Wrestle Respawn – New Japan Pro Wrestling G1 Climax – Night Eighteen

Hello You! So here we are, at Night Eighteen of G1 Climax. In just six matches time we will know who the winner of the 2018 G1 Climax will be. Today we finish off B Block, with Kenny Omega, Tetsuya Naito and Kota Ibushi all still in a positon to win it. Naito needs to beat Zack Sabre Jr and hope Omega and Ibushi draw for him to advance. Ibushi needs to beat Omega and hope Naito loses, whilst Omega just needs to win to ensure his advancement, but a draw will still do him if Naito loses.

All of the following matches took place on the 11th of August 2018 from the world renowned Nippon Budokan in Tokyo.

B Block – 11/08/2018
Toru Yano (4 pts) Tama Tonga (6 pts) w/ Tanga Loa

Kevin Kelly on commentary says that if Tonga, Loa or Bad Luck Fale interfere in any matches tonight then they’ll get both a fine and a 3 month suspension. We’ll see…

Yano demands that Tanga Loa be sent from ringside before the match starts, and he reluctantly goes. Yano gets a couple of roll ups on a distracted Tonga and then goes to undo the turnbuckle pad. Tonga tries to stop him, but ends up running into the unprotected buckle. Tonga returns buckle with buckle and then sends Yano into a guardrail outside for good measure. Tonga plain chokes Yano out on the floor, causing the referee to come over and break things up.

Tonga continues to choke away in the ring, and shoves the referee down when he tries to stop him, which allows Yano to get a belly to belly suplex and a double leg take down to buy himself some recovery time. Fale and Loa decide to come down to the ring, but get stopped by referees in the aisle way. This is enough to distract Yano, which allows Tonga to jump him from behind and then fling the referee out of the ring. Another ref comes in and pulls Tonga off by his hair, which earns him a Gun Stun for the DQ.

RATING: *1/2

Match was nothing, but it was essentially an elongated angle anyway. New Japan executives come out to oversee the Firing Squad getting ejected to the back. It looks like they are going to get suspended after all. Maybe they’ll turn up in ROH for a while?

B Block – 11/08/2018
IWGP United States Champion Juice Robinson (4 pts) Vs NEVER Openweight Champion Hirooki Goto (6 pts)

Juice gives his hat and glasses to a fan in the front row, which gets a nice reception from the crowd. Juice takes the protective wrap off his hand the minute the bell rings, which will probably annoy the people who spent ages wrapping it for him. After a quick opening sequence, Goto grabs a sleeper on Juice whilst he stands on the apron, but Juice fights out and drops the arm over the top rope before hitting a cannonball in the corner back in the ring.

Juice stays on the arm, going to a version of the London Dungeon, but Goto is able to make the ropes to break. Juice starts throwing some head butts Goto’s way, which serves only to fire him up and he replies with a series of big kicks to the chest. Spinning wheel kick in the corner sets up a Saito Suplex from Goto for two. Juice goes for the big left handed punch, but Goto ducks it only for Juice to get back on top with a spinebuster and top rope cross body for two.

Juice goes for a powerbomb, but Goto fights out of it and the two men start jousting with clotheslines. Juice gets the better of that exchange, but when he goes to hit the ropes he is caught by Goto who hits the Ushigoroshi. Goto is too hurt to make use of the situation though and ends up taking a Juice Box from Juice to send both men down. Juice goes for Pulp Friction, but Goto blocks it and both men then fight over a suplex. Juice finally goes for the left handed punch, but Goto shows a unique counter by head butting the hand and then hitting a reverse GTR.

Goto goes for the standard version of the GTR but Juice counters to a Pulp Friction attempt, but Goto gets out of that. Juice blocks a kick and finally hits the punch before going to Pulp Friction for the three count and 6 points. That means both champions will end the block with 6 points, which is a pretty poor return for them to be honest.

RATING: ***1/4

Good match as both men worked hard and didn’t overstay their welcome. Thumbs up from me!

B Block – 11/08/2018
Tomohiro Ishii (8 pts) Vs SANADA (8 pts)

Before this match starts, the ring announcer informs the crowd that the Firing Squad have been expelled from the building for the rest of the night.

