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

Here we are with more A Block action! Going in to Night Eleven, Hiroshi Tanahashi and EVIL are currently leading the pack with 8 points each. On this show Tanahashi has a match with YOSHI-HASHI, whilst EVIL is due to wrestle Minoru Suzuki. Of the two, you’d think Tanahashi would have a better chance of winning, but you can never predict when it comes to the G1.

If you want to catch up with standings in A Block you can read my recap of Night Nine by clicking right HERE

The following matches took place on the 30th of July 2018 from the Takamatsu City General Gymnasium #1 in Kagawa.

VS

A Block – 30/7/2018
Togi Makabe (4 pts) Vs Bad Luck Fale (4 pts) w/ Tanga Loa

Kevin Kelly on commentary states that Fale has never been pinned by Makabe in a singles match. Could tonight be tonight? Fale hasn’t had a pin fall loss yet in the tournament, instead getting himself disqualified in every outing he hasn’t won. It’s not done much for the tournaments prestige but has at least made the Firing Squad look like a dangerous threat, so every cloud. Loa does some mic work to introduce Fale, again showing charisma and character they he was never allowed to show in WWE.

Both bulls charge at each other to start and Makabe holds his own admirably against the bigger Fale, but gets tripped by Loa and dragged outside for a brawl. Makabe fights off Loa, but Fale jumps him from behind and sends him into the guardrails. Into the crowd we go, where Fale follows his usual MO of throwing his opponent into the chairs whilst the fans scatter.

Makabe gets back in, at which point Fale stomps away at him. Makabe keeps asking for more and manages to make it to his feet, before unloading with some right hands. Into the corner we go for a ten punch from Makabe, but Fale blocks his suplex attempt. Both men crash into each other with clotheslines, which ends with Makabe bumping Fale for a two count.

Fale comes back with the 747 Splash, but Makabe is able to kick out at two. Fale goes for the grenade, but Makabe fights him off and floors him after multiple lariats, but Loa pulls the ref out whilst he counts the possible winning three. Loa comes in for a double team, but Makabe hits a lariat to fell both members of the Firing Squad. He heads up for the King Kong Knee Drop, but Loa distracts him, which allows Fale to clock him with his own chain for the pin from the revived ref.

WINNER: BAD LUCK FALE
RATING: *1/2

Whelp, looks like Makabe is going to have to wait even longer for that singles win over Fale. This was the usual Fale match but in slow motion. Makabe is starting to look old when he isn’t in there with a good worker who can hide the fact he’s slowed down a lot.

VS

A Block – 30/07/2018
Jay White (6 pts) Vs Hangman Page (2 pts)

After a hot start, White has really dropped off in this year’s G1, whilst Page has looked great but has been unable to turn his good form into points on the board. White attempts to play mind games with Page early on, by grabbing the ropes to break. Page hits a big boot to send White outside and then follows him out. White throws a Young Lion in front of Page, which allows him to hit a cheap shot and throw him back in. However, he chooses to taunt the English announce team before climbing back in himself, which allows Page to flatten him with a dive.

Page tries to hit the running Shooting Star Press off the apron, but White moves and then follows up with a nasty back drop onto the floor. White adds a back suplex onto the apron which, as we all know, IS THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING (If you ignore the ring posts and the metal turnbuckles) before throwing Page back in for a pumphandle back breaker. That gets White two, so he takes Page outside and starts viciously ramming him into the guardrail and apron. I still love that spot, it’s such a great bit of dick heel behaviour.

White works the back area inside the ring, but gets cocky, which allows Page to hit a desperation clothesline. Standing Shooting Star Press gets two for Page and he manages to get the dead lift block buster slam for two despite his bad back. That took a lot out of him though, as it takes him a while to get back on the attack. Page goes for the flipping springboard lariat but White counters it into a Complete Shot and then follows up with a release German Suplex and a duo of head and arm suplexes.

