RADICAN’S 7/15 G1 Climax 28: Night 2 report – B block action begins with Omega vs. Naito main event, updated G1 Climax 28 viewing guide

By Sean Radican, PWTorch Columnist


Tetsuya Naito (art credit Matt Charltonn and Sam Gardiner © PWTorch)

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RADICAN’S G1 CLIMAX 28: NIGHT 2 REPORT
JULY 15, 2018
TOKYO, JAPAN
OTA-CITY GENERAL GYMNASIUM
AIRED LIVE ON NJPW WORLD

Note: I’m only covering the tournament matches this year and will not be reviewing the undercard matches, but I will include the results in each report.

Announcers: Kevin Kelly, Don Callis, and Rocky Romero

UNDERCARD RESULTS

(1) Bullet Club (Hangman Page & Chase Owens) beat Michael Elgin & Shota Umino.

(2) L.I.J. (EVIL & BUSHI) beat CHAOS (YOSHI-HASHI & SHO).

(3) Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki & El Desperado) beat Togi Makabe & Toa Henare.

(4) Firing Squad (Bad Luck Fale & Tanga Loa) beat CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada & Gedo).

(5) Hiroshi Tanahashi & David Finlay beat CHAOS (Jay White & YOH).

B BLOCK RESULTS & ANALYSIS

(6) Tomohiro Ishii (0) vs. Toru Yano (0) in a G1 Climax 28 B Block match. Kevin Kelly mentioned that Yano had sworn off cheating recently. Both men began exchanging forearms during the early going. They went back and forth and Yano got the better of Ishii with a shoulder tackle off the ropes! The announcers sold shock at Yano’s wrestling prowess. Yano went for a chair on the floor a short time later, but the ref got in his way. Ishii then attacked Yano. Romero acted like he was hurt from the action taking place near him. Ishii took control inside the ring with some big chops. He yelled at Yano as he worked him over. Yano fired back and went to rip off the turnbuckle pad. He fought Ishii off and ripped off the pad. The announcers said Yano can’t help himself. Yano ducked a charge in the corner and IShii ran into the exposed pad. He hit his pose and ducked Ishii’s attack multiple times. He ended up catapulting him into the exposed turnbuckle. He went for a low blow, but the ref stopped him. Yano got a couple of near falls with a backside and an inside cradle. He tripped Ishii into the exposed turnbuckle and grabbed an inside cradle for a near fall. They began exchanging blows in the middle of the ring. Yano decked Ishii and the fans gasped. Ishii hit a German, but Yano no-sold it and hit a belly to belly suplex. WOW! Yano went off the ropes, but Ishii obliterated him with a lariat. He then hit a sliding lariat for a near fall. Yano grabbed the ref and then got a pinning combination instead of hitting a low blow for a near fall. Yano went for a low blow, but Ishii tossed the ref at him. Yano shoved the ref away, hit a low blow, and then rolled Yano up with a La Magistral Cradle! WOW!

WINNER:: Tomohiro Ishii at 11:32 (2 pts)

Star rating: (***¼) – This was a very entertaining opener with Yano not wanting to cheat, but cheating anyway. Ishii cheating to get the win in the end was pretty great.

(7) Tama Tonga (W/Tanga Loa) (0) vs.IWGP U.S. Champion Juice Robinson (0) in a G1 Climax 28 B Block match. Robinson is the first singles title holder in NJPW to wrestle in G1 this year. Robinson is still wrestling with a broken hand. Robinson got the better of Tonga during an early exchange on the mat and the fans started a Juice chant. Loa distracted Robinson on the outside and Tonga attacked him from behind. Tonga almost slammed the gate on the guardrail on Robinson’s hand, but the got it out of the way at the last second. Robinson told Tonga to get back into the ring. Tonga asked him to come outside and play with him. Tonga eventually got back into the ring. Robinson took control inside the ring and hit a big backdrop. Robinson hurt himself during an exchange in the corner. He favored his hand and Tonga caught him with a dropkick. Loa put a beating on Robinson on the outside with the ref distracted. Robinson tried to counter a whip, but Loa countered and wiped him out with a big clothesline. Robinson duked a charge in the corner and got Tonga up on his shoulders, but he slipped out and hit a neck breaker for a 2 count. He hit the Tonga Twist a short time later for another 2 count. Tonga stepped on Robinson’s hand and then stomped on it a short time later. Robinson fired back and began hitting punches, but he couldn’t hit him with the left hand. Tonga fired back and got a front facelock. Robinson ended up powering Tonga up into a jackhammer! WOW!

