Norrissey’s G1 Climax Night Thirteen Review
2 August 2018
Live from Fukuoka Citizen Gymnasium, Fukuoka
You can read my preview of the entire tournament here.
You can read my Night One review here.
You can read my Night Two review here.
You can read my Night Three review here.
You can read my Night Five review here.
You can read my Night Six review here.
You can read my Night Seven review here.
You can read my Night Eight review here.
You can read my Night Nine review here.
You can read my Night Ten review here.
You can read my Night Eleven review here.
You can read my Night Twelve review here.
The finish line draws ever so close, as Night Thirteen brings the A Block action to Fukuoka. In the main event, Kazuchika Okada brings his winning streak and his Big Boy pants to the table when he fights Minoru Suzuki, also on a similar win streak. EVIL and Hiroshi Tanahashi have the other intriguing match of A Block, as a win for EVIL set up even more drama in A Block. Let’s go!
Your commentators for the evening are Kevin Kelly and Rocky Romero.
G1 Climax 28 A Block Match: Bad Luck Fale (Bullet Club/Firing Squad) vs. Michael Elgin
Just three bad Fale matches to go, everybody. Loa’s out to corner Fale, and the English commentators are shocked at his inclusion. SHOCKED, I tell you. Loa does his horrible TAKA Michinoku impression. A loss by Elgin would certainly put him out of the running for A Block winner. What’s worse, he’s apparently nursing a torn right bicep. Big props to anyone working this tour hurt, by the way. Fale offers a Test of Strength but just shoves Elgin in the face afterward, and Elgin tries the comeback with forearms, but the Underboss instead swings at his bicep, looking to start strong. Fale whips Elgin into the ropes; Elgin opts to Tope Suicida Loa! They’re outside now and Fale’s draping Elgin’s arm over the guardrail. Elgin eats another barricade and looks like he should take the forfeit. He won’t do this, of course. They’re back in the ring and Fale continues to dominate, hitting a Standing Splash that actually looked impressive for a change. Elgin backs up Fale with an elbow and an Enziguiri in the corner! Five minutes past. Fale staggers and Elgin hits a Running Shoulder Tackle, getting the crowd fired up in the process. Elgin’s whipped into the corner but hits an elbow off the second rope, as well as a kick to the chest for a two-count. He teases the vertical Brainbuster but can’t get anything from his right arm, and Fale’s back in control with a Running Splash into the corner. He signals for the Grenade, but Big Mike dodges the move and switches behind. He’s now hitting repeat Clotheslines with his left arm, but Fale eventually cuts him off, but then Elgin FINALLY hits the third Running Clotheslines for the two. Fale barely kicks out there, though. Buckle Bomb attempt fails, then Mike teases the Burning Hammer, but Fale recovers and hits the Samoan Driver for two. Surprising lack of Loa interference this evening. That’s my attempt to jinx this match and get it over with sooner. MASSIVE GERMAN SUPLEX to Fale gets the crowd going. A rotating Lariat gets a two-count. Ref bump, Loa comes in to a VICIOUS RESPONSE from the audience. He eventually eats a Tiger Suplex that the crowd really appreciates. Elgin actually manages a full bodyslam. He goes up top to finish Fale off… but then Tama Tonga starts whacking him with a chair and the ref has to call for the DQ. Michael Elgin def. Bad Luck Fale via DQ. It’s almost over, guys. Praise be to Jebus that we don’t have a lot more DQ finishers to go in this tournament. If Elgin’s working as hurt as he says he is, just give him the two forfeits and let’s move on. If you’ve seen one Firing Squad match this month, you know how this went. *1/4
G1 Climax 28 A Block Match: Hangman Page (Bullet Club) vs. Togi Makabe
Oh, shit, a Makabe match following a Fale match. Fatigue’s really starting to set in here. Both men are fighting for pride here, as they’ve both been previously eliminated from winning the A Block (Page on like July 1st or something). The bell sounds and they go at each other quickly, Makabe calling for running shoulder tackles before sending Page flying with one of his own. They’re on the floor and Page eats multiple guardrails as these two don’t seem to understand the meaning of the word “eliminated.” Makabe rolls Page back into the ring and stalls for a minute before TOPE SUICIDA MAMMA MIA through the ropes! Hangman takes control and sends Makabe into his own guardrail and they’re back inside. Page stomps on Makabe into the corner and flips him the double bird screaming “FUCK YOU MAN” and this might not end well for him later. Makabe runs into the other corner and Page lands a Running Dropkick for two. Deadlift Fallaway Slam from Hangman for two! That looked cool. Makabe starts calling for the forearms but keeps his base and gives Page his receipt with some forearms of his own before an RKO-style Powerslam brings us to square one again. 