Norrissey’s G1 Climax 28 Night Seventeen Review
10 August 2018
Live from Nippon Budokan (Budokan Hall), Tokyo
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.
You can read my Night Fifteen review here.
You can read my Night Sixteen review here.
WE MADE IT TO BUDOKAN! A Block action wraps up as Hiroshi Tanahashi leads the way, only needing a draw against Kazuchika Okada to progress to the finals. However, there’s still that sneaky bastard Jay White lingering underneath, and a win for him over EVIL coupled with an Okada victory could see him make it to the finals as well. Here we go!
Your commentators are Kevin Kelly and Rocky Romero, with Chris Charlton available to provide translations.
I’m not gonna do an entire write-up of it, but the Young Bucks and Kenny Omega had a really fun Six-Man Tag match against Kota Ibushi, Chase Owens and Marty Scurll on the undercard. The gimmick was that no one managed to land a single move against their opponents, and when you throw in some Tiger Hattori chicanery, it was excellent. Highly recommended.
G1 Climax 28 A Block Match: Togi Makabe vs. Michael Elgin
We move on to A Block action, as the Unchained Gorilla squares off against Big Mike. I think these two should try a run in the tag division a la the Unbreakable F’N Machines. I dunno, could be fun. Elgin’s coming out without the bicep wrap, as he’s received good news from the doctor in the form of no bicep tear! Happy to hear that. This will be your typical hoss fight, as they trade slugs and forearms before Makabe puts Elgin down with a Running Shoulder Tackle. Elgin recovers and hits a HIGH Belly-to-belly Suplex for a two count. Elgin delivers a couple of HEAVY Chops that sends Makabe to the mat, and he looks wrecked. Makabe counters an Elgin whip and scores an RKO Powerslam, but he can’t quite follow up on it. Ten punch/HA HA HA Combo, but Big Mike fights out of it and looks like he might take the lead until a Northern Lights Suplex from Makabe gets two. Elgin puts together a Superkick/Thrust Kick/Deadlift German combo for two! They both end up eating matching Lariats and matching German Suplexes. Five minutes past. Sorry for the double reference, but this match has Brian Cage “Get My Shit In” all over it. Togi gets ready for the Spider German Suplex but Elgin protects himself and delivers a Big Boot to a drooping Makabe. SPLASH MOUNTAIN! MAKABE KICKS OUT! Elgin tries the Buckle Bomb but Makabe holds on, before a HUGE RIGHT ELBOW SENDS MAKABE DOWN TO HIS KNEES. Togi fires back with a Lariat of his own, and now they’re trading punches and forearms and I really want these two in the Tag Division together like right now. Makabe hits a Death Valley Driver and goes up top for the King Kong Knee Drop, and he gets the three count! Togi Makabe def. Michael Elgin via pinfall. Hey, I called it! Six points for Makabe! A good hoss contest from two guys that never seriously challenged to win the A Block. I had fun regardless. ***3/4
G1 Climax 28 A Block Match: Hangman Page (Bullet Club) vs. YOSHI-HASHI (CHAOS)
All signs point to the sky for Hangman Page, as he’s put in some quality performances despite failing to pick up points. YOSHI’s also had a decent G1, but he continues to languish at the bottom of the A Block. Today’s his last chance to really make a mark on this G1; the bell sounds and we’re off. Page gets YOSHI in a quick headlock and they trade standing switches at the outset. A Body slam by YOSHI sees Page stumbling into the corner, but a reversal by Page sees him take the offensive against the rope. Hangman hits a Neckbreaker over the second rope! Gnarly. APRON SHOOTING STAR PRESS to the floor, and Page is getting some (deserved) reactions from the crowd. Page rolls YOSHI back into the ring and starts to tease kicks at his head, but YOSHI begins the comeback back before a MASSIVE Forearm from Page clocks him. A note on the commentators after this match is over, while I think about it. YOSHI begins the comeback with a Thunderbuster, and they’re trading chops before YOSHI runs the ropes and hits the Head Hunter. He