Norrissey’s G1 Climax 28 Night Eleven Review
30 July 2018
Live from Takamatsu City Central Gymnasium, Takamatsu
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.
You can read my Night Ten review here.
We’re off to Night Eleven, and hopefully today will help us piece together what’s happening in the A Block overall. The only match I’m truly excited for is Okada vs. Elgin, as they had an awesome performance in their B Block match last year and I’m hoping for similar greatness tonight. Here we 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. Togi Makabe
Haven’t seen Fale rock the whole “T-Shirt with sleeves” look in a very long time; he truly looks like he doesn’t give a fuck about today’s match. I’m sorry to laugh at this, but Abe looks like he hurt himself rolling out of the ring to avoid the Underboss. A little bit of Immigrant Song sneaks through Makabe’s generic dubbed music and he looks fired up, facing off against Fale. They start hot, matching each other with shoulder tackles and Makabe takes the leads with forearms into the ropes. Loa quickly makes his presence known, tripping Makabe outside, but Makabe holds his own until Fale whips Makabe chest first into the barricade. Everybody better move! Makabe eats the guardrail again. Asami encourages Fale to get inside the ring, but you know that’s not happening. They’re in the crowd and Fale weakly tosses Makabe into some chairs. There’s little to no energy in this match whatsoever. I’d make a joke about G1 fatigue, but there’s no chance of that being a thing with Fale, and it would actually require you to try in your matches. Fale’s hitting as hard as he possibly can (which is not that hard), but Makabe shrugs it off and fires back with the rights. He slings Fale across into the red corner and nails the Ten Punch/HA HA HA spot. Fale worms his way out and the match each other with standing lariats but Makabe finally connects with an outstanding lariat to get the two count. Fale bulldozes Makabe down and the Splash gets a pinfall attempt, but Makabe kicks out! Grenade setup, but Makabe powers out, and Fale weakly falls to his knees after another Lariat. Loa pulls Asami out during another pinfall attempt! The crowd lays down a chorus of boos as the two Tongans double team Makabe, but Makabe puts them both down with double clotheslines! Makabe goes for the King Kong Knee Drop, Loa goes up to distract him and Fale throws him across the ring! He grabs Makabe’s chain and levels him with an assisted clothesline. Loa helps the referee in, who counts the three count. Bad Luck Fale def. Togi Makabe via pinfall. This was worse than your normal OGBC BS match, as Makabe and Fale had zero chemistry before the garbage started and it never really got better after that. There’s no reason Asami should accept the assistance from Loa after the Silverback pulled him out of the ring, unless he is a fucking idiot, which he is. What a letdown from all involved. *1/2
G1 Climax 28 A Block Match: Hangman Page (Bullet Club) vs. “Switchblade” Jay White (CHAOS)
These two are having some low-key great matches in their G1 debuts, and we have a rematch from Strong Style Evolved in March. At that event, Hangman fell to White while challenging for the US Heavyweight Championship, so could he get his win back tonight? They start off slow, circling the ring, and Yujiro’s on Japanese commentary wearing a Page shirt! What a good stablemate. Huge knife-edge chop from White to start, but he quickly eats a Big Boot and White scurries away to safety. White shoves a Young Lion into Hangman and quickly goes on the offensive with clubbing blows. He throws Hangman into the ring, but Page quickly dives out of the ring, going for broke in the process. Hangman misses the Apron Shooting Star and White quickly hits a Side Saito Suplex on the outside floor! They have so much more energy than their SSE match. Page goes spine first into the apron via side suplex! White’s evolution into a truly vicious bastard continues. He sets up for a Pumphandle Backbreaker and connects, but Page manages to kick out. White takes Hangman outside and delivers the guardrail/apron shoving combination! Does he deliberately do it near the English Commentary table to mess with the equipment? Inquiring