We’re back in Budokan for the final stretch, as we wrap up the block stages of the G1 with eight matches, including Lance Archer vs. Kazuchika Okada.
G1 Climax 32 – Block D: Will Ospreay pinned Juice Robinson in 11:07 (***½)
G1 Climax 32 – Block D: El Phantasmo pinned Shingo Takagi in 12:12 (***½)
G1 Climax 32 – Block C: EVIL pinned Hirooki Goto in 8:40 (**½)
G1 Climax 32 – Block C: Tetsuya Naito pinned Zack Sabre Jr. in 2:58 (**½)
G1 Climax 32 – Block B: Tomohiro Ishii pinned SANADA in 12:35 (***¼)
G1 Climax 32 – Block B: Tama Tonga pinned Jay White in 13:56 (***½)
G1 Climax 32 – Block A: JONAH pinned Bad Luck Fale in 9:13 (**¾)
G1 Climax 32 – Block A: Kazuchika Okada pinned Lance Archer in 12:43 (***½)
We’re at the Nippon Budokan for this, with Kevin Kelly, Chris Charlton and Chase Owens on English commentary. If you tuned in early, you got to see Tomoaki Honma vocalizing the Jushin Thunder Liger theme…
G1 Climax 32 – Block D: Juice Robinson vs. Will Ospreay
Juice Robinson stole back the US title belt by attacking Ospreay before his match on Sunday… but Juice doesn’t have the belt with him today.
What we do have is a jump start from Ospreay in the aisle, chopping Juice into the aisle before he got Bret Hart’d into the guard rails. By the way, we’re looking a Juice win to keep Project Chaos alive…
Juice throws Ospreay onto the rails before he ripped up some of the padding on the floor, teasing another piledriver. It’s blocked by Ospreay, as they hit the ring and things start officially.. With Juice getting low bridged to the outside for a Sasuke special. Chops keep Juice by the rails, before Ospreay got taken back into the railings. Returning to the ring, Juice takes off some tape from Ospreay’s neck and shoulders, before he threw him into an exposed corner for a two-count.
Ospreay’s trapped in a neck crank, but he elbows free then hit the ropes for a springboard forearm. We head outside again with a plancha into Juice, before the pair found themselves on the apron… but an OsCutter’s stopped as Juice teased a Pulp Friction, before Ospreay vaulted across the turnbuckles, going apron-to-apron for an eventual apron powerbomb.
Juice gets the knees up to block a 450 splash before he threw in a Juice Box for a near-fall… a shotgun dropkick from Ospreay sent Juice into the referee, before a mule kick from Juice blocked a Chelsea Grin attempt. Cue shenanigans as Juice went outside and pulled the US title belt from under the ring.
Ospreay ducks a belt shot, returning with a hook kick, before a belt shot stopped a Hidden Blade. Juice shakes referee Jeremy Marcus to make the cover, but the super slow count allowed Ospreay to kick out at two. From there, Juice drags Ospreay outside for a piledriver on the floor, while a Pulp Friction only got a near-fall… Ospreay sunset flips out of a Rockslide, then hit some hook kicks… only for his OsCutter to get countered… but he avoids Rockslide and nails a Hidden Blade for the win. Project Chaos is out, and we’re now magically down to the next match – Shingo Takagi must win to make it to the semi-finals or we’re done. ***½
G1 Climax 32 – Block D: El Phantasmo vs. Shingo Takagi
Anything but a Shingo win sends Ospreay to the semis tomorrow…
Shingo takes Phantasmo to the ropes to start, but misses on a chop as ELP got send into the ropes for see-saw shoulder tackles. ELP’s down, but returns with a ‘rana and a dropkick that took Shingo outside for a neat double-jump springboard body press into the aisle. Back inside, ELP sets up for a step-up senton bomb and a quebrada for a near-fall, before a slam set up for a Bret Hart forearm… but Shingo gets the boots up. Shingo adds a clothesline to knock ELP down, only for ELP to sneak back with a back rake.