Page fights off the third head and arm suplex, but White clubs him down and tries to suplex him to the floor, but Page lands on the apron and fights him off. Page’s back injury means he can’t hit the springboard lariat, which allows White to tie him up in the ropes and hit some chops. However, when he goes to hit the ropes, Page is finally able to flip in with the lariat. I love that as he had to FIGHT to hit that move and it actually meant something when he finally did.

Page knocks White to the outside and preps for a dive, but White cuts him off and then hits the Complete Shot on the apron. He tries a German Suplex out on the apron as well, as Page fights for his life to stop it. After a struggle, Page ends up on the top rope, with White trying to back drop him to the outside, but he’s able to fight him off and follow with a moonsault to the floor. Back inside, Page hits a dropkick in the corner and heads up for another moonsault, but White pushes the ref into the ropes to stop it and then shoves Page off the top rope onto the apron.

With Page selling on the floor, White looks under the ring and finds two chairs. He throws one into the ring and, whilst the ref deals with that, he hits page in the back with the other one for two. Twisting brain buster gets yet another two for White, as Page is gallantly fighting for all his worth. It’s amazing to me how good of a babyface Page has become, but he’s pretty darn good at it. White brings the chair into the ring, but the ref gets physical and makes him put it down.

White goes to drag Page into the middle of the ring, but Page pulls the Eddie Guerrero Wrestlemania XX trick by loosening the laces, meaning that the boot comes off. He uses the opportunity to pounce on a confused White with a small package for two. Aw man, that should have been the finish! Blade Runner is blocked by Page and he goes for the Rite of Passage, but his back goes out. White goes for the Blade Runner again but Page spits in his eye. An enraged White lets go and goes for the chair, which allows Page to duck the shot and hit a Van Daminator. As the ref puts the chair out, Page goes for the Rite of Passage but White slips out and hits a low blow followed by the Blade Runner to pick up the win.

WINNER: JAY WHITE
RATING: ****1/4

Great match there, featuring awesome babyface selling from Page and top class heel dickery from White. The finish threatened to get a little too cute with all the twists and turns, but I think they erred just enough on the side of caution to make it work. Jay White is now on 8 points and is back as a real contender to win A Block.

VS

A Block – 30/07/2018
EVIL (8 pts) Vs Minoru Suzuki (6 pts)

EVIL has a great chance to grab the Block by the scruff of the neck here by reaching 10 points with a win, whilst if Suzuki wins we’ll have a 4 way split at the top of the A Block standings. Of course, Tanahashi is still to wrestle tonight as well, so he could end up leading A Block if Suzuki wins here and he gets at least a point in his match with YOSHI-HASHI. This is why I love the G1 because you start looking at the standings like you would the Premier League table and trying to work out all the possible outcomes and possibilities.

We have an immediate brawl to start, as both men battle around ringside, taking out everyone and everything in their path. Back inside, EVIL tries to lariat Suzuki whilst he stands on the apron, but Suzuki catches him in an arm bar and then drags him back outside where he sends him into the timekeepers table and then adds shots with a chair and a piece of guardrail. Man, do they have to let Suzuki use weapons?!?! He’s already terrifying enough!!!

EVIL tries fighting back with chops back inside the ring, but Suzuki laughs it off. However, when he throws a kick, EVIL catches his foot and delivers a super kick to the gut to finally buy himself some respite. Bronco buster gets a two for EVIL, but serves only to annoy Suzuki, who sports a face like a smacked arse and delivers some nasty strikes of his own with a Yakuza Kick and PK for two. Suzuki goes for a cross arm breaker, as EVIL tries to fend him off by clasping his hands. Suzuki finally gets the arm straight but EVIL is able to make the ropes to break.

