CHASE OWENS vs. TOMOYUKI OKA - 4/10
HIROYOSHI TENZAN & SHOTA UMINO vs. SUZUKI-GUN (Zack Sabre Jr. & El Desperado) - 3.75/10
These undercard matches are meant to tease and make us want to see the next night's big tournament match... so why is Zack not facing off against his opponent for tomorrow, Tomohiro Ishii? It seems to me that having CHAOS face off against Suzuki-Gun on the undercard of a show main-evented by Okada vs. Suzuki does a lot more for a show than sticking three CHAOS guys in the G1 in the same match in a match where everyone knows they'll win because their team is three guys in the G1 and the other team has a young-boy. If I were booking this I would replace Tenzan & Umino with Ishii & Gedo, had Goto & YOSHI-HASHI face Makabe & Ibushi (that's assuming they won't let any young-boys team with CHAOS because they're not in CHAOS), had Umino face Oka in the opener, and put Owens and Tenzan in the Bullet Club match. Same number of matches, but we achieve all of our goals for hyping tomorrow's matches (not that any of them aside from the main event matter) and also get a bit of extra build to tonight's main event to boot.
The match was fine. I think Zack could get a great match out of Tenzan if given the chance.
YUJI NAGATA & KATSUYA KITAMURA vs. BULLET CLUB (Bad Luck Fale & Yujiro Takahashi) - 3/10
This shirt Fale is wearing is clearly someone's attempt to see if you can sell absolutely anything if you put the Bullet Club logo on it, no matter how hideous. The match wasn't as bad as Fale's shirt, but that's not saying much.
TOGI MAKABE, KOTA IBUSHI, & HIRAI KAWATO vs. CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii, YOSHI-HASHI, & Hirooki Goto) - 6.5/10
This was a really good match for the time it got. Everyone got the chance to do their stuff and look good doing it, but you want to know who came out of this match- and, in fact, possibly the entire G1- with his stock elevated the most (arguably aside from EVIL)? Hirai Kawato. They also do such an amazing job with his nearfalls that one day, when this kid finally rolls up one of the veterans and get that pin, the entire arena is going to go absolutely bonkers.
HIROSHI TANAHASHI, RYUSYKE TAGUCHI, & DAVID FINLAY JR. vs. LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi, & BUSHI)- 4.5/10
The match was fine, but the second part of that post-match segment made Tanahashi look like an idiot, IMO. Obviously he shouldn't have accepted Naito's handshake because Naito was clearly up to something, but to put himself in a position like that which was hard to defend, and then do his air guitar like a douchebag and then have it result in Naito taking his knee out made me laugh and think "you dumbf*ck! Now you've got an injured knee in addition to your injured arm!"
BLOCK B MATCH: Tama Tonga vs. Satoshi Kojima (w/Hiroyoshi Tenzan) - 5.75/10
Tama Tonga started this tournament off looking like someone who might step up and challenge Kenny Omega for leadership in Bullet Club. Just over two weeks later, and now he's a dork whose gimmick is that he puts on other guys' entrance gear. Hooray for Gedo! Hooray for Bullet Club!
They worked on each other's heads and necks (something that would happen in every single G1 match tonight aside from the comedy match). Even Tenzan worked on Tama Tonga's neck. That's right! The babyfaces cheated for absolutely no reason. Tama Tonga won, but it doesn't matter at all because the booking of this tournament has rendered both men completely irrelevant, and while I understand that that is bound to happen in a tournament like this, a skilled booker would put some effort into setting up additional stories for the various competitors so that matches like this can still mean something, even if it isn't something relevant to the results of the tournament.
BLOCK B MATCH: Juice Robinson vs. Toru Yano - 0.5/10
As soon as the bell rings Yano goes over to untie the turnbuckle... so Juice just walks over and starts clubbing him in the back. I laughed my ass off. Yano escaped to under the ring so Juice decided to follow him under, at which point an important question occurred to me. The Triple H vs. Jericho Hell in a Cell set the precedent that the air above the ring counts as the ring, so does that mean that a pinfall or submission would count if it takes place under the ring as well? And if so, shouldn't the referee be following them under there with a flashlight?
