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NJPW ‘G1 Climax 28’ (7.15.18) Results & Review

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Live in front of 3,826 at the Ota Gymnasium, the B Block has completed its first night of the G1 Climax 28! Including the tags, there were ten matches on the show but all throughout the tournament I’ll only be discussing what happened in block action. Tonight the B Block featured five tournament matches. Let’s get into what happened!

Tomohiro Ishii (1-0) def. Toru Yano (0-1) @ 8:52 via La Magistral – **
Oh how the tables have turned on Yano. He had stated before the tournament that he was planning on changing his tactics and what’s that get him? That’s right, Ishii makes him pay by giving Yano the Yano treatment. All throughout the match Yano was deciding to play it straight rather than fall victim to his usual routine. In very short bursts he managed to take it to Ishii with some forearms and a suplex but it was Ishii who made Yano look the fool. With the referee’s back turned, Ishii hits the low blow and rolls up Yano to take win. Nice goofball take on the usual Yano schtick.

Tama Tonga (1-0) def. Juice Robinson (0-1) @ 14:05 via Gun Stun – *1/2
This was brutal to watch. You could hear a pin drop through the majority of the match. Tama Tonga’s style doesn’t win over crowds very often and this was a case where no one really got into anything. Juice added a couple of nice shocks to the system but overall this was about as flat as you could get. I like Tama but the environment here was very bad. Juice was in control, only for Tanga Loa to cause distractions that’d help his brother get a flurry of offense. Loa jumped up to the apron, Juice made quick work of him but Tama was able to recover and turn the Pulp Friction into a Gun Stun for the win. I’m going to dread watching these Tama matches throughout the tournament. The Japanese crowds don’t take to him and the interference doesn’t help. We understand what he’s going for but it’s not good.

Hirooki Goto (1-0) def. SANADA (0-1) @ 13:38 via GTR – ***
Really strong performance from SANADA which is exactly what he needed to start off his tournament. His transition to a more babyface role has been seamless and the crowds are beginning to take more interest in him as a result. He and Goto had a great back and forth war, countering one another earl and often, never letting up one bit. They kept trading GTRs to Skull Ends and back to GTRs before finally locking in a Skull End. Same with the Ushigoroshis into TKOs which resulted in SANADA hitting Goto with his own Ushigoroshi. After having been rolled up as a result of a hastily attempted GTR, Goto finds himself locked in another Skull End. He counters SANADA by lifting him up over the ropes, hitting a rope-assisted reverse GTR and followed up with a standard GTR and picking up the win. SANADA looked very credible coming out of this match, making me wish he had won so there would be a rematch in the near future. Unfortunately, that’s not the case but I’ll still take a standout performance from SANADA.

Kota Ibushi (1-0) def. Zack Sabre Jr. (0-1) @ 22:58 via Kamigoye – ***1/4
Another great match between Ibushi and Sabre and with three singles matches now under their belt, this can no longer be called a fluke. Their chemistry is insane. Both guys are very imaginative, always looking for new directions they can implement their movesets. Ibushi’s Golden Triangle Moonsault was countered by Sabre hopping up to the apron and pulling him off the turnbuckle into a knee bar. Ibushi used Sabre’s love for wristholds to his advantage in multiple ways throughout the match, including using it for several Kamigoya attempts. Unfortunately for Sabre, his New Japan Cup win may have been his downfall. He came into the match even more cocky than usual, egging Ibushi to kick him as hard and frequently as possible. They had a vicious strike exchange before Sabre caught the leg, went for a suplex but Ibushi flipped through before being caught by a huge slap from Sabre. He attempts the Zack Driver but i countered to a half and half suplex before a Kamigoye attempt, which Sabre dodges and turns to a roll up. Ibushi kicks out, lands another suplex, locks the arms and lands the Kamigoye for the finishing blow. This was about seven minutes longer than their meeting last year and felt a little long but they did so many things you won’t see from anyone else in the world. It’s always a treat seeing these guys wrestle each other.

Kenny Omega (1-0) def. Tetsuya Naito (0-1) @ 23:19 via One-Winged Angel – ****1/4
The two cockiest wrestlers on the roster who always look to aggravate one another and in the process have never failed to treat the fans to absolute stellar match. The amount of pride in their craft shines through so bright for both guys. They never want to disappoint and when they’re together they always go the extra mile. After spending the first seven minutes trying to get under the other’s skin, they begin throwing bombs. Naito turns the You Can’t Escape combination to a neckbreaker but Omega regroups quickly and catches the slingshot corner dropkick to then hit the You Can’t Escape combo. Omega kicks Naito over the railing and lands a top rope springboard crossbody over the rails onto Naito. He catches an Omega V-Trigger and tries a suplex but Omega flips through and nails Naito with a V-Trigger to the back of his head. Naito wakes up and finds himself up in the One-Winged Angel position which he gets out of by executing a Posion Rana, followed by a top rope Rana and finally, a Gloria but Omega kicks out. Naito becomes desperate for the Destino and Omega makes him pay with a Piledriver and another V-Trigger to the back of the head. Omega looks to finish with a second rope One-Winged Angel but Naito floats out into a powerbomb and again attempts Destino. Another Destino countered to a Piledriver, followed by a double underhook Piledriver and finished with the One-Winged Angel. Post-match, Omega tells Naito that if he works hard he can be the third best in the company behind him and Ibushi. Stellar match as is expected between these two. These are the types of matches that reward you for being a fan. Naito becoming desperate for the Destino is a great story and one that should be monitored closely.

There was good and bad here but overall a much more rewarding show than the opener. Outstanding main event that everyone should make time to watch. The innovation by Ibushi and Sabre is so next level that it’s sickening. Don’t forget about the standout performance by SANADA either. There was a whole lot to like throughout this show. The Tama Tonga matches are going to be a rough watch as the fans just don’t care for his story. If you watch the top two matches it’s nearly forty-five minutes but it’s a rewarding experience because you won’t see another two matches like those throughout the rest of the tournament. I was pretty down on the opening night but this was what I would call a great show.

Recommended Matches
Omega vs Naito
Ibushi vs Sabre

Standings
(1-0): Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi, Hirooki Goto, Tama Tonga, Tomohiro Ishii
(0-1): Tetsuya Naito, Zack Sabre Jr., SANADA, Juice Robinson, Toru Yano

Tomorrow’s Matches
Michael Elgin (1-0) vs Hangman Page (1-0)
EVIL (0-1) vs YOSHI-HASHI (0-1)
Minoru Suzuki (0-1) vs Togi Makabe (1-0)
Kazuchika Okada (0-1) vs Bad Luck Fale (0-1)
Hiroshi Tanahashi (1-0) vs Jay White (1-0)

Robert McCauley hasn't missed an NJPW show since the launch of NJPW World. Always be on the look out for his reviews where he shares results and gives his honest opinions on the goings-on of New Japan Pro-Wrestling.

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