G1 Climax 28 N18
August 11 2018
We’re in Tokyo, Japan at Budokan Hall. This is the last night in Block B, the one dominated by IWGP Champion Kenny Omega until the last two rounds where he fell twice in defeat. This leaves his opponent, and Golden Lover, Kota Ibushi alive and also rival Tetsuya Naito.
- Kenny Omega. If Kenny beats Kota Ibushi he wins B Block. Naito cannot stop him. Omega will also win B Block if Naito loses to Zack Sabre Jr and Omega vs. Ibushi ends in a draw.
- Tetsuya Naito. Will win if he beats ZSJ and has a better result than Omega. He can also draw with Zack and win if Omega loses.
- Kota Ibushi. Needs to beat Omega and have Zack beat Naito.
Hosts are Kevin Kelly and Rocky Romero. Sadly no Chris Charlton tonight.
Block C Final
Michael Elgin & David Finlay vs. Toa Henare & Shota Umino
This is for the prestigious C Block title. The office don’t know about it. Umino is excited about it until he isn’t in position for an Elgin chop and gets a second one with Extra Sauce on it.
Umino does a great job of standing up to Elgin and the crowd love it. Fuck that Crap Pig Bastard up! Finlay puts Shota away with the Stunner to win Block C but again it was Umino that stood out.
Final Rating: ***
Hangman Page & Chase Owens vs. Bad Luck Fale & Tanga Loa
The Firing Squad will be suspended for three months if they interfere in any matches tonight. I wish that stipulation had been here since day one then they’d already have a few years on the shelf. Page and Chase actually get me into this match by jumping Tanga and working almost exclusively with him, leaving Piss Break Fale on the floor. Tanga Loa is the only one of the Tongans who’s come out of this tournament looking good. The simplistic but realistic clubbing counters with Chase are really solid. Apeshit finishes.
Final Rating: **1/2
Jay White & Roppongi 3K vs. Marty Scurll & The Young Bucks
Big question here; can Jay White make Scurll and the Bucks interesting? It’s a tough test. The Bucks and Scurll do a lot of shtick.
If you like it that’s fine but hey, I politely sit through it and hope for the best. Switchblade gets offended by a YOH miscue and Scurll submits YOH with the Chickenwing. Switchblade was excellent here. Shame about all the shtick. Hey, it’s a series of off nights for these boys and will inevitably prolong their careers so fair play to them.
Final Rating: *1/2
EVIL & BUSHI vs. Minoru Suzuki & El Desperado
This is really feels like a throwaway nothing match. No C Block title, no Bullet Club in-fighting, no guest wrestlers. Just another undercard tag. Maybe they want to start some shit between Suzuki-gun and LIJ with Naito vs. Sabre happening later. It’s fine, it’s just lacking in a focal point. Luckily Suzuki is a captivating performer even a match with no odds.
Suzuki’s strikes in this are wonderful. The forearms on EVIL. The PK. Fuuuuck. BUSHI manages to knock Suzuki out of the ring for long enough for EVIL to finish Despy but Suzuki was the real star. I could watch him all fucking day long. All day. I may have a project….
Final Rating: **3/4
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma vs. Kazuchika Okada, YOSHI-HASHI & Gedo
Honma wrestled a sneaky comeback match in June that nobody noticed on Kizuna Road. Prior to that he’d been out of action since March 2017. He gets a huge reaction here.
Tanahashi and Okada renew their rivalry 24 hours after Tanahashi saw off Okada before Honma returns to the in ring action. He immediately starts missing Kokeshi. Okada acts like a complete asshole; trying to hit the draping DDT that put Honma out and then stealing the Kokeshi! What a prick! I hope Okada is taking the loss hard and starts acting like a total jackass from here on out. King Kong Kneedrop finishes Gedo with an ecstatic Honma counting along with the ref. A nice moment. Honma opely weeping and being comforted by Makabe and Tanahashi is wonderful.
Final Rating: **3/4
Toru Yano  vs. Tama Tonga 
Yano has always been scared of Tama Tonga and how weird he is but that is a non-factor here. Django gets called upon for some translation and isn’t paying attention. Bring back Chris Charlton! I have to admit I didn’t pay much attention to any of this because it’s all bullshit and I don’t care anymore. Tama is someone who I actively don’t want to watch at all. Firing Squad is the opposite of a draw and this is the worst Yano match in ages. Tama gets disqualified. They should just cut their losses with this whole angle and forget about it.
Final Rating: DUD
Juice Robinson  vs. Hirooki Goto 
Juice has had a good G1, Goto’s has been unremarkable. His match with Ishii stands out but apart from that…not a lot. Omega match was good but I don’t remember it at all. Juice pulls off his soft cast pre-match, which makes you wonder why he had it wrapped at all. Goto is not motivated here…at all. Whenever he’s down the card and he doesn’t feel the pressure to perform and eh. Juice fires him up nicely though and he’s always motivated as he’s still making a name for himself.
The match does not feel important though, in any way. Try as he might, Robinson cannot create that illusion. There is some handy little bits of selling. Goto with his arm to offset Juice’s busted hand. Juice having that left hand gun uncocked allows him to deck Goto and finish with the Pulp Friction. Comms point out how Goto has been worn down on this tour and nobody knew how banged up he was.
