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NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING G1 CLIMAX 32 – DAY 13 – ALL BLOCKS
AUGUST 6, 2022
OSAKA, JAPAN AT OSAKA PREFECTURAL GYMNASIUM
AIRED LIVE ON NJPWWORLD.COM
NJPW G1 Announcers: Kevin Kelly & Chris Charlton
(1) TAMA TONGA & DAVID FINLAY & TOMOHIRO ISHII & RYOHEI OIWA vs. BULLET CLUB (Evil & Chase Owens & SHO & Yujiro Takahashi)
In a match not overly reliant on Bullet Club nonsense, Sho tapped out Young Lion Ryohei Oiwa.
WINNERS: Bullet Club at 8:49.
(2) TOM LAWLOR & ROYCE ISAACS vs. THE UNITED EMPIRE (Jeff Cobb & Aaron Henare)
Good action. Henare finished off non-tournament guy Isaacs, who has been a real highlight of the undercard throughout the tournament so far, which also didn’t go unnoticed by Kevin Kelly on commentary.
WINNERS: Cobb & Henare at 9:35.
(3) LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (Tetsuya Naito & SANADA & BUSHI) vs. BULLET CLUB (KENTA & Bad Luck Fale & Juice Robinson)
Surprisingly shorter than the other undercard matches given the potential here. Juice hit Pulp Friction on an isolated Bushi to win.
WINNERS: Bullet Club at 7:14.
(4) KAZUCHIKA OKADA & HIROSHI TANAHASHI vs. TMDK (JONAH & Bad Dude Tito)
Tito has also been an enjoyable hoss on the undercard throughout the tour thus far. He was of course the fall guy against New Japan’s two most popular icons. Tanahashi pinned Tito in another good undercard match after High Fly Flow.
WINNERS: Okada & Tanahashi at 8:41.
(5) YOSHI-HASHI vs. EL PHANTASMO – G1 Climax D Block match
This is just the third block for both guys; both have done some of their most gripping work to date in their block matches so far. Both are 1-1. Collar and elbow to start. Rope break. ELP postured a little, then entreated Osaka to cheer a little. Another collar and elbow led to a second rope break. Phantasmo, rather an a clean break, threw a chop. Rope run and both guys blocked to no effect. A second. Phantasmo pretended he was about to run the ropes and instead poked Hashi’s eyes, then ran and hit a block. Hashi responded with a block of his own. He chopped ELP to the mat. Action went outside. ELP hit a springboard moonsault on Hashi, then rolled him back inside. He went for a swanton but Hashi got the knees up. Both guys sold for a moment.
Hashi threw some chops and ELP returned fire with some forearms. Back bodydrop by Hashi. Hashi wrenched ELP’s arm and chopped him down again. Hashi worked a chinlock. ELP elbowed his way out and ran the ropes for a dropkick. ELP hit some alternating forearms and chops in the corner. Irish whip, reverse, and a springboard cross-body by ELP for two. ELP went for a big move but Hashi hit an inside cradle for two. Hashi followed up with some chops. Basement dropkick by Hashi and both guys sold again.
Hashi charged the corner and hit a big chop. Combo strikes and a neckbreaker by Hashi. He unleashed a big chop that tossed ELP over and out. Hashi hit a swanton to the outside and fired up. Back inside and another basement dropkick by Hashi for two. Kumagoroshi was thwarted by ELP, who threw rapid chops. Hashi responded with a lariat and again, both guys sold on the mat. They got to their knees and exchanged forearms. Hashi hit a flurry but ELP trapped him in a crucifix for two. Scoop slam by ELP followed by a second-rope ax-handle. ELP got the crowd into it and missed a superkick. Dragon suplex by Hashi. Sudden death (superkick) by ELP laid out Hashi, but Phantasmo was spent.
Phantasmo lifted Hashi for UFO and hit it this time. He went up for Thunder Kiss ’86 and got a long two. ELP signaled for CR2 but Hashi rolled him up for two. Corner boots by both guys. Thrust kick by Hashi and a lariat put ELP down. Kumagoroshi by Hashi got two. Hashi wanted Karma but ELP rolled him up and hooked the tights for a long two. After some reversals, Hashi hit Karma.