You could argue that, along with Zack Sabre Jr, both of these men have been the MVP’s of this year’s G1, having great matches with everyone and wrestling three completely different styles along the way. SANADA uses his athleticism to stay on top of things in an early chain wrestling battle before throwing some chops. Ishii treats the chops as little more than an annoyance and then floors SANADA with a big chop of his own. SANADA keeps trying to chop back, but his shots just don’t have the same oomph as Ishii’s do.

SANADA gets the double leap frog followed by the dropkick to send Ishii outside and then follows him out there with a dive. SANADA goes to a chin lock back inside in an attempt to wear Ishii down, which is probably a smart strategy as he’s not going to be able to out fight him. Ishii tries to drag himself to the ropes and finally manages it, but some damage has been done in the process, which is shown by him crumpling when SANADA gives him a forearm strike.

SANADA stupidly allows Ishii to get back to his feet, and suddenly finds that the recovery time has once again made Ishii immune to his shots. Ishii actually backs SANADA across the ring by no selling his forearm strikes and then gets a big stalling brain buster out of the corner for two. I’d watch Ishii vs CW Anderson if someone out there wants to put it together actually. SANADA ducks a sliding clothesline and hits a rana to buy himself some time.

SANADA gets the Flair Flip™ in the corner and then hits a springboard missile dropkick in from the apron. Ishii replies by putting SANADA in his own Skull End move, but SANADA flips out and then hits Ishii with his own sliding lariat for two. SANADA tries for Skull End but Ishii fights it off so SANADA hits a rope assisted neck breaker and a TKO for two. Both men take turns no selling back suplexes and Ishii ends up flooring SANADA with a big lariat.

Ishii gets a Last Ride powerbomb and makes the cover, but SANADA kicks out. Ishii follows up with the sliding lariat, but SANADA again shows his guts and fighting spirit to kick out. Ishii goes for a brain buster, but SANADA gets out and flips into the Skull End. Ishii rolls out of that but SANADA is waiting with a lariat and manages to apply the hold successfully on the second attempt. SANADA gets the hooks in for added measure and cinches the hold in.

Ishii looks to be out, but rather than just cover or let the ref count Ishii down, SANADA goes for a moonsault. Ishii dodges the moonsault and SANADA hurts his knee, which Ishii goes on to make worse by hitting a sliding lariat to it. That was vicious! SANADA fires off some European uppercuts and gets a Tiger Suplex with a bridge, but Ishii kicks out. I would have personally had SANADA’s leg give out there for the kick out, but hey-ho.

SANADA gets the old Keiji Mutoh back breaker and heads up for another moonsault, but Ishii moves again and then follows up with another Mutoh move in the Shining Wizard! Irony is indeed a cruel mistress! Ishii doesn’t go for the cover however and waits for SANADA to get back up so he can hit a lariat, but SANADA dodges it and goes for Skull End. Both men block each other’s finishing move attempts before no selling enziguri’s in manly fashion. Ishii turns SANADA inside out with a big lariat, but it only gets him a two count, so he follows up with a brain buster and that’s finally enough to hold SANADA down for three.

RATING: ****1/2

Seriously, can Ishii have the IWGP Heavyweight Championship? He can lose it on his first title defence if needs be, he just needs some kind of reward for having all of these amazing matches. Have him destroy Chris Jericho for the Intercontinental Title even, just give him SOMETHING whilst he’s still able to walk.

B Block – 11/08/2018
Tetsuya Naito (12 pts) Vs Zack Sabre Jr (8 pts) w/ TAKA Michinoku

Hang on, let me check my watch. Ah yes, it’s Zack Sabre Time!

Zack is apparently hell bent on stopping Naito from winning here, just because he wants to be a massive jerk I guess. Zack attacks right from the start, but Naito is able to frustrate him by avoiding his attempts at starting a fight outside, which causes Zack to kick away at the railings in frustration. In a funny moment, Naito does his usual taunt in the ring of lying on his side with his fist up the air, so Zack sprints out and puts him in an arm bar. I’ve been waiting for YEARS to see someone do that!

