Well we have reached the end of the road. G1 Climax 28, Grand Finals night.
Hiroshi Tanahashi won the A-ce Block and Kota Ibushi won our hearts…and…well…the B Block. Both have some history facing each other, and both are known to be more than competent wrestlers, so we’re looking at a great match.
Now it should be noted that Mathew and I will do this article jointly, similarly to how we did the Finals of the Champion Carnival.Also in an amusing turn of events, we both predicted this finals, but we’re rooting for the other’s block winner.
So if Tanahashi wins that would make me a perfect 3-0 in the tournaments we’ve covered, for the eventual winner coming from my block ( Marufuji won Champion Carnival, Masato Yoshino won King of Gate).
With that, I’m okay being wrong if Tanahashi wins. So let’s get to the show.
Togi Makabe, Michael Elgin & Tomoaki Honma vs Yuji Nagata, Ayato Yoshida & Shota Umino
Average match, glad to see Honma again, but nothing special – Mathew
Yeah, basically what Mathew said, basic match, nothing super impressive. It is nice to see Honma back for his technically third match since returning from injury. But this was just a standard Young Lion opening match.
Winner: Makabe via King Kong Knee Drop
Toa Henare vs Bad Luck Fale
This was a glorified squash match. Henare got in a good headbutt, but this just went quick.
Henare dead – Mathew
Winner: Fale via Bad Luck Fall
Taichi & Iizuka vs Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI
Taichi got introduced and they kept cutting off his music with Iizuka’s music, so that messed up his singing idol gimmick. Iizuka doesn’t come out with Taichi, and instead jumps the CHAOS members form behind.
The match was fine, if anything it proves that Taichi would’ve been a better addition to the G1 than YOSHI-HASHI, since HASHI eats the pin.
Decent match, Miho Abe is gorgeous, HASHI needs to go away, and what does this all mean for Taichi? – Mathew
Winner: Taichi via Last Ride Powerbomb
Rating: ** 1/4
Cody & Hangman Page vs Juice Robinson & David Finlay
Cody’s first match since San Francisco, so he can’t really lose, can he?
Juice took the hand wrapping off before the match started, and wasn’t shy about throwing hands. Finlay did his usual thing, where it’s never quit enough to get the job done. Page blind sided Juice with a Buckshot Lariat, before everyone started wiping each other out with signatures. Cody finishes the match, countering the Pulp Friction into a Vertebreaker.
Solid match, everyone pulled their weight, except for Finlay. Cody decided to cut in line for the US Title, rude. – Mathew
Winner: Cody via Vertebreaker
Rating: ** 1/2
NEVER 6 Man Tag Team Championships: Tanga Loa, Tama Tonga & Taiji Ishimori vs Marty Scurll & The Young Bucks
Decent match, felt more like an ROH match than New Japan. Not really sure how I feel about Taiji’s first belt being this one, but the blatant disregard for the belts at the end was fantastic. – Mathew
This wasn’t supposed to be a title match, but Tama talked some smack and Matt Jackson asked the President to make it official. So even though the Tongans are one wrong move away being suspended, now they get a title shot.
When we get down to the match, it was paced out like most ROH Trios matches, and never really got out of that gear. We saw a few more Super Kicks than usual, but a bunch each man’s signature moves. Double Sharpshooter into Chicken Wing spot popped the crowd pretty hard.
Tama makes the blind tag, so when the Bucks go for the Meltzer Driver on Taiji, the giant cluster happens. Tama slinks off into the corner to draw less attention, but eventually lands the Gun Stun for the win.
Winner: Tama via Gun Stun
Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Zack Sabre Jr vs Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, SANADA & Bushi
Well the drama between these clubs goes back a few months when Suzuki and Naito had their match for the Intercontinental belt. This is just being furthered along by Zack Sabre ruining Naito’s chances to win the G1 Climax. So this should be entertaining.
Before the bell rings, Suzuki-Gun jumps Los Ingobernables de Japon and they spill to the outside. Naito and Suzuki have a chair based stand off and from there on we get the usual multi-man match. Each person comes in, does their thing, but with the tempers flaring.
The match ends with SANADA dodging Kanemaru’s Whiskey Mist and slapping on the Skull End while the rest of the members are on the outside going crazy.
