Norrissey’s G1 Climax 28 Review Night Eight

G1 Climax 28 Review Night Seven

22 July 2018

Live from Ao-re Nagaoka, Niigata


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 Four 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.


Well, it’s finally happened.  Three days off and I finally sensed the creeping dread of getting back to the G1 Climax, and yes, all those bloody damn tag matches.  This coupled with my intense obsession with Super Mario Odyssey of late means that it’s the moment you all were waiting for: I’m only covering the tournament matches!

Your commentators for this evening are Kevin Kelly and Rocky Romero.

G1 Climax 28 B Block Match: Hirooki Goto (CHAOS) vs. Toru Yano (CHAOS)

With the return of his tricky, nefarious ways during Night Six, Toru Yano looks to steal his way to four points as he meets up with the NEVER Openweight Champion.  Meanwhile, Goto’s been putting on his working boots during the tournament, putting on clinics with the likes of Kenny Omega and Tomohiro Ishii.  The Yano match couldn’t have come at a better time for him.  Yano offers a handshake to start the match, which Goto cautiously accepts.  Yano runs back to the blue corner and undoes the turnbuckle without Goto noticing.  A quick THUMP across Goto’s head and we’re off.  Yano effectively maneuvers Goto into the steel and attempts a pinfall via t-shirt obstruction.  They have some formulaic simultaneous wrestling before Yano gets his opponent over with the Fireman’s Carry.  Goto locks his wrists for a good looking headbutt.  An Ushigoroshi and G-T-R combination puts Yano away.  Hirooki Goto def. Toru Yano.  Goto picks up the victory in a short, inoffensive match that give him the night off he probably needs. *1/2

G1 Climax 28 B Block Match:  Tetsuya Naito (Los Ingobernables de Japon) vs. Tama Tonga (Bullet Club/Firing Squad

I’m holding out for another quick match but I’m not gonna hold my breath here.  Tanga Loa follows his brother down for the match.  A smarter man would skip this match, but let’s see what happens.  Naito receives his usual great reception as he approaches the ring.  Naito implores Tama to “take it easy, ese” while getting undressed before encouraging the referee to send Loa to the back.  Naito watches Loa march up the ramp and gets jumped for his troubles.  Naito looks to fly after taking down both brothers but instead hits a Tranquilo pose to rapturous applause.  The 20-count starts and Tama slides back in to get the match going proper.  Tama manages to avoid the Leg Sweep Combo and takes it to Naito outside before Loa gets involved as well.  Marty Asami is dumber than most of the WWE babyfaces at this point.  Tama then rains down blows upon as he ponders if there was another ways.  Feats of Strength!  Tama hits a Stinger Splash but Naito avoids a second and crushes Tama with a neckbreaker afterward.  Naito with the Hip Toss/Dropkick combo, then the Leg Sweep combo, then he spits Loa! Gross. Still gross.  Jumping DDT gets two for Naito.  Kelly gives a shoutout to 2012 G1 Finalist Karl Anderson.  What a good brother.  Loa hooks up Naito, who’s standing on the apron, and hits a MURDEROUS POWERBOMB on the ramp that looked like it hurt.  He rolls Naito into the ring and hits a Tongan Twist, then goes for the Gun Stun, but Naito rolls through and hits a German Suplex.  The Destino is countered as the ref takes a bump to the floor, so of course Loa’s in, but EVIL comes to even the odds, then Fale, then BUSHI’s out to mist Fale and hit a running tope onto Loa!  Back to one-on-one in the ring.  Enziguiri by Naito, DESTI… NO, Tam’s out of it and low blows Naito.  Gun Stun attempt, but then Naito sends Tama up high and Low Blows him on the way to the ground!  Destino finally connects for the victory.  Tetsuya Naito def. Tama Tonga via pinfall.  I guess this was the best of Tama’s four tournament matches, as both sides came out in equal numbers to help their respective leader’s chances of victory.  Low blow was met with low blow, and the right man won. ***

