NJPW G1 Climax 28 N19/Final review
August 12 2018
We’re in Tokyo, Japan at Budokan Hall. Hosts are Kevin Kelly, Rocky Romero and Chris Charlton.
Togi Makabe, Michael Elgin & Tomoaki Honma vs. Yuji Nagata, Shota Umino & Ayato Yoshida
Yoshida is from K-Dojo. He’s wearing the black trunks and counts as another Nagata inspired product for NJPW. They bring a lot of youthful energy to go against the veteran brawlers across the ring. Elgin/Umino is the good stuff. Umino has been hugely impressive on the undercard tags on this tour. I have missed Nagata on this tour but his emotional farewell last year was a once in a career deal. You can’t come back after that. King Kong Kneedrop puts Yoshida away. This was fine. Not enough Shota though.
Final Rating: **1/2
Toa Henare vs. Bad Luck Fale
How does Fale end up with a singles match after the tour he’s had? Fale doesn’t hang around. Grenade. Bad Luck Fall.
Final Rating: Squash
Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Takashi Iizuki & Taichi
I’ll take matches I couldn’t give a shit about for $10, Alex. The only way this is any good is if Goto is super motivated and he didn’t look that bothered fourth from top in a G1 match yesterday. Taichi does make me chuckle by falling over Tacos before pinning him. Aside from that there’s nothing to see here.
Final Rating: ½*
Juice Robinson & David Finlay vs. Cody Rhodes & Hangman Page
No cast for Juice here. He’s free to punch Cody all he wants.
Here’s Cody demonstrating to Taichi what a heavyweight body looks like if you work on it. Considering Cody is now part of the babyface Bullet Club he’s pretty heelish here. Cody aside everyone out here is still looking to make a name for themselves. This makes this match the most exciting on the card so far. Just from sheer determination of the wrestlers. Juice Robinson looks terrific here, as does Hangman Page. The Buckshot/Juice punch sequence is great. Cody downs Juice with the Kudo Driver. I did not see Juice taking the pin here. Really good little match though.
Final Rating: ***1/4
NEVER Trios Championship
Marty Scurll & The Young Bucks vs. Guerrillas of Destiny & Taiji Ishimori
This isn’t for the NEVER Trios title but Tanga asked for them to “put those motherfuckers up”. I’m fairly sure Uncle Harold wanted everyone to stop swearing. Anyway, so Harold Meijj okays it and this is a title match. The Elite boys play babyfaces here and have the common courtesy to put some effort in after the last two nights. The pace is brisk throughout and Ishimori looks really good. In fact the Ishimori vs. Scurll sequences are the best in the match and it’s reminiscent of Scurll/Ospreay. The rest of the time they don’t bother with tags and there’s a lot of Bucks throwing superkicks. Gun Stun finishes Scurll while he’s trying to shush the crowd for his finger snap spot and these belts change hands again. This was fine but the angle is already irritating to me and Tama’s post match assertion that they can “turn it on when they want” after having that three star bout is amusing to me.
Final Rating: ***
Video Control gives us a quick shill for Wrestle Kingdom 13 (January 4 2019), just in case you didn’t know when WK would be.
Los Ingobernables de Japon vs. Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado
“I cannot speak English. Speak Japanese only” – TAKA Michinoku
The feel from last night is that LIJ and Suzuki-gun are about to engage in some factional warfare. Naito playing mind games with Suzuki reminds me of how Yano actually managed to get in Suzuki’s head with his antics. In between wins Yano did get quite badly beaten up though.
I wish Suzuki-gun was all maverick shooters with cocky attitudes like Sabre rather than shitheads like Iizuka who can barely move anymore. This is the best part of Suzuki-gun (and Kanemaru) so they have some tasty double teams and such. LIJ know each other so well that whenever they need to slide into a double/triple/quadruple team it just happens. Kanemaru gets Skull Ended, while still attempting a Suntory Spit. That’ll do it. This factional war is not over though. Not by a long shot.
