NJPW G1 Climax 28: Day Seventeen

We are upon the final three days as we kick the weekend off with G1 Climax 28 day seventeen! Today and tomorrow we’ll see the finals of the tournament come to light with everything still every much up in the air and a number of interesting possibilities for the finals in Budokan. The set is nice and spruced up and I did a little dance that really confused my dog, so I’m good to go!

Tomohiro Ishii & SHO vs Toa Henare & Shota Umino

I’ve really come to appreciate Toa on this tour. He doesn’t do anything spectacular in the ring and his spear leaves something to be desired, but I’ve enjoyed following along with him in the post-match interviews that go up after the shows are finished. If you’re not already following the NJPW YouTube channel you need to get on it. The post-match interviews give so much more depth to these guys that you just don’t get by watching the matches and they’re all (most of the time) subtitled. I’ve only come across a couple on this tour that didn’t have English subtitles, and they may have just been in progress – I haven’t checked back on them just yet. Toa and Shota wind up controlling a lot of this match and show off some solid teamwork to keep Ishii and SHO at bay. Despite a flurry from Shota and an incredibly close pin attempt on a backslide, SHO is able to recover and put the Young Lion away to give Ishii a victory heading into his match with SANADA tomorrow.

Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa vs Toru Yano & Gedo

Yano and Gedo almost take a countout loss right at the onset of this one as they can’t decide who should start the match. They eventually both slide into the ring where the Tongans take control with Tama and Yano becoming the legal men. YTR uses his usual shenanigans but finds them largely unsuccessful here as we see Loa put Gedo away with Apeshit for the victory in a fairly short match. Nothing much to write home about here but at least we’re coming to a close on the “Firing Squad makes everything they touch in the G1 boring and dumb” story arc.

Juice Robinson & David Finlay vs Hirooki Goto & YOH

Goto is coming off of a tough loss to Zack Sabre Jr and contends that his looming match with Juice will be a fair fight because now they’re both broken. Goto’s elbow is wrapped here and he favors it on simple moves, like shoulder blocks, early on. Juice looks for Pulp Friction early on but Goto counters into a GTR attempt which Juice breaks out of. Goto looks for a big lariat but Juice hits his injured arm on the swing to block contact. With the limb now targeted, Juice tags in Finlay and the two attempt a double flapjack on the NEVER Openweight Champion. Goto fights out and disposes of Juice to the floor and survives a Urinage back breaker from Finlay before coming back with the Ushigoroshi and GTR for the win.

Tetsuya Naito & SANADA vs Zack Sabre Jr & TAKA

ZSJ wants to continue his impressive ways and pick up a win over Naito tomorrow to go with his wins over Juice and Goto amongst others. TAKA delivers the sound of advice to “JUST TAP OUT!” as Sabre scowls at the crowd. SANADA is going to clash with Ishii tomorrow and I don’t know if my heart will be able to take it. They’ve been, in my opinion, the MVPs of the G1 and have brought forth my favorites moments and matches of the entire tour. Naito and ZSJ have words before the match as Sabre wants to start off the match with his future opponent. Before the bell rings, Naito raises his fist and SANADA fist bumps him to cheers from the crowd.

Naito starts things off as Sabre wished but just as the action is about to start, Sabre ducks out and tags TAKA into the match. Naito tags SANADA before attacking Sabre and dragging him to the floor for a whip into the railing and a series of stomps. SANADA takes advantage of TAKA being distracted by the assault and jumps him from behind to put LIJ in control early on. SANADA and Naito look to double team TAKA but as SANADA holds TAKA in a camel clutch and Naito looks to hit the ropes for a dropkick, Sabre trips Naito and locks him in an ankle lock. The tables turn in favor of Suzuki-gun as TAKA gets the upper hand on SANADA before taking Sabre back into the match.

Sabre controls SANADA briefly but my Spooky Boy~ finds an opening long enough to tag in Naito who continues to stay on top of ZSJ. Naito looks for the slingshot dropkick in the corner but Sabre has it scouted, countering it with a front facelock into a suplex. Sabre counter-wrestles Naito until getting caught with an enziguiri prompting both men to tag out. SANADA catches TAKA quickly and rolls him into the Paradise Lock complete with a dropkick to the rumpus. TAKA tries to fight back but gets snapped up in the Skull End for a tapout victory as SANADA and Naito both head into big matches. SANADA’s match with Ishii won’t have any outcome on the winner of the bracket but should be absolutely ridiculous.

After the match Sabre attacks Naito from behind but after an Irish whip Naito rolls into a tranquilo pose much to ZSJ’s dismay. LIJ bump fists on the arena floor once more before making their exit.

Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks vs Kota Ibushi, Marty Scurll, & Chase Owens

How cruel of the G1 organizers to put Kenny and Chase on opposite sides! They’ve made a fun team throughout the tour, but I guess it’s appropriate at this point as Kenny will go head-to-head with the partner of all partners, Ibushi, in a must-win match for both men tomorrow. Jesus, tomorrow’s show is absolutely stacked – Omega/Ibushi, Naito/ZSJ, and SANADA/Ishii will all be standout matches and Juice/Goto should at least be a good one.

I’ll be honest, I’ve only watched Marty Scurll in the past year or so but he does absolutely nothing for me. I’m not sure what the hype is all about. It’s great to see The Bucks here, though, on these final G1 days. Marty and Matt start this one off and both strut like peacocks for a bit before ending in a standoff and tagging Chase and Omega respectively. Omega and Chase each look to connect with a series of moves but they each avoid one another and come to a standoff of their own before tagging Nick and Ibushi who follow suit. All six men show themselves on equal footing not only one-on-one but with everybody in the ring at once as nobody can seem to land a single offensive maneuver. Marty convinces everybody to strut around flapping their arms before Ibushi puts a stop to it and calls for Omega to be tagged in as the legal man in the match.

Nick tags Omega in as Ibushi looks on with a hand over his heart. The Golden Lovers circle each other in the center and just as it seems they’re about to lock it up, the Firing Squad hit the ring to lay both of them out including Tama putting Kenny down with the Gun Stun. Once again, Firing Squad spoil the fun and ruin a good thing by ending this match in a no-contest. Omega and Ibushi hug and shake hands after the match before everybody solemnly heads back to the locker room. Kenny laments, on the way to the back, that “we can’t have a fun match” before the six men reconvene at the entrance and step through the curtain together. The Golden Elite/Bullet Club are certainly all on the same page while the Firing Squad stink up the joint.

Mike Elgin vs Togi Makabe

Elgin is in a six-man tag team match tomorrow which means I’ll have to look at him even less than if he were in a normal tag team match and for that, I praise the G1 Gods. I was too busy taking screencaps of YOSHI-HASHI’s latest post-match interview to really pay attention to this. I feel good about that choice. Sorry, Makabe.

The Unchained Gorilla vanquishes the muscle dummy with the King Kong Knee Drop and picks up two more of those all-important points YOSHI is getting excited about.

Hangman Page vs YOSHI-HASHI

YOSHI made a note in his post-match interview from Day Sixteen that in his G1 debut he only earned 6 points. He also made the astute observation that “the goal is to get more points” so he at least understands the basic concepts of the tournament. Page looks to end with 8 points while YOSHI looks to tie his debut record with 6 points if he can pull off a win. YOSHI is looking radiant in a silver sleeveless jacket with his classic green curtain rod as he saunters to the ring. Late in the match Page looks for the Rite of Passage and YOSHI counters with a god damn Canadian Destroyer. He gets a two out of the shock move and looks for Karma but can’t make it happen. He brings Page down with a lungblower instead before dragging him back to his feet and finally connecting with Karma for the win – YOSHI grabs two points here to match the 6 he earned in his G1 debut. Page also settles out at 6 but, for me, has been a real breakout star of the G1. I didn’t care too much for him before one way or the other – he was always justĀ there, but he put in some outstanding performances especially against Okada and Tanahashi that caught my eye. I hope to see some good stuff in the future from Page… whatever his future holds considering Tanahashi seems to want to drag him out of the slums of Bullet Club.

Minoru Suzuki vs Bad Luck Fale

Suzuki wraps up his G1 performance with a fart as he finds himself wasted on Bad Luck Fale. I’m very much looking forward to the interference from Loa and Tama in this one! Fale goes after the announcer as he enters the ring and Suzuki uses the moment to attack The Underboss. Fale takes the advantage and things head to the outside where Fale nails El Desperado before running Suzuki into the railing and choking him with some cables. Back in the ring he overpowers Suzuki as he establishes a slow pace. MiSu is able to catch Fale in an armbar in the ropes and drag him to the outside – he delivers some of Fale’s own medicine as he whips him into the railing before laying in a chair shot across the back. Suzuki uses the chair to choke Fale until the referee forces him to stop by ripping the weapon from his hands. Suzuki knocks the referee to the ground and continues his assault on Fale with the chair. Once back in the ring, Suzuki wails on Fale in the corner before the referee, again, pulls him away.

As Suzuki locks a cross arm breaker on Fale, Loa appears and pulls the ref out of the ring before laying in an attack. Loa and Fale double-team Suzuki for a minute while Despy looks on from the outside instead of coming into help. Fale looks for the Bad Luck Fall but MiSu slips behind into a choke which Fale is able to break free from. Suzuki begins to lay in some heavy forearm shots to Fale which bring him to his knees allowing the rear naked choke to be applied more deeply. Loa attempts to jump into the ring but Despy holds him back which brings Tama slithering down the ramp. He hits Suzuki from behind as he attempts to lift Fale for the Gotch-style piledriver to give him a DQ win and close him out with 10 points. Dumb finish because of dumb idiots. Firing Squad is not enjoyable in any way at all.

