NJPW G1 Climax 28:
Day Nineteen – G1 Finals

It’s been a long, hard road but we’ve finally reached the end. G1 Climax 28 day nineteen is upon us – the finals of the entire tournament where we’ll see the winner of A Block, Hiroshi Tanahashi, collide with the winner of B Block, Kota Ibushi. The winner receives a shot at the IWGP Heavyweight Champion at Wrestle Kingdom in Tokyo. Will it be Tana or Ibushi challenging Kenny Omega on NJPW’s largest stage? There’s only one way to find out! We’ve also got Rey Mysterio in action and so much more, so let’s get rolling!

Togi Makabe, Mike Elgin, & Tomoaki Honma vs Yuji Nagata, Shota Umino, & Ayato Yoshida

I have to watch Mike Elgin another time but, god damn it, I don’t care because it means I get to see Yuji Nagata! I don’t want to bum myself out thinking about how much better the G1 would have been with someone like Yuji in place of Tama, Fale, or Elgin so I’ll just enjoy what I have here. My greatest dream is to see Shota pin the muscle dummy so we’ll see how good the final night of the G1 is at making any of my dreams come true. Shota is worked over by all three men to start this one until he’s able to tag Nagata into the match to much applause. Yoshida is tagged in and nearly gets the pin on Makabe prompting all other members of the match to charge into the ring. Makabe fights back from underneath but can’t put Yoshida away in his first two pin attempts. He flies with the King Kong Knee Drop and gets the victory

Bad Luck Fale vs Toa Henare

Henare jumps Fale before the bell because who wouldn’t be filled with the desire to do such a thing? Henare controls Fale with speed as he flies around the ring attacking the big man but Fale catches him with a huge lariat as Henare rebounds off of the ropes. This is the only opening Fale needs – he lays Henare out with the Grenade before the Bad Luck Fall seals the deal in an incredibly quick match.

Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI vs Taichi & Takashi Iizuka

I have yet to get on the Taichi train but he has one hell of an entrance. He’s my favorite Final Fantasy boss in all of New Japan so he’s got that going for him, at least. Iizuka charges Goto and YOSHI at ringside and hits them both from behind with a chair to get things started. YOSHI begins to take control of Taichi in the ring but as he hits the ropes, Taichi pushes the ref aside so Iizuka can lay another chair shot into the back of YOSHI to stop his momentum. Iizuka is unmasked by Taichi and promptly tries to eat YOSHI’s haircut. Once Goto is tagged in he’s able to enjoy a few brief moments with the upper hand before Iizuka tries to eat his injured elbow. YOSHI, despite telling himself and everybody else that he needed to change, is still the same old YOSHI. Taichi uses the power of ripping off his own pants to Last Ride powerbomb YOSHI for the win.

Juice Robinson & David Finlay vs Cody & Hangman Page

The potential future NWA World Champion is here for the last night of the tour and I don’t doubt that he’ll be outshined by Hangman Page who has really come into his own over the previous eighteen shows. Juice gets on a roll and is able to work over both Bullet Club members as he has Page down in the corner and traps Cody in the Tree of Woe before laying into the pair with a cannonball dive. The numbers catch up, though, and Cody and Page quickly turn the tables once out of the corner. Cody looks to put Juice away with Cross Rhodes but Finlay is there for the save. Cody shoves Finlay away and he gets absolutely hammered with Page’s Buckshot. Cody is able to rebound off of the second rope with the Disaster Kick but Juice nearly puts him away with Pulp Friction. Cody, on top of his game, counters Pulp Friction into Din’s Fire for the three. Post-match, Cody poses with the US Title and runs down Juice on the mic before declaring that he’ll be the next IWGP United States Champion.

Young Bucks & Marty Scurll vs Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, & Taiji Ishimori

Why, oh why, my sweet Bone Solider, have you aligned yourself with Tama and Loa? I’m hoping it’s just a temporary lapse in judgement. Loa and Matt Jackson make incredibly clear distinctions on the BC name confusion by Loa declaring his side Bullet Club OG and Matt officially declaring his side Bullet Club Elite. Loa’s meandering pre-match promo ends with him laying out a challenge to the Bucks & Marty to put the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Titles on the line and after Matt agrees, Harold Meij at ringside somewhat reluctantly goes along with the request. My favorite Marty Scurll moment happens here as one of the Japanese commentators keeps going “woop woop!” as BC Elite run roughshod over BCOG. BC Elite and Taiji pull a fun little match out of GoD and, in the end, things get wild and fall apart as bodies are flying all around the ring. As Marty looks to snap the fingers of Loa, Tama strikes with the Gun Stun for the pin to see BCOG become the new NEVER Openweight 6-Man Champions. After the match, BCOG do some more damage to BC Elite before taking the Naito route and tossing their newly won titles to the arena floor much to the dismay of Meij at ringside.

Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, SANADA, & BUSHI vs Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, & El Desperado

This one starts off with absolute bedlam as all eight men just beat the dickens out of each other all around the ring. MiSu and Naito eventually start things off in the ring and Suzuki-gun systematically dismantle Naito for a good portion of the match including some hearty triple and quadruple teams in the corner. Suzuki nearly rips Naito’s arm off of his body with a cross arm breaker over the corner of the ring apron. Naito is able to make a tag to EVIL to a huge ovation from the crowd but he finds himself on the receiving end of a Zack Sabre Jr flurry until countering his guillotine choke into a vertical suplex. BUSHI and Kanemaru are tagged in and Suzuki-gun continue the double-team efforts with Despy lending a hand. BUSHI eventually fights them off with a double hurricanrana before tagging in SANADA who immediately ties Kanemaru in the Paradise Lock only to, once again, find LIJ at the mercy of Suzuki-gun ‘s teamwork.

As can be expected, everything breaks down again toward the end with everybody getting in on the action. While others are tied up with submissions, ZSJ drives a penalty kick into SANADA’s chest giving Kanemaru a chance to take a swig of alcohol. As SANADA gets to his feet Kanemaru looks to spit the drink into his face but SANADA is expecting it and ducks. He locks Kanemaru in the Skull End for the victory via tapout, and after the match Suzuki lays waste to an entire generation of young boys on the arena floor.

Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano, & Jay White vs Kenny Omega, Chase Owens, & Yujiro Takahashi

White starts things off and, once things get a little too hairy, tags an unsuspecting Yano into the match. Yano struggles with whether or not he actually wants to enter the match but he does before quickly looking to remove the turnbuckle pads. He tries three and is stopped each time by Owens, Omega, and finally the legal man Yujiro which leads to the three-on-one tandem offense Bullet Club Elite have been using all tour. BC Elite trap all three Chaos members in the row boat in the center of the ring but before doing any damage Yujiro calls Pieter into the ring. She dances in the center of the three-way rowboat which loses steam from everybody but Kenny as the others get lost in Pieter’s dance. Kenny breaks the hold, tries to slap some sense back into his teammates, and banishes Pieter back to the outside.

With Pieter out of the picture BC Elite are able to get back into control until Ishii counters Chase’s attempt at the package piledriver with a back body drop. The other members of Chaos leap into the ring to take Kenny and Yujiro out of the picture briefly while Chaos triple teams Chase. Back to one-on-one action, Chase begins to hold his own against Ishii including rebounding from an Ishii headbutt to floor the Stone Pitbull with a lariat! Owens scores two off of the ensuing pin but can’t deliver with the package piledriver to follow up. Ishii recovers and drops Owens with the brainbuster to put this one away for Chaos. No shenanigans from Jay White this time around as I’m sure he’s smart enough to not walk out or otherwise disparage Ishii.

Post-match Ishii brings the IWGP Heavyweight Title into the ring and lets Kenny know that he’s coming for it! He hands the title to Omega as the two stare down in the center of the ring. God damn, am I ever ready for Ishii/Omega for the title. GIVE IT TO ME NOW, WRESTLING GODS

Rey Mysterio, KUSHIDA, & Sengoku Enbu vs Kazuchika Okada & RPG3K

So Sengoku Enbu is, I think, some kind of anime or video game character or something but is also almost certainly Taguchi in a weird mask and wild jacket. KUSHIDA is out on a god damn hoverboard thing and I fuckin’ love KUSHIDA and have missed him dearly. KUSHIDA presents a young fan sitting next to Liger on commentary with his sunglasses and I want to know A) how do I get that seat for Wrestle Kingdom and B) how do I get to become best friends with KUSHIDA? Oh, and also Rey Mysterio is here! This match is going to be 1000% bonkers.

RPG3K and Okada are out and god damn it, I think we’re looking at the Rainmaker of old again and not the Balloonmaker and I honestly can’t believe I’m losing my mind this much over a pre-main event six-man tag team match.

