Norrissey’s G1 Climax Night Sixteen Review
8 August 2018
Live from Yokohama Cultural Gymnasium, Yokohama
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.
You can read my Night Thirteen review here.
You can read my Night Fourteen review here.
You can read my Night Fifteen review here.
It’s up to the B Block to deliver the goods tonight as we reach the penultimate night of B Block action. Kota Ibushi, Kenny Omega and Tetsuya Naito remain alive as they all have individual match-ups tonight. The most intriguing of the match-ups is Naito’s as he risks elimination at the hands of his L.I.J. stablemate, SANADA. Here we go!
Your commentators for the evening are Kevin Kelly and Rocky Romero, with Django available for translations.
G1 Climax 28 B Block Match: Tomohiro Ishii (CHAOS) vs. Juice Robinson
We start off with an interesting contest, as both Ishii and Robinson look to end the tournament strong, having told two completely different tales during their journey through the G1. Ishii has put on clinic after clinic, demonstrating resilience and a never-say-die attitude in each of his matches. Juice, meanwhile, has lost a bunch of matches but he continues to entertain the crowds as he fights through the pain of his broken (?) left hand. Juice starts up top as he pelts Ishii with think chops in the corner. Ishii says “Come on, let’s have it” before laying into Juice with some of his own. Now it’s Juice with the jab/chop combination and Ishii goes down hard to the mat. Juice whips Ishii into the opposite corner, but the Stone Pitbull sends Juice down hard to the mat followed by a deep Vertical Suplex. No pinfall attempt, though. Ishii taunts at Juice as the latter struggles to keep his wits together, managing some weak forearm attempts. Now Tomohiro’s laying in with some STIFF headbutts, and Juice attempts his own but they didn’t look too good, tbh. Suddenly Ishii runs the ropes and Juice tries a Spinebuster, but Ishii flies through it, and then Juice manages a Full Nelson Slam! He goes to take the cast off to a good response and starts coming in with Juice Punches. Ishii tries to fire back and they trade blows before Juice goes for the left, but Tomohiro ducks underneath. Ishii collapses in the corner and Juice lays in with the Lariat. Five minutes past. CANNONBALL connects and Juice starts to go up top and delivers a beautiful looking Crossbody, but he only gets two. They start to go fifty-fifty on chops in the center of the ring and the sweat is flying off the chests! It appears Juice has the advantage but ISHII HITS A SICK POWERSLAM as Juice tries to run the ropes! Ishii positions Juice for the Superplex AND CONNECTS! This is the wrestling equivalent of “He’s on fire!” Juice blocks a Lariat and goes for the Juice Box, but misses, Ishii attempts the Sliding Lariat, misses, Juice hits the Juice Box and then a Powerbomb! Ishii kicks out! Big offense from Juice but he’s can’t quite finish the contest. Juice powers through the pain, though, and hits the Left Hand of God and then a wicked Lariat for two! Time for Pulp Friction? Nope, Ishii goes for one of his own. They continue to reverse and Juice eventually manages to execute Pulp Friction. Problem is, though, Ishii didn’t go for the ride with him, and he runs the ropes to pull off a Sliding Lariat for Two. Deadlift German Suplex connects for Ishii, but Juice fires out of it, only to eat a quick Clothesline for two. Juice’s out of the Vertical Brainbuster and he suffers an Enziguiri before the Vertical Brainbuster puts an end to this very good encounter. Tomohiro Ishii def. Juice Robinson via pinfall. Tomohiro Ishii manages wins against the IWGP Heavyweight Champion, the IWGP US Champion, and the NEVER Openweight Champion, and you’re telling me he’s not an excellent wrestler? C’mon. Juice put on a good showing, but I’m getting kinda bored of the cast storyline. Then again, I’m watching and writing reviews on every event, whereas the Yokohama fans might be watching their first G1 Climax match period, so context is everything. ***1/2
G1 Climax 28 B Block Match: Zack Sabre Jr (Suzuki-Gun) vs. Hirooki Goto (CHAOS)
Nothing’s at stake in this contest here, but Sabre stands to gain another quality win against a champion in the Fierce Warrior, Hirooki Goto. My god, Zack looks like such a star, and the TAKA hype gimmick is working in getting him over with the crowd. They start off quickly (after TAKA encourages Goto to COME ON OVER HERE), with Zack hitting a Running Big Boot before they devolve to slugging at each other with trading forearms. Goto hits a Side Saito Suplex early, sending Sabre to the outside and the commentators wonder if Zack went fifty-fifty too early. Zack eats the guardrail TWICE… but reverses the third attempt into a Guillotine and begins targeting Goto’s left wrist. He then does his Stepover Twisting Hammerlock on the right arm, and Goto’s left to writhe in pain as Marty begins the 20-count. Goto limply rolls back in at 18 and Zack’s back to work, stomping and twisting the arms in ways that are hard to describe succinctly. Zack playfully dares Goto to strike at him, which of course he cannot. The