G1 Climax 28 N14
August 4 2018
We’re in Osaka, Japan at the Edion Arena. This is the first of two Osaka shows this weekend and a hugely important show for Block B. Hosts are Kevin Kelly and Rocky Romero.
YOSHI-HASHI & SHO vs. Bad Luck Fale & Tanga Loa
I have zero interest in this. Fale has been terrible all tour and Tacos has been carrying injuries and has only turned up twice. That leaves SHO and Tanga and they’re not the focus, ahtough their sequences are the best in the match…that’s not saying dick. Tanga has come out of this tournament looking the best of the Firing Squad, by some distance. I mean, none of them have covered themselves in glory but Tanga has had more time to impress me than usual and he’s done a decent job. Apeshit finishes SHO.
Final Rating: **
Hangman Page & Chase Owens vs. Minoru Suzuki & El Desperado
This has a tonne of potential, both as a vehicle to hype MiSu vs. Hangman and as a tag itself thanks to Despy and Chase, who are good seconds.
Page is revealed to be a bit dense here as he turns up wearing that hangman’s noose and obviously Suzuki chokes him with it. Why do people anger Minoru with their stupidity? Suzuki has a nice time killing Chase Owens but both southern boys show solid fire. Hangman has gotten over nicely during this tour and the crowd are very supportive of him here. The Suzuki/Owens closing sequence is very nice and Suzuki reigns supreme.
Final Rating: ***
Togi Makabe & Toa Henare vs. Jay White & YOH
Switchblade battles an Unchained Gorilla tomorrow.
Jay White has been the best worker on the undercard tags all tour. The way he’s been manipulating YOH has been sensational and his treatment of everyone has been tremendous. “You’re not doing it right, come here”. White then demonstrates how its done by pinning Henare with Bladerunner and smashing the crap out of him with a chair too. Jay White has literally been the tag team MVP on this tour. Every time he’s been out here in the tags he’s been gold.
Final Rating: ***
Hiroshi Tanahashi & Shota Umino vs. Michael Elgin & David Finlay
The last time Tana teamed with Umino the rookie decided he was going to wrestle the best match of his career so far to impress the Eternal Ace.
Tanahashi is usually the most injured man in any match but Elgin comes in half covered in tape. The pain of G1 is real. Elgin vs. Tanahashi has only happened once in ROH in 2014. This creates a little intrigue as they’re mates in NJPW. The focus of this match is the fired up Shota Umino. He should tag with Tanahashi like all the time. Him slapping Finlay in the Boston crab and then taking shots off Elgin while keeping the hold applied is excellent character building. Umino being all fired up makes the match seem more important than a rando undercard tag. Finlay puts him away with the Stunner. Great little tag. Not quite as good as the first one Umino tagged with Tana on.
Final Rating: ***1/4
Kazuchika Okada & Gedo vs. EVIL & BUSHI
Okada vs. EVIL is a key match tomorrow. So much so that it’ll main event.
Gedo gets his beard worked over again. Receipts for the million eye rakes. After a run of three really good little tags this one isn’t so hot. Gedo and BUSHI work fairly hard but it’s a slight match with the occasional whiffy spot. EVIL batters Okada with his own damn finish here and LIJ pick up the win. EVIL in Okada’s head before their block match tomorrow.
Final Rating: **1/2
Toru Yano  vs. SANADA 
Both these guys are already out. Yano has had a terrible tournament, from a points scoring perspective, but has had a couple of outright technical bangers. SANADA has been less good. He’s had some fluid looking contests but they almost all go off the rails at some point. They play this for ha ha’s with SANADA almost counted out with his legs tied together with Yano’s t-shirt and then Yano gets slapped in the Paradise Lock.
Rocky Romero has to save him! Rocky doing the shrug is brilliant.
SANADA decides to make sure. He Paradise locks Yano onto a piece of rail and then tapes the rail to the ring post. Rocky goes to help but SANADA kicks his ass and puts him in the Paradise Lock too.
