AXS TV continues the coverage of NJPW G1 Climax 28 with a rematch from G1 Climax 27! Will Kenny Omega get back at Testuya Naito for his previous loss?
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- Kota Ibushi VS Zack Sabre Jr.; Ibushi wins.
- Kenny Omega VS Tetsuya Naito; Omega wins.
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NJPW and AXS TV set the scene again!
Every Summer, 20 of the best wrestlers in the world compete in the most prestigious tournament. The winner becomes a part of history while earning a shot at the IWGP Heavyweight Championship!
Now we go to Block B’s beginnings, and with a bang! The current IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Kenny Omega, has a rematch with the Uncontrollable Charisma, Tetsuya Naito, in a rematch from last year’s finals! Naito won the trophy but it’s Omega who wears the belt. Will history repeat itself with Naito winning a crucial lead in the round robin? Or will the Best Bout Machine show how much he’s grown in the last 12 months?
Plus, there’s another rematch from both last year’s G1 as well as the New Japan Cup quarterfinals as the Golden Star, Kota Ibushi, again faces the Submission Master, Zack Sabre Jr. Can Omega’s best friend and tag partner keep ZSJ from gaining points in the opening round? Or will he #JustTapOut all over again?
AXS TV quickly recaps other matches from Block B.
Fellow Chaos members, Toru Yano and Tomohiro Ishii, battled, and the comedy king fared a lot better than expected. However, Ishii would pull a play out of Yano’s book and get the win. Newly minted IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion, Juice Robinson, would go against Firing Squad leader, Tama Tonga, but naturally Tama Loa would get involved. There would be no disqualifications for the Bullet Club splinter cell this time, as Tama Tonga would Gun Stun and win. The perennial NEVER Openweight Champion, Hirooki Goto, took on the Cold Skull of Los Ingobernables de Japon, Sanada. Sanada put all he could into the match, but Goto would conquer again with a GTR. Who will join the winners at two points? Who will join the losers at zero?
Kota Ibushi VS Zack Sabre Jr!
The Golden Star won points off the Submission Master in the early rounds of the 27th G1 Climax, but would fall to the limitless submission arsenal in the New Japan Cup months later. This is a tiebreaker that means more than just a single win. Who will score the first points in B Block?
NJPW on AXS jumps ahead in coverage to ZSJ waiting inside the ring while Ibushi drags himself up. Ibushi returns but ZSJ is right on him with a heel hook. ZSJ stands on Ibushi’s head as he bends that foot and leg all around. ZSJ stomps the leg, then kicks the knee. He toyingly kicks Ibushi in the chest, which only angers Ibushi with each hit. Ibushi hits back with a body shot, and ZSJ falls down. Red Shoes reprimands Ibushi for using a closed fist, but ZSJ makes Ibushi pay with a serious kick. Ibushi rolls back out, but ZSJ catches his breath in the ring. Another 20 count begins but Ibushi is in at 7. ZSJ is on him with a European Uppercut, then a pie-face. Ibushi forearms back, so ZSJ kicks and kicks.
ZSJ swings a roundhouse but gets the leg sweep. He hooks Ibushi’s leg while twisting the other, and he creates a modifed deathlock, into a bridging one. ZSJ digs his elbow and knuckles into Ibushi’s spine before pulling him back into a Bow & Arrow with chinbar! Ibushi endures the bend, so ZSJ shifts to a half headscissors. ZSJ sits on Ibushi as he maintains both the deathlock and the headscissors. He even takes the time to flex. ZSJ releases Ibushi’s head long enough to shift into an STF! Ibushi uses that opening to get a ropebreak. ZSJ lets go, and fans rally for Ibushi. Ibushi slowly stands, and fires off forearms. ZSJ kicks the leg again, but Ibushi avoids the sweep this time to give ZSJ the roundhouse. Ibushi rests his legs while ZSJ crawls around.
