RADICAN’S 7/22 NJPW G1 Climax 28: Night 7 report – Okada vs. Makabe, Page vs. Tanahashi, viewing guide updated

By Sean Radican, PWTorch Columnist



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RADICAN’S G1 CLIMAX 28: NIGHT 8 REPORT
JULY 26, 2018
NIIGATA, JAPAN
AO-RE NAGAOKA
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) Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki & El Desperado) beat Michael Elgin & Ren Narita.

(2) L.I.J. (EVIL & BUSHI) beat Bullet Club (Hangman Page & Chase Owens).

(3) Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale & Tama Tonga) beat CHAOS (Jay White & YOH).

(4) Hiroshi Tanahashi & David Finlay beat Togi Makabe & Toa Henare.

(5) CHAOS (YOSHI-HASHI & SHO) beat CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada & Gedo).

B BLOCK RESULTS & ANALYSIS

(6) Toru Yano (2) vs. NEVER Openweight Champion Hirooki Goto (2) in a G1 Climax 28 B Block match. Yano wanted a handshake before the match and Goto obliged. Yano went and took off the turnbuckle pad and hit Goto with it after he had turned his back. The ref rang the bell. Goto ran into the exposed turnbuckles and then Yano rolled him up while choking him with his shirt a short time later for a near fall. Yano got another pinning combination for another near fall. Goto then fired back with a big clothesline to get the upper hand. Goto hit a Saito suplex for a 2 count a short time later. Yano fired back with a belly-to-belly suplex and Kelly talked about Yano going back to his ametuer roots during this tournament. Goto grabbed a choke, but Yano turned it into a pinning combination for a near fall. Goto blocked a low blow and held Yano’s hands and hit several headbutts. He followed up with the Ushigoroshi. He then hit the GTR for the win.

WINNER: Hirooki Goto at 2:16 (4 pts)

Star rating: (**) – A much needed break for Goto here in terms of not having a long match. Yano tried to put Goto away quickly, but Goto turned the tables on him and got a quick win.

(7) Tetsuya Naito (4) vs. Tama Tonga (w/Tanga Loa) (2) in a G1 Climax 28 B Block match. Tonga waved Loa off, but then asked him to come back after the bell rang and he got the upper hand on Naito. The fans booed. Loa tripped Naito when he set up for a dive, but Naito fired back and sent him into the guardrail. He then set up Tonga and Loa against the guardrail and did his signature fake dive and pose. A big chant for Naito rang out in the stands as Tonga sold frustration on the floor. Tonga got the upper hand and distracted the ref so that Loa could put a beating on Naito on the floor. Tonga put a beating on Naito inside the ring and the fans tried to fire Naito up by chanting his name. Naito ducked a splash in the corner and caught Tonga with a neck breaker and both men were down. Naito hit his signature dropkick in the corner and spit at Tanga Loa on the outside. Naito followed up with a tornado DDT for a 2 count. Tonga caught Naito with a Gun-Stun over the top rope when Naito went to the apron. Loa then lifted him off the apron, powerbombed him on the ramp, and rolled him back into the ring for a 2 count. WOW! Tonga followed up with the Tongan Twist, but Naito kicked out at 2. Tonga went for the Gun-Stun, but Naito blocked it and hit a high angle German. Naito then hit a flying forearm and the fans fired up.

Naito set up for Destino, but Tonga blocked it and blatantly threw Naito into the ref. Loa jumped into the ring and went after Naito, but EVIL came to make the save. Fale ran down to ringside and took out EVIL. BUSHI ran down to the ring and Fale tried to give him The Grenade, but BUSHI blew mist in his face. BUSHI then wiped out Loa with a big dive through the ropes. The ref was still down with Naito and Tonga alone in the ring. Naito hit an enzuguri, but Tonga blocked Destino. Tonga hit a low blow and went for a Gun-Stun, but Naito blocked it. Naito pushed Tonga off the ropes and popped him up into a low blow. Naito then hit Destino for the win. WOW!

