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

After a much needed break it’s back to the grind with more action from B Block. The main bout of night eight will be SANADA taking on Kota Ibushi. SANADA got a big win over Zack Sabre Jr in his last bout following some supreme technical wrestling action. Meanwhile, Ibushi fell afoul of the cheating ways of Toru Yano and lost the chance to earn two more valuable points. Can SANADA continue his great run with another big victory or will Ibushi find his way back to winning ways? Let’s read on and find out!

If you want to catch up on goings on in B Block then you can read my recap of Night Six by clicking right HERE

All of the following matches took place on the 26th of July 2018 from Ao-re Nagaoka in Niigata

VS

B Block – 26/07/2018
NEVER Openweight Champion Hirooki Goto (2 pts) Vs Toru Yano (2 pts)

This is fellow CHAOS stablemates going at it. Yano got the upset of the round last time out by beating Kota Ibushi whilst Goto lost an absolute war to fellow stablemate Tomohiro Ishii. Yano actually gives Goto a handshake to start but then undoes a turnbuckle pad and hits him with it. Ah Yano, never change! Yano gets a couple of quick near falls on Goto but ends up eating a lariat in response.

Saito Suplex gets two for Goto and he tries to lift Yano up into the Ushigoroshi but Yano blocks it and hits a belly to belly suplex in response. Goto goes to a sleeper and transitions into a pinning hold for two. Yano tries a low blow but Goto blocks it and then delivers some big head butts followed by the Ushigoroshi. Yano is in trouble and Goto finishes him off with a GTR

WINNER: HIROOKI GOTO
RATING: *1/2

Too short to be any more than that, but the story of Goto polishing off Yano before he could start properly cheating was a decent one.

VS

B Block – 26/07/2018
Tetsuya Naito (4 pts) Vs Tama Tonga (2 pts) w/ Tanga Loa

Naito saw off Juice Robinson in the last round thanks to going after his injured hand, whilst Tonga dropped a loss to Kenny Omega via disqualification. The big thing Tonga has done this week is start a Twitter feud with Roman Reigns, which should earn him cred amongst that wrestlers particular hate club.

Tonga is eager to start things off early but a “Tranquillo” Naito tells him to take it easy and makes him wait whilst he takes off his entrance gear. Naito tries to get Tanga Loa sent to the back before the match even properly starts, and succeeds. However, as Loa is leaving, Tonga jumps a distracted Naito and then calls Loa back to ringside.

Naito rallies and sends Tonga outside, but when he goes for a dive, Loa trips him. Undeterred, Naito fights both Samoan’s off before posing in the ring, much to the crowd’s amusement. Tonga is able to block a Naito dropkick and sends him outside, where Loa works him over whilst Tonga distracts the referee.

Tonga works over Naito back inside, even going as far as to outright choke him in full view of the ref. Naito gets hit with a big dropkick but is able to kick out at two. Tonga tries a Stinger Splash but Naito is able to dodge it and then follows up with a neck breaker. Naito hits a big dropkick in the corner onto a seated Tonga and the sends a big loogie Loa’s way for added measure.

Tornado DDT gets two for Naito, as Loa continues to try and distract him. Tonga gives Naito a Gun Stun over the top rope, leaving him dazed on the apron, and Loa powerbombs him onto the ramp whilst Tonga distracts the ref. Loa throws Naito back into the ring, where Tonga makes a cover, but Naito is just out at two.

Tonga goes for a Gun Stun in the ring but Naito blocks it and delivers a German Suplex followed by a running forearm. Naito tries for The Destino, but Tonga blocks it and chucks him into the ref to knock him down. This is Loa’s cue to run in and attack Naito, but Naito’s fellow stablemate EVIL runs down for the rescue and sends Loa outside.

Bad Luck Fale decides to join proceedings and attacks EVIL, but ends up getting a face full of mist from an interfering BUSHI, who then dives onto Loa. With everyone now out of the ring, both Tonga and Naito trade low blows, with Naito’s coming last, which allows him to follow up with The Destino to pick up the three count.

WINNER: TETSUYA NAITO
RATING: **1/2

Naito is over bigtime with the fans for surviving those Firing Squad shenanigans, but he makes sure to sell his nether regions following the bout before flinging the referee out of the ring in his usual arsehole manner. This match was fine, but Tonga isn’t an elite worker like Naito is and it showed here.

VS

B Block – 26/07/2018
Tomohiro Ishii (4 pts) Vs Zack Sabre Jr (2 pts)

Sabre Jr suffered the indignity of being out wrestled in his last match against SANADA and he was NOT happy about it at the bouts conclusion. Ishii came out of the other side of a brutal fight with fellow stablemate Hirooki Goto with his hand raised. These two have prior history due to their battles against one another in Revolution Pro over here in the UK.

