Wrestle Respawn – New Japan Pro Wrestling G1 Climax 2018 – Night Seventeen

Hello you! Welcome back to Night Seventeen, the final night of A Block action here in G1 Climax 2018. Tonight we will find out who will claim the title of A Block winner. It will be Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi or Jay White. Let’s read on to find out who it is!

The following matches took place on the 10th of August 2018 from the world renowned Nippon Budokan in Tokyo.

A Block – 10/08/2018
Michael Elgin (6 pts) Vs Togi Makabe (4 pts)

This should be a pretty nifty fight between two big lads who like to throw suplexes and strikes. The two bulls collide early on, with Elgin hitting an overhead belly to belly suplex on Makabe for two. Elgin hits some big chops that reverberate throughout Budokan. Makabe replies by delivering a powerslam and then goes to the punches in the corner. Elgin fights off a Northern Lights Suplex but Makabe gets it on a second attempt and then bridges for a two count. Elgin gets a nice super kick to enziguiri combo and then deadlifts Makabe into a German Suplex for two.

Both men crash into each other with clotheslines and then take turns no selling German Suplexes before Makabe hits a big lariat for two. Makabe sets Elgin up on the top rope and goes for the Spider German Suplex but Elgin fights him off and then kicks him whilst he’s in the tree of woe. Elgin gets a big Splash Mountain Bomb out of the corner, but Makabe is able to kick out at two. Elgin goes for another powerbomb, but Makabe fights it off, only to receive a STIFF elbow smash from Elgin.

Makabe no sells a lariat and blocks another before hitting a Death Valley Driver. He heads up top with the King Kong Knee Drop, and that’s enough to give him the win in a slight upset. So both men end up on 6 points. I honestly thought Elgin would end up with a higher points total.

RATING: **3/4

Nothing special and I would have personally given the win to Elgin, who actually has big matches ahead of him whilst Makabe is done as any sort of a top guy and is ready for the Nakanishi role of doing spots in tag matches.

A Block – 10/08/2018
YOSHI-HASHI (4 pts) Hangman Page (6 pts)

Page has had a good G1, where he’s looked competitive against the top guys and held his own in the ring work wise. YOSHI hasn’t been the punching bag I feared he would be, as he’s taken quite a few of the top guys to their limits, but he’s never been in any danger of winning the Block.

YOSHI gets the better of things in the early going, but when the fight spills onto the apron Page neck breakers him over the second rope and then follows with a Shooting Star Press off the apron. Back inside, Page delivers the deadlift block buster slam and bridges for two. He gets cocky though and allows YOSHI to get back up, but he cuts off a potential YOSHI comeback with a big boot. Page sets up for a suplex but YOSHI counters into a neck breaker to buy himself some time.

YOSHI hits a big running chop in the corner before coming off the top with an Over Castle for two. Page replies with an elbow strike and a German Suplex for two. Page chops away on YOSHI and goes to a fireman’s carry, but YOSHI fights his way out and hangs Page up in the ropes. YOSHI goes for a dropkick whilst Page is hung up on the ropes, but he gets free and hits a Buckshot Lariat for two. YOSHI slips out of the Rite of Passage, but Page overwhelms him again and then hits a neck breaker from the second rope for two.

I wonder if they’re going to have YOSHI look gutsy in defeat or have him pull out a last gasp upset? Page goes for the Rite of Passage again but YOSHI counters it to a sunset flip for two. Both men trade finisher attempts, which devolves into them trading strikes instead. Page goes for the Rite of Passage again but YOSHI turns it into a Canadian Destroyer for a nail biting two count. YOSHI wastes no time following up with Karma and that’s enough to hold Page down for three in another upset.

RATING: ***1/4

Again, I would have gone with the reverse result for the same reason as the previous match. This was still a good match though and it’s not like point totals really mean anything at this stage unless you’re in contention to win it.

A Block – 10/08/2018
Bad Luck Fale (6 pts) w/ Tanga Loa Vs Minoru Suzuki (8 pts)

I’m actually intrigued to see this match, as it will either be an absolute train wreck or an awesome brawl. I don’t foresee there being a middle ground. The fight is on right from the start, as they head outside and start destroying everyone and everything in their way. Fale chokes Suzuki with a cable outside the ring and then sends him back in where he mows him down with a shoulder tackle.

Suzuki fights back inside with an arm bar over the ropes and then takes the fight outside again, where he starts wearing Fale out with a chair. I never thought it would be possible to feel sorry for Bad Luck Fale, but Minoru Suzuki almost achieved it there. Fale tries to fight back with the chair but Suzuki quickly disarms him and adds another shot with it before putting him back inside the ring.

