New Japan Pro Wrestling
G1 Climax 32 Night 14
August 9, 2022
Hiroshima Sun Plaza
Hiroshima, Japan

Watch: NJPWWorld

Coming off two very strong shows in Osaka, the 2022 edition of the G1 Climax pulls into Hiroshima for a pair of events featuring a number of matches with significant stakes. As always, here are the results from the undercard:

– LIJ (BUSHI & Shingo Takagi) def. Tomohiro Ishii & Kosei Fujita
– Team Filthy (Tom Lawlor & Royce Isaacs) def. Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr. & Taka Michinoku)
– United Empire (Aaron Henare, Great O-Khan, Jeff Cobb, & IWGP United States Champion Will Ospreay) def. Bullet Club (Dick Togo, El Phantasmo, EVIL, & SHO)
– CHAOS (Hirooki Goto & Kazuchika Okada) & Hiroshi Tanahashi def. Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Gedo, & Juice Robinson

Of course, the big story coming into these Hiroshima shows was that Jay White had to be pulled from the shows due to heat stroke-like symptoms. Fortunately, White wasn’t scheduled to have a tournament match on these cards (his next tournament match isn’t until August 13th when he goes up against Taichi), so it shouldn’t have any impact on the B Block if he’s ready to go by Saturday.

G1 Climax 32 D Block – Yujiro Takahashi (6) def. YOSHI-HASHI (4)

The first tournament bout of the evening featured a battle between Bullet Club and CHAOS as Yujiro Takahashi went up against YOSHI-HASHI. Thanks to some involvement from fellow House of Torture member SHO, Yujiro was able to score the victory to move into a very strong position in the D Block standings (more on that later). The match itself was….below average, to say the least. The only thing that gave this match any sort of juice was YOSHI-HASHI’s ability to fight off House Of Torture numbers times in the second half. That did lead to a couple of nice exchanges and nearfalls, but in the end, SHO’s involvement proved to be too much for one-third of the NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Champions to overcome. The win puts Yujiro at six points which, incredibly, puts him in a great spot in the D Block. **1/4

G1 Climax 32 B Block – SANADA (6) def. Chase Owens (4)

With this match, Chase Owens becomes the first wrestler in the G1 Climax to wrestle all six of his scheduled matches. He was already eliminated from contention in the B Block coming into this, but that wasn’t going to stop him from trying to close things out with a win. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to get the job done, as SANADA picked up the victory via referee stoppage after he forced Owens to pass out in the Skull End. This was a perfectly solid contest for its spot on the card. Of course, we did get to see the Paradise Lock early on, but Owens did manage to gain control after that. There were some nice exchanges in the closing stretch, and Owens even tried to steal some of SANADA’s signatures moves (including the Skull End and the Muta Moonsault). However, SANADA managed to either avoid or survive those attempts, and secured the win to get to six points. Nothing outstanding here, but a fine contest overall. Chase Owens finishes his G1 with a 2-4 record. ***1/4

G1 Climax 32 B Block – Tama Tonga (6) def. Taichi (4)

As part of a larger feud last year for the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Titles between The Guerrillas Of Destiny and Dangerous Tekkers, Taichi and Tama Tonga had a number of battles where they fought over possession of the infamous Iron Fingers. Taichi closed the door on that feud in an Iron Finger Ladder Match, but given that he was facing Tama as part of the B Block of this year’s G1 Climax, Taichi decided to bust out the Iron Fingers once again. This time, Taichi used them to tempt Tama (essentially trying to get Tama to use the fingers again so he would get himself disqualified). The first portion of the bout featured some solid wrestling between the two, but then Tama grabbed the fingers once again, and had a crisis of conscience (with Jado and Taichi trying to pull him both ways) before he eventually tossed away the fingers and went back on the attack. From there, they went into an awesome closing stretch that concluded with Tama finally hitting the Gun Stun for the win. From start to finish, I really enjoyed this. Both guys did a nice job playing up the Iron Fingers story, with Tama doing a particularly great job being spooked by it at first before being seriously tempted by it later. Plus, as I’ve said already, the closing stretch was a ton of fun, as the two went back and forth before Tama eventually caught Taichi. Enjoyable stuff. ***1/2