minds want to know. Five minutes past. Page starts to come back with forearms but he’s clutching his back, and White manages to throw him into a corner, then another. Page with the sudden Lariat! He’s hitting some great chops now and looks to take control. Sweeps the leg! Standing Shooting Star Press! White kicks out. Half Nelson Fallaway Slam by Page! White kicks out at two again. Page is really struggling keeping everything together with his back injury. Buckshot Lariat fails as White hits Complete Shot followed by the great Deadlift German! Switchblade goes for his Head-and-arm variation of Three Amigos, but Page breaks up the third attempt. White tries to suplex Page outside, Hangman goes for the Buckshot Lariat, but his back fails him there and White’s back on the offensive. Multiple Uppercuts and chops and Page is wide open for attack but he finally pulls it all together and hits the Buckshot Lariat to a good response from the crowd! Ten minutes past. Page gives White a huge shot to send him to the floor as he surveys his next move. Complete Shot to the apron by White! Saito Suplex attempt, but Page makes it to the top rope. Oh Jesus, this might not be good. Hangman makes it to his feet and heads up for the TRIANGE MOONSAULT AND CONNECTS! My god. Page shoves White back inside but his back is obviously still killing him. Corner dropkick and Page goes back up for another Moonsault, but White shoves Asami into the ropes and then goes outside to shove Page into the apron to the floor! Well, Hangman can really sell his back now. White grabs some chairs and throws Page back inside, distracting Asami with one chair and welting Page with the other across the back. One, two, HANGMAN KICKS OUT. Kiwi Krusher gets two! Fifteen minutes past. They’re giving these two a lot of time. White brings the chair back into the ring and Asami corners him, but Switchblade just shoves him away and gets ready to level Page. Asami exerts more authority and gets White to put down the chair! Good response from the crowd there. A Wrestlemania XX spot next, as White rips a boot off Page and Page goes for the roll-up for two! He fails, but attempts the Rite of Passage, doesn’t connect but Jay goes for the Blade Runner, Page spits in Jay’s face and White grabs a chair but Page superkicks the chair into White’s face! Page looks to take White’s face off with the chair but Asami stops him, and as Asami’s getting the chair out of the ring, Switchblade hits the dreaded Low Blow of Doom followed by the Blade Runner for the three count. “Switchblade” Jay White def. Hangman Page via pinfall. They gave these two a lot of time, and at points the two demonstrated their understandable inexperience, but they put on a thrilling, back-and-forth encounter. Page sold the back well and never looked to upset Switchblade, but he definitely deserves to be here, without a doubt. ***1/2
G1 Climax 28 A Block Match: Minoru Suzuki (Suzuki-Gun) vs. EVIL (Los Ingobernables de Japon)
The King of Pancrese meets the King of Darkness and both gentlemen will look good with a win here. When this tournament is over, I need to go back and watch some more Suzuki matches. I came in to New Japan at WK9, where he had a hybrid match with Kazushi Sakuraba that stood out, and I want to see more. He’s clearly still one of the best, even at 50. Suzuki calls for EVIL to come into the ring, and we’re off early! EVIL must clearly remember Suzuki taunting him as a Young Lion back in the day. Suzuki eats a barricade early and this will be a fun one. They’re back in the ring and EVIL starts with the forearm/chop combo but Minoru gets him in the Triangle armbreaker from the ropes! Now it’s EVIL’s turn to eat the guardrail and get slammed into the timekeeper table. The back’s wide open and Suzuki rains down a chairshot and now the guardrail, and now the chairshot while the guardrail’s draped over him! Never looks safe, I don’t care what you think there. Suzuki’s now choking EVIL with the microphone chord while the clicking of the photographers’ cameras go off. The 20-count starts, and Minoru sends Evil in to the barricade at 10 and THAT’S how you do the 20-count if you’re gonna do it. EVIL’s in at 19, and Kelly tries to suggest the strategy of EVIL taking