Shingo gets back in control, only to get cracked from behind as Phantasmo took him up for the UFO whirlibird neckbreaker for a two-count. A CR2’s powered out of by Shingo, but ELP hits a crossbody… then went for a dive, only for Shingo to punch him in mid-air. Shingo almost got the win with a death valley driver on the outside, before ELP fired up and caught Shingo with an enziguiri.
That sparked a quick comeback, but ELP’s dumped with a DDT at the end of it. Shingo hotshots Phantasmo across the top rope, then climbed with him up the ropes… only for ELP to get shoved down as he went for a ‘rana. ELP gets the ‘rana, then went up for the Thunder Kiss 86 splash, which nearly gets the win.
Shingo returns with Noshigami and a clothesline, before a pop-up death valley driver led to some rapid-fire elbows from Shingo. A Last of the Dragons is teased, but ELP slips out and nails a CR2… and my word, that almost had Shingo away! Sudden Death follows, but Shingo caught and countered it with a headbutt, before ELP nailed a pair of those superkicks ahead of a cross-armed piledriver for the upset. I genuinely didn’t see that result coming, but it makes sense with ELP stepping up to heavyweight as he’s picked up a statement win here. ***½
G1 Climax 32 – Block C: Hirooki Goto vs. EVIL
A Goto loss will end his chances of making the semis… and EVIL and Dick Togo jumps him in the aisle during the entrance. Two for three here. Goto needs to win here and hope for a Naito win in the next match to force a three-way play-off tomorrow.
Goto chokes EVIL with his stick, which Kevin Kelly managed to get the correct name for earlier in the tour but I’m damned if I can recall it. Things heads into the ring as Goto gets the match underway, but Togo’s already back in it as he stopped Goto up top for EVIL to press slam to the floor.
After shenanigans with an exposed corner, Goto’s back with a spinning heel kick into EVIL in the corner, then a side Russian legsweep after EVIL’d blocked a bulldog for a two-count. A shoulder tackle dumps EVIL, before Goto got low bridged to the outside as Dick wanted to have some fun. Goto throws Togo into the rails, before Goto took a trip… then got suplexed into the aisle. We have a count-out tease, with Dick Togo grabbing Goto’s foot under the ring… but he loses grip as Goto stamped on Dick and made it back inside just in time. EVIL capitalised with Darkness Falls for a near-fall, before an Irish whip took Goto into the exposed corner.
EVIL tries to add to that, but gets caught in the same corner for a one-man Shoto, before some kicks left EVIL reeling. Ushigoroshi’s next, before EVIL went to the eyes to avoid a GTR. We’ve a ref bump as Dick Togo came in for a Magic Killer – but Goto manages to take down EVIL with some unexpected assistance. A GTW’s next from Goto for a near-fall, before EVIL took the ref to hide a punt to the balls from Dick… while Everything is EVIL shuts the door on Goto. **½
G1 Climax 32 – Block C: Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Tetsuya Naito
We’ve another win or bust match, with Naito needing to win here to win the block on tie-breakers… else it’ll be ZSJ vs. Will Ospreay tomorrow.
Zack’s getting a little shirty with how long Naito’s taking to undress, and we start with Sabre booting Naito into the corner for some boot choking. Sabre shoves aside the referee so he could take more shots at Naito, before Naito baseball slid to the outside. Back inside, Naito hits an armdrag before a jack-knife roll-up sparked some see-saw pins that nearly put Naito away.
Naito misses an enziguiri and got caught with a Euro clutch for a near-fall, before Naito cradled out of a Zack Driver… and that’s the win! A flash pin eliminated ZSJ and sends Naito to the finals in under three minutes. Very brief, as commentary alluded to them setting a rapid pace… but not as rapid as we got. **½
Post-match, Sabre threw a temper tantrum, pulling out chairs and tables as his plan to win the G1 and cash in his title shot at the newly-announced Royal Quest 2 fell by the wayside. I’m sure Zack’ll be at Crystal Palace anyways…
G1 Climax 32 – Block B: SANADA vs. Tomohiro Ishii
A dead rubber of a match, Tomohiro Ishii will be hoping to end with a win and avoid finishing rock bottom of the block. Commentary hinted that Ishii was on the bubble for future G1s, especially if borders remain open…
Ishii sidesteps a charge into the corner as we’ve an early doe-see-doe around holds, leading to an O’Connor roll from SANADA that nearly ended this in a heartbeat. Ishii is straight in with a backdrop suplex, but SANADA’s able to take things outside for a Magic Screw off the apron.