Jay White vs EVIL

Switchblade needs to win this match and then have Okada win against Tanahashi in order for him to take the block. If White wins but Tana overcomes or draws Okada, Tanahashi will just barely win the block. Unless White loses, Okada has zero chance of actually winning the block and his match with Tanahashi will serve as simply a potential spoiler for the Ace and a chance to secure things for his Chaos stablemate.

White slaps EVIL straight out the gate here and the two find themselves on relatively even ground for the opening minutes of the match. White is able to take the upper hand as he suplexes EVIL over the top rope and to the apron before first whipping him and then suplexing him into the steel railing. White retains control in the ring until EVIL catches him with the ole foot-catch-referee-hand-off-switcheroo and buries a kick into his stomach. As White recovers, EVIL clotheslines him over the top and to the floor before following and sending White flying into multiple lengths of the railing. EVIL’s rally is short-lived, however, as White is able to drop him with a snap Flatliner and a deadlift German suplex before a spinning vertical suplex grabs him a two count.

White lifts EVIL for the Blade Runner but EVIL rakes the eyes to break free. As EVIL charges White in the corner, White sidesteps and sends EVIL toward the referee. EVIL avoids making contact, but while the referee is huddled into a ball White nails EVIL with a low blow to a round of boos from the crowd. White lifts EVIL for another attempt at the Blade Runner but EVIL counters into Darkness Falls leaving both men recovering in the center of the ring. EVIL drives White down on his head and neck with a half-and-half suplex before leveling him with a lariat for a two count. The King of Darkness signals for the end but White sneaks out before hitting a half nelson/sleeper hold suplex. It looks nasty and EVIL lands on the top of all of that beautiful hair. White struggles to his feet and pulls a limp EVIL as well before pulling the Kiwi Krusher out of his bag of tricks for a super close two count.

With things breaking down White heads outside for a chair but gets caught with a clothesline before he can connect. EVIL grabs the chair and looks to use it but Red Shoes stops him in his tracks leading to another half nelson/sleeper hold suplex. White looks for the Blade Runner once more which is countered into an EVIL STO attempt – this is blocked by White who shoves EVIL into the referee. Red Shoes goes down and White swings for the fences with the chair but EVIL ducks and sends White down with the EVIL STO to pick up the win and two points! Jay White is officially eliminated from winning A Block and it will all come down to Okada and Tanahashi in the main event.

Kazuchika Okada vs Hiroshi Tanahashi

Okada is upset that Budokan Hall won’t let him bring balloons to the ring. Who can blame him? Will this serve as a detriment as Weird Okada looks to wrap up G1 28 as the winner of A Block? Can Tanahashi’s gorgeous hair and air guitar keep on their winning ways and see him only suffer from one single loss this entire tournament? This one’s for all the marbles and, itself, is a Tokyo Dome main event. I’m gonna put the computer down and watch it like a normal person so I can get real emotional about these sweaty hunks beating each other up for the next thirty minutes.

This was a fun match and had the crowd hanging on until the very end. Neither man maintained control for very long along the way – not surprising with how familiar these two are with one another. The crowd early on was very much in favor of Tanahashi with chants and cries of “GO ACE!” rising from Budokan Hall. Okada worked to win them over and by the end of the match had at least a sizable portion of them on his side as he attempted Rainmaker after Rainmaker to put this one away. Okada was able to connect with the discus Rainmaker but it only earned him a two count. Every other attempt at the Rainmaker proper was met with either a block or reversal by Tanahashi. In the end, Tanahashi would counter the final Rainmaker attempt with a hard slap to the face of Okada. Okada, drained from the match at this point, would collapse to the mat as Tana ascended to the top rope. Connecting with High Fly Flow across the back of Okada, Tana would roll his opponent over and hook his legs for just a two count. As the Ace made his way to the top rope to deliver another High Fly Flow the bell would ring as the time limit had expired.

Both men laid in agony on the mat as the referee and Young Lions tended to them with ice packs. As the announcer made the announcement that, with 15 points, Tanahashi had won the A Block the crowd erupted into cheers for their beautiful boy. Okada made the slow and sorrowful walk to the back, mirroring Wrestle Kingdom 9, as Tanahashi celebrated in the ring.

We now know that Tanahashi is the A Block winner and will go on to face either Kenny Omega, Tetsuya Naito, or Kota Ibushi in the G1 finals!

???Hiroshi Tanahashi: 15 ???

Kazuchika Okada: 13

Jay White: 12

EVIL: 10

Minoru Suzuki: 10

Michael Elgin: 6

Bad Luck Fale: 6

Hangman Page: 6

Togi Makabe: 6


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