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

Hello you! We’re getting into the closing stretch of the G1 now onto Night Fifteen, with only two league matches left in each block. A Block has come down to a battle between Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada and Jay White. White holds a tie breaker over both Okada and Tanahashi, so if he wins all of his remaining matches, and Tanahashi loses one of his last two, then White will have won A Block. Okada needs to win all of his remaining matches whilst hoping White drops points somewhere. But before we can get to that, we have to start out this round of fixtures with YOSHI-HASHI taking on Bad Luck Fale.

If you want to catch up with goings on in A Block you can read my recap of Night Thirteen by paying a visit to my archives

The following matches took place on the 5th of August 2018 from the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium in Osaka

VS

A Block – 05/08/2018
YOSHI-HASHI (2 pts) Vs Bad Luck Fale (6 pts) w/ Tanga Loa

YOSHI hammers away with forearms to start, but Fale shrugs it off, as well as some follow up shoulder barges. Loa distracts YOSHI, which allows Fale to dump him outside and take the ref. With the ref dealing with Fale, Loa suplexes YOSHI on the floor. I mean, does Bad Luck Fale really NEED to cheat against YOSHI frickin’ HASHI!?

Fale slowly works over YOSHI back in the ring, targeting his taped shoulder. YOSHI fights back with a dropkick to the leg and then hits a running neck breaker. YOSHI peppers Fale with more strikes and then heads up with an Over Castle for two. YOSHI goes for a suplex on Fale, which is an obviously stupid thing for him to do and Fale blocks it before flattening him with a shoulder tackle. 747 Splash from Fale, but YOSHI is able to kick out.

Fale goes for the grenade, but YOSHI slips out and hits a big lariat to bump Fale for two. YOSHI heads up top, but Loa causes a distraction which allows Fale to stop him. Fale goes for a Samoan Drop, but YOSHI slips out and sends Fale into Loa before getting a school boy roll up for two. Fale tries to counter a sunset flip with a butt splash, but YOSHI dodges it.

Loa runs in to the ring and takes a Code Breaker for his troubles. The ref doesn’t believe that’s DQ worthy for some reason. YOSHI hits a running Double Knees and goes to a cross arm breaker, which draws Tama Tonga into the ring with a chair which is FINALLY enough for the ref to call for a DQ.

WINNER BY DISQUALIFICATION: YOSHI-HASHI
RATING: **

Once again New Japan decided to “protect” Fale with a DQ loss, when a clean loss wouldn’t have hurt him and would have actually helped YOSHI. Tonga runs into the crowd post-match and actually grabs a fan around the throat before destroying a Young Lion with the chair. Unless that fan is a plant, then I legit think Tonga needs to be disciplined for that. If a fan comes over the railing and you fight them off in self-defence then that’s one thing, but if a fan is sitting down and you leap the rail to go a choke them then that’s crossing the line.

 VS

A Block – 05/08/2018
Hangman Page (4 pts) Vs Minoru Suzuki (8 pts)

Page takes it right to Suzuki from the off, with the fight immediately spilling to the outside. El Desperado tries to help out his boss Suzuki, but Page fights him off and then hits a moonsault onto both of them from the entrance area. Hangman came to fight tonight! Back inside the ring however, Suzuki shows off why he’s an exceedingly scary man by hooking in a double wristlock out of nowhere.

Back outside we go, where Suzuki takes Page into the crowd and flings chairs at him. These aren’t your standard metal folding chairs either, they’re proper chairs that have lots of pointy bits and hardly any give. Suzuki assaults Page with a literal row of guardrail as well before throttling the referee. None of that is a DQ though because…

Thanks, Cenk.

Anyway, the ref finally decides to start counting both men out (What a novel idea!) and the fight finally comes back inside. Page hammers away on Suzuki with clotheslines in the corner and then follows with a dropkick and the deadlift block buster slam. That move is absolutely brilliant, Page is a freak to be able to muscle guys up like that. Suzuki is not impressed however and sports a face like a smacked arse before hitting a Yakuza Kick and a PK for two.

Suzuki decides to go to a Fujiwara Arm Bar and viciously wrenches it in until Page is able to drag himself to the ropes to break. Suzuki kicks away at Page, calling him a “boy”, which leads to Page getting back to his feet and spitting in his face. Oh Hangman, it was nice knowing you. Suzuki unloads with some STIFF forearm strikes and then goes to a choke hold.

