G1 Climax 28 N5
July 20 2018
We’re in Tokyo, Japan at Korakuen Hall. Hosts are Kevin Kelly and Rocky Romero. Jado is missing from the undercard tonight and is replaced by Gedo.
Toa Henare & Shota Umino vs. Zack Sabre Jr & TAKA Michinoku
My PC decides to pitch a fit as this match starts and I miss five minutes of it. It’s not a particularly long match either. Umino has a nice time getting near falls on Zack before Sabre has enough and submits him. Can’t rate this as I missed a chunk of it.
Final Rating: NR
Toru Yano & Gedo vs. Kota Ibushi & Yujiro Takahashi
Yujiro and Kota are not a team and Yujiro has a different girl, which I’m not cool with. Ibushi is far too wholesome for dancing girls. His level of ‘Bullet Clubbing’ is working over Gedo’s beard. Gedo vs. Yujiro is the kind of level that Takahashi operates well at. He’s fine as a little sideshow deal doing cheating stuff. He pins Gedo and we can all move on with our lives. I don’t enjoy the Kota & sleazeball combo.
Final Rating: *1/2
Juice Robinson & David Finlay vs. Tetsuya Naito & SANADA
A little crowd pan reveals a staggering amount of LIJ merch in the crowd.
My PC goes down again at this point and it returns with Naito being a dick about Juice’s bad hand. Nobody else has gone after that as yet but Naito has less scruples it seems. He just wants to win G1. Fuck Juice’s hand. Robinson is in good shape, in spite of the hand, and apparently New Japan told him to take time off and he refused knowing big things were in the plans for him this summer. It’s some serious manning up and Juice was right, if he’d taken time off he might have lost his momentum. SANADA puts Finlay away with a standing version of Skull End, which is better because the crowd get to look at the process. Naito keeps after Juice’s hand. His intention to line Juice up for tomorrow is some of the best tag work, from a logical point of view, we’ve seen so far. “Juice looks defeated already” remarks Rocky. Naito laying down that psychological marker.
Final Rating: **1/2
Kenny Omega & Chase Owens vs. Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa
This would have had certain implications even if Tama and Kenny were on good terms but seeing as Tonga has turned on Omega and split the Bullet Club (yay) this is something else.
Chase clearly has issues with Tanga here and a lot of their stuff looks sluggish. There are flashes from Omega and Tama that show something might come from their match tomorrow but I’m really not into the angle and that hurts my appreciation of it all. Tama goes on a rampage here, hitting Gun Stuns all over the place. Apeshit puts Chase away. I do dig Tama running back in and hitting another Gun Stun on Kenny. Double down. Own your shit.
Final Rating: **1/4
Hirooki Goto & YOH vs. Tomohiro Ishii & SHO
This match has a little intrigue to it as it previews Ishii vs. Goto. It shows that CHAOS, who have in the past, are not exactly on the same page. Their leader is losing the plot and Jay White is making a play for the group. Ishii probably still thinks of Goto as an outsider. There’s also a little side intrigue of SHO vs. YOH as they know each other so well. There’s a reason why this is the final tag match on this show and it’s simple; these are four guys who really care about each other and the match they have. It’s a way to try and rebuild Roppongi 3K are a stream of shitty Suzuki-gun matches recently. SHO in particular is destined for greatness. He’s been busting his ass to gain size and his in-ring is better. Brainbuster puts YOH away. Possibly the best tag on the tour so far.
Final Rating: ***1/4
Michael Elgin  vs. Jay White 
Both these guys come in unbeaten at 2-0.
Jay comes in cocky, having beaten Okada and Tana already, but finds Elgin a big meaty wall of violence and surprises. I thought Switchblade had him sussed yesterday but he goes headlong into abuse here. Jay goes back to shortcuts to put Elgin on the rack.
The biggest issue Elgin faces in New Japan is the same one he faced in America; he’s an ugmo and NJPW put the big belts on pretty people. The match is another in the learning curve of Jay White. As the match heads toward 10 minutes the pace quickens. I feel like Jay shouldn’t be in long, long matches (like the Tanahashi 25 minutes one) as he’s not there when it comes to constructing long bouts. Elgin is a veteran by comparison and when he’s leading the charge here it’s a better match. They attempt an apron spot and I have no idea what it’s supposed to be but they both tumble to the floor in a sickening heap.
— LARIATOOOO!! (@MrLARIATO) July 20, 2018
Jay should really finish Elgin off after that as Big Mike takes the worst bump but instead Elgin fires up! His fire is even better now than ever before because he’s added all this raw speed and athleticism. Jay bumps the ref on purpose, goes low and hits Bladerunner to win though. Whoa. 3-0. Not overly keen on the finish but it fits into Jay being a cheat and getting marginally cheap wins.
