NJPW G1 Climax 28: Day Ten
B Block stands for Best Block so I’m awake as of 3:45am and ready to watch this sucker live! Yes, I could easily just watch this show once it goes up in full on NJPW World but there are too many potential classics happening in the tournament tonight for me to sleep through it. Onward and upward with G1 Climax 28 Day Ten!
Bad Luck Fale & Tanga Loa vs Togi Makabe & Toa Henare
Loa doesn’t have any slam poetry for us tonight so he just says Fale’s name and nothing else. I offer him no finger snaps as I stare up at the bright-ass moon shining in through our living room window. You can probably guess how this one goes. There’s not too much of note here and, in the end, Loa takes Henare down with Apeshit before the Firing Squad lay boots into him. Makabe runs them off with his chain before Fale and Loa exit to the back.
Jay White & YOH vs Hangman Page & Chase Owens
White and Page could be a real fun match on Day Eleven. Page has been impressing me throughout the tournament and, despite just taking a loss to Fale of all people, White has been absolute fire in the ring and on the mic. I do resent some of his comments, however, as I haven’t written a single one of these posts with dried cum on my belly. Go ahead, blindly click that link. White does for YOH what YOH didn’t do when White was in the clutches of the Firing Squad and saves him as Page is about to deliver the Rite of Passage. White holds onto Page from the apron for YOH to hit him; after a few moments of feeling conflicted on whether or not to attack, YOH charges in but Page wiggles free leading to miscue of YOH hitting White. Page hits the RoP on YOH for the win as White looks on. Post-match, White lays a quick beating on Chase on the outside before heading out.
EVIL & BUSHI vs Minoru Suzuki & El Desperado
EVIL and Suzuki is perhaps the match I’m looking most forward to on Day Eleven in an A Block that doesn’t excite me a whole ton. Suzuki-gun are in top form here as they start off by fighting around ringside and throughout the crowd before venturing back into the ring to work BUSHI over 2-on-1. This works until it doesn’t when BUSHI is able to kick his way out of Suzuki’s grip and tag EVIL into the match. EVIL stands on the neck of Suzuki which looks to awaken some form of ancient, pissed beast and I can’t begin to understand why anybody would want to intentionally anger or even annoy Minoru Suzuki. Both men attempt their finishers but find them countered before EVIL drops Suzuki with a clothesline then tags in BUSHI. BUSHI goes for a fisherman neckbreaker but Suzuki is able to slip out of it to eventually lock him into position for the Gotch-style piledriver for the victory. Suzuki and EVIL lay hands on one another after the match and need to be separated by Suzuki’s favorite meal – a couple of young boys.
Hiroshi Tanahashi & Shota Umino vs YOSHI-HASHI & SHO
YOSHI is off of a loss in a match that was way more competitive than it should have been against Okada the night before. SHO, once again, draws the short straw as he finds himself teamed with YOSHI again. He’ll have to suffer this fate three more times before the tour is over. SHO nearly taps Shota out with a cross arm breaker but Tana comes in for the save. Shota nearly picks up the shock win with two quick pinfall attempts but it’s SHO with a powerslam and a real real pretty deadlift German suplex with a bridge finishing this one off. YOSHI looks into Tana’s eyes post-match with his dead, thousand-yard stare before everybody parts ways and heads to the back.
Kazuchika Okada & Gedo vs Mike Elgin & David Finlay
Despite complaining about his match with YOSHI-HASHI, Weird Okada is still in full effect. He seems like, perhaps, a bit of a changed man as he presents an elated Rocky Romero with a balloon on commentary and doesn’t follow it up with a full-on balloon assault! I burned my tongue on hot coffee right at the start of this match and I’m pretty sure it’s somehow Elgin’s fault. Gedo, with a smile on his face, gets to deliver some beard-focused offense on David Finlay after having felt the effects of beard attacks earlier in both the match and tour. Okada foils Elgin’s attempt at a superplex before flying high with the Scooby Dooby-Doo cross body block. Does that whole thing make Gedo Scrappy Doo? Elgin is able to avoid Okada’s Rainmaker which leads to Gedo and Finlay becoming the legal men. Elgin deadlifts Gedo out of a pin attempt into a suplex before hitting a release German on Okada to send him out of the ring. Gedo counters Finlay’s Prima Nocta into a backslide for two before Finlay finds luck on the second try to pick up the win for himself and boss baby. After the match Okada offers his hand to Elgin ahead of their match on Day Eleven which Elgin uses as an attempt at intimidation because he’s a lunkhead with no better sense.