the count out and moving on to Tanahashi and Okada. That’s a terrible idea! Suzuki’s all business at this point, getting a two count with a mid-kick. Now EVIL tries to come back into with overhead chops, but Suzuki just laughs in his face, before EVIL gets Suzuki down with a Red Shoes-assisted Thrust Kick! Nice. Now EVIL’s in control as he hits a Seated Senton into Suzuki, who’s sitting in the corner, and he gets a two-count. Five minutes past. Suzuki gets to his feet and looks PISSED. Big knee to the midsection of EVIL and Suzuki’s on the offensive as he hits a running Big Boot to EVIL in the corner before the PK gets two. Now Suzuki tries the Cross Armbreaker but EVIL locks his hands in desperation. EVIL struggles but makes the ropes with the heel of his foot. They’re outside now and Suzuki grabs a chair, delivering a stiff shot to EVIL’s stomach before locking his arm in the chair around the post. Now Red Shoes gets in the way but before he can stop Suzuki EVIL throws the chair right into Suzuki’s face!! EVIL looks to call his shot over the right field wall of Wrigley Field and CONNECTS! Another 20-count and it’s EVIL back in first, but he changes his mind and rolls Suzuki in to cheers. He’s going for the kill now. EVIL tries the Banshee Muzzle but Suzuki doesn’t really care for this as he grabs at EVIL’s fingers and looks to snap them. EVIL gets out of that and they trade forearms for at least a good minute as the crowd comes alive. Suzuki’s facial impressions are on point at the moment. A STIFF forearm across EVIL’s face and he looks to destroy the King of Darkness, but EVIL fires up and hits a Rolling Elbow to send both men down. EVIL looks for Darkness Falls, then Everythin… Suzuki goes for the GSP, they run the ropes in misdirection before Suzuki hits the Rear Naked Choke, GSP, Everythi…, no Suzuki hits the Rear Naked Choke, Snapmares him over and EVIL falls right into the Gotch Style Power… sorry, Piledriver for the quick three count! Minoru Suzuki def. EVIL via pinfall. This was an excellent NEVER-style brawl with some quick technical prowess mixed in for the hell of it. EVIL took it to Suzuki but Minoru put his opponent away and looks fired up after his initial loss to Tanahashi on Night One. I’d still be content with him making the finals. ****
G1 Climax 28 A Block Match: YOSHI-HASHI (CHAOS) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
Rocky’s taking great pleasure in berating his CHAOS stablemate, noting that YOSHI-HASHI looks like he has “no confidence” coming into this match. Huh. This is the story of Top vs. Bottom, as Tanahashi looks to sit comfortably at the head of A Block with ten points, while YOSHI looks to escape the bottom and move to four points. So, YOSHI has no shot, right? We shall see! They trade arm control as Tana works on YOSHI’s supposed “good arm,” which is a weird move by the Ace. YOSHI makes the ropes but Tana offers a quick break before they lock up again. Now YOSHI offers the clean break but starts to club on Tana, but the Ace gains control and goes to the second rope for a Crossbody. He plays some Purple Haze on air guitar and bodyslams YOSHI but misses the Seated Senton. He tries again and misses again! Tana’s playing to the crowd a lot tonight and might falter because of it. YOSHI drapes Tana across the ropes, but Tana skins the cat and eats a seated Dropkick to send Tana crashing into the ring frame! YOSHI’s firmly in control at this point (well, as firmly as he can be, I reckon) and settles into the devastating Rear Choke! Oh my god! Yeah, seriously dull match at the moment. Rocky’s really laying into YOSHI as a stubborn brat that refuses to pay attention to the advice of his more successful CHAOS brothers. An excellently-applied Vertical Suplex gets a deep two count for YOSHI! Even Rocky has to admit that was beautiful. A deep chop to the corner from YOSHI gets Tana fired up with multiple chops of his own! Flying forearm knocks YOSHI down, giving Tanahashi time to recover. He lays in with some ripping forearms to YOSHI-HASHI and Tana connects with the Somersault Senton! Two count. Rocky: “That Senton sucks, being on the receiving end of it. It sucks.” YOSHI barely locks in the Head Hunter. Can he capitalize? YOSHI goes for a