ALAN 4L’S 7/21 G1 Climax 28: Night 6 report – B Block action continues, Yano vs. Ibushi, Sanada vs. Sabre Jr., Omega vs. Tama, Juice vs. Naito, Goto vs. Iishi

By Alan Counihan, PWTorch columnist


Kenny Omega (photo credit Ted London © PWTorch)

4L’S G1 CLIMAX 28: NIGHT 6 REPORT
JULY 21, 2018
TOKYO, JAPAN
KORAKEUN HALL
AIRED LIVE ON NJPW WORLD

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

Announcers: Kevin Kelly and Rocky Romero (w/ translator Chris Charlton)

UNDERCARD RESULTS

(1) CHAOS (YOSHI-HASHI & SHO) beat Michael Elgin & Ren Narita.

(2) Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale & Tanga Loa) beat L.I.J. (EVIL & BUSHI)

(3) Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki & El Desperado) beat CHAOS (Jay White & YOH).

(4) Bullet Club (Hangman Page & Chase Owens) beat Hiroshi Tanahashi & David Finlay.

(5) Togi Makabe & Toa Henare beat CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada & Gedo)

B BLOCK RESULTS & ANALYSIS

(6) Toru Yano (0) vs. Kota Ibushi (4) in a G1 Climax 28 B Block match.

Coming off what was legitimately one of the greatest performances of his 16 year career two nights prior against Zack, “Mr. Fair Play” ol’ Yano Toru racked up another doozy and his first win of this year’s league against the Golden Star. Much like Thursday, the crowd were super into Yano’s antics as he play up the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other. His inner cheater came to the fore once Ibushi (a wild man himself when he wants to be) showed he was more than happy to engage in a traditional Yano style match.

All four corner pads were removed and we were told by the English commentators (who have been a revelation in this years tournament) that since all four was off, it fell under the realm of a fair play situation. That was a nice touch! Ibushi got the worst of it though as he took a bunch of head first shots and Irish whips into the exposed steel.

Yano would go on to introduce tape and tied Ibushi’s wrists together. He attempted his Oni Koroshi, a move he hasn’t hit in years, but Ibushi wriggled out and came back to hit both a dropkick and a moonsault with his wrists locked at his mid-section. Nutcase! Despite Kota’s rally, Yano was able to eventually sneak in a roll-up and get the victory.

WINNER: Toru Yano at 8:23 (2 pts)

Star rating: (***1/4) – Ibushi is always going to slip on a banana peel or too and this loss brings him back to the pack in Block B. Yano will remain a threat as he continues to be unpredictable. This has already been his best G1 of the “Kidani era” and we’re only three matches in. 

(7) SANADA (2) vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (2) (w/Taka Michinoku) in a G1 Climax 28 B Block match.

This was a little slice of heaven if you’re a fan of the styles popularised by men such as Johnny Saint, Osamu Nishimura, Steve Grey and Mike Quackenbush. Hold for hold, counter for counter as smooth as it gets, and it was a joy to behold. 

The announcers played this up big as a New Japan Cup semi-final rematch and SANADA wrestled a different match to try to get revenge for his loss. He showed more urgency and he pressed Zack with holds of his own instead of playing directly into what ZSJ was doing like he did in March. Zack did a great job putting over his frustration throughout.

The finish will be one of the best of the tour by the time the G1 is over. SANADA went for his trusty O’Connor Roll but Sabre was able to get out and looked to be about to trap the LIJ man with the European Clutch only for SANADA to somehow roll through in a seemingly impossible manner, bridging back himself and getting the 1-2-3. Exquisite!

WINNER: SANADA at 10:45 (4 pts)

Star rating: (****) – Surprisingly ZSJ has a losing record after three bouts but he will surely climb back into contention for finals night. SANADA showed a side of himself here that he should really lean on going forward as he becomes more of a fan favourite.

(8) IWGP U.S. Champion Juice Robinson (0) vs. Tetsuya Naito (2) in a G1 Climax 28 B Block match. 

Naito showed at Korakuen the previous night that he had no qualms about going after Juice’s injured hand, even in a tag match. Here with two points on the line, he was relentless.

The story of the match was Naito using all his signature offence but targeting it at the hand. For instance he went for his slingshot dropkick in the corner and Juice put his good arm up to block his face only for Naito to nail his other arm which was posted to the mat. It was really great stuff with Robinson selling his butt off. Even in a situation of adversity, even when he’s doubting himself as he has been in his promos the last few nights, he still would not give up and fought with fire until the bitter end.

Juice’s comeback was electric. The crowd were behind him for everything he threw at Naito. The cherry on the cake was that nothing he did compromised the work done to the hand. It all made sense and was believable. The former IWGP Heavyweight champ was on his game tonight and he was in the right position for everything and made sure his bumps and offence were crisp as can be. After a wild closing stretch which saw Robinson valiantly kick out of a counter Destino, Naito hit the full wind-up version to get the duke.

WINNNER: Tetsuya Naito at 16:43 (4 pts)

Star rating: (****1/2) – Awesome match, one of the best in the tournament so far. Naito has had three matches out of three at this level and is quickly making the sluggish, sloppy version of himself from earlier in the year a distant memory.

