Norrissey’s G1 Climax 28 Night Ten Review
28 July 2018
Live from Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium, Aichi
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.
You can read my Night Nine review here.
We are halfway through tournament action and we’ll finally get to learn about where the chips are starting to fall. Juice Robinson has looked from good to pretty great in his defeats, but a loss to Yano would effectively end his chances of winning the B Block. Meanwhile, Kenny Omega takes on SANADA in tonight’s main event, while Tetsuya Naito challenges Hirooki Goto, and Tomohiro Ishii has a tasty little encounter in his B Block match with Kota Ibushi.
Your commentators are Kevin Kelly and Rocky Romero, with Django providing Japanese translations if necessary.
G1 Climax 28 B Block Match: Tama Tonga (Bullet Club/Firing Squad) vs. Zack Sabre Jr (Suzuki-Gun)
TAKA and Tanga Loa are here as the seconds for their respective partners. TAKA starts with his usual ZSJ promo to start, while Loa retorts with a fairly decent promo hyping up his brother and TAKA sulks, complaining that the promo should have been in Japanese as the fans can’t understand him. Ok, sure! They circle around each other to start as Zack teases Tama to lock up with him. Tama finally calls for a lock-up and I’ll try to keep this brief. Sabre obviously wins the initial encounter and Tama’s clearly a little pissed about his misfortune. He converses with Loa in the corner as neither man seems to have an answer for the Technical Wizard. Tama actually takes the lead with a Test of Strength, allowing Zack to bridge out of a pin for two. Sabre takes control of the arm but a headbutt from Tama sends Sabre into the ropes. He responds with some European Uppercuts but Loa manages to trip Sabre as he tries to run the ropes. TAKA tries to trip Tama but falls to a Loa clothesline and the action’s spilled outside. Tama’s in control now, sneaking a closed fist into Sabre and distracting the ref to let Loa get a few shots in. They’re both back in and Tama starts viciously choking Zack in the center of the ring. Five minutes past. Not too much longer for this one, hopefully. Sabre starts the comeback and eventually hits the Pele kick to Tama’s arm, then goes low for a kick to bring Tama down! Sabre has a unique ability to take control at a moment’s notice, which I appreciate in the Briton. The Tongan’s arm is taking a pounding now, before Sabre starts cracking him with European Uppercuts. Bridging Clutch gets two for Sabre. Tongan Twist fails, but he hits it on the follow-up and then a Ghostface gets the two count. Zack manages to get some more wrist control in, before some standing switches means that no one can take control. TAKA almost gives Sabre the victory with some interference and eats the barricade from Loa for his troubles. Sabre eventually gets Tama in the Triangle, but the referee gets pulled down and Loa starts the beatdown with a Sidewalk Slam, and TAKA’s nowhere to be found. Sabre gets out of the Powerbomb and Zack locks in a Guillotine! It’s all for naught though, as Tama gets a Neckbreaker In and we’re almost done, I promise. GUN STUN TO LOA! Ten minutes past. Tama taps to the Triangle but there’s no ref to call it, and a roll up from Tama gets two! Another Gun Stun sees Sabre lock in the massive arm bar. Here’s Fale with the Grenade and Zack gets the DQ victory. Zack Sabre Jr def. Tama Tonga via DQ. This latest iteration of OGBC with BS doesn’t bother me as much as it did previously, because it still saw Sabre get the points rather than the Bad Boy and we can quickly move on. Way to pull an average match out of Sabre’s ass, Tama Tonga. I didn’t even know that was possible. **
G1 Climax 28 B Block Match: Toru Yano (CHAOS) vs. Juice Robinson