The fans chanted for Juice with both men down on the mat. Robinson hit a HUGE cannonball, but favored his injured hand after hitting it. He went for the electric chair again, but Tonga fought out of it. He went for the Tonga Twist, but Robinson countered and hit a suplex for a 2 count. Juice went for the electric chair again. He got Tonga up this time and drove him face first into the mat for a near fall. Robinson set up for Pulp Friction, but Loa got up on the apron. Robinson brought him into the ring and nailed him with his signature punching sequence. He then went for Pulp Friction, but Tonga slipped out and hit the Gun Stun on Robinson for the win. WOW!

Winner: Tama Tonga at 12:57 (2 pts)

Star rating: (***½) – This was a very good match with Robinson trying to overcome the outside interference from Loa. He also had to wrestle around his injured hand and in the end it was too much for him to overcome. Tonga is now likely in line for a shot at the U.S. Championship.

(8) SANADA (0) vs. NEVER Openweight Champion Hirooki Goto (0) in a G1 Climax 28 B Block match. Goto sent SANADA out of the ring and celebrated. SANADA flew up to the apron and wiped him out with a springboard missile dropkick. Both men brawled into the crowd. SANADA got the upper hand and dropped Goto over the guardrail. SANADA dragged Goto back to ringside before tossing him into the ring. SANADA began targeting Goto’s neck. Goto got out of the way of a standing moonsault, but SANADA somehow landed on his feet and hit a dropkick to Goto’s back. Goto fired back and caught SANADA with a clothesline and both men were down. Goto hit a Saito suplex a short time later for a 2 count. The fans fired up and chanted for SANADA. Kelly said SANADA has a 48 inch vertical leap. SANADA fired back and caught Goto with his signature dropkick sequence. He then hit a slingshot splash to the floor right away and the fans fired up. They ended up back in the ring and Goto tried to mount a comeback during a punch exchange. They continued to exchange forearms. SANADA blocked a forearm and hit a HUGE uppercut. Goto fired back and caught him on his shoulders and turned it into the Ushigoroshi. WOW!

Goto went for the GTR, but SANADA got the Skull End. They went back and forth and SANADA got the Skull End. He then swung Goto around by the neck and dropped him. He tried to lift him up for a TKO, but Goto blocked it and hit several elbows. Goto powered him up onto his shoulders. Goto hit several elbows, but SANADA hit the Ushigoroshi! He then locked in the Skull End on the mat! SANADA let go of the Skull End and went for the moonsault, but Goto got out of the way. The fans chanted back and forth for both men as they tried to get ot their feet. SANADA charged at Goto, but ate a huge clothesline. Goto went for his signature kick, but SANADA blocked it. They went back and forth off the ropes and SANADA rolled Goto into the Skull End. Goto got out of it and they went back and forth. Goto pulled away from SANADA and hit a headbutt to his chest. He then hit a reverse GTR. Goto then went for the GTR, but SANADA rolled him up for a near fall. WOW! The fans gasped as both men tried to regroup. SANADA got the Skull End, but Goto countered, draped him over the top rope, and hit a reverse GTR. SANADA tried to flip out of the GTR, but Goto blocked it and he hit the GTR for the win. WOW!

WINNER: Hirooki Goto at 13:08 (2 pts)

Star rating: (***¾) – This started slow, but got really good during the second half. I really liked SANADA’s aggressiveness during the match. He was always on the attack and didn’t pause to give Goto any space to breath. Ultimately Goto powered through and survived one hell of an effort from SANADA.

