NJPW G1 Climax 28: Day 8

NJPW G1 Climax 28: Day 8

By Big Red Machine
From July 26, 2018

NJPW G1 Climax 28: Day 8

REN NARITA & MICHAEL ELGIN vs. Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki & El Desperado) - 5/10

Much longer than most of these undercard matches have been. The Elgin vs. Suzuki stuff was decent and Narita sold well.


CHAOS (Rocky Romero & Yoh) vs. BULLET CLUB FIRING SQUAD (Tanga Loa & Bad Luck Fale) - 4/10

White once again stayed well clear of danger instead of breaking up a pin.


Is it too late to change tomorrow's G1 match to Finlay vs. Henare?

CHAOS (YOSHI-HASHI & Sho)- CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada & Gedo) - 5/10

Hirooki Goto(2) vs. Toru Yano(2) - 4/10

Yano starts off by taking off the turnbuckle pad and hitting Goto with it. Has he already just given up on this "trying not to cheat anymore" gimmick? They did their Yano nearfall roll-ups, then Goto took over with his awesomely-timed headbutt reversal, hit the GTR and got the win. Don't let the rating fool you. This was perfect for what they set out to do. I just can't justify giving this a higher rating when it only went 137 seconds, and wasn't particularly crazy. This was the best possible version of the match they set out to do in the time they were given to do it in.

Tetsuya Naito(4) vs. Tama Tonga(2) (w/Tanga Loa) - 7/10

This match did a much more palatable job of handling the interferences and other such shenanigans, as they made sure the referee was distracted for everything, but just the fact that we've had so many interferences makes it frustrating. Naito got the win ultimately after returning the "favor" of a low blow to Tama Tonga, then hitting Destino. I guess you could argue that this protects Tama Tonga somewhat, but they haven't shown us that he can win cleanly yet, which means that cheating is all he has... and now we've even seen his cheating thwarted and outdone by an opponent. He just doesn't come across like a very credible threat.

And on a lesser but still in my opinion important note; while they all made sure the referee was never in a position to see any of the illegal activities that went on, the referee totally failed at getting himself into a position when he was counting the pin where there was even smidgen of a chance that he could Tama Tonga's left shoulder, and probably wouldn't have had a very easy time seeing his right one, either, because of the way Naito's body was positioned.

Tomohiro Ishii(4) vs. Zack Sabre Jr.(2) (w/TAKA Michinoku) - 8/10

Zack worked Ishii's arms, taking his biggest weapons away from him, and got the submission victory. A great story and a bunch of very good false finishes with the roll-ups and struggles for the ropes.

Kenny Omega(6) vs. Juice Robinson(0) - 9/10

Both guys worked the head and neck to set up for their usual finishers while also playing into the continuing story of Juice's injured hand, which in this match was pretty much all about the problems it would cause him when he attempted to block some of Kenny's big strikes. They had a few really freakin' awesome sequences of reversals, and overall did an excellent job of building everything up throughout. An OUTSTANDING match.

They also got a bit of an assist from the booking that set up the idea of Juice being a stumbling block for Kenny like he was in last year's G1, but with Juice already having the IWGP US Heavyweight Title I just never bought the idea that they would give him the win here to set up an IWGP Heavyweight Title shot where everyone knew the belt wouldn't change hands. Kenny should theoretically be in line for a shot at Juice's belt after this, but unless you're going to put both belts on Kenny or beat him to set up a US Title shot and continue the vicious cycle, that won't happen, which is unfortunate, but can be made to make sense if they keep Kenny busy enough. Personally, I think it'd be cool to do the US Title match and have it go Broadway to put the issue on hold for another few months, then come back with a longer time limit and go Broadway again, then finally give us some sort of no time limit payoff after Kenny drops the IWGP Heavyweight Title.

Sanada(4) vs. Kota Ibushi(4) - 9/10

This match was excellent, exciting, and extremely athletic. It really felt like the two most athletic wrestlers in the company trying to prove who was the better athlete. They had some excellent submission struggles, with Ibushi selling masterfully, and quite a few excellent reversal sequences. The finish was quite the epic struggle in the Skull End, and when Sanada just gave it up to try for the moonsault I was ready to scream because what usually happens in this situations is the guy reverses the move and Sanada (or Suzuki, or whoever) looks like a completely moron for giving up an obvious submission hold to go for something else, but to my great surprise he hit the moonsault and the referee counted to three and Kota didn't get his shoulder up. This sort of thig needs to happen every once in a while to make the spot actually feel unpredictable and exciting when someone does this type of spot in the future.

Final Thoughts
This was a GREAT show from New Japan, powered by one hell of a one-two punch at the top. The undercard, while more unimportant than even the usual G1 undercard, tonight's undercard did at least feel like it had a bit of personality, and every G1 match delivers to at the very least a reasonable level for the time it was given.

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