goes up top and hits the Top Rope Head Hunter! Page manages to kick out at two. Five minutes past. Page goes for a Superkick before hitting a Spinning Elbow and a Deadlift German, but YOSHI kicks out at two. Hangman starts a series of thunderous chops, and he gets YOSHI on his feet, before he can fight out of it, draping Page over the top rope. But, no! Page puts up the Big Boot before the BUCKSHOT LARIAT gets two. Crowd propped great for that move. Page goes for the Rite of Passage, and YOSHI counters this before Page manages to hit a Top Rope Neckbreaker! BUT YOSHI KICKS OUT AT TWO. YOSHI-HASHI looks to be out, but after the referee examines him, he continues on. He rolls through the Rite of Passage and gets a Sunset Flip for two. Now YOSHI tries the Powerbomb, but Adam rolls through for the Rite of Passage, and YOSHI tries Karma, misses, but manages to hit a CANADIAN DESTROYER FOR TWO and that looked great. Ten minutes past. Backcracker from YOSHI-HASHI, and the Karma finally gets the three count. YOSHI-HASHI def. Hangman Page via pinfall. Both men finish at six points and deliver a very good contest to finish off their A Block action. Hangman proved his status as a regular in future G1s, but YOSHI-HASHI’s inclusion in next year’s event can be called into question. He’s a fine wrestler, no doubt, but there are others who captivate audiences with much more gravity than Tacos does. We shall see how the next 11 months play out for him before judging his worthiness for inclusion in the G1 Climax 29. ***1/2
G1 Climax 28 A Block Match: Minoru Suzuki (Suzuki-Gun) vs. Bad Luck Fale (Bullet Club/Firing Squad)
God help me if Suzuki somehow loses to some Firing Squad BULLSHIT. He’s out to a HUGE reception in the nearly sold-out Budokan, and after Fale enters the ring, Suzuki makes a point to charge after him quickly, with the fight spilling outside. Fale manages to send both Suzuki and Desperado into the barricade, before Suzuki responds by cracking a full water bottle over Fale’s head. Fale goes nuts here, attempting to strangle Suzuki with a microphone chord. Suzuki tries to roll back into the ring, but Fale stands on top of him, attempting to keep the Granddad of Pro Wrestling down. Suzuki sidesteps a Fale Clothesline and locks in a Triangle Arm Bar over the ropes. Now it’s Fale’s turn to eat metal as he’s thrown into the guardrail. Fale then eats a Suzuki chair shot over the back and I’m actually starting to feel bad for him for a minute. Suzuki chokes Fale with the chair and Kelly actually calls it “felonious assault,” which makes me laugh for a bit. Suzuki continues to take it to Fale outside of the ring, cracking him on the head with the chair as Fale’s sitting against the barricade. These two guys HATE each other, if you couldn’t tell. They’re back in the ring, and Suzuki levels Fale with a Big Boot in the corner, before the PK attempt gets two. Five minutes past. Fale springs up outta nowhere with the Samoan Drop. He gets two with the Powerslam and a deafening Falling Elbow. He goes for the Grenade but Suzuki TURNS THIS RIGHT INTO A DEEP CROSS ARMBREAKER. Loa pulls the referee out of the ring and the two men go to work on the big men. Both men beat down Suzuki, and the referee makes his way back into the ring right as Fale hits the Big Splash, but SUZUKI KICKS OUT! Thank God. Fale readies Suzuki for the Bad Luck Fall, but Suzuki turns this into the Rear Naked Choke and begins delivering Signature Strikes. He only manages to piss the big man off, though. Another Rear Naked Choke’s locked in and Despy’s holding onto Loa. But, lo and behold, Tama Tonga creeps into the ring, striking at Suzuki with a chair, and the bell rings for the disqualification. Minoru Suzuki def. Bad Luck Fale via disqualification. Another two points thrown away by Fale. He may have gone through the entire block without suffering a pinfall or submission, but this was a below-average outing from the Tongan clan. At least Suzuki manages to grab a chair and deal with shit backstage after the match. I hope he makes an example of the Underboss. (Spoiler: he doesn’t) *3/4