WINNER: Tetsuya Naito at 10:02 (6 pts)

Star rating: (***¾) – This was great from start to finish with Naito overcoming the outside interference from Loa early and then a big brawl between L.I.J. and BCOG’s after the ref got bumped. This was nicely done and the fans really enjoyed it.

Naito attacked the ref after the match and tossed him to the floor for no good reason.

(8) Tomohiro Ishii (4) vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (w/Taka Michinoku) (2) in a G1 Climax 28 B Block match. They went back and forth on the mat during the early going and came to a stalemate. Sabre tried pie-facing Ishii, which turned out to be a mistake as Sabre absorbed a flurry of HUGE chops. Sabre finally blocked a chop and tied up Ishii’s arm with his legs. He then used his legs to twist Ishii’s arm at a bad angle. Sabre used his legs to tie up Ishii’s arms. He then grabbed one of Ishii’s legs, but he got his other leg on the ropes. Ishii fired back and took Sabre out with a big shoulder tackle. Ishii began hitting forearms and chops on Sabre up against the ropes. Sabre fell and Ishii wound up and blasted him with a HUGE chop. Sabre fired back and caught Ishii in an arm bar, but he managed to get to the ropes fairly quickly. Sabre went after Ishii’s other arm and began manipulating it. Ishii fired back and kicked Sabre’s leg. He followed up with a suplex and both men were down. Sabre slipped out of a powerbomb, but Ishii caught him with an ankle lock. He then grapevined Sabre’s leg. Sabre countered and went after Ishii’s arm, but Ishii slipped out and got the ankle lock again. Sabre managed to get to the ropes while yelling in pain. They went back and forth and Sabre caught Ishii with a big kick to the head and both men were down.

Sabre tied up Ishii again a short time later. He tied up Ishii’s arm. He then got a double arm submission on Ishii. Ishii screamed in pain, as Sabre had one of his arms tied up with his legs and the other with his hands. Sabre transitioned the hold, which allowed Ishii to get to the ropes. Romero on commentary that he wasn’t sure if Ishii would ever top, but we could see a ref stoppage. Ishii hit a big German a short time later. He then hit a sliding clothesline and made the cover for a 2 count. Sabre and IShii went back and forth. Sabre got a wrist clutch pinning combination for a good near fall. Ishii blocked a PK, but Sabre ducked an enzuguri. Sabre got a bridging pinning combination for another good near fall and the fans applauded. Ishii blocked an inside cradle and went for the Vertical Brainbuster, but Sabre got out of it. Ishii slipped out of the Zack Driver. He popped Sabre up into a headbutt a short time later. Sabre fired back and got a cross-armbreaker. He then turned it into a triangle. Ishii lifted Sabre with one arm and powerbombed him, but Sabre held on and then got a Fujiwara armbar for the win and Ishii tapped out right away. WOW!

WINNER:: Zack Sabre Jr. at 14:37 (4 pts)

Star rating: (***¾) – This was a really good wrestling match. Sabre and Ishii went back and forth on the mat. Sabre went after Ishii’s arms throughout the entire match and tapped him out with a really nasty armbar. It was stunning to see Ishii tap out.

(9) IWGP U.S. Champion Juice Robinson (0) vs. IWGP Hvt. Champion Kenny Omega (6) in a G1 Climax B Block match. Robinson beat Omega in the biggest upset of G1 last year. Kelly said that Kenny Omega is wrestling with a fracture in his heel. He suffered it during his match with Cody in San Francisco. Kelly said this was mentioned in the most recent episode of BTE. Omega offered Robinson a handshake before they went at it. Robinson got the upper hand early and whipped Omega hard into the corner. Omega took Robinson down with a snap rana that sent him to the floor. Omega set up for Rise of the Terminator, but Robinson surprised him with a slingshot spear. Omega fired back and hit the Kitaru Crusher for a 2 count. Omega took Robinson to the floor, but Robinson drove him into the barricade. They went back and forth on the outside and Robinson hit a suplex. Robinson hit his signature punch sequence and then capped it off with a series of chops since he can’t punch with his left hand that’s in a cast. Omega fired back and kicked Robinson’s injured hand. Robinson then caught Omega with a wheel kick as he came off the ropes. Robinson then hit a full nelson bomb for a 2 count. Robinson went for the cannonball, but Omega got out of the way. Omega’s chest was bleeding from Robinson’s chops. Omega went for You Can’t Escape, but Robinson got his knees up. Robinson then followed up with a cannonball.

