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

Hello you! Welcome back to more B Block action from the G1 Climax 2018! Last time out B Block featured two of the best matches you’ll see all year in Kenny Omega Vs Tomohiro Ishii and Kota Ibushi Vs Tetsuya Naito. Going into Night Sixteen Omega, Naito and Ibushi could still end up winning the Block, but results tonight could leave one or more of them out of contention. Tama Tonga will be in action as well, despite the fact there is a banner of controversy hanging over his head since he choked a fan on Night Fifteen and then littered at the subway station straight after that particular show. The second offence is being seen by many in Japan as the more heinous of the two, because Japan.

All of the following matches took place on the 8th of August 2018 from the Yokohama Cultural Gymnasium in Yokohama.

VS

B Block – 08/08/2018
IWGP United States Champion Juice Robinson (4 pts) Vs Tomohiro Ishii (6 pts)

Ishii is apparently fine with Juice using the cast on his left hand, but the ref makes it clear to Juice that such an action would lead to a DQ. Juice surprisingly wins a shoulder tackle battle early on and unloads with some chops. Ishii sells the first couple but then simply starts absorbing them before unloading with his own. Juice manfully fights back with more of his own chops and actually makes Ishii sink into the corner, only for Ishii to knock him straight down with a shoulder tackle.

Big vertical suplex for Ishii, but he doesn’t go to cover and instead pulls Juice back up to his feet for more choppage, with the last one catching Juice in the throat. Ishii lets Juice gets back up and commands him to hit him, but the shots don’t have much power and Ishii floors Juice with a chop before unloading with some jabs and head butts. This fires Juice up and he replies with a Full Nelson Slam before undoing the tape on his left hand so that he can legally throw left handed punches.

Juice and Ishii trade strikes, but Ishii is able to duck the left handed punch. However, Juice is able to get a pair of clotheslines in the corner before following up with the Cannonball. Juice heads up top and comes down with a nice cross body block for two. Ishii jumped up to meet Juice as he came down, which is by far the most impressive way to take that move, especially if it’s someone like Joey Hayes taking it. Ishii and Juice trade chops, with Juice hanging as best he can but he ends up running into a powerslam for a double down.

Ishii puts Juice up top and brings him down with a big superplex, but Juice is able to block the follow up lariat attempt. Ishii lands on his feet when Juice goes for the Juice Box, but Juice is able to dodge the follow up sliding lariat and gets the Juice Box on the second attempt. Juice follows up with a big powerbomb, but Ishii is able to kick out at two. Juice calls for the punch, with the fans behind him, but Ishii keeps either dodging it or blocking it.

Juice finally gets the punch, but looks to have hurt himself in the process. He still has enough left in him to hit a lariat, but Ishii is able to kick out at two. Juice goes for Pulp Friction, but Ishii blocks it and hits a sliding lariat for two. Ishii gets a big release German Suplex and then follows up with a stiff lariat, but Juice is able to kick out at two. Sadly the suspense was ruined by Juice clearly having his eyes open watching the ref count. Both men trade head butts and Ishii hits a big brain buster to pick up the win.

WINNER: TOMOHIRO ISHII
RATING: ***1/2

Very good match there, as Juice held his own in there with Ishii and they had an enjoyable scrap as consequence. Juice is a decent worker and can almost always work up to the level of his opponent, so if you put him in there with someone good the chances are that he’ll have a good match.

VS

B Block – 08/08/2018
NEVER Openweight Champion Hirooki Goto (6 pts) Vs Zack Sabre Jr (8 pts) w/ TAKA Michinoku

Hang on a second, let me check my watch. Oh yes, it’s Zack Sabre time!

Zack beat Juice Robinson last time out to put himself into contention for his title and a win here could also put him in line for a shot at Goto’s title as well. This should be your standard battle of striker Vs grappler, but Goto is no slouch on the mat and Zack likes himself an uppercut now and then so both men may yet surprise us.

As if to deliberately prove my point, Zack comes right out of the gate with a series of uppercuts, only for Goto to weather the storm before hitting a Saito Suplex. Zack rolls outside, so Goto follows him and sends him into the guardrails with some hard Irish Whips. Zack replies by blocking one of the whip attempts before locking on some nasty submission holds. Zack leaves Goto with an injured arm outside the ring, but Goto is able to drag himself back into the ring at eighteen of the referees count.

Zack goes to his usual array of punishing submissions back inside the ring, targeting Goto’s arm especially. It sometimes looks like he’s making these holds up on the spot as he goes along but they always look positively excruciating. Zack breaks from the holds to throw some kicks, which allows Goto to block one and then floor Zack with a clothesline. Oh Zack, if only you had just stuck to the holds. Goto goes for the Ushigoroshi, and Zack wisely goes back to submission holds to counter it, only for Goto to power out of a front face lock with a vertical suplex.

