AUGUST 10, 2022

Watch: NJPW World

Night 15 of the G1 Climax 32 is in the books, and it was a good one. This night determined how close we are to a 7-way tie in the D Block, we saw if Okada climbed up to dominate the A Block, if EVIL is still in the tournament, and if the G in G1 still stands for Goto in the main event. 

Before finding out the answer to those possibilities, the undercard:

  • United Empire (Aaron Henare, Jeff Cobb & Will Ospreay) defeat Ryohei Oiwa, YOSHI-HASHI & Yuto Nakashima 
  • CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano) defeat TMDK (Bad Dude Tito & JONAH) 
  • Suzuki-gun (Lance Archer, Taichi & TAKA Michinoku) defeat BULLET CLUB (Gedo, Juice Robinson & KENTA) 
  • BULLET CLUB (Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens, SHO & Yujiro Takahashi) defeat Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, SANADA, Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito) 

D Block
El Phantasmo (4) def. David Finlay (6)

This was a delightful match and another great performance by both Finlay and Phantasmo. Since all of the participants of the D block are still alive, all of the matches from now on have stakes and are exciting (except when Yujiro is involved). I was hoping for Phantasmo to win because I would like the chaos of an all block tie coming in the following days, so the result made me happy.

The match started with the usual showboating from Phantasmo until a near pinfall by Finlay stepped up the action. What followed was a very moving back and forth match where Phantasmo stopped the bullshit and had amazing aerial offense and hits and Finlay found a way to counter back and hit his signature moves. There were tons of pin attempts on the match, which is how it ended, where a ton of continued pin attempts gave Phantasmo the victory with a crucifix pin. Tons of fun. ***3/4

B Block
Tama Tonga (8) def. Great-O-Khan (2)

O-Khan can’t catch a break in this tournament. He again failed to gain some points, even when he started dominating the match against Tama with grappling and strikes. Tama was still suffering from having a match the night before, so O-Khan was taking advantage of this weakness and beating him like a drum all over the ring. Eventually Tama snapped out of it, both opponents exchanged strikes, and while O-Khan tried dominating him with the claw, eventually, Tama was able to hit the Gunstun for a three count. Nice match that did not overstay its welcome. ***½ 

C Block
Zack Sabre Jr. (8) def. EVIL (4)

This is one of those matches that show that star ratings are stupid. This was a perfect match. Forty-four seconds of pure bliss. It is one of the most satisfying and fun matches you will watch in this tournament, yet how do you rate it? Five stars? Five stars? Just watch it and trust me. Hell, watch it even if you know the result, it won’t ruin it. 

In case you like spoilers: the whole thing starts with Sabre entering with a baseball cap and his head down, which prompts EVIL and Togo to attack him yet…it was not really Sabre, but Kosei Fujita providing the distraction so Sabre could surprise EVIL. Sabre got a hold of EVIL’s arm, threw him into the rail and ring announcer’s table (but first telling the announcer to move so he could not be hurt this time). EVIL is thrown into the ring, bell sounds, Sabre is able to quickly counter all of EVIL’s moves, including a low blow, and applied a surprise pin to win one of the shortest G1 matches ever and to take EVIL out of the tournament. Beautiful stuff. **** I guess?

A Block
Kazuchika Okada (8) def. Tom Lawlor (4)

This is one of the matches I was looking forward to the most this tournament, and it did not disappoint. Lawlor worked on Okada’s arm perfectly, and was dominating throughout until a Dropkick by Okada gave the man a breather. Okada tried using the railing outside to his advantage, but Lawlor turned it around and injured Okada’s arm even more on said railing. Back in the ring, Okada tried his best to fight back, even hit a DDT and neckbreaker, but could not do the Rainmaker due to the work that Lawlor had done to his arm all match long. 

The ending of the match was when Lawlor was preparing to knee Okada on the face, Okada countered with a flash pin, which made Lawlor kick out and once again go to the arm, and another flash pin attempt by Okada gave him the win. After the pin, Okada made the whole crowd applaud his opponent.

This is Lawlor’s best match of the tournament. His work was great and I like the respect that Okada gave him in the end. They are both the longest champions of their own areas of NJPW and the match is exciting and has really great work. ****

C Block
Hirooki Goto (6) def. Hiroshi Tanahashi (6)

Something I learned on puro this year is that slaps can kill you. It’s one of those things that’s obvious, yet I always forget and when I see a huge slap that does a lot of damage I’m surprised. This year we had the big slap from CyberFight Festival 2022, and now we have Tanahashi slapping Goto to hell. Look at the result.

This slap turned a great match into something memorable. How can you forget the match where Goto was spitting blood on the mat? This was way better than the match they had on Dominion 2022, where they had a decent TV match. This match here was a G1 main event, solid throughout and memorable. Just two amazing wrestlers doing what they do best. 

The action was solid throughout, with Tanahashi doing leg work on Goto and Goto fighting back. It was during an elbow sequence where the slap happened, which threw the man to the floor and Tanahashi fell headfirst into Goto’s stomach. When Goto got up, he went for the one man Shoto for a two count. Tanahashi countered the GTR with a cradle pin, Goto kicked out, Tanahashi followed it up with two Twist and Shouts but Goto was able to power through and hit a GTR for the win. Hence, we are closer to finding out what the G stands for in the G1. ****1/4

Final Thoughts

A really solid night of G1 action and a show I enjoyed a lot. You have a great main event and semi main event, a memorable Sabre vs EVIL match, and two really enjoyable G1 opening contests that are quick and fun. If you are short on time, stick to the last three matches, but there’s not a bad one on this show.

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