A month or so of wrestling comes to a head tonight as the Golden Star and the Ace of New Japan clash for a shot at the IWGP Heavyweight Title at Wrestle Kingdom 13 in Tokyo Dome.
G1 Climax 28 Final: A- Block Winner Hiroshi Tanahashi v B-Block Winner Kota Ibushi:
The winners of their respective blocks, Ibushi and Tanahashi have shown that they are the best of the best in NJPW. But only one wrestler will be able to hold aloft the trophy and gain control of the briefcase that guarantees them a title shot. Which one of these two will it be?
Tanahashi has a special guest in his corner tonight, none other than The Wrestler himself, Katsuyori Shibata! The emotions are running even higher tonight. Will the presence of Shibata be enough for Tanahashi to ascend back to the top of NJPW and book his place in Tokyo?
Tanahashi starts early with some ground wrestling, trying to wear down the Golden Star and control the match.
Ibushi manages to gain control on the outside and lands a disgusting double stomp to Tanahashi on the apron. Nasty stuff. Tanahashi responds with a dropkick of his own and reverses a lawn dart into a sling blade.
Tanahashi locks in the Cloverleaf in an attempt to make Ibushi submit but he’s having difficulty keeping the move in. But with encouragement from Kenny, Ibushi manages to reach the ropes and escape.
The match continues on the outside and Ibushi lands a breathtaking Asai Moonsault to the outside, almost winning the match by count out but Tanahashi makes his way back into the ring, beating the count.
I have just witnessed the most violent strike exchange since Ishii vs Shibata from 2013, these two have absolutely just laid into each other, holding nothing back whatsoever, really just piling on the strikes over and over. Just sheer brutality, and it has yet to stop: kicks, forearms, palm strikes, you name it, these two have used it.
After an all-out war, and 3 consecutive High Fly Flows, Tanahashi silences the critics and secures his 3rd G1 climax final, and books his spot in the main event of Wrestle Kingdom 13.
G1 Climax 28 Champion: Hiroshi Tanahashi
The crowd gives a raucous cheer for Ibushi after the match as he makes his exit to the back.
Tanahashi is presented with the G1 trophy and flag to commemorate his victory tonight. He then grabs the mic and tells the crowd that he is the survivor and survives with New Japan Pro Wrestling and promises to carry the company on his back for the future.
He then busts out his fiery air guitar for the crowd who absolutely eats it up and demands an encore, he obliges the crowd with even more signature air guitar which he then smashes! But a fan tosses Tanahashi another air guitar and he plays one more song to send the crowd home happy as the confetti begins to descend.
That concludes yet another incredible G1 Climax tournament. Thank you so much for following the tournament with myself and Bad Brendan. We look forward to even more NJPW coverage with you as Destruction and King of Pro Wrestling loom on the horizon on our way to the Tokyo Dome!