New Japan Pro Wrestling
G1 Climax 32: Night 9
July 31, 2022
Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium
Nagoya, Aichi, Japan

Watch: NJPWWorld

The 2022 edition of the G1 Climax officially reached the halfway point of block competition when this second night of action in Aichi came to a close. This particular card was also the first night to feature five block matches instead of four, which is a trend that will continue throughout the rest of the tour. I’ll dive into how things went in the tournament bouts in a moment, but first, here’s how things went on the undercard:

  • Bullet Club (El Phantasmo, KENTA, SHO, & Yujiro Takahashi) def. CHAOS (Hirooki Goto & Tomohiro Ishii), Hiroshi Tanahashi, & Ryohei Oiwa
  • TMDK (JONAH & Bad Dude Tito) def. Team Filthy (Tom Lawlor & Royce Isaacs)
  • United Empire (Aaron Henare, Great O-Khan, & Will Ospreay) def. David Finlay, Jado, & Tama Tonga
  • LIJ (BUSHI, SANADA, & Shingo Takagi) def. Suzuki-gun (Taichi, Taka Michinoku, & Zack Sabre Jr.)

Another note that I should add is that “Filthy” Tom Lawlor joined Kevin Kelly for English Commentary on the G1 Climax matches, and I thought he was pretty good (which shouldn’t be much of a surprise).

G1 Climax 32 – A Block
Jeff Cobb (4) def. Lance Archer (2)

I believe I mentioned this in one of my previous G1 reviews, but because he lost to Okada back on Night 1, that means Jeff Cobb has to keep on winning to stay on pace with Okada. He would also need Okada to lose twice if he has any hopes of winning the block, which seems unlikely at this stage, but hey, stranger things have happened. Cobb had a huge challenge in front of him on this particular night in the form of Lance Archer, though he was able to survive the offensive onslaught that Archer brought forth, and put him away with the Tour Of The Islands in just under twelve minutes. This was a very enjoyable big man match that featured some solid action. It didn’t blow the doors off by any means, but I had a lot of fun watching it. Seeing Cobb put in the underdog position in these last two matches has been fascinating to watch. As I already mentioned, Archer managed to hit several big moves on Cobb (getting some verbal reactions from the crowd as they were impressed with Archer’s strength), but it wasn’t enough to put The Imperial Unit away. ***1/2

G1 Climax 32 – D Block
YOSHI-HASHI (2) def. Juice Robinson (2)

Just to show off how weird the schedule has been, Bad Luck Fale is wrestling his fourth of six A Block matches on this show, while YOSHI-HASHI is only wrestling his second of six matches in the D Block. Juice Robinson didn’t waste any time getting this one started, as he jumped poor YOSHI-HASHI before he could even get his entrance gear off. Once the match officially got underway, it was a very good match. Juice managed to connect with a piledriver once they got back in the ring, though YOSHI-HASHI was able to turn the tide after avoiding what could’ve been a match-ending piledriver on the exposed concrete floor. From there, we got several hard chops from YOSHI-HASHI as he finally went on an offensive flurry. The closing stretch featured some solid back-and-forth action (including a shot where referee Marty Asami shoved Juice down after he got in his face) before YOSHI-HASHI ultimately put Juice away with Karma to secure his first points of the tournament. Again, a really strong match for the twelve minutes or so that it lasted, and on this particular show, I feel confident in saying it was my match of the night. Juice starting off with a 1-2 record is a slight surprise, but I’m sure he’ll get back in contention in the D Block before it’s over. ***3/4

G1 Climax 32 – B Block
IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Jay White (6) def. Chase Owens (2)

