Norrissey’s G1 Climax 28 Night Fifteen Review
5 August 2018
Live from Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium (Bodymaker Coliseum), Osaka
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.
Three men are still alive in the A Block as we finish the second of two consecutive nights in Osaka. Jay White, Kazuchika Okada, and Hiroshi Tanahashi each have individual matches as they look to put on some great performances and move to Budokan with at least some control of their destiny. Let’s get to it!
Your commentators for the evening are Kevin Kelly and Rocky Romero, with Django available for translations if necessary.
G1 Climax 28 A Block Match: Bad Luck Fale (Bullet Club/Firing Squad) vs. YOSHI-HASHI (CHAOS)
I wonder why Fale’s continuing to wear the “Honorary Tongan” shirt when he is an actual Tongan and Chase Owens is on the other side of the BC break-up. Also wondering why Loa introduces the Underboss as the “three-time Trios NEVER Champion” when that’s not the correct word order at all. Anyways, nothing’s on the line in this contest, so I’ll try to keep this match review brief. The commentators muse about how Hiroshi Tanahashi is suggesting a change of scenery for both Hangman Page and YOSHI-HASHI, which is an intriguing proposition. They start slow, with YOSHI dodging Fale’s forearm before Fale grabs at YOSHI’s hair and sends him in to the ropes. YOSHI tries multiple tackles to send the big man down, and before you can say “Loa grabs at YOSHI’s ankle to cause him to fall outside via a Fale clothesline over the top rope,” Loa grabs at YOSHI’s ankle to cause him to fall outside via a Fale clothesline over the top rope. He whips YOSHI into the barricade and the referee starts the 20-count. YOSHI’s back in at 13 and he is immediately subject to the brunt of Fale’s weight as he stands on YOSHI’s chest for several seconds at a time. He targets the right shoulder and gets a quick two-count from Marty Asami. YOSHI starts the comeback with a Low Dropkick, and then he hits the Head Hunter, but he can’t manage to follow up with a pin fall. He tries to whip Fale into the corner but fails, Fale runs into the corner and misses, and YOSHI manages a Top Rope Head Hunter, narrowly avoiding Loa’s interference! Five minutes past. YOSHI goes for a Fisherman’s Buster but can’t get Fale up top, and Fale breaks out of it before hitting a running shoulder tackle and a Big Splash gets two. Fale calls for the Grenade but YOSHI runs the ropes and hits an EXCELLENT Flying Lariat to send Fale down. He climbs up to the top and finally succumbs to Loa interference, which allows Fale enough time to ready the Samoan Drop, but YOSHI escapes and shoves Fale into Loa, and a quick roll-up gets two. YOSHI fights out of another Samoan Drop, and he manages to avoid the squash, clotheslining Loa out of the ring in the process. Double knees from YOSHI gets two. He’s going for the Cross Armbreaker, but Tama Tonga’s coming down the aisl……. Yeah, you know how this match ends. YOSHI-HASHI def. Bad Luck Fale via DQ. Damn, we were headed toward a good little match there. WHICH IS THE PROBLEM WITH THIS STUPID FUCKING ANGLE. Ok then, one more bad Fale match left. **
Side note: So, as I’m watching the G1 Climax shows, I’m listening to the Super J-Cast (Joel Abraham and Damon McDonald of “Voices of Wrestling”) and they are conducting an interview with Fraser Marriott, a Kiwi who lives in Tokyo and who is attending all 19 G1 Climax events. He’s apparently four seats away from the Japanese fan who Tama apparently assaulted at the conclusion of this match. In the interview, he states that he doesn’t believe the fan was a plant, and that the fan was verbally taunting Tama throughout the entire evening before the incident happened. He also states that the Japanese fans he talked to felt that the fan was going way overboard with his verbal taunting by Japanese manners standards and that he kind of had it coming to him. Whatever the case may be, it was a curious little way to wrap up this segment. Either way, go out of your way to listen to the Super J-Cast, as it’s a great listen and a more than worthy follow-up to the New Japan Purocast. They didn’t pay me to type that, by the way.
