NJPW G1 Climax 28: Day Nine
A Block is back on G1 Climax 28 Day Nine with a few matches that could at least be pretty good if not great, plus the peculiar match-up of Okada and YOSHI-HASHI. Can weird-mode Okada focus enough to beat YOSHI or will the Rainmaker’s balloon be popped like the hopes and dreams of anyone wishing to not be bored to tears by YOSHI?
Hirooki Goto & YOH vs Toa Henare & Shota Umino
I was eating a big ole bowl of Cheerios through most of this so I wasn’t writing along with the match. Goto and YOH are a fun little team and I love seeing them paired up on these shows. YOH definitely got the better shake as far as partners go as we saw poor SHO having to team with YOSHI-HASHI on Day Eight. Toa is kept in the match for the majority being worked over by the Chaos duo until Shota is tagged in and enters with a flurry of offense. Despite some teamwork from Shota and Toa, YOH is able to trap Shota in a Boston Crab before transitioning it into a high-angle crab for a tap out victory.
Zack Sabre Jr & TAKA vs Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa
Tanga Loa starts off with some weird slam poetry and I’m pretty sure I got called a Dorito but I’m not positive. TAKA, rightfully, kicks him in the butt in response to start this one off. TAKA can’t use strength against Loa so he uses an eye poke in an attempt to take the early edge but Loa is able to bounce back almost immediately and swing the odds in the favor of GoD. TAKA is able to escape Tama’s attack long enough to tag ZSJ in who lays into the Bad Boy with strikes and suplexes before going for a cross arm breaker. Once again, the advantage is short-lived as Tama is able to power out and connect with a Stinger splash and Samoan drop prompting both men to tag out. It looks like curtains for GoD when TAKA goes for the Michinoku Driver on Loa but the move is blocked and Loa delivers Apeshit to pick up his 400th pin this tour.
Juice Robinson & David Finlay vs Toru Yano & Gedo
On his way to the ring, Juice puts his hat and sunglasses on a child and it is GOD DAMN ADORABLE. This is the champion the United States needs right now. It’ll be interesting to see how this one turns out. Juice is still winless in the tournament and, of course, his next opponent is YTR. Juice has some fun with Yano early on but after Gedo stops him from delivering a punch with his left hand, the attack turns to Juice’s injured hand. Yano removes the turnbuckle pad quickly and hurls Juice into it before tagging in Gedo to do some more of the dirty work on Juice’s hand and digits. The US Champion earns himself a reprieve via spine buster and makes the tag to a fresh Finlay. As Gedo and Yano attempt to regain control over Finlay, Juice returns to the ring with rapid fire punches to both men. Gedo is able to avoid one last big punch from Juice and disposes of him to the arena floor before being caught with Finlay’s Prima Nocta to end this one quickly.
Tomohiro Ishii & SHO vs Kota Ibushi & Yujiro Takahashi
Ibushi takes the time to shake hands with literally every fan in the arena on his way to the ring, perhaps knowing it’s one of the last times he’ll be able to do so before Ishii pops his head off of his shoulders on Day Ten. Not that I would ever wish harm on the Golden Star, mind you, but Ishii gonna Ishii. Sidenote, my dog is still not a fan of Ishii’s theme music. Ibushi and Ishii start off and find themselves in a stalemate after blocking and avoiding each others offense before tagging their partners in. Yujiro immediately tries to eat SHO’s hand (probably so he can’t fire any more arrows) and catches a dropkick to the mouth for his efforts. This one is back and forth with Ishii able to withstand Ibushi’s quick offense and kicks before clubbing away at him. It comes down to SHO and Yujiro in the end with Yujiro hitting his short DDT for the win. Post-match Ibushi and Ishii stare each other down ahead of what could undoubtedly be a show-stealer tomorrow night.