Naito makes the ropes and bails outside for a moment before getting back in. Zack continues to work Naito over with holds, all of them looking punishing, and transitions between each one with an enviable fluidity. Zack focuses mostly on Naito’s neck, and even works in a cravat. Naito tries for a springboard dropkick into the corner, but Zack sweeps his leg and he falls to the outside. Naito just can’t get any momentum built against Zack here. Zack continues to work the neck with multiple versions of cravats and head scissors.

The man is like an octopus, you just can’t get away from his grip. Naito finally manages to earn some respite with a reverse DDT and a dropkick to the back of the head. He finally gets the dropkick in the corner and taunts to the crowd. Keeping distance between himself and Zack is probably the best option for Naito here. He needs to stick and move, without getting close enough for Zack to tie him up. Naito hits a neck breaker and makes a lacs cover, which Zack is easily able to get out of at two.

Naito goes for a rolling front kick, but Zack catches the leg and then transitions into a modified Rings of Saturn and Naito has to make the ropes before he can fully wrench it in. Zack cockily kicks away at Naito, which doesn’t do much damage but might serve to anger Naito and take him out of his “Tranquillo” state of mind. Zack goes for an uppercut but Naito blocks it and hits a tornado DDT, but the follow up pump handle driver is countered into a triangle by Zack.

Naito bridges over, which means Zack has to release the hold or be pinned, but Zack hits a PK and goes for the Zack Driver. Naito is able to counter the move to a reverse DDT however and both men are down. Both men start trading slaps, which goes Naito’s way and he’s able to hit the pump handle driver for two. Zack is able to block The Destino and goes to an Octopus Hold right in the middle of the ring, even managing to put his left foot into the back of Naito’s neck.

Naito struggles manfully on and won’t submit, so Zack traps his right arm as well. Naito is finally able to get an arm free and lurches into the ropes for the break. Zack kicks away at Naito, but Naito catches one of them and hits a release German Suplex followed by a flying forearm. Zack counters The Destino into the European Clutch for two, and then gets another pinning hold for two once again. Naito hits the enziguri and goes for The Destino. He gets it, but decides to go for another one and it costs him as Zack counters into the Zack Driver to pick up the BIG upset and knock Naito out of the G1!

RATING: ****1/2

What a match! What I loved was that Zack worked over Naito with all of those submission holds, which obviously made him think that a high impact move like the Zack Driver wasn’t on the cards as far as a possible end to the match, only for Zack to pull it out of his locker when Naito was least expecting it. Naito was also a victim of his own hubris, as it wasn’t clear if he needed to go for that second Destino and it ended up being the difference maker. Women are apparently crying in the crowd over the fact Naito is knocked out if the commentators are to be believed.

B Block – 11/08/2018
IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega (12 pts) Vs Kota Ibushi (10 pts)

So if Ibushi wins this match, then he wins the B Block, but if Omega wins or it ends in a draw, then it will be the IWGP Champion who will top the block and face Tanahashi in the final. Ibushi and Omega are of course best friends and tag team partners, but they’re going to have to put that aside for tonight. The Young Bucks come down to show support for both men before the match starts.

Chain wrestling to start, which leads to the international, which then ends with Ibushi hitting a dropkick. Omega comes back in with a chop, but takes a big kick to the chest in reply. Omega dodges an Ibushi dive and actually body slams his friend onto the ring apron, which is a signal of how serious he is taking this. Omega hits a face buster back inside the ring, which gets him two, and he clubs away at his friend. Ibushi replies with some kicks to the back and the two start trading strikes.

Omega kicks Ibushi into the corner, but Ibushi rolls out of danger and hits a powerslam, only for Omega gets his knees up on a Quebrada attempt, which means Ibushi can’t escape the follow up rolling fireman’s carry. Ibushi now gets HIS knees up on a Quebrada and both men trade rana’s, with Ibushi’s sending Omega outside. Ibushi goes for a moonsault to the outside, but Omega stops him and the two fight on the apron. Omega goes for the One Winged Angel off the apron to the floor, but Ibushi fights it off and goes for the German Suplex from the apron to the ring. Omega blocks that and then, in our first stupid move of the night, he hits a modified Tombstone Piledriver onto the apron. I wish guys wouldn’t take moves like that on the apron, especially as BJ Whitmer practically broke his neck taking a piledriver out there.

