NJPW G1 Climax 28:
Day Fourteen

Things are starting to get real, real interesting now and I don’t know if my heart can take it. It’s a race to the top with Omega, Naito, and Ibushi leading the block but anything is possible! Tonight we see yet another man swing for the fences as he tries to end Kenny Omega’s G1 Fun Run undefeated streak and if anybody can do it, it’s Tomohiro Ishii. I am cautiously optimistic that the Stone Pitbull will be the only man to give Omega a loss here at G1 Climax 28 day fourteen! Let’s not forget the the main event of the evening is Ibushi/Naito which I don’t need to hype any more than that. Let’s get into it!

Bad Luck Fale & Tanga Loa vs YOSHI-HASHI & SHO

Nothing kills my buzz like the Firing Squad starting things off. I think I’m actually coming back around on YOSHI, too. He’s had some good performances in his last few matches and if they make some tweaks to his character and position I think he could see a revitalization. Perhaps post-G1 YOSHI begins to breathe with the switchblade? It already sounds like my sweet boy SHO is entertaining that idea which makes me ten shades of sad. In the end it’s SHO building a comeback before being thwarted by a Loa clothesline and feeling Apeshit as Loa picks up another pinfall victory. If we were counting points for undercard matches I think Loa would have about 86 points by now. Fale and YOSHI look at each other after the match and it’s about as exciting as this sentence makes it sound.

Minoru Suzuki & El Desperado vs Hangman Page & Chase Owens

Name one better thing than waking up early, getting a hot cup of coffee, and singing along to Kaze Ni Nare. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Suzuki is also clearly feeling this high as he attacks Page before the bell and drags him to the outside while Despy begins to work over Chase in the ring. Chase has the same haircut I had in fifth grade so I feel a pretty solid connection with him but it’s nothing that threatens the love I have for The King of Pro Wrestling. As can be expected, this one spills into the crowd as MiSu works over Page with chairs while Desperado and Owens fight amongst the masses on the other side of the arena. Suzuki happily grabs Page’s rope and begins to choke him with it as the legal men get back into the ring to continue the match.

Moments later Suzuki is tagged in and maintains control until he misses a boot in the corner which leaves an opening for Chase to nail him with a superkick before tagging Page into the match. Page is able to dispose of Despy before turning his full attention to Suzuki. Page makes the mistake of challenging Suzuki to trade strikes and founds himself beaten back and onto the apron for his troubles. With Page on the apron Suzuki hits the far ropes and Page attempts the slingshot lariat on his return – Suzuki ducks, locks Page in the rear naked choke, and the two men trade attempts at the Gotch-style piledriver and Rite of Passage briefly. Page brings Owens back into the match and after some quick back and forth Suzuki lays him out with the Gotch-style piledriver for the win as he glares menacingly (do I need to qualify it? Can we just assume any time Suzuki glares that it’s being done menacingly?) at Page on the outside of the ring. Page has been impressive in the G1 and his match with Suzuki tomorrow on day fifteen should be a fun one.

Togi Makabe & Toa Henare vs Jay White & YOH

Time for another chapter in the saga of the Switchblade as he and YOH pair up once more. I think it’s too far gone at this point to look for YOH to adopt any of Jay’s techniques or to take his advice. The two are clearly not on the same page from the get-go as they can’t seem to decide who is going to start the match. White eventually takes charge to kick things off with Makabe before quickly tagging YOH in as soon as Makabe hits his first bit of offense. From the arena floor White tries to get a “YOH! YOH! YOH!” chant started and I can’t tell if he’s sincere or insane as he chants with wild eyes.

Makabe tags Henare into the match who takes over on YOH in the ring. White gets up to his old tricks, and confounds YOH, as he pulls Henare to the outside and whips him back and forth between the railing and ring apron. After rolling Toa back into the ring White encourages YOH to “beat him up!” before demanding a tag from his partner. YOH gets close enough so that Jay can tag himself him and he puts the boots to Henare once legal. Henare connects with a Samoan Drop to take White down to the mat and then tags in Makabe who unloads on Switchblade in the corner. Makabe tags back out and Henare scores a two-count on White after a nice spear. He and Makabe double-team White for a moment before Toa climbs to the top rope; Jay pulls the ref in to give himself a chance to recover before crotching Toa on the top rope. He pulls the man into the ring and delivers the Blade Runner to pick up the victory.

