NJPW G1 Climax 28:
Day Eighteen

The second-to-last day is here! Today we find out who will advance to the G1 finals from B Block and there are so many things that are going to blow my mind and break my heart today. Omega/Ibushi, Naito/ZSJ, and Ishii/SANADA?! I was so excited to see this good stuff that I slept past my alarm and missed a Mike Elgin tag match. Lucky me! I unfortunately also missed the Chaos/BC six-man match so I’ll need to get on with that. As I woke from my slumber, though, I did get to hear the soothing tones of Kaze Ni Nare so all is right with the world. Let’s lose our minds together with G1 Climax 28 day eighteen!

Mike Elgin & David Finlay vs Toa Henare & Shota Umino

A single, turned into a tag, for a trophy that looks like a thumb.

Sadly I slept through the C Block finals so I’ll have to wait until the full show goes up to watch this, but Finlay picks up the win and wins the block he was determined to establish throughout the entire tour. More importantly, Finlay is awarded the much-coveted C Block trophy and Elgin looks on in disbelief as Finlay celebrates proving what we have known all along – Elgin is a big muscle dummy who is dumb and doesn’t understand fun. I’m looking forward to hopefully seeing less of him in the future.

Hangman Page & Chase Owens vs Bad Luck Fale & Tanga Loa

Page & Owens jump BCOG before the bell but the early advantage isn’t enough to stave off the inevitable – Loa gets the win for his team here with Apeshit on Chase. Post-match, Page chases Fale and Loa off with a chair as they look to inflict more punishment on Owens.

Young Bucks & Marty Scurll vs Jay White & RPG3K

White would abandon RPG3K here which is the best-case scenario for my heart. I had feared that SHO would be flipped to the dark side by Switchblade and turn on YOH, so at least my fragile being is safe for one more day. BC Elite take the victory in this one.

Minoru Suzuki & El Desperado vs EVIL & BUSHI

But of course this one starts in absolute disarray as LIJ charge Suzuki-gun before the bell can ring. MiSu launches into an attack on EVIL outside with a chair while Despy handles BUSHI in the ring. Desperado tags Suzuki in and he goes to work on BUSHI’s arm before EVIL charges in to break the hold. Suzuki recovers and sets BUSHI up for the penalty kick but pulls a fast one and kicks EVIL off of the apron instead. Sneaky sneaky! When EVIL becomes the legal man he and Suzuki pound the ever-living crap out of each other. After breaking out of the cycle of strikes, there is a fun sequence of reversing the rear naked choke and EVIL STO before Suzuki looks for the Gotch-style piledriver. EVIL back body drops his way out of it and Suzuki tags Despy into the match as the two double-team The King of Pro Wrestling. Suzuki looks for the piledriver on EVIL once more but BUSHI is there with a dropkick from the top rope to break things up. This opens the door for BUSHI to keep a hold on Suzuki outside of the ring while EVIL puts Desperado away with the STO. A fun little match with a touch of madness.

Kazuchika Okada, YOSHI-HASHI, & Gedo vs Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe, & Tomoaki Honma

Honma saves us from having to hear his ghoulish voice on commentary on this night and joins the winner of A Block, Tanahashi, and Makabe as they look to thwart Chaos once again. Tana and Okada pick up where they left off last night and start the match. Okada goes for an early Rainmaker and Tanahashi counters the same way he did last night – with a hard slap before hitting the top rope for High Fly Flow. Okada is back up and Tana can’t hit the move. The Rainmaker looks for a tombstone which is reversed around until Tana winds up back on his feet and dragon screw leg whips Okada before tagging in Honma.

Honma comes in on fire and looks for his diving headbutt to a prone Okada on the floor – Okada rolls out of the way and the crowd erupts into boos at not getting the opportunity to see the headbutt. They launch into a “HON-MA! HON-MA!” chant as things break down quickly with all six men in the ring. As things settle, Okada hits his own diving headbutt on Honma to more boos from the crowd. One of the commentators imitates Honma on commentary and I’m fucking dying. Okada tags out to YOSHI, who actually won his A Block match last night, and the pace begins to slow down.

