Monday, July 27, 2015

A busy weekend with Night 4 and 5 of the G1 Climax!

I have two shows to cover here, so let's get right into the tournament action.

Image credit: NJPW.
Night 4 kicked off with a brutal battle where Tomohiro Ishii became the first B Block fighter with 4 points when he overcame Yujiro Takahashi. (I blame the poor substitute MAO for his loss.)

Michael Elgin and Satoshi Kojima beat the hell out of each other in a match that shows how good Kojima still is. Elgin took the loss in a true back and forth battle with a great show of respect in the aftermath by both men.

Karl Anderson continued to upset Japanese favorites, this time overcoming Intercontinental champion Hirooki Goto in a brutal match.

In the semi-main event Shinsuke Nakamura took on Yuji Nagata. Nagata made a far stronger showing here than on Night 2 in his in-ring work, but he couldn't pull out the win against Shinsuke Nakamura, who scored his first 2 points of the tournament.

Shinsuke victorious. Image credit: NJPW.
In the main event, everyone's favorite loveable loser Tomoaki Honma challenged the reigning IWGP Heavyweight champion Kazuchika Okada. Honma in the main event is unusual, but the two men put on a stellar battle. Honma kept control for much of the match, even avoiding a Rainmaker with a well-placed headbutt. But he couldn't avoid the second Rainmaker that moved Okada to second place.

Rainmaker! Image credit: NJPW.
While Nakamura scored his first victory on Night 4, before the next evening news came out that an elbow injury would keep him out of his tag match on Night 5. It is likely he will miss at least some of his G1 matches (thereby forfeiting them.)

Image credit: NJPW.
Night 5 tournanment action opened with Bad Luck Fale and Doc Gallows in the first battle of the Bullet Club. Fale finally didn't look completely lost in his match, but his push in NJPW at the expense of better talents continues to confuse me. He picked up the win after a mean lariat on Gallows.

Next up, Toru Yano and Tenzan went one on one, but in a bit of a shock, a brutally bloodied Yano got the pinfall over the G1 veteran to finally get his first 2 points. (That leaves Gallows the only person without points in A Block.)

Togi Makabe and Katsuyori Shibata seemed set to do their best impersonations of honey badgers as neither seemed to care what happened to them as long as they could pull out the win. But it was the sleeper into the PK that gave Shibata his second G1 25 victory.

AJ Styles again found himself in the semi-main event in a battle with Kota Ibushi. Ibushi and Styles had a couple very solid matches over the IWGP Heavyweight title earlier this year which Styles won. This time though, Ibushi pulled out every ounce of his offense to get a win back from Styles.

Any other evening, that would be the match of the night, but Hiroshi Tanahashi and Tetsuya Naito was still to come. The new pure evil Naito made a fitting foil for Tanahashi as the two worked against each other in a true back and forth exchange. Their styles fit together so well that it really was hard to pick a winner, but fans know Tanahashi usually pulls out the win against even impossible odds. But tonight that wasn't to be as Naito scored the huge win over one of New Japan's biggest stars.

Image credit: NJPW.
That end leaves A Block in a dead heat as every wrestler has now taken at least one loss in the first three matches. Currently, there is a six way tie for first at 4 points.

Action continues Tuesday morning at 5:30 a.m. Eastern with what should be a great B Block main event with Kojima versus Okada. The one to watch was going to be Shinsuke Nakamura versus Michael Elgin but that one remains up in the air until the severity of Nakamura's injury is determined.

A Block is back on Wednesday with a couple interesting undercard matchs as Yano takes on Gallows and Shibata battles Ibushi. But the main event should be the match of the night as two of NJPW's greatest heels, Naito and Styles, collide.

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