Post-match White slides back into the ring with a chair to use on Henare but Makabe comes in to stop him. Makabe feels the brunt of White’s attack instead until YOH breaks things up. Switchblade makes his way to the back while YOH looks on from the ring disappointed in his Chaos stablemate.

Hiroshi Tanahashi & Shota Umino vs Michael Elgin & David Finlay

Poor David Finlay has to team with the dumb muscle baby and everybody should feel sad and sorry for him. All I really want is for Shota to pin Elgin by standing directly on his chest with his arms crossed. That’s possible, right? A man can dream? I really love Shota Umino. I know I’ve said it before but I can’t wait to see where he goes after breaking free from Young Lion status. He locks Finlay in a Boston Crab late in the match here and withstands two forearm shots from Elgin, screaming in his face each time, before the hold is broken with an Elgin chop. Umino grabs a couple of quick near falls on Finlay before being caught with a urinage backbreaker followed with Prima Nocta for the win. I guess my dreams of seeing Shota stomp Elgin into a fine powder will have to wait for another day.

Kazuchika Okada & Gedo vs EVIL & BUSHI

The weirdest and the evil-est are ready to lock horns here in the undercard main event before their singles match on August 5. Okada needs to be careful to not get too close to EVIL’s scythe. Gedo goes into full dick mode as he tries to unmask BUSHI in the opening minutes of the match. EVIL puts a stop to it before tangling with Okada on the floor, leaving the Rainmaker laying on the mats before being tagged into the match. LIJ continue the long-standing G1 tradition of attacking Gedo’s beard but their follicular assault only nets them a two count. EVIL tries the referee-leg-catch trick but Gedo is ready for it and breaks out with a poke to the eyes before tagging in Okada.

Lil Kazu keeps the attack going on EVIL until he gets caught with a chop and senton backsplash combo. The Rainmaker is able to recover after a sidewalk slam from EVIL to connect with the reverse neckbreaker before both men tag their partners. BUSHI looks to mist Gedo but the Raintaker is able to stop him short. BUSHI counters Gedo’s charge in the corner with a pair of kicks and a missile dropkick from the top rope. The double-team winds up catching up with Gedo as EVIL and BUSHI take turns working him over. Okada breaks up a pinfall attempt on Gedo by BUSHI and is taken off of his feet by a Rainmaker from EVIL! BUSHI flies from the second rope catching Gedo with a Codebreaker for the three count. Okada remains on the mat post-match before rolling out of the ring and dropping to his knees. LIJ exit to the back with no further shenanigans. Is EVIL’s Rainmaker just as powerful as Okada’s? If he hits it tomorrow it could spell the end of Okada’s hopes to win B Block!

SANADA vs Toru Yano

Things go off the rails here immediately as Yano attacks my Spooky Boy~ on his way to the ring! Yano attempts to wrap SANADA In the Paradise Lock on the ramp but can’t quite figure out all of the steps so he uses his t-shirt to tie his feet together instead. SANADA can’t quite untie the shirt so he hops to the ring before finally freeing his feet and sliding into the ring right under the wire at a count of 19. After rolling YTR around inside of the ring, SANADA dumps him to the outside where he (the master) ties him in the Paradise Lock with no trouble. With Yano in trouble of being counted out, Rocky Romero jumps up from the commentary table to free him. Back inside, Yano looks to connect with a swing of the turnbuckle pad but SANADA avoids contact. Yano hits the floor and SANADA flies with a plancha but Yano avoids it before trying to tape SANADA to the railing. The referee puts a stop to things and the madness continues as SANADA Paradise Locks Yano to another section of the guardrail, which he then tapes to the ring post for good measure. Rocky looks to free Yano once again but SANADA stops him in his tracks before tying him up on the floor as well. SANADA slides back into the ring and enjoys the fruits of his labor as he collects another two points via count out! SANADA has adapted to the style of every opponent and had an answer for every move and hold the entire G1 – here he shows that he can play Yano’s games just as well as, if not better, than Yano himself. If you’re not riding on the SANADA train already you need to get on board before you get left at the station.