Goto heads up top and goes for an elbow drop, but Zack counters it into an arm submission and wrenches it in, pulling one arm all the way back whilst trapping the other one, but Goto is able to fight his way to the ropes to force a break. Zack delivers more kicks and uppercuts but Goto shrugs them off, so he goes to a Cobra Twist instead before transitioning to an Octopus Hold. Goto is able to power out of the hold however and heaves Zack up into the Ushigoroshi for a double down.

Zack blocks the GTR and goes for a Fujinami styled pinning hold but Goto is able to kick out at two. Zack goes for a double wristlock, but Goto blocks it with a head butt and hits the reverse GTR, but his arm is too hurt to follow up right away. When he finally recovers enough to go for the standard version of the GTR Zack counters it to a European Clutch to pick up the three count.

WINNER: ZACK SABRE JR
RATING: ***1/4

Zack taunts Goto by mugging for the camera with his title before telling Goto to look after it for him as he’s coming for it down the line. Goto was never really in that match, as it was mostly Zack working him over with holds before catching Goto with a pin counter when he was finally starting to build some momentum. That’s wrestling at the end of the day. Zack has now put himself in contention for two singles titles. Hopefully he wins one down the line.

VS

B Block – 08/08/2018
Kota Ibushi (10 pts) Vs Tama Tonga (4 pts) w/ Tanga Loa

Tonga’s shirt says “Zero Fucks Given”, and part of me believes him. Let’s see if part of his “punishment” for fan throttling and littering is to do a quick a decisive job to Ibushi here. Tonga decides to jump Ibushi during his entrance and yells at the camera about being disciplined, which makes me think New Japan is going to turn this into an angle (If it wasn’t one already). Tama batters Ibushi around ringside, taking the time to yell into the camera whenever he can.

Back inside, Tonga works over Ibushi before wearing him down with a chin lock. The crowd gets behind Ibushi, and he replies with a dropkick to buy himself some time. Both men trade strikes, with Ibushi getting the better of things and hitting a running enziguri and a standing moonsault for two. Tonga replies with a dropkick of his own and then hits the Stinger Splash in the corner, but Ibushi blocks the follow up Tonga Twist before hitting a release head and arm suplex.

Tonga bails outside so Ibushi tries to follow him out with a moonsault, but Tonga rolls back in to cut him off before taking the fight into the crowd. Hopefully he doesn’t attack a fan this time. Ibushi lays Tonga out amongst the crowd and then climbs up onto the balcony, at which point he moonsaults down onto Tonga and some Young Lions. Thank goodness they had some extra people to catch him there! Ibushi puts Tonga back in the ring and heads up top, at which point Tanga Loa runs down for a distraction.

This allows Tonga to cut Ibushi off and go for a Samoan Drop from the top, but Ibushi fights him off. Tonga replies with a neck breaker back on the ground floor and then hits a guillotine DDT for two. Ibushi blocks the Gun Stun by kneeing Tonga in the face and then goes for another one, but Loa grabs his foot to block it. Ibushi kicks him away and blocks another Gun Stun from Tonga, but bumps the ref in the process. With the ref down, Bad Luck Fale runs down to attack Ibushi. Kenny Omega runs down for the save but takes a spear from Loa in the process. Ibushi fights of Loa but ends up taking a Gun Stun from Tonga and gets pinned.

WINNER: TAMA TONGA
RATING: ***

That’s probably about as high as you’re going to get from Tonga, as he isn’t an especially great wrestler but can have a watchable match if there’s enough smoke and mirrors to cover his deficiencies. I must admit I was surprised by that finish, as I thought Tonga would do the job for sure. It looks like New Japan either isn’t especially committed to punishing him or the whole thing is an angle. I’m guessing the latter. Omega takes a spike powerbomb post-match from Loa and Fale, which puts his bout with Toru Yano up in the air.

VS

B Block – 08/08/2018
Toru Yano (2 pts) Vs IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega (12 pts)

Yano seems a bit bemused by the situation but quickly demands the bell to be rung when he realises that he might actually have a chance to win a match. He rushes straight for the cover as soon as the bell rings, but Omega is able to kick out at two. Yano takes off all of the turnbuckle pads, which is time I can’t help but think would have been better served going after an injured Omega. Yano shows me, by whipping Omega into all of the corners but Chase Owen’s operates as a human shield to block Omega from hitting the last one.

Yano ends up taking a buckle himself and begs off from Omega before going for a low blow, but Omega catches the hand, only to then run into an inverted atomic drop. Yano lays all of the turnbuckle pads on the mat and suplexes Omega onto them, which Omega hilariously no sells, because why WOULD that hurt exactly? We have a turnbuckle pad duel, as I have tears of laughter in my eyes, which ends with Yano getting a school boy for two before getting a turnbuckle pad dragon screw to send Omega outside.