Final Rating: ****
YOSHI-HASHI  vs. Minoru Suzuki 
As with the last match there’s a lot on the line here with both guys having been blanked so far. Tacos learned from yesterday where Suzuki attacked him before the bell, attacking MiSu while Suzuki isn’t paying attention. Suzuki goes after the injured shoulder in response. Oh, you pissed him off. That’s also bad. This feels like such a mismatch with Tacos getting manhandled with ease.
With YOSHI-HASHI getting his arm dismantled he finds himself unable to unload with a lot of his bigger spots, putting him at an even greater disadvantage. Do his moves look tame because he’s selling or because he’s shit? If it is selling it’s really good but I have my doubts. Some of the bumps are downright ugly. The Blockbuster especially but the swinging neckbreaker is also poor. Suzuki looks baffled by the timing on a lot of HASHI’s moves. He gets a measure of revenge with a spectacular running dropkick. Even after that there are awkward moments where YOSHI-HASHI can’t get Suzuki into position for the Butterfly Lock. Gotch Piledriver finishes. This was not good. I feel bad for Suzuki having to carry that. Either Tacos is hurt or he’s just not good enough to wrestle at this level. I don’t honestly know which it is. I’m leaning toward the injury because he shoulder has been and he’s not looked this ropey in years. Suzuki threatening to fight Kevin Kelly is a major highlight!
— TDE Wrestling (@totaldivaseps) July 20, 2018
Final Rating: **3/4
Togi Makabe  vs. EVIL 
These two have a very similar smashmouth style. Makabe obviously has an experience advantage but EVIL is slightly larger.
This is an ‘anything goes’ kinda match up with them brawling up into the cheap seats in Korakuen. The whole match is two guys just barrelling into each other. Big Lads Wrestling. Everything is Evil finishes and I’m aware I’ve written very little about this but it was just two guys smashing into each other until the younger, fitter man won.
Final Rating: ***1/2
Hiroshi Tanahashi  vs. Bad Luck Fale 
They come in with a very even record but Tana hasn’t had to deal with Tanga Loa at ringside before. Based on Tanga’s interference he should be just thrown out before we even start. It’s ridiculous that NJPW officials allow it. Tana has wrestled Fale plenty of times and it is usually a ‘WWF 1980s house show main event’ kinda match. Hogan vs. Monster of the Month. This is supposed to be a New Fale but it’s the same old story. Fale’s weight loss has not been as huge for him as it has been in transforming Elgin. He does look in better shape but it’s not massively changed his approach. If anything it makes him easier to wrestle as smaller man can lift him and put him in submissions. A case in point is Bad Luck Fall where Tana seems to find it easier to get out into a rana. Fale’s size in previous years allowed him to simply manhandle opponents. Tanahashi dismantles him with dragon screws, leg work and big spots until Fale rolls out of the way of High Fly Flow. Bad Luck Fall is countered again, into a Slingblade in beautiful fashion. High Fly Flow finishes…or it would if Tanga didn’t pull the ref out. Tama runs in for the Gun Stun and it’s over but Red Shoes is all FUCK YOU GUYS and DQ’s Fale! Ha! Yes!
Fale cuts a nonsense gibberish promo afterwards complaining that it’s impossible for Tongans to win matches around here with corrupt Japanese officiating. There were THREE of you cunts in the ring!
Final Rating: ***1/2
Kazuchika Okada  vs. Hangman Page 
Huge match here for Hangman. He’s come into this tournament as a relative unknown commodity, despite wrestling in Japan for two years. This is almost a reward for being consistent on the undercards.
Page gets a little miffed about Okada smiling so much and then again for not being in position for his dive. Okada looks like a shadow of his former Rainmaking self and Page bosses the match, stealing Okada’s spots and generally looking like a better wrestler. Especially on the floor where he busts out that Afterburner using the rail. This is very much a showcase match for Page. He’s aggression, graceful and he makes Okada look average. Or rather Okada has made himself look average so far in G1. Maybe on purpose? It’s hard to say. For a guy that’s been so outstanding for the last two years any downward motion is going to be noticeable. But Page really is excellent. If Okada had been in position for that one dive he’d have looked faultless executing some very difficult spots. His stuff off the ropes is immaculate. The way he moves from one spot to another is great and his counters look realistic. They’re not super smooth but the untidiness gives them edge. Okada picks him off with a single Rainmaker to open his account but this was all about Hangman Page.
Final Rating: ****1/4
Not as strong as B Block but the storylines have been interesting. Jay White has put a great run together already, Hangman has looked ace in his first G1 and even the Firing Squad have a storyline going on where they’re cheating and sometimes getting caught.
Jay White 6
Togi Makabe 4
Michael Elgin 4
Hiroshi Tanahashi 4
Hangman Page 2
Bad Luck Fale 2
Kazuchika Okada 2
Minoru Suzuki 2