Zack Sabre Jr vs Tama Tonga
Ah, so Loa saved his awesome slam poetry for this match. Cool. Great. Can ZSJ just wrap both of these ding dongs up and tap them both out at the same time? I mean, I know he can but will he? Loa injects himself into this one early on with a trip on ZSJ from the outside but the lenient official allows him to stay at ringside. TAKA returns the favor with a trip on Tonga but as he flees on the outside Loa floors him. ZSJ flies into Loa from the apron and Tonga uses the opportunity to take control. Tama rolls Sabre up with an O’Connor Roll forcing a kickout from ZSJ which sends Tama into a punch from TAKA on the outside. ZSJ gets a near-fall out of the assistance. As Sabre locks in an arm bar on Tama, the pair roll into the referee to cause the requisite Tama Tonga Ref Bump which brings Loa into the ring for a double-team. After Sabre is able to revive the referee he counters Tonga’s Gun Stun into a seated submission which brings Fale into the ring for force a blatant disqualification when he attacks Sabre. Sabre picks up two more points and Tonga continues to just kind of be there in this tournament. I want to like him, but so far I haven’t been super impressed with him in the G1 and the constant ref bumps and screwy finishes are wearing on me.
Juice Robinson vs Toru Yano
These may be the two most pure, well-liked guys in the entire tournament. YTR gets up to his old tricks when this one heads outside by taping Juice to the guardrail before hitting his injured hand with a chair. Back inside Yano punishes Juice’s hand and fingers before removing one of the turnbuckle pads… and then another! The two men duel with the pads before Yano is able to bury a boot in the stomach to cause Juice to drop his weapon. The US Champion lifts Yano onto his shoulder for an extended airplane spin and both men stumble dizzily around the ring before collapsing to the mat. Both men are eventually able to utilize the unprotected steel buckles in the corner with Yano earning himself a couple of near-falls before Juice fights back. With the advantage, Juice removes all of the protection from his left hand and looks to finally use the punch legally for the first time in months! He swings but Yano ducks and the two go whirly-bird around reversing one another in Juice’s Pulp Friction. Juice finally puts on the brakes and is able to connect with the move to, at long last, get himself on the board with two points. Post-match, Juice dutifully replaces one of the turnbuckle pads in the corner as Yano recovers on the outside.
Kota Ibushi vs Tomohiro Ishii
This is going to be ri-god-damn-diculous. Both men are sitting at 4 points right now and a win here will tie them with Naito and SANADA who are both currently tied with 6 points at this point in the show. These two start of quick and stiff ending up with a stare down before barraging each other with forearms in the center of the ring. Ibushi is the first to be taken to the mat off of a shoulder block from Ishii. The Stone Pitbull uses his strength and power to keep Ibushi at bay for several moments until Ibushi rises out of the corner to go nose-to-nose once more. Ishii challenges him to strike him and, after he does, lays Ibushi out in the corner with repeated strikes. Ibushi is able to create some space with a dropkick followed by a hurricanrana. Ishii rolls to the outside for a reprieve but Ibushi is there to meet him with a dive from the inside. Ibushi takes the fight into the crowd and, after countering Ishii powerbomb into a hurricanrana, uses his handsome insanity to moonsault off of the balcony onto a waiting Ishii below.
I stopped writing along with the match at some point because it was too god damn good to not give it my full attention and it absolutely delivered on every level. Back in the ring the advantage swung back and forth with Ibushi (mostly) standing on even footing when striking Ishii. Both men traded versions of the other’s favorite moves and put a pure, unadulterated beating on one another with forearms, kicks, and headbutts. And let’s not forget the three straight punches Ibushi delivered into the throat of Ishii! Both men broke down into feral animals here shoving the referee away as he tried to stop their relentless attacks. In the end it was Ibushi overcoming Ishii’s power to deliver the Kamigoye and pick up two more points. I don’t see how anyone tops this match the rest of the night but I’m happy to challenge both remaining matches to do so. Go out of your way to watch this one.
Tetsuya Naito vs Hirooki Goto
I will probably also stop typing along with this one at some point. Naito has the opportunity to launch himself into a first-place tie assuming Omega can’t make it past SANADA in tonight’s main event. However, that would also put SANADA in a three-way tie for first which is intriguing on a whole bunch of different levels. Early on, Naito tries for the fake-out tranquilo dive twice but is twice thwarted by Goto stopping him in his tracks. After the second attempt Goto brings Naito to the mat for kicks and a reverse chin lock to slow things down a bit. Naito finds himself with the upper hand after blocking a suplex from Goto from the apron into the ring; he delivers a neck breaker to Goto on the apron before whipping him into the railing to enjoy the fruits of his labor in the form of Goto nearly being counted out on the arena floor. Inside the ring Naito catches Goto hanging in the ropes and drops him across his knee with an inverted DDT. I don’t think any wrestler going today spits on their opponents more than Naito. This becomes his undoing as it wakes Goto up enough to allow the NEVER Openweight Champion to build a comeback.
