NJPW G1 Climax 28:
Day Thirteen

Does the “A” in “A Block” stand for “Another”? I love a handful of wrestlers in the block but it definitely does not shine in comparison to its counterpart. I appreciate the fact that the intro video and the entrances are just long enough for me to finish a bowl of cereal. Always thinking of me, NJPW. Anyway, G1 Climax 28 day thirteen is here with Okada/Suzuki and Tanahashi/EVIL plus White/YOSHI which could be a surprise good-to-great match.

Toru Yano & Gedo vs Toa Henare & Ren Narita

Gedo starts off mocking Henare after grounding him and things wind up spilling out to the floor in short order. Yano works quickly to remove the corner turnbuckle pad and Henare finds himself punished for it. Henare finds himself in peril for much of the match until he’s able to suplex Yano before tagging in Narita. Narita lacks the fire of a Shota Umino but does have the lanky, twig-like figure of a Zack Sabre Jr. You take what you can get. Narita uses his skinny strength to deliver a vertical suplex to Yano to the amazement of the crowd. After sending the Young Lion into the exposed turnbuckles Yano grabs a quick three count. YTR has SANADA on August 4 and as much as I love the super serious Yano, I don’t see him taking SANADA down any pegs.

Hirooki Goto & YOH vs Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa

YAAAAAAAAAWN. I love Goto and YOH but I’m starting to get real tired of seeing the Firing Squad on my TV. I’ve always enjoyed him in tag matches up until now but the constant DQ and bullshit finishes in the G1 plus his overall performance have really soured him for me. Goto winds up neutralized on the outside while the Tongans focus their attack on YOH in the ring. YOH stops the onslaught with a dragon screw on Tama before tagging in Goto who immediately begins to clean house. Goto grabs Loa in a choke prompting YOH to tag himself in and take him down with a superkick and double suplex. YOH grabs a series of near-fall attempts on Loa before getting caught with Apeshit for the win. I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am for the ref bump and Loa & Fale interference in the Goto/Tama match on the 4th. Woo.

Juice Robinson & David Finlay vs Zack Sabre Jr & TAKA

Sabre is the latest man in the list of competitors who have failed to end Kenny Omega’s unbeaten G1 28 streak. The only men remaining with a chance at this point are Ishii, Yano, and Ibushi and I could see two of those men in that position. As much as I’d love to say one of them is Yano, he is unfortunately not on that short list. Juice is off of his first win in ages against SANADA. Juice’s hand is taped up again here, after having removed the tape during his match with SANADA, and I’m sure it will become a focal point for ZSJ tonight and on the 4th. Juice and ZSJ are legal for a short period and wind up trading blows in the center until Juice takes the upper hand with a suplex out of Sabre’s front facelock. As both men recover they tag their respective partners and TAKA is nearly able to elicit a tap from Finlay while Sabre keeps Juice tied up on the outside. Juice wiggles free, though, and breaks the submission leading to a Finlay recovery and Prima Nocta for the win. After the match Sabre looks to do some damage to Juice’s hand but is chased off by Finlay before he can complete his attack.

Kenny Omega & Chase Owens vs Tomohiro Ishii & SHO

As much as I love Ibushi, I really hope that if anyone puts a dent in Omega’s G1 Fun Run it’s Ishii. I’ve always enjoyed him but he’s been something else this entire tournament and I’d love to see him come out on top against the Heavyweight Champion. Plus, he’s the wrestler whose theme music gets the largest reaction out of my dogs so they must know something on a whole other level that we mere humans can’t see. Omega and Chase run the pain train on SHO’s groin repeatedly row-boating his legs. SHO fights through the effects to catch Chase with a spear before tagging in Ishii who tosses Omega and Owens around the ring like The Miz tosses a baby (I don’t watch the show, but I see GIFs). Bullet Club have a late-match miscue which causes Omega to superkick Owens leading to a backstabber on Owens from SHO with Ishii’s follow-up brainbuster sealing the deal. I’m looking forward to seeing Ishii shrug off some of Omega’s offense and forearm him into the eighteenth row this weekend!

