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.|
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.|
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.