NJPW G1 Climax 28: Day Fifteen

I don’t know if I’m ready to watch another set of G1 matches after what Ishii/Omega and Ibushi/Naito delivered yesterday. This tournament has, not surprisingly, delivered a handful of match of the year candidates and it shows no signs of slowing. I mean, except for Fale/YOSHI today which I don’t expect to live up to the wild level Ishii/Omega were on. Nonetheless, G1 Climax 28 day fifteen is here from Osaka and we have just 3 more shows left before the finals! Space at the top of the block is limited but anything can still happen with two more matches left for everybody in A Block.

Tomohiro Ishii & SHO vs Juice Robinson & Shota Umino

Ishii shows no signs of slowing! He had an insane performance on day fourteen but is here standing toe-to-toe with the US Champion early on before Shota Umino makes the mistake of challenging Ishii’s power by laying in a set of forearms. Ishii knocks him back with a single blow before tagging SHO into the match. I’m worried about what the future might hold for RPG3K as it seems like SHO is starting to see he way of the Switchblade. Ishii is tagged back in after a few moments and Umino is able to use his speed and strikes to send Ishii reeling back into the corner! He takes Ishii down with a missile dropkick and makes the tag to Juice who continues to lay into Ishii in the corner with clotheslines and a cannonball. Ishii will fight back and make the tag to SHO who Juice takes down with a full nelson bomb before tagging Umino back into the match. Shota goads Ishii into the ring and then drops the Stone Pitbull with a spinebuster! Shota is able to lock SHO in the Boston Crab but breaks the hold to connect with a dropkick on Ishii as he enters the ring. The Young Lion shows fire against SHO as he grabs a handful of nearfalls but SHO is able to lariat him out of his boots before hitting the stalling German suplex for the three count. Better and better showings from Umino this entire tour despite eating the losses. Post-match Ishii and Juice have words before everybody parts ways.

Tetsuya Naito & SANADA vs David Finlay & Toa Henare

Naito and SANADA must mentally prepare themselves to face off with one another on August 8. Has SANADA been withholding fist bumps to play mind games until their match or is there actual dissension in the ranks of LIJ? There is some sloppiness in this one as the two teams don’t quite seem to gel at every point. SANADA and Naito, however, look to be on the same page. They’re coming off of wildly different but equally enjoyable matches on day fourteen with SANADA having picked up another two points and Naito dropping a loss to Ibushi. This one wraps up with SANADA squeezing a tapout from Henare with the Skull End.

Post-match, SANADA glances at Naito’s raised fist before starting to leave the room. He pauses, looks to the crowd and back at Naito, and then finally decides to raise his fist to Naito’s. Naito uses this opportunity to grab SANADA’s arm and whip him into the corner – SANADA flips himself over the top rope and onto the apron then springboards back in toward Naito who dodges, hits the ropes, and rolls into a tranquilo pose. Naito grins at SANADA, who grins back, before sliding out of the ring and heading to the back with Cold Skull following shortly afterward. I think things are going to be okay in LIJ. Phew.

Hirooki Goto & YOH vs Zack Sabre Jr & TAKA

Sabre ties YOH up with submissions early on here but keeps maintaining eye contact with Goto on the apron, perhaps as a threat of what’s to come in a few days in Kanagawa. As ZSJ has YOH’s head wrapped up in a leg scissors, Goto finally has enough to comes into the ring to break the hold. Sabre tags TAKA in and YOH is able to build a comeback before both men tag their partners and future G1 opponents. Goto, like most, has a hard time controlling Sabre’s body and maintaining any semblance of an advantage as Sabre is able to twist and contort himself into any position to lock on a submission. Goto is able to connect with a lariat for which Zack has no answer. The NEVER Openweight Champion tags out to YOH and after laying in a kick to the left arm of the RPG3K member, ZSJ tags TAKA in once again. Suzuki-gun tie both men up in the center of the ring with submissions but YOH is able to find the ropes for a break. After almost finding himself on the receiving end of TAKA’s Just Facelock once more, YOH rolls out of the hold and grabs a flash pin on TAKA to put this one away.