Tetsuya Naito & SANADA vs Kota Ibushi & Yujiro Takahashi

Yujiro comes to the ring with a lady friend who dances in the center of the ring while Liger, on commentary, has heart palpitations. I recently saw this insane tweet in regards to Liger:

What a god damn wonderful maniac. Anyway, SANADA and Ibushi are the most handsome members of the A Block and now they must prepare for battle for handsome supremacy. Early on SANADA looks to lock Yujiro in the Paradise Lock but can’t quite get it cinched in. Yujiro tries his hand at putting SANADA in the hold but gets confused at the steps and yells at the referee. I love watching other wrestlers try and use the move against SANADA only to wind up puzzled. On the outside Naito tries to convince Yujiro’s friend to take a cheap shot at Ibushi but she’s just too dang polite to do it. SANADA tags Naito back in with Yujiro for another brief reuniting of No Limit before Yujiro catches Naito with a stun gun and tags Ibushi into the match.

Naito is able to assume control over Ibushi for a time until Ibushi connects with a surprise Pele kick before both men tag back out. Yujiro catches SANADA with a boot against the ropes before following up with a basement dropkick and an inverted DDT. This all just nets the Tokyo Pimp a two count. SANADA grabs Yujiro in the Skull End but Ibushi springboards into the ring to break up the hold. Naito catches Ibushi in a leg lock, weakening his opponent on August 4, as SANADA completes locking in the Skull End on Yujiro for the tapout victory. Once again SANADA bails early before Naito can get a fist bump from him. Naito tries convincing Ibushi to come into the ring and fist bump him instead but Ibushi throws his ice pack at Naito before heading to the back.

Mike Elgin vs Bad Luck Fale

I mean. Really. Who could even possibly care about this match? I ate a cupcake while this played in the background. Elgin wins via DQ.

Togi Makabe vs Hangman Page

Both men are mathematically eliminated from winning A Block, though in the unlikely event that Tana loses all of his remaining matches and Makabe wins his, the Unchained Gorilla could tie for the lead. Everybody else ahead of Makabe would also have to lose all of their remaining matches, too, which is essentially impossible since some of those guys still have to face one another. Page continues to have strong showings as he holds his own against the heavy boys. His other remaining matches are against Suzuki and YOSHI-HASHI so his possibility of breaking out of the two-point club basically lie here and with YOSHI. Everybody has made a habit of blocking the spider German from Makabe and this match is no different – as has become customary, Makabe hits the spider belly-to-belly instead but misses the follow-up King Kong Knee Drop. Both men get back to their feet and begin trading lariats in the center of the ring. Page is the first to dip as he drops to a knee but lands on his feet out of a Makabe German suplex before connecting with a superkick. Not to be denied, Makabe nearly takes Page’s head off with one more lariat. Page is knocked to the apron and as Makabe hits the far ropes Page slingshots into the ring with his somersault clothesline before closing things out with the Rite of Passage – Page picks up two more points! It’s all about pride for Page at this point but he now has victories over Makabe and Fale, though this is his first actual pinfall victory in the block – his win over Fale came via DQ (surprise!).

Jay White vs YOSHI-HASHI

Jay White was not happy post-match on August 1 and neither am I because it feels like seeds of descent are being laid between my sweet boys SHO and YOH. Chaos is going to be torn apart by the Switchblade and I don’t know how all of the pieces are going to fall into place when all is said and done. YOSHI is fighting to stay out of last place and join Hangman Page with 4 points while White still has a very good chance of winning the block. White attacks YOSHI before the bell and lays into his stablemate while shouting his displeasure at him. YOSHI stages a short comeback but White is able to suplex him over the top rope and to the floor to turn things back around. Switchblade launches into his trademark attack on the floor as he sends YOSHI into the railing and apron, and back again, as he locks eyes with Rocky Romero on commentary.