WINNER: Yoshi-Hashi at 15:59. (***1/2)
(Wells’s Analysis: Another very solid match for ELP, and Yoshi-Hashi continues what I think is his best tournament so far; every year they want to tell the story of his perceived improvement, but he really is on the roll of his life and I’m glad for him that he’s still relevant in this tournament past the halfway point)
(6) TORU YANO vs. LANCE ARCHER – G1 Climax A Block match
Archer is 1-2 while Yano is already 1-3 with just one match left after this one; the format this year is cleverly getting guys with no chance to win out of the way before the final week or so.
Yano evaded Archer to open. Archer charged and Yano begged off. Archer gave Yano a rear lariat. Yano charged a corner to remove a turnbuckle pad but Archer waited and blocked him to the mat. Archer removed another pad while Yano was down. Yano threw a cheap shot to Archer, who no-sold it but acted angry. Action spilled outside and Archer charged Yano into a barricade. Archer produced some tape, a la Yano, and said “two can play at this game” and trapped Yano against a barricade. Yano had scissors with him, but the announcer had to slow down considerably to allow Yano back in at 19.
Yano took some shots at Archer with the buckle pads that were removed and he no-sold. Back outside and Archer missed a charge on Yano but hit a Young Lion. Archer checked on him and Yano taped him to Young Lion Nakashima. Archer was able to bring Nakashima to the ring and hit a double-clothesline on Yano while they were taped together. He untaped them and then slammed Nakashima on Yano. Archer took issue with Nakashima “almost costing [me my] match” and chokeslammed him. Yano surprised Archer with some strikes and a schoolboy for two. Low blow and a rollup for two.
Rope run and Archer hit a pounce. Archer tried to tune up the band but sold the harm to his nether regions between stomps to laughs. Yano went up to the second rope but Archer hit a rising knee. Blackout by Archer finished. He grabbed Kevin Kelly’s mic to put himself over afterward and promote his matches with Jonah and Okada to finish his tournament.
WINNER: Lance Archer at 9:18. (**)
(Wells’s Analysis: For a Yano comedy match, it was pretty decent given Archer’s commitment to the silly bits.)
(7) HIROOKI GOTO vs. ZACK SABRE JR. – G1 Climax C Block match
The announcers ran down ZSJ’s recent dominance in this matchup. Both guys are 2-1 to open. Slow to start as both guys typically wait for a mistake to strike. Collar and elbow was won by Goto and went to a rope break. Goto broke cleanly and Zed pushed his face and went in for a headlock. Rope run and a block by ZSJ went nowhere. More rope runs and a fourth was won by Goto with a block. Hip toss by Goto and Zack bailed, then rolled back in as Goto gave chase. Goto covered for a few two counts. Chinlock by Goto, followed by a bionic elbow to the head. Goto tossed ZSJ to a corner and threw strikes, then leaned with a boot. Goto wanted the ushigoroshi but Zack snuck out and hit a wristlock over the ropes and referee Kenta Sato broke it up.
Action went outside. Zack tossed Goto to a barricade, then another. Sabre stomped Goto’s arm awkwardly out on the floor and entered the ring, then ordered the ref to count Goto out. The count reached 13 and Goto got back inside. Sabre threw a kick to Goto’s chest and right arm, then another. He stepped on Goto for a count of two. Uppercut by Zack followed by a few more. Sabre wrenched Goto’s arm and took him to the mat. Sabre kicked at Goto dismissively and Goto fired up and threw some forearms. Strike exchanged in the middle of the ring ended with Goto throwing a lariat. Both guys sold on the mat.
Goto went at Sabre and hit a corner lariat and a bulldog for two. Sabre turned a fireman’s carry into a reverse and a kick to Goto’s arm. Euro uppercuts by Sabre. Goto returned fire with forearms and they went to a slow exchange of strikes. They rapidly gained speed and the crowd clapped along. Rope run and Zack trapped Goto in an abdominal stretch. Snap German by Sabre, but Goto struck back with a reverse GTR. Both guys sold as the crowd clapped and really got into it.