(9) Zack Sabre Jr. (w/Taka Michinoku) (0) vs. Kota Ibushi (0) in a G1 Climax 28 B Block match. The fans chanted for Ibushi after the opening bell rang. Sabre dominated Ibushi on the mat during the early going. They locked hands and Ibushi kicked Sabre down to the mat, but they continued to hold hands. Ibushi finally let go and wiped out Sabre with a roundhouse kick. Ibushi hit a standing moonsault for a 2 count a short time later. Sabre rolled under the ropes and sat on the apron. Ibushi went after him and Sabre grabbed his arm. Ibushi fired back and booted him off the apron to the floor. The fans fired up and Ibushi went for the Golden Triangle, but Sabre hopped up to the apron and grabbed a heel hook! He then dragged Ibushi to the floor and continued to apply the hold. He let go and Ibushi sold his leg on the floor. Ibushi got back into the ring and Sabre immediately began manipulating one of his legs before slamming it down onto the mat. Sabre hit Ibushi with some light kicks and Ibushi fired back with a closed fist to the gut. The ref warned Ibushi and Sabre got up and stomped on his leg. Ibushi went to the floor and sold frustration. Sabre continued to work him over back inside the ring. Sabre hit a light slap to Ibushi’s head. Ibushi got mad and Sabre ducked a punch and tripped him down to the mat. He then locked in a nasty leg submission and eventually transitioned and got a neck bridge to put extra torque on it. Sabre then transitioned to a modified surfboard. He did the Nate Diaz flex while sitting on top of Ibushi at one point, which was great. Ibushi eventually got to the ropes.

The fans tried to rally behind Ibushi. Ibushi avoided a kick to the leg and nailed Sabre with a HUGE kick to the chest. Ibushi sold his leg with both men down on the mat. Sabre went for a low dropkick, but Ibushi hit a double stomp. The fans fired up with Ibushi mounting a comeback. Ibushi eventually sent Sabre to the floor with a big dropkick. Ibushi hit a big slingshot splash to wipe Sabre out. Sabre avoided a springboard and Ibushi landed and favored his leg. Sabre immediately tied up Ibushi in a nasty leg submission with his arms trapped. Ibushi managed to roll into the ropes. They went back and forth and Ibushi eventually decked Sabre with a HUGE lariat. WOW! Sabre countered Ibushi and tied him up on the mat once again. He drove his leg into the mat several times and then used his legs to tie up Ibushi’s arms. He went for a high angle single leg crab, but Ibushi managed to roll into the ropes. Sabre’s submissions are just insane! Ibushi hit a powerslam, but Sabre avoided a moonsault. Sabre hit a PK, but Ibushi immediately kicked out. Sabre then hit another PK and this time he got a long 2 count. Sabre began kicking Ibushi’s leg. He invited Ibushi to fire back, so he did. Ibushi hit one kick after the other to Sabre’s leg. Sabre eventually blocked a kick and tried to go for a leg trap suplex, but Ibushi flipped through and hit a HUGE open hand slap and both men went down. WOW!

They got to their knees and Sabre hit a HUGE slap. Ibushi glared at him and he hit another slap. They got to their feet and began slapping each other. Both men went down as they continued to exchange. Sabre ended up on the top turnbuckle and Ibushi kicked him right in the back. He dragged him out of the corner right into a German for a 2 count. He set up for the Komigoye, but Sabre stuck his leg out 3 times to block. He then switched to a pinning combination for a near fall. Sabre went for the triangle, but Ibushi lifted him up into a sit-out powerbomb for a near fall! Sabre got the octopus a short time later. Ibushi tried to flip Sabre up onto his shoulders, but both men fell backwards into the ropes. Callis said Ibushi’s knee gave out. Sabre got the octopus hold again. Ibushi went for the ropes. He slipped around Sabre and hit a half and half suplex. He then hit a roundhouse kick to Sabre’s head! Ibushi took his knee pad down and signaled for the end. Sabre blocked the Kamigoye. They went back and forth and Sabre got a pinning combination for a 2 count. Sabre then got a knee bar, but Ibushi slipped out. Sabre tried to fight out of it and they traded counters. Ibushi eventually hit a straight jacket German for a near fall. Sabre kicked out and Ibushi held onto his arms and hit the Kamigoye for the win!

