NJPW G1 Climax 28: Day Sixteen

It’s the sweet sixteen baaayyyy beeeee! Or at least G1 Climax 28 day sixteen. We’re coming off of a two-day break and back with B Block action where things are really coming down to the wire. Naito/SANADA and Omega/YTR should be fun matches with Ibushi also in contention to take the block. At this point the best SANADA can hope to do is tie for 12 points, but he would still lose to Kenny Omega in a tie-breaker. If only my Spooky Boy~ had been the one to end Omega’s G1 Fun Run instead of Ishii 🙁

Mike Elgin & Shota Umino vs Togi Makabe & Toa Henare

Toa has been fighting to prove that he belongs on this tour. Despite eating loss after loss in these tag matches, his resolve remains strong and he hopes to prove himself to one day compete in the G1. I am far more invested in his story than anything Mike Elgin could do. Despite a late flurry of offense from the wild-eyed Shota, Toa is able to finally pick up a pinfall on the Young Lion with a Urinage. Elgin looks on in disbelief, probably because he’s too much of a dummy to comprehend what’s going on around him at any given time.

YOSHI-HASHI & SHO vs Hangman Page & Chase Owens

Page hits a pretty brutal backbreaker on SHO here early on that looked like he could have snapped him in half. Owens continues the beating on SHO as he slows the pace down against one half of RPG3K while YOSHI watches on from the apron. After a suplex gone awry and a wild swing misses its target, SHO is able to take advantage long enough to tag in YOSHI while Owens tags Page. Page nearly gets the victory on YOSHI with the Buckshot after some interference from Owens but The Head Hunter kicks out at two. YOSHI escapes the Rite of Passage and sends Page into the corner before tagging SHO into the match once more. Owens is able to break up SHO’s cross arm breaker on Page before too much damage can be done but finds himself on the receiving end of a pair of German suplexes; on the third, Chase uses the referee to block the impact and levels SHO with a lariat. This allows Page to roll him onto his shoulders for a successful Rite of Passage for the victory. Post-match Page and YOSHI get into it verbally as they both fight for pride on August 10. It would seem, though, that Hiroshi Tanahashi is fighting for Hangman Page.

Minoru Suzuki & El Desperado vs Bad Luck Fale & Tanga Loa

Suzuki-gun do everybody a favor and attack these two nerds before the bell can ring. Suzuki lives out my dreams and beats on Fale throughout the crowd while Loa punishes Desperado. Despy is able to turn the tides as he batters Loa with somebody’s umbrella while Fale finds himself with the upper hand thanks to an Irish whip into a wall and a chair. Fighting back to the ring, Fale and Suzuki become the legal men with Fale taking control. Suzuki is able to avoid most of Fale’s offense with speed and strikes until getting caught with a Samoan Drop. Both men tag in their partners and Loa continues his tradition of pinning guys better than him after hitting Apeshit on Desperado for the three. Fale and MiSu continue to brawl in the crowd after the match as they prepare to meet on August 10.

Jay White & YOH vs EVIL & BUSHI

Jay White still has a chance at winning A Block while EVIL can hope only to spoil Switchblade’s chances to go on and challenge for the IWGP Heavyweight Title at Wrestle Kingdom. White avoids the action to start things off forcing YOH to fight off both members of LIJ while shouting insincere words of encouragement from ringside. After grabbing BUSHI from the outside and holding him in place, White yells to YOH to dive onto him. YOH is conflicted but eventually hits the ropes to launch onto BUSHI only to be tripped and pulled out of the ring by EVIL. YOH and White, still on the floor, have words until BUSHI attacks the distracted YOH from behind. White finally makes his way to the apron but drops back down to the floor once YOH gains the advantage over BUSHI. Switchblade brings a chair into the ring to use on EVIL as he sets YOH up for Darkness Falls but EVIL is able to avoid contact and chase him from the ring. While EVIL keeps White at bay in the aisle, BUSHI hits a Codebreaker followed with a Codebreaker from the second rope for the win. After the match EVIL wraps a chair around YOH’s head and prepares to hit it with another while White gets on the apron to stop him. White decides against going any further, though, and walks away while EVIL finishes the attack before LIJ makes their exit.