Goto brought ZSJ to a kneeling position and threw kicks. Sabre crumbled. Dragon suplex by Sabre got two and again, they took their time to regroup. Sabre’s next kick got caught but he threw repeated palm strikes. Goto returned with a headbutt to lay out Sabre. Goto lifted Sabre, but Sabre leaned into a guillotine. Goto worked Sabre into an ushigoroshi and they both laid on the mat again.
Goto set up Sabre for GTR but Sabre trapped him for a believable near-fall. Quick reversals led to both guys kicking out at one to pops on both sides. Sabre worked Plan B into a cross-armbreaker, but Goto reached a rope to break. The audience clapped along. Goto hit Shoto in a corner but sold his bad arm. Goto came to life first and threw a big kick to Zed’s chest, then hit GTW. He sold, then covered for two. Goto set up GTR but Zack trapped him in a triangle. Goto tried to lean on Zack for a pin, but Zack trapped Goto’s arm and got a quick tap for the victory.
WINNER: Zack Sabre, Jr. at 17:33. (****1/4)
(Wells’s Analysis: Predictably, an excellent match as these two always seem to match up well as both can grapple and Goto’s impact spots can either work or be reversed by Sabre. Goto hasn’t been positioned as a main event player very often in the past five years, but this easily could have been a main event if the schedule had broken right)
(8) THE GREAT-O-KHAN vs. JAY WHITE (w/Gedo) – G1 CLIMAX B Block match
The announcers called out Khan’s disappointing (1-2) tournament so far, positioning him as a big underdog vs. undefeated IWGP champion White (3-0). White showed off his physique but bailed quickly. Back inside and White begged off of contact a few times and complained to referee Kenta Sato that he didn’t know what Khan was doing. Khan trapped White in a waistlock on the mat and White fought to the rope to break. White took a cheap shot at Khan, who fought back with a body block. He sat on White for a two count, then rolled him up for another two. Khan leaned on White for his signature taunt in a corner as the crowd got into it.
The action spilled outside and Khan charged White to a barricade, then another. Khan rolled White back inside and Gedo trapped Khan’s leg to give White enough time for an advantage. White and Khan fought at the apron and Khan charged White into the barricade. White worked Khan’s leg to get an edge. White stomped Khan in a corner, then slipped outside and wrenched Khan’s leg around the post. On the second attempt, Khan shoved White off to gain some separation.
Both guys went back inside. Neckbreaker by White for two. White stalked and mocked Khan, then raked his eyes and hit a dragon screw. Elbows by Khan but White hit a couple of 2 Sweet chops. Khan hit a judo takedown to create separation again. Khan hit a corner lariat, then charged White’s head into the corner a number of times. Khan hit a gut-wrench suplex for two. Khan throttled White, who fought to a corner to break. Khan took White to a corner and White elbowed out of trouble, then hit a dragon screw threw the ropes to take advantage.
Running back elbow in the corner by White, followed by a Blade Buster by two. White yanked up Khan by the braid and went to a corner, where he threw some knife-edge chops. White laid out Khan with the Complete Shot. White lifted Khan for the uranage for two. White worked a suplex on Khan, then threw repeated clubs. Khan managed a belly-to-belly suplex and both guys sold on the mat. Khan missed a Mongolian chop and the two exchanged reversals until White had the advantage. He worked the TTO until Khan reached the rope to break.
White mocked Khan at the ropes and called him “tough guy.” White threw some chops and Khan absorbed them, then threw a Mongolian chop. White threw chops in the corner and the two went to reversals again. A throat thrust by Khan laid out White. Mongolian chops by O-Khan kept him in control. Quick reversals led to a sleeper suplex by White. White tried Blade Runner but O-Khan bit his hand, worked Sheep Killer, then trapped White in a nerve hold. He tried the Eliminator but White fought it off. Khan threw a big right as the crowd got way into it. White fought off the Eliminator and, after some reversals with the crowd fighting the urge to go wild, hit the Blade Runner.
