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

Hello again! Today we roll into Night Twelve and more action from B Block. Currently Kenny Omega finds himself top of B Block with an undefeated record following a victory over SANADA on Night Ten. Can he get yet another win tonight against Zack Sabre Jr? Let’s read on to find out!

If you want to get caught up on B Block action you can read my recap of Night Ten by clicking right HERE

The following matches took place on the 1st of August 2018 from the Kagoshima Arena in Kagoshima.

VSTwelve

B Block – 01/08/2018
Tomohiro Ishii (4 pts) Vs Tama Tonga (2 pts) w/ Tanga Loa

I don’t know why, but Tonga will always be the son of “Meng” as opposed to the son of “Haku” for me. I think it’s probably down to the fact I watched WCW in the 90’s before I watched classic WWF and thus the WCW name imprinted on me more. Ishii had one of the best matches of this and any G1 in the previous round against Ibushi, so hopefully he can keep the hot streak going here.

Tonga tries a Gun Stun right out of the gate, but Ishii blocks it. Tonga decides instead to throw some forearm strikes, but Ishii easily shakes those off. A dropkick works better for Tonga and the follow up snap suplex gets him a two count from the ref. Tonga sends Ishii outside and distracts the ref, which allows Loa to come over for a few cheap shots before throwing Ishii back in.

Ishii no sells some more shots from Tonga, even surviving a head butt, and then snaps off a powerslam before delivering some chops and elbow strikes in the corner. Loa trips Ishii to halt his momentum, so Ishii throws him inside and gives him some chops and elbows. However, this allows Tonga to get a big DDT for two.

Tongan Twist is countered by Ishii into a brain buster but the ref gets bumped during a powerbomb attempt, which leads to Loa wearing Ishii out with a chair. Ishii recovers from that though and fights off both Samoan’s before grabbing the chair and hammering Tonga with it. Ishii goes for a brain buster on the chair, but Tonga counters with a Tongan Twist onto it instead. Despite this, Ishii is still able to kick out and then blocks a follow up Gun Stun attempt with a German Suplex.

Big lariat turns Tonga inside out but he’s able to just about kick out at two. A sliding lariat looks to have things sown up for Ishii, but Loa pulls the ref out at two. This allows Bad Luck Fale to run down and hit Ishii with the Grenade. That would seem to finish, but Ishii is able to get his shoulder up at two. Ishii blocks one more Gun Stun and goes for the brain buster, but Tonga turns it into a Gun Stun in mid-air to pick up the win.

WINNER: TAMA TONGA
RATING: ***

Good match there, although I do have to question why no one from CHAOS ran down to help Ishii out when he was going one on three? Los Ingobernables run down to help their guys, but CHAOS doesn’t seem too bothered to do it for theirs. Perhaps this is a deliberate thing to highlight the rumoured division within CHAOS?

VS

B Block – 01/08/2018
IWGP United States Championship Juice Robinson (2 pts) Vs SANADA (6 pts)

Juice finally got off the mark in this year’s G1 by defeating Toru Yano last time out, whilst SANADA lost a fantastic match against Omega. He really needs to win here though to keep up the pace, especially considering Omega will still have a minimum 10 points even if he loses later. Juice gives his entrance jacket to a young fan in the front row, which is a nice thing to do.

Obviously I don’t know him personally, but I can’t help but be happy for Juice that he’s found a home in New Japan. It just goes to show the WWE system isn’t everything and you can be perfectly happy outside of it if you work hard and check your ego at the door. SANADA’s stock has risen massively in this year’s G1 and I genuinely think he could be a future major singles champion.

A chain wrestling sequence leads us to a stand-off in the early going, as Juice holds his own admirably. The fight spills outside, where both men counter each other’s big moves before they realise the referee is counting and roll back in at nineteen. Juice sends SANADA back out and then follows with a dive. SANADA gets back dropped over a guardrail but lands on his feet and then chokes him down with the Skull End, leaving Juice prone in the crowd.

Rather than go for a count out however, SANADA grabs Juice and puts him back inside, where he gets a 1 and half count. Juice fights back from underneath but ends up on the wrong end of a short arm scissor, which doesn’t help out with his injured left hand. Juice tries the old Bob Backlund power out of the arm scissor but he can’t muscle SANADA up and makes the ropes instead.

Juice delivers the Uncle Slam and then fires off some right handed jabs before hitting a spine buster. Juice hits a running cannonball in the corner then follows with a cross body block from the top rope for two. Juice goes for a powerbomb but SANADA fights out and then hits Juice with a dropkick before following with a dive to the outside.

SANADA hits another dropkick back inside, but ends up running into a jumping side kick. SANADA counters the Juice Box (Fireman’s Carry to the Knees) with the Skull End but Juice is able to counter that with one of his own! Juice wears SANADA down with the hold and then tries a moonsault but SANADA rolls out of the way.