Honma is able to fight through and eventually make the tag to Makabe who takes over on YOSHI for a bit until the Head Hunter tags Gedo into the match. Makabe takes care of Gedo and everybody charges into the ring once again – this time, Tana is ready for them and lays out both Okada and YOSHI allowing Honma to land the Kokeshi headbutt to great joy from the crowd. Makabe slams Gedo and Honma hits the Kokeshi a third time before Makabe lands the King Kong Knee Drop from the top for the win.

After the match a teary-eyed Honma accepts the love of the crowd after fighting back from a cervical vertebrae injury in 2017.

 

Toru Yano vs Tama Tonga

NJPW has decreed that if the Firing Squad get involved in any B Block matches that they’ll be suspended for 3-months. I am now wishing for interference in this match so I can be rid of these dweebs for a while. I’m hoping they don’t stink up the Omega/Ibushi main event.

Yano is riding high on pinning the IWGP Heavyweight Champion though it came to him via underhanded means from the Tongans’ interference. Loa is sent to the back and while Tama is distracted by his departure, Yano rolls him up twice with pin attempts that only get a two count. YTR gets into his flow and removes a couple of turnbuckle pads but Tama is able to reverse a whip into the corner and Yano himself feels the brunt of the exposed steel. Tama takes advantage of Yano’s folly and lays into him on the inside and outside to resounding displeasure from the Budokan crowd.

Tama really loses it later on in the match as he relentlessly attacks Yano prompting the referee to pull him off. Fale and Loa make their way down to the ring which sends the ringside area into a mess as officials attempt to keep them from interfering. Tama responds by throwing the referee down twice and, as another official grabs Tama by the hair to drag him off of Yano, he eats a Gun Stun for his trouble. The bell rings and Tama takes another DQ loss for BCOG as officials, and NJPW President Harold Meij, direct Fale, Loa, and Tama to the back.

Juice Robinson vs Hirooki Goto

Before this one can even get underway, Juice unwraps his left hand and the ref confirms that it is no longer a registered weapon. Juice is back at 100%! Looks like Goto was wrong when he said they’d both be wrestling while broken. Juice is in early control of Goto here as the US Champion wrestles with a invigorated level of confidence. He focuses on Goto’s right arm which was damaged in his match with Zack Sabre Jr on day sixteen. Goto looks to battle back but Juice catches him with a set of punches and chops to keep him at bay momentarily – as Juice hits the ropes, Goto meets him with a kick to the chest to quickly turn the tables. Despite the flurry, Juice is able to come back and rock Goto with a series of right hands. Goto ducks the big left but Juice catches him with a spinebuster as he rebounds off of the ropes.

As Juice builds momentum, he hits the ropes but is caught with Goto’s Ushigoroshi to level the playing field once more. Goto, clutching at his left arm, lifts Juice to his feet but is too hurt to follow up leading to Juice connecting with a gut buster. Juice looks for Pulp Friction as the two rise to their feet but Goto reverses into an attempted GTR. Juice blocks this as well and both men block suplex attempts from the other before breaking free from the front face lock. Juice comes in for an attack but Goto surprises him with a headbutt before driving him into his knee with the face-first GTR. Goto attempts the regular GTR but, again, Juice is able to counter out and hook the NEVER Openweight Champion up for Pulp Friction. Goto escapes this, however, and locks Juice in a rear naked choke. Juice is able to free himself from Goto’s clutches and winds up hitting a punch with his fresh left hand before driving Goto face-first into the mat with Pulp Friction as we see the US Champion defeat the NEVER Openweight Champion. Juice and Goto will both end the G1 on even ground with 6 points a piece. Post-match, Juice continues to be god damn adorable with god damn adorable kid fans as he puts the US Title on a child’s shoulder and has him flex. WHAT A CHAMPION

Tomohiro Ishii vs SANADA

OH MY HEART. These two are

So

Damn

Good.

