New Japan Pro Wrestling
G1 Climax 28 – Night 6
July 21, 2018
Korakuen Hall

Watch: NJPW World

With the conclusion of the sixth show of the tournament and the third consecutive Korakuen Hall show, we are just about a third of the way through what is shaping up to be another great G1, with the B block shining and the A block keeping up. Did the B block deliver again? Before we get to the tournament matches, here’s a quick rundown of the non-tournament matches.

  • YOSHI-HASHI & SHO defeated Michael Elgin & Ren Narita in 6:40.
  • Tanga Loa & Bad Luck Fale defeated BUSHI & EVIL in 6:06.
  • Minoru Suzuki & El Desperado defeated Jay White & YOH in 6:00.
  • Hangman Page & Chase Owens defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi & David Finlay in 7:01.
  • Togi Makabe & Henare defeated Gedo & Kazuchika Okada in 6:54.

G1 Climax 28 B Block
Toru Yano (2) def. Kota Ibushi (4)

This was a spotlighted match on my eight most overlooked G1 matches piece, and it delivered the way I was expecting. Toru Yano slowly turning back into a cheater is fun to watch, and it is incredible that Ibushi can deliver a gorgeous dropkick with his hands tied together. The match itself was nothing out of the ordinary, as Yano and Ibushi took turns removing the corner pads, which led to a bunch of fun reversal spots with Ibushi taking the brunt of the damage. The best part of this match was the finish, where Toru Yano CHOP BLOCKED Ibushi’s knees and pulled out the victory. This is an all-time tournament for Toru Yano standards, and he very well may be my favorite person to watch in this tournament right now. Very fun opener. ***½

G1 Climax 28 B Block
SANADA (4) def. Zack Sabre Jr. (2)

SANADA came into this match wanting to beat Zack Sabre Jr. at his own game, and was able to do so, rolling Sabre into a pin shortly after the ten minute mark. SANADA shined in this match, having a counter for everything Sabre did, frustrating Zack to no end. Zack was visibly angry after this match that someone could out-wrestle him, an interesting wrinkle to his character. If you enjoy technical wrestling with interesting reversals and roll-ups, this match is for you. Another good G1 match for the B-block. ***¾

G1 Climax 28 B Block
Tetsuya Naito (4) def. Juice Robinson (0)

Juice Robinson brought a more serious tone into this match, which theoretically is a good idea, but a Juice without fun isn’t a Juice at his best. Coming off their disappointing match last April at Wrestling Toyonokuni, I wasn’t expecting much of this match, and frankly, nothing about this match made me particularly compelled to ever see these two wrestle again. In the early phases of the match, Naito had a laser-focus on Juice’s hand, adapting his signature offense to focus on the hand instead of the abdomen.

Beyond the interesting offense, however, this match failed to really get me to invest until the final two minutes, where the Destino reversal and Destino came in to win Naito the match. I’m not saying this match was poorly worked, just a disappointment. This was a match that left me feeling underwhelmed at the end of it, the worst feeling to have coming out of a wrestling match. These two are capable of having a classic together some day, but for me, today was not that day. ***

G1 Climax 28 B Block
Kenny Omega (6) def. Tama Tonga (2)

This is a career-defining tournament for Tama Tonga, with the BC Firing Squad angle giving him a renewed sense of purpose for the first time in forever. This match with BC Elite leader Kenny Omega was circled as a match by many as one that will be very interesting storyline wise, and a test to see how Tonga will hang with better opposition. Unfortunately, New Japan doesn’t seem to care that Tama Tonga is horrible in-ring, as they are happy enough to continue using the interference clutch in both his and stablemate Bad Luck Fale’s matches, dragging them down significantly. I’m not opposed to using outside interference to tell a story, but when you have three out of 20 competitors using heel tactics in every single one of their G1 matches, it tires very quickly. This match highlighted the worst in Omega and Tama, and by the end, I was ecstatic that it was over. This was filled with interference, before, during, and after the bell, with Omega winning via DQ after Tama Tonga hit the match’s best wrestler Red Shoes Unno with a gun stun, the only compelling move in Tama’s arsenal. This sucked, and frankly, I would be thrilled if I never saw the Guerillas of Destiny or Bad Luck Fale again. The crowd was into it at some points, such as when the Elite side saved Omega from the Firing Squad, but other than that, this turned out to be a worst G1 match contender. Awful.

G1 Climax 28 B Block
Tomohiro Ishii (4) def. Hirooki Goto (2)

Whenever Tomohiro Ishii and Hirooki Goto are put in the ring together, they are a surefire bet to create magic, and that is exactly the match they had here in the main event in Korakuen Hall. From the get-go these two set out to bludgeon the absolute fuck out of each other, to the rabid applause of Tokyo’s faithful. This match was Strong Style at its best, with no-selling, forearm exchanges and headbutt exchanges for all the eye could see. Ishii is a master of the near fall, as I legitimately was shocked when he kicked out of Goto’s shouten kai.  In a match that went eighteen minutes but didn’t feel that long at all, Ishii picked up the win after a Vertical Drop Brain Buster. Like Korakuen, I came unglued for this match, a clear contender for best match of the tournament so far, and another notch in the belt of Hirooki Goto. Now, give Ishii his NEVER title shot, and let’s do this again! Awesome stuff. ****¾

The standings after today’s action are as follows:

  • Kenny Omega – 6
  • Tomohiro Ishii, Tetsuya Naito, Kota Ibushi, SANADA – 4
  • Hirooki Goto, Tama Tonga, Zack Sabre Jr., Toru Yano – 2
  • Juice Robinson – 0

Here’s a preview of tomorrow’s A block action from Esforta Arena Hachioji:

  • Michael Elgin (4) vs. YOSHI-HASHI (0)
  • EVIL (4) vs. Bad Luck Fale (2)
  • Jay White (6) vs. Minoru Suzuki (2)
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi (4) vs. Hangman Page (2)
  • Togi Makabe (4) vs. Kazuchika Okada (2)

Final Thoughts:

Another solid night of B block action, but compared to the two shows before it of the block, a minor disappointment. Go out of your way to watch Ishii/Goto, and go out of your way to avoid Omega/Tonga. No matter what you do, follow me on Twitter at @packerman120

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