Instead the referee started to count them out. Oh come on! We've seen guys in this tournament brawl all the way to the back of the arena without being counted out, so how the hell are these guys being counted out when they are technically still between the ropes? After a tease of double count-out they go back to the outside again, and despite being farther away from the ring than they were when they were underneath it, they're not getting counted out.
We then got another count-out tease when Yano tied Juice's dreads to the barricade. After about six seconds of Yano working over Juice's knee we got the usual Stupid Yano Tricks. The referee caught him blatantly trying to hit Juice with a low blow, and despite having DQed Michael Elgin simply because Yano claimed that Elgin had hit him in the nuts even though he didn't see it, the referee now does not disqualify Yano despite having been caught in the act of attempting to cheat. Juice won soon after with Pulp Friction.
BLOCK B MATCH: Michael Elgin vs. EVIL - 7/10
EVIL needs a win here to have chance of winning the block without some sort of crazy three-way or even four-way tie-breaker scenario. To further that end, he EVIL jumps Elgin to start things off. This was a very good power vs. power match. It had this interesting feel of being a brawl without them actually throwing too many strikes. One of the strikes that was thrown, however, was EVIL doing a variation on the Curb Stomp, which he needs to start making a regular thing. Elgin got the win, pretty much killing EVIL's chances of winning the block, which was a completely baffling decision to me, since Elgin winning here does not add anyone else into pool of potential winners, so all this result does is make an additional match tomorrow almost completely irrelevant. If you wanted Elgin to have more points than he would if he lost this match then you shouldn't have had him suffer the aforementioned idiotic DQ loss to Yano. Yano isn't going to factor into the tiebreakers at all (and if he does, you've done something terribly wrong), so what does it matter if he finishes with four points instead of six?
BLOCK B MATCH: Sanada vs. Kenny Omega (w/Chase Owens) - 7.5/10
Omega took what looked like a really bad bump on his head early on when he tried to do a moonsault press on the outside, although he might have lucked out and landed on Sanada's arm instead of the floor. Judging by the way Sanada was clutching his arm in pain, it seems like that might have been what happened. G-d, I really hope that's what happened.
Both guys worked over the other's head here, with Omega eventually picking up the win to eliminate Sanada from having a chance of winning the block.
BLOCK B MATCH: Kazuchika Okada (w/Gedo) vs. Minoru Suzuki (w/El Desperado & Taichi) - 8.75/10
This was an extremely intense match, with both guys working on the head and neck. Let me just say that I really hope that Suzuki worked all of those shots to the back of the head and that Okada was selling them really well, because some of that stuff looked utterly terrifying. The match was quite awesome (though it pales in comparison to the one they had earlier this year) but there were a few things that I thought really hurt it.
Aside from the usual Suzuki-Gun brawl issues (stuff like using a chair right in front of the referee with no DQ, and the ref not making any sort of effort to count them out), the main problem I had with this match was that the finish really didn't feel very climatic to me. I thought that the slap-fight went on for way too long, and Okada trying to get over to pin Suzuki after the Rainmaker in the final moments felt much less exciting here than it did in the sixty-minute match with Omega at Dominion. I'm not disputing that the slaps hurt like a motherf*cker and could even concuss someone, but they went past the point of diminishing returns on the intensity and they don't add much to the excitement of the match. I would have preferred a finishing stretch that was much more focused on reversals and trying to go for your big move. There is nothing that makes a Rainmaker feel more climactic than having him finally hit it after three or four attempts at hitting hit have been thwarted in the past few minutes.
So just like Block A, Block B heads into their final night where the only match on the card that matters one lick is the main event, with the winner of that match winning the whole block, and no one else having any sort of prayer barring a catastrophic injury to both men. If EVIL had beaten Elgin then at least he would still be alive if he wins and Omega vs. Okada goes to a draw. Or even better, if Sanada and Suzuki win and EVIL either loses or draws, you've now got FIVE wrestlers alive going into the final day, and the only two of them facing each other are Okada and Sanada, setting up a series of matches where each wrestler must win to keep his hopes alive, culminating in Okada vs. Omega in that same situation (with the added twist that Okada could actually win the block with a draw, which would add to Omega's desperation and play into the fact that in their last encounter, Omega couldn't put Okada way given twice that time [and there could be some added irony that the same draw that denied Okada the win of his block last year could give it to him this year). But instead of three matches with major consequences, we get just one. This was a great show, but a second straight night of disappointing booking overshadows that for me.