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

Hello all, and welcome to Day Five of NJPW G1 Climax 2018 were we are due to watch some more matches from A Block. Currently the standout figure of A Block has been Jay White, who has thus far defeated both Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi to amass himself a cheeky four points on the board. Can he make it 6 today against Michael Elgin? Meanwhile, former IWGP Heavyweight Champion Okada is yet to win a big singles match since losing his title to Kenny Omega. Can he finally get over that line today against Hangman Page? Let’s read on to find out!

To refresh yourself on events in A Block you can read the recap of Night Three by clicking right HERE

The following matches all took place at the world famous Korakuen Hall in Bunkyo on the 20th of July 2018

VS

A Block – 20/07/2018
Michael Elgin (4 pts) Vs Jay White (4 pts)

Both men are currently undefeated, with White picking up wins over Okada and Tanahashi whilst Elgin defeated EVIL and Hangman Page. White has recently been behaving like a spoilt child by declaring that he is the real leader of CHAOS, which has caused all kinds of dissention within the group, although fellow CHAOS stablemate Rocky Romero says he’s still pulling for him in this match on commentary.

White tries shoulder blocking Elgin early on, which goes about as well for him as you would imagine, and then decides to trade chops with him, which again goes how you would imagine against the bigger man. A big chop sends White scurrying out of the ring and Elgin follows him out with a suicide dive. Elgin tries to powerbomb White outside the ring, but gets back body dropped into the front row.

Undeterred, Elgin grabs White and tries to suplex him into the crowd, but White drops his arm over the guardrail to block it before delivering a Saito Suplex on the floor at ringside. White then goes to his usual MO this G1 of barging Elgin viciously into the guardrails before throwing him back into the ring. I love that spot as it’s simple yet utterly sadistic. White gets a neck breaker back inside, but Elgin is able to kick out.

I love how White is still essentially a Young Lion but he’s trying to act like the cock of the walk and always reacts with petulant viciousness whenever someone challenges him and breaks him from the façade. White ties Elgin up in the ropes and tees off on him with strikes, but Elgin is able to come back with a high kick on the apron before vaulting in with a double stomp onto White. Elgin dodges a White charge in the corner and fires off a northern lights suplex for two.

A series of clotheslines in the corner lead to Elgin setting White up top, but White goes to the eyes to block and then delivers a Uranage Suplex for two. White sets up for a Kiwi Krusher but Elgin fights him off with big forearm strikes. Elgin brings more pain with some knife edge chops before following up with a stiff elbow strike. White fights back with some desperation shots, only to eat a Big Mike dropkick.

White comes back with a Complete Shot and a German Suplex but Elgin fights back with a German of his own into the turnbuckle. Elgin goes for a powerbomb, but White is able to block it and delivers a couple of head and arm suplexes. Elgin hangs on though and comes back with a big superplex for two. Elgin heads up and comes down with a lovely splash from the top for a count of two. Fans were buying that as a possible finish!

Elgin gets White up for a Burning Hammer but White is able to fight his way out of it and goes to the apron. Elgin follows and tries a suplex out there but White replies with a Complete Shot onto THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING (If you ignore the ring post). White tries for the Kiwi Krusher on the apron but Elgin counters into a sort of a DDT and both men go tumbling off the apron. That looked botched but it suited what they were looking to do so I’ll let it go.

Both men beat the count back in, where White hits a sleeper suplex and calls for the Blade Runner (Sister Abigail/Knox Out) but Elgin slips out and hits a big spinning elbow followed by a jumping knee to the face. Half and half back suplex from Elgin sets up a lariat and a Tiger Bomb for a BIG near fall! Wow, I thought White was done for there! Elgin goes for the buckle bomb, but White grabs hold of the ref whilst the move takes place and ends up knocking him down momentarily. With the ref down, White gets a low blow and the Blade Runner and that’s enough to give him 6 points!

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

They are making a STAR out of White here, by having him win all of these matches whilst still being a shithouse heel about it. This was a very good match, but it was just missing that certain something to put it higher for me. I can’t really explain what this something was, but this just didn’t feel like it warranted a higher rating.