Kenny Omega & Chase Owens vs Tetsuya Naito & SANADA
Kenny Omega is riding high on an undefeated streak in the tournament and, god damn it, if anyone can knock him off of the throne it’s my Spooky Boy~ SANADA. He’s been absolutely on fire this entire tour and while I don’t know that he’ll win B Block when all is said and done, I do think SANADA could be the man to deliver Omega his first tournament loss this year. Omega and SANADA match arm bars and reversals early on and as SANADA looks to tie the IWGP Heavyweight Champion into a knot, Owens makes the save. Chase almost winds up with a similar fate but Omega is there to save him before a brief double-team on Cold Skull. Naito is tagged in and continues the assault on Kenny as he attempts to hit his leg sweep into the corner dropkick but Chase is there once again to foil the attempt on the arena floor. SANADA is able to fulfill his hopes and dreams by tying Chase up on the canvas and, after tussling with Omega a bit, dropkicking him in the butt. Bullet Club are able to keep Naito at bay for a brief period until SANADA inserts himself into the match once again to breakup a pinfall attempt. As he and Kenny fight to the outside Naito is able to hit Destino on Chase for the pin and the win. As is customary, Omega and SANADA face off after the match before SANADA walks to the back leaving Naito to celebrate in the ring by himself. With nobody left to fist bump and pose with in the ring, Naito coaxes the reluctant official into the ring to join him. Just as the two are about to touch fists, Naito grabs the ref and hurls him from the ring to the arena floor. Dastardly!
Minoru Suzuki vs Mike Elgin
I’m very tired of seeing Elgin on my TV at this point. I’d rather there be two Fales in the tournament than one Elgin. Baby dumb dumb has his dumb baby weight jacket again looking like a Fruit Rollup with arms. These two bruisers start by trading blows but the match quickly devolves to Suzuki beating Elgin with a chair and then using anything and everything (the ring post, the turnbuckle, another chair) to try and break Elgin’s arm. Finding their way back into the ring Elgin is able to stop Suzuki’s momentum with an enziguiri before doing a whole bunch of moves that utilize or otherwise put pressure on his damaged right arm because, as we have established, Elgin is a big dumb baby. Suzuki continues to focus on the arm until Elgin is able to power out and mount an offensive attack against The King. Elgin hits the saddest looking Tiger Driver I’ve probably ever seen. Control slips back to Suzuki after Elgin is caught with a dropkick when rebounding from the ropes. After escaping from an attempted suplex Suzuki brings joy to all of the children in the land when he crushes Mike’s noggin with the Gotch-style piledriver and racks up another pair of points.
EVIL vs Hangman Page
Page finds himself powdering to the floor twice early on in this one as he seems to not be a match for the larger EVIL. On the second go-round, Page grabs a chair from under the ring but the King of Darkness is able to stop him before using it the first time. Moments later, however, Page tosses the chair to EVIL and kicks it into his face to taste his first semblance of control tonight. Page is able to showcase some of his strength against EVIL before taking it to the mat to keep him grounded. After catching an attempted Page kick, EVIL uses trickery and the referee to bury his own boot into Page’s stomach before taking things to the floor one more time. EVIL makes use of his own chairs by hanging one around the neck of Page before swinging a second chair for the lights to rattle the chair around Hangman’s neck. Back in the ring Page is able to escape a pin attempt and comes back at EVIL with a god damn delightful stalling German suplex with a bridge for a two of his own. The ring proves useless to contain these two as EVIL winds up outside and Page leaps from the corner with a moonsault that doesn’t quite connect fully but enough to lay EVIL out on the arena floor. Page puts in another strong showing here as he stands on even ground with EVIL, even connecting with the somersault clothesline for a very close two count. He signals for the end but EVIL is able to break out if it before connecting with a headbutt and a devastating clothesline of his own. After kicking out, Page is pulled to his feet for the EVIL STO to launch the Spooky Boy~ into first place with 8 points! Will SANADA have the same fortune tomorrow night?
Jay White vs Bad Luck Fale
Tanga Loa is out with Fale and let’s just hope he graces us all with some more of his spoken word skills at one point or another. Switchblade is looking much more confident here than he did against Suzuki and, really, who wouldn’t? Things quickly spill outside where Loa slams White on the mats before he’s able to come back and hurl Fale into the railing which sees a member of the announce team sent flying to the floor as a result. White drags Fale into the crowd and pummels him in the chairs before taking a page out of the book of the man who beat him two nights ago and beating on three young boys! Not only does he beat on them, though, he uses their bodies as weapons against Fale who struggles to protect himself against the onslaught. A distraction from Tanga Loa allows Fale to make his way out of the wreckage and whip White into the chairs for a taste of his own crummy medicine. After fighting back from an attempted Bad Luck Fall, White attempts the Blade Runner but gets caught with a Fale hand around his throat. Before Fale can pull the pin, White shoves Fale into the corner where the referee is crushed. Cue Loa and Tama in for the attack. Tama fails at hitting the Gun Stun on a chair and White uses the opportunity to shove him into Fale and take Loa out with a chair shot. Tama appears out of nowhere after the scuffle and connects with the Gun Stun before Fale lands the Bad Luck Fall for a very dumb finish. And nobody from Chaos was anywhere to be seen for a save! Switchblade’s not going to be happy about this.
