Another Chaos v Chaos match started things off with Tomohiro Ishii v Toru Yano. It was a fun match with Yano trying a lot of his tricks, including removing the turnbuckle pads before the match even srtarted. He tried to get Ishii to go outside but Ishii just stared at him until Yano ran back in at 17.
With his normal style not working, Yano actually tried to beat Ishii properly with a big striking battle.
Yano’s also the master of quick pins, and tried a few near the end, but it wasn’t enough and a sliding lariat and brainbuster from Ishii ended things.
Juice Robinson v Taichi was ok, but there was a lot of interference from Kanemaru. Eventually Juice had a enough and hit Kanemaru with Left Hand of God when he tried to get him with Suntori Surprise. unfortunately, Taichi hit him with it instead, then finished things off with a buzzsaw kick and Black Mephisto to pick up the win.
Much like his match with Ishii, but not quite as good, Goto had a great big man match with Jeff Cobb. There was a lot of stiff striking and big power moves from both men as well as hard kicks. Goto won with the GTR after countering Tour of the Islands.
Next up, Jon Moxley wanted to get back in the game after his loss to Yano when he took on Jay White. Moxley went straight after White, fighting to the outside. He set a table up, but when he went to get White, Gedo ran away with it. Moxley dominated a lot of the match, but couldn’t put White away. He kicked out after a lowblow from White and brass knuckles from Gedo. Moxley fought out of Blade Runner twice but couldn’t stop it a third time and White delivered Moxley’s first pinfall loss of the G1.
The night was headlined by one of the biggest matches of the tournament, the first meeting of Shingo Takagi and the man who brought him to NJPW, Tetsuya Naito.
This was one of the best matches of the tournament with both men out to prove they’re the best. It was probably the most consistently intense Naito’s been all G1 too.
There was a great sequence where Takagi took Naito to the top, Naito fought out to prevent a move, tried a frankensteiner but Takagi stopped it, Takagi tried a powerbomb but Naito flipped him. On the mat Naito hit a poisonrana, went for Destino but took a massive clothesline. At one point Naito reversed Last of the Dragon into a variation of Destino but it wasn’t enough for the win.
After battering each other with forearms, Shingo blocked Destino and took Naito’s head off with a clothesline. He tried for last of the Dragon but Naito flipped it. Naito hit Destino but Takagi kicked out, he hit a second for the win.
Naito absolutely had to win, both as the leader of LIJ but also to stay in contention for the G1. I look forward to these two battling again though, it’s got to happen!