Mysterio and Okada start off and trade barbs back and forth with Mysterio able to get Okada in position for the 619. Okada rolls away from the ropes at the last second and tags are made to KUSHIDA and SHO. KUSHIDA and Rey double-team SHO in their corner while Sengoku just wants to be tagged in but keeps getting ignored. It finally looks like KUSHIDA will bring him into the match but instead of slapping his extended hand, he puts SHO’s arm into it so he can help with a double-team. Things break down for a moment as all six men get involved with Okada attempting to rip the mask off of Sengoku’s face to a round of boos. Back in the ring, the RPG3K boys work over KUSHIDA. RPG3K look for a Poetry In Motion on KUSHIDA but he instead leaps off of SHO’s back and takes YOH down with a somersault senton.

KUSHIDA is able to make the tag to Sengoku who uses his butt as some kind of funky weapon to take over on SHO and YOH. Okada gets tagged into the match and looks for a Rainmaker on Sengoku but it’s reversed into some kind of Buttmaker allowing Sengoku to tag Rey back into the match. Rey’s flurry is short-lived as Okada catches him with a flapjack before tagging YOH back in. RPG3K look to put Rey away for good but he’s able to counter their double team into a DDT on YOH before sending both men into the middle rope to setup for the 619. As he hits the ropes Okada slides in with a dropkick to stop his momentum. KUSHIDA and Sengoku deal with SHO and Okada on the floor to take them out of the equation leaving Rey to finally setup and deliver the 619 to YOH before hitting the splash from the top to put this one away.

A super fun match that makes me look forward to a potential future Okada/Rey match. Maybe at Long Beach or Wrestle Kingdom? All I know right now is that it’s main event time and I’m ready to lose all of my shit as the Ace of New Japan battles The Golden Star.

G1 Finals: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kota Ibushi

I was feeling some real emotions before the match even started with Shibata being the corner man for Tanahashi. I wasn’t totally sure who I wanted to take this one but was leaning toward the Ace and, honestly, Shibata being there sealed it for me. For matches like this I don’t like to sit with my laptop on top of me, typing away while the match goes on. I’d much rather set the computer down and get invested in the match, so I don’t have a move-by-move analysis or write-up like I do for other matches.

All that being said, these two delivered exactly what you would have expected from them. Both men flew like maniacs – Ibushi with a death-defying springboard moonsault from the top to the outside on Tanahashi and Tana with the High Fly Flow cross body block from the top rope to the floor. The two stood toe-to-toe in the ring as well. Open-hand strikes were served up on both sides with Tanahashi hulking up through a series of strikes from Ibushi, pushing the Golden Star back into the corner as each shot caused Tanahashi’s power to grow more and more. It was some real Terminator shit reminiscent of a spot from Ishii earlier in the tournament.

Through head drops and brutal looking suplexes, Ibushi was able to stave Tanahashi off late in the match to connect with his insane deadlift outside-in German suplex from the second rope. Ibushi was never able to make contact with the Kamigoye but looked like he had Tana out cold after a Bomaye to the back of the head. Each time Ibushi would look for his finish, though, Tana was there with some kind of counter. After a Last Ride powerbomb resulting in only a two count for Ibushi, the Golden Star looked down in shock at Tanahashi. Ibushi would have the wherewithal late in the match to maintain wrist control on a straight jacket German to attempt the Kamigoye once more. As he had throughout the match, though, Tana had the answer for the move and was able to avoid it.

In the end, Tanahashi was able to put Ibushi away with a trio of High Fly Flows – one to Ibushi’s back, followed by a cross body block to a rising Ibushi, and capped off with a rotating splash to get the three. Shibata would jump into the ring to celebrate, parading Tana around on his shoulders while Kenny tended to a fallen Ibushi and the cameras caught fans with tears in their eyes – some to celebrate Tanahashi’s victory and some to mourn Ibushi’s loss. Tanahashi would wait for Ibushi to get to his feet and stand face to face with him, perhaps looking for a handshake or a hug. Ibushi would wave him off and bail out of the ring before rushing to the back with his head in his hands as Kenny consoled him.

Tana would be presented with the G1 trophy and a flag by Masahiro Chono in the post-match ceremony before giving the crowd some parting words. Before leaving, though, Tana would be sure to send the crowd home with one final moment of joy – playing air guitar behind the G1 trophy (three performances!) before finally throwing the guitar into the crowd. Tanahashi will now head to Wrestle Kingdom in January to face Kenny Omega for the IWGP Heavyweight Title – that is, unless Omega loses to Ishii along the way or Tana loses his briefcase to Jay White, the one man who defeated him in the G1.

The G1 is over and I don’t know what to do with my life.

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