Naito and the other L.I.J. members pose in the Center of This Ring, and Rocky eats a loogie as Naito departs

G1 Climax 28 B Block Match:  Tomohiro Ishii (CHAOS) vs. Zack Sabre Jr (Suzuki-Gun)

I’m excited for this match.  The two men coming up have met three times in the previous year or so.  The first contest saw Ishii beat Sabre in the semi-finals of the US Heavyweight Championship tournament in an awesome encounter that was a pleasure to watch live, while the second saw Sabre pick up his win back in last year’s G1 Climax.  The most recent was for Sabre’s RPW British Championship over Wrestlemania week, which Ishii won.  I suppose Sabre gets his revenge today, but who knows.  Sabre’s out first, and he has his hype goon do some hyping, but unfortunately no Django means we’ll have to skip over that part.  Tomohiro with his usual stoic march to the ring and we are underway!  Zack stays low and tries to shoot on Ishii at the beginning, but Ishii am not having none of that.  Zack wrangles control of Ishii’s right arm, and they head into the Test of Strength bit, which Ishii dominates, because of course he does.  Zack goes to his knees twice, but tries to slip out of it, rolls out, and the crowd applauds.  TAKA looks concerned.  Stiff European Uppercut only manages to rile up Ishi, he goes for the Brainbuster, and they roll over each other on the mat, and I could do with another fifteen minutes or so of this before the fall.  Sabre gets the clean break and demonstrates his thanks by repeatedly shoving Ishii in the face.  Tomohiro responds by going to CHOP CITY, BITCH.  Sabre manages to get control of the chopping hand and puts in some real damage before going to work, stomping and jumping on the right arm repeatedly.  Sabre’s got both arms tied up now using his legs alone, which is always quite impressive.  Sabre grabs limb number three, but Ishii uses limb number four (his right leg) to reach the ropes.  They’re back up and now Ishii is calling for the uppercuts.  They soon charge at each other from opposite corners and Zack goes flying from the shoulder tackle.  Five minutes past.  Ishii starts the Tenryu Combination of slugs and chops in the corner and looks mildly perturbed as Sabre collapses to the mat.  Standing Switches in the center before Zack hits and Double Underhook Suplexes Ishii into a Cross Armbreaker.  Ishii reaches the ropes again.  Sabre now works on the left arm as Ishii clutches the bottom rope and Red Shoes call for the break.  I’m a bit confused as to why Zack’s working the left arm when he punished the right arm not five minutes ago.  Saito Suplex for Ishii!  Powerbomb attempt, but Sabre escapes, but now Ishii locks in the Ankle Lock!  Sabre’s got nowhere to go but gets in the Armbar, Ishii goes for the Ankle Lock again, but Sabre manages to get to the ropes! Wow.  Sabre gets a desperate Enziguiri and a standing mid-kick to force a stalemate.  Both men look like they’re beat to shit at the moment.  Sabre’s on his feet first and levels in some real Uppercuts.  Ishii gets in a *weak* headbutt, and Sabre goes for the Omoplata and Ishii’s in some serious pain.  Ten minutes past.  ISHII GETS TO THE ROPES!  Oh man.  Ishii’s really struggling to get up as Sabre hits some real kicks across Ishii’s chest.  Ishii’s back to his feet and Sabre continues pummeling the Stone Pitbull.  Western Lariat puts Sabre down!  Running low Forearm, Sabre escapes, but falls right into a German Suplex.  Running low Lariat connects! One, two, no, Sabre kicks out!  Brainbuster attempt, Pele kick on the arm, Ishii side steps and goes tight into an Octopus Hold, European Roll-up by Sabre gets two.  Another PK again sees another kooky roll-up by Sabre for the quick kickout.  These two haven’t left the ring once, which is refreshing.  Pele kick to the arm again, Zach Driver misses, Pop-up Headbutt by Ishii!  Sabre worms in the Armbreaker again, and he’s looking fo the Triangle Hold as Ishii’s holding on.  ISHII POWERS UP TO POWERBOMB! ZACK! SABRE HOLDS ON!  ISHII TAPS OUT!!!!!!  Goosebumps, man.  Zack Sabre Jr def. Tomohiro Ishii via submission.  A brutal, hard-hitting affair, as the commentary wonders aloud if that was Ishii’s first career tap out.  The standings are getting tighter in the B Block, as Sabre moves to four points and goes level with Ishii.  No outside interference, no action outside of the ring, this was basically everything you’d want in a G1 Climax match.  Points docked for that weak-ass headbutt from Ishii, though. ****1/4