The banter levels were off the charts here. It was always going to be a goofy match but the finish was tremendous. Milano Collection AT having to come and rescue the poor CHAOS boys after the match is wonderful. I’m in bits.
Final Rating: ***1/2
Hirooki Goto  vs. Tama Tonga 
This is another match that doesn’t mean anything so hopefully they have as much fun with this as they did with the last match. The match is a lot of nothing until Tanga interferes and then it starts to draw a little heat. Tama has had issues with the booking over this G1 and the bullshit but look at his wrestling against Goto here. It’s so bland and unimportant. They have a few decent sequences but that’s it. Inevitably there’s a ref bump and Tanga spends a while in the match. After the bullshit they finally do something useful and run a load of misdirection rope running. Both guys are excellent at this and they plan it nicely. More bullshit follows with Marty Asami getting bumped. Red Shoes replaces him and disqualifies Fale for interfering and Tanga has the nerve to complain about this when he pulled Marty out with Tama beaten. The Firing Squad boys are so dumb and the angle is making the refs look stupid for allowing so much interference from guys who are blatantly cheating all tournament. Fuck the Firing Squad and fuck this angle.
Final Rating: *
Juice Robinson  vs. Zack Sabre Jr 
Juice has had an excellent G1. Sabre has had a decent G1 by his standards. He was certainly more outstanding during New Japan Cup this year but he’s done good when he’s needed to.
Juice comes in with that soft cast on his hand, which means he’s fucked from the get go as he’s wrestling Zack Sabre Jr. Juice decides to make it a punch up. “Alright, let’s fucking go mate”. It’s one of the stiffest double gaijin bouts you’ll see. They absolutely belt each other. Sabre pulls some smart counters out, using Juice’s dumber offence against him. That leaping senton gets him into massive trouble, right into an armbar. Juice shows a lot of fire, fighting from underneath and kicking ass. Juice has been winning me over for a while but this G1 he’s taken a big jump up in my estimation. Robinson tries to escape Zack’s holds here but Sabre transitions constantly and Juice’s smashmouth offence is only sporadically successful.
Zack’s hand manipulation here is sickening. Honestly, it’s a great little match with a basic storyline and extremely complicated wrestling. Juice tells a great story by removing his soft cast so he can hit that big KO punch but it doesn’t work and Zack fucks him up.
Sabre ends up mutilating Robinson with Cremation Lily, his newly invented submission hold. It’s horrible to watch with Zack cranking away and destroying tendons. Juice, with both arms trapped, as well as both legs, has to verbally submit. This was fucking great.
Final Rating: ****
Tomohiro Ishii  vs. Kenny Omega 
I was so excited for this match that I DM’d people left, right and centre this morning telling them how fired up I was and what the possible outcomes were. If Omega is losing on this G1 tour it’s here, to set up a title match in September.
Omega decides to toy with Ishii by playing the drums on his baldy head and generally fucking around. Ishii no sells everything in a way that says, “I am tired but I’m not standing for your shit”. Kenny goes after Ishii’s neck, which is usually bad but you’d never know because he doesn’t complain. It’s a logical approach but Ishii rarely submits. I’ve talked about no selling before and Ishii is the best at it. When he’s not selling you can still feel his pain but he’s simply not externalising it. It’s all character and it always makes sense and when he needs to he does sell and he’s great at it. The superhuman no selling that made Hulk Hogan so popular is just bullshit compared to this. It’s finesse. Several times here Ishii struggles to lift Kenny due to his broken body. It leads to stuff that would be botchy in someone else’s match but in this it feels like part of the selling. The match gets very intense and Omega really kicks this off by hitting a V-Trigger that hits Ishii on the jawline and sends a gob of spittle flying into the air. It turns into a war with Omega bleeding from the mouth.
Ishii’s comeback after a series of V-Triggers and subsequent collapse after another is just wonderful stuff. The comebacks have the crowd so fired up. The strikes in this and the silly spots are so good. The match just comes to life and life is a violent, violent affair that leaves you battered and broken. The double stomp on the apron is a sickening spot. Ditto the missile dropkick to the back of the head. How does Ishii have a neck?