Like I said earlier, Juice has looked pretty great during this tournament, but a combination of inexperience plus the broken hand means that Juice sits at zero points, and this is pretty much his last chance at winning the B Block, as he’s done if he fails against Yano. The commentators also remind us that if Juice goes scoreless in the block, he’s done with New Japan. To his credit, the fans are still firmly behind Juice as he marches to the ring. Yano throws the water bottle into Juice’s face, and he doesn’t quite like that gesture. Yano then goes to make sure the turnbuckle’s secured properly, what a guy. We’re off, and they lock up before Yano calls for the clean break against the ropes. Juice then gets the chance to call for a clean break, reminding Yano of his call for Fair Play, and Yano agrees! He offers a hand to Juice and then levels Juice with a mid-kick, but Yano’s soon on the mat after that and Juice readies the Juice punches. Can’t use that left hand, though! They’re outside now with Juice in control, but Yano quickly reverses Juice into the barricade. He grabs some tape from under the ring and hurls a chair into Juice’s bad hand! Juice quickly gets the tape off but takes some time to recover as the 20-count is on. He’s back in at 16 and Yano’s firmly in control. Yano (to Marty): “Shut up and let me do my business!” Juice is selling the bad hand quite effectively, as the turnbuckles start to come off. They both take turns eating a different the exposed turnbuckle, and Yano gets a second one off. It’s TURNBUCKLE PILLOW FIGHT TIME! Juice gets Yano up for an Airplane Spin, and I reckon they’ll both be quite dizzy when they’re done. They can’t find each other, each missing weak punches as they fall to the mat. Marty calls for both men to reach their feet, and it’s Juice first with the closed forearms as Yano looks rocked. Eye rake from Yano, but a Side Suplex and Senton from Juice gets the two count from Asami. Yano finally eats the exposed turnbuckle but responds with the Inverted Atomic Drop and slingshots Juice into the corner, before a hair pull gets two. Yano’s pulling out all the stops, but Juice eventually gets in the Juice Punches and starts to take off the protective cast! The crowd firmly starts the Juice chants, then they both go for rolling Backslides over and over and over again! JUICE EVENTUALLY HITS PULP FRICTION! One, two, three! Juice Robinson def. Toru Yano via pinfall. A good way for Juice to finally get on the board, as he managed to out-smart the Sublime Master Thief and sneak in his finisher for the win. As long as he manages two or three more victories toward the end of the tournament, this has been a thoroughly successful tournament from the US Heavyweight Champion. **3/4
G1 Climax 28 B Block Match: Kota Ibushi vs. Tomohiro Ishii (CHAOS)
This has the chance to be low-key Top 3 Match of the G1 Climax, as both men (especially Ishii) need a convincing win to have a chance of winning the block. They met in the G1 Climax 27 last year, with Ibushi picking up the victory on that evening. How far will these two men go now that they are both very much alive this late in the tournament? They rush at each other with shoulder tackle attempts and I’ve let out at least two gasps so far as Kota rolls through a Standing Moonsault and it’s an early stalemate. They trade forearms with each other with Ishii getting the early advantage, knocking down Ibushi with the running tackle! This crowd is clearly psyched for this one. Ibushi eats a headbutt into the corner followed by multiple DEEP chops across the sternum. I should slow down or I’ll have 1,500 words written on this match alone before I realize it. Ishii: “Hit me, for real!” Ishii buries Ibushi with forearm/chop combos and Ibushi already looks dazed, and we’re not even at five minutes yet. Now Kota’s fired up and throws some forearms back, while Ishii is not amused. Ibushi manages a side headlock, dodging a clothesline before leaping over Ishii and hitting a beautiful Dropkick to even things out a bit. Ishii reverses Ibushi into the corner, but Ibushi hits a Rana and then a sick Planche! They’re now both outside and the crowd starts to build in anticipation as the competitors head outside. Ibushi walks Ishii over to the far wall and calls for a Moonsault. Ishii attempts another Powerbomb to escape, but Ibushi ranas out again and climbs the top of the wall and hits the MOST INSANE HIGH RISK MOONSAULT SINCE BUDOKAN! Granted, the cameras and lighting didn’t get the best view of it, but it was still impressive regardless. They’re walking back to the ring and Ibushi’s firmly in control as he hits a Springboard