They both slowly stand, and Ibushi runs into a back elbow. ZSJ runs at Ibushi but gets double stomps instead! Fans rally up again as Ibushi fires himself up. He hobbles over to ZSJ for a waistlock, but ZSJ pries his way out to then Pele the arm! ZSJ runs but into a dropkick! ZSJ rolls out and Ibushi fires up. Ibushi slingshots and planchas onto ZSJ! Ibushi’s sore legs slow him down but he isn’t done yet. He drags ZSJ up and into the ring. Ibushi takes aim from the apron, springboards but ZSJ gets under. ZSJ grabs a leg and brings Ibushi down into a Half Crab! Ibushi resists but gets his other leg and even an arm trapped. ZSJ goes for a heel hook, but Ibushi gets a ropebreak. ZSJ lets Ibushi go, and Taka Michinoku coaches ZSJ up.
Red Shoes checks on Ibushi, but ZSJ is on him again. ZSJ goes for a full nelson but Ibushi breaks free, only to run into a boot. Ibushi runs into more boots, but then ducks to PELE, but into an Ankle Lock! He rolls to throw ZSJ, but ZSJ comes back with a EuroUpper! Ibushi comes back with a clobbering clothesline! Both men are down but the fans are still fired up. They rally for Ibushi while Taka coaches ZSJ. Ibushi sits up first, but ZSJ follows. Ibushi brings ZSJ up, but ZSJ counters by grabbing and arm and becoming deadweight. He brings Ibushi to the mat and traps that arm to then go after the legs again! ZSJ jams the knee into the mat over and over, then pulls back for an Achilles lock. He uses his legs to nelson Ibushi’s arms, leaving Ibushi nowhere to go.
ZSJ shifts to a deep Half Crab, but this brings Ibushi to ropes for a break by default. He lets Ibushi go, and Ibushi gets to a corner. ZSJ runs in and hits a EuroUpper, then runs corner to corner. Ibushi goes up and over to powerslam ZSJ, then moonsault! ZSJ avoids that, to Penalty Kick! Cover, ONE, so ZSJ gives another PK! Cover, TWO! Fans fire up all over again while both men are down, catching their breath. ZSJ stands up, then kicks Ibushi’s leg. He kicks it again as Ibushi hobbles. He dares Ibushi to kick his leg, so Ibushi does. ZSJ staggers now, but still dares Ibushi to give him more. Ibushi does, and almost makes ZSJ fall. Ibushi kicks again and again and again, but ZSJ eggs him on. ZSJ blocks the next kick to an Ankle Lock, and German Suplex!
But Ibushi lands on his feet! Ibushi blocks ZSJ’s kick to then chop him down! Both men are on the mat while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns, and fans rally as Ibushi and ZSJ stir. Ibushi is up first but ZSJ follows. They head for each other and Ibushi throws a forearm. ZSJ slaps Ibushi, but Ibushi’s glare dares him to do more. ZSJ slaps him more, but it doesn’t back Ibushi down. They stand up, and ZSJ slaps and chops Ibushi, but Ibushi rocks him with one slap. They slap and chop each other to a corner, but ZSJ gives many EuroUppers. Ibushi counters one and goes for a backslide. ZSJ saves himself, but gets a roundhouse to the back! Ibushi drags ZSJ out for a German Suplex with a bridge! TWO, but Ibushi still has more. Ibushi drags ZSJ up with wristlocks, but ZSJ blocks the Kamigoye by going knee to knee. ZSJ blocks it again, then drags Ibushi into a cover, TWO!
