Thursday, July 23, 2015

B Block brings some hard-hitting offense in their first night of the G1 Climax

Thursday was the second night for G1 action, but of course here in the States that means waking up at 4:30. Luckily for me and my readers, being up at 4:30 is pretty natural, so here is what happened tonight in part two of the G1 Climax.

The night kicked off with the regular multi-man matches but only the alliance of Katsuyori Shibata and Tetsuya Naito (with Ryusuke Taguchi) offered any real intrigue. Shibata and Naito meet tomorrow night and it was interesting to see each try to get into the other's head while ostensibly working together.

Ouch. Image caption: NJPW.
The tournament matches started off with a brutal blast of punches and kicks as Satoshi Kojima took on Tomohiro Ishii. I went in expecting this to be a solid match with Kojima coming out on top. Instead I got a solid brawl with Ishii hitting a mean brainbuster for the two points. Ishii actually looked better than I usually expect here, so maybe we will get more solid matches in the G1 from him.

Yujiro Takahashi had Mao back at his side for his first tournament match, but the beauty was no help against Hirooki Goto. In a match that featured multiple biting spots and some painful looking bumps, Takahashi just couldn't bring it together for Bullet Club. Goto walked away with a relatively easy win.

I am on record that Yuji Nagata really shouldn't be competing at this level of competition anymore, but he put on a very solid match with Tomoaki Honma. I credit a lot of this to Honma, who seems incredibly skilled at having a good match with anyone. Of course, Honmania is built on his losing, which he continued here.

The IWGP Heavyweight champion Kazuchika Okada hit the ring for the semi-main event as Michael Elgin made his NJPW singles match debut. Elgin came with leg drops and suplexes and at a few points actually looked like he had Okada down. But we all know it only takes one Rainmaker (unless you're AJ Styles) to go down. While Elgin avoided the first strike, the second left him flat on the mat and with his first NJPW singles loss. This one could have honestly went another ten more minutes and given us something supremely impressive. But while shorter, this was still well worth viewing.

Ouch. Poor Elgin. Image credit: NJPW.
I had high hopes for the main event as I give big marks to both Shinsuke Nakamura and Karl Anderson. The Bullet Club leader and the King of Strong Style were evenly matched for most of the battle. They brutally beat each other in an impressive main event. Nakamura kicked out of a Gun Stun and Nakamura couldn't finish the match with his first Boma Ye. But things looked like they were over as Nakamura went for a second knee strike to the face, but Anderson avoided the blow. One more Gun Stun later and the Bullet Club celebrated the first huge upset of the tournament.

With a few great surprises and some stellar matches, night two of the G1 was great despite a single camera presentation. (The weakest point was the awful "farthest zoom setting" pull back for Okada's Rainmaker pose.) Remember, great wrestling can always overcome even so-so cameras.

The tournament continues all weekend with A Block returning to action tomorrow night with a lackluster main event of Hiroshi Tanahashi versus Hiroyoshi Tenzan. While that won't deserve the twenty plus minutes it will get, the semi-main event of Katsuyori Shibata and Tetsuya Naito looks promising. Togi Makabe and Bad Luck Fale should give a brutal brawl while Kota Ibushi and Doc Gallows introduces an interesting style battle.

B Block returns on Saturday morning with a main event of Okada versus Honma. Both shows will air in the US at 5:30 a.m. Eastern on NJPW World.

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