Hirooki Goto vs Tama Tonga

I love Goto and I hate that I’m not looking forward to one of his matches because I can just smell the interference from Loa and Fale before this thing devolves into a stupid mess with all of the Firing Squad nonsense going on. I just want to see him crush dudes. Why you gotta take this from me, Tama?! Like clockwork, as Goto has the advantage, Loa pushes him from the top rope behind the referee’s back to turn things over to Tama. The Bad Boy slows the pace as he punishes Goto on the floor before Loa interjects once again to drop the NEVER Openweight Champion with a clothesline. Things continued back in the ring at a plodding pace with nothing remarkable happening. The constant Firing Squad interference has become a dark cloud over ever Tama and Fale match as you’re just waiting for the eventual ref bump and ensuing bullshit. The ref bump happens, of course, and Tama & Loa double-team Goto for a bit. With the referee back on his feet Goto is able to assume control and block Tama’s Gun Stun before following up with the Ushigoroshi. Goto connects with the GTR but as the referee’s hand is about to come down for the three, Fale makes his presence known and pulls the referee out of the ring. Goto feels the brunt of the Firing Squad assault until Fale pulls Tama’s body on top of Goto and demands Red Shoes enter the ring to count the pin. Red Shoes enters and, for the second time in the G1, flip the double bird to Fale and Loa on the outside before calling for the bell and a DQ victory for Goto. Another yawn-fest thanks to Tama and the Firing Squad.

Zack Sabre Jr vs Juice Robinson

Juice has racked up a number of losses here which, theoretically, put a number of men in line for a shot at the US Title. Can ZSJ add his name to the list or will The Flamboyant One continue finding his groove and pick up another G1 victory? Neither man can grab a steady advantage in the opening minutes here until Sabre counters a Juice hiptoss into an Octopus hold before transitioning into a ground submission. He ties up the left arm of Robinson before pounding his damaged hand into the mat with a stomp. Juice looks to turn the tables moments later with a stomach breaker but Sabre blocks it and brings Juice to the mat where he continues the attack on his left hand. Sabre steps out of the submission zone and begins laying strikes into Juice, encouraging the US Champion to come back with some of his own – Juice obliges and finds himself in firm control of Sabre for the first time in the match.

When Juice is able to use speed and strength he is able to control Sabre’s body. ZSJ, though, continues to lock submissions out of unlikely positions and stops Juice from gaining too much forward momentum as he counters spinebusters and suplexes into front facelocks and double wristlocks. Sabre is able to lock a sickening Octopus hold on Juice but this time it’s Robinson who counters and hurls his opponent into the air for a gut buster across the knees for a two count. Juice looks for Pulp Friction but Sabre is, once again, able to twist his body around Juice’s to lock in a triangle choke. Juice powers out with a powerbomb and both men find themselves spent and in recovery mode on the canvas.

After having pulled out every thing he can at this point, Juice removes the bandages and wraps from his left hand and straight up punches Sabre in the face with the big left hand. TAKA screams encouragement to Sabre from the outside but Juice pulls Sabre up for another attempt at Pulp Friction. Sabre escapes Juice’s grip and then kicks the hand of Juice as he comes in for another punch before tying him up on the mat with submissions, once more focusing on the left hand as he ties up every other body part of Juice into a disgusting little ball. With no other option, as the Submission Master has Juice’s arms traps and cranks on his knees, Juice gives up.

Post-match, Sabre parades around the ring with the US Title in his hands before dropping it near the body of Juice and leaving the ring. This was a fun little match – any match with Sabre is typically always going to be at least good and he and Juice worked well here together. The ongoing story of Juice’s left hand coming into play has been his foil throughout the entire G1 so it will be interesting to see how he does against his prospective challengers in the future when his hand is at 100%.

Kenny Omega vs Tomohiro Ishii

I BELIEVE IN ISHII. Kenny starts off trying to have fun with Ishii by slapping his head like he’s playing bongos and, I mean, a dumber choice you could not make. There’s a miscommunication early on with a badly-timed leapfrog that sends Ishii stumbling into the ropes before Omega backs him into the corner and begins to lay in chops and elbows. Ishii breaks from the grip and the two men try a series of quick strikes including an attempted V-Trigger from Omega which Ishii expertly slides beneath. So quick! So smooth! Ishii backs Omega into the corner and tousles his hair before laying in some serious chops of his own. Kenny is able to fight back and connect with a disturbing DDT that spikes Ishii like a damn lawn dart before actually connecting with the You Can’t Escape without his opponent escaping or avoiding any part of it! That may be the first time that’s happened all G1 so far.

Omega is able to get comfortable here as he begins to kick at Ishii on the mat. Unfortunately, this is also Ishii’s comfort zone and after flashing a terrifying smile he rises to his feet and chops Omega in the throat. Ishii maintains control briefly until attempting a powerbomb on Omega; with Omega on his shoulders he stumbles back into the ropes and Omega is able to escape before following up with a hurricanrana that sends Ishii to the outside. The Terminator rises and Omega hits Ishii with a somersault dive on the floor. Back in the ring, Omega connects with the leaping face plant for a two count. With Ishii on his feet the two begin to trade blows once again. Ishii is unfazed by Omega’s onslaught and knocks him back into the corner with a single forearm. Ishii’s German suplex into the corner helps weaken the IWGP Heavyweight Champion.