NJPWVS

A Block – 20/07/2018
YOSHI-HASHI (0 pts) Vs Minoru Suzuki (0 pts)

Suzuki has been the big surprise so far in the tournament as he is yet to get his name on the scoreboard despite having a trophy cabinet that would make most other wrestlers jealous. YOSHI has been little more than a makeweight so far in the tournament, although he gave his all in both of his defeats to Togi Makabe and EVIL. I would expect Suzuki to get off the mark here, but you never know with the G1.

YOSHI goes right after Suzuki to start and wastes no time taking the fight outside. It’s obvious that Suzuki wasn’t expecting this and it’s put him off guard. Suzuki gets back into things by wrapping YOSHI’s shoulder around the ring post and smacking it with a chair. Well, that was nice while it lasted for poor YOSHI, but I think usual business will resume now. Suzuki takes the fight into the crowd and pummels him with chairs, all whilst the referee does nothing.

Back inside, Suzuki goes after the arm and gets an arm bar on YOSHI whilst draped over the ropes, which the referee at least attempts to break up. Suzuki toys with YOSHI, kicking and slapping him around, and actively laughs when YOSHI attempts to fight back. Yakuza kick in the corner sets up a Penalty Kick for Suzuki but YOSHI catches the foot and gets some chops in. YOSHI drapes Suzuki over the top rope and follows up with a dropkick and follows up with an Over Castle from the top rope for two.

YOSHI tries a powerbomb but Suzuki is able to block it so he delivers more chops instead. Suzuki comes back with a Fujiwara arm bar and really wrenches it in before transitioning to a standard cross arm bar but YOSHI is able to make the ropes. Suzuki unloads with stiff kicks to YOSHI and then goes to the sleeper. Once YOSHI is weakened, Suzuki tries for the Gotch Style Piledriver but YOSHI is able to back body drop out of it to counter.

Minoru, seriously, STOP TRYING THAT MOVE! YOSHI comes back with a big lariat and gets a neck breaker for two before transitioning to a butterfly lock. Suzuki is able to drag himself to the rope for the break and then tries for a rolling arm bar but YOSHI goes back to the butterfly lock. The heat is lacking here, as I don’t think the fans buy that YOSHI can win, and they especially don’t buy that he could win it by submission!

Suzuki eventually makes the ropes but it’s after he’s been in the hold for a long time and he’s been weakened as a result. YOSHI gets the back cracker and goes for Karma (Pumphandle Half Nelson Driver) but Suzuki fights him off and ends up delivering a rare dropkick to put out YOSHI’s lights! Suzuki wears a maniacal grin and unloads with a flurry of stuff slaps, and won’t even let YOSHI go down. YOSHI responds with a super kick and a small package for two, which gets a good reaction from the crowd.

YOSHI goes for the butterfly lock again but Suzuki easily fights him off and FINALLY manages to hit the Gotch Style Piledriver for the first time this tournament to get some points on the board. He celebrates by dragging a young boy into the ring and clobbering him with a big forearm shot before scaring Kevin Kelley on commentary. Kelley is suitably terrified by this possibility but Suzuki is nice enough to let him live.

WINNER: MINORU SUZUKI
RATING: ***

Another solid outing by YOSHI but, the small package aside, no one in the crowd really bought that he could win and it hurt the overall heat of the match.

VS

A Block – 20/07/2018
Togi Makabe (4 points) Vs EVIL (2 points)

Makabe is the current surprise package in this year’s G1 due to winning his first two matches, including a win over Minoru Suzuki in the second round of fixtures. EVIL lost his opener to Michael Elgin but beat the hapless YOSHI-HASHI on match day two to get some points on the board.

EVIL wants to trade strikes with Makabe in the early going, and actually doesn’t fare too badly. The fight spills outside where EVIL puts a chair over Makabe’s head before delivering another chair shot. Double the chairs, double the pain! Makabe manages to beat the count back in, so EVIL drags him outside again and the two take a tour of the venue. EVIL goes for Darkness Falls (Fireman’s Carry into a Powerbomb) out in the crowd but Makabe fights him off and delivers a clothesline.