Back inside, Ishii takes a missile dropkick for a two-count, before a backflip out of the corner from SANADA just earned him a shoulder charge. SANADA’s back suplex is shrugged off as Ishii came back in with a German suplex, before SANADA rolled up Ishii and nailed a second Magic Screw off the ropes. A TKO followed from SANADA for a two-count, while a Skull End looked to put away Ishii… he lets go to go for a moonsault, which of course misses, as Ishii got back up and headbutted SANADA. A leaping knee puts SANADA back ahead for a Skull End, while rolling elbows eventually got kicked away by Ishii.
SANADA’s on all fours here, getting back up just in time for Ishii to hit a lariat for a near-fall, before Ishii’s attempts at the brainbuster ended with him landing a DDT. A sliding lariat is countered with a SANADA crucifix for a near-fall, before SANADA flipped back into a Skull End… more doe-see-doeing takes us back to an O’Connor roll from SANADA for a near-fall.
A Tiger suplex from SANADA is shrugged off by Ishii, who’s back with another lariat for a near-fall, before the sheer drop brainbuster put away SANADA. With this one having no stakes, I was really cold on this match – and the doe-see-doe-like counter chains didn’t help my mood. A decent match all told, but this was always going to struggle given the background. ***¼
G1 Climax 32 – Block B: Tama Tonga vs. Jay White
Much like ZSJ/Naito earlier, this is a winner takes all affair, with Jay White going into this having the last remaining unbeaten record in the G1 block stage.
White rolls outside at the bell, but got caught as soon as he came back inside as Tama Tonga unloaded on his former stablemate. A back body drop sends White skywards, before we go back outside with Tama Tonga getting posted. Jay’s gourdbuster drops Tama onto the apron, before a suplex into the buckles nearly got the win.
A Saito suplex pulls Tama down after that, before he toyed with Tama as he chopped him into the corner. Tama charges out with a clothesline, following with a Stinger splash and a back suplex for a two-count, before he went looking for a Tongan Twist. Instead, White countered back with a DDT, then added a Blade Buster for a near-fall. Tama tries for a Superman punch, but got pulled into a Complete Shot, while a deadlift German followed seconds later… only for Tama to sneak back in with a Veleno DDT.
Tama ducks a chop, then landed an enziguiri before he finally got off a death valley driver and a Supreme Flow. It’s good for a near-fall, as Tama then telegraphs a Gun Stun. Gedo pops up on the apron, but gets pulled off it by Jado as White pushed out of a Gun Stun and hit a uranage instead.
Tama manages to get back in it with a Tongan Twist, before a Bloody Sunday DDT out of nowhere almost won it for Tama. Another Gun Stun’s shrugged off as White bounces back with a sleeper suplex, before he pulled up Tama for a Blade Runner… it’s pushed out as another Gun Stun’s blocked… but the second one hits as Tama finally hits it for the win! That’s Tama Tonga through to the semis, in a match were he pulled the trigger several times, but ended up shooting a lot of Gun Stun blanks before finally coming through. ***½
G1 Climax 32 – Block A: Bad Luck Fale vs. JONAH
Fale’s already eliminated, but JONAH needs to win and hope for a no contest in the main event. They’ve already teased two of those on this show, mind you…
The pair measure each other up for strikes to start, before JONAH sent Fale outside… and charged into him with a shoulder tackle off the apron. Fale’s able to get back in as he chopped JONAH into the aisle, only to get caught with a headbutt as they remained at ringside.
JONAH reverses a whip to post Fale, but ends up leaping into the post as Fale sidestepped a follow-up. We’ve a count-out tease, but both men make it back inside at 19, where Fale splashes JONAH into the corner… then missed a second charge, as JONAH returns the favour.