Winner: Kota Ibushi at 24:32 (2 pts)

Star rating: (****½) – This was amazing. Sabre is so good on the mat and he tied Ibushi up in knots throughout the match, but Ibushi had the right counters at the right time to Sabre’s submissions and pinning combinations and he got the win in the end.

(10) Tetsuya Naito (0) vs. IWGP Hvt. Champion Kenny Omega (0) in a G1 Climax 28 B Block match. Naito dropped down and Omega walked over him and mocked his pose. He then smiled at Naito and helped him up before giving him a slap to the face. Naito returned the favor and walked over Omega when he dropped down. He mocked Omega’s gun pose. He then faked Omega out several times before hitting his signature pose in the ring. There’s quite a lot of mind games being played here during the early going. Omega got the upper hand and the fans chanted for Naito. Omega acted like his ears were blocked up. Naito smiled after Omega kicked him across the back.Omega began to target Naito’s back. Callis tried to say they should be talking about whether or not Omega is the greatest IWGP Hvt. Champion of all-time. Naito fired back and hit his signature dropkick to the back of Omega’s head. Naito went for his signature dropkick in the corner, but Omega countered it into You Can’t Escape for a 2 count. Naito had previously blocked You Can’t Escape. Omega suplexed Naito from the floor onto the ring apron. He then dug up the floor mats, but Naito nailed him with a dropkick. Omega never saw it coming because he had the mat lifted up. Naito hit his signature corner dropkick back inside the ring and the fans fired up. Naito went for Gloria, but Omega fought out of it. Omega fired back and hit a snap hurricanrana. Naito rolled to the floor and the fans fired up for Rise of the Terminator. Omega set up, but Naito dove into the ring and cut him off with a swinging DDT. Omega tossed Naito to the floor out of nowhere and then hit a dropkick through the ropes that sent Naito over the guardrail. Omega then set up and hit a springboard splash over the barricade to the floor. WOW!

Omega eventually tossed Naito back into the ring and the fans fired up. Omega went up top, but Naito crotched him when he posed. It’s interesting that both men have cost themselves in this match, as Naito was fooling around with the ref before Omega cut him off. Naito climbed up the ropes, but Omega slid under him and dropped him head-fist over the turnbuckles. Omega hit a snap dragon suplex. He followed up with a gutwrench powerbomb. The fans fired up and chanted for Naito. Omega set up for the V-trigger. Naito countered it and they went back and forth until Omega hit a V-trigger to the back of the head. Omega tried to lift Naito, but he countered him into a reverse hurricanrana to counter the One-Winged Angel. WOW! Naito put Omega up on the turnbuckle. He got up on top of Omega and this time he hit an avalanche Frankensteiner. He set up for Gloria and hit it for a near fall! Natio set up for Destino, but Omega blocked it. They went back and forth and Naito missed a flying forearm and Omega hit a HUGE running V-trigger. He got Naito up, but Naito countered him into a Destino. Naito went for a second Destino, but Omega countered it. He nearly hit a One-Winged Angel. Naito tried to slide under Omega, but he held on and hit a huge modified tombstone with Naito folded up for a near fall and the fans went nuts. WOW!

Omega set up for a dragon suplex, but Naito dropped down. The pacing of this match has been nuts. Omega kicked Naito in the back of the head and he went into the corner. Omega set up and hit a HUGE running V-trigger to the back of Naito’s head. Omega placed Naito up top and set up for an avalanche dragon suplex. Naito hooked his foot around the turnbuckle to counter it. He fought Omega off, but Omega got back on top He got Naito up onto his shoulders, but Naito slid around him and hit a powerbomb. HOLY S–T! Naito was slow to capitalize as Omega was down on the mat. The fans fired up and chanted for Naito. WOW! He got a running start and hit Destino and the fans went nuts when Omega kicked out. WOW! Naito held onto Omega’s wrist and went for another Destino, but Omega countered out of it. Naito hit a Uranagi and went for Destino, but Omega blocked it. Naito blocked a knee and slapped Omega across the face. He went for Destino, but Omega dropped him down into a piledriver for a near fall. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Omega followed up and hit the Jay-driller for another near fall. WOW WOW WOW! The fans chanted for Naito, but Omega measured him and hit a HUGE V-trigger. Omega then hit the One-Winged Angel for the win. MY GOD IT’S ONLY THE FIRST NIGHT OF BLOCK ACTION.