10 Punch/HA HA HA, followed by a Northern Lights Suplex, but Page kicks out at two. Five minutes past. They trade forearms before Page lands a 360 forearm and sticks in some sick chops before Makabe drills him with the Strong Left Lariat. He positions Page for the Spider German Suplex but Page blocks it and, but Makabe hits a Belly-to-belly from the top rope! Nice. King Kong Knee Drop attempt misses as Page rolls out of the way. Makabe’s up first and they start trading clotheslines but no one’s going down. Now they’re going the simultaneous clotheslines route and Page finally starts to falter. Page flips out of the German Suplex and hits a SUPERKICK! Makabe stays on his feet and takes Page down with the lariat. Hangman is on the apron, snaps inside, BUCKSHOT LARIAT! Page gets Makabe up, RITE OF PASSAGE! First time he hits it in the tournament! One, two, three. Hangman Page def. Togi Makabe via pinfall. A good ending, as Hangman was definitely one of the guys who benefits from a win over Togi Makabe, and Page needed at least one convincing pinfall to contribute to his relevance in this tournament. Makabe put in his usual Ok-to-good performance, so that was a more than serviceable outing. **3/4
G1 Climax 28 A Block Match: YOSHI-HASHI (CHAOS) vs. “Switchblade” Jay White (CHAOS)
The last time this tournament we get to say it: CHAOS EXPLODES! YOSHI-HASHI’s good performances this year have not turned into wins (no surprise there), and he looks to impress in his last stablemate contest against Jay White. He looks extra smug sauntering down to the ring, as the commentators point out that White is still very much alive in the standings. Kelly and Romero continue to shit-talk on YOSHI, and I’m giving up. It is what it is, YOSHI’s going to be CHAOS’s bitch boy forever. White charges at YOSHI before the bell even rings, and this should be a fun little sprint. YOSHI manages a running shoulder tackle early and lunges at White in the corner with forearms. He’s showing some real killer instinct as he punishes White with stomps in the ropes. White, in response, Saito Suplexes YOSHI over the top rope! They’re outside now and White does his alternating guardrail/apron spot in front of the English commentary, and they are PISSED. Kelly: “What are you doing? You already knocked us off the air three goddamn times during this tournament!” Rocky: “I’m done with him! Just done.” White rolls YOSHI inside and hits a sick chop followed by the Muta lock, complete with sick nostril grabbing to boot. Switchblade heads outside and grabs a chair to a chorus of boots. He lightly shoves Unno aside, with gives YOSHI the chance to dropkick Switchblade while he’s holding the chair! YOSHI goes on the offensive, hitting the Head Hunter and a Running Chop into the corner. Five minutes past. Jay’s draped over the top rope and YOSHI comes in with a Missile Dropkick, and he hits another Head Hunter from the top rope! White kicks out at two, though. He escapes from the Powerbomb, but YOSHI manages multiple elbows and yet White goes back on top with the Complete Shot and the Deadlift German Suplex! Twisting Suplex gets a weak kickout from YOSHI. Blade runner, but YOSHI rolls White up for Two! Jay hits a good combo of strikes before YOSHI gets in his Western Lariat to send White flying. Powerbomb with a rolling bridge gets two for YOSHI. He’s back up top but White’s got a hold of the referee who allows him to nut YOSHI over the top rope. He’s so damn proud of himself. Blade Runner, no, Karma, no, White shoves YOSHI into the ref and hits a Low Blow! Well, shit. YOSHI fights out of another Blade Runner, hits a spinning kick, a thrust kick and a Backcracker to get the crowd back into this contest. Fisherman’s Buster gets a loud response from the crowd and a two-count for YOSHI. He goes for Karma one more time but White sneaks in the Blade Runner for the three count. Jay White def. YOSHI-HASHI via pinfall. As per usual, the match suffered from the problem that White was never in doubt to lose the match. YOSHI-HASHI looked OK, but this was far from his best performance. He, and White for that matter, both look like they’re ready for the tournament to be over. ***
After the match, White and Rocky get into it outside. White: “Some things just have to be done the hard way. What I do gets results!” Rocky: “I’m done with your shit, man!” White’s such an interesting addition to CHAOS. He’s come a long way character-wise in the last six months.