Final Rating: ***1/4
Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano & Jay White vs. Kenny Omega, Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens
I like how Jay almost won his G1 block but he’s still bottom of the introductions behind Yano. He’s a little more respectful here as he’s in with the veterans rather than teaming with juniors. His surprise tag to Yano is pretty funny. As is the rowboat spot with Pieter dancing in the middle and I love that they all stop apart from Kenny Omega. That man is putting the professional in professional wrestler. I enjoy this match it’s a good combination of shtick and the likes of Ishii and Chase bringing the old school warring. Owens clobbering Ishii with a lariat is sensational stuff. Brainbuster finishes for Big Tom and Kenny Omega is forced into another loss against CHAOS. They’ve been out for him since he beat Okada.
Final Rating: ***
Rey Mysterio Jr, KUSHIDA & Pro Wrestler Sengoku Enbu vs. Kazuchika Okada & Roppongi 3K
Sengoku is Taguchi. KUSHIDA comes down here on a hoverboard.
Okada turns up wearing his robe and looking back to his old self. He starts with Rey and they do some pretty awkward stuff that struggles due to the huge size difference. Are they trying to preview something Okada is doing in CMLL? He’s over there soon. Enbu gets the tag after some non-event stuff and does all the normal Taguchi stuff but throws in a terrible moonsault. Enbu battling Okada with hip attacks is actually the best action of the match. Taguchi, when he feels like it, is a world class wrestler. Rey used to be one of the best in the world but those times are long gone. His counters and interaction with Roppongi 3K are downright awkward. His work opposite the juniors is better than the Okada stuff but the springboard splash finish is disappointing. Basically Rey is broken down but he’s very good at hiding it. This match didn’t do much for me.
Final Rating: **3/4
G1 Climax 28 Final
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kota Ibushi
Ibushi is in his first G1 Climax final. Tanahashi has won two G1’s. 2007 and 2015. Omega is in Ibushi’s corner. In Tanahashi’s corner; KATSUYORI SHIBATA.
That’s a pretty sensational one-up from Tana, psychologically speaking. Tanahashi is a predictable wrestler. You know what he’s going to do, from a kayfabe perspective, but he’s also the very best at what he does. Ibushi is unpredictable. You don’t know how he’s going to approach any given match. That’s his strength. Tanahashi aims to ground Kota and stop his wacky antics.
There’s a sensational spot where Tana goes to dropkick the knee on the apron and Kota jumps over it and double stomps Tana in the chest. My word it’s superb. A look at both guys tactics. Tanahashi’s obsession with grounding Ibushi, Kota being unpredictable. Tanahashi meanwhile is so capable and when Ibushi goes for the Lawn Dart it’s countered into the Slingblade. He’s prepared for spots that have hurt him in the past. So Ibushi has to find new creative ways to hurt him. There’s something majestic about the sight of Tanahashi standing on the top rope. Like a lion surveying his prey from the tallest rock on the plain. That majesty is cut down frequently by Kota’s lightning speed and capacity to catch Tanahashi off guard. From a psychological stand-point it’s a fascinating battle. Both men have taken a beating over the past month and it’s all come down to this.
Is Omega’s support from ringside the key? It seems to fire Kota up every time. And Ibushi is so much stronger than Tanahashi on the stand up after that although Tana fucking Hulking up is incredible. The slap exchange here is just unbelievable. The intensity of it. I’m on the edge of my seat and I’m so tired just watching the exchanges. One shot after another. I couldn’t be Tanahashi. Where is he finding the energy? Once they get into the stand up battle the match is riveting. I can’t say that for the entire contest but as soon as they’re into the business end. It’s incredible. We hit 30 minutes and it feels like about 15. I’m also aware that I’m so tensed up that my legs feel like lead. LAWN DART! The move that cost Tanahashi the G1 a few years ago. It looks so painful.
COME ON TANA! Go Ace! The German suplex from outside in. Tanahashi is almost lifeless at this point. The near falls here…I know they’re not finishers so they shouldn’t finish but the match has been such a war I still feel them. Tana gets up for three High Fly Flows and takes the win. This was epic. My word.
Final Rating: *****
You can skip the undercard. Just ignore it completely. It’s all about Tanahashi vs. Ibushi. One of the finest matches of the modern era. Probably MOTY. Hiroshi Tanahashi is the greatest professional wrestler of all time.