G1 Climax 28 A Block Match: Minoru Suzuki (Suzuki-Gun) vs. Hangman Page (Bullet Club)
This is a first-time match-up, and it will be interested to see how Suzuki comes out in his first match after proper elimination at the hands of Kazuchika Okada. During his introduction, Kelly notes that Suzuki is the only G1 competitor to have a one-on-one match with Antonio Inoki, which speaks volumes toward his years of experience compared to the G1 debutant. By the way, can anyone point me in the direction of one of those Suzuki-Gun flags? Page goes right after Suzuki with a Big Boot and we are underway. They spill outside and Page sends both Suzuki and Desperado over guardrails. They’re brawling by the ramp and the Hangman is more than handling the two Suzuki-Gun members with ease. Oh my god, Moonsault off the top of the stage onto Suzuki and Desperado! What a tough, crazy, Good Ol’ Southern Virginia boy. A brief LET’S GO HANGMAN chant starts as Page goes for the pinfall, but Suzuki turns it into a Kimura Lock before Hangman reaches the ropes. Now it’s Suzuki’s turn to take Page for a ride, throwing him into the barricade before grabbing a chair. Suzuki throws Page into some chairs and you can tell that he is about to go through the beating of his life. Minoru grabs a bevy of barricades and begins to bury the bruising brawler. This sentence was brought to you by the letter “B”. Asami finally tries to force Suzuki back to the ring, but the King plays with him outside via a Standing Kimura lock. Page stumbles back, and the English commentary scatter as Suzuki strikes Page with a water bottle. The 20-count starts and Page makes it back in at 14 and we are five minutes past. Page’s whipped into the corner, and he fires back with a hard Lariat. He hits some standing forearms on Suzuki, then bounces from corner to corner, avoids a big Suzuki boot, and delivers a great Dropkick to fire up the crowd. Deadlift Firearm Carry into a bridging pin for two. Minoru’s looked PISSED now as he slowly rises to his feet. They stare at each other in the center before Suzuki starts his Striking Combination before hitting the Big Boot in the corner, then a Snap Mare, then a PK but Page kicks out. Suzuki then starts working on the arms via a Double Armbar, but Page wisely gets his foot on the ropes. Minoru with the taunting now, slapping Page on top of the head and shouting “Come on, you fucking boy!” Page is having none of it, retorting with “Come on, you asshole!” For that, he eats a WICKED forearm, ten minutes past, Page goes for the Buckshot Lariat, but Minoru slips behind and locks in the Rear Choke, and he goes for the GSP, but Page fights out of it and drops Suzuki with a 360 forearm! Superkick! Page pulls the sleeve off of his elbow, but Suzuki manages to pull him over the ropes to the apron. BUCKSHOT LARIAT MURDERS SUZUKI. Page starts to go for the Rite of Passage, but Suzuki starts to strangle him again and Page looks lost. Gotch Style Piledriver… RITE OF PASSAGE OUT OF NOWHERE. Hangman Page def. Minoru Suzuki via pinfall. What an unexpected ending! That’s what this tournament can do sometimes. Page continues to put in the great performances, and Suzuki was more than game to keep up with him. I approve of this! ***3/4
G1 Climax 28 A Block Match: “Knife Pervert” Jay White (CHAOS) vs. Togi Makabe
Jay White sits at 10 points, good for a tie for second place in the A Block alongside Kazuchika Okada, but the Switchblade also happens to hold tiebreakers over both Okada and the leader, Hiroshi Tanahashi. So, we have a very interesting final evening on Friday night at Budokan, considering if White can make it past Togi Makabe. White comes out and I’m hitting mute on my TV and cueing up my copy of Led Zeppelin III as Makabe marches to the ring. Makabe charges at the bell, but White ducks him and sends some sick chops toward Makabe’s chest. Togi manages to knock White out of the ring via a running shoulder tackle, and they both alternate eating the guardrail in front of the English commentary. Makabe’s whipped into the barricade yet again, and White is very pleased with himself. White hits the guardrail/apron alternating spot in front of the English crew again, and they are not pleased. Rocky’s playing the role of audio/visual engineer, trying to get everything back together. Makabe starts to fire up and delivers some forearms to