SANADA misses his own moonsault but lands on his feet and goes for a rana, which Juice counters into a powerbomb for two. Juice takes off the protective cast on his left hand, which means he is allowed to punch with it if he wants, but you have to think it wouldn’t be good for his hand?

Juice throws a big punch, but SANADA ducks it and goes to Skull End. Juice walks up the ropes to counter it, but SANADA slips out and goes back to it himself. He tries to sit down with it, but Juice rolls through and hits a left handed punch followed by the Pulp Friction to pick up a win that could have big implications on the tournament.

WINNER: JUICE ROBINSON
RATING: ***1/2

Juice showed there that, despite him having no chance of winning the B Block, he was still going to do right by everyone else and try his best. I enjoyed this match a lot, as Juice hung well with the more athletically gifted SANADA and eventually won thanks to having the guts to undo the cast despite his hand not being fully healed yet.

VS

B Block – 01/08/2018
Toru Yano (2 pts) Vs Tetsuya Naito (8 pts)

I would be utterly shocked if Yano won here, seeing Naito is a legit contender to win the whole thing and Yano is the comic relief, but he’s had a few upsets to his name over the years. In a funny moment, Yano decides to put his shirt back on whilst Naito slowly and calmly disrobes. Naito won’t even lock up with Yano in the early going, which takes Yano out of his comfort zone.

Naito throws Yano outside and taunts in the ring, but Yano climbs under the ring and jumps him from behind. Yano sends Naito aggressively into the guardrails and then goes to tape him to raling, but Naito gets hold of the tape himself and ends up taping Yano up instead. Oh irony is indeed a cruel mistress!

Yano makes it back into the ring, railing and all, to break the count and eats a dropkick for his troubles. This at least ensures that he is no longer taped up, but Naito makes the moment of happiness brief by sending him into the guardrails and then hitting him with a DVD case. I do like how Yano won’t bust out for a Blu-ray and still brings DVDs down to the ring with him.

Yano undoes the turnbuckle pad and takes a swing with it, but Naito ducks it and then dodges when Yano charges at him again, sending him into the unprotected turnbuckle. Naito grabs the turnbuckle pad and hits Yano with it for two. Naito gets sent into the unprotected buckle three times by Yano, who goes to a school boy after the third one for a near fall.

Yano hits a lovely belly to belly suplex and then finally takes his shirt off, only to use it to choke Naito. Naito blocks a low blow with one of his own and goes to a jack knife cradle, but Yano kicks out at two. However, he calmly follows up with The Destino to put Yano away.

WINNER: TORU YANO
RATING: **1/2

The problem with Naito is that he’s “too cool for school” to sell Yano’s comedy, which meant that the match ended up feeling a bit flat as consequence. There was never really a moment where you bought that Yano might win either. You need at least one proper tease of a Yano win to make these matches work, but Naito didn’t really commit to his role as exasperated straight man and it hurt the match. That win now puts Naito on 10 points and in a great position to challenge Omega for B Block.

VS

B Block – 01/08/2018
IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega (10 pts) Vs Zack Sabre Jr (6 pts) w/ TAKA Michinoku

The fans make it clear to TAKA during his opening spiel that they think Kenny Omega is going to win the tournament. This match has interesting implications, as a Zack win would not only keep him contention but also do a big favour to Naito, who needs Omega to lose two matches whilst winning all of his own, as Omega would rank ahead of him on the head to head record should it come down to a tie.

Omega holds his own on the mat with Zack in the early going, as he continues his campaign to try and remain undefeated for the entirety of B Block. Omega ends the wrestling portion of the match by kicking Zack to the outside and then heading for a dive, but Zack trips him and then applies a heel hold on the outside. Zack stays on the leg whilst outside the ring, but Omega sends him over the railing into the crowd and then follows with an Asai moonsault.

The two brawl up the ramp, where Omega goes for a slam but Zack manages to counter it into a heel hook before transitioning to an STF. Zack moves seamlessly from submission move to submission with such ease, it really is incredibly impressive! Zack continues to go after Omega’s leg and knee back in the ring with kicks and more torturous submission holds. Omega manages to get a boot up in the corner and hits a face crusher, but it’s obvious that his legs are bothering him.

Zack manages to escape the rolling fireman’s carry by going to a sleeper, but Omega drives him into the corner to break and this time Zack can’t escape the fireman’s, but he CAN counter the Quebrada into a submission hold, which forces Omega to get to the ropes to break. Zack has laid the biggest whooping onto Omega so far in B Block, but Omega is still able to hit a tornado DDT before following up with a dive to the outside.

