RADICAN’S 7/16 G1 Climax 28: Night 3 report – White vs. Tanahashi main event, can Okada win?, night 3 viewing guide

By Sean Radican, PWTorch Columnist


RADICAN’S G1 CLIMAX 28: NIGHT 3 REPORT
JULY 16, 2018
HOKKAIDO, JAPAN
HOKKAIDO PREFECTURAL SPORTS CENTER
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 and Rocky Romero

UNDERCARD RESULTS

(1) G.O.D. (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) beat Shota Umino & Toa Henare.

(2) CHAOS (Toru Yano & Jado) beat Suzuki-Gun (Zack Sabre Jr. & Taka Michinoku).

(3) IWGP U.S. Champion Juice Robinson & David Finlay beat Yujiro Takahashi & Kota Ibushi.

(4) L.I.J. (Tetsuya Naito & SANADA) beat CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii & SHO).

(5) CHAOS (NEVER Openweight Champion Hirooki Goto & YOH) beat Bullet Club (IWGP World Hvt. Champion Kenny Omega & Chase Owens).

A BLOCK RESULTS & ANALYSIS

(6) Hangman Page (2) vs. Michael Elgin (2) in a G1 Climax 28 A Block match. Elgin sent Page to the floor with a dropkick and then hit a dive through the ropes. Page fired back and hit the SSP off the apron to the floor to wipe out Elgin. He then hit a standing SSP inside the ring for a 2 count. Page catapulted Elgin neck-first into the bottom rope for a 2 count. Elgin finally fired back with a big powerslam and both men were down. Elgin caught Page coming off the ropes with a sit-out powerbomb for a 2 count. Kelly mentioned Elgin had dropped 40 pounds prior to G1. Page fired back and hit a superkick and a German with a bridge for a 2 count. Elgin fired back with a big suplex. He then hit a pair of big running clotheslines in the corner. They went back and forth near the apron and Elgin caught Page with a slingshot cutter. Elgin hit a Storm Breaker variation a short time later for a 2 count. The fans fired up with Elgin in control. Both men went back and forth trading pinning combinations. Both men got multiple 2 counts. They went back and forth and Page lifted up and spiked Elgin with a tombstone variation for a near fall. WOW! Page went up top with Elgin on the floor. He set up for the moonsault, but Elgin met him up top. Elgin set up for a superplex to the floor. The fans gasped as both men went at it up top. Elgin finally pushed Page back into the ring.

Page got up and cut Elgin off up top a short time later. Page went for a super hurricanrana. Elgin held on and went for a powerbomb, but Page reversed it into a snap super hurricanrana. He then hit a huge dropkick in the corner and followed up with a swinging neck breaker off the top for a near fall. WOW! The announcers mentioned that Masahiro Chono had given Page his endorsement prior to the tournament. Page went for the Rise of Passage, but Elgin hung onto the ropes. Elgin then hit four superkicks in a row and both men were down. Both men got up and began trading bombs. Elgin took off his arm pad and nailed Page with a huge forearm strike. Elgin hit a German and held on, but Page countered and hit a German of his own. Page hung on, but Elgin reversed it. Page tried to fight out, but Elgin hung on and hit a release tiger suplex. Page countered a lariat and went for a piledriver. Elgin backdropped him to the apron and Page went for the Buckshot Lariat, but Elgin nailed him with a clothesline. Elgin hit another huge clothesline and a splash mountain bomb for a near fall. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! Elgin hit the buckle bomb, but Page tried to get him up for the Ride of Passage. Elgin blocked it and hit a tiger bomb. He then held on for the Elgin Bomb for the win.

WINNER: Michael Elgin at 16:57 (4 pts)

Star rating: (****) – This was a tremendous opening match. These two went back and forth the entire time and built up to some big exchanges that had the crowd gasping.

(7) EVIL (0) vs.YOSHI-HASHI (0) in a G1 Climax 28 A Block match. They traded shoulder tackles off the ropes. HASHI ducked one and took EVIL down with a clothesline. EVIL fired back and clotheslined HASHI over the top to the floor. He then snapped HASHI’s arm over the barricade. EVIL put a chair around HASHI’s neck and nailed him with another chair. HASHI sold his neck on the floor as the ref’s count began. HASHI struggled, but made it back into the ring. EVIL went right after HASHI’s bad arm with a Fujiwara variation. HASHI eventually managed to crawl to the ropes. HASHI avoided a standing senton attempt from EVIL a short time later and both men were down. HASHI hit a running blockbuster a short time later. HASHI got a sleeper. EVIL tried to break his hands apart and was successful. He immediately hit Darkness Falls for a 2 count. EVIL signaled for everything is EVIL, but HASHI blocked it and hit a backstabber after ducking a clothesline. Both men got up and hit clotheslines at the same time. They did it again, but HASHI went down. HASHI tore off the tape around his shoulder area. He then hit some HUGE chops on EVIL. HASHI eventually caught EVIL with a western lariat. He went for a powerbomb, but HASHI lost his momentum and both men spilled over the top to the floor when HASHI lost his grip on EVIL on their way over the top. That looked brutal. Thankfully both men were alright.