I was enjoying both breakfast and this match for a large portion of the bout so I wasn’t tip-tappin’ away at my keyboard with the action. SANADA controlled Ishii early on and wrestled him to the mat with a submission forcing Ishii to get to the ropes for a break. SANADA would tempt fate by kicking at and toying with Ishii on the canvas; Ishii would get to his feet and challenge SANADA to lay in forearm shots to his neck. As SANADA swing into Ishii, Ishii would step into the shot and walk SANADA back toward the corner. It was some real horror movie monster shit and it was perfect.

Both men attempt one another’s moves with SANADA able to lay Ishii down with the diving clothesline for a two count. Ishii nearly puts SANADA away with a second-rope brainbuster, but my Spooky Boy~ is able to survive. The two trade offense without anybody maintaining a clear advantage for more than a minute until SANADA finally, successfully locks in the Skull End on Ishii and drops to the mat with the hold intact. As Ishii looks to be passing out, SANADA releases the hold and heads up for a moonsault. Ishii avoids the contact and SANADA lands on his feet but tweaks his knee in the process. Ishii attacks the injured leg but, again, his hold on the advantage is short-lived as SANADA fights back against the Stone Pitbull.

SANADA looks for another moonsault and Ishii rolls out of the way once more – this time, though, SANADA lands flat on the mat and Ishii sinks his teeth in. After a bit more back and forth with each man struggling to put the match away, Ishii connects with a handful of lariats that stagger SANADA enough to be able to finally connect with the brainbuster for the victory. Ishii ends with 10 points and SANADA with 8, and all I want to know is if there’s some way to evenly split every title on the roster so they can give half of each one to Ishii and SANADA. These two are absolute machines and, in my view, the real stars of the G1 28.

Tetsuya Naito vs Zack Sabre Jr

Sabre looks to start things off quickly against Naito with an attack at the bell but can’t quite hold onto control. As Sabre regroups outside with TAKA, Naito taps his wrist to remind him that it is, indeed, Zack Sabre Time and they should start wrestling. Sabre slides back in and the avoid each others’ offense until Naito rolls into a tranquilo pose. TAKA shouts direction and Sabre dives onto Naito with an armbar submission, but Naito is too close to the ropes and the hold is broken before any real damage can be done. Naito takes a second to regroup outside now as Sabre calls him back into the ring.

Once settled, Naito slides back in and he and Sabre begin a proper wrestling match with Sabre taking the advantage as he grapples the leader of LIJ on the mat. Naito begins to build a comeback but Sabre is able to floor him and use his headscissor twisting neckbreaker on the mat to neutralize Naito. This very much becomes the Zack Sabre Show for the most part as he is able to control Naito’s body at every turn. After mocking Naito with a pose, though, Sabre feels the brunt of an inverted DDT across the knee and a dropkick to the back of the neck. Naito rallies back further with a hurricanrana and the corner slingshot dropkick which, on this night, is not countered by ZSJ.

Naito was fighting for his life here as he needed this win to have a chance at winning the G1. If he came out on top in this one, he could win the block if either Ibushi beats Omega or Ibushi/Omega goes to a draw. Sabre was able to lock in a devastating Octopus draining the power from Naito, but Naito made it to the ropes to break the hold. It was never really the same for Naito from this point, though – he would build a comeback against Sabre and even connect with Destino but he, perhaps, got too greedy. He lifted Sabre for a second Destino which was countered into a Michinoku Zack Driver for the three! TAKA flies into the ring to embrace Sabre who now has quality wins over Naito, Juice, and Goto in this tournament. It’s all going to come down to the main event now as Golden Lovers Ibushi and Omega go head to head.

