On night one of the G1 Climax, Block A put on a great show with three quality matches. On night two it was Block B’s time to shine, with their stars being Kenny Omega, Tetsuya Naito, and Katsuyori Shibata; I had very high expectations.
Block B Match- Katsuhiko Nakajima vs Toru Yano
This matchup between Katsuhiko Nakajima and Toru Yano was by far the most underwhelming bout of the tournament so far. It did not even last five minutes and the only high spot was Yano’s heelwork.
Yano coming into the ring throwing water into the face of Nakajima showed how devious he can be and got him some good heat from the crowd. However, other than Yano’s character, this match could have easily been skipped.
All there was, was some strong kicks, throwing into the barricades, and the use of an exposed turnbuckle. This went on for about three minutes until Nakajima hit Yano with a brainbuster and put an end to the boredom. This is not a match I recommend watching.
Winner: Katsuhiko Nakajima (2pts)
Block B Match- YOSHI-HASHI vs Kenny Omega
MATCH OF THE NIGHT
Saying I went into this match with above-average expectations is an understatement, I was very excited to see my first Kenny Omega match in NJPW. Coming out of Japan many people considered Omega to be the best wrestler in the world, and this was my first chance to see all the hype.
Once the bout came to a close the only thought I had was that all the hype about Kenny Omega was exactly correct. Omega and YOSHI-HASHI stole night two and put on the match of the night.
There was no slowness to this match and these two men went back-and-forth for fifteen solid minutes. Omega worked great as a heel as well, doing things like trapping HASHI under the outside mats and diving onto him; this was such an innovative way to get heat.
My other favourite spots of the match were Omega’s v-triggers, HASHI’s diving senton, HASHI’s running knee on a grounded Omega, and also his somersault neck breaker. The neck breaker specifically was a breathtaking move, and in my opinion, Omega’s v-trigger is one of the best moves in wrestling.
The close to the match was the upset of the night, YOSHI-HASHI would get Omega and land his signature move, Karma. This was enough to put Omega away and land the pin-fall, giving YOSHI-HASHI the two points.
Winner: YOSHI-HASHI (2pts)
Block B Match- EVIL vs Michael Elgin
The matchup between EVIL and current IWGP Intercontinental Champion, Michael Elgin, was a collision of two heavyweights. The match was not too breathtaking, but it was not bad by any means.
EVIL’s technical and heel work shined greatly. Elgin really impressed me with his strength and agility. He hit like heavyweight and flew like a junior-heavyweight, it was a sight to see.
My high-spots of the match would be Elgin’s springboard, his diving splash, and his buckle-bomb. I also loved the way EVIL got heat by finding ways to use a chair without being disqualified.
EVIL’s finisher was also quite good, as he made a simple STO look so effective and devastating. That STO was how EVIL put Elgin away and achieved his first win of the tournament.
Winner: EVIL (2pts)
Block B Match- Tetsuya Naito vs Yuji Nagata
Before I get into covering this specific match, I must say I absolutely love Tetsuya Naito’s in-ring style and more specifically his strong character work. He constantly works for the crowd and his entrance is pure gold, including the suit he wears.
Now for the match itself, Naito and Yuji Nagata put on a fairly entertaining bout. As I already said Naito was my favourite part of the match, his work taking out Nagata’s knee and taunting him while in a figure-four-leg lock was great.
Naito had another sequence while Nagata was in the corner, which was a beautiful string of moves. He flew over the top rope while kicking Nagata in the face, then swept his legs while on the apron, and finally he leaped back into the ring landing a dropkick into the sitting Nagata’s chest.
However, surprising to me Nagata would be the shining point of the finish to this match. He delivered some of the strongest kicks I have ever seen and left Naito’s chest stinging for sure. His kicks would lead to his finishing belly to back suplex, dropping Naito on his neck and ending the match.
Winner: Yuji Nagata (2pts)
Block B Match- Katsuyori Shibata vs Tomoaki Honma
First thing I need to say is that I could not believe how over Katsuyori Shibata was in front of the Japanese crowd, he got a pop showing that he was the fan-favourite of NJPW.
Shibata also has such a clean martial-arts style to his in-ring work that I really enjoyed, and it made him look like a real hard-hitter. His kicks and forearms were some of the swiftest I have seen, and I could tell he was a seasoned veteran.
Tomoaki Honma’s style was very different in comparison to Shibata, and it did not appeal to me all that much, but he still had some big spots. Overall, the match was very good and had some very entertaining moments.
The first being Shibata taking chops and kicks while in his cross-legged seated position and not reacting at all, he was instead begging for more. My jaw also dropped when Honma dropped Shibata on his head with a reverse piledriver, such a devastating move.
I also loved the final sequence of the match, Honma demolished Shibata for the close. He hit some strong slaps right across Shibata’s face, followed by placing him over his shoulder and dropping him right on the top of his head again. Honma would then get to the top rope and hit his final diving headbutt, to secure the upset victory over Shibata.
Winner: Tomoaki Honma (2pts)
That was the end to the second night of the 2016 G1 Climax, and my main takeaway from the show was that I absolutely love Tetsuya Naito. I personally preferred night two over night one, so I hope to see block A redeem themselves on night three.
BLOCK B STANDINGS
Katsuhiko Nakajima – 2 Points
YOSHI-HASHI – 2 Points
EVIL – 2 Points
Yuji Nagata – 2 Points
Tomoaki Honma – 2 Points
Toru Yano – 0 Points
Kenny Omega – 0 Points
Michael Elgin – 0 Points
Tetsuya Naito – 0 Points
Katsuyori Shibata– 0 Points