HASHI tossed EVIL back into the ring and this time he hit a powerbomb for a 2 count. HASHI got the butterfly lock. EVIL struggled, but managed to get to the ropes. HASHI hit a swanton a short time later for a 2 count. EVIL tried to block Karma. He fought out of it and went for Everything is EVIL, but HASHI fought out. HASHI nailed EVIL with a pair of open palm strikes to the head and followed up with a double running knee strike for a near fall. EVIL slipped out of Karma once again. EVIL blocked a lariat and hit a half and half suplex. He then measured HASHI and hit a HUGE lariat for a 2 count. EVIL then hit everything is EVIL for the win.

WINNER: EVIL at 12:55 (2 pts)

Star rating: (**½) – The match had a couple of good moments, but was mostly dull. The botched powerbomb spot where both men went over the top to the floor was scary.

(8) Togi Makabe (2) vs. Minoru Suzuki (w/El Desperado) (0) in a G1 Climax 28 A Block match. Suzuki went right at Makabe as soon as he got into the ring. The ref held him back and both men jawed at each other. They went right at it when the opening bell ring. Both men traded blows and Suzuki seemed to enjoy it. Suzuki told Makabe to bring it and he continued to nail him with big shots, but Suzuki wouldn’t go down. Suzuki fired back with a HUGE forearm and Makabe went down to a knee. Suzuki hit several forearms in the corner. He dragged Makabe back to his feet, but Makabe turned him around and nailed him with forearm after forearm. Suzuki yelled at Makabe and took several more forearms. Suzuki finally went down to a knee and Makabe continued to nail him with big forearms. Makabe hit a big shoulder tackle a short time later and Suzuki rolled to the floor. Both men traded blows on the floor. Suzuki shoved the ref down. He went and got a chair. Makabe got one too and they had a chair battle, but the ref recovered. The ref went down again trying to get the chairs away from them. Both men then agreed to go at it back inside the ring with the ref down. Suzuki hit several strikes and then hit a pair of chairshots to Makabe’s back. The ref recovered and took the chair from Suzuki.

They went back to the floor and Suzuki whipped Makabe into the barricade. They brawled behind the English announce position. Suzuki naield Makabe with another chairshot to the back. The ref tried to stop him and Suzuki shoved the ref through a barricade. The ref recovered and took another chair away from Suzuki. Makabe struggled, but managed to get back inside the ring to beat the ref’s count. Suzuki taunted Makabe. Makabe got to his feet and hit a series of forearms, but Suzuki grounded him with one measured forearm. Makabe was down and Suzuki nailed him with a flurry of light kicks to the head. The fans rallied behind Makabe. Makabe fired back and hit a series of big overhand chops. Suzuki fired back and hit a PK. Makabe fired back a short time later and hit a powerslam and both men were down. Both men began trading blows from their knees. They got to their feet and continued to trade. Suzuki eventually got the sleeper. Makabe faded and then tried to get to his feet. He faded again. Suzuki let go and set up for the Gotch piledriver, but Makabe blocked it. He went for the Gotch piledriver again, but Makabe hit a DVD. Suzuki ducked a lariat, but Makabe connected with a western lariat. He then hit a running lariat. Makabe set up Suzuki for the Spider German, but Suzuki tried to fight out of it. Makabe slammed Suzuki’s head over the ringpost twice and hit the Spider German. Suzuki stood up, but Makabe hit a flying King Kong Knee Drop! WOW! Makabe then hit the traditional King Kong Knee drop for the win. WOW!

WINNER: Togi Makabe at 15:02 (4 pts)

Star rating: (***¾) – This was what you would expect from these two. They hit the crap out of each other and went back and forth the entire match. It never really felt like Makabe was in danger even after Suzuki went after him with chairshots and shoved the ref over. The ref showed a lot of leeway in this match, but that’s the norm in NJPW. The big shocker here is that Suzuki is 0-2 in the tournament. It’s still early though.