Ibushi goes for a high stack but ZSJ blocks with a headscissor. Ibushi turns that into a deadlift, and sit-out powerbomb! Cover, TWO!! Ibushi is shocked by how close that was. Fans are thunderous as Ibushi gets his leg working. Ibushi kicks but misses, ZSJ scrambles on to an octopus hold! ZSJ shifts to put his full weight on Ibushi as he completes The Inexorable March of Progress. Ibushi pries his way out, and tilt-o-whirl, but the momentum ends up toppling them both over to the ropes. ZSJ drags Ibushi into a dragon sleeper, but the ropebreak means he has to let go. ZSJ stalks Ibushi, drags him up, and goes to a standing abdominal stretch. Ibushi reaches, but ZSJ shifts to a scoop, Ibushi slips out, GERMAN SUPLEX! No bridge this time, but Ibushi keeps on ZSJ with a buzzsaw kick!
Ibushi moves his knee pad down, and calls for the knee. He sits ZSJ up, misses, ZSJ gets him into the European Clutch! TWO, and Ibushi has a waistlock. ZSJ rolls to a kneebar, Ibushi powers out to waistlock, but ZSJ fights back. Ibushi grabs the wrists but ZSJ slips down and under to then throw Ibushi over. Ibushi turns control back to his, Straitjacket Suplex! Bridging pin, TWO, KAMIGOYE!! Cover, Ibushi wins!!
Winner: Kota Ibushi, by pinfall; Ibushi earns 2 points, ZSJ earns 0
The Golden Star gets the win, breaks the tie and earns the points! Will his fellow Golden Lover join him in the win-column? Will ZSJ snap back in the next round to get on the board?
Kenny Omega VS Tetsuya Naito!
The 28th G1 Climax opens its B Block round robin with the 27th’s final showdown! Omega has the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, and should he win the entire thing, he chooses who earns the Wrestle Kingdom main event contract. However, history shows that the reigning champion rarely ever wins, let alone makes it to the finals. Is this rematch therefore also a preview of the far future?
Naito takes off his elaborate and fancy ring gear, but Omega gets impatient. The change is complete, the bell rings, and we begin!
Fans are already thunderous as they duel between two big name favorites. Omega seems to mock Tranquilo with those deep breaths. He and Naito slowly circle the ring, then approach. They tie up and fight for position. Omega gets a headlock, but Naito powers out. Omega runs Naito over, then runs again. He walks on Naito’s back, and mocks the LIJ fist. Naito ignores it, but Omega offers a handshake. Naito takes it, and Omega applauds, only to SPIT on Naito! That does it! Naito fires off furious haymakers and stomps! He whips but Omega reverses. Now Naito walks on Omega, to mock the finger gun! Omega runs but is thrown outside. Naito builds speed, to Tranquilo fake, to fake out again. He spits back at Omega! Then Naito goes Tranquilo!
Omega rushes in but gets clubbing forearms for it. Naito rakes Omega’s eyes, then whips. Omega reverses, and gives Naito a kitchen sink knee. He brings Naito up, big back suplex! Cover, TWO! Fans rally and duel while Omega mocks the Naito eye. Omega drags Naito up to kick him in the back. Omega toys with Naito before giving another kick. He drags Naito up and to a corner for a buckle bump. Omega grinds his boot into Naito’s chin, but stops at 4. He whips Naito corner to corner and hard. Naito hits the mat, but rolls away. Omega stomps away, then brings Naito up for a running backbreaker! Cover, TWO, but Omega keeps on Naito with a chinlock clutch. He pulls back on Naito, then gets a half camel clutch with that one arm trapped.
Omega grinds and thrashes Naito, but Naito drags himself backwards. Naito reaches for ropes but Omega gives an eye rake. Naito gets the ropebreak, so Omega lets him go. Omega brings Naito back up to throw him at the ropes. He forearms Naito on the rebound. Omega drags Naito up for another shove, then another forearm to the back. He adds an elbow to Naito’s head, then covers, ONE. Fans applaud Naito’s toughness, but Omega grows annoyed. Omega clubs away, then chops Naito on the chest. Naito staggers about, Omega pushes him towards ropes again, but Naito comes back with a forearm of his own! Naito throws more but Omega kicks low. Omega wants a bomb but Naito resists. Omega palm strikes and drags Naito up but Naito chops !