WINNER: Kenny Omega at 23: 22 (2 pts)

Star rating: (*****) – This was just an incredible match as they went all-out from start to finish. It’s hard to believe a match this good took place on the first night of B block action, but what else would you expect from these two. Omega’s counter of Destino into a screwdriver was absolutely nuts. This was crazy! WOW!

Omega cut a promo in Japanese after the match. He cut a promo on Naito and said it was very sad he couldn’t win the belt after last year. He said there’s always next year’s G1 if you really try hard. Omega then switched to English and hit his catch phrase to close the show.

Omega cut a promo backstage and spoke in Japanese. He said he would win the tournament and raise his belt up high with the ugly G1 Trophy. I’m not a big fan of Omega insulting the trophy. Why even try to win something that’s so difficult to win if you don’t respect the tournament? Omega also said he didn’t mind if the English speaking fans liked another match better than his.

Overall thoughts: I thought the first night of A Block was really interesting and exciting, but THIS second night of G1 was crazy. The undercard had Tama Tonga cheating to win as the Firing Squad angle continues in full swing. Tonga got a big win over Juice Robinson. Goto and SANADA also had a really good match, but then the show really took off.

The last two matches on this show were both incredible. Sabre vs. Ibushi was an incredible match with Sabre tying Ibushi in knots with his submissions. Sabre went a little too far trying to bait Ibushi into strike exchanges and when he got away from the submission game, it really cost him in this match. The counter sequences down the stretch with Ibushi finding a way out of Sabre’s jigsaw puzzle.

Omega vs. Naito was outstanding. I was a fan of all the star rating talk from the announcers at the beginning of the match. It would be nice if they focused on wins and losses really mattering and not how Omega’s previous match in the G1 last year against Naito was rated. That being said, Naito and Omega went out for nearly 24 minutes and delivered one of the better matches I’ve seen in 2018. It was amazing and the crowd kept getting hotter and hotter as they built to the finish. This tournament is off to one hell of a start after two nights and it’s crazy to think what might be coming after what Naito and Omega did tonight. WOW!

STANDINGS AFTER NIGHT 2

A BLOCK

Hiroshi Tanahashi (1-0, 2 pts)
Togi Makabe (1-0, 2 pts)
Hangman Page (1-0, 2 pts)
Michael Elgin (1-0, 2 pts)
Jay White (1-0, 2 pts)
Kazuchika Okada (0-1, 0 pts)
EVIL (0-1, 0 pts)
Minoru Suzuki (0-1, 0 pts)
Bad Luck Fale (0-1, 0 pts)
YOSHI-HASHI (0-1, 0 pts)

B BLOCK

Tomohiro Ishii (1-0, 2 pts)
Tama Tonga (1-0, 2 pts)
Hirooki Goto (1-0, 2 pts)
Kota Ibushi (1-0, 2 pts)
Kenny Omega (1-0, 2 pts)
Tetsuya Naito (0-1, 0 pts)
Zack Sabre Jr. (0-1,0 pts)
SANADA (0-1, 0 pts)
Toru Yano (0-1, 0 pts)
Juice Robinson (0-1, 0 pts)

I will provide a list of matches ranked at **** or higher for people just looking to watch the best matches from the tournament. This guide is also handy for those of you that are short on time and looking to sample the best of each night of G1 Climax 28.

Match recommendations for G1 Climax 28: Night 2

(9) Kota Ibushi vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (****½)

(10) Kenny Omega vs. Tetsuya Naito (*****)

Contact Sean at pwtorchsean@gmail.com. Follow Sean on Twitter @sr_torch.

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