The Stone Pitbull lifts Omega onto the top rope and connects with a beautiful stalling vertical suplex for a two count. Things start going back and forth here as Omega looks for the snap dragon suplex. Ishii counters with a back headbutt but Omega responds with a V-Trigger knee that wobbles Ishii. Ishii avoids feeling the facebuster a second time and German suplexes Omega to the mat. Both men trade positions for the One Winged Angel until Ishii is sent face-first into the corner from an Omega spin kick. Omega lines up his shot and connects with a V-Trigger to the back of Ishii’s head. Omega muscles Ishii up for a sitout powerbomb that only gets him a two count. As Ishii rises to his knees Omega begins to lay in standing knee strikes to his face and chest. The first two take Ishii down but the third wakes him up and the two men launch into an insane assault hitting each other with flying knees, lariats, and Omega’s snap dragon suplex which Ishii rolls through. Omega connects with a final lariat to earn a two count as blood begins to trickle from his mouth.

Omega sets up for the OWA but Ishii slips out and headbutts him in the neck before hitting a dragon suplex of his own. Ishii counters Omega’s hurricanrana into a powerbomb and both men take a breather on the mat as the crowd cheers on. Incredible sequence! Once the two are back on their feet they fall back to striking each other until Omega turns Ishii around with a hard slap. With Ishii’s back to him, Omega connects with a poison rana sending Ishii into the ropes. Omega hits another V-Trigger in the ropes sending Ishii halfway out of the ring. As Ishii dangles off of the apron Omega launches to the top rope for a double stomp to his face eliciting a “… holy shit!” from one of the Japanese commentators. You’re god damn right “holy shit”.

Omega muscles Ishii back into the ring and hits a gross missile dropkick to the back of Ishii’s head before following up with the fisherman neckbreaker. Ishii escapes the OWA yet again and catches Omega’s attempt at a V-Trigger knee. Ishii looks for a German but Omega lands on his feet and uses the opening to connect with a V-Trigger. He lifts Ishii up for a double underhook piledriver and Ishii kicks out at two! Omega, beside himself, glares at Ishii on the mat as he clutches at his neck. Ishii pulls himself up in the ropes and Omega connects with another V-Trigger for another two count. Ishii STILL has too much in him to be hit with the OWA and counters into a crucifix bomb for a two count! Both men find themselves on their feet once again trading shots until Ishii uses a series of headbutts to wobble Omega. Ishii launches Omega into the air for a pop-up headbutt before hitting a lariat for a two count. Ishii looks for the brainbuster but Omega counters it into one of his own – ISHII KICKS OUT AT ONE!

Omega lines up for another V-Trigger but Ishii cuts him short with a lariat. Both men trade kicks and knees in the center of the ring until Ishii catches Omega in the brainbuster FOR THE THREE! Ishii pins Omega! Omega rolls over and his mouth is now dripping with blood as Ishii struggles to get to his feet. I’m tired, I’m emotional, I want a god damn nap. I feel like I say this every other show but that may be my favorite match of the entire G1. Ishii can now stake his claim for a future shot at the IWGP Heavyeight Title and, god damn, he deserves it. What an insane match. I can’t imagine anything following this. I might go cry.

Tetsuya Naito vs Kota Ibushi

Naito needs to win this match to stay in the running for 16 points to match Omega. The best Ibushi can hope for is 14 points, but he faces Omega on the final night of the tournament and could be the difference maker between one of the Golden Lovers taking the block. I honestly don’t know how anything can follow what Omega and Ishii just did but if anybody can try, it’s these two. I am physically exhausted just watching this show.

After some opening back and forth Naito rolls under an Ibushi clothesline and straight into a pose most tranquilo. He tries to convince Ibushi to fist bump him but Ibushi refuses and Naito bails to the outside where he stalls before getting back into the ring. Once back inside he launches into an attack with kicks and clubbing forearms across the back but Ibushi is able to catch an opening and hit a dropkick on Naito as he rebounds from the ropes. Both men find their way to the ring apron and Ibushi threatens a German suplex from the apron to the floor but Naito is able to block it before catching Ibushi in the ropes and dropkicking him in the back of the leg. Naito finds his mark from here as he wraps Ibushi’s knee around the railing and kicks it before dragging the Golden Star behind the railing where he tosses him into, and onto, the English commentary table.

