New Japan Pro Wrestling
G1 Climax 32 Night 4
July 23, 2022
Ota City General Gymnasium
Tokyo, Japan

Watch: NJPWWorld

The 2022 edition of the G1 Climax entered its second week with a big stretch of shows, as the tour had four straight events in Tokyo over the course of five nights. The first two in that stretch would take place in the Ota City General Gymnasium (the venue that hosted the first New Japan event in 1972), with Night 4 being the first show on the tour to feature wrestlers having their second match. Before diving into the tournament bouts, here’s how things shook out on the undercard.

– Bullet Club (El Phantasmo, Juice Robinson, & KENTA) def. David Finlay, Hirooki Goto, & Ryohei Oiwa
– Team Filthy (Tom Lawlor & Royce Isaacs) def. TMDK (JONAH & Bad Dude Tito)
– Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens, & Yujiro Takahashi) def. Suzuki-gun (Lance Archer, Taichi, & Taka Michinoku)
– United Empire (Great O-Khan, Jeff Cobb, & Will Ospreay) def. House Of Torture (EVIL, SHO, & Dick Togo)
– LIJ (Tetsuya Naito, SANADA, & BUSHI) def. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tama Tonga, & Jado

Out of those five matches, the only one I watched was the tag team match that saw Team Filthy go up against TMDK. In the previous bout between these two teams on Night 3, it was JONAH who pinned Royce Isaacs, but on this night, Team Filthy got the win as Tom Lawlor defeated Bad Dude Tito.

G1 Climax 32 C Block – Zack Sabre Jr. (4) def. Aaron Henare (2) 

Aaron Henare was coming off a huge upset victory on the opening night over Hiroshi Tanahashi, while Zack Sabre Jr. won a hard-fought bout against KENTA on Night 2. While Henare had a very strong showing here, he ultimately came up short, as he was forced to tap out when Sabre locked him in an achilles hold after countering the Streets Of Rage. He becomes the first wrestler in the tournament to reach four points. The results page on New Japan’s website lists the move as (and I’m not joking) the “Sunday Rail Engineering Works Replacement Bus Service.” What wacky name for a submission hold will Zack Sabre Jr. come up with next? Anyway, I thought these two had a really good match that featured strong action from start to finish. About midway through, Henare was able to suplex Sabre on the floor, and from there, Henare would go for a variety of moves that targeted Sabre’s midsection. Meanwhile, there were various points throughout the match where Henare would go for some sort of kick, and even though he landed on a few occasions, there were also a couple of times where Sabre managed to grab the leg and counter. In a way, it did play a role in setting up for the finish, when it was a leg submission that got Sabre the victory in the end. Kevin Kelly and Chris Charlton did a good job noting the achilles injury that Henare suffered while he was a young lion (and Henare sold the pain very well afterwards). Sabre forcing a ringside attendant to carry him to the back after the win was a funny visual. For me, this was as close you can get to a notebook match (**** or higher) without actually being a notebook match. Very enjoyable. ***3/4

G1 Climax 32 D Block – Shingo Takagi (2) def. YOSHI-HASHI (0)

Believe it or not, this is the first singles meeting in New Japan between these two. It’s also the first tournament match for YOSHI-HASHI, as the weird scheduling rears it head for the first time. I figured this had the chance to be really good, but when the dust settled, these two ended up having an awesome contest that featured some incredible action in the second half. The early portion of the match was pretty much what I expected, but things started to pick up in a big way after a lariat exchange in the ring. Shingo looked to be on his way to winning the match after a huge superplex and a Made In Japan, but YOSHI-HASHI was able to avoid Last of the Dragon on two different occasions (the second time saw him counter it into a DDT), and eventually managed to hit Karma, which is essentially the same move as Made In Japan. However, YOSHI-HASHI was too exhausted, and by the time he made the cover, Shingo had recovered enough to kick out. YOSHI-HASHI then went on an insane offensive flurry (which included a Destroyer and Kumagoroshi), and the fans in the Ota City Gym were on fire (or as much as they could be in the clap crowd environment). He tried for Karma again, but Shingo countered into his Ground Cobra pin, and managed to steal victory from the jaws of defeat. It was a finish that really made you feel for YOSHI-HASHI, though at the same time, it was a very YOSHI-HASHI way to lose. He’s on the verge of beating a former IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, but gets caught in a flash pin and loses. Again, the second half of this one is what really put it over the top for me. ****1/4