During his entrance, Chase Owens tried to get Yoshinobu Kanemaru (sitting at the Japanese commentary table) to do the Too Sweet, and Kevin Kelly references Owens trying to get Kanemaru to join Bullet Club like it was something that had happened previously on this tour. Is this a storyline from the undercards that I’ve been missing? Anyway, this was a Bullet Club vs. Bullet Club match, so you knew we were in for some shenanigans, and we got them straight away, as Jay White attempted to give a cash bribe to Owens so that he would lie down for him. However, once Owens discovered that the bribe wasn’t what it seemed (the thick envelope had two actual yen notes, but then the rest were just blank pieces of color paper) things started to get more heated between the two. White was unsure what to do, which would give Owens the opening to hit the C Trigger for a close nearfall. It was wrestled mostly straight from there, with Gedo interjecting here and there. White still seemed unsure at various points, as he appeared to be unwilling to go all out against a close ally. Owens certainly didn’t hesitate that much, and he actually came close to beating White after a number of C Triggers and (of all things) a Styles Clash! Eventually, White did manage to put Owens away with a quick Blade Runner after countering the Package Piledriver. I….sort of liked this for what it was? White and Owens did a very nice job in their respective roles, and as far as Bullet Club vs. Bullet Club matches go, this was far from the worst of them. ***

G1 Climax 32 – A Block
Kazuchika Okada (6) def. Bad Luck Fale (4)

When I saw this match on the lineup for this card, my first thought was “I feel like I’ve seen these two wrestle each other a bunch of times over the years”. As it turns out, Bad Luck Fale and Kazuchika Okada have faced each other in singles bouts EIGHT times (excluding this match) since 2015, with three of those being in the G1 Climax. Interestingly enough, Fale had a 2-1 edge over Okada in those G1 meetings, but Okada was able to even up that score in this one after he forced Fale to tap out to the Money Clip. The match itself was pretty much what you would expect. Okada did everything he could to make things interesting, but there’s only so much one can do with Bad Luck Fale in 2022. They did have a decent closing stretch, so I guess that’s a slight positive. What’s also a slight positive is that we only have to sit through two more Fale matches after this. Okada becomes the second wrestler to reach the six point mark with this victory. **1/2

G1 Climax 32 – C Block
Tetsuya Naito (2) def. EVIL (2)

Tetsuya Naito was in a must-win situation going into this main event. He had already dropped two matches, and was at risk of potentially being out of the mix entirely if EVIL managed to defeat him here. Fortunately, he could keep his hopes alive as he scored the victory here over his former stablemate turned bitter enemy after hitting Destino. The result wasn’t much of a surprise to those who’ve been following this tournament closely (it seemed pretty clear after his second loss that the table was set for Naito to go on a run before meeting Zack Sabre Jr. in a block deciding match on the final night). As far as the match itself goes, it was filled with the typical House Of Torture nonsense you would expect, with Dick Togo getting involved and the referee getting knocked still. That being said, it was still a pretty good match on the whole. There were a couple of interesting moments throughout. At one point, EVIL did his usual “chair shot with the other guy’s head wrapped in a chair” spot, but Naito would return the favor by doing the same thing to EVIL a few minutes later. The big spot near the end saw Naito give EVIL a piledriver off the apron and through a table on the floor that EVIL and Dick Togo had set up earlier. It wasn’t exactly clean, though, as the two lost their balance on the apron and had to reposition themselves before executing the move. Naito overcoming the odds at the end was a nice way to finish this one off, though it’s fair to say that this was the weakest main event of the tour thus far. ***1/2

Final Thoughts

Night 9 continued the pattern we’ve seen throughout most of this G1 Climax tour. You’re pretty much guaranteed three of four matches that are mostly good to really good (sometimes great, depending on who’s in what match), with maybe a subpar or bad match thrown in the mix (depending on whether Bad Luck Fale or Toru Yano are in a tournament bout that night). The truly great matches are few and far between on this tour, and Night 9 certainly didn’t have anything that I would call great. Juice Robinson vs. YOSHI-HASHI was the best match on the show, and I had a good time watching Jeff Cobb vs. Lance Archer. Your enjoyment of the rest of the card will definitely vary, depending on your feelings towards some of the people in those matches.

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