The G1 Climax 28 had its nineteenth and final night of action in front of 12,112 fans at the Nippon Budokan. There were nine matches on the show, culminating in the G1 Climax Finals between Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kota Ibushi to crown the tournament winner. Let’s get into what happened!
Makabe, Honma & Elgin def. Nagata, Yoshida & Umino @ 7:12 via Makabe King Kong Knee Drop on Yoshida – **1/2
The show kicking off with Nagata’s music was a nice touch to start the night off. K-DOJO’s Ayato Yoshida made his main roster debut after making several appearances in Lion’s Gate shows. Everyone got their spots in, including Honma hitting the Kokeshi. Nagata led his troops as best he could and they showed great fire but it was Makabe who picked up the win.
Bad Luck Fale def. Toa Henare @ 1:49 via Bad Luck Fale – **
Henare was out to prove himself against his fellow New Zealander and trainer, Bad Luck Fale. He took to the sky right out the gate, putting Fale down with a shoulder tackle from the top. Unfortunately, Henare’s fire was extinguished early. Once Fale got his hands on him, Henare was toast. He couldn’t dodge the Grenade and his carcass was thrown for a Bad Luck Fall to end the match. No celebration for Fale as he stomped off to the back.
Taichi & Takashi Iizuka def. Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI @ 8:03 via Taichi Last Ride Powerbomb on Y-H – **
An extended intro for Taichi as he makes his first appearance on the tour. Iizuka is announced but is nowhere to be seen. Goto and Y-H make their way out for introductions but before they could reach the ring, Iizuka comes at them from behind with a chair. Taichi targets Y-H and manages to take control fairly quick after a short flurry from Y-H. Very little wasted motion from Taichi. He kicks Y-H square in the head and lands the powerbomb, beating him in relative ease and let’s Goto know he is looking for a NEVER title shot.
Cody & Hangman Page def. Juice Robinson & David Finlay @ 8:56 via Cody Din’s Fire on Juice – **1/4
Cody makes his return and makes sure to soak in the crowd’s appreciation as much as possible. Solid power moves from everyone. The finishing stretch saw Cody reverse Pulp Friction to Cross Rhodes but Finlay grabbed Cody for a German only for Page to land a Buckshot Lariat on Finlay. Juice hooks up for Pulp Friction once again but Cody counters into Din’s Fire and picks up the win. Post-match he calls Juice a Kairi Sane knockoff and made a claim for the US title.
NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship
Tama, Tanga & Ishimori def. Young Bucks & Scurll (c) @ 11:26 via Tama Gun Stun on Scurll – **3/4
Although this was not previously announced as a title match, the BCOG request the shot. The Bucks come out and agree, receiving approval from President Meji. There was little doubt but Ishimori has officially sided with the BCOG. While this match certainly wasn’t the smoothest thing in the world, it was kept fun by the high-tempo offense. The Bucks had several Topes and Ishimori is always a joy to watch. Scurll caught one of Ishimori’s handsprings into the Chickenwing but Loa caught Nick on an attempted Meltzer Driver. Scurll looked to take Loa out of the picture only to be met with the Gun Stun and new champions are crowned. The BCOG win but despite wanting the title shot, don’t seem to care about the titles. They throws the titles at the guardrails, in the direction of Meji, and walks off to the back.
Naito, EVIL, SANADA & BUSHI def. Suzuki, Sabre, Kanemaru & Desperado @ 10:41 via SANADA Skull End on Kanemaru – ***
Sabre and Naito lock eyes and meet face to face but Suzuki charges in and goes after Naito. All of Suzuki-Gun take LIJ to the outside and brawl. Suzuki and Naito have an intense strike exchange that finds its way back inside the ring where SZKG each take turns on grinding down Naito. He finds himself in a cross-armbreaker from Suzuki, who is hanging on the outside. EVIL comes in and shoulders everyone to the mat, Kanemaru looks to mist SANADA but ducks and locks in Skull End and forces the tap. The LIJ/SZKG feud looks to be continuing. Suzuki makes an effort to destroy each young lion before making his way to the back.
White, Ishii & Yano def. Omega, Owens & Yujiro @ 9:40 via Ishii Brainbuster on Owens – **1/2
While the Bullet Club wanted to clown around and take the night off, Ishii had a statement he wanted to make. The only one up for the challenge was Owens. He stepped up to Ishii, landed a few strikes but Ishii remained standing until a huge Lariat put him on the mat for a two count. Owens regrets the situation immediately as he’s put away with a Lariat and Brainbuster. Post-match, Ishii hands Omega his title and points at himself, signalling that he wants to challenge.