WINNER: Jay White at 18:14. (****)
(Wells’s Analysis: Perhaps the best professional match thus far for Great O-Khan as he continues to improve while facing one of the world’s greatest. The reversals and near-falls were believable and White’s dominance of the block leaves some real doubt about who might beat him and get a shot between now and Wrestle Kingdom. A real gem of a match in a spot that could have been just another filler match)
(9) SHINGO TAKAGI vs. WILL OSPREAY – D Block match
These two make magic together on a regular basis, so it’ll be a good time to see what happens here. Ospreay finally (physically) has his US title here after a mini-story with Juice Robinson and David Finlay holding it. The announcers point out that Ospreay is 1-3 lifetime vs. Takagi, but the win was in a match over 30 minutes, which is tonight’s limit. Quick feeling out process led to an Ospreay headlock. Rope run and a block, then another by Takagi to cheers from a crowd that’s been as loud as they’re allowed to be all night.
Quick reversals. A scoop slam by Takagi created some separation and Kevin Kelly said both competitors were trying big moves to beat the clock. Rope run and a knee by Takagi, followed by a vertical suplex for two. Scissors by Takagi. Ospreay escaped and both guys got to their feet. DDT by Takagi, but Ospreay rolled through. Takagi bailed and Ospreay hit a plancha to cheers from the hot crowd. Ospreay rolled Takagi inside and threw some rights. Ospreay leaned on Takagi in a corner, then hit a backbreaker. He covered for two. Ospreay covered on Takagi near the rope but Takagi broke.
Ospreay tried a suplex but Takagi thwarted it and put Ospreay on the apron. Ospreay charged in but Takagi hit a lariat. He regrouped to cheers. Strikes and a body slam by Takagi. Back body drop by Takagi. Ospreay got dumped again and Takagi sat on the apron to milk some cheers before heading outside. Back in, Takagi hit a corner lariat and some strikes. Twist and Shout by Takagi got two. Noshigami was thwarted and after a few reversals, Ospreay hit a cutter and both guys sold for a bit. Ospreay hit a springboard forearm for two. Ospreay hit a few chops and Shingo went to a corner and bashed his head in a pad to fire himself up.
Ospreay tried to OsCutter but they went into another quick-reversal sequence as the referee called for just ten minutes. Takagi wanted a basement lariat but the two went into a thrilling sequence of reversals – based on their familiarity – that ended with both guys on the mat selling again. The crowd was as rabid as they were allowed. Ospreay charged a corner with a rising knee on Takagi. He took Takagi up for Stormbreaker, but Takagi dumped Ospreay. The two jockeyed for position and teased big spots until Ospreay hit Spanish Fly for two. It’s impossible to describe the reversals these two created.
Ospreay managed some forearms into a hook kick to the back of the head. Takagi caught an elbow into a trap and the two sold on the mat again. It was as much a breather for the fans as it was for them. The two hit their feet and exchanged forearms. Takagi worked the arm and ran the ropes. Takagi managed the OsCutter and a huge Pumping Bomber for two. The crowd continued to make as much noise as they were allowed.
Takagi barked the crowd back into it and set up for Made in Japan, but Ospreay fought it off and caught Ospreay in “Made in England,” as called by Charlton, for two. OsCutter got a long two. The crowd clapped rhythmically. Ospreay got to his feet first and threw kicks. A big right and some back kicks laid Takagi out, but a poison rana broke it up. Poison rana by Ospreay allowed both to catch their breaths.
Ospreay tried Stormbreaker again and it led to another exchange of reversals. Nobody could get a particularly big shot in but Takagi managed a backslide for two, and Ospreay got a similar rollup for two. More misses and kickouts. Dragon suplex by Takagi. Pumping Bomber got a very long two. Takagi hit a sliding elbow and, with Ospreay on jelly-legs, surprised him with Last of the Dragons for the win.
WINNER: Shingo Takagi at 21:56 (*****)
(Wells’s Analysis: In my many years of recapping I’ve only given two five-star reviews, and both of them are now singles matches between these two. Even before the match, I considered my previous review and wondered how close they could possibly manage to get. The two of them simply have an in-ring communication and chemistry that’s hard to describe. I can’t recommend a match from the G1 more than this.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: A very, very strong match of block action. I feel almost guilty because I had to trade with Tyler Sage for last night’s forgettable card and pick up this incredibly strong, pivotal night. I have one more block recap coming as the tournament continues to charge toward its finish. I’ll see you in about a week, gang. Cheers.