G1 Climax 32 A Block – Kazuchika Okada (4) def. Toru Yano (2)

It’s always interesting to see what happens when Toru Yano goes up against fellow CHAOS members in the G1. In this case, he went up against the leader of CHAOS, Kazuchika Okada, as both of them are coming off victories in their opening tournament bouts. I wasn’t sure what kind of Yano match we would get here, but I’m pleased to say that we wound up getting a relatively serious bout (by Yano standards at least). Yano went after Okada before the bell, and instead of going into his usual bag of tricks, he tossed Okada into the barricade and used his signature red chair on him! He followed this up by sending Okada into the exposed turnbuckle before using his wrist tape to discreetly choke Okada. If only we could get this no-nonsense Yano on a more regular basis. Okada would respond with his usual array of offense, but I wanted to see what Yano did next, and he didn’t disappoint. He countered the Rainmaker into the Demon Killer Powerbomb for a nearfall, though an attempt to use the red chair again backfired, as Okada countered a Powerbomb attempt into a DDT on a chair. There was some more back and forth in the closing stretch, with Yano getting a few nearfalls off of some tricks. Okada was able to survive that, and managed to hit a backbreaker before locking in the Money Clip for the submission victory. I guess Okada was due to win at least one match with the Money Clip in this tournament, and I honestly don’t have any issues with him using it to beat Yano here. A very entertaining contest for the ten minutes that it lasted. ***1/4

G1 Climax 32 B Block – Jay White (4) def. Tomohiro Ishii (0)

Tomohiro Ishii is someone who’s constantly been a thorn in the side of Jay White for a number of years. Not only did Ishii have a 3-1 record over White coming into this match, but Ishii was 2-0 against White in the G1 Climax (the second of those two wins was in 2020 when an Ishii victory dashed White’s hopes of winning the A Block). History was not on White’s side going into this one, but when the dust settled, White managed to get the proverbial monkey off his back as he finally scored that elusive G1 victory over the Stone Pitbull.

The match got off to an odd start, as White got some chairs out for Gedo and told him to sit back and relax on the floor. This turned out to be a setup, as while White had the referee distracted, Gedo took one of the chairs and threw it right at Ishii’s head. White used this to take control of the match, and while Ishii did fight back at one point, White soon cut him off with a DDT that stood Ishii on his head for a good few seconds. That was nasty. At this stage, White started to target the midsection of Ishii, who sold the damage very well. White would run through some of his signature offense before stealing some of Ishii’s offense, which included the rapid fire chops and strikes in the corner as well as Ishii’s stalling vertical suplex off the second rope. This only served to piss Ishii off, as he fired up and responded with a flying shoulder tackle that sent White into the corner. From there, we got into an incredible closing stretch that featured some awesome action between the two. Gedo did try to get involved on one or two occasions, but for the most part, this exchange was relatively clean. We got an extended counter exchange that was a little reminiscent of something we would see in a Karl Anderson G1 match, and it ultimately ended when White countered the Vertical Drop Brainbuster into the Blade Runner. Ishii had countered the Blade Runner a number of times before that, but he wasn’t able to avoid it that time. Ishii and White have some amazing chemistry together, and this was another outstanding entry in their series. White closed the show by cutting a clapping promo in the ring, essentially mocking the Japanese clap crowds. ****1/2

Final Thoughts

It’s still very early in the tournament, but I feel confident in saying that it’s going to be very hard for most of the cards on this tour to top Night 4. A really entertaining night of G1 Climax action, with an excellent main event between Jay White and Tomohiro Ishii and some really strong block matches underneath. We even got a Toru Yano match that was very solid for what it was, with Yano bringing out his more serious side against Okada. When even the Yano match delivers in a big way, you know you’ve got a good show on your hands. I would recommend watching all four tournament matches. You won’t be disappointed.