It’s back! It’s finally back! I know it’s only been three days since the last G1 show but, really… has it really only been three days? It feels like forever since I’ve last climaxed and I’m happy to be back to normal for another few days. Day Eight is a B Block show with some damn intriguing tournament matches – most notably, for me, Ibushi/Sanada and Ishii/Sabre. I’m excited to see how Toru Yano fares after a big win over Ibushi and whether or not Goto simply hits him so hard that he evaporates. For now, let’s kick off the C Block with our undercard matches on G1 Climax 28 Day Eight!
Minoru Suzuki & El Desperado vs Mike Elgin & Ren Narita
We’re starting off with my absolute favorite A Block team with this Suzuki-Gun pairing. I’m looking forward to this being a nice preview of when MiSu pounds Elgin into dust on tomorrow’s show. The match starts off with standard Suzuki-Gun flare before coming back into the ring where Despy and Suzuki pummel Narita until Elgin barrels into the ring for a save. Elgin is able to take control with power and agility as he brings both Suzuki and Despy down with shoulder blocks, suplexes, and dropkicks. Stupidly (of course, because it’s Elgin) the big dumb baby decides to lay in some forearms to the jaw of The King before mocking him. He finds himself being choked out for his troubles. Elgin is able to avoid the Gotch-style piledriver and after some back-and-forth both men tag out to their partners. While Suzuki ties Elgin up on the outside, Despy locks Narita in a Boston Crab which looks like it could spell the end for the Young Lion but he’s able to make it to the ropes for a break. After escaping a couple of near-fall attempts, El Desperado puts Narita away with Pinche Loco. Post-match Suzuki and Elgin scuffle before everybody parts ways.
EVIL & BUSHI vs Hangman Page & Chase Owens
I love these two Bullet Club fellas but I don’t know I love ’em more than my Spooky Boys~. Page and EVIL start off here with the two going move for move and winding up in a stalemate. Chase tags himself in, to the dismay of Page, prompting EVIL to make the tag to BUSHI. Bullet Club find themselves with the upper-hand on BUSHI until Chase is caught with an enziguiri. EVIL gets the tag and intercepts an interfering Page to drop him onto Chase with a front layout suplex. He puts the punctuation on the statement with a senton backsplash onto Page (onto Chase). Near the end, Page takes BUSHI out with his flipping clothesline from the outside in to leave EVIL and Chase in the ring. Chase looks to put things away with a package piledriver which goes awry when he loses his grip on EVIL. The two recover and Chase looks to clothesline EVIL to end things but gets caught with the EVIL STO for the win. I’m looking forward to see where Page goes in the rest of the tournament as well as once the tournament is complete. Can Tanahashi make good on his promise to save him from Bullet Club? I’m hoping that turns into something solid after the G1 is all said and done because they had a stellar match on Day 7 and I’d love to see it again.
Jay White & YOH vs Bad Luck Fale & Tanga Loa
It’s time to breathe with the Switchblade and see if YOH has learned to do the same! White is in recovery mode after being put away by Suzuki on Day 7 in what was much too short of a match. Jay spends a few minutes avoiding Fale as this match gets started but his confidence grows as Tanga Loa tags himself in. Switchblade hightails it once more, though, and tags YOH in to tangle with Loa. Fale and White disappear into the crowd to leave Loa and YOH in the ring for the majority of this one. Loa catches YOH in a powerslam for a pin broken up by White. As White is pursued by Fale on the outside and cheeses it up the ramp, Loa is able to hit YOH with Apeshit while the former US Champion backs his way up the ramp all the while yelling at YOH to get to his feet and join him. Once again White departs leaving YOH to be carried to the back on the shoulders of young boys.
Hiroshi Tanahashi & David Finlay vs Togi Makabe & Toa Henare
I’m sorry, I got lost in Tana’s beautiful hair for a while here. Finlay looks to rally against Toa near the end here but makes the grave mistake of headbutting him which causes more damage to himself than to Toa. He’s able to recover by catching Toa with a clothesline as he rebounds from the ropes before laying him out with Prima Nocta for the three. The Ace of New Japan spreads some love after the match by playing with a ringside fan’s Tanahashi teddy bear before grabbing a couple fans’ Tanahashi towels, toweling himself off with them, and tossing them back for some stinky souvenirs.