Missile Dropkick to the back of the head of Ishii, then a Half-and-half Suplex gets two. Ibushi begins to pummel Ishii with mid kicks, but the Stone Pitbull calls for more and Ibushi looks like he doesn’t know what to do. He starts teasing Ishii with short kicks across the head, but Ishii’s back up and Ibushi crumples to the mat after a sick forearm! Jesus. Ishii readies Ibushi on the top rope and picks him up for a Stalling Avalanche Suplex, BUT IBUSHI’S RIGHT BACK UP! HE FLIPS THROUGH A GERMAN AND HITS ONE OF HIS OWN! ISHII’S STILL STANDING! A Pele kick from Ibushi finally sees them both crumple to the mat, and this is absolutely incredible. These two have insane chemistry. They’re back up and Ishii takes the lead with forearm strikes, but then Kota hits a chop RIGHT INTO ISHII’S THROAT and then a Lawn Dart into the turnbuckle. Ten minutes past. Ibushi starts again with the taunting kicks but Ishii responds with a slap of his own to Ibushi’s face. Now they’re trading slaps and I bet they are both glad they have a silly tag on Night Eleven after all of this. Ibushi keeps pummeling on Ishii while he’s down but NOW ISHII IS PISSED and goes for chops of his own into Ibushi’s throat. There’s a really good “old, tough bastard vs. younger stalwart” mentality between these two. Ibushi eventually goes for CLOSED FISTS ON ISHII’S NECK before the Last Ride Powerbomb gets two. Kota gets his kneepad down and goes for the Kamigoye, but Ishii responds with a series of headbutts. Ibushi manages a Straightjacket German and gets the two (SO CLOSE), another Kamigoye attempt, but Ishii kicks Ibushi in his throat and he is OUT. Last Ride Powerbomb by Ishii! Kota kicks out! Oh my god. Running lariat from Ishii gets two point nine. How are they both still standing!? Brainbuster attempt, but they are now attempting Enziguiri attempts and in all that madness, Ishii manages to kick out of a pinfall at one! Fuck. Series of strikes and slaps now before a wicked head-butt from Ishii, high kick from Ibushi, KAMIGOYE! Whoa. I can breathe again. Kota Ibushi def. Tomohiro Ishii via pinfall. Before you ask, yes, as of Night Ten, this is the Match of the G1 Climax. If you’ve ever wanted to see a match where it looked like the two competitors literally hated each other and gave it their all, I’d seek this out, because the amount of damage that their necks and chests took was stunning, to put it mildly. Add in a tease to Budokan in the form of that insane Moonsault off the top wall, and we’ll remember this match for a long, long time. Ishii continues to delivers in G1 Block matches. *****
G1 Climax 28 B Block Match: Hirooki Goto (CHAOS) vs. Tetsuya Naito (Los Ingobernables de Japon)
Good luck following that, gentlemen. They’ve had several wars against each other, with the most high-profile of these contests coming at a Wrestle Kingdom 10 Special Singles Match, but it’s been a while since they’ve completed against each other in the G1. Naito gets a DEAFENING reaction as he comes out first for this match. He’s still two points behind Omega and desperately needs a win and some help as we turn to the second half of the B Block. Goto already looks resigned to his loss as he enters the ring, and I hope the story’s not quite that simple. The bell sounds, and they stare at each other as the crowd begins their chants for Naito. They lock up, and it’s Naito that eventually gets Goto against the ropes. He looks for the clean break before kicking Goto in the chest, and they begin trading forearms before Naito throws Goto outside. Goto gets back inside, and Naito’s now back inside, but Goto manages a shoulder tackle and Naito is down. Goto’s now going to work on Naito’s back and locks in a rear chin lock. They’re already suggesting a Really Slow Match, these two. Goto has Naito on the apron and looks to Suplex him inside, but Naito puts on the brakes, but now Naito looks to get Goto to the outside with a Suplex of his own before working him to the apron. Neckbreaker (to the hardest part of the ring!) and Goto is down outside. Goto takes a really painful-looking whip to the barricade, and then another, and I’ll give him props for how he sold those moves. 