihilating Tana’s leg and I was wondering if it would come into play elsewhere in the tournament. This is where Switchblade would get his first advantage and begin dismantling the right leg of Tanahashi. After collapsing into the corner escaping a slam and landing on his bad leg, Tanahashi would fight back with strikes before capturing White’s leg and bringing him to the mat with a dragon screw leg whip in attempt to even the odds.
Ending up on the arena floor, White should shift his focus to Tana’s neck and back as he planted his opponent on the floor with a backdrop driver before repeatedly running him back-first into the barricade. After bringing a chair into the ring and failing to use it, White would find himself on the receiving end of a Slingblade before Tana would raise the chair himself. After a hesitation, Tanahashi decided against using the weapon opening him up to a low blow while the referee’s back was turned. After White would shove the referee down, though, Tana would once again play copycat with a low blow of his own.
White would once more use the referee to benefit his offense, though, as he pulled Red Shoes into the corner as Tanahashi setup for High Fly Flow. With the referee down once more, White finally connected with the steel chair before the Blade Runner would secure the three count. Jay White succeeds once more in using underhanded tactics to bring two more points to Chaos–excuse me, to his Chaos. Post-match, White cut another scathing promo running down the crowd, New Japan, Tanahashi, and Okada before departing.
With the second night in the books, let’s take a look at the A Block points so far:
Jay White: 4
Togi Makabe: 4
Michael Elgin: 4
Hiroshi Tanahashi: 2
Bad Luck Fale: 2
Hangman Page: 2
Kazuchika Okada: 0
Minoru Suzuki: 0