White before hitting the RKO-Powerslam. Ten Punch/HA HA HA connects, but White fights out of it only to eat a deep clothesline for two. They both go for Germans, before Makabe hits a Northern Lights Suplex for two. White recovers and manage to hit the Snap Saito Suplex and a Kiwi Krusher for two. Five minutes past. They crammed a lot into that first five minutes! Makabe’s on his knees now but he’s calling for chops across the chest. White obliges before switching to forearms. Togi’s not satisfied, even as Jay continues with forearms across the chest. He stays on his feet and delivers one of his own, which of course sends Jay to his knees. White recovers quickly and tries some more chops, eventually eating another Lariat. By surprise, Jay hits the Complete Shot and a Deadlift German Suplex, and before White can manage to smile at the damage he caused, Makabe’s back up with another Lariat! They’re up top and Makabe’s trying to hit a Spider German Suplex, but before White can properly fight out of it, Togi hits the Belly-to-bell and the crowd goes crazy for this match. White pulls the referee in front of him, and Makabe climbs down, eventually hitting a Bridging German and gets a two count. He goes up for the King Kong Knee Drop again, but White rolls inward and Makabe misses the knee! Ten minutes past. White’s outside now fishing for a couple of chairs, and Red Shoes is like “Dude, what are you doing?” Makabe manages to strike the chair, going through White in the process. He aims to destroy Makabe with the chair, but Red Shoes looks to put a stop to it, only to eat the referee bump. White throws another chair into Makabe’s face (!) and hits the Blade Runner for the easy three. Jay White def. Togi Makabe via pinfall. With the victory, White moves to twelve points and keeps pace with the other A Block leaders. He’s looking convincing in his performances. Makabe brought the goods and looked to play spoiler today, to no avail. Coming up, White faces EVIL on the final day of A Block action in Budokan and as long as Tanahashi doesn’t win out, he’s in control of his destiny. ***
G1 Climax 28 A Block Match: Michael Elgin vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
These two have quite the history as both teammates and opponents over the last few years. In 2014, they met up in Ring of Honor in Toronto in their one and only match-up, which saw Tanahashi emerge victorious. Coming off his G1 Climax debut in 2015, Elgin teamed with Tanahashi through the World Tag League, and they actually finished top of their block with eight points. However, they lost via tiebreaker to G.B.H. (Makabe and Honma). In June of that year, Elgin stepped in for an injured Tanahashi and defeated Kenny Omega in New Japan’s first ever ladder match to win the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. They’ve always seemed to have a budding sense of respect for one another, so let’s see how they fare as opponents yet again. The bell rings, and Michael looks THICC. They lock up and Elgin quickly forces Tana into the corner but offers a clean rope break. Tana calls for the Test of Strength, and I thought he was supposed to be one of the smarter wrestlers of the locker room. Elgin uses one arm to force Tana into the ropes again, but this quickly devolves into mat work in the center of the ring. Tana holds onto the side headlock, but Michael fires out of it and hits a couple of shoulder tackles to stagger Tanahashi. Tanahashi responds with a hip toss, whipping Elgin into the corner and delivering an elbow across his face. Now, Elgin gets Tana up on his shoulders and hits an Inverse Alabama Slam (? That’s what I’m calling it) before going for the two-count, but Tanahashi kicks out. Elgin slams Tanahashi and does the Springboard Splash over the top rope for another two-count. Tana builds up some momentum, though, hitting a Flying Forearm and a Somersault Senton for a quick two-count. Five minutes past. They catch each other’s boot and gingerly agrees to put them down at the same time. Elgin dodges a Sliding Dropkick and goes for the Deadlift German, but Tanahashi fights out of it and hits the Dragon Screw as a response. Elgin hits a Dragon Screw of his own! That’s nifty. He then takes the Ace for a ride with a Belly-to-belly Suplex. I haven’t said this for a while, so allow me to indulge for a minute. FALCON ARROW TO