G1 Climax 32 A Block – Lance Archer (6) def. JONAH (6)

JONAH is coming off his massive victory over Kazuchika Okada in the main event of the second Osaka show. Meanwhile, the home stretch of Lance Archer’s tournament is super important, as his last two matches are this one against JONAH and the final night of block competition against Okada. Archer winning out from here would mean that he took the A Block, and he completed the first step with a count out win over JONAH. This was a really entertaining contest that would’ve been better had it finished in the ring. These two didn’t waste any time, as they started trading forearms straight away. From there, they went back and forth trading chops, lariats, and more. It was quite the contrast to see a guy as huge as JONAH be dwarfed in height by Archer, but it didn’t hurt the match by any means. The closing stages of the bout saw the fight spill to the floor, and Bad Dude Tito sacrificed himself to protect his TMDK partner from eating a running cannonball from Archer. Once the two recovered, they battled on the apron, and after getting sent back into the ring by JONAH, Archer was able to recover in time, and knocked JONAH off the apron right before the twenty count. Again, I would’ve ranked this a little higher if it had an actual finish in the ring, but this was still a ton of fun to watch while it lasted. Archer getting the win here puts in a great position to win the block, while JONAH (after this defeat) would need some help to stay alive. ***1/2

G1 Climax 32 C Block – Tetsuya Naito (6) def. KENTA (2)

Of course, we all know the story of Tetsuya Naito’s G1 by now. He started off 0-2, and pretty much needs to win out if he has any hopes of winning the block. On this particular night, he went up against KENTA, the man who infamously attacked him after his big double gold triumph in the Tokyo Dome in 2020. KENTA proved to be a very formidable opponent on this night, but when the dust settled, it was Naito who stood tall in the end after putting KENTA away with Destino. This was by no means on the same level as some of the top matches in this year’s G1 Climax, but I still thought it was a super strong main event that (for me at least) just made it into notebook territory. The first portion of the match was mostly a game of one-upmanship, as the two took turns mirroring each other (Naito’s early taunting after a fakeout dive, whipping each other into the barricades on the floor, etc). KENTA would eventually gain control and start to work over Naito’s neck, but one Naito started to fight back, he would try to do the same. The second half saw things pick up (as you would expect with a New Japan main event), with both men trading big moves and hard strikes (especially from KENTA, who REALLY slapped Naito hard). KENTA would get a number of nearfalls in the closing stretch, and nearly hit the GTS on a few occasions. However, it wasn’t enough to put Naito down for the count. With this result, Naito moved to six points, and it essentially means that he’ll need some help in addition to having to beat Zack Sabre Jr. (the man who took him out of the tournament last year) on the final night of block competition. A very solid main event that was probably KENTA’s best bout in the tournament thus far. ****

In terms of the standings (as of this night), the A Block and the B Block are becoming pretty clear, when it comes to who’s in play. The former will likely come down to Archer vs. Okada, while the latter will likely come down to Jay White vs. Tama Tonga. There’s still a lot of moving parts in the C Block, even though most are expecting Naito to ultimately pull through in the end.

The most curious block (again, as of this night) was the D Block which has Yujiro Takahashi (yes, you read that correctly) at the top of the block with 6 Points. He’s tied with David Finlay, but Yujiro beat Finlay earlier in the tournament so he holds the tiebreaker. It definitely seems like this block will come down to tiebreakers, given how close things are currently. At the moment, I would say it’s the hardest block winner to predict (though I’m fairly certain it won’t be Yujiro).

Final Thoughts

Night 14 followed a pattern that’s been prevalent throughout this entire tour (feels like I’ve said that line before). Most of the tournament matches were good to really good, but I don’t think there was a single match that I would say you need to go out of your way to see. If I had to recommend matches, I would say Naito vs. KENTA was the best. I would also recommend Archer vs. JONAH (if you’re into big men slugging it out) and Taichi vs. Tama Tonga (if you’re someone who’s into one or both guys, and if you enjoyed their…..fascinating feud from last year). Aside from that, if you’re pressed for time, and only want to see the best, the main event is the way to go.