G1 Climax 28 A Block Match: EVIL (Los Ingobernables de Japon) vs. “Switchblade” Jay White (CHAOS)
Now we get into the real drama of the A Block, as Jay White needs to win tonight and gain some assistance from his Best Friend, Kazuchika Okada, in order to win the block. EVIL’s got nothing on the line for him this evening, but I still expect a good outing from him on the final night of A Block action. Regardless of the outcome here, this was a stellar G1 Climax from Jay White. The crowd’s very pro-EVIL as the bell sounds and they circle around each other. White: “This is mine, these are my two points and you’re not taking this from me!” He then slaps EVIL and we are off. White whips EVIL into the corner and delivers some sick chops, but the tackle from EVIL puts White down convincingly! Kelly points out that White could be the first man to reach 14 points and not make it to the final since… well, Kazuchika Okada. Damn. EVIL readies Jay to deliver some chops against the floor, but WHITE THROWS EVIL ALL THE WAY TO THE FLOOR VIA SAITO SUPLEX! The replay is particularly vicious looking. White delivers multiple suplexes to EVIL into the English commentary guardrail and draws the ire of Kelly and Romero. Rocky: “He’s an a-hole… and he loves to push my buttons.” Pumphandle Backbreaker from Jay gets a two count. EVIL’s on his knees now, absorbing multiple thick chops across the chest, but he springs up and sends White’s foot into the cradle of Red Shoes, before eating a Thrust Kick and we are five minutes past. White takes a whip into the guardrail not once but twice, and luckily the English boys are still hanging in there on commentary. Fisherman’s Buster back in the ring gets two for EVIL. They run the ropes with misdirection before White hits the Complete Shot with a Deadlift German combo, followed by the Kiwi Krusher, but EVIL kicks out at two there. He sets up for the Blade Runner, but EVIL goes to the eyes and charges in on White in the corner. Switchblade manages a Low Blow and tries to follow up with the Blade Runner but succumbs to Darkness Falls! They both struggle to recover as EVIL hits the Half-and-half suplex outta nowhere before a deep Lariat gets two. Rocky: “I’m not even gonna lie, Kelly, I want EVIL to take it.” Jay avoids a few strikes and sends EVIL down with a Half Nelson (Necktie) Suplex. Another Kiwi Krusher gets a close two-count for White. Ten minutes past. White rolls out of the ring and gleefully smiles at the commentators before grabbing a couple of chairs. He gets ready to swing at EVIL, but the ref gets in the way, and EVIL manages to clothesline White’s soul out of his body! Now EVIL has the chair, and Unno calls for him to drop it, and this allows White to hit another Necktie Suplex. Both men tease their finisher, before White swings for the fences AND EVIL HITS EVERYTHING IS EVIL! HE GETS THE PINFALL! WHITE’S ELIMINATED FROM THE G1 CLIMAX! EVIL def. Jay White via pinfall. Wowie Zowie. With the loss, Jay White’s hopes of moving on to the G1 Climax Finals are over, and EVIL finishes with a strong 10 points. A good back and forth encounter, but I wish White had won to make the finals a little more interesting. Regardless, White’s a star in the making, and he’s got a lot for him going forward. ***1/4
G1 Climax 28 A Block Match: Kazuchika Okada (CHAOS) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
A real crime on display today, as Okada’s balloons are apparently banned from Budokan Hall. Okada needs a win to move on to the finals, and Tanahashi can survive with a draw. And if you haven’t been keeping track, Okada’s title defense against Tana back in May went 35 minutes. In fact, in their last eight meetings (going back to 16 June 2012), they’ve always wrested for at least 30 minutes. So, the draw is really a possibility. Chris Charlton: “Both of these men are defined in 2018 not by what they’ve won, but by what they’ve lost. Hiroshi Tanahashi, stripped of his record number of defenses, walked up that ramp on May 4th and burst into tears. Kazuchika