RADICAN’S G1 Climax 28: Night 17 report – A block winner determined, White vs. EVIL, Okada vs. Tanahashi, viewing guide for night 17

By Sean Radican, PWTorch Columnist


EVIL (art credit Matt Charltonn and Sam Gardiner © PWTorch)

RADICAN’S G1 CLIMAX 28: NIGHT 17 REPORT
AUG. 10, 2018
BUDOKAN HALL
TOKYO, JAPAN
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, Rocky Romero, and Chris Charlton. 

UNDERCARD RESULTS

(1) CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii & Sho) beat Toa Henare & Shota Umino.

(2) G.O.D. (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) beat CHAOS (Toru Yano & Gedo).

(3) CHAOS (NEVER Openweight Champion Hirooki Goto & YOH) beat IWGP U.S. Champion Juice Robinson & David Finlay.

(4) L.I.J. (Tetsuya Naito & SANADA) beat Suzuki-Gun (Zack Sabre Jr. & Taka Michinoku).

(5) The Elite (IWGP Hvt. Champion Kenny Omega & Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson) vs. Kota Ibushi & Chase Owens & Marty Scurll went to a No Contest. The match ended with the BC OG’s interfering. They built up to Omega and Ibushi going at it, but before they could Fale, Tonga, and Loa ran down to the ring and attacked everyone.

A BLOCK RESULTS & ANALYSIS

(6) Michael Elgin (6) vs. Togi Makabe (4) in a G1 Climax 28 A Block match. They went back and forth during the early stages of the match. Makabe hit a Northern Lights suplex for a 2 count at one point. Elgin fired back and hit a dead lift German with a bridge for a 2 count. They traded German suplexes and continued to go at it. Makabe finally caught Elgin with a lariat, but he kicked out at 1. He hit another lariat a short time later that turned Elgin inside out. Makabe went for the Spider German. Elgin nailed him and he got turned upside down. Makabe rose up, but Elgin went down to the mat and nailed him with a huge kick. Elgin went for the splash mountain tiger bomb, but Makabe kicked out! Kevin Kelly noted on commentary that Elgin found out he does not have a torn bicep. Elgin hit a big clothesline, but Makabe would not go down. Makabe returned fire, but Elgin wouldn’t go down. They traded bombs until Makabe hit a DVD. Makabe went up top and hit the King Kong Knee Drop for the win.

WINNER: Togi Makabe at 8:45 (6 pts)

Star rating: (***) This was a good hard-hitting match. Both men finish at 3-6 in G1 this year.

(7) Hangman Page (6) vs. YOSHI-HASHI (4) in a G1 Climax 28 A Block match. Kevin Kelly mentioned that Hiroshi Tanahashi had taken an interest in working more with both men in this match, but it would be difficult politically. Page caught HASHI between the ropes on the apron and hit a hangman’s neck breaker. He followed up with a SSP off the apron to the floor and the fans fired up. Page clapped on the apron and the fans fired up. HASHI hit a kick to Page’s knee, but Page caught him with a kick coming off the ropes. HASHI finally countered Page and hit a neck breaker. The fans fired up with both men down. HASHI hit the Headhunter off the ropes a short time later. He followed up with a top rope Headhunter for a 2 count, but he favored his injured shoulder after landing. They went back and forth and Page blocked a charge on the apron with a kick and hit the Buckshot Lariat for a 2 count. Page sent HASHI into the corner and hit a swinging neck breaker off the ropes for a near fall a short time later for a near fall.

Page hit HASHI with some light slaps to the head. He went for the Rite of Passage, but HASHI got a sunset flip for a near fall. They went back and forth and both men countered each other’s finishers. HASHI finally hit a destroyer for a near fall! WOW!! HASHI went for Karma, but Page fought him off. HASHI hit a back cracker and then Karma for the win! WOW!

WINNER: YOSHI-HASHI at 10:22 (6 pts)

Star rating: (***1/2) – This was good and it got great late. HASHI got a surprising win here over the rising Page. Both men finish with 6 points in the block.