20-count, and Goto staggers but eventually makes it in at 19! Naito’s stomps are targeted directly at Goto’s throat, and we are five minutes past. Naito whips Goto into the blue corner before a draping Neckbreak gets the two. Naito really looks to be in control as we get into the meat of this contest. Goto starts hitting some chops, and Naito responds by spitting into the face of the Fierce Warrior. Now they trade corner offense before Goto Lariats Naito down to the mat. Running spin kick followed by a Saito Suplex gets two for Goto. Naito starts slugging away at Goto’s midriff before the Neckbreaker/Low Dropkick combo as both men are Playing the Hits. Leg Sweep/Dropkick corner combo for Naito and he looks to be firmly back in control. Top rope Hurricanrana connects from Naito, but Goto’s manages to kick out. Naito fails at hitting a tornado DDT, and now they’re running the ropes in some good misdirection, but Goto finally puts Naito down with a good-looking clothesline. Ushigoroshi! Naito’s out at two. Crowd has been indifferent for the most part during this contest. Goto readies the G-T-R, but Naito counters and they’re at a stalemate as both men look to Suplex each other in the middle of the ring. Release German for Naito as he appears to have all the answers to Goto’s offense right now. Destino fails, and Goto hits the Reverse G-T-R! Goto needs to go for broke now if he’s gonna come out of this with two points. Sick mid kick across Naito’s chest as he sets up for another G-T-R, but Naito hits an Enziguiri and goes for another G-T-R. Goto fires out of all of this and hits a good-looking headbutt as FINALLY THE CROWD COMES ALIVE. DES-TINOOOO! GOTO KICK OUT. What the hell, man. Naito goes for Destino number two and that’s enough to put Goto away. Tetsuya Naito def. Hirooki Goto via pinfall. These two men, as great as they normally are, picked the absolutely wrong day to phone it in, as they had to follow Ishii vs. Ibushi and never quite got out of second gear. I never bought Goto as a credible winner, and they wasted a Destino kick out on this match in the process. They both have had better days during the tournament. ***
G1 Climax 28 B Block Match: SANADA (Los Ingobernables de Japon) vs. Kenny Omega (Bullet Club)
Hopefully SANADA puts in a better showing than his L.I.J. counterpart, as he has a chance to put on a real main-event worthy offering against Kenny Omega. Skipping the entrances, as we are running low on time to get this review out in a semi-credible manner. I’m still excited over this match despite the crowd blowing their load on Ishii/Ibushi. They circle each other before locking up, and Omega gets the early control before SANADA switches behind and takes wrist control. Omega’s definitely gonna play heel here, as SANADA retreats to a corner to compose himself. The lock again, now with SANADA taking early control before Kenny trips his opponent and takes him down early. SANADA eventually powers out but still succumbs to wrist control. SANADA with some impressive flips to get out of it before Kenny with some of his own! I like the idea of these two reminding everyone that they are Great Technical Wrestlers. Kenny eats a shoulder tackle but then manages to run the ropes and goes for the Snap Dragon early! SANADA manages to get Kenny over the top ropes but can’t follow through and instead holds the ropes in for Omega to get back inside. Omega obliges, and just like that, he dropkicks SANADA and he’s back to working heel. SANADA eventually gets to try a Standing Moonsault but misses, and Omega looks to firmly take control as he drives SANADA’s knee into the mat. He repeats the knee drive and we are five minutes past. I like this side of Kenny, as he’s not the Cleaner but he’s willing to still work as a tough heel when the match calls for it. Side Suplex drives SANADA into the apron and Omega rolls his opponent back inside, looking to end this match early. He’s targeting SANADA’s left knee early, and the crowd sounds like they’re buying into SANADA’s struggles early on. Omega continues to target SANADA’s left knee with kicks and strikes, but SANADA attempts the comeback from the apron. They trade forearms, and Kenny shoves SANADA into the corner before being beckoned off by Red Shoes. SANADA