Naito saunters back to the ring and listens to the count as Ibushi hobbles his way back into the ring. Naito continues the attack in the ring, also focusing on Ibushi’s neck, until Ibushi is able to catch a breather with a leaping double stomp to the chest of Naito. Ibushi uses his speed to first avoid and then connect with Naito as he nails a flying kick followed up with a standing moonsault. Naito enjoys a brief reprieve when Ibushi finds himself in the corner and hung up on the ropes as Naito drops him across his knee with an inverted DDT. Ibushi is able to catch Naito with a hurricanrana sending Naito the floor where Ibushi follows with the Golden Triangle.

Ibushi rolls Naito back into the ring and climbs the ropes but Naito is there to stop him before he can leap. Ibushi fights back and dumps Naito over the top rope and to the floor before attempting to German suplex Naito from the apron back into the ring. Naito trips Ibushi to stop the attempt before hitting a dropkick from the top rope and the leg trip/slingshot dropkick combo in the corner. Naito slows it down here with a focus back on the left leg as he locks Ibushi in a figure four leglock. After a brief slap fight while locked in the hold, Ibushi reaches out and grabs the bottom rope to force the release. Naito keeps up the attack as both men make their way to their feet but Ibushi breaks his momentum with a half-and-half suplex that leaves both men recovering.

Naito finds the advantage once more, countering Ibushi’s attempts to put this one away, and nearly ends the match with a heinous neckbreaker with Ibushi’s legs draped across the top rope. Ibushi is down and not moving after the move and Naito struggles to pull him to his feet. He looks to setup for Destino to put this one away but Ibushi breaks his grip and swings high with a kick to the side of the head. Ibushi charges a rising Naito in the corner but is launched over head and into the turnbuckle before Naito follows with an enziguiri. It’s Naito who gets caught on the top rope next with Ibushi rocking him with a Pele kick to the head. Ibushi climbs to the top and hooks Naito for a powerbomb or piledriver but Naito is able to lock onto the top rope to avoid the move. Ibushi lifts Naito into a vertical position but, still, Naito is able to hold onto the top rope to avoid the follow-through. He lays in a series of strikes and climbs behind Ibushi, leaping into the air with a super poison rana! Ibushi lands on his feet in the ring and sends Naito flying head over heels with a lariat.

Ibushi, like his Golden Lovers counterpart, is now bleeding from the mouth. Naito rolls to the apron but Ibushi is there to meet him. The Golden Star climbs to the second rope, inside the ring, and deadlift German suplexes Naito back into the ring! Naito lands high on his head but kicks out at two. Ibushi follows with a Last Ride powerbomb for another two count before lowering the kneepad on his right leg. Ibushi looks for the Kamigoye but Naito counters into a Destino which itself is countered into another Kamigoye attempt… which is also countered into a, this time successful, Destino! Naito only finds two and as he goes for another Ibushi catches him mid-move and drops him head-first with a sickening Emerald Frosion. He comes flying with a knee that nets him a two count before finally connecting with the Kamigoye for the win. A good match but nothing could really have followed Omega/Ishii and I feel bad for them having to go on after it. Some scary head drops in this one, too, which are made all the scarier after the Hiromu incident in Long Beach. Nonetheless, Ibushi moves himself into a position to win the block as he sits at 10 points alongside Naito.

Tomorrow’s Osaka show will see Okada/EVIL and Suzuki/Page along with… get this… the thrilling combination of YOSHI-HASHI and Bad Luck Fale. Like I said earlier, I may be coming around again on YOSHI and he’s not (as far as I know) a trash human being like Elgin so it isn’t the absolute worst pairing of the block but it’s not far off. Until then, let’s check in with B Block standings as we look toward the final four shows of block matches!

Kenny Omega: 12 (Possible Total Points: 16)

Tetsuya Naito: 10 (PTP: 14)

Kota Ibushi: 10 (PTP: 14)

SANADA: 8 (PTP: 12)

Zack Sabre Jr: 8 (PTP: 12)

Hirooki Goto: 6 (PTP: 10)

Tomohiro Ishii: 6 (PTP: 10)

Tama Tonga: 4 (PTP: 8)

Juice Robinson: 4 (PTP: 8)

Toru Yano: 2 (PTP: 6)

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