G1 Climax 28 A Block Match: EVIL (Los Ingobernables de Japon) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
Now we get into the truly interesting stuff this evening. EVIL’s right on the heels of Hiroshi Tanahashi, sitting at eight points, but he has the worst run-in of possibly any competitor remaining, as he has to face Tanahashi, Okada and Suzuki going forward. Great reaction for Tanahashi as he comes out with his fully covered right arm. He’s probably nursing a boatload of injuries and we wouldn’t have a clue based on his performances. The bell sounds, and EVIL looks perplexed as the crowd is all Tanahashi at the beginning. EVIL starts with a mid-kick and gets Tana in a side headlock before hitting a running shoulder tackle to some boos. Tana manages the arm drag and mimes some Deep Purple on his air guitar before working EVIL down to the mat with a side headlock. EVIL looks to bite his way out of the hold, and he spills to the apron. Tana’s overconfidence gets the better of him, though, as EVIL drapes his bad arm over the top rope and gets ready to go to work. He slams Tana’s arm into the mat, as Kelly and Rocky remind us about how Tana never got his torn bicep repaired two years ago and that it’s permanently torn. What a mad lad. EVIL crushes Tana with a HUGE Senton for two, before going back to work on the arm. His selling is impeccable, probably because he doesn’t have to sell all that much. Tana’s in this hold for quite some time, but he begins to fire out of it and eventually manages a Kangaroo Kick (front flip double kick) to get out of the hold. Five minutes past. Flying Forearm for Tana, followed by a Diving Elbow and a Somersault Senton for two. These two haven’t met in the G1 Climax before, but EVIL holds a win in their lone singles match, back in the first round of the 2017 New Japan Cup. Tana positions himself on the top rope, affording EVIL the chance to hit a sick Lariat to send his opponent to the floor. They’re both outside, and EVIL whips the Ace into the barricade, and Tanahashi hopes to recover quickly, but EVIL manages another huge lariat to put Tana down! Unno starts the 20-count, and Tana actually stumbles for a good while before finally making it back in at 17! EVIL quickly charges in with a Bronco Buster for two! A humorous spot next, as Tana holds EVIL’s leg and Unno holds Tana’s leg, and they both implore to be put down at the same time! Some misdirection from EVIL while running the ropes and a huge Lariat gets two for EVIL! EVIL calls for Everything is Evil, but Tana surprisingly manages Twist and Shout and the crowd comes alive for the Ace. Sling Blade gets two, and we are ten minutes past! Tanahashi gets ready for the HFF, EVIL uses the referee as a distraction and charges in, but he eats a Dragon Screw over the ropes. High Fly Flow crossbody! He goes back up for the High Fly Flow, but EVIL gets out of the way! He’s clutching his arm and looks to be in real pain. EVIL rolls through Tana and hits Darkness Falls, but Tanahashi kicks out! EVIL Lariats the H-E-double hockey sticks out of Tanahashi but can only manage two as the crowd comes alive. He looks flustered but gets ready for Everything… nope, Tana kicks out, they trade counters for a while, BUT THEN TANAHASHI HITS EVERYTHING IS EVIL! HIGH FLY FLOW! That’s enough to get the three in a thrilling encounter. Hiroshi Tanahashi def. EVIL via pinfall. Just when you count the Ace out, he’s got the answers, as Tanahashi’s the first man to reach twelve points in the A Block. EVIL looked game, really taking it to Tanahashi with stiff Lariats, but he couldn’t put away the star when it mattered. It looks like EVIL’s eliminated, seeing as how he can only reach twelve points and Tanahashi holds the tiebreaker. A great performance from both men here. ****
G1 Climax 28 A Block Match: Minoru Suzuki (Suzuki-Gun) vs. Kazuchika Okada (CHAOS)