Powerbomb, but Tana sneaks out of it and hits a Dragon Screw! It might be elementary at this point. Tanahashi tries another Dragon Screw but YOSHI hits a spinning heel kick and a Backcracker before a DEEP Running Powerbomb gets a two-count for the Head Hunter. YOSHI goes to the top rope for the Swanton! He connects! Tanahashi shoves him off at two! YOSHI’s looking for Karma, but Tanahashi connects with Twist and Shout out of desperation. Tana runs for a Sling Blade but YOSHI gets all of it with the Lariat for two! YOSHI drops Tana right on his head for another two! Ten minutes past. I have a quick rant about Rocky following the conclusion of this match. YOSHI tries for Karma again but Tanahashi holds on only to eat a sick chop, but SLING BLADE OUTTA NOWHERE, YOSHI-HASHI kicks out. Tana’s looking for the Dragon Suplex, but eventually manages a Straightjacket German Suplex instead. He sets YOSHI up for the High Fly Flow, but YOSHI moves at the very last second, and Hiroshi lands hard on his knees. YOSHI runs the ropes for the Double Knees but Tanahashi still manages to kick out at two. Tanahashi turns a Butterfly Lock attempt into a quick roll-up for the three count! That was a bit surprising. Hiroshi Tanahashi def. YOSHI-HASHI via pinfall. I don’t have a problem with the ending of this match. In fact, I rather liked it, as YOSHI-HASHI comes off strong in defeat by losing quickly and surprisingly via the Tanahashi roll-up (In fact, as I type this, they have some quick words at each other before YOSHI-HASHI departs). No, instead I HATED Rocky’s commentary at the beginning of this match. He seemed to take great pleasure at shitting on YOSHI’s demeanor and attitude in relation to the rest of CHAOS, and yeah, I know YOSHI-HASHI takes the falls and people don’t really care about him. But shouldn’t our attitudes toward him change when he’s delivering the goods? I mean, he’s putting in the work and delivering decent to good to great matches during this G1, so it only hurts him when Rocky’s putting him down so badly (and Rocky’s been great otherwise on commentary). G1 fatigue’s creeping in, and not just with the wrestlers themselves. ***1/4
G1 Climax 28 A Block Match: Michael Elgin vs. Kazuchika Okada (CHAOS)
Our main event of tonight’s A Block action features Kazuchika Okada and Michael Elgin, who put on a barnburner of a match in last year’s G1 Climax (****3/4). So, this could manage to elevate show from average to very good. Okada actually seems to be taunting Rocky with his balloon antics, and I giggle at the thought of Okada jamming out to the Sex Pistols. Elgin looks ready to go, and this should be another great main event. The crowd seems to be behind Elgin as they circle each other to start. Elgin goes for a quick Elgin Bomb at the beginning, but Okada gets out and tries for a Tombstone way too early. Okada goes for an Inside Cradle but fails, and Elgin hits the Delayed Suplex, while Okada takes a powder outside. Little Kazu’s already got the red chest to go along with his red pants, but he manages to shove Elgin into the barricade to take control of the match. Big Mike lands a Big Enziguiri and looks to hit a Tope Suicida through the ropes! He connects! That’s always impressive from Elgin. Elgin looks to hit a Slingshot Senton, but Okada gets the knees up, and he’s hurting. They both find themselves outside, and Okada hits Elgin with a DDT that sends Big Mike’s skull through the floor! Red Shoes calls for both men to get back inside, but you know that’s not happening right this second, as Okada sends Mike through the guardrail, and the Big Boot connects, followed by a Draping DDT to the floor! This a new, aggressive Rainmaker we have here. Elgin sneaks in at the tail end of the 20-count, and his neck looks completely busted at the moment. He still manages a decent shot to the ribs followed by a clubbing forearm and a sick chop, but Okada says no more and brings Elgin to his feet before hitting a Running Low Dropkick. Okada looks to soften up Elgin’s neck as he manages a Rear Choke. Elgin works to his feet and throws several shots at Okada’s ribs and goes for a Delayed Brainbuster before managing a huge Powerslam. By the way, who had the better Powerslam in your opinion, Randy Orton or