Ishii’s kick outs are amazing. “He’s unbeatable” yells Kelly (of Kenny) but the same could be said of Ishii when he’s in this kind of mood. Ishii takes an unreal beating and just keeps kicking out. It’s sensational and the absolute best use of Omega’s insane offence. This is so fucking good. The story is that Ishii can take a tonne of damage and keep kicking out. Omega can’t take the same amount of abuse but Ishii can’t land as many shots so he has to make them count. Red Shoes does a magnificent job of selling his own dismay at the continued kick-outs. It’s mentally exhausting for him. Brainbuster!!! Ishii wins! Yes! Kenny is left with blood pouring out of his mouth and Ishii wins himself a title shot down the line. Which if it’s anywhere near as good as this will be a fucking banger. Omega’s perfect G1 is down the tubes.
Final Rating: *****
Tetsuya Naito  vs. Kota Ibushi 
This is an intriguing match. If Ibushi wins then the Omega match is for the Block. If Naito wins then he needs a favour from Ibushi on the final night to get by Omega. I don’t get Ibushi dropping the match to Yano. If he’d not lost there he could lose this match and stay alive for the last night. Weird booking, if you ask me. It’s tough to call a winner here or a winner in the Block. I went with Naito all along because I figured Ibushi would spoiler Omega but what if Kota is going to the final? I’ve been worked. It’s all on the line.
Osaka has always hated Naito so he takes his time disrobing and the boos ring out a little. Thanks to Naito’s reluctance to let Kota do ‘his match’ the start is a little slow but Ibushi still teases his first big spot as a German suplex off the apron. Naito is a complete jerk here, dialling up his Ingobernable character to 11. This turns the tide of the match quickly. This match doesn’t deal in hard hits like the last one but rather relies on teasing enormous spots. Kota seems to come off the worst as not only can he not land those big spots but the counter almost inevitably involves him landing on his neck. Naito spits a lot in this match and the crowd do not like that and neither does Ibushi. He likes being dropped on his neck even less and Naito does that constantly. Kota Ibushi’s neck is an endangered species.
Kota becomes the third man tonight to bleed from the mouth. It’s the new apron spot. After a match loaded with spots where Ibushi lands on his neck he finally gets that German suplex into the ring off the apron and Naito lands on his neck/head hard. It looks absolutely brutal. They have a lovely counters sequence with Kamigoye/Destino. Which culminates in Naito getting dropped on his head in an insane spot. Kamigoye finishes!
WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK IS THAT? HOLY SHITBALLS pic.twitter.com/vsPveaklTc
— Arn – no sleep only #g128 (@ArnoldFurious) August 4, 2018
I almost didn’t react to the finish at all because I was still so blown away by this. What even is that? What maniac would take that move!
Final Rating: ****1/2
Well obviously this was one of the most outstanding nights of G1 action thus far. Every time Ishii has a banger in this tournament I keep yelling about how I think it’s the MOTY and I could probably have a top 5 Ishii matches that are better than anything else anyone else has done all year just from the G1. It’s been a staggering tournament. Ibushi-Naito started way too sluggishly to enter MOTY conversation but the finish was insane. Naito is a lunatic for taking that move before the finish. He was dropped right on the top of his head. This all leaves Naito is a perilous spot. Unless two results go his way his fate is out of his hands on the last night with Omega vs. Ibushi meaning at least one of them will score points, if not both. He’s lost both tiebreakers. G1 is far from over. Tomorrow is another night of A Block action before Block B’s penultimate matches on Wednesday, featuring the heavily hyped Naito/SANADA showdown. Could Naito be eliminated from G1 by his own stablemate?
Kenny Omega 12
Tetsuya Naito 10
Kota Ibushi 10
Zack Sabre Jr 6
Tomohiro Ishii 6
Hirooki Goto 6
Tama Tonga 4
Juice Robinson 4
Toru Yano 2