Makabe drags EVIL back down to the ringside and then sends EVIL into the ring post before putting him back in the ring. Back inside, Makabe gets a clothesline in the corner before delivering the ten punches and a clothesline for a count of two. Makabe tries a German Suplex but EVIL fights him off and follows up with a thrust kick to the mid-section. EVIL gets a seated senton onto Makabe for two and then goes to a face lock.

A well placed tug of the hair helps Makabe get out of that but EVIL is able to get back in control and goes back to the face lock. Makabe is able to make the ropes, but it looks like a fair amount of damage was done whilst he was in the hold and he’s looking worse for wear. Makabe slips out of Darkness Falls and gets a slap but EVIL comes back with a fisherman’s buster for two. EVIL finally manages to hit Darkness Falls but Makabe is able to kick out at two.

EVIL goes for Everything is EVIL (S.T.O) but Makabe counters out and fires off some clotheslines. EVIL demands more, so both men run into each other with clotheslines, which sees Makabe come out on top. EVIL won’t give up though and comes back with another clothesline before delivering Everything is EVIL to finally put a stop to Makabe’s winning streak.

WINNER: EVIL
RATING: ***

Good stiff action there, with plenty of big strikes and manliness on display. EVIL is now on 4 points and looks like an outside bet in A Block if he can repeat his fine form from last year’s G1.

VS

A Block – 20/07/2018
Hiroshi Tanahashi (2 pts) Vs Bad Luck Fale (2 pts) w/ Tanga Loa

Tanahashi is currently 4 in a row when it comes to wrestling Fale, but Fale has beaten him in the past and has actually beaten him twice in G1. In fact, both men have met four times in G1 and have currently won two apiece. Considering Fale hasn’t beaten Tanahashi in a while he could be due to do it here, which would be bad news for Tanahashi considering Jay White is now on 6 points.

Tanahashi comes right out of the corner with a dropkick and wastes no time going after Fale’s leg, which is a sound strategy considering that Fale is bigger and stronger than him. The fight spills outside and Tanahashi gets a cannonball off the apron onto Fale, but makes the mistake of trying to whip him into the barricade, which allows the more powerful to put on the breaks and counter with a whip of his own.

Fale distracts the referee in the ring, which allows Loa to deliver some sly stomps on the outside. Fale heads out and flings Tanahashi into the chairs as the fans scatter. That spot never gets old! Tanahashi beats the count back in but he’s bad shape after that and Fale puts the boots to him before choking him on the ropes. Tanahashi keeps coming but Fale slams him down and then just plain sits on him for a two count.

Fale loses points with me by going to a nerve pinch when he could use another hold that would make better use of his weight and wouldn’t be as lazy, but Tanahashi manages to fight out momentarily, only to get mauled in the corner Vader style. Tanashashi doesn’t give up however and replies with some dropkicks to the leg, but he can’t muscle Fale up into a German Suplex so goes for a dragon screw instead.

With Fale down, Tanahashi goes for the elevated Texas cloverleaf, but Fale is so big he has to struggle to turn him, but finally he manages it. Fale is able to power out however and the force sends Tanahashi careening out of the ring, where Fale follows. Tanahashi gets back in however and dragon screws the leg over the middle rope as Fale tries to come back in. Tanahashi goes for a sunset flip but Fale sits on him for a two count.

Fale gets a big splash for two, as some of the fans actually seem to be rooting for him, which is pretty strange to hear. Tanahashi fights back up walks into a lariat and Fale follows up with a Samoan Drop for two. Fale goes for a splash mountain powerbomb but Tanahashi counters it with a rana. Another roll up gets two for Tanahashi and he blocks a Fale suplex attempt with a neck breaker and follows up with the Sling Blade, but Fale is able to dodge the High-Fly-Flow Frogsplash.