Naito chops and chops, then clubs Omega. He whips, but Omega kicks him back. Omega prepares the bomb, but Naito resists again. Omega clubs Naito more, then lifts, but Naito slips out. Naito’s kick is blocked and Omega chops him. Omega runs, but into a hip toss! Naito dropkicks Omega in the back of the head! They’re both down while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns as Naito sits up. Fans continue to duel as Naito stands and Omega follows. Omega swings but Naito dodges to spit! Omega rakes Naito’s eyes, then grinds him into ropes. Red Shoes counts and Omega lets up, to fireman’s carry. “You Can’t Escape!” But Naito does, and shoves Omega to a corner. He deflects the boots to hit a draping neckbreaker to standing neckbreaker! Cover, TWO! Naito stands again, and elbows Omega’s neck. He whips Omega corne to corner, jump kicks and sweeps a leg, but Omega catches him to “You Can’t Escape!” Rolling senton to moonsault! Cover, TWO! Naito rolls out but Omega fires up. Omega pursues and back suplexes Naito on the apron! Naito writhes while Omega clears space.
Omega pulls up the floor pads to expose the floor. But Naito attacks, dropkicking through the pad to hit Omega! Naito drags Omega up and in, then whips him corner to corner. He jump kicks, sweeps the legs, and swings in for the dropkick! He even takes time to pose. Omega gets up but Naito is on him. Naito hammerlocks and half nelsons, but Omega fights out with elbows. Naito clubs him in the back, then runs, but into the huricanrana! He ends up outside again, and here come the Terminator drums. Omega builds speed, but Naito intercepts. Naiot uses ropes for the tornado DDT! Cover, TWO! Fans duel again while Omega flounders. Naito stands to mean-mug the Omega fans. Omega yanks Naito out and dropkicks him into the crowd!
Young Lions clear the area while Omega takes aim. Omega springboards for a HUGE crossbody! He wipes Naito out but pays for it a bit himself. Red Shoes checks on them both, but they’re somehow okay to continue. Omega stands and fans rally up as he drags a limp Naito up and over the railing. Omega slumps over the railing himself as the 20 count begins. He puts Naito in at 10, then fires the fans up. Omega climbs up top as Naito stands. Naito trips Omega up! Naito grins as he positions Omega, then climbs up to join him. Omega counters with snake eyes! Naito is dazed but somehow holding onto the rope. Omega comes back with the full nelson, Snap Dragon Suplex! Then a gutwrench into the Dr. Wily sit-out powerbomb! TWO!
Fans are thunderous as they duel again, but Omega has one more idea. He loads up, BANG, and runs. Naito dodges to German Suplex, but Omega lands on his feet. Omega’s knee is blocked but he ducks the enziguri to V-Trigger Naito in the back of the head! But Omega isn’t done there, as he drags Naito up again. He hoists Naito up on his shoulders, but Naito Reverse-Ranas! Both men are down and the fans are at a fever pitch. Naito sits up first, followed by Omega. They go to a corner, and Naito puts Omega on the top rope. He climbs up to throw hands, then SUPER STEINERS! Omega sits up, so Naito pumphandles into GLORIA! Cover, TWO!!