(8) Minoru Suzuki (w/El Desperado) (8) vs. Bad Luck Fale (w/Tanga Loa) (4). Fale went after the ring announcer when he got into the ring. Suzuki went right after Fale and they brawled to the floor. Fale choked Suzuki with a cable on the floor. He then shoved the ref over. Fale began working over Suzuki inside the ring a short time later. Suzuki ducked a lariat and applied an arm car around the ropes on Fale. They went back to the floor and Suzuki got a chair. He swung it as hard as he could over Fale’s back. The ref was taking care of Desperado and Loa. The ref finally stopped Suzuki from choking Fale with the chair. Suzuki went back to assaulting Fale with the chair a short time later. Fale grabbed the chair and fired back, but Still Suzuki cut him off and nailed him with a chair to the back again. Suzuki hit a PK at the 5 minute mark for a near fall. Fale fired back with a Samoan Drop a short time later and both men were down.

Fale went for the Grenade, but Suzuki turned it into an arm bar. Loa dragged the ref to the floor and broke up the submission. Fale and Loa began working over Suzuki. Fale hit a big splash and the ref recovered for a 2 count. Fale set up for the Bad Luck Fall. Suzuki slipped out and got he choke, but Fale drove him into the corner. Suzuki hit a big elbow and grabbed the choke. Desperado blocked Loa from getting into the ring. Tama Tonga snuck down and broke up The Gotch Piledriver on Suzuki. He then hit a Gun Stun for the DQ.

WINNER: Minoru Suzuki at 8:49 (10 pts)

Star rating: (**) – Well Fale went through the block without being pinned or submitted, but he ends up at 2-7 with 4 points thanks to all the DQ’s.

The fans booed with BC OG standing tall in the ring. Suzuki grabbed a chair once he recovered as the Young Lions tried to hold him back. He ended up running backstage with a chair.

White is in a good position going into this match, but he needs to beat EVIL and for Okada to beat Tanahashi to advance to the finals.

(9) Jay White (12) vs. EVIL (8) in a G1 Climax 28 A Block match. EVIL is on a 3 match losing streak. He can knock White out of the finals with a win here. White slapped EVIL across the face to kick things off. They went back and forth and EVIL took White down with a shoulder tackle.They went back and forth and White hit a Saito suplex over the ropes that sent EVIL to the floor. WOW! White followed EVIL to the floor and whipped him into the guardrail. Kelly said they might get knocked off the air with White hitting moves into the guardrail on EVIL. Kelly said White new what he was doing in San Francisco and this entire G1 Tournament. Romero said White is an “A-hole.” White hit a pump-handle back breaker for a 2 count. White lifted EVIL up off the mat to his knees and shimmied after hitting a big hop. EVIL fired back and blocked a kick from White. He tossed White’s leg to the ref and nailed WHite with a kick and both men were down close to the 5 minute mark. EVIL clotheslined White to the floor and went after him. They went back and forth trading whip counters until EVIL finally whipped White into the guardrail. They went back and forth and White countered EVIL’s misdirection attempt and caught him with a Flatliner and then a German. White went for the Blade Runner, but EVIL raked his eyes. White tried to drag the ref into EVIL’s path. EVIL stopped short in the corner and White nailed him with a low blow. He went for Blade Runner, but EVIL countered it into Darkness Falls and both men were down! WOW! White tried to fight out of EVIL’s grasp a short time later, but EVIL hit him with a half and half suplex and then a HUGE clothesline for a near fall! EVIL signaled for the end as the fans fired up, but White blocked Everything is EVIL. White then hit a necktie suplex and the fans gasped.

White set up and hit the Kiwi Crusher for a near fall at the 10 minute mark. White went to the floor and smiled. He grabbed a couple of chairs from under the ring, which drew some boos from the crowd. The ref tried to stop him. The ref ended up in the way of EVIL and White. EVIL wiped White out with a clothesline. EVIL grabbed the chair and the ref tried to take it, so White hit another necktie suplex. Both men went for their finishers, but White pushed EVIL right into the ref. White went for a huge chiarshot, but EVIL ducked it and hit Everything is EVIL for the win!

WINNER: EVIL at 11:35 (10 pts)

Star rating: (***½) – This was very good while it lasted. White had a great showing in this tournament and really developed his character throughout the tournament. They had some really good exchanges late with EVIL overcoming White’s cheating to get a fantastic win to close the tournament. White is eliminated from contention with the loss. 

Kevin Kelly teased the possibility of a draw before Tanahashi vs. Okada began to determine the winner of the A Block.