Robinson hit a powerbomb a short time later for a 2 count. Omega blocked Pulp Friction at the 10 minute mark. Robinson reversed it and Omega nearly got hit with Pulp Friction, but Omega slipped out. Robinson hit a German, but Omega rolled through. Robinson blocked a V-Trigger with his injured hand, so Omega hit a second one to drop him. Omega hit a snap dragon and lifted Robinson up into another snap dragon. Omega urged the crowd to fire up and got an applause. Omega ducked a lariat attempt from Robinson and grabbed an arm submission. He went after Robinson’s hand while wrenching back on his arm. Robinson struggled, but managed to get to the ropes. Omega set up for a V-Trigger, but Robinson got out of the way and hit a German. Omega fired back and hit a German, but Robinson got right up. Omega hit a V-Trigger to Robinson’s injured arm as he tried to block it. He then ran right into a HUGE lariat from Robinson for a 2 count and both men were down! WOW! Robinson went for the Juice Box, but Omega countered it into a poison rana. Omega went for the One-Winged Angel, but Robinson slipped out and hit the Juice Box for a near fall! WOW! Robinson went for Pulp Friction, but Omega pushed him off at the last second and hit a V-Trigger to the back of Robinson’s Head. He then hit a cross-legged neck breaker over his knee. Omega set up and hit a running V-Trigger against the ropes. Omega lifted Robinson up for the V-Trigger, but Robinson got a rollup for a near fall. WOW. Omega hit a BIG V-Trigger after he kicked out. He then hit the One-Winged Angel for the win. WOW!

WINNER: Kenny Omega at 15:30 (8 pts)

Star rating: (****) – The crowd was slow to get into the match, but they built it up nicely and also played off Robinson’s upset win last year. Robinson still has no points in the block. I was hoping for Robinson to turn the corner this year and pile up some wins in this block and not lose a bunch of matches as a champion.

Omega handed Robinson the U.S. Title after the match.

(10) SANADA (4) vs. Kota Ibushi (4) in a G1 Climax 28 B Block match. They did some chain wrestling early. They went back and forth and hit dropkick at the same time before coming to a stalemate and the fans applauded. The fans fired up with a HUGE SANADA chant. This is the first ever singles encounter between these two men. They had a fast exchange and Ibushi caught SANADA with a rana. He rolled to the floor and the fans fired up. He went for the Golden Triangle, but missed and landed on his feet. SANADA then hit a moonsault off the apron and grabbed the Skull End. He dragged Ibushi up the ramp and eventually hit a dropkick to his knee. SANADA brought Ishii back to ringside and tossed him back into the ring. SANADA began working over Ibushi’s leg. Ibushi went for a kick, but SANADA hit a dragon screw and tried to follow up with a figure 4, but Ibushi blocked one of his legs. SANADA then applied the hold fully and Ibushi screamed in pain. Ibushi tried to turn the hold over and did so. He eventually rolled into the ropes to break the hold up. The fans chanted for SANADA as he went to work on Ibushi’s leg. Ibushi tried trading blows with SANADA. They went back and forth and Ibushi nailed SANADA with a dropkick.

Ibushi caught SANADA with a combination of strikes. He then hit a standing moonsault for a 2 count. SANADA fired back and caught Ibushi with his signature dropkick. Ibushi went to the floor and SANADA immediately hit a slingshot splash. The fans fired up again and chanted for SANADA. SANADA went up top, but Ibushi caught him with a double backflip kick. They battled up top and SANADA sent Ibushi to the apron. Ibushi got back up and hit a springboard super hurricanrana for a nearfall. SANADA ducked a dropkick through the ropes and hit a dropkick to Ibushi’s knees, but Ibushi fired right back and hit an Asai moonsault to the floor. Ibushi followed up with a springboard missile dropkick. Ibushi hasn’t sold the leg well during this match. Ibushi went for the Last Ride, but SANADA slipped out. SANADA then hit a springboard missile dropkick. They went back and forth trading big moves. SANADA flipped over Ibushi out of the corner and got the Skull End, but Ibushi slipped out the back and caught SANADA with a high kick. Ibushi sold his leg before going after SANADA. He set up for the Kamigoye, but SANADA managed to get out of the way. Ibushi set up for a lawn dart, but SANADA got the Skull End and swung Ibushi around. He tried to drop down with the hooks in, but Ibushi flipped out of it. THey went back and forth and SANADA hit a lawn dart. He followed up with a tiger suplex with a bridge for a near fall. WOW!