hits a Missile Dropkick off the top rope as this match really looks to start building from here. Omega runs the ropes but SANADA hits his leaping frog jumps followed by the Dropkick/Planche combo, and they are back outside. SANADA’s really doing a good job selling the bad knee, but he rolls Omega back inside and goes for a pinfall, only getting a one count. TKO attempt misses, and Omega tells SANADA that YOU CAN’T ESCAPE, but SANADA gets the knees up during the Moonsault, and now Kenny’s selling the (admittedly) broken foot. Snap Rana from SANADA, but he ends up outside, and the Rise of the Terminator puts Cold Skull down. These two are clearly working hurt and doing their best to get around it. Now Omega rolls SANADA inside and hits a Kitaro Krusher for the two. He tries for a V-Trigger but misses, but then SANADA falls right into a Powerbomb via Missile Dropkick for two! That was sick. Now Omega goes to the top rope and hits an awesome Dropkick to the back of SANADA’s head, DRAGON SUPLEX, Omega’s firmly in control but gets only a two count. Omega sits SANADA up and hits a devastating V-Trigger, and then another as SANADA’s wide open, can Kenny hit a third? Well, he can’t really get a chance as SANADA’s collapsed to the mat and Kenny delivers some kicks to the back of his head for his troubles. SANADA fires up! And then eats another V-Trigger for his troubles. TIGER SUPLEX from SANADA, with the Roll-over getting two. SANADA gets ready for Skull End, but Kenny powers out and hits another solid V-Trigger and THE JAY DRILLER! SANADA KICKS OUT AT TWO! Fifteen minutes past. That was a beautiful series from Omega. V-Trigger into the ropes, and SANADA’s up for the One Winged Angel, but SANADA falls right into Skull End in what was pure instinct. He takes Omega for the swing and goes for the Moonsault, but Kenny rolls out of the way. SANADA goes for the O’Connor roll right into Skull End, and he falls back! Kenny’s in a bad way for the first time this match! SANADA can’t fully lock it out and goes for the Muta Moonsault (same way he beat Ibushi in the last round), but Kenny rolls out of the way! The Omega chants FINALLY start, but SANADA has his representation as well. Still anybody’s game. They start slugging at each other in the middle of the ring, with both men looking completely out of it. Omega with the goofy faces as he starts his comeback. SANADA with the WICKED UPPERCUT OUTTA NOWHERE! ANOTHER ONE! Short knee from Omega! Moonsault into another Skull End. Omega fights out and hits a Package Piledriver! SANADA’s out at two! Nice sequence. Omega with another V-Trigger to the back of the head, and the end is near. REVERSE RANA to get out of the OWA, but Kenny gets out of an Asai DDT attempt to hit a One! Winged! ANGEL! And that gets the three, as SANADA is finally bested for the count. Kenny Omega def. SANADA via pinfall. These two delivered the goods, and SANADA looked great in defeat. He had several chances to win, and Kenny didn’t look like the indomitable champion like Okada or Tanahashi would, but he definitely stands to come out of this block looking like an impressive Heavyweight Champion. ****1/2
With the loss, Juice is definitely eliminated, as he can only reach Kenny’s current ten point standing, and Omega holds their tiebreaker. He still can turn this into an impressive G1 Climax by picking up some points over the next few days, however.
Final Thoughts: You can’t discount a show with two awesome performances in Block action, but they got the match order completely wrong. If they even had any sense that Ibushi vs. Ishii would have delivered to the level that it did, it should have gone on last. Naito vs. Goto suffered HEAVILY as a result. A great main event ended the evening, and even though Juice is done after Omega’s win, he still looks to impress going forward. A Night Eleven review will be up early tomorrow, with Okada vs. Elgin as your headliner. Good Bye! MWAAAH! And Good Night!
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 – 10 pts
Tetsuya Naito – 8 pts
SANADA, Kota Ibushi, Zack Sabre Jr – 6 pts
Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto – 4 pts
Tama Tonga, Toru Yano, Juice Robinson – 2 pts
Ten down, nine to go.