Welcome to Fightful's NJPW G1 Climax 28 Block Update. We're only four nights away from finding out who will compete Finals to crown the 2018 G1 survivor. B Block continues to produce Match of the Year quality outings while A Block is existing.
Night 13 Review (A Block - Seventh Matches)
Michael Elgin def. Bad Luck Fale - This was every Fale loss in the tournament thus far. I couldn't get into the match because I was just waiting for the run in. Sure enough, Tama Tonga came in with a chair and caused a disqualification. Fale has yet to take a pinfall or submission loss despite four losses. Taking another DQ loss made no sense as Fale was still in the running to win the Block had he won this match. A loss officially eliminated him from contention. If they wanted to ensure Elgin wasn't going to win the Block, beating him would have mathematically eliminated him. I'm hating every bit of this angle.
Hangman Page def. Togi Makabe - Inconsequential match as both guys are eliminated. It was good to see Page get a victory as he's had a strong tournament. Too short to be anything memorable, but both guys got some shine. Hopefully Page is able to build off this victory. Rocky Romero and Kevin Kelly put his win over huge, so I would imagine they have bigger plans for him down the line.
Jay White def. YOSHI-HASHI - White's hatred of commentary teams is my favorite thing about A Block. Yeah, it's been that kind of tournament for this block. While that Firing Squad ref bumps and interference have been frustrating, annoying, and pointless, White's bumping the ref and cheating has direction. The man is still trying to win. He's also trying to prove himself as the true leader of CHAOS and believes winning this tournament, by any means necessary, is the way to do it. Also to show that Okada's way of just being the best wrestler doesn't work anymore. The matches haven't been great, but the storytelling has been good with White.
Hiroshi Tanahashi def. EVIL - Tanahashi remains at the top of the block, but gets more banged up by the match. Fortunately for him, he has Elgin next, and his arm might be in worse shape than Tanahashi's. Another solid yet unspectacular outing for Tanahashi in this G1. This Block just feels watered down as we're just building towards Tanahashi vs. Okada and nothing else seems to matter. They've tried to build EVIL throughout this tournament, but it never felt like he was winning this match.
Kazuchika Okada def. Minoru Suzuki - Not on the level of their previous meetings, but still one of the best matches in A Block thus far. The finish felt rushed as they seemingly had another five good minutes in them. Okada looks to be 90 percent back, surviving Suzuki's onslaught and putting him away with little trouble. The real test will be against Tanahashi on the final night. The loss officially eliminates Suzuki from contention while keeps Okada's hopes alive after the 0-2 start.
Match of the Night - Kazuchika Okada vs. Minoru Suzuki
A Block Standings
* Hiroshi Tanahashi: 6-1 (12pts.)
* Jay White: 5-2 (10pts.)
* Kazuchika Okada: 5-2 (10pts.)
* Minoru Suzuki: 4-3 (8pts.)
* EVIL: 4-3 (8pts.)
* Michael Elgin: 3-4 (6pts.)
* Bad Luck Fale: 3-4 (6pts.)
* Hangman Page: 2-5 (4pts.)
* Togi Makabe: 2-5 (4pts.)
* YOSHI-HASHI: 1-6 (2pts.)
Night 14 Review (B Block - Seventh Matches)
SANADA def. Toru Yano - Not much of a wrestling match, but perfect for what it was. Yano tried to Yano and SANADA was able to out Yano, Yano.
Hirooki Goto def. Tama Tonga - Nope.
Zack Sabre Jr. def. Juice Robinson - Juice is going to have plenty of contenders for his title with five losses thus far. But give me more Juice vs. ZSJ. Zack attacking the hand, which we all knew he was going to do, was the obvious route. But he's so methodical and calculated that you can't help but hate him. And Juice is so likable that you can't help but feel sympathy even though he knows the risks. ZSJ grabbed the US title after the match, so while not everyone who beat Juice may get a shot, it's obvious they are setting up a rematch between these two.
Tomohiro Ishii def. Kenny Omega - My God. Ishii is having an amazing tournament, challenging Kota Ibushi for the MVP award. He took everything Omega had, then some more, and then even more. And it still wasn't enough. Even though Ishii took the volume, he landed the bigger significant strikes. At least, according to Kenny's face. My only complaint was Omega using the v trigger like he entered a cheat code for unlimited uses, but that's just the gaming stickler in me. Omega finally loses and I'm 100 percent in on a rematch.