Kazuchika Okada & Gedo vs Hiroshi Tanahashi & David Finlay

This is a preview of perhaps the biggest match in all of the G1, Okada vs Tanahashi. Can the Balloon Freak deflate the Ace or will Tana be able to burst Okada’s dreams of winning A Block? See what I did there? All those nice balloon turns of phrase? I’m feeling good about ’em. Okada tries for three Rainmakers early on in quick succession but has his momentum stopped by a slap from Tana before a dragon screw leg whip brings him crashing to the mat. Tana tags Finlay in who retains the control and hits a dropkick on Okada before repeated charging back elbows in the corner. Okada, still, has the wherewithal to hit Finlay with a flapjack before tagging Gedo into the match. With Gedo and Finlay still legal, Okada and Tanahashi find themselves in the center of the ring trading strikes before it’s Okada’s turn to dragon screw Tanahashi to the mat and out of the ring. Gedo and Finlay fight evenly back and forth until Finlay lands Prima Nocta for the win.

After the match Okada and Tanahashi go nose-to-nose on the arena floor. It looks like cooler heads will prevail until Tana lays in a forearm shot to Okada who returns the favor before the two are pulled apart by young boys. The two men climb onto opposing commentary tables to garner a reaction from the crowd as two of NJPW’s cornerstones look to do battle in two days at Budokan Hall

Tomohiro Ishii vs Juice Robinson

Juice has already racked up a list of could-be challengers for his US Title after taking several losses in the G1 and god help him if Ishii adds his name to the list. Juice does that thing that a lot of people do where they try and strike with Ishii before yelling at him to beat on them even harder and Ishii obliges. Partway through the match Juice stuns Ishii long enough to once again remove the wrappings from his left hand. He lays in with the series of rights but Ishii begins responding with forearms. Juice can’t find the mark with the left hand but does back Ishii into the corner where he rocks him with two charging lariats and a cannonball. Juice can’t quite get Ishii up for a piledriver and the Stone Pitbull muscles him over with a back body drop before the two men begin trading chops in the center of the ring. Ishii wavers first but as Juice hits the ropes he’s caught with a powerslam. After trading attempts at moves but blocking one another at every turn, Juice is able to lift Ishii onto his shoulder for a gut buster before driving him down with a powerbomb for a two count. Juice looks for the left hand but Ishii continually stops him with headbutts and forearms until Juice finally sneaks the shot in which buckles Ishii’s knees. Juice gets himself a close two count with a lariat before setting up for Pulp Friction. Juice leaps to hit the move but Ishii breaks free and Juice free-falls to the mat. Ishii hits the ropes for the sliding lariat to a seated Juice for a two of his own. Juice comes back to counter Ishii’s headbutts with one of his own and the two swing with intentions of taking one another’s heads off with lariats and strikes most of which are blocked or countered. In the end it’s Ishii who is able to connect with the brainbuster to score the three on Juice and a potential US Title match down the line.

Hirooki Goto vs Zack Sabre Jr

Neither man can win the block but only one of the two can end things with double-digit points – Goto will need to win this and his next match while ZSJ needs to win just one to break 10. Sabre already has himself a US Title Shot on the table after defeating Juice earlier in the tournament, but can he store a NEVER Openweight Title shot by defeating Goto? ZSJ bends Goto’s arm to the absolute brink on the arena floor and the champion barely makes it back into the ring at the count of 18. Once back inside Sabre continues to do what he does best as he stretches and twists Goto’s limbs in an attempt to evoke a tapout. Sabre stays on the submission game, of course, while Goto is fighting from underneath to try and survive while his arm is attacked time and time again. Goto looks to be building momentum but after a set of rebounds from the ropes and the corner Sabre clamps down the Octopus lock. Goto somehow powers out and levels ZSJ with an Ushigoroshi which finds both men collapsed in the center of the ring. Goto muscles out of a Sabre submission to drive him down with a front-facing GTR but as he goes for the standard GTR Sabre is able to roll him up and bridge for a three count and two more points in the tournament. Sabre can now lay claim to being in contention for both the US and NEVER Openweight Titles! After the match ZSJ flaunts his victory on the apron as he holds the NEVER Openweight Title over his shoulder while taunting Goto before tossing the belt to him and exiting.

Kota Ibushi vs Tama Tonga

Tama comes to the ring sporting a new “zero fucks given” t-shirt perhaps challenging the recent news coming out about his punishment for inappropriate conduct. Tama pulls some kind of god damn magic trick and appears behind Ibushi during his entrance and attacking the Golden Star on the ramp to begin the match. Ibushi needs a win here, and a win against Omega in Tokyo, to secure 14 points in the block. Tama looks to put a stop to that story as he works over Ibushi at a slower pace early on. Ibushi finally connects with a standing dropkick as Tama rebounds off of the ropes to buy himself some recovery time. Ibushi builds his comeback and knocks Tama to the outside before attempting to connect with the Golden Triangle. Tama sees it coming, though, and slides into the ring in time to catch Ibushi on the second rope and knock him to the floor. The two fight briefly in the crowd before Ibushi floors Tama with a kick to the head and then speeds through a door and up some stairs. Ibushi reappears on the next level of seats, tight-rope walks across the railing, and then flies with a picture perfect moonsault onto Tama and a group of Young Lions.