Kota Ibushi & Yujiro Takahashi vs Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa

Yujiro makes good on his promise of bringing Pieter to Osaka which means we’re probably never going to see Ibushi in that bunny ears mask. Tama wants Yujiro to shake hands before the match but Ibushi tries telling him that it’s not a bad idea. As Yujiro and Ibushi turn back to their corner the Tongans attack as the two splinters of Bullet Club go head to head. Loa slides in and drops both men with a double clothesline before taking over on Yujiro. Tama lays into Ibushi on the outside before being tagged in to continue Loa’s work on the Tokyo Pimp. Quick tags abound for the Tongans as they continue to work their man over while Ibushi tries to recover on the apron. Once Ibushi has hits wits about him he’s able to even the odds before Loa attempts Apeshit in the ring. Yujiro is able to slide behind and drop him with an inverted DDT but gets caught moments later with a successful Apeshit for the win. The Tongans make their exit as Ibushi, Pieter, and young boys tend to Yujiro in the ring.

Kenny Omega & Chase Owens vs Toru Yano & Gedo

Omega should just nap in the corner as a reward for his battle with Ishii on day fourteen. That match was intense and his mouth was a bloody mess at the end. Will that loss signify a downward spiral for Omega in the rest of the G1? With matches against Yano and Ibushi still left, could we see that Omega has pushed himself too hard early on and can no longer keep up?

Omega and Owens have their standard brand of fun here with the row boat on both men and using (or struggling to use, in Kenny’s case) a boot in the corner for a double-team attack. Once Yano is in the match he tries to remove the turnbuckle pad but is stopped by Chase. He sprints to the other side and removes that pad instead. The numbers work against him as Chase and Kenny both wind up with the turnbuckle pads and swing for Yano who is able to dodge causing the BC members to strike one another. It’s a comedy of errors for several moments as Yano and Omega match each other move for move including their counterparts tripping both men as they hit the ropes before holding them in place for strikes from their teammates that never come. Once Yano and Omega break free they connect with a double clothesline in the center of the ring before tagging their partners. Owens tries for the package piledriver but Yano schoolboy trips him causing him to fall onto his back and allow Gedo to grab a two count. Omega and Owens have a miscue which causes the IWGP Heavyweight Champion to superkick Chase before Gedo throws him out of the ring. Gedo and Chase trade brief spurts of offense before Gedo finds himself on the receiving end of a successful package piledriver for the three.

YOSHI-HASHI vs Bad Luck Fale

KUSHIDA is on commentary! That’s the real takeaway for me on this one. I’m very surprised to report that this end in a DQ finish when Tama Tonga launches an assault with a chair on YOSHI and then the referee. Nobody comes to save YOSHI and Tama launches himself into the crowd to terrify the locals. As the Tongans finally make their way to the back, YOSHI rushes Tama but is once again met with chair shots before being helped to the back. And nobody comes to YOSHI’s side! Maybe Jay White has another member of Chaos he can convince to breathe with the Switchblade.

Minoru Suzuki vs Hangman Page

Suzuki didn’t take the news that he won’t conceivably be able to reach the finals of the G1 too well, threatening to destroy the entire tour. I believe him. I believe him and I’m scared. Page comes to the ring wasting no time and launches into an attack on Suzuki before the bell. He decides to play MiSu’s own game and sends The King into the railings before pulling him away from the ring. Page is on a mission and handily taking care of both Suzuki and Desperado here. Page drags Suzuki, and by proxy Despy, all the way back to the stage and flies off of the stage with a moonsault to both men on the floor! Suzuki may have promised to destroy everything from here on out but Page looks to be the one to do it based on the start of this match.