Naito is able to roll things back in his own favor briefly after connecting with the corner slingshot dropkick but Goto swings things back around with a clothesline as both men rebounded off of the ropes and the Ushigoroshi. Naito finds a glimmer of hope as he finds an opening to attempt Destino but Goto is able to counter into a face-first GTR leaving both men incapacitated on the mat. Goto buries a kick into Naito’s chest to setup for the GTR proper but Naito escapes into another failed attempt at Destino. Goto begins laying in headbutts to Naito to setup another attempt at the GTR but Naito gets a second wind and connects with a surprise Destino for a two count. With a weakened Goto at his fingertips, Naito connects with a second Destino quickly to find himself with 8 points in B Block! A good match that wasn’t quite as intense as Ibushi/Ishii but probably needed a certain level of chill to calm everybody down a bit before the main event.
Kenny Omega vs SANADA
I don’t know if my body is ready for this match. SANADA has had an answer for nearly every opponent’s moveset in this tournament and Omega has been unstoppable going on an undefeated tear across B Block. Can SANADA be the first to deliver him a loss? My heart tells me that my Spooky Boy~ can do it!
SANADA keeps Omega on his toes early on in this one as he counters and out-wrestles the IWGP Heavyweight Champion. He fakes a dive out to the arena floor which leaves Omega perplexed before he opens the ropes for the Champion to allow him safely into the ring. Omega obliges but then dropkicks SANADA in the ropes to take advantage of his sportsman-like gesture. From here Omega focuses on SANADA’s left leg as he repeatedly pounds his knee into the mat. Kenny is gruesome and violent here as he punishes the knee of SANADA until Cold Skull is able to stop him with an enziguiri to the face and a follow-up dropkick from the second rope. After avoiding Omega off of the ropes with a pair of leapfrogs, SANADA connects with a standing dropkick which sends Omega to the floor before flying again with a slingshot plancha. Omega momentarily turns the tables hitting one half of You Can’t Escape but SANADA gets his knees up for the moonsault. Omega is able to regain control yet again with a Frankenstiner sending SANADA to the outside where he connects with a somersault dive into the aisle.
Omega keeps the ball in his court back in the ring where he and SANADA trade German suplex attempts with both men avoiding the impact. Kenny catches SANADA in a sitout powerbomb as he springboards off of the top rope for another attempted dropkick. A missile dropkick from the top rope and a subsequent snap dragon suplex yield a two count for Omega. The Best Bout Machine begins toying with SANADA a bit which lights a fire eliciting a butterfly suplex on Omega. SANADA gets caught with a pair of knees as he tries to assume control, though, before Omega drills him with the sickening double underhook piledriver. Omega launches into SANADA in the corner with the V-Trigger Knee and brings him up onto his shoulders for the One Winged Angel which SANADA is able to counter into the Skull End! SANADA releases and goes for a moonsault which Omega avoids before locking the hold onto Omega, with full drop to the mat and body scissors, moments later. SANADA again releases and goes for the moonsault which Omega rolls away from once more leaving both men writhing on the mat.
This one becomes a slugfest toward the end with each man trying to knock each other’s heads off with forearm strikes. SANADA transitions to European uppercuts and gets caught with a kneelift from Omega in response. SANADA locks in another attempt at the Skull End but Omega is able to counter it with a cradle front-facing piledriver. SANADA escapes the pin attempt and looks for sew things up with the Skull End again via Destino setup, but Omega traps him on his shoulders in a fireman’s carry before transitioning him to a sitting position. SANADA struggles and fights to break free but Omega keeps him locked up driving him down with the One Winged Angel for the three count. Sadly, SANADA becomes another name on the list of Omega’s G1 Run. Can Zack Sabre Jr be the one to put a stop to Omega on August 1? Post-match, Omega promises that he’ll do what hasn’t been done since Masahiro Chono and win the G1 as Champion and become a two-time G1 winner. At this point it’s hard to argue against him.
Tomorrow is A Block with Suzuki/EVIL and White/Page, plus a Tana/Elgin match which I’m sure will be great but involves the human dirtbag Mike Elgin so meh. Until then, let’s check in with the current standings!
Kenny Omega: 10
Tetsuya Naito: 8
Kota Ibushi: 6
Tomohiro Ishii: 4
Hirooki Goto: 4
Zack Sabre Jr: 6
Tama Tonga: 2
Toru Yano: 2
Juice Robinson: 2