Suzuki heads outside and goes after the arm with a chair until the referee intervenes. This gives EVIL a chance to hit him with a chair of his own to get a foothold back in the match. Both men trade strikes back inside the ring, with EVIL holding his own. Suzuki starts unleashing the super stiff forearm strikes; with the noise reverberating through the arena, but EVIL keeps coming with a roaring elbow. Both men talk trash and start throwing again, which leads to finisher counter sequence that ends with Suzuki getting the Gotch Style Piledriver to pick up the three count.

WINNER: MINORU SUZUKI
RATING: ***3/4

This was two lads beating the crap out of each other with a clean finish. That’ll do me!

VSeleven

A Block – 30/07/2018
Hiroshi Tanahashi (8 pts) Vs YOSHI-HASHI (2 pts)

With EVIL losing to Suzuki, this is a golden opportunity for Tanahashi to go 2 points clear at the top of A Block. However, YOSHI-HASHI has held his own in all his matches, even in defeat, and scored a big upset over Michael Elgin earlier in the tournament so this is by no means a banker for The Ace. Tanahashi gets the better of things in the early going, but YOSHI fakes out on a clean break attempt, bringing an end to the chain wrestling portion of the bout.

Tanahashi misses two back senton splashes in a row, and he looks to be taking YOSHI a bit lightly, which could end in hubris being punished by nemesis. YOSHI throws Tanahashi over the top and then dropkicks him when he tries to skin the cat back in. YOSHI goes to a chin lock to wear Tanahashi down and then hits a nice vertical suplex for two. YOSHI gets the better of things in a chop battle, but ends up eating a running forearm in reply.

Tanahashi gets a slam and then comes off the second rope with a flipping back senton for two. Sling Blade attempt is blocked by YOSHI and he hits a neck breaker. Tanahashi replies with a dragon screw however and goes for the Texas Cloverleaf, but YOSHI fights out and then hits a leg whip and back cracker followed by a powerbomb for two. YOSHI heads up top with a Swanton Bomb, but Tanahashi is once again able to kick out at two.

YOSHI goes for Karma, the move he beat Elgin with, but Tanahashi blocks it and then hits a neck breaker. Tanahashi goes for the Sling Blade again, but YOSHI stops him with a big clothesline for two, as the fans are starting to worry that Tanahashi might lose here. YOSHI hits the Emerald Fusion, but Tanahashi once again kicks out. Sorry, but a guy YOSHI’s size doing that move just looks ridiculous. YOSHI goes for Karma once again, as Tanahashi fights it for all he’s worth.

Tanahashi rolls out to counter Karma and finally gets the illusive Sling Blade, but YOSHI is able to kick out at two. Straightjacket Suplex gets yet another two for Tanahashi and he heads up for the High-Fly-Flow Frogplash, but YOSHI is able to move. Tanahashi sells his right knee big time after landing, which allows YOSHI to hit him with a running double knees for two. YOSHI goes to pick Tanahashi up, but Tana is waiting for him and gets a desperation cradle to pick up the flash pin fall victory.

WINNER: HIROSHI TANAHASHI
RATING: ***1/2

Tanahashi could have a ***+ match with a malfunctioning Breville Sandwich Maker at this point. He’s genuinely the greatest wrestler I’ve ever seen. He limps to the back following the match however, which could be foreshadowing for future matches to come. YOSHI held his own well here and fans were starting to buy that he might win, which is a testament both to how well he’s done in this tournament as well as how great Tanahashi is at making his opponents look good.

VS

A Block – 30/07/2018
Michael Elgin (4 pts) Vs Kazuchika Okada (6 pts)

What is with Okada’s gimmick of bringing balloons down to the ring with him? I’m guessing it’s one of those Japanese “lost in translation” things? Okada gives Elgin a clean break to start, but still makes sure to be a jerk about it. Okada tries a shoulder barge, but can’t move Elgin. Both men run through a lovely sequence of counters, which ends with Elgin blocking a small package and heaving Okada up with a vertical suplex.