(9) IWGP World Hvt. Champion Kenny Omega (4) vs. Tama Tona (2) (w/Bad Luck Fale & Tanga Loa) in a G1 Climax 28 B Block match.

This was ok, but nothing more. Tama Tonga needed it to be more. If he is to be the front-man on one side of a huge feud, he needed a big performance here. He doesn’t necessarily need to be having classic matches (though they wouldn’t hurt) but he needs to show something to come across like more than a lackey in a leader role. Barely two weeks into this story and The Tongans already seem lost without a true leader who can deliver and bring others up by the bootstraps. Prince Devitt was that, AJ Styles was that. Maybe long-term Jay White will take that role for them but that’s by no means a sure thing like some have been speculating. His story within CHAOS feels like it has a long way to go before it’s done.

After a mass brawl to start the match, The Tongans, Hangman Page and Chase Owens were all ejected. It was Kenny vs. Tama one on one for six minutes or so and it was really nothing special. Tanga Loa came back out and took out Omega’s knee with a chair. Omega was pretty egregiously running around delivering big moves less than 30 seconds later. Tama was going to attempt a Styles Clash on a chair but referee Red Shoes Unno kicked the chair away. Tama snapped and gave him a Gun Stun for the DQ.

WINNER: Kenny Omega at 9:55 (6 pts)

Star rating: (**) – This hurt Kenny’s momentum in the tournament as far as quality goes. He’ll get back on track no doubt but the same optimism sadly can’t be shared for Tama Tonga who really needs to step up. With us now firmly into the third year of him needing to step up, it might be time to stop waiting.

After the match The Tongans attempted to do more damage to Kenny with a chair assisted Gun Stun but Chase, Page and Ibushi made the save. This got the biggest pop of the segment with the Ibushi/Omega story being something the Japanese fans are really into.

(10) NEVER Openweight Champion Hirooki Goto (2) vs. Tomohiro Ishii (2) in a G1 Climax 28 B Block match.

This is the fourth G1 in a row where these two bulls have clashed. It simply always delivers. In 2015 they main evented in Korakuen just like they were here and they had a really special match, arguably their best. It was going to be really difficult to top that but they came pretty darn close.

The story was simple. There were no frills. This was two warriors going head to head, not giving an inch until one man dropped. There was an epic lariat exchange at one point which went on for a couple of minutes easy and the Tokyo fans went wild.

Goto used his Mid-Kick to great effect throughout the match and it put Ishii down every time. But the Stone Pitbull was not going to stay down, not on this night. It really felt like he was the choice of the crowd and it felt like it would be a special victory if he got it.

After a Saito Suplex (no doubt a tribute to Masa Saito who passed away this week), an enzuigiri and a sliding lariat, Ishii was able to hurk the NEVER champ up for a Vertical Drop Brainbuster to get the win and blow the roof off Korakuen Hall.

WINNER: Tomohito Ishii at 18:15 (4 pts)

Star rating: (****1/2) – This is what these two lads do. We shouldn’t be surprised. But we also shouldn’t take it for granted. What Tomohiro Ishii and Hirooki Goto put on show here was the heart, the toughness and the energy that it takes to be a great New Japan pro wrestler. It’s a special package.

Ishii had no words for the crowd, leaving his actions do the talking and leaving Chris Charlton with an easy night’s work at the commentary desk. He and Goto stumbled to the back selling every bit of the hardships that they just put each other through.

Overall thoughts: A tremendous show to end three hugely successful nights in the most historic wrestling venue in Japan. The Korakuen fans brought it for everything on every night. They were awesome, and the wrestlers were awesome too.

With only one disappointing match out of five and two of the best bouts of the G1 so far, this was another fantastic showing for the B Block. 

STANDINGS AFTER NIGHT 6

A BLOCK

Jay White (3-0, 6 pts)
Togi Makabe (2-1, 4 pts)
Michael Elgin (2-1, 4 pts)
EVIL (2-1, 4 pts)
Hiroshi Tanahashi (2-1, 4 pts)
Hangman Page (1-2, 2 pts)
Bad Luck Fale (1-2, 2 pts)
Kazuchika Okada (1-2, 2 pts)
Minoru Suzuki (1-2, 2 pts)
YOSHI-HASHI (0-3,, 0 pts)

B BLOCK

Kenny Omega (3-0, 6 pts)
Kota Ibushi (2-1, 4 pts)
Tomohiro Ishii (2-1, 4 pts)
Tetsuya Naito (2-1, 4 pts)
SANADA (2-1, 4 pts)
Tama Tonga (1-2, 2 pts)
Hirooki Goto (1-2, 2 pts)
Zack Sabre Jr. (1-2,2 pts)
Toru Yano (1-2, 2 pts)
Juice Robinson (0-3, 0 pts)

Contact Alan at prowresparadise@gmail.com. Follow Alan on Twitter @Alan4L.


NOW CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS REPORT: RADICAN’S 7/19 G1 Climax 28: Night 4 report – B Block action continues, Omega vs. Goto main event, Radican’s viewing guide

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