Suzuki gets a PK back in the ring, but Fale is able to kick out at two. Fale replies with a Samoan Drop and then hits a slam and Sudanese Elbow Drop for two. I wonder how long it will be until he lifts the pump splash? Fale goes for the Grenade but Suzuki counters it to a cross arm breaker. Loa pulls out the ref and then comes in to attack Suzuki, which allows Fale to hit the 747 Splash for two.

Fale goes for the Bad Luck Fall, but Suzuki slips out and goes to a sleeper. Fale backs into the corner to break that, so Suzuki unloads with slaps and vicious elbow strikes before locking in a choke. Suzuki wears Fale down with the choke and goes for the Gotch Style Piledriver, which is Tama Tonga’s cue to run down to the ring for the DQ.

RATING: ***1/2

That was an enjoyable brawl until the LAME finish. I mean, Bad Luck Fale can’t even do a clean job for Minoru fucking Suzuki? Suzuki grabs a chair after the match and sprints to the back to find the Firing Squad. I’ll happily watch some Firing Squad Vs Suzuki-gun matches!

A Block – 10/08/2018
Jay White (12 pts) Vs EVIL (8 pts)

White needs to win here and hope Okada beats Tanahashi. If that happens then he’ll win the Block as he holds tie breakers over both Okada and Tanahashi. White talks trash at the start and then slaps EVIL before delivering some chops. EVIL replies with a shoulder tackle but goes over to White when he’s close to the ropes and ends up getting Saito Suplexed over the top rope to the floor. Outside Jay, say it with me, sends EVIL into the guardrails. He even adds in the Jim Ross destroying under hook suplex into the railings, just to be a jerk.

EVIL only just makes it back into the ring to break the count, but he’s a sitting duck when he does as White stomps away and then hits a pump handle back breaker for two. White keeps talking trash whilst working over EVIL, as he has really gotten his heel act down during this G1. EVIL replies with a super kick to earn himself some respite and then clotheslines White over the top rope to the outside. EVIL now sends White into the railings, almost taking out the English commentary feed in the process.

EVIL gets a release fisherman’s suplex back inside and goes for Darkness Falls, but White fights him off and hits a Complete Shot and release German Suplex to restore parity. Spinning brain buster gets a two for White and he tries the Blade Runner, but EVIL goes to the eyes to counter. The ref gets squished in the corner, which allows White to hit a low blow but the follow up Blade Runner attempt is countered to Darkness Falls from EVIL for a double down.

EVIL hits a Tiger Suplex and follows with a big lariat, but White is able to just sneak his shoulder up at two. White’s own stablemate Rocky Romero is actually rooting against him on commentary because he’s such a jerk. When not even your friends want you to win, you know you’re a great heel! White hits a head and arm suplex before following up with a Kiwi Krusher for two. White decides to bring two chairs into the ring, but EVIL pulls the ref in front of him to distract White before hitting a lariat.

The ref stops EVIL from using the chair, which allows White to hit a suplex and go for the Blade Runner. EVIL counters and the ref momentarily goes down in the commotion. White tries to use the second chair, but EVIL counters it by hitting Everything is EVIL to pick up the clean win.

RATING: ***3/4

And with that Jay White can no longer win A Block. I really enjoyed that finish as they made you think EVIL would use the ref being down to cheat as well, but he chose not to and beat White clean, even though White had a chair, because he was ultimately the better of the two. That’s wrestling folks!

A Block – 10/08/2018
Hiroshi Tanahashi (14 pts) Vs Kazuchika Okada (12 pts)

Okada has to defeat Tanahashi to win A Block, whereas a draw is all Tanahashi will need to deliver the beans and liver.

Kevin Kelly points out on commentary that none of the last eight Tanahashi Vs Okada matches went less than 30 minutes. With this match having a 30 minute time limit that could prove the difference maker. Okada tries to start things out on the front foot, knowing that he’s going to have to beat the clock as well as his opponent. Tanahashi slows things down with a side headlock before going after Okada’s left leg. Tanahashi wraps Okada’s left leg around the ring post to do more damage to it, which actually gets cheers from the pro-Tanahashi Budokan crowd.

Okada replies by going to the same well with a dragon screw and then drags Tanahashi outside where he works right knee over. Back inside, Okada continues to focus his attacks on the knee, including dropkicking it whilst laid over the ropes in the corner. The ring announcer declares that we’ve hit the ten minute mark. That did not feel long enough to be ten minutes, which is a testament to both men when it comes to keeping even basic stuff interesting and entertaining. Tanahashi fights back by delivering his own dragon screw and then hits a running forearm for good measure.