Outside the ring, Yano sends Omega into the guardrails and then tapes him to a Young Lion before flinging the youngster into the commentary area to anchor Omega down. That’s absolutely brilliant! Omega drags both himself and the Young Lion back into the ring to break the count at nineteen. Omega and the Young Lion hit a double clothesline and finally get untied, at which point Yano throws them into each other and hits a belly to belly suplex. Omega hits a V-Trigger and covers, but Yano counters that to his own pin for two.

Omega gets a suplex and another V-Trigger before setting up for a German Suplex, but Yano ends up countering and hitting both Omega and the ref with a stereo low blow. This is the cue for the Firing Squad to run back down, which ends with Tonga draping Yano over Omega for the three count from the revived ref.

WINNER: TORU YANO
RATING: ***

That was an exceptionally entertaining comedy match, featuring unique comedy spots and a big upset finish. The finish benefits Naito most of all, as if he wins his next two matches and Ibushi beats Omega, then Naito will win B Block.

sixteenVS

B Block – 08/08/2018
Tetsuya Naito (10 pts) Vs SANADA (8 pts)

Los Ingobernables Explodes!!!

Neither man rushes to start things, and Naito even offers a fist bump early on but, to quote Admiral Ackbar, it’s a trap and he tries an attack only for SANADA to counter it and taunt in the ring. We get some chain wrestling back inside, which ends with Naito taunting and eating a dropkick from SANADA in response. Naito responds with a neck breaker and then takes the fight outside, where he sends SANADA into the guardrails. The fight spills over to the ramp, where Naito gets a reverse DDT to the knee before delivering a seated dropkick to the back of the head.

Back inside, Naito hits a neck breaker and makes a lacs cover, which allows SANADA to kick out, before delivering some mocking kicks and spitting in his face. SANADA replies with some spit of his own and hits a back suplex for a double down. SANADA gets the two leapfrogs followed by a dropkick and a dive to the outside, which is one of my favourite spots in wrestling. It’s just always so smooth and fluid. SANADA really is a Rolls Royce of a wrestler. Naito replies by dropkicking SANADA in the corner and then goes for a pump handle slam, but SANADA lands on his feet and gets the old Flair Flip in the corner before hitting a springboard dropkick back in.

Both men trade suplex attempts, which ends with Naito hitting a tornado DDT instead and following up with a rana from the top rope. Pump handle slam gets two for Naito and he goes for The Destino, but SANADA counters to the Skull End. Naito gets out of that and goes for Destino again, but SANADA blocks it and muscles Naito into a rope assisted spinning neck breaker. SANADA gets a missile dropkick to the back of the head and then follows up with a bridging Tiger Suplex for two. SANADA goes into Skull End, but Naito arm drags out of it but when he goes for a flying forearm SANADA gets him in it a again. Naito gets out of it again and manages to hit The Destino, but SANADA is out at two.

SANADA actually hits Naito with a Destino of his own, but Naito kicks out, so SANADA goes back to the Skull End and scissors the legs for good measure. Rather than hold on for the submission or knockout win however, SANADA lets go and heads up for the moonsault, but Naito moves and there’s no water in the pool. Should have just left the hold applied SANADA. Both men get back up and trade forearm strikes, which ends with Naito slapping SANADA and getting a flying forearm. SANADA blocks Destino and then goes back to the Skull End, but Naito gets out so SANADA goes to an O’Connor Roll for the nearest of near falls.

Naito alleyoops SANADA into the corner and hits a reverse German Suplex but SANNADA no sells it. Undeterred though, Naito calmly counters a DDT attempt and hits the Destino for the three count. So with that win Naito is still alive in B Block now, but he needs the Ibushi/Omega match to go to a draw whilst he beats Zack Sabre Jr.

WINNER: TETSUYA NAITO
RATING: ***1/2

I don’t know, this just didn’t do it for me. It was a good match, but I just wasn’t emotionally invested for some reason. Maybe because there’s been so many great matches in this G1 already that I’ve started to become a bit jaded?

Let’s see how B Block now looks;

Kenny Omega and Tetsuya Naito sit on top of the block with 12 points, whilst Ibushi sits beneath them on 10 points, along with Zack Sabre Jr. SANADA and Tomohiro Ishii are tied on 8 points, whilst Hirooki Goto and Tama Tonga both have 6 points. Juice Robinson and Toru Yano bring up the rear with both on 4 points.

So with those standings, Naito can win the block if he defeats Zack Sabre Jr on Night Eighteen so long as Omega and Ibushi draw or Ibushi beats Omega. If Omega beat Ibushi then he’ll win the Block regardless of what happens in Naito’s match as he holds a tie breaker over him. The only way for Ibushi to win the Block is for him to defeat Omega and then hope Naito loses, as he also holds a tie breaker over Naito. If Naito loses and Omega/Ibushi goes to a tie, then Omega will win the Block.

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Looking for more great content here on the site? Well then why not take a goosey gander at Scott’s review of Iro Hero? You can read what he thinks by clicking right HERE

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