AUGUST 6, 2022

Watch: NJPWWorld

To paraphrase Gabe Sapolsky: Shingo Takagi. Will Ospreay. ‘Nuff said.


  • Chase Owens, EVIL, SHO & Yujiro Takahashi (w/Dick Togo) def. David Finlay, Ryohei Oiwa, Tama Tonga & Tomohiro Ishii (w/Jado)
  • Aaron Henare & Jeff Cobb def. Royce Isaacs & “Filthy” Tom Lawlor
  • Bad Luck Fale, Juice Robinson & KENTA def. BUSHI, SANADA & Tetsuya Naito
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kazuchika Okada def. Bad Dude Tito & JONAH

G1 Climax 32 Block D – YOSHI-HASHI (2-1, 4 points) def. El Phantasmo (1-2, 2 points)

YOSHI-HASHI is off to a good start here, scoring wins on both Shingo and Phantasmo. This isn’t the YOSHI-HASHI of five years ago, the undercarder with the dopey look on his face all the time. Well, he’s still got the dopey look on his face, but I think that’s just his default face. This YOSHI-HASHI has more confidence, and works that way too. Phantasmo worked this one clean, with the heel shenanigans limited to a roll-up with the tights late in the match. This was a very good G1 opener with a good Osaka crowd adding to it. YOSHI-HASHI got the win with the Karma after hitting a Canadian Destroyer. Phantasmo’s next match is tomorrow night against Juice Robinson, which looks like it will be a defacto elimination match now. YOSHI-HASHI has Yujiro on August 9th. ***3/4

G1 Climax 32 Block A – Lance Archer (2-2, 4 points) def. Toru Yano (1-4, 2 points)

With this loss, Toru Yano is officially eliminated from G1 Climax 32. *dun dun*

This was your typical Yano fare, with Archer playing a more than willing participant. He toyed around with Yano first, wanting him to get his gimmicks out of the way. Then, Archer played Yano’s game, taping Yano to the ringside barricade for a countout. What Archer never accounted for was Yano pulling out a scissors (a pair of scissors? A set of scissors?) and cutting his way free. Yano then taped Archer to young lion Yuto Nakashima in between the barricades, forcing Archer to drag Nakashima through the barricade and into the ring with him. Archer hit a double clothesline before freeing himself and chokeslamming Nakashima for his trouble. They then went back and forth with the exposed turnbuckles before Archer hit a nice running knee and a Blackout for the win. Between this and the Okada match where he worked straight heel, this is the most I’ve enjoyed Toru Yano in years. Yano finishes his tournament against Jeff Cobb on the 13th, while Archer takes on JONAH in a very pivotal match for him on the 9th. ***

G1 Climax 32 Block C – Zack Sabre Jr. (3-1, 6 points) def. Hirooki Goto (2-2, 4 points)

Zack’s target was Goto’s arm early on, and that work paid off down the stretch as Goto’s signature moves couldn’t be capitalized on with the arm damage done. Zack was able to trap the arm behind Goto and get the tap to win. This was another generally good match that I had more to say about, but I got interrupted while writing this review and I don’t remember what I had to say. Ah well. Goto takes on Tanahashi next while Sabre can effectively lock up the block against EVIL. Both of those matches are on the 10th. ***1/2

G1 Climax 32 Block B – Jay White (4-0, 8 points) def. Great-O-Khan (1-3, 2 points)

With this result, Great-O-Khan, Tomohiro Ishii and Chase Owens have been officially eliminated from G1 Climax 32. *dun dun*

This was a first time matchup here, as these two had never been in the same ring together. That came across as soon as the bell rang, with O-Khan going for White’s legs to Jay’s surprise. This match became White doing his best to figure out O-Khan by doing his typical schtick. He went after O-Khan’s knee early and often, but O-Khan’s unfamiliar style would help him to fight back. Jay White has somehow become an even better wrestler working in front of these clap crowds. His shit-talking makes the early parts of these matches so compelling, which was an issue I had with him before. The closing stretch of this match was excellent, as O-Khan smartened up to White’s attacks and got him into the Sheepkiller submission. The crowd audibly popped as O-Khan hit a straight right punch to set up the Eliminator, as they thought they were going to see a big upset. But as O-Khan was ready to hit the slam, Jay stomped down on the knee and hit the Blade Runner in one smooth motion. He struggled to get O-Khan’s dead hand off of his face, but he did and got the pin. This was a classic “styles make fights” match, and a type of match that really makes the G1 special. O-Khan takes on Tama Tonga on the 10th. Jay White goes against Taichi on the 13th. ****1/4

G1 Climax 32 Block D – Shingo Takagi (2-2, 4 points) def. Will Ospreay (2-2, 4 points)

Every piece of media is going to connect with some people more than others. The Marvel movies and the decade-long cinematic universe they have built have their rabid fanbase. The NFL has a six-month stranglehold on millions of people and their Sundays. People will follow bands around entire continents to experience their concerts over-and-over again. There are certain things that just give you the feeling that what you are watching is special, and you need to see it and feel it every chance you get. This matchup, this pairing of Shingo Takagi and Will Ospreay is that special thing for me. I’ve followed Will Ospreay since his rise in PROGRESS through the BritWres scene, and seeing him go from a cool flippy guy to one of the best professional wrestlers of his generation gives me the feeling I imagine people got seeing Ric Flair become the Nature Boy, or seeing Tiger Mask II become Mitsuharu Misawa. Meanwhile, I got on the Shingo Takagi train comparatively late. To this day, the only Shingo matches I’ve seen him have in Dragongate were the Dead or Alive cage matches that he was a part of. He debuted in New Japan in 2018, and quickly became one of my favorite wrestlers in the world through his run in the Junior division. The first match with Ospreay at the 2019 Super Junior finals cemented his status as one of my favorites. Watching him surpass my expectations and reach the main event of the January 4 Tokyo Dome, beating names like Okada and Tanahashi along the way has been incredible.

Then, there is what happens when these two step in the ring against each other. This is Okada/Tanahashi. This is Flair/Steamboat. These are two all-time great pro wrestlers who not only have instant chemistry but have evolving chemistry that makes their matches even better as time goes on. They built off of the 2019 Super Junior Final, they built off of the World Title matches and the G1 matches of years past, all while giving this match a sticking point of its own. About 13 minutes in, Shingo did some work on Ospreay’s arm that played into the rest of the match. Ospreay hit a weakened Hidden Blade that caused more damage to the arm. That later meant that Ospreay couldn’t hit the Stormbreaker, although he did play around with the idea of a one-armed Stormbreaker which I’m sure breaks some law of physics. There were sequences in this match that left me blown away, even with me having an idea of what was coming. This was next-level shit, and suffice it to say, this was the Match of the Year contender that the G1 was missing up to this point.

Ospreay’s next match is against YOSHI-HASHI, while Shingo goes up against Yujiro. Both matches are on the 13th. *****