TANAHASHI. HE DID THE DEAL! Tanahashi kicks out at two. Elgin’s now on the second rope and blocks a Tanahashi charge, but Tanahashi catches his leg and delivers a Dragon Screw from the second rope to the floor. Mike’s wrapped up in the Texas Cloverleaf and he’s fighting for the rope break, but Tana holds on and twists Elgin away from the ropes. Elgin forces Tana over the rope, and Tanahashi tries to skin the cat before catching Elgin and dumping him into the floor. Tanahashi goes to the top rope, but Elgin desperately dives back into the ring and we are ten minutes past. Big Enziguiri lands flush on the face of the Ace, and Elgin goes for broke with the Avalanche Superplex from the top rope! I think my TV shook after he nailed that move. Nonetheless, Tanahashi kicks out. Elgin readies him for the Buckle Bomb, Tana fights out of it to flip Elgin over, but Big Mike deadlifts Tana out of it and hits a deadly-looking Powerbomb for two! Buckle Bomb connects, but Tanahashi turns it right into the Sling Blade for two. Crucifix pin attempt by Hiroshi gets two as well. He tries for another Dragon Screw but Mike turns it into another Enziguiri and a German Suplex, and Tanahashi is holding on for dear life here. Elgin goes for another forearm, but Tanahashi turns it into Twist and Shout, and then another Sling Blade, then a High Fly Flow crossbody, but Elgin catches him, goes for another Falcon Arrow, Tanahashi suggests a Straightjacket German, but Mike takes his head off with the deep Lariat! That was an awesome sequence. Mike takes off the elbow and calls for Tanahashi to get to his feet as we are fifteen minutes past. SPLASH MOUNTAIN. TANAHASHI KICKS OUT! The members of the crowd are completely raucous at this point. Mike hits the Buckle Bomb, and goes for the Elgin Bomb, but Tanahashi awkwardly rolls out and sneaks in an Inside Cradle for the one, two, THREE. Wow! Hiroshi Tanahashi def. Michael Elgin via pinfall. That match drastically changes the dynamic of the A Block, as Tanahashi only needs a draw against Okada to make it to the block finals. Tonight, Elgin’s protected with a surprise loss and he looks great in defeat to the Ace. There might have been a little too much offense for Elgin considering the result, but the cumulative effort was still very impressive. ****
G1 Climax 28 A Block Match: EVIL (Los Ingobernables de Japon) vs. Kazuchika Okada (CHAOS)
The curious case study of Okada continues as he comes out with red phallic balloons to compliment his already-present yellow balloons. This is, of course, a rematch of their G1 Climax match from last year, which saw EVIL pin the then-Heavyweight Champion and earn a title shot at King of Pro Wrestling in October. There, Okada made up for his loss and pinned the King of Darkness to retain the belt. Fifty-fifty booking, everybody. That’s how it’s supposed to work. The bell rings, and if Okada loses, he’s done-zo, and the crowd is pretty evenly split in their approval of the two. EVIL immediately goes downstairs and locks in the Side Headlock, but Okada does a pretty good job to fight out of it until he eats a shoulder tackle from EVIL. Another side tackle gets a long two count from Red Shoes, and he quickly goes for Everything is Evil, but Okada manages his signature Neckbreaker to bring things to a standstill quickly. Okada takes a powder outside and EVIL follows, and they both try to counter the Irish Whip before EVIL sends Okada HARD into the barricade. He grabs a chair from under the ring, wrapping it around Okada’s neck and sending him right into the ring post! Unno starts a 20-count (or he should be counting by now… ok there it is), and Rocky’s playing cheerleader as Okada rolls back inside. EVIL takes control of the left arm and then stomps Okada face-first into the mat, but Okada manages a weak kick-out at two. We still haven’t hit the five-minute mark and Okada’s in a lot of trouble. EVIL lays into Okada with thick chops in the corner and manages a two-count before settling into a Seated Reverse Chin hold. Okada slides out of the hold, and he begins to run the ropes before EVIL traps him in a Sidewalk Slam for two. EVIL goes for a Delayed Neckbreak but Okada fights out of it and sends a quick DDT toward EVIL’s way to send him down. There’s the kip-up from Okada! We haven’t seen that in quite a while. He then runs the ropes, ducking under EVIL’s