G1 Climax 28 B Block Match:  Juice Robinson vs. Kenny Omega (Bullet Club)

An interesting line-up choice, as the wrestlers with the two (arguably) most prominent singles championships play second fiddle to SANADA and Ibushi.  They’re probably considering that A) Juice is winless in the G1 Climax, 2) the outcome of this match isn’t really in doubt, especially when considering Juice scored the upset last year, and D) the cast is still the story of Juice’s G1 Climax.  Kenny’s walking hurt too, as he apparently has a hairline fracture in one of his feet.  How he’s still performing at his usual (elite) level is anyone’s guess.  There’s a random lowercase “t” at the top of the video feed, which is a little distracting.  Kenny offers a handshake to start, and Juice accepts.  These two are really trying to come off as the two biggest babyfaces in the company right now.  Kenny goes behind to start, but Juice maintains wrist control, and Kenny eventually suplexes down but refuses to go after the hand.  They trade headlocks, and Kenny runs the ropes and flips around Juice and they trade your usual wrestling counter offense so I can take a breather.  Kenny stands up in a handstand and Juice relents with a Short Piledriver!  Kenny definitely wasn’t expecting that.  Juice strongly whips Kenny into the corner and takes the lead with a heavy clothesline.  Kenny eventually counter with a Snap-rana and the crowd senses the Rise of the Terminator, but Juice slingshots back into the ring with a Spear!  Juice looks to be in real control now but Kenny attempts to fire back with hope punches.  Juice isn’t having it, though.  He goes for the Vertical Suplex, but Kenny gives Juice a kick to the gut and hits the Kitaro Krusher for two.  Five minutes.  Juice drives Kenny into the barricade outside and profusely apologizes to Kelly and Rocky in the process.  Kenny goes for a barricade Moonsault, Juice drags him down and fakes a Suplex attempt before finally hitting the Suplex on the floor.  Double knees from the apron onto Omega!  That’s some Andrade Almas-quality shit.  Robinson rolls Omega back into the ring and goes for broke with the crossbody, but Omega rolls through for two!  Juice punches are rather slow and deliberate this time.  Robinson transitions to chops and turns Kenny’s chest purple in the process.  Juice’s belt is hilariously sitting rather loose around his waste at the moment.  Juice empathetically tells Kenny to EAT SHIT with the high kick.  A Full Nelson Slam gets two for Robinson.  Juice is like “What do I have to do to beat this motherfucker?” Cannonball attempt comes up short, and guess what Juice, YOU CAN’T ESCAPE!  Remembers, guys, Kenny’s working with a broken foot.  He Moonsaults on Juice’s knees, and Juice hits the Cannonball!  Juice with the SICK Falling Powerbomb, but Kenny kicks out.  Juice does his best Charlotte Flair attempt (WOOO!) and starts the Pulp Friction as we are ten minutes past.  The counter for a while until Juice hits a German, Kenny rolls out of it, and he starts with multiple V-Triggers as Juice inadvertently uses his bad hand to block on the knee strikes.  Omega with the Snap Dragon, and then another.  The lowercase “t” is gone, by the way.  A third Dragon attempt is block, and he fires out of it but walks into a Left Armbreaker.  He starts to pull at the hand as the Best Bout Machine gives way to the Cleaner toward the end of this match.  Juice grabs the bottom rope, but Kenny calls fo the V-0Trigger.  Juice side steps it and hits a deadly German.  Kenny hits one of his own and looks to hit the V-Trigger on the bad hand, but Juice manages a thunderous lariat for two!  Juice gets ready for Juice Box, but Kenny delivers a Reverse Rana to get out of it.  One Winged Angel, counters into Juice Box!  KENNY’s OUT AT TWO.  Red Shoes’ third slap of the mat was millimeters away, I tell you.  Pulp Friction attempt, but Kenny stays standing and hits a V-Trigger to the back of the head.  Fifteen minutes past.  Brainbuster variation, another V-Trigger, Juice rolls Kenny up but gets two!! V-Trigger to the side of the head!  ONE WINGED ANGEL GETS THE THREE!  Kenny Omega def. Juice Robinson via pinfall.  When it comes to IWGP Champion vs. US Champion matches in the G1, there are two different stories we witnessed.  Last year, Kenny knew he could beat Okada and just had to do it with a shorter time limit in the G1.  This year, Juice knew he HAD beaten Omega and looked to do it again in order to get on the board.  Juice, however, is still scoreless, and Omega’s the first to reach eight points.  A solid semi-main event. ***3/4

