G1 Climax 28 Review Night Nine
27 July 2018
Live from Shizuoka, Act City, Hamamatsu
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.
You can read my Night Eight review here.
Night Nine doesn’t look to be too promising, as we lead off with Okada vs. YOSHI-HASHI and Tanahashi vs. Makabe. But hey, I’m always looking for surprises. Jay White could do with another win right about now, right?
Your commentators for the evening are Kevin Kelly and Rocky Romero.
G1 Climax 28 A Block Match: Minoru Suzuki (Suzuki-Gun) vs. Michael Elgin
I’ve probably watched the A Block/B Block hype videos at least 50 times since the start of the tournament. They do a phenomenal job at getting you ready to go for the tournament matches. Sorry for the naysayers, by the way, but Suzuki’s Remixed themed music RULES! HE looks even more the badass walking down to the ring. Good on the commentators for shutting up during the entrance. Both men sit at four points, so this match works as a potential eliminator for the loser. A Young Lion was holding the ropes open for Elgin, so of course Suzuki kicks him off the apron, and we are underway! Suzuki and Elgin circle each other slowly, before a slap from Suzuki sees Elgin throw him into the ropes, and Suzuki doesn’t quite know how to respond. A tackle puts Suzuki down. Suzuki manages to hit a Triangle Armbreaker over the top rope, but Elgin powers out! They’re outside now, and Elgin delivers a decent chop over the chest. Suzuki avoids eating the barricade and cracks a chair over Elgin as Desperado distracts the referee! Asami is so incompetent, I almost can’t stand it. They are very much in the audience at the moment, as this camera work leaves much to be desired. Suzuki hooks Elgin in what’s possibly an Octopus Hold with a chair for added leverage, I dunno. I can’t see shit. They’re trading forearms outside the ring, and Suzuki is repeatedly hooking the forearm over the barricade and applying pressure. Five minutes past. They’re back in the ring and a Rolling Powerslam from Elgin brings everything to a halt. Elgin’s right arm is shot at the moment but he manages to slam Suzuki and then hit the Slingshot Splash. The deal is done as he hits the Falcon Arrow but Minoru kicks out. Suzuki takes control with a knee and then a corner high kick, PK gets two. Suzuki then goes after Elgin’s left arm as Marty asks if Elgin wants to quit. Big Mike reaches the ropes to force the break. They’re back up and Elgin is hitting some heavy chops, while Suzuki is like “Really?” They do a forearm/chop back and forth, but now Elgin is rocked, and we are ten minutes past. FUCK, that was one crazy forearm from Elgin for a quick two. Robinson German Suplex for two from Elgin, but Suzuki holds to the arm, but ELGIN POWERBOMBS SUZUKI TO THE MAT. Elgin hits the Buckle Bomb. Suzuki tries the Rear Naked Choke, but Elgin escapes, Superkick, Tiger Bomb! Suzuki slips out and Elgin is obviously weakened in the right arm. A devastating right forearm connects for Elgin, but Suzuki hits his insane 50-year-old dropkick and both men are down. Suzuki starts with his combo strikes, and hits a Gotch Style Powerbomb… whoops, I’m sorry, I meant PILEDRIVER for the three count. Minoru Suzuki def. Michael Elgin via pinfall. It was a good match, and it was certainly better than the garbage Lumberjack match they had back in September, but I don’t know, I don’t think they have particularly great chemistry. They hit all the right notes and had a solid match, so no real complaints here. ***
G1 Climax 28 A Block Match: Hangman Page (Bullet Club) vs. EVIL (Los Ingobernables de Japon)
Happy birthday to Hangman, as he turns 27 today! What a way to celebrate, as he has to take on the King of Darkness, who has six points to his name and looks to add on to that tally. EVIL looks live he added some extra red to his hair and attire, and before he can get settled Page storms him, and we’re on. Early attempt at the Rite of Passage, but EVIL quickly escapes and Page takes a quick break outside. EVIL locks in a Side Headlock, and Adam’s struggling, but then he grabs the hair! EVIL eventually hits a sick shoulder tackle to send Page outside. Page tosses a chair to EVIL and then hits the BIG BOOT to knock his opponent down. EVIL then eats the barricade via his throat and that didn’t look good. They’re both back inside and a Cradle Suplex from Page gets two. Page looks like the dominant figure at the moment as he starts with the chops across the ropes. EVIL manages to attempt the Senton, but Hangman successfully escapes, and we are five minutes past. EVIL hits a good looking Thrust Kick and then lariats Page over the top rope. Page eats the barricade AT LEAST THREE TIMES and EVIL’s firing on all cylinders. EVIL SWINGS FOR THE FENCES. That spot continues to impress me. 20-count, and Page looks winded, but he comes in at fifteen. EVIL hits a Seated Senton, but Page hits out. Page going for broke, with a Corner Dropkick followed by a Bridging German for two! Page kicks EVIL out of the ring and ring and hits a SICK TRIANGLE MOONSAULT!! What a madman. Ten minutes past. Hangman goes for another Moonsault in the ring but lands on his feet, but a Standing Shooting