After failing to submit YOSHI back in the ring White rolls outside and reaches under the ring for a chair to a resounding round of boos from the crowd. He argues with Red Shoes on the floor and as he turns his attention back to the ring YOSHI dropkicks the chair into his face. YOSHI uses the distraction to take advantage back in the ring where White nearly comes back with the Blade Runner to close things out. YOSHI is able to avoid and powerbombs White to the mat before ascending to the top rope. White, as White does, uses the referee as a shield long enough to regain his composure before crotching YOSHI on the top rope. White fails another attempt at the Runner and after breaking out of YOSHI’s pump handle, White shoves YOSHI into Red Shoes in the corner. He catches YOSHI with a low blow and goes for the Blade Runner once more but YOSHI is, again, able to counter. YOSHI drops White with a fisherman buster for a close two count as the crowd begins to rally behind him. YOSHI sets up the pump handle for Karma once more but White is able to free himself and, this time, fully connect with the Blade Runner for the three. White boosts himself back into a first-place tie and if EVIL can defeat Tanahashi he’ll also find himself sitting with 10 points.

Post-match White yells at YOSHI on the mat before having words with Rocky on commentary and heading to the back.

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs EVIL

EVIL promises to defeat Tanahashi and run the G1 to usher in a new era in New Japan and he’s hard to argue against. Tana, though, warns that you can’t count out the Ace as he looks to become the second man this year to reach 12 points. EVIL controls Tana early on with submissions as he focuses on the arm but Tana is able to kick his way free and take to the air with flying forearms and sentons to take the air out of EVIL’s sails. As Tana looks to fly from the second rope EVIL catches him with a clothesline sending him to the arena floor. Tana is able to get back into the ring at seventeen to avoid being counted out. EVIL continues the onslaught inside, though, with a bronco buster in the corner to grab a two count. EVIL catches a Tanahashi boot and throws his foot into Red Shoes, who catches it, before trying to kick Tanahashi himself. Tana catches EVIL’s kick and we have a fun little standoff where nobody is sure of whose foot to put down first. Red Shoes obliges and Tana attempts to take control but EVIL catches him with a lariat out of the corner to keep things in his favor.

EVIL looks for the STO but Tana is able to counter it into a rolling neckbreaker to set things back on track for himself. He follows with a Slingblade for a two count as he heads out to the top once more. EVIL looks to stop Tanahashi in his tracks and does momentarily, but Tana responds with a dragon screw from the apron before the cross body block into the ring. With EVIL on his back Tanahashi hits the ropes again for High Fly Flow but EVIL sees it coming and rolls out of the way. EVIL sends Tana back to the mat with Darkness Falls for another two count. Pulling the elbow pad off of his right arm, EVIL hits the ropes and lays Tanahashi out with a lariat but he can’t keep Tana down for three. Tana blocks two more attempts at the EVIL STO before connecting with his own version of the move! Tana quickly scurries to the top rope and ends the match with High Fly Flow to earn two more points. Jay White is now in chase mode as he sits with 10 points behind Tanahashi at 12. For White to win the block he would need to win his two remaining matches against Makabe and EVIL and have Tanahashi lose against Elgin and Okada. Anything is still possible, and if EVIL can beat White and Okada while the two previous scenarios also take place he can put himself in contention to tie the block.

Kazuchika Okada vs Minoru Suzuki

The promos from Suzuki and Okada after their tag match on day twelve do a great job of adding more to this fight. Their last two matches have gone to time limit draws and both men are focused on making sure that doesn’t happen here. Both men have a hard road to winning A Block. They both need to win all of their remaining matches and see Tanahashi and White lose their remaining matches. EVIL can play spoiler for Okada August 5 in Osaka. It’s coming down to the wire for A Block!

Okada continues to let his freak flag, and balloons, fly as he parades around the ring. Suzuki is having approximately zero of this bullshit and jumps Okada before the bell as he enters the ring. The King takes The Rainmaker to the floor and immediately into the crowd as he begins to assault him with chairs and sections of the guard rail. Suzuki threatens Red Shoes with a chair as he attempts to force the action back into the ring causing Red Shoes to flee before picking up his own chair for protection. Suzuki looks like he’s about to rip the referee’s head from his shoulders before Okada attacks. Suzuki quickly takes back over as he hurls Okada into another section of chairs in the crowd. Suzuki heads back toward the ring where he awaits Okada with a chair.