Since his return from his NOAH exodus on 5 January 2017, Minoru Suzuki and Kazuchika Okada have met three times in singles action. The first was at the New Beginning in Sapporo in February, where they had an extended match that was either amazing or utterly boring depending on who you ask (I’m in the former camp). The second match came at last year’s G1 Climax, in which they wrestled to a 30-minute draw that set up Okada failing to make the Finals. Most recently, they put on another 30-minute draw at Suzuki’s 30th Anniversary Show in Yokohama. It was certainly a spectacle, but pro wrestlers rarely compete in a heavy downpour for a reason. None of the G1 matches tonight have gone over fifteen minutes, suggesting these two should get some time. Minoru gets a boisterous KAZE NI NARE when he enters the ring, and Okada emerges from the back with his usual assortment of penis balloons. Both men started the tournament with two losses before rebounding with four wins. So, this isn’t an eliminator match per se, but both men need the victory badly. A draw would keep them both very much alive. Suzuki attacks Okada before the announcer can finish his introductions, and they’re quickly fighting in the crowd before Suzuki buries him under a set of guardrails. He then pummels Okada with chair shots and chair tosses. What a sadistic bastard. Suzuki threatens Red Shoes with a chair shot and Unno holds up a chair to protect himself. Before Suzuki can mangle Red Shoes, Okada’s up to defend him, and Suzuki promptly tosses Okada into the stands for his troubles. Crazy action to kick this match off! I’m not even sure if the bell sounded at the beginning of the brawl. Good thing Okada’s still wearing his shirt as he absorbs the punishment of these chair shots. Suzuki, ever so satisfied with himself, marches back to the ring, and Okada has a hell of a long track back to the ring. Suzuki grabs another chair from underneath the ring and looks to hunt Okada down as the Rainmaker struggles back to the ring. 16, 17, 18, 19… and Okada’s back in before the ref says 20. Suzuki sarcastically claps at his opponent’s efforts, and this is something to watch. Big Boot takes Okada off the apron, crashing through the guardrail below. Unno starts another 20-count, and Suzuki swings his tongue out of his mouth menacingly as he awaits Okada’s return. Okada limply rolls back into the ring at 19, and we are five minutes past. Suzuki goes to work, ripping off Okada’s shirt and choking him from behind. Okada rises to his feet and clubs back at Suzuki as they trade forearms. We’re nearly seven minutes in and Okada’s finally getting some offense in. Okada hits a Big Boot and a Neckbreaker, but he’s too gassed to kip up like normal. Okada hits an elbow to knock Suzuki down, then a standing DDT to put Suzuki down on top of his head, but Suzuki’s out at one, and Okada has a long way to go. Okada goes for his standard Alabama Slam-looking Neckbreaker (forgot what it’s called, sorry), but Suzuki manages to get a Cross Armbreaker in before Okada’s left foot reaches the bottom rope. Suzuki with the HARD Big Boot in the corner before a Penalty Kick sets up the Fujiwara Armbar on the right arm. He then grabs the left arm and tries to get Okada’s elbows to touch. He’s really sinking down into these holds, but Okada manages another rope break. This was going to be a shorter review in general; I guess I just have a lot to say about this match! Ten minutes past. Okada falls into the corner and Suzuki rains down some dangerous elbows on his opponent. Out of nowhere, Okada springs up and hits a Missile Dropkick, smiling and calling for more blows from Suzuki. Suzuki smiles and gladly takes him up on his offer. Sweat goes flying as Suzuki strikes Okada. They continue to trade blows, Okada matching the King blow for blow. Suzuki throws in a Rainmaker Pose for good measure. These two can’t stop smiling, until Suzuki almost literally