Ibushi drags Tama back to the ring and as he looks to connect with a move from teh top rope, Tanga Loa makes his inevitable presence known by grabbing Ibushi’s leg. Ibushi is able to fight him off but the distraction is enough to allow Tama the chance to get back to his feet. As both men attempt to bring the other down Tama connects with a leaping neckbreaker and a double underhook cradle piledriver for a two count. As both men get back to their vertical bases Tama looks for the Gun Stun. Ibushi stops the hold with a handful of hair and swiftly knees the Tongan in the face to lay him flat on the mat. Ibushi sets Tama up for the Kamigoye but Loa grabs his foot from the outside. After the distraction Tama looks for another Gun Stun but Ibushi blocks before shoving Tama away and into the referee. Cue Bad Luck Fale.

Kenny Omega runs in for the save and to stop Fale’s attack and the odds even again as Ibushi and Tama are left in the ring. Ibushi lowers his kneepad and looks for the unprotected Kamigoye but Tama avoids it. He launches Ibushi into the air for a pop-up Gun Stun and, sadly, gets the three. Boo. Dumb. Stupid.

Post-match the Firing Squad lay waste to Omega in the ring with a huge powerbomb from Loa. Fale looks to follow with the Bad Luck Fall but Hangman Page and Chase Owens run in for the save.

Kenny Omega vs Toru Yano

Kenny remains down in the ring being tended to by his Bullet Club brethren while Toru Yano makes his entrance and everything is starting to become exactly, precisely, 1000% worth it.

Yano surveys the scene and is encouraged onward by the fans in the front row, urging the referee to run through the formalities as quickly as possible. With the bell sounding Yano dives into a pin but only gets a two count as Omega continues to try and recover. Yano, on the other hand, speeds to every turnbuckle and attempts to remove the padding from every one of them – only finding himself stopped by Owens on the last corner. Omega attacks in the corner but Yano is able to beat him back before whipping him into the three exposed corners. He finally removes the pad from the final corner and whips Kenny in only to have Owens throw his body in the way to keep Omega from hitting the steel. On another attempt Owens places the turnbuckle pad in place to save Kenny once more before Yano comes crashing into the corner only to find the pad pulled out before he makes contact.

Yano begs off on his knees as Kenny comes toward him before looking for a low blow. Omega stops the contact and stomps on the hand of Yano before hitting the ropes to be met with an inverted atomic drop. Yano stacks the turnbuckle pads in the center of the ring and, after having his initial attempt blocked, suplexes Omega onto the pads. Yano is pleased with himself but Omega is befuddled after the soft landing. The two men each pick up a pad and begin taking turns at hitting one another. Omega knocks the pad from Yano’s grip and whips him into the ropes but Yano ducks under his swing and rolls him up for two. On their feet, Omega swings once more but Yano catches the pad before dragon screw leg whipping it which sends Omega to the floor.

On the outside Yano attempts to tape Omega to the railing but Ren Narita gets in the way – so Yano tapes Omega to him! Yano tosses the rookie over the railing and Omega, with Page and Owens, struggle to pick his lifeless body back up. Omega, and Narita, make it back into the ring at 19. The duo hit a somewhat forced double clothesline on Yano before Omega finally frees himself. As he says his goodbyes to the Young Lion, Yano pushes Omega into him before rolling him up with a small package. Yano only gets two here and Omega is able to fight his way back to connect with a couple of V-Trigger knees and a snap dragon suplex. Omega looks for a German suplex but Yano blocks it by holding onto Red Shoes. Yano breaks free from the grip of Omega and pushes him into Red Shoes; Omega grabs a hold of him and Yano lays in with a low blow that connects with both men. At this point, the Firing Squad once again spill into the ring and lay both men out before Tama Tonga pulls Yano’s limp body on top of Omega. Yano gets the three count and a win over the IWGP Heavyweight Champion – both men are helped to the back afterward. This was a fun and absurd match with a bit of a crap ending thanks to Tama Tonga (not the outcome of the match, just the way it happened) – go out of your way to watch it if you haven’t already seen it.