Zack starts out by going straight for a hold but Ishii is able to turn it into a knuckle lock, which is something that will make his power advantage count. Zack is able to eventually slip his way out, which leads into a great sequence that sees both men going for holds and strikes before ending in a stand-off. That was some wonderfully fluid counter wrestling there!

Zack gets cocky and pie faces Ishii, which leads to Ishii trapping him against the ropes and delivering some nasty chops. However, Zack is able to catch one of the chops, take Ishii down and then stomp on the arm. Zack now targets Ishii’s arms with some excruciating looking submission holds, but Ishii holds on and is able to make the ropes.

Zack makes the mistake of throwing uppercuts rather than staying with submissions and Ishii is able to rebound by flooring him with a shoulder barge. Should have stuck with the holds Zack. Ishii pummels Zack with chops and elbows, which cause Zack to go slump to the mat. Zack wisely decides to go back to submission holds, working the arm and shoulder specifically.

Zack actually busts out the old Jim Break’s Special (Google it if you haven’t seen it before) but Ishii is too MANLY to give up and instead fires back with some dropkicks to the knee and a back suplex. Ishii tries a powerbomb and Zack slips out, so he goes to an ankle lock instead and even traps Zack by putting the hooks in!

Wow, I don’t think Zack was expecting Ishii to trade submissions with him, but he’s doing a respectable job of trying to! Zack manages to kick Ishii in the face for a double down, but he sells his leg and ankle following the Ishii submission attempts. Zack leaps at Ishii and latches onto him with another series of torturous holds.

I can’t even narrow down which ones as Zack just transitions between them all so seamlessly. Zack again tries strikes, but apparently hasn’t learnt anything as Yano fights back with some of his own and there’s only ever going to be one winner in that situation. Ishii hits a big sliding lariat onto a seated Zack, but it only gets him a two.

Ishii tries a lariat but Zack counters to an octopus hold, which Ishii counters with a throw but Zack is able to turn that into a pinning hold for a nail biting near fall. This is just superb wrestling! It’s so entertaining to see talented guys like this trade holds and counters. Ishii misses an enziguri and Zack gets another pinning hold, but Ishii is out at two once more.

Ishii blocks a small package and tries to hurk Zack up into a brain buster, but Zack manages to block it, only to end up taking a big head butt for his troubles. Ishii goes for a lariat but Zack is able to roll through into an arm bar and then transitions into a triangle choke. Ishii tries to powerbomb his way out of the choke but Zack holds on and turns it into the Dis-Arm-Her for the big submission win!

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

Both men’s hot streak of great matches continues here with another superlative effort. Zack getting a clean submission win over Ishii is a big deal as Ishii rarely submits. He’ll be able to justifiably crowd about this one for a while. Maybe, just maybe, it’s coming home?

VSEight

B Block – 26/07/2018
IWGP United States Champion Juice Robinson (0 pts) Vs IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega (6 pts)

Juice’s music really sounds like something you’d hear in a Tekken game to me. Juice is currently sitting on zero points whilst Omega has yet to lose, so you’d think Omega would be the clear favourite here? Well, normally he would be, but Juice actually beat Omega in last year’s G1, so that could potentially be at the back of Omega’s mind as he comes into this bout.

Again, as with all of his previous G1 matches, if Juice hits Omega with the cast on his left hand then he will be disqualified. Omega is allowed to hit Juice’s hand as much as he wants to of course, and Tetsuya Naito certainly did that last time out. Omega actually offers a handshake before the match and Juice accepts it in a nice bit of sportsmanship.

Both men go to chain wrestling to start, where Omega decides to not to go after Juice’s hand, and he takes a piledriver not soon after. Juice has control for a moment but Omega rana’s him out and prepares for a dive, only for Juice to hit a spear through the middle ropes before he can complete it. Juice gets a slam and a senton back splash for two, as Omega really seems to be on the ropes here.

Omega comes back with a face crusher and then dropkicks Juice out to the floor. Outside, Juice rams Omega back first into the guardrail. Omega fights off another attempt at that and goes for a suplex, but Juice ends up hitting one of his own instead and then follows up with a running cannonball splash off the apron.

Back inside, Juice goes for a top rope cross body but Omega rolls through for two. Juice replies with jabs from his good hand and then starts delivering some knife edge chops for added measure. Omega finally feels like he has to kick Juice’s hand but Juice quickly replies with a side kick and a Full Nelson Bomb for two.

Juice misses a cannonball attempt in the corner and can’t escape from a rolling fireman’s carry. He is able to get his knees up on the follow up Quebrada attempt though and manages to get the cannonball this time followed by a powerbomb for two. Juice goes for Pulp Friction (Tomikaze/Kill Switch), but Omega is able to block it and replies with a V-Trigger (Running Knee to the Face)

Omega gets a snap dragon suplex and then follows up with another for added measure. Not content with two, Omega goes for a third but Juice fights out so Omega goes to a Fujiwara Arm Bar, targeting Juice’s broken hand in the process. Despite being in immense pain, Juice is able to make the ropes and is able to dodge a V-Trigger and hit a release German Suplex.