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Togi Makabe
Tana has a chance to tie for the lead with EVIL if he can put away Makabe, who looks to propel himself into a potential 4-way tie with a win bringing him up to 6 points. My key takeaway early on in this one is that Tanahashi needs some new boots because, currently, his are all smudged and stained with red junk. You’re the Ace, pamper yourself a bit! Tana finds himself in the driver’s seat and attempts to lay in the ten corner punches to Makabe, but you don’t steal a guy’s routine like that! Makabe carries him out with an attempted powerbomb which is blocked before Tana finds himself in the opposite corner on the receiving end of Makabe’s blows. Moments later the two find themselves in the center of the ring trading forearm strikes until Makabe catches Tana with a pair of clotheslines to bring him down to the canvas. He finally hits the powerbomb he was looking for earlier but only gets a two count. Makabe attempts the spider German suplex but is blocked; he’s able to connect with a spider belly to belly suplex but misses the follow-up King Kong Knee Drop. Back on his feet Tana pulls Makabe down with the Slingblade for only a one count before hitting a cross body block from the top rope and, to end things, the High Fly Flow. The Ace of New Japan moves into a first-place tie with EVIL!
Kazuchika Okada vs YOSHI-HASHI
This is gonna be, uhh… this should be something. Okada is sitting at a meager 4 points as he looks to recover from the loss of the IWGP Heavyweight Champion and YOSHI-HASHI is, as we all know, YOSHI-HASHI. Can balloon freak Okada keep it together long enough to come out on top against his Chaos stablemate or will the Head Hunter rack up another two points to leave Hangman Page as the only man in A Block with just a single victory under his belt?
The match starts off with a snap as Okada once again whips his t-shirt into the face of YOSHI who, on this night, responds with a kick to the stomach. The fight goes to the outside where Okada launches YOSHI into the crowd before violently hurling chairs at his Chaos brethren. As YOSHI makes his way back to the ring to beat the 20 count, Okada meets him at ringside and drapes him across the railing before dropping him to the arena floor with a hanging DDT. YOSHI makes it back into the ring at 18 to a smattering of applause. There may be as many as half-dozen people chanting for YOSHI as he momentarily gains the advantage back in the ring. Okada fights his way back and, after some counters back and forth with YOSHI, propels his opponent into the corner with a shotgun dropkick. A missile dropkick immediately follows to set YOSHI up for the reverse neckbreaker. Okada strikes the laziest Rainmaker pose and then connects with an equally weak Rainmaker which brings YOSHI down but only earns him a two count. As he goes for a second one shortly after YOSHI pulls one hell of a clothesline of his own out of nowhere and takes the wind out of Little Kazu’s sails.
YOSHI rallies in a way that would be exciting if it were anyone but YOSHI doing it but is stopped dead in his tracks after missing a swanton bomb on a prone Okada. YOSHI counters another Rainmaker attempt into the butterfly lock which Okada eventually powers out of into an attempted Tombstone before being captured in the hold once more. YOSHI manages to keep him locked away for several minutes this time, pulling Okada away from the ropes twice before the Rainmaker is able to finally force a rope break. As Okada recovers on the mat, YOSHI begins to show disrespect by kicking at the head of Okada. Things break down into a brief test of wills as the men batter each other with forearm strikes with YOSHI coming out with the upper hand. YOSHI connects with a slap that wakes Okada up before following up with a superkick that puts him back down, capped off with a fisherman buster that yields a close two count. Okada finds a way to wiggle into position to lift YOSHI up for a Tombstone and follows through before lifting him to his feet for a discus Rainmaker before connecting with the true blue, no-nonsense Rainmaker for the win in a hard-fought match.
I’m setting the alarm for 4am tomorrow morning because there are some matches I don’t want to miss in the B Block. Ishii/Ibushi? Juice/YTR? Naito/Goto?? OKADA/SANADA?! Day Ten is one packed-as-hell show with some big-time implications for everyone floating around the top of the bracket! Until then, let’s check in with the A Block standings below:
Hiroshi Tanahashi: 8
Jay White: 6
Minoru Suzuki: 6
Kazuchika Okada: 6
Michael Elgin: 4
Togi Makabe: 4
Bad Luck Fale: 4
Hangman Page: 2