Mysterio, KUSHIDA & Pro-Wrestler Sengoku Enbu (Ryusuke Taguchi) def. Okada, SHO & YOH @ 12:27 via Mysterio Diving Body Press on YOH – ***
Mysterio makes a rare appearance in a New Japan ring and wants a piece of Okada, who instead clowns on Rey by thumping his head and pie-facing him. KUSHIDA had a fun showcase with SHO, calling back to their BOSJ classic. Taguchi lands a Rainmaker Hip Attack on Okada but when Rey goes for a 619, Okada charges in with a dropkick that is met with boos. KUSHIDA and Taguchi keep Okada and SHO distracted with a pair of Tope con Hilos, giving Rey time to hit a 619 on YOH and finishes with a splash. Really fun atmosphere with Okada clowning on Rey and loving the boos he received. Also nice to have KUSHIDA and Taguchi back on the screen. Backstage, Okada declares that he’s done with Gedo as his manager. What that means will be determined at a later time.
G1 Climax 28 Finals
Hiroshi Tanahashi def. Kota Ibushi @ 35:01 via High Fly Flow – *****
Coming as no surprise, but still a nice moment, Kenny Omega seconds Ibushi to the ring. What is a surprise is that Katsuyori Shibata comes to second Tanahashi. This was a great moment that was met with warm approval from the crowd.
Tanahashi and Ibushi spend the first six minutes trading holds, feeling each other out, before Tanahashi has had enough and shoulders Ibushi to the mat. He air guitars to the crowd but little did he know, Ibushi nipped up and would drop Tanahashi with a mid-kick. Ibushi looked to take it to Tanahashi, laying in several forearms until Tanahashi caved his knee in with a low dropkick. Tanahashi focused on the knee, repeatedly driving it into the mat but Ibushi fired back with the opposite leg, drilling it into Tanahashi’s chest. He hits a powerslam + second rope Moonsault combination before dropkicking Tanahashi out of the ring.
Thinking he’s going for the Golden Triangle, Tanahashi hops up to the apron to cut Ibushi off but instead, Ibushi kicks out Tanahashi’s leg from under him and double stomps his chest. He rolls Tanahashi back in the ring and looks to continue the attack but his kick is caught and turned to a Dragon Screw Leg Whip. Tanahashi drills Ibushi with a huge dropkick, sending him into the corner and follows with a corner dropkick, nodding towards Shibata. They trade forearms for a while until Ibushi dumps Tanahashi over the top. Noticing Tanahashi is attempting to skin the cat, Ibushi rushes in and catches Tanahashi with a Piledriver. Once again, Tanahashi manages to catch a kick, turn it into a Dragon Screw and when Ibushi bails, Tanahashi catches him with a High Fly Flow to the floor.
Ibushi breaks the count-out at eighteen, catches Tanahashi running in with a snap Hurricanrana and when Tanahashi bails, lands a springboard Moonsault to the floor. They climb to the top where Ibushi is slapped, falls, but immediately springs back up for a Hurricanrana. Tanahashi fights out of the Last Ride, delivers a huge slap and Ibushi’s expression goes blank. He tears into Tanahashi, going full force with strikes to the head and chest. They meet forehead to forehead and exchange strikes. Tanahashi connects with Slingblade and a Straightjacket German before heading to the top for High Fly Flow. Ibushi gets the knees up, lands Boma Ye to the back of Tanahashi’s head and Moonsaults his knees directly into Tanahashi’s chest. Ibushi isn’t finished there. He then lawn darts Tanahashi into the turnbuckle, second rope German and a Last Ride for an incredible nearfall. Tanahashi avoids Kamigoye but Ibushi is able to avoid Slingblade, keep control of the wrists and drops Tanahashi with a Straightjacket German of his own. Once more, Tanahashi avoids the Kamigoye, lands two Twist & Shouts, ducks Ibushi’s strike and hits the Dragon Suplex. Tanahashi climbs to the top for a High Fly Flow to the back, climbs up again for a Crossbody and finishes Ibushi with the High Fly Flow. Perfectly executed match from both men.
Shibata runs in and celebrates with Tanahashi. Masahiro Chono hands Tanahashi the G1 flag as the crowd celebrates the win. Tanahashi teases leaving early but does the right thing and pulls out the air guitar, sending everyone home happy.
That is how you end the G1 Climax. The best tournament of the year is ended with the best match of the year. You couldn’t have asked for anything more than what we got from these guys. This was an emotional rollercoaster with an incredible peak. The show as a whole wasn’t all that much on the surface but a lot happened. We saw many guys make an appearance after some month-long absences while the tournament was taking place. Taichi, Cody and Ishii all made claims for titles, BCOG won titles but don’t care and Okada has dropped Gedo. The main event capped off the tournament in the best way it possible could have with Tanahashi making another run towards the title and main event Wrestle Kingdom. The special appearance by Shibata only helped add that much more emotion as he stood in Tanahashi’s corner and cheered him on. This was a great moment for fans of New Japan and the show as a whole gave a bunch of different looks moving forward. There was something for everyone here so I don’t see how anyone can walk away disappointed. Ibushi fans still have hope for another match with Omega since he got the win over the champion yesterday. Everyone wins. Great show.
Tanahashi vs Ibushi
Rey, KUSHIDA, Taguchi vs Okada, YOH, SHO
LIJ vs SZKG