Star Press gets two! Oh Lord. Page goes for another Moonsault, but EVIL denies him and gets ready for an Avalanche Saito Suplex. HE CONNECTS, but Page kicks out. Darkness Falls, Page kicks out! Page fights out of the STO and hits a Superkick! Both men are down as the crowd is firmly into this match. Double lariats in the middle of the ring, but EVIL gets the better of the encounter and tries a German, but Page lands on his feet and hits a Buckshot Lariat for a two count! I was wondering if we were gonna see that move at some point. Fifteen minutes past. A series of counters sees EVIL hitting a SICK headbutt and a lariat for two. Page kicks out, but EVIL delivers Everything is Evil for the three count. EVIL def. Hangman Page via pinfall. Despite the loss, Page looks awesome, and this match should have been higher on the card. EVIL’s the first man to eight points and looks to have some great matches with Tanahashi and Okada coming up. The first half of the match was kinda just there, to be honest, but they pulled a good match out of their asses by the end. ***1/2
G1 Climax 28 A Block Match: “Switchblade” Jay White (CHAOS) vs. Bad Luck Fale (Bullet Club)
This is a first-time match-up for the two men, and before I can type that out Fale already kicks the announcer out of the ring. White was originally rumoured *yes, with the U* to link up with the Tongans when he returned from excursion, but with his initial refusal to join Bullet Club at New Year’s Dash, we’ll see if any of that plays into this match. White quickly darts outside and targets Loa, sending him into the barricade! Smart move on his part. He goes after the big forearm, sending him into the corner, but it’s Fale with the quick reversal sending White into the corner. HANG ON, Loa’s back on his feet, sending kicks into White’s chest. White would have been really smart to bring a cornerman from CHAOS with him, but I guess that’s just not his style. They’re in the crown, and White actually looks in control as he throws Fale into a sea of empty chairs. In a hilarious bit, White actually throws a Young Lion into Fale! Wow, he then bodyslams another YL over Fale. I love this. Fale gets his receipt, thought, throwing White into the same set of chairs and the 20-count starts. White marches in at 17, and we are five minutes past. Fale gets into White with multiple forearms, and White looks like a beaten man. Fale misses an elbow and you can hear exactly one man cheering for Jay White in the audience. Heel vs. Heel, ladies and gentlemen. White gets control back and eventually tries for what’s probably a Sharpshooter for Fale fighters out of it. He’s on the apron now and Jay’s delivering some sick chops to him before finally hitting a Running European Uppercut, but that only gets two. Jay goes for the Saito Suplex but can’t get the big man up. Fale hits a running Clothesline out a nowhere and the come back no one wanted is on! Standing splash gets two. Jay manages to recover, and he goes for a German only to get forced into the corner. Fale eats a turnbuckle soon after, and the SAITO SUPLEX connects!! Ten minutes past, and Red Shoes is down after a corner bump. Loa’s in to a decent number of boos. Tama’s out now with a chair and I’m so done with this nonsense. WHITE MANAGES A CHIAR SHOT ON LOA AND A LOW BLOW ON FALE! Gun Stun from Tama! BAD LUCK FALL! The end. Bad Luck Fale def. Jay White via pinfall. The one redeeming factor from all of this Firing Squad bullshit was the camera shot on YOH, who’s doing Japanese commentary, watching Jay White enduring all that abuse and is probably like, “Yeah, fuck that asshole.” Eh, I’ll just shrug my shoulders and take a break to change my laundry. **
G1 Climax 28 A Block Match: Tanahashi Hiroshi vs. Togi Makabe
I dunno, I couldn’t be less excited for this match, and neither could Kelly and Romero as audio issues plague the English commentary during the opening. Makabe shoots Tana into the ropes early and takes him down for a shoulder tackle. Kelly “Rocky, thank you for fixing all of this. Wait, I can’t hear Rocky.” Rocky’s back on the mic as Makabe looks to slam Tanahashi early and he gets a good response from the crowd. Togi gets Tana’s legs locked up quickly but Hiroshi gets to the ropes. That’s all for moot though, as Makabe continues to target the legs, but again Tanahashi makes it to the ropes. Five minutes past. Please don’t get to ten. Flying Forearm Knockdown from the Ace, Somersault Senton gets a two count as GO ACE starts up! Tana goes for the ten punch but Makabe says no thank you sir and Ten Punch/HA HA HA precedes a Northern Lights with a bridge for two. Makabe hits a thunderous lariat to knock Hiroshi down. Tana hits a Dragon Screw only to walk into a Randy Orton Powerslam! They beg for each other to deliver some forearms, and it looks like Makabe’s taking the lead as he delivers a short Lariat followed by a devastating Lariat to bring both men down! Stacked Powerbomb gets two from Makabe! Ten minutes past. Fuck. Makabe goes for the Spider Suplex from the top rope, but Tanahashi elbows him to get out of it. It’s all for naught, though, as Makabe drives Hiroshi’s head into the ring post. Belly-to-belly off the top post for Makabe. Makabe misses the Knee Drop. Sling blade! You know what happens next. High Fly crossbody, followed by the High Fly Flow proper as Tana joins EVIL at eight points. Tanahashi Hiroshi def. Togi Makabe via pinfall. I don’t really have too much to say about this. Hiroshi tries to reclaim Ace status as he leads the block with EVIL at eight points. Makabe’s popularity must be outstanding in Japan, but he’s doing nothing for me. **3/4