ropes are Goto’s best friend at this point, as a Sabre submission actually sees them both roll into the ropes. He then begins pummeling Goto with kicks to the chest before a Goto Clothesline sends Sabre into the corner. Five minutes past. A Rolling Corner Roundhouse Kick plus a Saito Suplex gets a two count for Goto. He looks for the Ushigoroshi but Zack goes back to targeting the left arm. MASSIVE VERTICAL SUPLEX from Goto and both men are down. Goto manages to get up and go up top, trying an Elbow Drop, but he falls right into the Cross Armbreaker from Sabre! Goto’s all tied up and Sabre adds extra pressure to the head! But Goto eventually gets his foot to the bottom rope and everyone breathes a sigh of relief. Zack tries the PK, but Goto catches him, and they dodge each other before Sabre sneakes in a Cobra Twist before transitioning into the Octopus hold. Classic Antonio Inoki stuff here! NOW GOTO HITS THE USHIGOROSHI! He almost threw Sabre too far and missed the knee, but it was still a cool sequence regardless. Suddenly, Sabre does his Robinson bridging pin attempt for a quick two count. Ten minutes past. A quick headbutt drops Sabre, and Goto follows up with the Reverse G-T-R, and he goes for a regular G-T-R, BUT SABRE COUNTERS WITH THE EUROPEAN CLUTCH AND GETS THE THREE! WHAT THE FUCK! Zack Sabre Jr def. Hirooki Goto via pinfall. We’re due for a NEVER Championship match in September it seems, as Sabre withstood the headbutts and snuck another victory out of a championship holder. Goto’s putting on great matches but it’s clear that he wants this tournament to be over sooner rather than later. Another good contest with a surprising finish. ***
G1 Climax 28 B Block Match: Tama Tonga (Bullet Club/Firing Squad) vs. Kota Ibushi
The goal is to spend no more than 500 words on this match, tops. Tama, ever the sneaky son of a bitch, sneaks behind Ibushi, attacking him and FOR SOME REASON the bell sounds to start the match while the two are on the ramp! Why? What the ever-loving fuck? Ibushi’s fighting back but fall to a Running Powerslam. Tama locks in a sleeper from behind and Ibushi manages to make it to the ropes. I’m already nodding off here. Headbuts from Tama as Ibushi struggles to make it to his feet. The Yokohama crowd’s trying to get Ibushi back in this match, and Ibushi launches into Tama with a good-looking Dropkick! Five minutes past. Ibushi with the signature Kick Strikes before sending Tama to the mat with a Running Kick across Tama’s chest, before a Standing Moonsault gets two. Tama goes around Kota with the misdirection and puts Ibushi down with a Standing Dropkick. Stinger Splash into the corner, and they both tease Tongan Twists before Kota hits a Half-and-half Suplex! Tonga falls outside, but as Ibushi goes for the Triangle Moonsault, Tama sneaks around and strikes Kota to the floor! Ok then. They are all the way out on the floor and Tama doesn’t quite seem like he knows where he wants to take Ibushi toward. Ibushi stops him and and heads into the gallery as the crowd can’t quite figure out where he’s going. He emerges on the second floor to a massive series of applause, and Budokan can’t get here soon enough. High fives as he tightropes the top of the balcony, SUPREME MOONSAULT TO THE FLOOR AND THE CROWD IS FULLY BEHIND IBUSHI! Holy shit. Ibushi looks properly dazed but he manages to escort Tonga back to the ring. Tama’s in now and Kota goes to the top rope… but TANGA LOA is out and that give Tama Tonga time to recover. He goes up top to meet Ibushi and lifts Ibushi on his shoulders, but Ibushi fights out of it and leap frogs over him to get back to the mat. Neckbreaker! Tama gets a two count. He then hits his old finisher, which I can’t remember the name of, to get another two count. Ibushi blocks a Gun Stun and hits a knee, calling for the Kamigoye in the process. Loa holds onto Ibushi’s leg to prevent the move, and almost walks into a Gun Stun… ref bump. Crap. Fale comes down the ramp and hits the Grenade on Fale. IT’S KENNY OMEGA DOWN THE RAMP and he V-Triggers Fale. He goes to check on Ibushi and eats a Spear from Loa. Ibushi levels Loa with a Mid-kick and almost falls to the Gun Stun but he hits a sick Lariat to send them both down. It looks like Kota’s readying Tonga for the Kamigoye, but he goes for it, and Tama dodges him, hitting a pop-up Gun Stun to make the future quite uncertain for the Golden Star. Tama Tonga def. Kota Ibushi via pinfall. Sixteen reviews in and I think you all know my feelings toward the Firing Squad angle they’ve been running for what’s coming up on a month (Jesus, it’s been a whole month?). The Firing Squad are not getting over, and their antics are turning great matches into merely good matches, and good matches into bad matches. Thankfully, it’ll all be over with on Saturday. **1/4
Post match, the Firing Squad continue the beat down on Bullet Club Elite, and the commentators make mention of the fact that Kenny Omega still has a match this evening. Loa lays out Omega with a powerbomb, before the rest of BC Elite (Page and Owens) runs the rest of the Tongans off… and HERE COMES YANO! Brilliant stuff.
