NJPW G1 Climax 28: Final Day
By Big Red Machine
From August 12, 2018
MICHAEL ELGIN, TOGI MAKABE, & TOMOAKI HONMA vs. AYATO YOSHIDA, SHOTA UMINO, & YUJI NAGATA - 4/10
TOA HENARE vs. BAD LUCK FALE - DUD!
Oooh. A rare NJPW undercard singles match! Well... that was short. I liked everything in this match except for those horrendous-looking Grenades. Fale just needs to stop using that move. Unfortunately, the two Grenades/attempts for about 40% of this match.
CHAOS (Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI) vs. SUZUKI-GUN (Takashi Iizuka & Taichi) (w/Miho Abe) - DUD!
After a whole tournament full of Firing Squad BS, we've not got Iizuka & Taichi coming back and immediately doing the same old bullsh*t. Yeah. It's one of those days. A good thirty percent of this match as Iizuka biting people over and over again. Someone please explain to me what New Japan gets out of continuing to book this man, either in or out of kayfabe.
JUICE ROBINSON & DAVID FINLAY JR. vs. BULLET CLUB (Adam Page & Cody Rhodes) - 6.75/10
Very good for the time it got. Cody's Vertebreaker looked quite great.
NEVER OPENWEIGHT SIX-MAN TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
Bullet Club Elite (Marty Scurll & the Young Bucks) vs. BULLET CLUB (The Guerrillas of Destiny & Taiji Ishimori) - 6.5/10
The pre-match stuff here did not in any way come off like two groups of guys who hate each other. The challenge for a title match was made extremely casually, and talking Jackson's promo didn't come off like something he wouldn't have said to any other group. President Harold Meij was perfectly happy to allow this to be a title match, despite all of the bullsh*t the Tongans did over the course of the tournament.
What we got was enjoyable, but I couldn't help but be disappointed that we got almost nothing between Ishimori and the Bucks. The heels won, so now the third-rate stable has the third-rate belts. That makes sense. They threw the Bucks' belts out of the ring. That was nice, but would have felt bigger if this feud felt hotter.
LOS INGOBERNEABLES DE JAPON vs. SUZUKI-GUN (Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, & Zack Sabre Jr.) (w/TAKA Michinoku) - 5.75/10
Suzuki-Gun jumped the bell on their opponents. Suzuki was absolutely torturing Natio's arm with that armbar over the apron, to the point where it's a little ridiculous that the arm didn't just snap off, and quite ridiculous that Naito was able ot use it at all during his comeback. They seemed to be building to Naito vs. Suzuki, and also possibly Zack vs. EVIL.
CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano, & Jay White) vs. BULLET CLUB (Kenny Omega, Chase Owens, & Yujiro Takahashi) - 4.5/10
They did stuff. Some of it was goofy. Omega and Ishii had a stare-down after the match.
REY MYSTERIO JR. KUSHIDA, & SENGOKU ENBU vs. CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada & Roppongi 3K) (w/Gedo) - 8/10
I don't know who this Sengoku Enbu character is, but he wrestles a lot like Ryusuke Taguchi. He's obviously not Taguchi, though, because this guy wears a mask and Taguchi doesn't.
Just seeing Rey and Okada in the ring together was really cool. The fact that their stuff together was good just made it even better. This whole match was oodles of awesome fun, and I really hope Meltzer is wrong about this being Rey's last NJPW appearance.
G1 CLIMAX FINALS:
Kota Ibushi (w/Kenny Omega) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (w/Katsuyori Shibata) - a PERFECT 10/10!
This was a WAR! Both guys worked over the head and neck. Ibushi felt like he was out there to main Tanahashi using only his body as a weapon, and Tanahashi proved that he truly had- as the fans' banners proclaimed- an "iron will." That spot where he kept taking Ibushi's vicious slaps and moving forward? That was a million, billion, trillion, zillion times better than anything Ishii has ever done. Why? Because Tanahashi actually SOLD the strikes and kept moving forward DESPITE THE PAIN rather than just pretending the pain doesn't exist.
This was pretty much a two-match show, but the one match that really needed to deliver did so as high a level as can possibly be hoped for, and the Okada vs. Rey stuff delivered for your fun, cool, clash of major names of different styles. The other matches were... what they were, but there were developments in terms of setting up challengers or changing titles, so at least that stuff was productive.