|All images credited to NJPW.|
The second match of the night featured one B Block competitor but its implications were far more oriented towards Sunday's finale as IWGP Jr. Tag Team champions Nick and Matt Jackson, the Young Bucks, teamed with their Bullet Club stablemate Cody Hall to take on the ROH unit of Michael Elgin, Kyle O'Reilly & Bobby Fish. The Bucks and ReDRagon will face off on Sunday for the titles and both units wanted to make a statement in their first night back in Japan.
Matt opened the match with a few sharp words for a former detractor, saying directly to the camera, "How's that Cornette. Pretty good for a couple Junior spot monkeys, huh?" The Bucks wear their heel status well, but it didn't save them from the brunt of an amazing dive by the now super-over Michael Elgin. Elgin & ReDRagon took solid control, even mocking the Bucks' signature pose. Elgin would get the win for his team with his brutal powerbomb on Cody Hall.
|Elgin brutalized the Young Bucks in their match.|
Nagata and Nakanishi teaming here is certainly a lead up to their NOAH trio with Maybach Taniguchi, but it didn't stop them from being manhandled by Hirooki Goto. After nearly ten minutes of action, Ricochet and KUSHIDA finally found their way into the ring together and the two high-fliers did not disappoint. But ultimately it came down to Nagata making the perpetually jobbing Captain tap.
The final match of the prelims was unique as the CHAOS unit of Shinsuke Nakamura, Tomohiro Ishii & Yoshi-Hashi teamed with Kazushi Sakuraba to take on another CHAOS unit of Kazuchika Okada and Gedo alongside their partners, the returning Matt Taven and Michael Bennett (with Maria Kanellis).
But the big story of this match even with limited time devoted to it was the animosity between Nakamura and Okada going into their match tomorrow. But in the end, it came down to Sakuraba and Gedo. Maria tried to distract Sakuraba, but her distraction wasn't enough to keep the veteran MMA fghter from making Gedo quickly tap.
In the opening tournament match, Doc Gallows took out Katsuyori Shibata in a brutal bout between both men. My hopes is that this will set up a title match on Sunday with Shibata and Sakuraba challenging Gallows & Anderson, but we will see.
Bad Luck Fale and Toru Yano battled next, and Fale predictably brutalized Yano. But Fale's brutality came back to haunt him as Yano escaped a powerbomb attempt on the outside, He dodged an attack by Tama Tonga, low-blowed both Bullet Club members and ran back to the ring to get the count out victory.
Tetsuya Naito and Hiroyoshi Tenzan battled next. Tenzan clearly wasn't happy with Naito's new attitude, but that didn't stop Naito from picking the older man apart in his new more meticulous style. But Tenzan wanted to make Naito tap. He hooked on the Anaconda Vice more than once, but ultimately Naito had no choice but to tap to the hold.
|Naito learns to hate the Anaconda Vice.|
The main event pitted Hiroshi Tanahashi against AJ Styles once again. The two men brutalized one another, but ultimately it was Tanahashi that picked up the win and the trip to the G1 final. The aftermath proved particularly interesting, as Tanahashi showed tons of disrespect to Styles. Whether this is just his hatred for Bullet Club or a sign of a darker turn for Tanahashi remains to be seen.
|Also, the most dangerous move in wrestling came into play.|