Goldust? Always curious what people thought of that. Elgin shoots Okada into the ropes before a Shoulder Tackle, and he starts to put some offense together! Some standing switches now before Elgin goes for a Suplex Combination along with a bridge for two. Elgin now positions Okada on the top rope and looks for an Avalanche Suplex but Okada starts to slug away and knocks Elgin to the floor. Ten minutes past. Scooby Dooby Doo… but ELGIN CATCHES HIM OUTTA MID-AIR! Elgin climbs to the top rope with the Rainmaker on his shoulders, but Okada sneaks out and hits the flapjack when they’re both on the mat. Mid-kick, and another DDT, but Elgin kicks out. Big Mike hits a Big German Suplex and looks for a second one, and he eventually gets it! He maintains waist control, but Okada eventually gets out with side elbows. Elgin catches Okada again and dumps him right on his head! Man, Okada must have one of the strongest necks in the company. Elgin looks desperate to keep his G1 alive as he goes for Air Canada, but Okada rolls out of the way as Elgin crashes to the mat! Okada looks flustered as Elgin LAYS INTO HIM WITH A CHOP. Elgin with the BICYCLE KICK MAGGLE and he eventually looks to position Okada on the top rope before more chops and a high Enziguiri. GI-NORMOUS AVALANCHE SUPLEX, but Okada manages to kick out at two. Ten minutes past. Big Mike calls for the Buckle Bomb, and connects, but Kazu sneaks in an Uppercut, and an Elgin Bomb tease sees Okada hit a back dropkick, Rainmaker attempt meets Enziguiri, Elgin with the Half-and-half Suplex! This is getting hard to type out. Okada with the Best Dropkick in the World. Rainmaker, no, Elgin behind, Elgin tries a Rainmaker of his own but puts Okada down with a series of clotheslines that looked like they took Okada’s head off. One, two, NO, OKADA KICKS OUT! The crowd sounds firmly behind Elgin now, as the Big Man hits another Buckle Bomb, before Okada sits down on Elgin after he flips over for two. Elgin delivers a thick clothesline in the corner to Okada, and he positions the Rainmaker in a reverse position on the top rope, and Jesus, it almost like Razor’s Edge, but Okada arm drags out of it, and they are trading elbows in the center, before Elgin lowers the elbow pad and murders Okada. Okada whips Elgin into the ropes and tries a Rana but walks right into a Powerbomb for two! ELGIN WITH A SICK SPLASH MOUNTAIN FOR TWO! I wish I was listening to the Japanese commentary for their reaction, but the English guys are making this a little easier to type along with, so I’m gonna have to stick with them. Fifteen minutes past. Elgin tries again with a top rope setup, this time a Burning Hammer, but Okada works out, and now both men are teasing Tombstones before Okada finally hits it! 360 Clothesline from Okada! Not quite a Rainmaker. Wait, there’s THE RAINMAKERRRRRRRR! Okada stealthily picks up a win against Big Mike. Kazuchika Okada def. Michael Elgin via pinfall. These two didn’t reach the heights of their G1 match from last year, but Elgin looked like a man possessed and brought a good showing out of Okada. Kazu, meanwhile, has a fun run in coming up, as he has Minoru Suzuki, EVIL, and Hiroshi Tanahashi to close out his A Block. Should be a trip! ****
YOSHI-HASHI and Hangman Page are both officially eliminated from winning their block, by the way. They join the ranks of Tama Tonga and Juice Robinson from the B Block, who are also eliminated. YOU’RE SAYING YANO STILL HAS A CHANCE!?
Final Thoughts: Night Eleven of the G1 Climax was mostly uneventful save for the emergence of Hiroshi Tanahashi as the sole possessor of the lead of A Block. Kazu continues his winning ways, though, and he’s got a fun encounter in front of him in the form of Minoru Suzuki, who’s looked great since his first night loss to Hiroshi Tanahashi. Night Twelve comes up on the 1st of August, as Kenny Omega tries to fend off Zack Sabre Jr, and Kota Ibushi main events as the Hometown Hero as he takes on Hirooki Goto. Wednesday night’s alright for fighting!
Standings (A Block):
Tanahashi Hiroshi – 10 pts
EVIL, Jay White, Minoru Suzuki, Kazuchika Okada – 8 pts
Bad Luck Fale – 6 pts
Togi Makabe, Michael Elgin – 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
Eleven down, eight to go.