Final Rating: ***1/4
Tomohiro Ishii  vs. SANADA 
Ishii has been great all tournament. He’s killed it against just about everyone. SANADA’s tournament has been a mixed bag thanks to his weird ticks and ability to get randomly lost in the middle of a sequence. The fact that’s it’s Ishii makes this feel more important than anything before this match.
These two run some nice little sequences based around Ishii trying to keep up with SANADA’s athleticism, and failing, and SANADA trying to match Ishii in stand up…and failing. Ishii comes marching into SANADA as he’s forearming him. It’s so intimidating. SANADA is so much bigger but Ishii big dogs him! SANADA hits a high angle backdrop driver here and Ishii just stands back up and strolls across the ring like it wasn’t shit. Once that adrenaline wears off Ishii will need to have a sit down a nice cup of tea. SANADA develops a knee problem and Ishii is about as subtle with his chop blocks as he is with his chops to the throat. I fucking love Ishii hitting SANADA with a Shining Wizard to mess with his head (taking a move from SANADA’s mentor Muto). Ishii keeps feeding SANADA here and it makes him look that much better as he knows Ishii is in charge of the match. He just has to follow, the dumb jock, and eat the savage hits. Brainbuster finishes and Ishii completes his tournament with another banger. Marvellous!
Final Rating: ****1/4
Tetsuya Naito  vs. Zack Sabre Jr 
The last guy to win back to back G1’s was Tenzan in 03/04. It’s a rarity.
Sabre, who’s been relatively calm all tournament, loses his rag here. Mainly at Naito’s usual antics. It’s prime Naito.
Big pop. pic.twitter.com/EGKw3iimlh
— Arn – no sleep only #g128 (@ArnoldFurious) August 11, 2018
It’s a battle of whether Naito can exploit Sabre’s temper or whether Zack can take apart Naito with his superior mat game. It’s an intriguing contest. Zack has run the same angle with a lot of guys during the past year but it’s mostly his capacity to outwrestle people against his own desire to fight strongstyle like all the big boys. Here it’s different. Naito looks to rile him and nobody gets under the skin of his opponents like Naito. Because Zack loses focus Naito is able to land a lot of his trademark stuff that wasn’t working at all during their tag yesterday. It’s mind games. You don’t get enough mind games. Both guys suspect they are in each others heads. It’s interesting to me that Naito keeps hitting an elbow into Zack’s neck and shoulder, thus eliminating his strength on a lot of holds. Zack’s selling for this is sublime. The trouble Naito has is that Zack doesn’t need both arms and he has these meaty kicks that are just devastating. I feel that Sabre’s best bet is a flash pin and he comes so close to ending Naito’s G1. Destino is countered right into the Zack Driver and TAKA jumps in the ring to celebrate with the guy who used his hold to beat Naito and end his G1. Really great match. Sabre has been consistently stunning during his New Japan run and Naito has found him impossible to beat. Crushing defeat for Naito but it keeps Ibushi alive going into the final match.
Final Rating: ****1/4
Kenny Omega  vs. Kota Ibushi 
These two have had some pretty wacky matches in the past and didn’t want to do so again in case one of them went too far.
They start a little tentative but as soon as Omega lands a chop you know there will be no quarter given. They’re out here to see who can take the most abuse and keep coming back. It escalates in frightening fashion. The dive where Omega refuses to catch Ibushi is downright scary and they are just getting started. It doesn’t feel like an Ibushi match or an Omega match and anytime either man attempts something conventional, from their standard arsenal, the counters start to appear. The benefits of training together but both guys have to get creative because everything is recognised by the other. Although when Kenny goes deep into his playbook and hits Kroyt’s Wrath it works. Or the incredibly reckless dive over the top rope. Anytime they hit the ropes I’m terrified to see what those two lunatics come up with but I cannot look away.
It turns out my body was not ready pic.twitter.com/ubWMIKa33E
— Arn – no sleep only #g128 (@ArnoldFurious) August 11, 2018
Kenny’s knees always look good but here there’s extra snap on them and Ibushi takes the hits so well. I’m legitimately fooled every time. I think he’s accidentally clocked him and Kota is about to collapse unconscious, only to discover it was a work and I’ve been worked. EVERY FUCKING TIME. They do some cracking wrist control stuff to play off Tanahashi/Okada.
Because this feud is every bit as personal and important as that one. They’re just pointing it out in the most obvious and clear terms the modern NJPW audience understand. All of a sudden we’re at twenty minutes and how did that time pass so quickly? They’ve been murdering each other. The Omega spot to counter the reverse rana…what even was that? Hey, let’s drop my best friend square on his dome. They do more terrifying stuff off the top including a Tiger Driver that’s absolutely sick. The perfection of it is breath-taking. Kamigoye finishes and this match was something else. The impact of the moves here was on another level. It was downright dangerous. You can’t have too many matches like that. They are career shorteners. Holy fuck.
Final Rating: *****
There are no words, really. When wrestling is truly great there’s no need for them. See you tomorrow.
Kota Ibushi 12
Kenny Omega 12
Zack Sabre Jr 12
Tetsuya Naito 12
Tomohiro Ishii 10
Hirooki Goto 6
Tama Tonga 6
Juice Robinson 6
Toru Yano 6