(10) Kazuchika Okada (12) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (14) in a G1 Climax 28 A Block match. Okada has won six straight matches heading into this match. This match has a 30 minute time limit like all block matches. No balloons from Okada, as they’re banned from the venue. Kelly and Romero continued to heavily tease at time limit draw after the bell rang. They’re last two G1 meetings have resulted in 30 minute draws. Okada went right after Tanahashi. They traded counters back and forth until coming to a stalemate. A big “Go Ace” chant rang out in the crowd. Romero on commentary said Okada can’t wrestle a slow paced Tanahashi match in order to avoid the draw. Romero said a win over Okada would silence Tanahashi’s critics that say he’s slowing down. Charlton said Tanahashi wanted to show his breed of professional wrestling is alive and well. Tanahashi has not beaten Okada for 1,321 days. Okada offered a clean break against the ropes and Tanahashi nailed him with a forearm. Tanahashi hit a hip toss and played some air guitar a short time later and the fans fired up and chanted his name. The announcers highlighted how most of their matches had gone on the longer side. Tanahashi grounded Okada and went after his legs. Tanahashi dragged Okada towards the ringpost and slammed his leg around it a short time later. Tanahashi countered several tombstone attempts, but Okada dropped down and hit a dragon screw. Okada tried to drop Tanahashi leg first over the guardrail, but the spot didn’t go as planned, so Okada slammed his leg onto the floor mat. Okada lifted Tanahashi’s leg up again and slammed it down on the floor mat. Okada continued to work over Tanahashi’s leg back inside the ring. Okada set up Tanahashi’s knee over the middle rope and nailed it with a big dropkick at the 10 minute mark.

Tanahashi blocked a kick and hit a dragon screw of his own and the fans fired up and chanted for Tanahashi. Tanahashi hit a somersault senton off the second rope and the fans fired up and chanted “Go ace.” Okada avoided the Slingblade and hit a running elbow off the ropes. Okada favored his leg before going after Tanahashi. Tanahashi was set up for a dragon screw, but he dropkicked Okada’s leg. Okada then got up and fired back with a shotgun kick out of nowhere to Tanahashi’s chest. WOW! Okada followed up with a missile dropkick and fired up big time. He had trouble lifting up Tanahashi, but he got him up for the tombstone. Tanahashi reversed it and hit a tombstone of his own. WOW! Both men were down as the 15 minute mark came and passed. Charlton said Okada has never lost a G1 Climax final. Both men got up and traded blows. The fans fired up as they picked up the pace. Okada staggered and went down. Okada got up and hit some big uppercuts. They went back and forth near the apron. Tanahashi got a running start and drop kicked Okada off the apron and into the barricade. WOW! Tanahashi went up top and hit a standing High Fly Flow to the floor! WOW! Tanahashi favored his knee after landing. Okada got up and favored his leg. He favored his leg and tried to come in through the ropes, but Tanahashi hit a dragon screw around the ropes, a dropkick to Okada’s leg, and then another dragon screw around the ropes. WOW! Tanahashi applied the Cloverleaf Hold a short time later. Tanahashi cranked on the hold as the 20 minute mark passed. Okada tried to get to the ropes, but Tanahashis got him to the middle of the ring and really leaned back on the Cloverleaf. Tanahashi lifted Okada up and hit a Styles Clash. HOLY S–T! He then went for the High Fly Flow, but Okada got out of the way! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! Tanahashi got up and Okada hit him with a dropkick to the back of the head. He went for a dropick off the ropes, but Tanahashi held onto the ropes. Tanahashi then went for the Sling Blade, but Okada ducked it and hit a dropkick off the ropes. WOW! Okada went for the Rainmaker, but Tanahashi turned it into a Sling Blade and both men were down. WOW! WOW! WOW!

Both men began trading blows from their knees. They continued to exchange as they got to their feet. Okada hit a big elbow shot and Tanahashi went down. Okada went for the tombstone, but he couldn’t get Tanahashi up. Tanahashi tried to counter, but he couldn’t get Okada up. Okada finally got Tanahashi up, but he slipped out at the last second and hit Twist and Shout right before the 25 minute mark came and went! Tanahashi hit a second Twist and Shout. Tanahashi held on and a third Twist and Shout. WOW! Tanahashi followed up and hit the Sling Blade for a 2 count. Tanahashi went up top and waited for Okada to get up. Okada had his back to Tanahashi, but he turned around and nailed him with a HUGE dropkick! Okada crawled towards Tanahashi and lifted him up for the Tombstone and connected! Okada screamed and set up for the Rainmaker with 3 minutes left, but Tanahashi countered it. He countered another Rainmaker and went off the ropes only to walk right into a dropkick from Okada. Tanahashi ducked another Rainmaker, but Okada held on and hit a twisting Rainmaker! He set up for another Rainmaker, but Tanahashi grabbed an inside cradle for a 2 count! WOW! Tanahashi ducked another Rainmker and hit a dragon suplex with a bridge for a near fall! WOW! The fans chanted for Tanahashi, as it was unclear how much time was left. It was finally announced that there was only 1 minute left in the time limit. Okada lifted Tanahashi up for the Rainmaker, but he elbowed him off. Okada held onto his waist and went for another Rainmaker, but Tanahashi nailed him with a HUGE punch! Tanahashi then hit a high fly flow to Okada’s back, but he kicked out at 2. Tanahashi tried to go back up top for another HIgh Fly Flow, but the time limit ran out.

