Hiroshi Tanahashi and Tetsuya Naito look to get on the board in this year’s G1, as we’ve got almost a win-or-bust main event between the two.
G1 Climax 32 – Block D: El Phantasmo pinned Yujiro Takahashi in 15:39 (***)
G1 Climax 32 – Block B: SANADA pinned Taichi in 16:01 (***½)
G1 Climax 32 – Block A: Jeff Cobb pinned Bad Luck Fale in 7:13 (**)
G1 Climax 32 – Block C: Hiroshi Tanahashi pinned Tetsuya Naito in 22:22 (***½)
We’re back in Ota City for this one… Kevin Kelly and Chris Charlton are on commentary.
G1 Climax 32 – Block D: Yujiro Takahashi vs. El Phantasmo
Unsurprisingly, this is a first-time outing…
Yujiro wanted El Phantasmo to lay down for him – offering Pieter in exchange… he agreed, but of course its a ruse as he crucifixed Yujiro to counter as we got a bunch of two-counts early on. A back rake from Phantasmo lets him put Yujiro into a Tree of Woe for a baseball slide, before things went outside with ELP lighting up Yujiro with chops. Phantasmo heads up to the apron for a moonsault into the aisle, following up with a springboard senton back into the ring for a near-fall. Yujiro bites his way out of a CR2, but Phantasmo hit back with an enziguiri before he got crotched on the top rope.
On the outside, Yujiro plants ELP with a Pimp Juice on the floor, which ELP needed almost the entire 20-count to get back into the ring as he fell through the gate heading the wrong direction before charging back in. Yujiro stays on ELP with a chinlock, which is elbowed out… before a back rake led to ELP returning with a dropkick. A right hand and a Manhattan drop has ELP ahead, before he slammed Yujiro by the corner for a Bret Hart elbow off the middle rope. Yujiro blocks a superkick and spun in with a reverse DDT, before he hotshotted Phantasmo into the ropes. Phantasmo’s kept down with a Fisherman buster for a near-fall as the head drops continued, but Phantasmo springs back with a springboard crossbody and a Quebrada for a near-fall.
Phantasmo adds a brainbuster as he kept pushing on, then a Ligerbomb for another near-fall, and a UFO whirlibird neckbreaker. Yujiro’s kickout from the cover inadvertently-on-purpose low blows Phantasmo, ahead of an Incolle slam and a Miami Shine that almost won it. Yujiro’s story here is he’s always dropping ELP on his head, with a Pimp Juice DDT nearly winning it. Yujiro seems to go for Big Juice, but Phantasmo flops out of it, only to return with a Sudden Death. ELP tunes up the band, but out somes SHO to distract. Phantasmo grabs him by the hair as SHO slid in a wrench… but Yujiro can’t connect with it as Phantasmo kicks him in the balls.
ELP pulls an Eddie Guerrero, throwing the wrench back to Yujiro, before a dick punch and a Sudden Death left Yujiro laying. There’s a swift tope to take care of SHO, before the Thunder Kiss ‘86 splash gets the win. Pretty decent as we were light on the bullshit until the finish, but look for those head drops to come back to haunt ELP by the end of the tournament. ***
A quick turnaround for Yujiro sees him back in action on Wednesday against Will Ospreay at Korakuen, while ELP’s got nearly a fortnight before his next block match, against YOSHI-HASHI in Osaka on August 6.
G1 Climax 32 – Block B: Taichi vs. SANADA
SANADA’s got a 2-1 lead in prior head-to-heads, all in the last two years or so, which included them splitting a win each in prior G1s.
We open with a tie-up as SANADA was taken into the ropes. He dances his pecs on the break, before trading shoulder tackles with Taichi, who rolled to the outside as he wanted no part of the dancing boobies. SANADA goes for a plancha, but Taichi slid back in to avoid it as we were back to the pec popping. Fed up with it all, Taichi throttles SANADA into the corner, before a snapmare and a kick left SANADA down. A Kitchen Sink keeps him there after SANADA threatened a comeback, leading to abdominal stretch from Taichi, which ends in the ropes. Clotheslines into the corner followed, before SANADA hit a back elbow and a low dropkick to get him back into it as we passed the five-minute mark.
An atomic drop from SANADA allowed him to throw Taichi outside for a plancha, before a return to the ring allowed Taichi to hit a gamengiri. A rear spin kick from Taichi led to a hook kick, which SANADA replied to with a dropkick before he ate an Axe bomber. Off come the trousers, but SANADA cuts off Taichi with a kick and a Skull End before anything could happen. Taichi throttles SANADA to break the Skull End, leading to an attempted nodo otoshi… finally catching it as SANADA came off the middle rope. It’s good for a near-fall, before SANADA landed a rolling elbow and a Tiger suplex for a one-count… Taichi nails the Dangerous backdrop for a one-count of his own, before we all fall down.
