Hello You! So, after 90 matches and many snowflakes it’s time for the final of G1 Climax 2018! Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kota Ibushi have earned their way to the big match, with the winner receiving a title shot at the Tokyo Dome on the 4th of January 2019. Who will win the G1 Climax Final? Let’s read on to find out!
G1 Climax Final Match – 12/08/2018
Winner of A Block – Hiroshi Tanahashi Vs Winner of B Block – Kota Ibushi
This match is taking place from the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo on the 12th of August 2018.
If you want to catch up on the previous G1 shows you can view my archives right HERE!
This is the third G1 Climax Final for Tanahashi, who has won the tournament twice previously in 2007 and 2015. Ibushi has Kenny Omega in his corner for this whilst Tanahashi has Katsuyori Shibata in his. This might be one of the rare occasions in a G1 Climax Final where the second of one of the combatants is the scariest man in the match! You may say “But Mike, Shibata suffered a career ending injury; surely that isn’t an apt description?” My reply would be thus, would YOU be prepared to walk over and tell him that?!
Chain wrestling to start, with Tanahashi getting the better of things slightly. Ibushi tries to turn it into a striking contest, so Tanahashi gets in close to grab a side headlock and tenaciously holds on to it. Ibushi manages to counter to a head scissors but Tanahashi goes back to the headlock. Tanahashi gets a shoulder tackle but Ibushi nip ups to his feet and then gets a kick to floor Tanahashi. Tanahashi decides to try and get control of this G1 Climax Final by dropkicking Ibushi in the leg and then going to a modified Sharpshooter.
Ibushi fights back with a powerslam and gets a Quebrada for two, but he sells his right knee following the cover. Tanahashi is clearly trying to weaken the knee so that Ibushi’s usual knee strike finisher won’t have its usual oomph. Ibushi sends Tanahashi outside with a kick and leaps onto the apron. Tanahashi tries to dropkick his leg on the apron but Ibushi sees him coming and hits him with a double stomp before the dropkick can land. Back inside, Tanahashi blocks two kicks but then runs into two of them, only to catch Ibushi with a dragon screw on the third kick attempt.
Tanahashi dropkicks Ibushi to the outside and then heads up to the top rope to dive out onto him, but Ibushi stops him and tries to throw him lawn dart style into the corner, but Tanahashi counters it into a Sling Blade before following up with a dropkick into the corner. Both get up and start trading forearm strikes. Tanahashi gets the better of that but gets low bridged over the top. He tries to skin the cat back in but Ibushi catches him and then hits the Risk Factor for two. That looked awful at first glance but the replay shows that Tanahashi tucked his head to protect himself from the brunt of it.
Tanahashi is pissed now, and unleashes two dragon screws before going to the elevated Texas Cloverleaf. Tanahashi has never lost a G1 Climax Final and he’s not going to let that change anytime soon without an almighty fight. Ibushi tries to make the ropes, but Tanahashi pulls him back into the middle. Omega shouts words of encouragement to Ibushi and he’s finally able to make the ropes to break. Ibushi rolls onto the apron, which proves to be a mistake as Tanahashi dragon screws his leg over the middle rope and then hits a cross body from the top rope to the floor.
Ibushi almost gets counted out but manages to drag himself back into the ring at the count of eighteen. Ibushi manages to hit a desperation rana to send Tanahashi outside and follows with an Asai moonsault to the outside, but it took a lot out of him in the process. Ibushi rolls Tanahashi in and hits a springboard missile dropkick as this G1 Climax Final might be swinging his way after a rocky patch. Ibushi hits a rana from the top rope and Tanahashi only JUST kicks out. The fans were buying that as a possible finish.
Ibushi gets a bridging half nelson suplex for two, as Tanahashi has been taking a real walloping in the past few minutes. Ibushi sets up for the knee strike, but Tanahashi counters it into a roll up for two, only for Ibushi to hit a running knee for a double down. Tanahashi slips out of a powerbomb attempt and slaps Ibushi right in the face, which leads to Ibushi replying with STIFF slaps of his own that send Tanahashi sinking into the corner. Ibushi cockily kicks at Tanahashi in the corner, as Omega implores him just to finish the match whilst he can.
Tanahashi gets up and walks through another series of slaps before throwing some of his own and both have an unbelievable slap exchange as the crowd loses their mind. Ibushi ends the slap rally with a big lariat and both men are seemingly out for the count on the mat. What a fight this G1 Climax Final is becoming! Both men struggle up to their knees and start trading forearm strikes with each other before getting to their feet. The selling has been impeccable here, as both men have been registering the punishment but also making a point of fighting through it rather than just no selling it.
Tanahashi folds Ibushi up with a Sling Blade and follows up with a straightjacket suplex for two. Tanahashi heads up top and goes for the High-Fly-Flow Frogplash, but Ibushi gets his knees up to block it. Running knee strike to the back of the head from Ibushi sets up a standing moonsault knee drop to Tanahashi, which is one of the nastiness looking moves in wrestling. That looks just awful to take, although Ibushi appeared to protect him a little bit by making it mostly shins and not just the point of the knee.
Ibushi lawn darts Tanahashi into the corner and kicks him onto the apron in preparation for the German Suplex back in. He pulls the German off and then hits a sit out Last Ride powerbomb…….for two! Oh my word!! I thought that was it right there! Ibushi loads up the knee strike but Tanahashi dodges it, so Ibushi hits a straightjacket suplex of his own for two. Tanahashi counters the knee by hitting a duo of twisting neck breakers and then hits the dragon suplex for two.
Tanahashi heads up top for the High-Fly-Flow to the back, but he doesn’t cover and instead heads up for a cross body block before heading up AGAIN with a standard High-Fly-Flow to win his third G1 Climax Final and set up a date with the IWGP Heavyweight Champion at Wrestle Kingdom on the 4th of January 2019!
WINNER: HIROSHI TANAHASHI
I honestly thought that Ibushi was going to win that but I’m utterly thrilled that they had Tanahashi win instead. Hiroshi Tanahashi is, in my opinion the greatest wrestler of my lifetime and this was just another example of that. Credit to Ibushi though, as he was excellent both here and throughout the tournament. Tanahashi celebrates on Shibata’s shoulder post-match in a lovely moment whilst Omega commiserates with Ibushi.
What a great G1 Climax Final that was! Indeed, the tournament as a whole was brilliant, with excellent matches from Night One all the way to the final, with an unpredictable winner to boot. It was excellent to see Tanahashi get one more day in the spotlight. Both face off post-match and I’m thinking we’ll get a handshake, but Ibushi just backs away to give Tanahahsi his moment. Masahiro Chono presents Tanahashi with the G1 Climax Final Winners Flag and we have some Tanahashi promo time to see us out.
I’m very glad that they decided to put Tanahashi over here. Over the past couple of year’s it’s been all about Okada at the top of the card, often to Tanahashi’s detriment as they’ve taken away aspects of his legacy to enhance Okada’s, such as the record amount of consecutive IWGP Title defences. What this G1 win does is give Tanahashi another day in the sun, whilst Okada comparatively toils for a bit. I’m sure Okada will come back stronger and better than ever, but at least Tanahashi will get another period where the focus is on him for a while. Tanahashi is not only still a great wrestler but he’s also still a draw, so I see no problem with giving him another crack at a Wrestle Kingdom main event.
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Thanks for joining me on my G1 journey. Roll on the Tokyo Dome!!!