Omega works over Ibushi inside the ring and goes for the One Winged Angel, but Ibushi fights him off and he has to improvise into a German Suplex instead for two. Omega hits a V-Trigger but Ibushi blocks the Jay Driller, only for Omega to hit a tornado DDT in response. Ibushi rolls outside and Omega follows him out with a dive over the ropes. We get the ten minute warning, as Omega puts Ibushi back inside and heads up top, but Ibushi hits a Pele kick to stun him. Ibushi tries a piledriver from the top rope, but Omega thankfully fights it off, so Ibushi hits a marginally safer top rope rana instead. Omega rolls outside, which means it’s Ibushi’s time for a crazy dive as he follows with an Asai moonsault.

Ibushi goes for another high flying move back inside, but Omega grabs him and goes for a One Winged Angel, but Ibushi fights him off and then hits a moonsault double knees to Omega for two. If Omega doesn’t have any broken ribs from that then it’s a miracle. Omega dodges a knee strike and then slips out of a sit out Last Ride powerbomb. V-Trigger sets up another to the back of the head in the corner. That move just looks awful to take. Omega gets Ibushi up on the top rope and tries to bring him down with a dragon suplex. Ibushi thankfully lands on his feet and the two collide into one another with lariats. They then trade German Suplexes, which ends with Ibushi hitting one and then turning Omega inside out with a lariat.

Ibushi hits the sit out Last Ride powerbomb, but Omega is able to kick out at two. Ibushi hits the knee strike to the face, but Omega is able to kick out, which leads to murmurs of shock throughout the arena. Ibushi takes down his knee pad and goes for the knee again, but Omega blocks it by grabbing his ankle and then fights back to his feet with forearm strikes. Ibushi replies with strikes of his own and we have a trade-off. Ibushi refuses to let go of Omega’s wrist however, but finally goes when he throws a spin kick, which allows Omega to hit the V-Trigger. This serves only to fire Ibushi up and he gets some strikes in before hitting the ropes, only for Omega to follow him with a V-Trigger. Ibushi hits a running kick of his own and heads up top for a Phoenix Splash, but Omega moves and there’s no water in the pool.

Omega hits a V-Trigger to the back of the head and then follows up with the Jay Driller, but Ibushi amazingly is able to kick out at two. Omega hits another V-Trigger and goes for the One Winged Angel, but Ibushi fights him off and tries a reverse rana, only for Omega to hold on and drop Ibushi with a version of the Cop Killa for two. Another V-Trigger from Omega seems to set up the Everest One Winged Angel from the second rope, but Ibushi throws elbows like his life depends upon it to get out and then double stomps Omega in the back of the head whilst on the top rope. That was insane!

Ibushi hits a Tiger Driver from the top rope, but Omega somehow kicks out. That move was totally safe to be fair to them, so bravo. Ibushi hits the knee strike and Omega can’t kick out again and that’s enough for Omega to win both the match and B Block.

RATING: *****

The stupid Tombstone on the apron aside, they didn’t really do anything overly stupid or dangerous and some of the moves they did were incredibly inventive. It wasn’t just an exhibition of moves either though, as both men sold and the match told a good story as well, with Ibushi weathering the early storm from Omega to rally and pick up the win. Both men show love to each other following the match and Omega leaves to give Ibushi his moment.

So let’s see how B Block looks at the end of things;

Kota Ibushi, Kenny Omega, Zack Sabre Jr and Tetsuya Naito all sit on top of the block with 12 points, but because Ibushi holds a tie breaker over the other three he gets to advance to the final. Tomohiro Ishii is all on his own with 10 points, whilst SANADA sits on 8 points. Hirooki Goto, Tama Tonga, Juice Robinson and Toru Yano all sit in joint last with 6 points.

I’ll see you all soon for the final, as Hiroshi Tanahashi takes on Kota Ibushi!

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Whilst you’re here, why not take a goosey gander at Ian’s article on how to enjoy video games on a budget? You can read his thoughts by clicking right HERE

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