Okada, stripped of his IWGP Title, he broke into mania, he broke into balloons and tried to make people smile. Here, both men have the chance to remake their narrative, over the weekend, and define themselves anew, to take away the pain of agony and defeat and replace it with the ecstasy of victory in the G1 Climax.” GET THIS MAN ON YOUR COMMENTARY TEAM ASAP. Big thumbs up for Lion’s Pride, by the way. Working on Eggshells at the moment. Kazu starts quickly with a Missile Dropkick, but misses, and they both miss Sentons and we have a GENERIC INDY STANDOFF. This will be a long one, for sure. They lock up and trade standing switches before Tanahashi executes a Snapmare, but Okada manages a Hammerlock from behind. Tanahashi holds on to a side headlock for a good amount of time, but Okada forces his rival into the ropes and starts a clean break. Tana’s not having it, and whips Okada into the ropes before delivering a hip toss. He throws the guitar away afterward, and now you know that THIS IS SERIOUS. Okada’s held down by the Leg Submission, and now it looks like Tanahashi’s going for the Cloverleaf early, but he can’t quite turn Okada over. Okada sounds like he’s in real pain here anyways as we are five minutes past. Tana throws Okada into the corner and kicks at the knee, before working Kazu’s leg over the middle rope in order to get him ready for the Dragon Screw. Tana’s now outside the ring and slams Okada’s left knee into the ring point multiple times. Side note: I used to hate white boots. I remember thinking that they were fucking stupid looking. I remember watching the New Age Outlaws back in the day and saying to myself “Billy Gunn, you’ve got stupid looking boots.” And then I started watching New Japan, and I would watch Tanahashi matches and go, “God, Tanahashi, you’ve got cool looking boots!” Then I went to Long Beach and watched Billy Gunn wrestle Hiroshi Tanahashi for the Intercontinental Title and thinking “This is a battle between cool white boots and shitty white boots.” Back to the match, as Kazu sends Tanahashi down with a Dragon Screw and the crowd’s eating this up. He pulls Tanahashi outside and slams the knee into the mat. These two couldn’t have a bad match if they tried. Another slam into the mat and Unno starts the 20-count. Okada continues the leg-slamming after Tanahashi makes his way into the ring, and now he’s trying to wrap Tana’s leg around the rope before hitting a Missile Dropkick. Damn. Ten minutes gone. Twenty to go. Tanahashi now comes back with forearms and Kazu tries the Big Boot, but of course this opens him up to suffer the Dragon Screw, and the crown completely comes unplugged for Tanahashi. Good series of strikes for Tanahashi before he hits a flying forearm. GO ACE chants start up as Tanahashi manages to hit the Somersault Senton, but OKADA KICKS OUT. I’m only capitalizing that because that looked painful af. Okada revitalizes himself to hit a far-reaching forearm, then he hits a mesmerizing DDT that somehow only got a two count. Tanahashi manages another low dropkick to Okada’s leg before Okada responds with a Shotgun Dropkick to Tanahashi’s chest. Okada’s up top now and hits THE SICKEST MISSILE DROPKICK I THINK I’VE EVER SEEN! Damn. Tanahashi’s a sack of potatoes now as Kazu tries for the Tombstone, but Tanahashi reverses it and delivers his own take on the Tombstone! Oh my god, this match. Fifteen minutes past. We’re halfway to the time limit and both men are struggling to get to their feet. Tanahashi’s up first and they begin to trade forearms with each other as the crowd can’t contain themselves. They begin to pick up the pace before Okada suddenly finds himself falling to his feet. Tanahashi keeps the pressure going before eating a sick series of European Uppercuts from Okada. All of a sudden, Okada’s on the ramp and Tanahashi delivers a thunderous Dropkick to send Okada to the floor! Tana goes up top and it’s about time we get the HIGH FLY FLOW CROSSBODY TO THE FLOOR!! Holy shit. Sadly, it looks like Tana landed on his knee on the way down, which doesn’t