G1 Climax 28 A Block Match: Kazuchika Okada (CHAOS) vs. YOSHI-HASHI (CHAOS)
Wrestle Kingdom VI debutants EXPLODE! I really feel bad for YOSHI here. He doesn’t have the greatest win-loss percentage in this tournament, but he’s been looking great even in defeat. He’s got new attire, new moves and a renewed passion as we reach the halfway mark of this G1 Climax. And… he’s got Okada. Fuck. To his credit, YOSHI seems to be taking this challenge seriously, so let’s see if he can deliver in his one and only main event during the tour. Okada comes out with the balloons and surprisingly does NOT assault Rocky during his entrance. YOSHI-HASHI looks stoic as he stares across at his opponent, while YOH just looks thrilled to get a balloon. YOSHI comes out flying, sending Okada outside and through a barricade as we get underway! Okada looks hurt, clutching at his neck, but he manages to send YOSHI into the barricade, with a Big Boot to boot. Fuck, now Okada’s throwing hard chairs at Yoshi and this looks particularly vicious. Okada crawls back into the ring as Red Shoes starts the 20-count, but then the Rainmaker scrambles out of the ring and hits a Draping DDT onto the floor, and you’d almost forget they were stablemates. Red Shoes starts another 20-count, but YOSHI starts to still and gets back in at 18! Okada starts to work over YOSHI’s injured right arm and then hits a somersault senton over the ropes. He’s almost toying with his opponent, as the outcome of this match is never really in doubt. Five minutes past. YOSHI goes for some forearms but Okada delivers a sick uppercut to put an end to that exchange. A stalemate as both sides try to suplex each other, but YOSHI eventually scores with a Suplex/Neckbreaker. Okada eats some sick chops before YOSHI hits the Head Hunter. I’m surprised that there hasn’t been any pinfall attempts. Nevermind, Dropkick gets two for YOSHI. Okada hits the flapjack and starts to take control with multiple European Uppercuts. YOSHI looks gassed, to be honest. He attempts a Powerbomb, but Okada rolls through and then hits a Shotgun Dropkick to send YOSHI into the corner. Missile Dropkick from the top row! I love it when he does that. SITOUT NECKBREAKER! Whoa. Ten minutes past. Ripcord Rainmaker, in a hilariously great callback to Wrestle Kingdom VI. For those who don’t know, that was Okada’s original Rainmaker, which looked so bad that they dropped it immediately and transitioned to the current Rainmaker we all know and love. YOSHI’s on with the comeback, with the Jackknife Powerbomb roll-up for two, followed with the double knees for two. YOSHI-HASHI’s going for broke now, but the Swanton Bomb misses! Okada with the high Dropkick to YOSHI’s backside, then another! YOSHI manages to avoid a Rainmaker and put in the Butterfly lock, but Okada struggles to his feet before being suplex’d into another Butterfly Lock, and man, this is one weak looking submission hold. Fifteen minutes past, as Okada struggles for an insanely long amount of time. After what feels like an eternity, Kazuchika Okada finally gets the rope break. Now YOSHI’s getting aggressive with kicks to Okada’s head and back, and Okada is fired up, delivering punches to YOSHI’s face against the ropes. Do you think these two will kiss and make up afterward? Western Lariat to Okada, and that was a CLOSE KICKOUT as Okada gets out at two. Big slap from YOSHI fallowed by a Superkick, and the crowd firmly believes YOSHI can win! That’s a sign of a good main event right there. OKADA’s OUT AT TWO! The Karma set up is block, but YOSHI eventually hits a Backcracker before falling to a Tombstone Piledriver outta nowhere. Spinning Rainmaker, followed by the Rainmaker proper and Red Shoes counts to three. Kazuchika Okada def. YOSHI-HASHI via pinfall. I never believed that YOSHI-HASHI was going to win, but he put in the work and delivered in a compelling main event. Okada moves to six points and the comeback is on! EVIL and Tanahashi still lead the A Block at eight points, but anything’s possible as we move into the meat of the block matches. ***3/4
Final Thoughts: This was a comfortable watch, with each match (other than White vs. Fale) being in the good to very good range. YOSHI brought it in his main event, and everything else brought something a little different to the table. Night Ten is up next, and we lead with Kenny Omega vs. SANADA and Hirooki Goto vs. Tetsuya Naito. Oh, and Juice Robinson aims for his first win against the great and powerful Toru Yano. Bye!
Standings (A Block):
EVIL, Tanahashi Hiroshi – 8 pts
Jay White, Minoru Suzuki, Kazuchika Okada – 6 pts
Togi Makabe, Michael Elgin, Bad Luck Fale – 4 pts
Hangman Page, 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
Nine down, ten to go.