Fale’s down to a knee, but came back with a spear as JONAH kept on charging. A teased Grenade’s countered into a DDT as JONAH nearly won out… before his attempt at a Black Forest Bomb was stopped as he couldn’t get Fale up. Clotheslines from JONAH staggered Fale, who again teased a Grenade, only to get taken down with a headbutt and a clothesline.
A bodyslam followed from JONAH, who then dragged Fale into the corner ahead of a Torpedo off the top… and that’s all folks! **¾
JONAH called for an Archer win afterwards to get a triple-threat play-off… but Chris Charlton on commentary is claiming that an Archer win would put Archer through to the semi-finals on the head-to-heads…
G1 Climax 32 – Block A: Lance Archer vs. Kazuchika Okada
Okada’s 5-0 against Archer in their prior singles matches, with all but one of those coming in the G1 Climax.
Archer stood stoically in the middle of the ring, wearing his entrance gear and didn’t move an inch during Okada’s entrance. Heck, his hooded jacket was still on at the bell as Okada squared up to him, only to get surprised with a chokeslam. A second one followed, but Archer doesn’t go for a pin, as he instead opted to hit a Derailer to POUNCE Okada to the outside.
Archer followed Okada outside, throwing his head into the guard rails, before he cleared the way and cannonballed into Okada in the railings. Young Lion Kosei Fujita’s slammed onto Okada from there, before Okada landed on his feet as an apron chokeslam was attempted… only for Okada to get his legs swept before Fujita got chucked through the railings.
Back inside, Archer goes for a ropewalk on Okada, finishing off with a moonsault into Okada for a near-fall. A short arm clothesline managed to buy Okada some time, while dropkicks fended off more chokeslam attempts. Okada tries for a slam, but Archer escaped… only to get shoved into the corner and slammed on the rebound.
Okada heads up top and nails a flying elbow… leading to the Rainmaker zoom out… and an inside cradle as Archer tried to stop Okada in his tracks. Archer fires back with a dropkick of his own, then a Rainmaker… which nearly got the win. From there, Okada’s taken into the corner for a Blackout, but Okada crucifixes Archer after a near-fall and almost snatched the win there…
Cornering Okada, Archer heads for some charging elbows, before another Blackout was wriggled out of as Okada chopped out Archer’s knee. A Money Clip followed, but Archer’s able to get out as he waylays Okada with a lariat… before another dropkick and a landslide tombstone stopped Archer. From there, Okada pulled up Archer for a Rainmaker… and that’s enough to put away the big man. A good David vs. Goliath outing to close us out here, with Archer at one point threatening to blow away Okada, only to get put away with Okada’s big moves. ***½
Your final standings…
Block A: Okada (5-1 / 10pts); JONAH (4-2 / 8pts); Archer, Cobb, Lawlor (3-3 / 6pts); Fale (2-4 / 4pts); Yano (1-5 / 2pts)
Block B: Tonga, White (5-1 / 10pts); SANADA (3-3 / 6pts); Ishii, O-Khan, Owens, Taichi (2-4 – 4pts) [Tama Tonga wins the block on tie-breakers]
Block C: Naito, Zack Sabre Jr. (4-2 / 8pts); EVIL, Goto, KENTA, Tanahashi (3-3 / 6pts); Henare (1-5 / 2pts) [Tetsuya Naito wins the block on tie-breakers]
Block D: Ospreay (4-2 / 8pts), Finlay, Phantasmo, Takagi, YOSHI-HASHI, Yujiro (3-3 / 6pts); Robinson (2-4 / 4pts)
We’re back at Budokan tomorrow for the semi-finals – block A’s Kazuchika Okada vs. block B’s Tama Tonga, and block C’s Tetsuya Naito vs. block D’s Will Ospreay in a first-time-ever outing. For those keeping track, I’ll only be reviewing the G1 matches tomorrow and Thursday, but if anything noteworthy happens on the undercards, I’ll be touching on that too.
Despite being cowards (I kid) for teasing the seven-way tie until the final night – and then not giving us that, or any other scenario that would have yielded a play-off. Still, given we had eight matches with none of them touching the 15-minute mark, this was a pretty easy show to get through as bigger nights await in Budokan this week.