bode well for the rest of the match. Tanahashi, however, recovers well, and as Okada tries to beat the 20-count, Tana delivers not one but two deep Dragon Screws in an effort to stay alive. He musters all of his energy to put Okada in the Cloverleaf, and Kelly makes note of the fact that Tanahashi submitted Naito with this move at Dominion 2017 to win the Intercontinental Title. Twenty minutes past. Tanahashi bends DEEP into the move now, and the pain on Okada’s face tells the tale. HOLY FUCKING SHIT, TANAHASHI HITS THE STYLES CLASH. HIGH FLY FLOW…. HE MISSES! What is this match? Both men slowly get to their feet before Okada hits a nice Dropkick, then another, he goes for another but Tanahashi hits the Sling Blade and both men are down again. They take a while before slinging at each other as both men are clearly at the point of exhaustion. The clock continues to tick away as Okada knocks Tana with a Dropkick. He then hits a FURIOUS right elbow, and he goes against for the Tombstone, but he can’t quite get Tanahashi over. Tanahashi tries for his own and fails. Okada tries for the Tombstone again, and looks to get it… no, Tanahashi HITS TWIST AND SHOUT! HE HITS IT AGAIN! A THIRD TIME! TWENTY-FIVE MINUTES PAST! Tanahashi hits a Sling Blade and Okada kicks out, running out of opportunities to win the match. Tanahashi goes up for the High Fly Flow, but Okada delivers a HUGE Dropkick to Tana as he flies off the top ropes. The crowd is straight mad at this point, as Okada hits a TOMBSTONE PILEDRIVER and we begin to see the Rainmaker of old. Three minutes left. Rainmaker attempts, but Tanahashi escapes only to eat a Twisting Rainmaker! This could lead to the victory. Rainmaker attempts leads to an Inside Cradle for a two count for Tanahashi! Does anybody know how much time is left? Another Rainmaker attempt sees Tanahashi turn it into a Dragon Suplex Bridging Pin for two point nine. The crowd’s going nuts now as they muster one more sequence, and we have ONE MINUTE LEFT. Okada’s behind Tanahashi now, going for one more Rainmaker, and he is clearly spent, as Tana blocks the Rainmaker attempt with the strong left strike. He goes up top for the High Fly Flow, one, two, OKADA KICKS OUT AND TANAHASHI RUNS OUT OF TIME. Oh man. That was epic stuff. Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kazuchika Okada go to a 30-minute draw. Both men pulled another classic out of their butts, and Hiroshi Tanahashi gets the confirmation that we knew was coming. TANAHASHI WINS THE A BLOCK! Another classic between the Ace and the Rainmaker, and it was cool seeing Tanahashi refusing to run out the clock, instead going for the victory. As for Okada, he stands to enter the Tokyo Dome on January 4th not wrestling for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship for the first time since 2012. A magnificent performance by two men who are just destined to put on classic after classic against each other. *****
Tanahashi: “Thank you all for coming back to Budokan! I’ve finished out at the top of the A Block. I can’t get the words out! There you go. I do one thing I have to say, and that it I will win the G1 Climax on Sunday!”
Final Thoughts: The thing about legends is that they aren’t ready to go quietly into that good night, and Tanahashi has another chance to main event the Tokyo Dome on Sunday when he goes up against the winner of B Block. He surpassed both Okada and White and has a tall order in front of him on Sunday. Before then, Saturday sees Naito try to best off Zack Sabre Jr and hope for a draw between the Golden Lovers, Kenny Omega and Kota Ibushi. We’re almost done!
Standings (A Block):
Tanahashi Hiroshi – 15 pts
Kazuchika Okada* – 13 pts
Jay White* – 12 pts
EVIL*, Minoru Suzuki* – 10 pts
Bad Luck Fale*, Michael Elgin*, Hangman Page*, Togi Makabe*, YOSHI-HASHI* – 6 pts
Standings (B Block):
Kenny Omega, Tetsuya Naito – 12 pts
Kota Ibushi, Zack Sabre Jr* – 10 pts
SANADA*, Tomohiro Ishii* – 8 pts
Hirooki Goto* – 6 pts
Juice Robinson*, Toru Yano*, Tama Tonga* – 4 pts
* = eliminated
Seventeen down, two to go.