Naito knows he’s close, so he vows to finish it. Omega slaps the cobwebs out of his head but Naito is on him. Naito wrenches the arm, but Omega elbows away. Enziguri! Naito whips but Omega reverses, then dodges. Naito dodges, V-TRIGGER! Omega grabs Naito, cross-fisherman, but Naito slips out to a DDT! Then, wrench and DEST– No, Omega makes it an electric chair. Omega pops Naito up, Naito tries to victory roll, but Omega blocks that into a sitting driver! Cover, TWO!! Fans are thunderous while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns again as Red Shoes checks on both men. They’re somehow okay to continue, and the fans haven’t stopped chanting. Omega drags Naito up in full nelson position. Naito resists, pries his way out and fights back with elbows. Omega wheel kicks Naito in the neck! Naito’s in a corner, and Omega takes aim from across the way. Omega runs in, V-TRIGGER! Omega grits his teeth as he drags Naito up to the top rope. He climbs up there to join Naito, pulls Naito into the full nelson again, but Naito holds on for dear life. Naito fights out again, and Omega staggers down. Omega jumps up to chop Naito’s back, then hoists Naito for an Electric Chair! Naito turns around, SUPER SUNSET POWERBOMB! Omega flounders while Naito takes aim. Fans are fired up as Naito runs in, tilt-o-whirl, DESTINO! Cover, TWO!?
Naito is shocked, but he just keeps going. He drags Omega up, wrenches, and tilt-o-whirls, but Omega tosses him off. Omega turns around, into Naito’s uranage slam! Naito drags Omega back up, wrenches, tilt-o-whirl, but Omega pops him off again. Omega thrusts, but Naito blocks and SLAPS Omega in return! Rolling kick! Then, DESTIN– TOMBSTONE! Omega flounders to a cover, but it’s barely one, TWO! Omega springs on Naito with a double underhook, JAY DRILLER! High stack cover, TWO!! This is looking a lot like their G1 Climax finals match last year. Omega drags Naito up again while fans duel. BANG, and V-Trigger! Omega’s not done, Electric Chair, to One Winged Angel! Cover, Omega wins!!
Winner: Kenny Omega, by pinfall; Omega earns 2 points, Naito earns 0
The Cleaner gets back at Naito for last year’s defeat in the finals! Both Golden Lovers are in the B Block win-column while Naito joins Sanada in the loss-column. Will Omega be the fifth IWGP Heavyweight Champion to make it to the finals? Will he be the third champion to win it all? Or will Naito rebound and make his way to the finals for the second year in a row?
Kenny Omega speaks.
In Japanese, he credits Naito for “an incredible match”, and says he’ll be sure to close out in just Japanese. He apologizes to Naito that he didn’t say this in person last year, but congratulations on winning the G1 Climax 27. Too bad he didn’t get the belt. Or that he hasn’t changed since then. But there’s always next year. In fact, Naito might be able to become “number three in the company.” He says third because Omega and “Ibu-tan” will be first and second. Omega admits he’s still not the best in Japanese, but he likes talking like this. He’d like to do it again. So to conclude, and in English, “Good bye, MWAH, and Good Night, BANG!” Omega boldly bashes Naito verbally, but will he be feeling so bold after the round robin completes?
Omega shares a secret with the NJPW fans: “Every match today in the B Block was exciting.” Every match was great, because NJPW has such variety. Omega doesn’t care if your favorite match was someone else’s, everyone’s doing a great job. But he knows most everyone thinks he’s the Best Bout Machine, that he’s the reason fans stick around until the end, because they want to see Omega lift both the IWGP Heavyweight Championship belt, and “that ugly-ass trophy” to be a two-time gaijin G1 champion and personally choose his opponent. Everyone already knows who that’ll be, but until then, Good-bye & Good Night, Ba-ba-bang!
A great selection for the opening B Block action. It’s a shame we didn’t get all of Ibushi VS ZSJ, but the latter portion was more than enough to show how great both men are. I like that Ibushi won this time, but the round robin format works out that ZSJ could end ahead of Ibushi. Omega VS Naito was on par with their finals match in last year’s G1 and that’s a good thing. Omega wins and he has a great veiled-insult promo on Naito. Again, champions don’t usually make it to the finals, but if anyone can, it’ll be Omega. Just about any choice in Block A is a great match-up to Omega to make for a great finals for this year. Also, while he was vague about it, I’m pretty sure Omega’s choice for Wrestle Kingdom will be either Ibushi or Okada.
My Score: 8.5/10
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