G1 Climax 28 B Block Match: Kenny Omega (Bullet Club) vs. Toru Yano (CHAOS)
The crowd starts to come alive as Yano emerges from the back complete with CHAOS DVD and red chair in hand. He goofily struts to the ring, before he realizes the situation in front of him, and with all the urgency of a dog who really needs to take a shit, he’s frantically taking off his shirt and jacket, before furiously encouraging the referee to get Hangman and Owens out of the ring. HE GOES FOR THE PINFALL! ONE, TWO, THR… NOPE, KENNY OMEGA KICKS OUT AT TWO. Well, then, here we go! This is your typical Yano/Omega comedy match, and I’m on my fourth viewing of the match, so I’ll try to keep it shorter than previous reviews. Yano immediately goes for undoing three of the four turnbuckles, and as he goes for number four, Chase implores him to stop, at which point Kenny’s back up! Kenny eats three consecutive Irish Whips into the steel and Yano goes to undo number four. He sends Kenny into the blue corner but Chase blocks the whip attempt. Yano whips Omega into the blue corner but Chase positions the turnbuckle guard to save him, then removes it when Yano’s reversed into the corner! Jesus. Omega stomps on Yano’s hand but eats an Inverted Atomic Drop. Yano now places all four turnbuckle pads in the center, and hits a DEVASTATING Brainbuster onto the pads, but Kenny of course recovers from this in hilarious fashion. They both grab turnbuckles and it’s time for a G1 CLIMAX PILLOW FIGHT! They strike at each other, selling each strike like death, and I cannot stop laughing at this. I actually showed this match to my girlfriend, demonstrating simultaneously that I am a seriously lucky guy, and the people whom I allow into my life put up with a lot of shit. Omega grabs Yano’s pad to block a strike, but YANO DRAGON SCREWS OMEGA VIA THE TURNBUCKLE OUTSIDE OF THE RING. Five minutes past. What the actual fuck. Yano fastens Omega’s arm to Young Lion Narita’s arm, and throws Narita over the top rope, using the Young Lion as an anchor as the 20-count starts. Omega manages to drag both himself and Narita into the ring, and it’s now a Handicap match, but not necessarily for the men with the one-wrestler advantage. The two men, still affixed, manage to clothesline Yano and Kenny’s overjoyed. Yano recovers and hits a beautiful Belly-to-belly before a Fireman’s Carry rolling pin gets two. Kenny hits a sick V-Trigger and looks to take control, but Yano manages to grab the referee who’s ready to go for a ride. Yano then double Low Blows Unno and Omega, and the Tongans are back. Tonga Gun Stuns Yano and then Omega. Ok, then. Tonga lays Yano over Omega and the REF COUNTS THE THREE. MY GOD, TORU YANO HAS PINNED THE CURRENT IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION. Toru Yano def. Kenny Omega via pinfall. Well, this is a difficult match to talk about in technical terms. Kenny Omega needed to lose tonight for anything on Night Eighteen to matter. A win would have sealed the B Block for him, but because he lost, Naito and Ibushi are both eligible to go through. As a comedic match, it was brilliant, with Omega and Yano coming up with new spots to complement their two previous matches. However, the inclusion of the Firing Squad felt like a weak cop-out, and there’s really no point ranking matches like this, so let’s just say ******* (in reality, more like **3/4) and move on.