Omega’s match with Ibushi now becomes must-win for him to win the block. If Ibushi beats Omega they’ll both wind up with 12 points but Ibushi will hold the tie-breaker win over him. Of course, it remains to be seen what will happen with Naito and SANADA…

Tetsuya Naito vs SANADA

SANADA is deep in thought as Naito runs through his customary hour-long disrobing in the opposite corner. The crowd sound solidly behind Naito at the start but I have a feeling they’ll be chanting SANADA’s name before this one is done. Naito looks for a fist bump before the action begins and SANADA hesitates before accepting. Naito pulls the same trick as he did after their tag match and whips SANADA into the ropes. SANADA flips himself onto the apron and Naito knocks him to the floor before hitting the ropes for the dive fakeout and tranquilo pose – but SANADA trips him and pulls him to the floor before hitting the ropes and pulling a dive fakeout of his own. Both men take a breather before getting back into it.

Back in the ring the two lock up in the center and Naito finds himself in control with a hammerlock which is reversed by SANADA leading to the two men trading holds. As they break, Naito rolls into a tranquilo pose and SANADA dropkicks him right in the heart. THE HEART! SANADA maintains control briefly but gets caught by Naito on the second rope and feels the brunt of an inverted DDT to Naito’s knee. SANADA rolls out of the ring to recover but Naito follows him and stays on the offensive. Naito drags SANADA up the ramp and the two trade strikes before Naito connects with another inverted DDT and a follow-up dropkick to the back of the neck.

The two make their way back to the ring again and Naito begins toying with SANADA, kicking and nudging his head as he gets back to his feet. SANADA lays in a series of forearms to which Naito responds by spitting in his face. SANADA pauses, reflects, and then spits back in the face of Naito! SANADA picks up the pace and avoids Naito with a pair of leapfrogs before hitting a standing dropkick which sends Naito to the floor. SANADA flies with a plancha over the top rope before rolling Naito back inside. Naito isn’t down for long, though, able to catch SANADA and send him into the corner before hitting the slingshot dropkick. Naito looks for a suplex – SANADA escapes but still finds himself whipped into the corner. He flips himself over the top and to the apron before hitting a springboard missile dropkick. SANADA can’t keep the ball in his court, though, as Naito hits the tornado DDT using the top rope as an anchor.

The whole tournament SANADA has had an answer for everybody and everything whether he has come out the winner or not – right now it looks like Naito has an answer for everything SANADA is throwing at him as the Spooky Boy~ can’t seem to retain the advantage for longer than a few minutes. Naito connects with a kick on SANADA and charges for a running Destino but SANADA muscles him up into a vertical suplex, drops his legs across the top rope, and drives him down to the mat with a spinning neckbreaker. SANADA connects with a missile dropkick to the back of Naito’s neck and then a tiger suplex for a two count. SANADA looks for the Skull End but Naito is able to escape. After some back and forth, SANADA locks it in once more but when dropping to the mat Naito is able to roll through and break the hold. He looks for Destino as both men get to their feet but SANADA catches him on his shoulders. Naito powers through and finishes the move for a two count.

Back on their feet, SANADA connects with his own Destino which spikes Naito hard on the top of his head for a two count of his own before cinching in the Skull End one more time. This time, Naito can’t escape immediately when SANADA drops to the mat but nearly slips out twice. SANADA is able to keep the hold locked on and it looks like SANADA is completely out – SANADA releases and heads up for the moonsault but Naito rolls out of the ring to leave both men flat on their backs. Both men work their way to their feet and begin laying in strikes in the center with Naito eventually connecting with a flying shoulder block to take SANADA down. They both have chances for their finishers but it’s Naito who is finally able to deliver a clean Destino to SANADA to capture the victory and push himself up to 12 points. Naito now finds himself alongside Omega and Ibushi with a chance to win the entire block.

Post-match, BUSHI and EVIL make their way to the ring and I have a tear in my eye as EVIL walks out with Hiromu’s jacket in his hands. Naito gets on the mic afterward and while I can’t understand Japanese, it seems as though he’s rallying the troops in LIJ including Hiromu. Naito raises his fist and the three other men join him in a fist bump before Naito fist bumps Hiromu’s jacket. I’M NOT CRYING YOU’RE CRYING.

In two days in Tokyo A Block is in action with Okada/Tanahashi and White/EVIL to see who comes out as the block leader. There are only two more shows left before the finals and anything can still happen! Let’s check out the B Block standings as we go into the final days of the G1!

Kenny Omega: 12 (Possible Total Points: 14)

Tetsuya Naito: 12 (PTP: 14)

Kota Ibushi: 10 (PTP: 12)

Zack Sabre Jr: 10 (PTP: 12)

SANADA: 8 (PTP: 10)

Tomohiro Ishii: 8 (PTP: 10)

Hirooki Goto: 6 (PTP: 8)

Tama Tonga: 6 (PTP: 8)

Juice Robinson: 4 (PTP: 6)

Toru Yano: 4 (PTP: 6)

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