Kazuchika Okada & Gedo vs YOSHI-HASHI & SHO
SHO looks about as pleased to be partners with YOSHI as literally anyone on the planet is to watch a YOSHI match. The Prime Minister of Balloons is out in full effect with his weird-ass yellow dong balloons which he lets go to fly into the sky. He presents a delighted Rocky Romero with a balloon at the commentary table before turning right back around and hitting him in the face with a couple others. Okada stands on the second rope and truly looks dead inside. The Rainmaker takes his shirt off and throws it in the face of YOSHI who walks toward him looking like the least-intimidating sleepy dude ever. YOSHI, thanks to Okada, takes a crazy looking bump into the railing where he seemingly floats in mid-air before crashing down to the arena floor. Okada, his appetite for destruction not yet sated, pops a balloon for good measure. In the end it’s SHO doing the legwork and picking up the pin on Gedo following the Shock Arrow.
Hirooki Goto vs Toru Yano
After a friendly handshake YTR removes the turnbuckle pad and hits Goto with it before finding himself whipped into the exposed steel himself. After dodging Goto in the corner Yano uses his t-shirt to tie Goto up and nearly steal a quick three! After another unsuccessful pin attempt by Yano, Goto is able to slow things down to his own liking and take over. This one is fast and just doesn’t stop! Yano goes for a low blow but gets caught by Goto and then hammered with a series of headbutts before Goto lifts him for the Ushigoroshi followed by the GTR. Maybe the quickest match of the G1? Goto made this one quick out of necessity as YTR’s ability to catch sneaky and surprising pins is always a threat.
Tetsuya Naito vs Tama Tonga
Naito takes about a hundred hours to disrobe here while Tama Tonga perks that one eyebrow up and probably thinks about the tweets he can fire off at Roman Reigns after the show. After some discussion with Naito and the referee, Tama sends Tanga Loa to the back and I’m sure he won’t return!
Tama jumps Naito before the bell and, as the bell sounds, waves Loa back to the ring. He immediately makes his presence known tripping Naito as he prepared to dive onto Tonga on the outside. After sending both men into the railing, Naito rolls into the ring and fakes out a dive into a pose most tranquilo. Tama does what no other man has done in this tournament so far and counters the leg-trip into the springboard dropkick in the corner from Naito! I’ve been waiting for someone to block or counter it and thought for sure it would have been Ishii in their match from Day 4. Naito is able to have his way with Tama for a good chunk of the match until being caught with the Gun Stun onto the top rope off of an attempted springboard. Loa sinks his teeth in yet again and powerbombs Naito on the entrance ramp before rolling him back into the ring. Tama is only able to get two here and as he attempts to follow up with a Gun Stun in the ring, Naito counters into a German Suplex to begin building momentum. Unfortunately as Naito attempts Destino Tama hurls him into the referee. This brings Loa into the ring to attack Naito before EVIL makes the save. Fale shows up and disposes of EVIL before BUSHI hits the ring and mists the Underboss to take him out of the equation. Naito fights back with another Destino attempt but is caught with a low blow by the Bad Boy. After another failed Gun Stun attempt Tama is pushed into the ropes and rebounds to find himself the victim of a low blow as well. Finally, Naito connects with Destino to earn another two points. Depending on how Omega/Juice shakes out later tonight, Naito could find himself tied for the lead!
Tomohiro Ishii vs Zack Sabre Jr
The first big strike of the match comes from ZSJ which only seems to anger Ishii. There are a number of guys on the NJPW roster who you just don’t want to strike first against and the Stone Pitbull is one of them. Ishii shows his grappling chops going hold for hold with ZSJ until the two reach a stalemate. Back on their feet, ZSJ repeatedly pie-faces Ishii eliciting a series of chops threatening to cave in his sternum. ZSJ is able to catch the arm of Ishii on one of the chop attempts and does what he does best – takes Ishii to the mat and begins to wreak havoc on his arm (and every other part of his body for that matter). When Sabre isn’t able to use his mat technique to keep Ishii at bay he does so with his speed… until he doesn’t. Ishii floors him with a shoulder block as he rebounds out of the corner and begins to lay in some more strikes in an attempt to slow things down to his own desired pace. Ishii’s attempt at a Last Ride powerbomb is foiled by Sabre who attempts to roll Ishii up. Ishii is none the wiser, however, and catches Sabre in an ankle lock. Sabre is able to twist around in the hold but only gets a reprieve when he reaches the bottom rope. After a brutal kick/knee to the face from Sabre as Ishii comes off of the ropes both men find themselves down and looking for a second wind.
After a brief back-and-forth Sabre is able to pretzel Ishii on the mat looking for a tap-out victory until Ishii is able to stretch his legs out and find his foot on the bottom rope. Ishii fights back once more and brings Sabre to the mat with a vicious clothesline before first missing, and then connecting, with the diving lariat to a seated ZSJ. Sabre counters Ishii’s momentum twice with two of his patented roll-ups but only gets a two. Ishii attempts the brainbuster and ZSJ the Michinoku Driver and both are unsuccessful; they wind up on the mat once more where Sabre catches Ishii in an armbar eventually tapping him out for two more Suzuki-Gun points.