Juice had some interesting backstage comments after the match, as he swore that if he went completely winless in the tournament, he would hand in his US Heavyweight Title and quit New Japan.  I don’t believe for a second that that is going to happen, but if anyone gets bored with WWE promos, seek out this guy’s promos.  He might be the best English-speaking wrestler in the world right now!  He even used the word “fuck” properly!  That’s effective work on his part.

G1 Climax 28 B Block Match:  SANADA (Los Ingobernables de Japon) vs. Kota Ibushi

SANADA penciled this match in as a night he was exceptionally excited for, and I am too.  It’s two of the best in the world in the main event of a G1 Climax tournament night.  This is beyond the Battle of the Handsomes.  SANADA looks like he’s limping to the tournament, and I hope he’s not working hurt too.  This is a first-time match-up between the two.  Ibushi throws his shirt to the ring, and it sails right over Kelly’s head.  Kelly: “So close there.”  Rocky notes the crowd is probably 55-45 SANADA, not that that really matters.  They lock up and SANADA gets the first advantage with the Waist Lock, but Ibushi eventually get the left-hand control.  They trade mat-based offense and eventually find themselves back on their feet.  SANADA, the bigger man, looks to dominate early.  Ibushi gets the left hand again, but SANADA hits some super impressive flips and leads again, but Ibushi works to a stalemate and they both go for standing dropkicks and the crowd is losing their minds.  There are seriously a ton of smiles as the camera pans over the New Japan fans.  Kota brings SANADA down in a headlock but SANADA eventually tries to roll up Ibushi to no avail.  Five minutes past.  SANADA hits a running tackle but Ibushi immediately kips up and SANADA’s looking impressed at his opponent’s resilience.  Ibushi avoids the charge into the corner ad hits a neat little Frankensteiner.  SANADA takes a power, and Kota goes for the Triangle Moonsault, but SANADA catches him in the Skull End!  SANADA drags him up the ramp, and KOTA eventually eats a Running Dropkick to the knee. SANADA brings Ibushi back to the ring, and the current tournament score line reads New Japan faces: 15.  New Japan heels: 5.  Dragon Screw leg whip into the Figure Four Leg Lock from SANADA, and Ibushi starts to face but hits the mat to re-motivate himself.  Ibushi eventually reverses the pressure into SANADA and they both make the ropes.  A loud SANADA chant breaks out.  The both eventually find their way to the feet, and Ibushi whips SANADA into the corner and hits a standing dropkick as he tries to get more blood into his knee.  Ten minutes past.  Standing Moonsault gets two for Kota.  SANADA only wishes he could hit a Standing Moonsault.  He does his leaping jumps as Kota runs the ropes, then hits a Dropkick and a Planche over the top rope.  No doubt now, the crowd is firmly Pro-SANADA.  He climbs the top rope but Ibushi hits a sweet Pele Kick to stun SANADA, then goes for an Avalanche Suplex, but SANADA knocks him down to the apron, SPRINGBOARD RANA FROM IBUSHI GETS TWO!  The action spills outside as SANADA hits a Dropkick to Ibushi’s leg, but Kota eventually recovers and hits an Asai Moonsault to bring SANADA down! Ibushi channeling his inner Ultimo Dragon there.  