Omega gingerly hops up to the top rope, but Zack meets him up there and goes to a double wrist lock. Omega fights him off and then comes off the top with a cross body but Zack is able to counter that to an arm submission. Omega powers out of that with a dead lift German Suplex, but stops to taunt and gets caught in another arm bar. Omega powerbombs out of that and hits the V-Trigger, but Zack is able to counter the One Winged Angel into a cross arm breaker attempt.

Omega gets out of the hold before the arm can be straightened and gets a snap dragon suplex, but Zack counters another One Winged Angel attempt into a pinning combination for two. Omega goes for another V-Trigger but Zack catches his legs and goes into a single leg Boston crab. Omega tries to fight out, but every time he gets through one line of defence Zack just switches the hold a different way. Zack hits the PK for two and then goes to a leg submission, trapping him in the middle of the ring.

Omega keeps fighting and is eventually able to make the ropes, but a lot of damage was probably done before he got there. Zack goes for a PK, but Omega blocks it and the two trade slaps before Omega gets another V-Trigger. Omega goes to a cradle but Zack counters to one of his own, only for Omega to reverse it back for the three count.

WINNER: KENNY OMEGA
RATING: ****

Zack destroys large parts of the ringside area, as this result means it’s entirely unlikely that he can win B Block now that Omega has the tie-breaking win over him here. This was a good gutsy win for Omega, as he sold the leg throughout and showed he was able to win with other moves than just the One Winged Angel. I’m already on record that I love Zack’s submission expertise and it was on full display here.

VS

B Block – 01/08/2018
NEVER Openweight Champion Hirooki Goto (4 pts) Vs Kota Ibushi (6 points)

Ibushi is the hometown hero, which is something I genuinely wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t been watching the English commentary. It’s things like that why I’m so glad New Japan has an English language feed now as it really helps with understanding what is going on and why. It’s clear that Ibushi is fired up to be in his home arena here, but it could also put more pressure on him as well.

After some technical wrestling, Ibushi rana’s Goto out of the ring and goes for an Asai moonsault, but Goto gets back into the ring before he can do it and then clotheslines him on the apron. Goto sends Ibushi into the guardrail and then takes the match back inside where he goes to a head scissors. Ibushi manages to make the ropes to break that, but Goto quickly goes back to a chin lock, as it appears his game plan is to wear Ibushi down and quiet the home crowd.

Ibushi fights out and sends Goto to the outside, where he manages to hit the Asai moonsault this time. Back inside, Ibushi gets a springboard dropkick and then goes for a half nelson suplex, but Goto gets out of that and then floors his opponent with a big clothesline. Goto gets a spinning wheel kick in the corner and then follows up with a Saito Suplex but Ibushi manages to kick out at two. Ibushi fights out of the Ushigoroshi, but takes a kick to the face for his troubles.

Ibushi lands on his feet during another Ushigoroshi attempt and then floors Goto with a Pele kick. Both men trade strikes, which ends with Goto finally getting the Ushigoroshi for a two count. Goto sets Ibushi up on the top rope but Ibushi fights off his attempt at a superplex and then sets up for one of his own. Goto fights him off but Ibushi is persistant and climbs back up for more. Goto wins that battle and goes for the Yoshi Tonic from the top rope, but Ibushi flips out and lands on his feet in an awesome spot.

Both men charge at each other with lariats, where Ibushi surprisingly comes out on top, but the resulting cover only gets two. Ibushi hits a straightjacket suplex and goes for a knee strike but Goto dodges it and then floors Ibushi with a big head butt. Goto follows up with a lariat and then hits a reverse GTR before going for a standard one. Ibushi counters out of that though and goes to throw Goto into the turnbuckle like a lawn dart, but Goto slips behind and goes to a sleeper.

Ibushi seems to go out in the sleeper and Goto goes for the GTR, but Ibushi fights him off, only to walk into a lariat in response. Ibushi blocks another GTR but ends up on the wrong end of a Shouten Kai for a two count. Goto gets a big kick and goes for the GTR again, but Ibushi turns it into a cradle for two before destroying Goto with a kick combo and a running knee strike for two. Ibushi gets the sit out Last Ride, but Goto gets out again for another two. Ibushi delivers a big knee strike after that though and that’s finally enough to keep Goto down.

WINNER: KOTA IBUSHI
RATING: ***1/2

The work was fine but the match felt a little bit flat, which was surprising as I thought the home town crowd would have been losing their shit when Ibushi was getting beaten down during the finishing stretch, but they were strangely reserved.

So let’s see how B Block looks following those matches;

Kenny Omega leads the pack with a perfect 12, whilst Tetsuya Naito sits in second place with 10 points. Kota Ibushi is on 8 points, whilst Zack Sabre Jr and SANADA are both tied on 6 points. Tomohiro Ishii, Juice Robinson, Tama Tonga and Hirooki Goto are all jockeying for position on 4 points whilst Toru Yano brings up the rear on 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 Samantha’s review of Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion? You can read it by clicking right HERE

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