The crowd chants for Tanahashi, as he comes off the rope with a flipping senton splash for two. Okada is able to dodge the Sling Blade and floors Tanahashi with a running back elbow. Okada hits the DDT, sold well by Tanahashi, but it only gets him a two count. Okada goes for an inverted neck breaker but Tanahashi kicks him in the leg to stop it, only for Okada to hit back immediately with a running front dropkick. Okada heads to the top rope and gets another dropkick from up there before firing up.

Okada goes for the Tombstone Piledriver, but Tanahashi reverses it into one of his own for the double down. As both men lay on the mat, the ring announcer declares that 15 minutes have passed. Both men gingerly make it up to their feet and start trading forearm strikes in traditional manly fashion. Tanahashi staggers Okada on multiple occasions but Okada won’t stay down and keeps fighting. Tanahashi low bridges Okada onto the apron and then dropkicks him off down to the railings below.

Tanahashi decides to follow Okada out with a cross body block from the top rope to the outside, but he not surprisingly jars his right knee in the process. That wasn’t the brightest of ideas from Tanahashi all told. Okada teases that he won’t make it back into the ring but finally he makes it back onto the apron, only for Tanahashi to give him a duo of dragon screws over the middle rope before going to the Texas Cloverleaf. I think a leg submission like a figure four would have made more sense there, as the Cloverleaf works the back more than the legs.

Tanahashi sits in deep on the hold, but loses some of his grip in the process, so he transitions to the Styles Clash(!) before heading up top for the High-Fly-Flow Frogplash, but Okada moves and there’s no water in the pool. That was an awesome little sequence there. Okada dropkicks Tanahashi in the back of the head and then adds another to the front before going for the Rainmaker but Tanahashi counters that at the last minute to the Sling Blade. That was absolutely fantastic!

Both men are down on the mat again, as we’re now eating into the final ten minutes of the contest and it could go either man’s way. Tanahashi certainly hasn’t been trying to wind down the clock. It’s clear he wants to win. Both men trade strikes again like two proud warriors. Tanahashi eggs Okada on; only for Okada to floor him with a forearm strike and set up for a Tombstone. Tanahashi fights the move and goes for his own version of it, but Okada fights that also. Okada finally looks to have muscled Tanahashi up for the move but Tanahashi is able to counter it into a twisting neck breaker, as the ring announcer gives announces that 25 minutes have elapsed.

Tanahashi holds on to the head and hits two more neck breakers before hitting the Sling Blade for a close two count. Tanahashi heads up top and preps for a cross body block, but Okada dropkicks him out of the air on the way down and finally hits the Tombstone before calling for the Rainmaker. Three minutes are left, as Tanahashi ducks the Rainmaker but runs into a dropkick for his troubles. Rainmaker is ducked again, but a discus clothesline isn’t. Okada goes for the Rainmaker proper, but Tanahashi counters it to a small package for what looks to be last gasp near fall.

Rainmaker is ducked AGAIN and Tanahashi gets a dragon suplex with a bridge for two. We get the one minute warning, as the crowd are starting to lose their mind. Okada keeps going for the Rainmaker but takes a big slap to put him down. Tanahashi has 20 seconds to survive but he goes up and hits the High-Fly-Flow instead…for two. Tanahashi goes up for one more High-Fly-Flow, but the timer runs out.

RATING: ****1/2

Is there a better rivalry for pure match quality than Tanahashi Vs Okada? Maybe Flair Vs Steamboat, but it has to be close. So that draw means that Tanahashi will now advance to the G1 Final on the 12th of August against the winner of B Block (Probably Tetsuya Naito). I enjoyed this match a lot. It told a good story, featured strong selling and all of the actual wrestling was well executed. I honestly thought Tanahashi would miss the High-Fly-Flow and get pinned by Okada, as it would have been a gallant way to lose when he could have ran out the clock, but they instead went with the draw.

So let’s look at the final standings of A Block;

Hiroshi Tanahashi – 15 points
Kazuchika Okada – 13 points
Jay White – 12 points
Minoru Suzuki – 10 points
EVIL – 10 points
Michael Elgin, Hangman Page, Bad Luck Fale, Togi Makabe and YOSHI-HASHI – 6 points

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I’d highly recommend reading fellow wrestling fan Dom’s article on mental health and video gaming. It’s a very personal and candid account of the issues he has faced and how playing No Man’s Sky really helped him through a bad patch. It’s definitely worth a read and you can do by clicking right HERE

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