(9) Bad Luck Fale (w/Tanga Loa) (0) vs. Kazuchika Okada (w/Gedo) (0) in a G1 Climax 28 A Block match. Okada gavae Fale a light slap across the face during the early going. Fale chased Okada to the floor. Loa cut him off and Okada went after Fale and then pushed Loa into him. He then jumped off Loa’s back and nailed Fale with a big forearm. He then tossed Loa into Fale. Okada teased a step up dive and then jumped back into the ring. Fale got a chair and the ref went after him. Loa dragged Okada to the floor and nailed him with a powerslam. Fale went to the floor and began working Okada over. He opened the barricade and dragged Okada into the crowd before launching into several rows of chairs. Fale maintained the upper hand back inside the ring. Okada finally hit a big bodyslam to regain the upper hand. Fale tried to go for the grenade, but Okada slipped out of it and hit a dropkick. He then clotheslined Okada to the floor. Okada then wiped out Loa and Fale with a big flip dive. Okada went up top and dropped an elbow. He signaled for The Rainmaker, but Fale ducked it and hit a Samoan drop and both men were down. Fale set up for the Bad Luck Fall, but Okada slipped out of it at the 10 minute mark. Fale hit a big clothesline a short time later for a near fall.

Fale went up top, but Okada cut him off. Okada followed him up top and went for a superplex, but Fale fought out of it. Okada dropped down to the mat and nailed Fale up top with a dropkick. He then tossed Fale off the top to the mat. Okada went up top and nailed Fale with a dropkick and the fans fired up. Fale blocked a tombstone and went for the Bad Luck Fall, but Okada slipped out of it and hit The Rainmaker. Okada smiled and hit another Rainmaker. Loa got up onto the apron and Okada wiped him out. Okada hit a big dropkick. He went for another Rainmaker, but Fale fought out. Okada hit a dropkick on Fale that sent him into the ref in the corner. Tonga ran down and nailed Okada with the Gun Stun. Fale then hit the Bad Luck Fall for the win.

WINNER:  Bad Luck Fale at 13:22 (2 pts)

Star rating: (**½) – Another statement was made by The Firing Squad here, as Tonga’s interference late in the match cost Okada big time. Okada’s new character is something else. He clearly was on the verge of victory, but he kept playing with Fale. It’s hard to feel too bad for him losing this way given that he seemed to have the match in hand after two Rainmaker’s. Okada’s losing streak since Dominion continues.

(10) Jay White (2) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (2) in a G1 Climax 27 A Block match. The fans chanted for Tanahashi after the opening bell rang. Tanahashi took control during the early going and nailed White with a dropkick in the corner. He went for a springboard, but White nailed him with a chop block as he landed on the ropes in the corner. White smiled as he went after Tanahashi’s leg. Tanahashi fought him off, but White faked a punch and kicked his bad leg. White dragged Tanahashi by the hair to the apron and slammed his head down on the ring frame. White slammed Tanahashi’s leg over the apron multiple times. He then dragged Tanahashi towards the ringpost and slammed his leg on it. He slammed his leg around the ringpost again and tried to make the cover a short time later, but the ref refused to count. Tanahashi tried to float over White, but he hurt his leg in the process. The fans tried to fire up behind him. Tanahashi eventually connected with a flying forearm off the ropes and the fans applauded. White went for a thrust kick, but Tanahashi caught his leg and hit a dragon screw. Tanahashi went for the Texas Cloverleaf, but White was right at the ropes and grabbed them to break it. White raked away at Tanahashi’s eyes, but Tanahashi caught his leg between the ropes and hit another dragon screw. They went back and forth and White hit a deadlift German.

White hit some big chops on Tanahashi, but he began to fire up. White then drove Tanahashi’s leg into the mat several times. White followed up with a sleeper suplex. He went for the Blade Runner, but Tanahashi fought out of it. Tanahashi hit a punch and then White walked into a big slap. White fired back and decked Tanahashi with a big lariat. White slammed Tanahashi’s head into the corner several times. White laughed when he saw Tanahashi down on the mat. Tanahashi eventually rolled out of the ring. White followed him to the floor. The fans fired up and chanted for Tanahashi. White set up for the snap Saito suplex and hit it on the floor at the 15 minute mark. White then slammed Tanahashi back-first into the guardrail several times. White hit a head and arm suplex and held on for another. He connected and held on for another head and arm suplex. Tanahashi appeared to be out, so White let go. The ref checked on Tanahashi. The fans began chanting for Tanahashi. White hit a suplex for a near fall a short time later. He then hit a leg trap suplex for another near fall. White grabbed the ref and yelled at him before rolling to the floor. He went under the ring and grabbed a chair. The fans booed as he posted with the chair on the floor.