Kota Ibushi def. Tetsuya Naito - These two had the unfortunate pleasure of having to follow Omega vs. Ishii. The pace was slower and the closing stretch was hot, but not quite as hot as the co-main event. That said, the work was clean and the crowd was into it. I could have lived without Naito getting dropped on his head/neck multiple times. Ibushi is now in a prime position as he controls his own destiny. Beat Tonga and Omega, win the block. Naito is going to need a lot of help to win. I absolutely love the year long story they've been telling with Naito coming up short in these main event situations. Keep all these losses in mind moving forward.
Match of the Night - Tomohiro Ishii vs. Kenny Omega
B Block Standings
* Kenny Omega: 6-1 (12pts.)
* Kota Ibushi: 5-2 (10pts.)
* Tetsuya Naito: 5-2 (10pts.)
* SANADA: 4-3 (8pts.)
* Zack Sabre Jr: 4-3 (8pts.)
* Tomohiro Ishii: 3-4 (6pts.)
* Hirooki Goto: 3-4 (6pts.)
*Tama Tonga: 2-5 (4pts.)
*Juice Robinson: 2-5 (4pts.)
*Toru Yano: 1-6 (2pts.)
Night 15 Preview (A Block - Eighth Matches)
YOSHI-HASHI vs. Bad Luck Fale - Who cares. HASHI will fight from underneath and the Firing Squad will interfere. It's doubtful HASHI will get a clean win, so expect a Fale win or another DQ loss. Sleep in. Skip this match.
Hangman Page vs. Minoru Suzuki - Both guys are done, which means we're going to see just how high NJPW is on Hangman Page. A win here would be another big building block following his win over Makabe. A loss and maybe they don't have as big of plans for him moving forward. Page will probably consider it an honor to take a beating from Suzuki.
Togi Makabe vs. Jay White - Makabe is out, but White is still very much alive. In fact, if White wins here and Tanahashi loses to Elgin, White would control his own destiny on the final night. If White loses, he's going to need a lot of help to win the Block. Since they'll likely want to create some extra drama, White winning here makes the most sense. The match is unlikely to be anything memorable.
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Michael Elgin - Whose arm will fall off first? Elgin has arguably been the MVP of the Block, but this feels like it's going to be disappointing. Tanahashi has been saving himself for Okada all tournament and Elgin may have to spend too much time selling his arm. Tanahashi is the only person who truly controls his own destiny. If he beats Elgin, a win or draw against Okada gives him the Block.
Kazuchika Okada vs. EVIL - Okada not only needs to win out to win the Block, he needs White to suffer a loss or draw in one of his final two matches. The winner here isn't in doubt. The match will largely depend on how Okada is feeling. After seeing EVIL squash Tanahashi with a senton, Okada may want to take things easy before the final night.
Night 16 Preview (B Block - Eighth Matches)
Juice Robinson vs. Tomohiro Ishii - It would feel weird if Ishii were to defeat Omega and then go on to lose to Juice. But since accumulative damage matters, Ishii being too banged up to go through another war makes sense. I have to manage Ishii will want to take it easy and I can't say I blame him. Fortunately, Juice works an easy style and this match should be short.
Hirooki Goto vs. Zack Sabre Jr. - Goto beat Sabre Jr. in last year's G1 and at Sakura Genesis '17. Both men have been eliminated in the tournament, so only bragging rights are on the line here. A SZJ win could set him up for potential shots at the NEVER openweight title and the US title. Not a bad consolation for a guy who hasn't had the strongest tournament in terms of wins and losses. The match should be good, but the lack of stakes makes it a tough sell.
Toru Yano vs. Kenny Omega - Omega gets a night off in-between the war with Ishii and the showdown with Ibushi. I'd say there's a zero chance that Yano beats Omega, but here's the thing: Naito is eliminated if Omega wins this match. Does NJPW really go into the final night with Naito having nothing to wrestle for? It would put all the focus on Ibushi vs. Omega, but the stakes are already there in that match. All I'm saying is, don't rule out a count out victory for Yano or a double count out draw.
Kota Ibushi vs. Tama Tonga - Ibushi is winning. The work will probably be fine until the inevitable Firing Squad nonsense.
Tetsuya Naito vs. SANADA - If Omega wins earlier in the night, this match becomes meaningless as far as the G1 goes. But not meaningless for the pride of each man. They are stablemates and have been tagging together on the undercard of A Block nights. There is a deep history between these two with the majority of it being positive. I have no doubt that the work will be good. I'm more interested in the story. Does Naito, desperately needing a victory to stay alive, expect SANADA to lay down for him? If SANADA doesn't go easy, how does Naito react and how far will he go against his friend, just to win? Can SANADA get out of Naito's shadow, even if for a night? Will Naito's main event misery continue? There's a lot at stake here beyond Naito's hopes for getting back to the Wrestle Kingdom main event.