Kenny Omega vs Kota Ibushi

If Naito had won his match, it wouldn’t have mattered if Ibushi won here – the points would have been in Naito’s favor and he would have gone on to win the block. With Naito out, though, it all comes down to Omega and Ibushi – the winner of this match will face Tanahashi in the finals of G1 Climax 28!

If you told me that these two actually liked and cared for each other I’d tell you that you were a liar. They held nothing back here from the get-go. After missing a dive to the outside early on, Omega would run Ibushi back-first into the railing before body slamming him into the very corner of the apron. Back in the ring the two would trade slaps and kicks with both men becoming increasingly more aggravated with each strike. The fight would spill out to the apron where Omega would first attempt a dragon suplex (blocked by Ibushi) before attempting the One Winged Angel to the floor. Ibushi would escape this as well and look for the deadlift German from the outside in, but Omega would block this and finally plant Ibushi with a cradle tombstone on the apron.

Back inside the ring, Ibushi would fly with a springboard hurricanrana on Omega on the top rope. Ibushi would crush Omega’s chest with a moonsault into double knees in the center of the ring – the IWGP Heavyweight Champion left gasping for air. Omega would soon look for a dragon superplex but Ibushi would land on his feet before driving Omega down with a snap German suplex and half and half suplex of his own. After a Last Ride powerbomb, Ibushi would connect with a devastating Kamigoye but would only get a two count! After lowering the kneepad Ibushi looked for another but Omega would fight back from his knees until both men were on their feet trading strikes. Ibushi would maintain wrist control the entire time as he looked for his spot to deliver the Kamigoye one more time.

Ibushi’s wrist control would be broken of his own volition as he looked for a high spin kick on Omega. Omega would duck and connect with a leaping knee and as Ibushi hit the ropes, Omega would rush in with a V-Trigger. With Ibushi collapsed in the ropes Omega would hit the opposite side to fly in once more but Ibushi was waiting with a high kick that brought the champion down. Ibushi misses the Phoenix Splash from the top leading to Omega hitting a crushing V-Trigger to the back of the head before spiking Ibushi with the double underhook piledriver. Ibushi would rise once more only to feel another V-Trigger before Kenny would lift him up for the OWA. Ibushi would elbow his way somewhat free and attempt a poison rana – Kenny’s power kept Ibushi elevated and he would drop to his knees effectively driving Ibushi head-first into the mat in what I’ll tentatively call a reverse Ganso Bomb.

Kenny would hit one more V-Trigger on Ibushi as he pulled himself up against the ropes leading to an attempted avalanche One Winged Angel. Ibushi would fight out yet again and stand on the back of a collapsed Omega on the top rope before leaping into the air for a double stomp to the back of the head! Ibushi climbs back up to the top and hits Omega with a top-rope Tiger Bomb and only gets two! With the knee exposed from earlier in the match, Ibushi would drive the kneecap into Omega with the Kamigoye and clinch the win – Ibushi wins B Block with 12 points to Omega’s 12, this match being the decision maker in case of a tie.

After the match Ibushi says some words before making his way to the back arm-in-arm-in-arm-in-arm with Kenny and the Young Bucks. The Golden Elite pose at the entrance before exiting together as one big happy family.

It’s settled – at tomorrow’s show, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kota Ibushi will clash to see who reigns supreme in G1 Climax 28! We’ll also see Rey Mysterio in action and, I’m sure, a ton of other god damn bonkers stuff. What a G1, and I’m glad that I decided to follow along the entire time and keep up with each day. I’ll be shedding a tear after tomorrow’s show.

?? Kota Ibushi: 12 ??

Kenny Omega: 12

Zack Sabre Jr: 12

Tetsuya Naito: 12

Tomohiro Ishii: 10

SANADA: 8

Hirooki Goto: 6

Tama Tonga: 6

Toru Yano: 6

Juice Robinson: 6

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