Gotch Style Piledriver would appear to be next, but Page fights it off and hits a rolling elbow and super kick to fell his opponent. Buckshot Lariat from Page sets up an attempt at the Rite of Passage, but Suzuki counters it and goes back to the choke hold. Page fades and Suzuki goes for the Gotch again, but Page counters it into the Rite of Passage and picks up a BIG win over the leader of Suzuki-gun.

WINNER: HANGMAN PAGE
RATING: ***1/2

Another star making performance for Page in a tournament full of them from him this year as he weathered the Suzuki storm and picked up a clean win in the process. I like how Suzuki’s penchant for hitting the piledriver cost him again, as if he’d just kept the choke hold applied he probably would have won.

VS

A Block – 05/08/2018
Togi Makabe (4 pts) Vs Jay White (10 pts)

A white win here would temporarily put him atop of the block as he holds a tie breaker over Hiroshi Tanahashi. This match starts quickly as well, with Makabe going straight after White in the early going. White bails following a shoulder barge and Makabe follows, which gives White a chance to cut him off and then send him into the guardrails. Fellow CHAOS stablemate Rocky Romero once again chastises White on commentary.

White gets cocky in the ring, mockingly slapping Makabe, and ends up taking a powerslam as consequence. Makabe goes to the punches in the corner and then hits a lariat for two. A nice Northern Lights Suplex gets another two for Makabe but White replies with a Saito Suplex. Twisting brain buster gets White a two count and he throws some chops and forearm strikes Makabe’s way. Makabe absorbs them and asks for more, to which White obliges, but Makabe shakes those off as well and makes White crumple to the mat with a clothesline.

White doesn’t stay down though and hits a Complete Shot and release German Suplex, but Makabe pops right back up with a lariat. Makabe puts White up top and goes for the Spider German Suplex, but White fights him off with elbows so Makabe improvises with a belly to belly suplex instead. White goes for the Blade Runner, but Makabe fights him off and hits a lariat for two. Makabe heads up top for the King Kong Knee Drop, but White is able to roll out of the way and there’s no water in the pool.

White goes under the ring and brings two chairs in, but Makabe ducks a chair shot and lariats the chair into his face. Makabe tries to use the chair but the referee stops him. As they argue, White bumps them into each other and then flings the other chair into Makabe’s face. White follows up with the Blade Runner and that’s enough to put him on 12 points.

WINNER: JAY WHITE
RATING: ***

Usual match from Makabe there, as he’s clearly slowing down due to all the years of punishment he’s suffered, but he was fine here and White delivered his now usual strong heel antics. White almost goes back via the losers exit following the match and takes out the Young Lion that corrects him. What a jerk, I love it!

VS

A Block – 05/08/2018
Hiroshi Tanahashi (12 pts) Vs Michael Elgin (6 pts)

I personally think Elgin wins this, if only because if Okada wins then we’ll have three people on 12 points with one more match to go. They might possibly have Tanahashi win though as that would still leave the door open for Okada to defeat him on the last night to take the Block should he be able to get a win over EVIL later, but Jay White would still be waiting in the wings with a tie breaker over both Okada and Tanahashi. This sort of thing is why I love G1, because all of the variables matter and it’s fun to think of what could happen.

Tanahashi wants a test of strength early on, which goes Elgin’s way, as does a follow up shoulder tackle exchange. Tanahashi gets a hip toss but when he goes up for a second rope cross body Elgin catches him and brings him down with a reverse Alabama Slam. Pendulum back breaker gets two for Elgin and he follows up with a slingshot splash to get another. Tanahashi gets a flying forearm and then follows up with an elbow drop and somersault senton splash for two.

Both men go for a kick and catch each other’s legs, but are able to negotiate a ceasefire to put the legs down. Both men trade dragon screw leg whips, with Elgin’s coming second, and Elgin follows up with an overhead release belly to belly suplex. Faclon Arrow gets a two for Elgin, as he’s been getting the best of things for the majority of this match thus far. Elgin puts Tanahashi up top and goes for a superplex, but Tanahashi slips out and then dragon screws him down from the top rope. I used to love giving that move to my CAW’s on WWF No Mercy.

Tanahashi goes to a Texas Cloverleaf, but he can’t cinch it in quite how he likes due to Elgin’s thick legs and Elgin ends up powering out. Tanahashi heads up top but Elgin stops him with an enziguiri and then hits a gigantic superplex from the top rope for two. I honestly think they should let him start pinning people with that move as it looks fantastic and it’s about time someone started using a superplex as a finish again. Elgin folds Tanahashi up with a powerbomb but it only gets him a two count from the ref.