Juice is able to block another V-Trigger and then hits a big clothesline for two. Juice goes for a fireman’s carry but Omega slips out and hits a reverse rana. One Winged Angel (Electric Chair into a Michinoku Driver) is countered to a fireman’s carry gut buster (Juice Box) but Omega is able to kick out at two. Juice is fired up now and goes for Pulp Friction but Omega slips out and hits a V-Trigger to the back of the head.

Omega adds yet another V-Trigger and goes for the One Winged Angel, but Juice is able to slip out and gets a roll up for two. Omega returns fire with another V-Trigger and hits the One Winged Angel to pick up the win. I like how they teased the Juice flash pin fall victory again before having Omega go on to prevail. It was a nice call back to the previous year.

WINNER: KENNY OMEGA
RATING: ***3/4

Omega has been an utter juggernaut in this year’s G1. Could they possibly be going all the way with him this year even though he’s already the IWGP Heavyweight Champion? Omega shows sportsmanship to Juice following the contest. Juice once again looked good in defeat, but I’m not sure it’s wise to have a champion doing so many jobs like this.

VS

B Block – 26/07/2018
SANADA (4 pts) Vs Kota Ibushi (4 pts)

These men are possibly the two best athletes in New Japan right now, so this could end up being pretty crazy if they go full pelt. This is the first ever singles match between the two, so it makes sense that it’s closing the show. It seems like the crowd are backing SANADA a bit more than Ibushi here, although both men appear to have their fans in attendance.

Both men start slow with some chain wrestling, and you can feel that the fans are waiting intently for them to really cut loose. A tremendous sequence of counters ends with both men going for a dropkick at the same time and having a stand-off. That was absolutely brilliant, as they went in and out of holds with enviable smoothness.

After some more counter wrestling, Ibushi sends SANADA outside with a rana and goes for an Asai moonsault out there, only for SANADA to dodge and then drag him down the aisle way where he dropkicks him in the leg. Back inside, SANADA stays on the leg with a dragon screw and then goes for a figure four leg lock, ala his mentor Keiji Mutoh.

Ibushi fights it at first but eventually SANADA gets the hold applied and applies as much pressure as he can until Ibushi makes the ropes to break. Ibushi drags himself to his feet and trades some strikes with SANADA before hitting a dropkick to buy himself some time. Ibushi gets some kicks and a standing moonsault, but SANADA is able to kick out at two.

SANADA gets a pair of incredibly graceful leapfrogs before hitting a dropkick to send Ibushi outside, where he follows with a dive. Back inside, SANADA heads up but Ibushi kicks him to block it and then brings him down with a rana for two. SANADA bails out following that and Ibushi follows him out, only for SANADA to dropkick him in the leg.

Undeterred, Ibushi fights SANADA off and then follows with an Asai moonsault to the outside. Ibushi hits a springboard dropkick back inside and then goes for a Last Ride but SANADA slips out and comes back with his own springboard missile dropkick. Both men land on their feet following German Suplex attempts and SANADA tries for Skull End, but Ibushi gets out and then delivers a big kick to floor SANADA.

Ibushi tries to knee SANADA in the face, but SANADA counters it and goes to the Skull End. Ibushi gets out of that and the two men trade counters until SANADA is able to throw Ibushi into the turnbuckle like a lawn dart and hits a Tiger Suplex for two. SANADA gets the back breaker and heads up for a moonsault but Ibushi avoids it and then flattens SANADA with a standing double stomp.

Both men claw their way up to their feet and start trading forearms, with the crowd cheering each strike. Ibushi wins that particular battle with a big lariat, but he doesn’t go for the pin and instead gets the sit out Last Ride powerbomb for two. We get the twenty minute call from the ring announcer, but I’d be surprised if this went the distance now.

SANADA dodges an Ibushi knee strike and hits a rope assisted spinning DDT before transitioning into the Skull End on the mat. Ibushi doesn’t tap but does appear to lose consciousness. Rather than take the KO win, SANADA lets go and heads up top for the moonsault to pick up the three count and the two points.

WINNER: SANADA
RATING: ****

Big BIG win for SANADA there, as he went in against one of the company’s top stars and showed he completely deserved to be there. He really has it all. He’s charismatic, he’s great in the ring and he has a cool look as well. It might be too early for him to win G1, but his stock has risen considerably during this year’s tournament. This was an excellent match that was paced perfectly. It was certainly a suitable show closer.

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

Kenny Omega is currently atop the block with 8 points, Tetsuya Naito and SANADA on 6 points, Kota Ibushi, Hirooki Goto, Zack Sabre Jr and Tomohiro Ishii on 4 points, Tama Tonga and Toru Yano on 2 points and poor Juice Robinson bringing up the rear without a single solitary point to his name.

I’ll see you all tomorrow for some more A Block action!

Thanks for reading

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