Back in the ring Page goes for a cover but Suzuki twists his arm to get out of it. After dumping Page to the outside it’s now Suzuki’s turn to drag his opponent into the crowd. Suzuki dismantles the guard rail and tosses it onto Page body before slamming a chair on top of him. Not settled with this, Suzuki rips another piece of the guard rail off completely and nails Page with that as well. After making his way back to ringside, MiSu threatens the referee with a lifetime of violence until Page hobbles his way back into Suzuki’s line of sight and becomes the target of his attack once more. Suzuki allows page to crawl his way back into the ring to beat the count and both men find themselves on even footing in the center of the ring.

Page takes the advantage here with a lariat out of the corner. He follows up with a series of forearm strikes before burying Suzuki in the corner with two more lariats and a running dropkick which leaves Suzuki gasping for air. Suzuki kicks out of a pin attempt from Page and looks completely miserable as he gets back to his feet. It’s Suzuki’s turn to assume control here as he lays into Page with forearms and kicks before twisting his arms into a submission attempt on the mat. Page is able to barely reach the ropes with his foot to break the hold. Both men find their way back to their feet and begin to trade blows until Page spits in the face of Suzuki. This sets off The King who lays even harder into Page before attempting the Gotch-style piledriver. Suzuki can’t quite hit it so he rebounds off the ropes but is met with a rolling elbow from Page.

Suzuki finds himself on the apron and Page charges but Suzuki pulls the rope down to cause Hangman to find himself in the same spot. Suzuki lays in a forearm before heading back into the ring and hitting the ropes but Page catches him with the Buckshot! Page attempts the Rite of Passage but Suzuki is able to escape and lock in the rear naked choke once more. Suzuki looks for the Gotch-style piledriver once more but Page lifts him onto his shoulders for a Rite of Passage out of nowhere for the three count! Suzuki looks like he may have come down on his head more than one would hope and rolls out of the ring clutching his neck. Page earns another two points with a big win over Suzuki but, at this point, neither man is in contention to make it to the finals.

Jay White vs Togi Makabe

Jay White is still pretty upset that the reporters won’t give him a chair for his post-match interviews. White says Makabe isn’t the Unchained Gorilla but “just a pussy that eats cupcakes on national TV over here”. I ate a cupcake while watching this show and I feel personally attacked right now. White still has a chance to win the block if Tanahashi fails to find success in the rest of his matches but Makabe is, and has been, eliminated for some time now.

White is able to control Makabe early on here both in and out of the ring despite playing the role of the coward before the bell rang. White makes the basic error of toying with Makabe with slaps to the head which brings the Unchained Gorilla to his feet and gives him a second wind as he launches into the ten corner punches into White’s skull. Switchblade is able to catch Makabe with a Saito suplex to even the playing field. A twisting suplex gets him a two count as he plans his next move. A frustrated White begins to lay forearm shots and chops into Makabe who calls for more from his knees until defiantly rising to his feet. White hits the ropes for a pair of lariats that barely move Makabe, but Makabe hits one of his own that stumbles White back. White pulls a deadlift German suplex out of nowhere but can’t follow up as Makabe drops him with one more lariat.

Makabe is able to connect with the spider belly to belly suplex but can’t follow up from the top rope, instead opting to hit White with a German suplex and lariat in the ring for a two count. He drops White with another slam before ascending for the King Kong Knee Drop but White is able to roll out of the way before taking a powder to the outside. As White does, he pulls two chairs (for the price of one!) out from under the ring. He shoves Red Shoes out of the way and as he lifts the chair to Makabe finds it being driven into his own face with a lariat. Makabe looks to use the chair on White but Red Shoes stops him prompting White to shove Makabe into the official. With Red Shoes down, White is able to clobber Makabe with the chair and connect with the Blade Runner to bump himself up to 12 points. Post-match White takes a page out of the Suzuki playbook and beats on a young boy just for fun.

