|Image credit: NJPW.|
Toru Yano got a quick roll up in a five minute match on Katsuyori Shibata to start a theme of the night as he also made it to 8 points. I would guess this was designed to heal Yano's still very messed up eye, but it was a depressing finish for a Shibata match, as they have been a highlight of the tournament.
Hiroshi Tanahashi goes on incredibly early in a tournament match, but that might be related to the fact his opponent Doc Gallows sits at only 2 points. Gallows completely dominated Tanahashi for pretty much the entire match, but this is Tanahashi we're talking about. A surprise roll up kept Gallows at the bottom of the pack and moved Tanahashi to 8 points.
Togi Makabe sought to keep his run going as another of the fighters to escape the 6 point spot. But he couldn't overcome the angry Bullet Club ace AJ Styles—also at 6 points—who walked away after a decisive win with 8 points.
Kota Ibushi and Tetsuya Naito wasn't nearly as solid a match as one might hope from these two talents. It was by no means bad, but it just didn't have the depth it could have. Naito walked out with the win and a move to 8 points.
This is the first night I can say would be easily skipped by anyone. Just a lackluster set of matches with lackluster presentation.
Action returns for a three day shot on Friday (5:30 EST) with B Block giving us Nakamura/Tanahashi and Ishii/Okada. Both matches are vitally important for Nakamura's chances to continue in the tournament.
A Block kicks back off with a 5:30 bell time on Saturday. A huge main event pits Hiroshi Tanahashi against Katsuyori Shibata, two strong players in the tournament so far. I'll be rooting for Shibata, but my chances are poor for that bet to pay off.