Welcome to Fightful's final NJPW G1 Climax 28 Block Update. Here you'll find a review of the Finals along with a wrap-up of the Block action. As far as Best Matches are concerned, I've selected one match for every wrestler in the Block that you should seek out. No matches were repeated, so the match selected isn't necessarily the best match for every wrestler.
Hiroshi Tanahashi def. Kota Ibushi - As expected, the work was outstanding. They paced themselves well and the crowd was into every moment. Tanahashi showed he still has plenty left in the tank, hanging with his younger opponent who happened to be coming off a classic G1 run and arguably the biggest win of his career. Ibushi poured it on when he needed to, adapting his style to try and out-smart the veteran. Ibushi looked close on multiple occasions, but just couldn't find Tanahashi's face with his knee. Tanahashi needed three high fly flows and each time he went out, you thought it might be one time too many. In the past three days, these two men have given us three classics. Pro wrestling is great.
So, what now for Tanahashi?
His spot in the Wrestle Kingdom main event is not yet guaranteed. He'll defend his newly won briefcase at least once between now and January. No G1 winner has lost the certificate inside the briefcase in G1 history and it's unlikely that Tanahashi is the first man to do so. As I wrote in the preview, the Ace headlining one last Dome show is a story that writes itself and makes all the sense in the world.
I have my doubts that Omega will be the champion, but Tanahashi vs. Omega is a match that has happened just once in history. It took place at New Beginning in Niigata in 2016 with Omega winning the IWGP Intercontinental title. Omega is a fresher matchup than Okada and Naito. And don't think NJPW/Tanahashi has forgotten about the "work ethic" line by Omega prior to the G1. No one in NJPW works harder than Tanahashi. His nearly spotless record in the G1 proves it.
On top of that, Omega looking to avenge the G1 loss of his Golden Lovers partner is another layer to both stories. Ibushi has been in Omega's shadow these past couple of years. His classic with Shinsuke Nakamura feels like decades ago. Since then, Omega has become the best wrestler in the world, heading The Dome and winning the IWGP Heavyweight title. Meanwhile, Ibushi worked as a freelancer and battled injuries.
A victory over Ibushi still eludes Omega. But beating The Ace in the main event of Wrestle Kingdom is something Kota will never have on his resume.
We're still months away from Wrestle Kingdom. A lot can change between now and January. But right now, Tanahashi vs. Omega is your Wrestle Kingdom main event.
Best of A Block
Michael Elgin vs. Hangman Page (Night 3)
EVIL vs. Michael Elgin (Night 1)
Bad Luck Fale vs. Kazuchika Okada (Night 3)
Togi Makabe vs. Minoru Suzuki (Night 3)
Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (Night 17)
Hangman Page vs. Kazuchika Okada (Night 5)
Minoru Suzuki vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (Night 1)
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Jay White (Night 3)
Jay White vs. Kazuchika Okada (Night 1)
YOSHI-HASHI vs. Kazuchika Okada (Night 9)
MVP - Kazuchika Okada: Despite not being the Rainmaker, Okada is still one of the best wrestlers in the world. He had good to great matches with just about everyone in the block. And because of his two early losses and his Broken Balloon gimmick, people believed he could be beaten at any time.
Stock Up - Jay White: He may have come up short in the end, but he was the only person to score a victory over Block winner Tanahashi. He also defeated Okada on Night 1. In a weak block with not many big name players, White's two victories set him up for a big second half of the year.
Stock Down - Michael Elgin: Elgin turned in some fantastic in-ring performances, but three wins has to be a disappoint. Especially after he got off to a 2-0 start. When Elgin won the NEVER Openweight title earlier this year, it looked like he was poised for a big 2017. But he held the title for a week and failed to make waves in the G1. He should have done better given the competition in the Block.
Best of B Block
Hirooki Goto vs. Tomohiro Ishii (Night 6)
Kota Ibushi vs. Tomohiro Ishii (Night 10)
Tomohiro Ishii vs. Kenny Omega (Night 14)
Tetsuya Naito vs. Kenny Omega (Night 2)
Kenny Omega vs. Kota Ibushi (Night 18)
Juice Robinson vs. Kenny Omega (Night 8)
Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Kota Ibushi (Night 2)
SANADA vs. Kenny Omega (Night 10)
Tama Tonga vs. Toru Yano (Night 18)
Toru Yano vs. Tomohiro Ishii (NIght 2)
MVP - Kota Ibushi: You can take your pick between Ibushi, Omega, and Ishii. All three turned in classics just about every night in the tournament. I gave the slight edge to Ibushi just based on style. I prefer his mix of juniors risks and heavyweight striking more than Ishii's straight forward striking or Omega's sprint choreography.
Stock Up - Tomohiro Ishii: He beat all three champions in the Block, setting himself up for big things to close out the year. Give a rematch with Goto and Omega any day of the week.
Stock Down - Tama Tonga: Coming out of the San Francisco special, it looked like Tonga was going to be a big factor in the G1. Instead, he was a block eye on a nearly flawless Block. Every match was bad and by the end of the first week, it became repetitive and telegraphed.
Thanks for joining me throughout the G1 Climax 28. I hope everyone enjoyed the tournament as much as I did. Now let's all get back to our regular sleep schedules.
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