The 20-count starts, and Ibushi rolls SANADA in and returns the favor from earlier.  Springboard Dropkick, and Ibushi starts to go for the Last Ride, but SANADA’s out and finagles his way into the Springboard Missile Dropkick!  SANADA and Ibushi then flips out of German Attempts.  Fifteen minutes past, as SANADA goes for the Skull End, but Ibushi manages an INSANE high kick to the back of SANADA’s head.  My whiskey needs a refill, but it can wait a few more minutes.  Kamigoye, but SANADA side steps and locks in the Skull End again (complete with giant swing).  He falls to the mat, but Ibushi gets up and they trade Tombstone attempts before SANADA eventually does the Gargano Lawn Dart into the second turnbuckle.  Tiger Suplex, IBUSHI’S OUT AT TWO!  I would love to be in this building right now.  SANADA slams Ibushi to the bat and goes for the Moonsault, but Ibushi avoids it and SLAMS his feet right into the chest of Cold Skull.  They are both on the mat as Red Shoes implores for them to get to their feet.  Well, they manage to get to their knees at least and start to slug at each other.  Now they are on their feet and digging deep for some of these forearms to each other.  HERE WE GO! SANADA finally gets the upper hand with his forearms but Ibushi eventually hits a thick sick to his opponent’s chest!  Ibushi with the backslide attempt, ANADA rolls through, but Kota with THE STAN HANSEN LARIAT and we’re at twenty minutes.  Last Ride Powerbomb! SANADA KICKS OUT!  Dammmmmmmmn.  Ibushi starts to pull down his knee pad as we reach the climax of the G1 Climax match.  SANADA side steps the Kamigoye, goes for Skull End, SANADA eventually hits a twist off the top rope, Ibushi kicks out.  Ibushi looks like he’s on Mars right now, he’s so dazed, and SANADA finally locks in the Skull End complete with the giant swing to boot.  Ibushi has nowhere to go and he’s fading but he eventually starts to fight through!  SANADA eventually breaks the hold and hits the Muta Moonsault for the decisive pinfall!  Awesome ending.  SANADA def. Kota Ibushi via pinfall.  Oh, so that’s why these two main evented Niigata.  Both men looked fired up coming in, and SANADA’s got some momentum heading into his match with Kenny Omega.  Ibushi needs to recover quickly as he’s got Tomohiro Ishii on the 28th.  Great, great contest. ****1/2

SANADA: “Niigata, the greatest fans in the world.  (In English) Niigata! See you next time!”

Final Thoughts: Night Eight told some wildly different stories in their tournament matches and produced the goods in doing so.  We got a quick (even by Yano standards) opener, a passable interference-riddled match second, a hybrid brutal submission affair third, a resilient duo babyface match fourth, and a fast-paced wild ride fifth that had the crowd in the palm of its hand the whole time.  A Block’s got a lot to do to up the goods tomorrow, as they lead with Okada vs. YOSHI-HASHI (Ugh) and Tanahashi vs. Makabe (UGH) on top.

Standings (A Block):

Jay White, EVIL, Hiroshi Tanahashi – 6 pts

Togi Makabe, Michael Elgin, Kazuchika Okada, Minoru Suzuki – 4 pts

Adam Page, Bad Luck Fale, YOSHI-HASHI – 2 pts

Standings (B Block):

Kenny Omega – 8 pts

SANADA, Tetsuya Naito – 6 pts (!)

Kota Ibushi, Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto, Zack Sabre Jr – 4 pts

Tama Tonga, Toru Yano – 2 pts

Juice Robinson – 0 pts


Eight down, eleven to go.