wipes the grin off Okada’s face with another forearm. They continue to trade forearms until Suzuki sneaks in a Palm Strike across the face and Okada’s down to his knees. GSP sees Okada flip him over and roll him up for two. Suzuki gets up and runs the ropes but falls to the Best Dropkick in the World! Suzuki recovers and hits his Signature Palm Strike combo, but Okada manages a couple of uppercuts and they start slapping each other across the face! Okada runs the ropes and Suzuki hits him with the Second-Best Dropkick in the World! Wow. They might have to dispose of the mat after this match, so much sweat’s flying around. Okada tries the surprise Tombstone, but Minoru sends him down with the mid-knee strike. Standing Guillotine from Suzuki in the center, and we are fifteen minutes past. Rear naked choke now, and Okada has to sit down from the pressure applied from behind. Okada looks like he’s fading but manages to reverse the GSP attempt into a standing switch, but Suzuki manages a couple of Palm Strikes and locks in the Octopus Stretch! Okada with the Tombstone Piledriver! Now it’s Okada who locks in the Rear Naked Choke, and he goes for the Gotch Style Piledriver, and now Suzuki looks to hit a Tombstone! Okada squirms free and turns it into a Gotch Style Tombstone! That was neat, but it didn’t look so great coming down to the mat. He attempts the Rainmaker, but Suzuki starts to fight out of it before Okada hits the 360 clothesline. He picks up Suzuki and hits a proper Rainmaker for the three count!! Wow. Kazuchika Okada def. Minoru Suzuki via pinfall. The win puts Suzuki in a bind, as he’s all but eliminated from the A Block. Give me a few minutes to sit down and figure out the math. Suzuki refuses help and sprints embarrassingly to the back. Anyways, Suzuki came out HOT against Okada and delivered some stiff punishment in the crowd before the match got underway proper. Once Okada bested the two 20-counts, the brawl turned into a more technical counter then they could manage in Yokohama. Okada took a lot of punishment, and the only major flaw was that he came across a little too much like Superman in regards to his opponent’s offense. That, and while the Gotch Style Tombstone was a nice addition to the match, it didn’t look like it connected too convincingly for my taste. Other than that, an excellent main event that sent the fans home happy. ****1/4
Final Thoughts: With Suzuki and EVIL both officially eliminated from the A Block (both four points behind Tanahashi and lacking the tiebreaker with two nights remaining), the block becomes a three-horse race, as Okada looks to catch Tanahashi on the final night of action. Before that though, Tanahashi has to best his old tag team partner, Michael Elgin, and Okada has to get through EVIL, a man who had Okada’s number in last year’s tournament. White’s still lurking around, and he can still get through the A Block, but he needs to win out against Makabe and EVIL to do so. As for the match quality this evening, it certainly got better as the night went on, with two ****-and-up matches to close the show, giving this night a thumbs-up from me. However, Fale vs. Elgin and Page vs. Makabe are both completely skippable, while YOSHI-HASHI and White could have done better. Night Fourteen kicks off the weekend in Osaka, where Kenny Omega looks to stay undefeated as he faces Tomohiro Ishii, and Kota Ibushi main events against Tetsuya Naito. Almost done!
Standings (A Block):
Tanahashi Hiroshi – 12 pts
Jay White, Kazuchika Okada – 10 pts
EVIL*, Minoru Suzuki* – 8 pts
Bad Luck Fale*, Michael Elgin* – 6 pts
Togi Makabe*, Hangman Page* – 4 pts
YOSHI-HASHI* – 2 pts
Standings (B Block):
Kenny Omega – 12 pts
Tetsuya Naito – 10 pts
Kota Ibushi – 8 pts
SANADA*, Zack Sabre Jr* – 6 pts
Tomohiro Ishii*, Hirooki Goto*, Juice Robinson* – 4 pts
Tama Tonga*, Toru Yano* – 2 pts
* = eliminated
Thirteen down, six to go.