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Mike Elgin

The camera cuts to two women laughing to each other in the crowd and I can only assume they’re laughing at how much of a big dumb muscle baby Elgin is. Tana wants to start with a test of strength against Elgin and gets his wish, quickly being brought to his knees by dumb muscles. Tana tries to use two hands against one of Elgin’s but still finds himself overpowered as he is pushed against the ropes. Elgin puts forth a slow, plodding pace here using strength and size to ground Tana until being caught with a hiptoss. Tana looks to fly from the second rope but Elgin catches him on his shoulders and, despite Tanahashi’s attempt at a poison rana, Elgin is able to overpower yet again for a face-first Alabama Slam. Neither man can seem to keep the momentum in their favor for very long, though, as Tana’s speed and craftiness play counter to Elgin’s power and vice versa.

After feeling a dragon screw leg whip from Tana, Elgin returns with one of his own which slows down the pace. Both men stand center ring and begin trading blows until Elgin catches Tana with an overhead belly to belly. A follow-up Falcon Arrow gets Elgin a two count as he lifts a weakened Tanahashi up to the top rope. Tana is able to slip from Elgin’s grip and back into the ring before catching Elgin in a dragon screw from the top rope. Tanahashi is able to wrap his arms around the gigantic legs of Elgin and step over with a Texas cloverleaf in an attempt to tap the dirtbag out. Elgin does a couple of pushups to break the hold sending Tana over the top rope. The Ace skins the cat back into the ring, catching Elgin in a headscissors to pull him over the top and to the floor.

Tanahashi looks to the skies as he climbs the top rope but Elgin is able to recover and stop him in his tracks. Elgin climbs to the top along with Tanahashi and hits a massive superplex from the tippy-top rope into the ring. Elgin sets up for a Tiger Driver but Tanahashi is able to backdrop him out of it. Elgin maintains waist control and pulls Tanahashi back up for a thunderous powerbomb for a two count. Elgin looks to the powerbomb well once more as he sends Tana flying with a buckle bomb, but Tanahashi is able to rebound with a Slingblade for two.

This one breaks down into a game of tit-for-tat with each man hitting huge moves in an attempt to put this one away. Tana goes for the cross-body block off of the top rope but Elgin is able to roll through with Tana in his arms. He lifts him up for a vertical suplex but Tana slips behind and attempts a dragon suplex of his own. Elgin breaks the grip and Tana traps both of his arms for an attempted German suplex but Elgin breaks free before plowing through Tanahashi with a lariat. Elgin removes the elbow pad from his right arm and calls for Tana to get to his feet. As the Ace rises, Elgin hits the ropes and hammers away another lariat before laying Tana out with Splash Mountain. Tanahashi again gets the shoulder up as a shocked Elgin gets back to his feet. Elgin hurls Tana into the corner with another buckle bomb before lifting him for a powerbomb in the center of the ring. Tana is able to twist his body and, though a bit sloppy, roll Elgin up with a small package for the three.

Tana now sits with 14 points and could have 16 if he defeats Okada on August 10. If he fails to do so, and Jay White beats EVIL on the same night, the two will tie for A Block supremacy – but Jay White would see himself the winner of a tie-breaker as he defeated Tanahashi on day three. There’s still so much up in the air with just one set of A Block matches left!

Kazuchika Okada vs EVIL

Okada feels confident that this is his G1 to win as long as he can stay on course while EVIL promises to user in a new era while vaguely telling us that he “has something new in store” – and I’m intrigued. If Okada doesn’t win here, he’s officially out of the running for the G1 finals. EVIL is also eliminated from making it to the end, but he can play a role as spoiler here in preventing the Rainmaker/Balloon Freak from going any further. EVIL wastes no time here by hammering Okada with two massive lariats early before going for the EVIL STO. Okada is able to escape and hit the reverse neckbreaker in an attempt to stall EVIL’s momentum. The fight spills outside and Okada looks to send EVIL into the railing but EVIL reverses and Lil Kazu hits the steel hard before crumbling to the floor. EVIL wraps a chair around Okada’s head and sends him into the ring post before rolling back into the ring while Okada attempts to recover outside. Once back in the ring, Okada finds himself under the thumb of EVIL who transitions between submission holds and strikes.