Fale squishes Tanahashi in the corner and hits The Grenade (Chokeslam into a punch) for two. He goes for the Splash Mountain again but Tanahashi counters into a Sling Blade and hits the Frogplash, but Loa brings the referee out to stop the count and starts hammering away on Tanahashi. Heel miscommunication leads to Fale hitting Loa, but Tama Tonga runs in to hit the Gun Stun (Diamond Cutter/RKO). Fale rolls on top for the pin, but the referee remembers what Loa did and calls for the Disqualification, and gets killed as a result.

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

Lousy finish, as they should have just let Tanahashi win with the Frogsplash, but Tanahashi got as good a match out of Fale as any else is going to manage this year.

VS

A Block – 20/07/2018
Kazuchika Okada (0 pts) Vs Hangman Page (2 pts)

Okada, despite being on nil points, still has balloons for the fans during his entrance. Okada really needs to win here or you could argue he’ll be out of contention barring some sort of miracle. Page has been impressing people in this G1 so far, and this will be a great opportunity for him to lay down a marker.

Chain wrestling to start, which ends with Okada giving him a mocking clean break. If I were you Okada, I wouldn’t be taking Page lightly when he’s got two points and you haven’t got anything yet. Page sends Okada out and follows with a dive, before talking trash out there and proclaims “So this is Okada now?!”

Page gets a bridging block buster slam for two and then delivers some chops to Okada. Into the chin lock, which Page spices us with some slaps, but Okada gets out and delivers a big boot but misses the follow up back senton and gets hit with a standing Shooting Star Press for two. Page gets the springboard con hilo on Okada and mugs for the crowd, as he’s been in control for pretty much all of this match. Page combines highflying and violent brawling almost seamlessly and it’s a great part of his act.

Okada manages to hit a DDT to buy himself some time and the follows up with a flapjack for two. Both men miss charges into the corner, with Page missing his last, and Okada dropkicks him from the top turnbuckle to the floor. Outside we go, were Okada sends Page over the barricade into the front row and then tries to bring him back to ringside with a draping DDT. Page is able to fight him off though and then flips over the rail with a clothesline in an awesome spot. Hangman Page is the real deal!

Back inside, Page sets up Okada for a moonsault but Okada is able to move and there’s no water in the pool. Page keeps coming though and fights out of the Air Raid crash before hitting the Risk Factor for two. Okada fights back and tries to go up top, but Page cuts him off and goes for a superplex. Okada fights that off but Page won’t be denied and hits a big neck breaker from the top instead! Okada rolls outside to recover from that, but Page allows him no respite and hits a big moonsault from the top rope before throwing Okada inside where he hits a flips in with a clothesline for two.

I would have bought that as the finish quite easily there. Page goes for an inverted piledriver but Okada slips out and goes for a suplex. Page lands on his feet from that but Okada is able to rally and hit a Tombstone Piledriver for a double down. Okada is angry now and challenges Page to trade strikes, who readily agrees. Page sends Okada to a knee with a forearm smash but his Irish Whip is reversed and Okada hits a dropkick.

Page ducks the Rainmaker and hits a super kick, and then dodges it again to hit a powerbomb for two. Inverted piledriver is blocked with a rolling lariat from Okada and he hits the Rainmaker for the win after being on the defensive for almost the entire match to finally put some points on the board.

WINNER: KAZUCHIKA OKADA
RATING: ****

Star making performance there from Page, as he looked great and held his own in a main event with Okada just fine. Okada now has some points and can finally start making a challenge for the G1 crown. He’s going to need someone to do him a favour and defeat Jay White though.

So after the third round of matches, B Block looks thus;

Jay White on 6 points, Togi Makabe, Michael Elgin, Hiroshi Tanahashi and EVIL on 4 points, Hangman Page, Bad Luck Fale, Minoru Suzuki and Kazuchika Okada on 2 points, with YOSHI-HASHI bringing up the rear on nil points

I’ll hopefully see you all tomorrow for the recap of Day Six!

Liking these recaps? Think you’d like to give New Japan a go? Well then head on over to New Japan World and sign up for the bargain price of just 999 Yen a month!

Whilst you’re here, why not take a goosey gander at Matthew’s review of Red Faction Guerilla Re-MARS-tered? You can view it by clicking right HERE

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