Okada eventually makes it back to ringside where Suzuki beats him with the chair before rolling back into the ring at a count of fifteen. Okada narrowly avoids being counted out by sliding into the ring at eighteen to the dismay of Suzuki. Suzuki locks Okada in an armbar in the ropes before knocking him from the apron and into the guard rail with a running boot as he licks his lips and smiles sinisterly from the ring. This time, Okada barely pulls himself under the bottom rope at a count of nineteen.

Suzuki toys with Okada from here until he works his way back to his feet and trades strikes with Suzuki before taking him down with a neckbreaker. Okada drops Suzuki with a back elbow off of the ropes and then begins to pick up speed with an elbow in the corner and a DDT for a one count. Okada lifts Suzuki onto his shoulders for a reverse neckbreaker but Suzuki is able to escape into a cross armbreaker for a moment before Okada wisely reaches the ropes. Suzuki sends Okada back to the mat once more with a penalty kick and follows up by tying both of Okada’s arms behind his back before transitioning into a Fujiwara armbar; Okada, again, reaches the ropes to break the hold.

Okada, back on his feet, attempts to lay a forearm into the face of Suzuki but lacks the strength thanks to Suzuki’s repeated targeting of his limb. Suzuki drops him into the corner and pounds away but after Red Shoes backs him off Okada pops to his feet and connects with the shotgun dropkick sending Suzuki to the mat. Brazenly, Okada welcomes Suzuki to his feet to trade elbows to the face. Suzuki stands tall in the battle and mocks the Rainmaker pose which raises the ire of Okada who begins to hit harder. But, y’know, who the fuck hits harder than Suzuki? For a second both men are audibly laughing as they pound the shit out of each other and it is T E R R I F Y I N G. Suzuki brings Okada to his knees once more with a hard slap as the crowd catches their breath.

The beatings continue and Okada slaps Suzuki hard which sends him into the ropes. Okada hits the opposite ropes but Suzuki catches him on the rebound with a dropkick which sends both men to the mat for a brief period. Suzuki locks Okada in the rear naked choke which nearly puts him out but twists him into position for the Gotch-style piledriver. Okada quickly turns out of it and attempts the Rainmaker but Suzuki counters with a slap to the face before tying him up in an octopus hold. Okada finds a way to break free and delivers the Tombstone to Suzuki before wrapping Suzuki in his own version of a rear naked choke and attempting a Gotch-style piledriver of his own. The two men trade positions on a Tombstone until Okada connects with a Gotch-style Tombstone leading into a discus Rainmaker followed by the Rainmaker proper for a three count. This was a return to form for Okada who puts himself in the double-digit club with 10 points to Suzuki’s 8. Suzuki finds himself in the same boat as EVIL where the most points he can finish with are 12 while Okada is side by side with Jay White – both men have the chance to end the tournament with a total of 14 points behind Tanahashi’s possible 16.

August 4 will see Naito/Ibushi and Omega/Ishii among others in B Block, though those two are the matches I’m looking forward to the most. I don’t know why I want to see someone end Omega’s undefeated streak so badly – I love Omega! If anyone has a chance, though, it’s got to be Tomohiro Ishii. We’ll find out what happens with Omega/Ishii on Saturday, but for now let’s check in with the updated A Block standings!

Hiroshi Tanahashi: 12 (Possible Total Points: 16)

Jay White: 10 (PTP: 14)

Kazuchika Okada: 10 (PTP: 14)

EVIL: 8 (PTP: 12)

Minoru Suzuki: 8 (PTP: 12)

Bad Luck Fale: 6 (PTP: 10)

Michael Elgin: 6 (PTP: 10)

Togi Makabe: 4 (PTP: 8)

Hangman Page: 4 (PTP: 8)

YOSHI-HASHI: 2 (PTP: 6)

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