SANADA slammed Ibushi down and went for the moonsault. He landed on his feet and went for a basement dropkick, but Ibushi caught him with a double stomp. WOW! They got up and eventually got to their feet and began exchanging big forearms. They began trading blows faster and the fans fired up. Ibushi hit a HUGE kick and went for another one, but SANADA blocked it and hit an uppercut. Ibushi went for a backslide, but let got of it and wound up and OBLITERATED SANADA with a lariat. Ibushi then hit the Last Ride for a near fall! WOW! The fans applauded after SANADA kicked out. Ibushi pulled his knee pad down. He set up for Kamigoye, but SANADA side stepped it. He flipped over and went for Skull End. They went back and forth and SANADA hit a hangman’s neckbreaker off the top rope. SANADA then grabbed the Skull End quickly and got the hooks in on the mat. The ref checked Ibushi’s arm and was about to call for the bell, but Ibushi showed signs of life. Ibushi faded again and SANADA let go. He went up top and hit the MOONSAULT FOR THE WIN. WOW!

WINNER: SANADA at 22:22 (6 pts)

Star rating: (****½) – This was great. I had a small problem with Ibushi selling his leg during the early going, but they put on an incredible back and forth match in front of SANADA’s hometown fans. The counter sequences were fantastic.

The fans fired up with a HUGE SANADA chant after Ibushi was helped out of the ring. He got on the mic. He said this is the best town in Japan and the fans applauded. He said G1 Climax is where it’s at. He said I’ll see you next time.

Overall thoughts: The B block continues to be really strong. This was a really good night of block action from top to bottom. It started out with Goto plowing through Yano in grand fashion. Things then picked up from there with a match that was put together well to showcase the feud between L.I.J. and the BCOG’s. The fans really got into the interference late after the ref bump and Naito getting the win got a big reaction.
Sabre vs. Ishii was another really good match on the card. Sabre worked over Ishii on the match and it was shocking to see Ishii tap out. The announcers were talking about how they had never seen Ishii tap out, so when he did to end the match, it made me wonder if that was a talking point they were tipped off to mention. Sabre is just a brilliant technical wrestler and he picked Ishii’s arms apart for the entire match. The finishing sequence with Sabre transitioning out of a triangle into a sick looking Fujiwara armbar was nuts.

The last two matches were the best matches on the show. Robinson and Omega had an excellent match that the crowd really got into as it built and built to a great finish. They had a great near fall at one point playing off their G1 match last year.

Ibushi and SANADA killed it in the main event. They had a great back and forth match and SANADA just kept pushing the pace against Ibushi. He worked his leg over early and Ibushi’s selling wasn’t the best, but they really turned up the pace late in the match and delivered some great action that fired up the fans. It was a lot of fun to see SANADA get such a big reaction in front of his hometown fans.

STANDINGS AFTER NIGHT 8

A BLOCK

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

B BLOCK

Kenny Omega (4-0, 8 pts)
Tetsuya Naito (3-1, 6 pts)
SANADA (3-1, 6 pts)
Kota Ibushi (2-2, 4 pts)
Hirooki Goto (2-2, 4 pts)
Tomohiro Ishii (2-2, 4 pts)
Zack Sabre Jr. (2-2, 2 pts)
Tama Tonga (1-3, 2 pts)
Toru Yano (1-3, 2 pts)
Juice Robinson (0-4, 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 8

(9) Kenny Omega vs. Juice Robinson (****)

(10) Kota Ibushi vs. SANADA (****½)

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

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