Tanahashi avoided a chairshot from White and hit the Slingblade and both men were down! Tanahashi went to the floor and grabbed a chair. He fired up and the ref yelled at him. White begged for mercy and the ref warned him not to do it. Tanahashi threw the chair down and White raked his eyes. White shoved Tanahashi towards the ref, who ducked in the corner. Tanahashi pulled up short, but ate a low blow from White. Tanahashi went for a chairshot on Tanahashi. The ref tried to stop him, but White shoved him away. Tanahashi then hit a low blow on White. I guess this is their tribute to Shinsuke Nakamura. Tanahashi hit Twist & Shout and another Slingblade for a near fall. Tanahashi hit a standing High Fly Flow, but White rolled through. He went for a Blade Runner, but Tanahashi reversed it and hit a straight jacket German. WOW! Tanahashi went up top for the High Fly Flow, but White threw the ref into the corner, which crotched Tanahashi. White smiled and grabbed a chair. White tossed a chair right into Tanahashi’s face. He then lifted Tanahashi and hit the Blade Runner, but the ref was still down. The ref recovered and counted the pin.

WINNER: Jay White at 24:32 (4 pts)

Star rating: (***½) – This match had some good moments, but the finish with White pushing the ref into Tanahashi when he was going up top to hit a High Fly Flow to win the match was a bit much for me even though NJPW has very liberal rules when it comes to DQ’s. White beating Tanahashi and Okada to open the tournament is an amazing start for him from a storyline standpoint.

After the match, White got on the mic. White said, “I told you so.” The fans booed. He said look at what has become of your Rainmaker and your mighty Ace. The fans booed as Tanahashi was rolled out of the ring. White said he doesn’t care what the fans think or feel. White said people get behind certain things, but he said things like fighting spirit, honor, pride, heart, love, and other things get your nowhere. White concluded that they would all breathe with The Switchblade. Kelly reminded us that White is the youngest wrestler in the tournament.

White stopped by the commentary booth and told Romero to smile because his leader had won. He told Kelly to smile and breathe. Kelly asked if this was the year the Switchblade wins the G1 to sign off.

White gave a backstage interview and said he hadn’t been in NJPW even a full year. He said he’d beaten Okada and Tanahashi. He said he told us he would avenge his loss to Tanahashi at Wrestle Kingdom. White said he needed to stabilize CHAOS. He then signed off saying, “Open your lungs…and breathe.”

Overall thoughts: A solid night from the A block. The highlight of the in-ring action was the Hangman Page-Michael Elgin match. These two tore it up and put on a really good match to kick off block action. Elsewhere, the storylines continue to unfold that will set the tone for the tournament.

Okada had his match with Fale won, but Tonga ran down and hit a Gun Stun with the ref distracted. It appears The Firing Squad will be interfering a lot in this tournament to establish themselves as a heel unit to be reckoned with. Unfortunately, this formula has slowed down some matches that were on their way to being very good.

Another highlight of the show was the slugfest between Togi Makabe and Minoru Suzuki. Suzuki’s goals remaining coming into the tournament are to win G1 and win the IWGP Hvt. Championship at Wrestle Kingdom. Suzuki hasn’t gotten off the start he expected, as Makabe overwhelmed him in the end and sent him packing with a record of 0-2.

Jay White vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi was on its way to being a really good main event. White targeted Tanahashi’s injured leg early, but got away from it during the second half of the match. The second half of the match was disappointing with both men hitting low blows. White clearly shoved the ref into Tanahashi to prevent a High Fly Flow and cheated liberally throughout the match. NJPW has very liberal rules, but the ref counting the fall for White after he clearly threw him into Tanahashi was ridiculous.

White is cutting some really good promos and building his character. I don’t mind him cheating to win, but he’s doing it to a ridiculous degree and it is definitely taking his matches down several notches from an enjoyment standpoint.

STANDINGS AFTER NIGHT 3

A BLOCK

Jay White (2-0, 4 pts)
Togi Makabe (2-0, 4 pts)
Michael Elgin (2-0, 2 pts)
EVIL (1-1, 2 pts)
Hiroshi Tanahashi (1-1, 2 pts)
Hangman Page (1-1, 2 pts)
Bad Luck Fale (1-1, 2 pts)
Kazuchika Okada (0-2, 0 pts)
Minoru Suzuki (0-2, 0 pts)
YOSHI-HASHI (0-2,, 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 3

(6) Michael Elgin vs. Hangman Page (****)

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

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