Bit of a cluster, sloppy at points but it told a story and did what it needed to. Young Lion Lives Matter – Mathew
Winner: SANADA via Skull End
Rating: *** 1/4
Jay White, Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano vs Kenny Omega, Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi
Jay hasn’t played well with SHO and YOH, but how will he fair with Ishii and Yano? On the flip side, Omega could use a little momentum after 3 straight singles losses, included a singles loss to Ishii.
Entertaining, Pieter’s dance was the best part, but did a good job at what it was supposed to do. – Mathew
Like Mathew said, at one point in the match all six men are in and the Bullet Club members do the Row Boat spot, but Yujiro asks Pieter to come in an help. So she decides to get in the middle of all six men and urge them along by spinning and dancing all sexy. Yujiro gets infatuated first which allows Ishii to roll of the ring, and the rest of the men just stop and stare at Pieter. Kenny decides to be the party pooper and slap sense into his teammates and escort Pieter out of the ring.
Aside from that, we had a few good spots with Omega/Owens doing a Superkick/Pump Kick combo on Ishii, and good team work on both ends. Eventually Owens and Ishii are alone in the ring, Owens goes for the Package Piledriver, fails and gets a Vertical Drop Brainbuster for his troubles.
Winner: Ishii via Vertical Drop Brainbuster
Rating: *** 1/2
Kushida, Rey Mysterio & Pro Wrestler Sengokuenbu vs Kazuchika Okada, SHO & YOH
We have the debut of an unknown samurai wrestler from the Sengoku (Warring States) period of Japan. Time traveler, or just a big fan, he makes his appearance to help out Rey Mysterio and Kushida against the CHAOS members.
Best tag match on the show, everyone delivered, very entertaining. Sengokuenbu was the highlight, now we just need to figure out who he could be. Give us Mysterio vs Liger already, dammit! – Mathew
The match saw a lot of all three guys getting in good offense, a tease for a Double 619, that Okada stopped with his picture perfect Dropkick. But stereo Tope con Hilos at the end, set up Mysterio to get YOH into position for the 619 and West Coast Pop, to pick up the pinfall.
Nothing crazy happened during or after, just a good ole fashioned fun match with no storyline implications, just entertainment.
Winner: Mysterio via 619
Rating: *** 3/4
G1 Climax 28 Finals: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kota Ibushi
So these two have put on some great matches in the past. Does Ibushi avenge his loss at Power Struggle 2017? Does the Ace have one more run left in him? Enough hyperbole, time to find out.
Mathew’s sentiment is right on the level with mine. But we also saw some fantastic spots in this match. Ibushi countered a Sliding Dropkick from Tanahashi on the apron, and Double Footstomped perfectly on his chest, a quickly snapped off Avalanche Frankensteiner as well as his new Double Knees Moonsault. Tanahashi was in usual form also, with a couple Short Arm Slingblades mixed in with two Twist and Shout Neckbreakers.
Throughout the match, the story and struggle was painted plainly on both men’s faces. Ibushi kept trying to hold back his emotions, until the spirit of Shinsuke Nakamura overcame him. A few antagonistic kicks to the head, mixed with two or three Bomaye Knees from different angles. Hell Ibushi even hit his Outside-In Deadlift German Suplex on Tanahashi, but only for 2 counts.
Tanahashi had a hauntingly similar sequence to the Power Struggle match, but instead of 2 High Fly Flows, this time it took 3 for Tanahashi to finish the job. A momentous occasion of course, but it should be noted that Kota never hit the KamiGoye. For those who don’t know, KameGoye means “Beyond God”, and he named it such because of Tanahashi. It was the move he was going to use to finally surpass God, and God, to Kota Ibushi, is Tanahashi.
Not quite there yet for Kota, but words can’t adequately describe how amazing this match was.
Winner: Tanahashi via High Fly Flow
— GIF Skull (@GIFSkull) August 12, 2018
Tanahashi wins his third G1 Climax, and the winner comes from my block for the third time this year! Yes I know I picked Ibushi, but being wrong there, still kinda paid off. The match was tremendous, the undercard built like a normal New Japan show. So now we get to see when and where Jay White will challenge Tanahashi for the contract, and if Kazuchika Okada might make a challenge.
Even though all previous contract winners have lost at Wrestle Kingdom, we might finally see something change. Maybe Tanahashi wins, maybe he loses it before the big show. Guess we’ll just have to sit back and find out.