TIED ON TOP
Block A became a two man show as Okada, the Heavyweight Champ, tied Makabe on top. The two face off Wednesday with the winner being the sole man on top. Makabe has had a stronger tournament than I could’ve guessed and certainly most online critics speculated. His matches I think were better than last years. Okada’s performances have been mixed but his best matches have been spectacular.
Block B has six people on top facing off for the top. Early leader Nagata scored two straight loses, one to Nakajima and Elgin who tie up top. Omega, Naito and-to my surprise-YoshiHashi are up there. This is a tight race in Block B and there are a lot of big pairings. The four block faves were Naito, Omega, IC champ Elgin and NEVER champ Shibata still have big matches left. Elgin has already wrestled the other block faves with a loss to Naito and victories over Shibata and Omega and has possible spoilers ahead including YoshiHashi who hea beat in an exhibition match at the finals last year. Omega still has Shibata and Naito which, as far as I know are first time meetings. Naito has his LIJ stablemate EVIL which will be interesting.
TANAHASHI’S TURN AROUND
NJPW superstar and last years G1 Winner Tanahashi is on the board. After three losses, two of which were huge upsets, Tanahashi beat both Fale and Goto. Goto, less a surprise than Fale who has beating Tanahashi in the two previous G1 Climax tournaments. This was also the first match thus far in the tournament to end in flash pin. Thats what we call roll up or surprise pins. Tanahashi won with the backslide in a hard fought match. He beat Goto next time out with his High Fly Flow finisher. Is this the turn around? I think so. Tanahashi had ladies crying in joy.
UPSETS STILL IN PLAY
YoshiHashi is having a good tournament. He surprised on the first night and he’s pulled up a somewhat surprising victory of Nakajima. Nakajima was briefly block leader having tied Nagata by beating him and has looked killer, and he’s got over a decade of experience having started young so it surprised some that YoshiHashi won. The biggest upset of the week goes to Tama Tonga cutting of Ishii’s sudden winning streak. This was Tonga’s best performances thus far and it was a very good, possibly great match.
I guess SANADA beating Goto was an upset too.
Block A MVP has been NOAH Star and tournament guest Naomichi Marufuji. I see online critics agreeing, a number of which were talking shit when he was announced. Marufuji and Okada was one of the best matches if not the best. He pulled good matches out of Fale and Makabe. His matches with Tenzen and Ishii have been up there too. I would follow behind with Tomohiro Ishii and Hiroyoshi Tenzan. Ishii based on in ring work and Tenzan with the drama.
Block B is tough call… Elgin, Omega and Naito have been close. Elgin and Omega have had my fave Block B match but those two have had other strong to great matches as has Naito. This is to close to call… But these three have been bringing it. As has Nakajima and Shibata. I’m not counting any matches against Yano since they all suck. Not all of them, the Omega was good.
WEEK 2 MATCH RATINGS
Day 6 Block B-Yuji Nagata vs YoshiHashi ***3/4, Katsuhiko Nakajima vs EVIL ***3/4, Kenny Omega vs Tomoaki Honma ****, Toru Yano vs Tetsuya Naito **1/2, Michael Elgin vs Katsuyori Shibata ****1/4
Day 7 Block A-Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs Togi Makabe ***, Hirooki Goto vs SANADA **3/4, Naomichi Marufuji vs Tomohiro Ishii ****1/2, Kazuchika Okada vs Tama Tonga ****, Bad Luck Fale vs Hiroshi Tanahashi ***
Day 8 Block B-Tomoaki Honma vs Toru Yano *1/2, EVIL vs YoshiHashi ****, Katsuhiko Nakajima vs Yuji Nagata ****, Michael Elgin vs Omega ****3/4, Katsuyori Shibata vs Tetsuya Naito ****1/4 (This, in spite of the opening dud, was my favorite night since night 1. Brilliant matches and Omega/Elgin topped themselves in their third singles match of the year)
Day 9 Block A-Tama Tonga vs Tomohiro Ishii ***3/4, Bad Luck Fale vs SANADA ***1/2, Togi Makabe vs Naomichi Marufuji ***3/4, Kazuchika Okada vs Hiroyoshi Tenzan ****, Hirooki Goto vs Hiroshi Tanahashi ***3/4
Day 10 Block B-YoshiHashi vs Katsuhiko Nakajima ***3/4, Michael Elgin vs Yuji Nagata ***1/4, Toru Yano vs Katsuyori Shibata *1/2, Kenny Omega vs EVIL ****, Tetsuya Naito vs Tomoaki Honma ***3/4