Tanahashi no sells a buckle bomb and comes sprinting out of the corner with a Sling Blade for two. Ah, Japanese wrestling, never change! Elgin blocks another dragon screw with an enziguri and gets a German Suplex followed by a rip cord elbow, but Tanahashi blocks the powerbomb attempt with a neck breaker and Sling Blade. Tanahashi goes for a cross body from the top but Elgin rolls through and then blocks a follow up straightjacket suplex attempt with pure raw power. That was actually kind of terrifying.

Elgin hits a big lariat and then hits a Splash Mountain Bomb for two, as the crowd are losing their minds. Elgin gets the buckle bomb and goes for the Elgin Bomb to finish, but Tanahashi is able to slip out and then get a small package to pick up the two points. The finish looked a little botched but they just kept going with it and covered it well.

WINNER: HIROSHI TANAHASHI
RATING: ****

This built slowly into a great match, with Elgin looking strong in defeat and Tanahashi looking gutsy and resourceful in victory. Both men show respect to each other following the bout in a nice display of sportsmanship.

fifteenVS

A Block – 05/08/2018
Kazuchika Okada (10 pts) Vs EVIL (8 pts)

Okada can still win the Block but he’s going to need to win this match, defeat Tanahashi on Night Seventeen and hope that EVIL does him a favour against Jay White on the same night. EVIL defeated Okada in last year’s G1 tournament and almost defeated Okada again in a rematch later that same year, so this is going to be a tough test of Okada’s competitive acumen.

EVIL almost beats Okada in the early going with a lariat and goes for Everything is EVIL, but Okada blocks it and hits an inverted neck breaker to buy himself some time. The fight spills outside, where EVIL sends Okada HARD into the guardrail and then adds a chair assisted trip into the ring post for good measure. Okada manages to break the count back in but he’s in a bad way. EVIL goes into a surfboard and then stomps Okada’s face into the mat for two.

EVIL goes to a chin lock, adding a knee to the back to really make it unpleasant. Okada fights off a neck breaker and then manages to hit a DDT for a double down. Flapjack gets a two for Okada and he goes for a Tombstone Piledriver, but EVIL is able to block it. EVIL dodges a dropkick and squishes Okada with a back senton splash. Okada rolls out onto the apron to sell the splash and EVIL follows him out then before driving him off onto the guardrails below.

Up the ramp we go, where EVIL goes for Darkness Falls but Okada slips out and then delivers a DDT. Well, EVIL has no one to blame but himself for that one. Okada hits a running front dropkick, which sends EVIL tumbling down the ramp like he’s Tommy Dreamer falling down bleachers. Back inside, Okada gets another dropkick before heading up for one from the top rope. Okada is fired up now and goes for the Tombstone, but EVIL counters out and gets a ref assisted Magic Killer to put EVERYONE down!!

Hey, there’s a reason he’s called “EVIL” and not “BASTION OF GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP” you know! EVIL hits Darkness Falls but Okada kicks out at two. EVIL goes for Everything is EVIL but Okada blocks it, only to end up eating a roaring elbow as a result. EVIL hits Okada with his own version of the Rainmaker, but Okada is able to kick out at two. EVIL hits a big lariat but Okada is able to JUST get his shoulder up at two.

EVIL goes for Everything is EVIL but Okada dodges it and hits his own version of the move for a near fall. These two have ridiculously good chemistry together. Okada finally manages to get the Tombstone and goes for the Rainmaker but EVIL ducks and gets his own lariat. Okada blocks Everything is EVIL however and hits a discus lariat followed by the Rainmaker to finally keep EVIL down for three.

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

EVIL is possibly one of the most unassuming “big match wrestlers” going at the moment. So Okada is alive going into Night Seventeen, but he’ll need to beat Tanahashi and hope that EVIL delivers the beans and liver against Jay White.

So with the penultimate night of A Block in the bag, let’s see how the standings look;

Hiroshi Tanahashi is currently in the lead with 14 points but Jay White and Kazuchika Okada are nipping at his heels with 12 points. Minoru Suzuki and EVIL are out of contention with 8 points, as are Michael Elgin, Hangman Page and Bad Luck Fale on 6 points. Togi Makabe and YOSHI-HASHI bring up the rear with 4 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 have a goosey gander at Will’s review of Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle Card Game? You read what he thinks by clicking right HERE

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