forearm twice before hitting a Running Elbow and a Flapjack for two. Okada goes for the Running Missile Dropkick but misses, and EVIL hits a Senton to send Okada to the apron. EVIL directs Okada and they JUMP FROM THE APRON TOWARD THE BARRICADE. Okada ends up eating some metal, and we are ten minutes past. Kelly makes note of the Japanese commentator who’s sort of acting like a sideline reporter next to them, which is kind of cool. All of a sudden, they make their way up the ramp, and EVIL calls for Darkness Falls, but Okada hits a DEEP DDT and rolls out in order to hit a Shotgun Dropkick, sending EVIL all the way back to the ring! Okada looks to be in real pain, as Red Shoes begins the count again, but Okada rolls EVIL back into the ring at 16. He scales the top rope and hits one of the more impressive Missile Dropkicks I have ever seen. He is the man. Okada readies EVIL for the Tombstone, but EVIL fights out of it and hits a Thrust Kick and manages to GET AN UNWILLING RED SHOES TO HELP HIM HIT THE MAGIC KILLER. That is without a doubt one of the coolest fucking things I have ever seen. Go look up that part if you haven’t seen this match yet. Okada tries to play defense from the corner, but EVIL fights through it and hits Darkness Falls for the two-count. Fifteen minutes past. EVIL readies for Everything Is Evi… nope, Okada blocks it, EVIL still sends him an elbow, Rainmaker attempt from Okada, EVIL hits a Rainmaker but only gets two! Half-an-half Suplex from EVIL followed by one more lariat, BUT OKADA KICKS OUT AT TWO POINT NINE. He’s the best at the late kickout. Everything Is Evil, no, Rainmaker, no, EVIL goes for his own Rainmaker again, OKADA HITS EVERYTHING IS EVIL, but EVIL manages to kick out. Wow. Okada hits a Dropkick to the back, then the Tombstone Piledriver, and finally the Rainmaker, no, Everything is Evil counter, no, EVIL hits another Rainmaker! Okada recovers long enough to hit a 360 Clothesline followed by the Rainmaker proper to end a thrilling match! Kazuchika Okada def. EVIL via pinfall. While the match lacked some drama due to the earlier results, they stepped up and put on a performance that more than lived up to their two matches from last year. If you’re a fan of a finishing sequence consisting of counter after counter after counter, this is your kind of match. Okada moves to twelve points and should Jay While lose against EVIL, he’s in control of how the A Block finishes. ****1/4
Okada teases leaving the ring before coming back for the post-match comments. Okada: “Unbelievable! Unbelievable. It’s a hard-fought battle, I can’t believe the response I got for just trying to leave just now. You think I’m that kind of guy? Ok, I’m off. Sixth win. See, guys, do you believe that I’m back now? You guys didn’t think I’d come back the same strong, cool guy as before. The next G1 Climax match (fans scream out for Tanahashi) … Okada? Tanahashi? (He polls the audience for who’s gonna win. A loud OKADA chant breaks out). Please stop everybody. Leave Tanahashi alone. I’m gonna beat Tanahashi and I’m gonna take this G1. Did you guys have enough already? And with that, thank you very much, goodnight!” (courtesy of Django)
Final Thoughts: Nothing changes in the overall scenario as all three men eligible to win the A Block pick up victories before we head to Budokan Hall on the 10th. The breakdown’s pretty clear: Tanahashi needs a win or a draw against Okada, Jay needs a win and a Tanahashi loss, and Okada needs a win and a Jay loss or draw. It could made even more interesting if White wins and then Okada has to contemplate the idea of fighting for the win and sending his CHAOS stablemate to the finals. Overall, Night Fifteen delivered at least three great matches, including the surprising Page upset over Suzuki, and we have some intriguing storylines to look forward to on Night Seventeen. Next up, though, it’s the penultimate night of B Block action, as we finally get the long-awaited classic we’ve been waiting for… Omega vs. Yano III. Oh, yeah, and SANADA can play spoiler against fellow Ingobernable Tetsuya Naito. See you soon!
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 – 12 pts
Tetsuya Naito, Kota Ibushi – 10 pts
SANADA*, Zack Sabre Jr* – 8 pts
Tomohiro Ishii*, Hirooki Goto* – 6 pts
Juice Robinson* – 4 pts
Tama Tonga*, Toru Yano* – 2 pts
* = eliminated
Fifteen down, four to go.