Outside we go, where Okada rams Elgin into the guardrail back first, but gets caught with a dropkick when trying to get back in. Elgin follows with a dive and then tries a slingshot splash back in, but Okada gets his knees up. The fight spills outside once again, where Okada splats Elgin with a DDT on the floor. Okada sends Elgin over the railing into the crowd with a big boot and then hits a draping DDT from the railing.

Hmm, Okada Vs Orton, I think that would be a pretty swish match if Orton was prepared to cut loose. Elgin manages to make it back in at number nineteen of the referees twenty count, and actually gets some shots in before Okada sliding dropkicks him in the side of the face. Okada goes to a chin lock, in order to work over the neck area he softened up with the DDT’s on the floor. Elgin tries powering out but a well-placed knee to back puts a stop to that.

Elgin eventually powers up to his feet and hits a chop but Okada flips over and lands on his feet during a suplex attempt, only to then run into a powerslam. Elgin gets a big back breaker and then a duo of suplexes for two. Elgin sets Okada up on the top rope and goes for a superplex, but Okada fights him off and comes off the top with a cross body. Elgin catches the cross body however and climbs up the top rope with Okada on his back like King Kong climbing the Empire State building. Okada is able to slip out however and then hit Elgin with a flapjack back on the ground floor.

Okada gets another DDT, but it only leads to a two count. That DDT is really sloppy and JBL-esque, I wish he’d stop doing it. Elgin gets a German Suplex and heads up top for a big splash, but Okada is able to roll out of the way. Elgin puts Okada back on the top rope and finally gets the big superplex. You could literally see the ring BEND as they both hit the mat there! Amazingly, Okada is able to kick out, but I would have happily accepted that as a finish.

Elgin gets a Buckle Bomb and goes for the Spinning Elgin Bomb, but Okada slips out and gets a dropkick. Elgin replies with an enziguri and suplex but ends up running right into a dropkick. Elgin goes for his own Rainmaker, which Okada ducks, but is able to smash Okada with two standard lariats for a two count. Okada only JUST kicked out there! Elgin gets another Buckle Bomb and follows up with an Elgin Bomb attempt, but Okada counters out to a pinning hold for two.

Elgin sets Okada up on the top rope AGAIN (Stop, stop! He’s already dead!) and goes for the Splash Mountain Bomb but Okada is able to lucha arm drag out of it to counter and then follows up with a Tombstone Piledriver attempt. Elgin slips out of that and DESTROYS Okada with some big elbows before getting a sit out powerbomb and a Splash Mountain…for two. Sorry, two?! TWO?!?! Goodness me!!

Elgin goes for the Burning Hammer, but Okada slips out and tries the Tombstone. Elgin reverses and goes for one of his own, but Okada counters that with his own and two Rainmakers for the last gasp win. Whew, he only just pulled that one out of the fire there!

WINNER: KAZUCHIKA OKADA
RATING: ****1/2

Elgin is the real deal. I know he’s not always covered himself in glory outside the ring, but inside it he’s been pretty damn close to being an elite worker in this tournament. He’s not quite there yet, but if he keeps working with guys like Okada then he definitely will be in time. Okada was his usual excellent self, selling like a king throughout the match, but he also benefitted from having a top class dance partner.

So with those results in the bag, let’s see how A Block now stands;

Leading the way with 10 points is Hiroshi Tanahashi. Behind him are EVIL, Minoru Suzuki , Jay White and Kazuchika Okada on 8 points, Bad Luck Fale on 6 points, Michael Elgin and Togi Makabe on 4 points, with Hangman Page and YOSHI-HASHI bringing up the rear with 2 points.

Liking the sound of this New Japan stuff? Well if you head over to New Japan World you can sign up for just 999 Yen a month and not only get all of these great shows but also access to New Japan’s cavernous vaults, where you’ll find all sorts of superlative grapple action!

Whilst you’re here, why not take a goosey gander at Jes’ review of Hello Neighbor? You can read it by clicking right HERE!

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