Okada is able to catch EVIL with a snap DDT which leaves both men on the mat for a few moments before Kazu kips up and begins to lay into EVIL using his quickness to his advantage. EVIL is able to avoid Okada’s dropkick as he sits on the top rope and follows up with a senton backsplash to the Rainmaker. Both men roll out to the apron where EVIL drags Okada to his feet. With a handful of hair, EVIL leaps from the apron and drives Okada face-first into the steel railing in front of the commentary teams. All bets are off at this point as EVIL drags Okada away from the ring and up the ramp. He lifts Okada onto his shoulders but Okada is able to escape his grip and drive EVIL into the ramp with a DDT. Okada backs himself up the ramp as EVIL rises to his feet and connects with a shotgun dropkick sending EVIL rolling all the way back to ringside. Okada gets to his feet on the ramp and hurls EVIL back into the ring at a count of 16.

Inside the ring Okada connects with another big shotgun dropkick sending EVIL into the corner. Okada ascends the top rope and absolutely hammers EVIL with a missile dropkick before looking for the Tombstone in the center. EVIL is able to slip out of two attempts and then uses Red Shoes as a human shield to avoid Okada’s attack. EVIL catches the Rainmaker with a kick to the stomach before lifting him for a Magic Killer with Red Shoes’ unintentional assistance. Okada tries to fight back with boots against EVIL as he recovers in the corner, but the King of Darkness rallies with a hard lariat and Darkness Falls for a two count. Okada fights back once again and attempts a Rainmaker only to have it blocked and reversed into a Rainmaker (Darknessmaker?) from EVIL that scores him an incredibly close two count.

EVIL goes into hyper mode here as he drives Okada down with a half-and-half suplex before removing his elbow pad and leveling the former Heavyweight Champion with a lariat for another super close pinfall attempt. EVIL looks for the STO here but Okada counters into a Rainmaker attempt. EVIL counters once again for his own Rainmaker, but Okada turns it into his own version of the EVIL STO for a two count. Okada drags EVIL to his feet and hits the standing dropkick to the back of the neck before delivering the Tombstone. Okada looks for the Rainmaker once more but EVIL is able to break free and commit a near-murder with a huge lariat. He pulls a limp Okada to his feet and looks for the STO but Okada counters into the discus Rainmaker before hitting the Rainmaker proper for the the three. Awesome ending sequence here and another really strong performance by EVIL who comes up just short again Okada. Okada now finds himself tied with 12 points against Jay White.

I believe there are three scenarios that can happen to close out A Block:

  • Tanahashi wins A Block: Tanahashi would have to beat or draw Okada on August 10. If he does, the outcome of Jay White/EVIL is inconsequential.
  • Okada wins A Block: Okada would have to beat or draw Tanahashi on August 10. If he beats or draws Tana, he needs White to lose to or draw EVIL to stay ahead of the pack.
  • White wins A Block: White would have to beat EVIL on August 10 and see Okada beat Tanahashi. White has a tie-breaker win over Okada from day one.

This final show is going to be interesting at the top, but we also have B Block to look forward to on August 8 with Naito/SANADA and Omega/Yano with both match having implications on who could walk out the B Block winner. For now, let’s look at the updated standings in A Block.

Hiroshi Tanahashi: 14 (Possible Total Points: 16)

Jay White: 12 (PTP: 14)

Kazuchika Okada: 12 (PTP: 14)

EVIL: 8 (PTP: 10)

Minoru Suzuki: 8 (PTP: 10)

Michael Elgin: 6 (PTP: 8)

Bad Luck Fale: 6 (PTP: 8)

Hangman Page: 6 (PTP: 8)

Togi Makabe: 4 (PTP: 6)


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