Both men were down next to each other after the match ended.

It was announced that Tanahashi had won the A block as a result of the draw. Tanahashi threw his hands up from the ground.

WINNER: – No winner time limit draw at 30:00 – Tanahashi (15 pts), Okada (13 pts)

Star rating: (****¾) – Once again these two created magic in the ring by going to a time limit draw during G1. This was an incredible back and forth match. Tanahashi winning the block wasn’t something I expected, but it makes for a great story heading into the finals of the tournament. They really hammered home the time limit draw from start to finish on commentary to the point that I was pretty much expecting it to happen.

The announcers asked where does this put Okada, as he has no clear path to the title right now. Kelly asked if he would face Tetsuya Naito, Kenny Omega, or Kota Ibushi in the finals. Tanahashi teased leaving, but got back into the ring. He got on the mic and thanked the fans. A “Go Ace” chant rang out in Budokan Hall. He said he had finished on top of the A block. He had something else to say, but he couldn’t get it out. The fans chanted his name. Tanahashi said he has one thing he wants to tell everyone. He said he will win G1 on Sunday. WOW!

Tanahashi posed on the turnbuckles and the fans continued to chant his name. Tanahashi then began making his way down the aisle. Chris Charlton is out for tomorrow’s show, but he will be back on Sunday.

The cameras went to Tanahashi’s press conference backstage. He said this was the toughest road he’s had at G1. He said he’s in the best situation he could be in going into the finals tonight. He’s gone through a tough period of introspection since losing to Okada in May. He said he’s got it all back together now. He said he used the tombstone and the Styles Clash because they were necessary for him to win. He said even with a battered body, he had to his best and pull through for himself. Even if his body is broken, he’ll do what he has to with his will and strength. He might use what comes to hand as opposed to his normal gameplan. That’s what made the G1 the toughest and the most concrete for him. This was his first singles match inside Budokan. Tanahashi said he never knows how things are going to go, but as it turns out, he likes Budokan quite a lot. He said he’s happy so many fans come to these events, but we shouldn’t be thanking him because his path still continues.

Overall thoughts: The block action on this night was solid for the most part, but there wasn’t anything worth going out of your way to see. I liked that the block matches went by rather quickly leading into Okada vs. Tanahashi, which was epic.

Jay White was eliminated before the main event after losing a really good match to EVIL. White has been a star in this tournament and he was really good at being a dickish heel in this match before it backfired on him and EVIL got the win in the semi-main event.

I want to note that Chris Charlton is just awesome as a translator/extra commentator on these shows. He’s got a wealth of knowledge about Japanese wrestling and added a ton to this broadcast.

The main event between Okada and Tanahashi is a must-see match. Tanahashi needed a win or a draw to advance to the finals and Okada needed a win. It almost seemed like a given that this match was going to go to a draw and it did, but the match was so exciting that it was easy to just lose myself in the drama. At first, both guys worked over each other’s legs and then they built up to a series of counters around Okada’s tombstone. Okada wasn’t able to hit it, but he finally did. Tanahashi’s counters of the Rainmaker were great in this match. I also liked how he was actively trying to win the match down the stretch and not settling for a draw while he was in control. Go out of your way to see this match.

STANDINGS AFTER NIGHT 17

A BLOCK

Hiroshi Tanahashi (7-1-1, 15 pts) – WINNER A BLOCK
Kazuchika Okada (6-2-1, 13 pts)
Jay White (6-3, 12 pts)
EVIL (5-4, 10 pts)
Minoru Suzuki (5-4 10 pts)
Togi Makabe (3-6, 6 pts)
Michael Elgin (3-5, 6 pts)
Hangman Page (3-6, 6 pts)
YOSHI-HASHI (3-6, 6 pts)
Bad Luck Fale (2-7, 4 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 17

(10) Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada (****¾)

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

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