Kenny Omega vs Juice Robinson
Can Juice finally get on the board here? So far the IWGP US Champion has been completely pointless and it’s a tough hill to climb finding your first points against the IWGP Heavyweight Champion. Juice demonstrates his still-injured hand before the match and, in the opening moments, Omega has a chance to inflict direct punishment but decides against it. Could this be the first match in the tournament where someone isn’t relentlessly tearing apart Juice’s left hand?! The fight inevitably heads to the floor where Omega attempts a moonsault off of the guard rail. Juice stops him before he can make the leap and follows up with a suplex on the floor. Back inside Juice stays on top while firing away punches and chops, the latter of which bust Kenny’s chest open. Juice misses his first attempt at the cannonball in the corner, but after blocking Kenny’s springboard moonsault with his knees he’s able to hit it on his second try. Kenny reverses and breaks out of Pulp Friction but Juice catches him from behind with a German suplex. Kenny blocks the impact here and hits two V-Trigger knees – one to Juice’s left hand as he attempt to block the strike, and a second directly into Juice’s face. After a snap dragon suplex The Best Bout Machine finds himself in control.
Omega finally begins to target the left hand, or at least the left arm, of Juice on the mat with a Fujiwara armbar. The two trade suplexes in the ring once more and after having his arm kicked away once, Juice is able to connect with a clothesline to bring Omega down to the canvas once more. Juice builds to an attempted Pulp Friction but Omega has enough left in him to remain standing and let Juice crash to the mat. Omega connects with a V-Trigger to the back of the head in response before another one on Juice against the ropes. Omega lifts Juice for the One-Winged Angel, but Juice once more slips out of Omega’s grasp and rolls him up for a close two-count! Omega is up quickly and hits yet another V-Trigger before connecting with the OWA for the final pin.
Juice walks away still with zero points on the board, but post-match Omega brings him his US Title and helps him to his feet. Omega is now leading B Block with 8 points. Can SANADA keep him from breaking double digits on the 28th?
Kota Ibushi vs SANADA
These two find themselves evenly matched in the opening minutes as each counters or avoids one another’s moves until they both go for standing dropkicks in unison. They back off to opposite corners as the crowd shows their appreciation and Ibushi looks a little befuddled, either in response to the game of mirror he just played with SANADA or to the crowd chanting for his opponent heavily tonight. As the action spills to the outside Ibushi looks for the Golden Triangle moonsault which SANADA is able to avoid. He pops up to the apron himself for a moonsault, catching Ibushi in an inverted facelock before dragging him up the ramp. SANADA lets go of Ibushi and backs up the ramp before returning to his foe with a dropkick to his knee. Once the two are back in the ring SANADA looks to inflict more punishment on the right knee of Ibushi in an attempt to not only ground him but keep his kicks from doing the damage they normally would. Ibushi is able to fight back briefly to connect with a stiff kick to the chest followed by a standing moonsault, but as he looks to continue his attack SANADA leapfrogs him twice and dropkicks him out of the ring. He follows up with a springboard splash to the outside as he soaks in the adulation of the crowd in Niigata.
Once more Ibushi is able to use his legs to regain the advantage as he catches SANADA, attempting to climb the ropes, with a Pele kick. After being knocked from the top rope by SANADA, Ibushi springboards back up and nails a beautiful hurricanrana into the ring for a two count. Ibushi continues his high-flying ways with an Asai moonsault to SANADA on the outside before rolling his opponent back into the ring and hitting a springboard missile dropkick. Once more, SANADA proves that he has an answer for nearly everybody and everything in this tournament. He finds a way out of most of Ibushi’s offense in the latter half of this match and continually catches the Golden Star in attempted Skull Ends. He finally finds one that sticks but Ibushi refuses to give up. Sensing his opponent fading quickly, SANADA releases the hold and runs to the corner where he connects with a moonsault from the top rope for the big win hurdling him into a second-place tie with Naito in the B Block behind Kenny Omega!
Tomorrow we’ve got Tanahashi/Makabe and EVIL/Page to look forward to, plus the chance that Suzuki hits Elgin so hard he flies into the sun. Fingers crossed! For now, let’s take a look at the B Block standings.
Kenny Omega: 8
Tetsuya Naito: 6
Kota Ibushi: 4
Tomohiro Ishii: 4
Hirooki Goto: 4
Zack Sabre Jr: 4
Tama Tonga: 2
Toru Yano: 2
Juice Robinson: 0