G1 Climax 28 B Block Match: SANADA (Los Ingobernables de Japon) vs. Tetsuya Naito (Los Ingobernables de Japon)
Last year, the G1 featured a Naito contest against L.I.J. stablemate EVIL, and this year, SANADA gets the nod to close out Night Sixteen. The B Block undercard matches have seen SANADA and Naito not have much interaction with each other, suggesting that SANADA will bring his all during this match specifically. The crowd’s hot as the bell rings and the two L.I.J. men stare each other down intently as the crowd screams their support for Naito. He calls for the fist-bump, possibly hoping for SANADA to lay down for him, but SANADA doesn’t allow it, and he drags Naito outside as Naito goes for the Tranquilo pose! He flips back to the ring as Naito looks amused. This will be a good one! Some ground wrestling sees Naito slip back outside to the Hammerlock before SANADA reverses and there’s a stalemate in the center. Naito puts SANADA back down and maintains control of the left arm. SANADA does his fun flippy shit to get out of the hold, and Naito manages the Tranquilo pose before SANADA cuts him off with a low dropkick. It takes a weird disposition to not only watch every match of the G1 but also commentate on it with such eloquence. SANADA whips Naito into the corner but a Reverse DDT sends him to the outside. Five minutes past. SANADA eats the barricade, then a second one and Naito walks his stablemate up the ramp. They slug it out and Naito manages a Reverse DDT followed by a Low Dropkick, and he leaves SANADA on the ramp as Red Shoes starts the 20-count. SANADA’s on his feet as he marches to the ramp and Naito is PISSED, going for a Neckbreaker and getting a one count from the ref. SANADA fires back with forearms before Naito spits in his face, but SANADA spits back and hits a Saito Suplex out of the corner! Red Shoes looks confused in the center as SANADA starts the Leap Frog Combination before sending Naito outside with the Pescado over the top rope! SANADA tries the Springboard elbow, but he eventually succumbs to the Cabron Combination and the crowd comes alive for Naito. Naito whips SANADA into the corner but the Cold Skull completes the Springboard Missile Dropkick and we are ten minutes past. Naito misses an Enziguiri and eventually hits a HUGE DDT to firmly take control. He positions SANADA on the top rope and hits a Frankensteiner from the top rope, before the path to Gloria is unimpeded, but SANADA kicks out at two. DESTI-nooo, as SANADA locks in the Skull End, but Naito kicks out and goes for another Destino, but SANADA hits a draping Dragon Screw and both men are down. SANADA hits another Missile Dropkick before a NICE Tiger Suplex gets two. I’m struggling to keep up with this match, folks. Naito fights his way out of another Skull End and a third Destino connects! SANADA KICKS OUT. SANADA HITS HIS OWN DESTINO FOR TWO. Yokohama starts to come alive as SANADA locks in the Skull End proper, and Red Shoes checks in on the defending champion. Naito’s in the hold for at least two minutes before SANADA goes for the Muta Moonsault, but Tetsuya rolls out of the way. Wow. They go back at each other with forearm strikes, with SANADA struggling. Naito cannot afford to lose, lest we forget. He rocks SANADA with a Flying Forearm, before DESTI—No, SANADA escapes and now they trade Skull End teases before SANADA teases a Sabre-esque roll-out for two! SANADA strikes with a rolling elbow but he soon eats a rolling German, but Naito hits the Sick Looking-Destino outta nowhere! SANADA is done after the three count. Tetsuya Naito def. SANADA via pinfall. That was a sick outing, as SANADA looked to have a counter for every finish that Naito had. He’s looking vicious as he looks to win the block, but it’s all up to Kenny Omega and Kota Ibushi. The winner of that match wins the block, and this ending sequence was more about putting Hiromu Takahashi over as the man who needs to come back sooner rather than later. ***3/4
Final Thoughts: Similarly to A Block, B Block has three finalists who could potentially win the block, and that’s the only story they bothered telling tonight. Naito hopes for a win and afterward, he hopes for a draw between the main-eventers. Meanwhile, Omega and Ibushi essentially fight for their G1 lives in the main event of Night Eighteen. We move on to Night Seventeen coming up however, as Jay White hopes to influence the final of Tanahashi vs. Okada. Let’s go!
Standings (A Block):
Tanahashi Hiroshi – 14 pts
Jay White, Kazuchika Okada – 12 pts
EVIL*, Minoru Suzuki* – 8 pts
Bad Luck Fale*, Michael Elgin*, Hangman Page* – 6 pts
Togi Makabe*, YOSHI-HASHI* – 4 pts
Standings (B Block):
Kenny Omega, Tetsuya Naito – 12 pts
Kota Ibushi, Zack Sabre Jr* – 10 pts
SANADA*, Tomohiro Ishii* – 8 pts
Hirooki Goto* – 6 pts
Juice Robinson*, Toru Yano*, Tama Tonga* – 4 pts
* = eliminated
Sixteen down, three to go.