SANADA tries to come off the middle rope, but gets caught as Taichi climbed up with him for a chokeslam off the middle rope. SANADA flips out, before almost winning with an O’Connor roll… a TKO gets a similar result, before Taichi’s pulled into a Skull End, and you know what happens. SANADA lets go so he could go for a moonsault, but Taichi gets up the knees… a Gedo clutch is swiftly countered, but Taichi goes to SANADA’s recently-injured eye so he could try the Gedo clutch one more time. SANADA kicks out at two from that, before another Hakuho elbow from Taicho left SANADA in a heap. Taichi teases a Last Ride, then kicked SANADA in the eye with some Kawada kicks. An enziguiri targets the same area ahead of a Black Mephisto attempt, before the uwatenage sumo throw had SANADA down. From there, Taichi tries to charge at SANADA, only to get taken to the ropes as SANADA snatched a win with an O’Connor roll. I loved this one, even if it didn’t hit that proverbial upper gear. Taichi’s come a long way since he was the butt of every joke around these parts, but despite going for SANADA’s obvious injury, he wasn’t able to get it done tonight. ***½
Taichi returns to block action in Ehime on August 5 against Chase Owens, while SANADA is back on July 30 in Nagoya against Great O-Khan.
G1 Climax 32 – Block A: Bad Luck Fale vs. Jeff Cobb
A first-time outing here as the “hoss block” throws us this semi-final.
An opening lock-up is quickly broken up as Cobb’s elbows earned him some body blows. Cobb sidesteps as he proceeded to clothesline Fale over the top rope and to the floor, only to return with a leg sweep and a clothesline as Cobb tried to join him on the outside. Fale rolled back in and stayed on Cobb when he beat the count… Cobb fights out of the corner, only to get clubbed yet again in the back. Fale “surfs” on Cobb’s back, before Cobb tried to fight back with right hands, eventually finding a way through with a dropkick before Fale went back to the back. An elbow drop targets the kidneys for a near-fall, before a splash added another near-fall. Cobb looks to strike back again, but gets splashed in the corner ahead of a teased Bad Luck Fall…
Cobb slips out of the Bad Luck Fall and hits a thrust kick, then a suplex, before he pulled up Fale for a Tour of the Islands. That got the crowd to react, and that’s enough to end things in a match that went perhaps the way you’d expect. **
Fale’s got a quick turnaround as he’s in Korakuen on Thursday against Toru Yano, while Cobb takes on Lance Archer on July 31 in Nagoya.
G1 Climax 32 – Block C: Tetsuya Naito vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
We’ve a LOT of history to sink our teeth into here, with 16 prior singles matches – with Naito just edging ahead with 8 wins, 7 losses and a draw. With both men having lost their opener, it’s almost win-or-bust here too…
Starting with arm wringers, things head to the mat early as Tanahashi worked a double wristlock on Naito. An attempted escape sees Naito thwarted as the pair eventually separate, before a lock-up ended in the corner, with Tanahashi getting his hair pulled on the break. Tanahashi battered Naito into the corner, railing him with elbows ahead of a crossbody out of the corner. Tanahashi mocks the Naito “tranquilo” pose after that, only to have his eyes raked as Naito chucked him out of the ring. Skinning the cat nearly worked, but a low dropkick breaks Tanahashi’s grip as they head outside and into the railings, before Naito dumped Tanahashi with a reverse DDT/neckbreaker and some headscissors as he tried to while out a count-otu win… but instead opted to roll Tanahashi into the ring.
The headscissors are reapplied back inside, before Naito hits a neckbreaker then went for a hanging neckbreaker off of the top rope. Kicks just seem to annoy Tanahashi from there, as Naito pulled some hair for extra effect. More of those led to a swat from Tanahashi, before he caught a kick from Naito and spun him down with a Dragon screw. A slam follows from Tanahashi, who fakes out a flip senton as he instead stomped on Naito’s right knee. Naito manages to hit a Manhattan Drop, aggravating his knee ahead of a Combinacion Cabron, before a flip stunner off the top rope left Tanahashi laying. A Destino’s stopped with an elbow as Naito instead hauled up Tanahashi for Gloria for a near-fall, as he then went deep into the playbook with a Pluma Blanca submission attempt.
Tanahashi breaks via the ropes as Naito followed in with elbows to keep him ahead, before Tanahashi rolled through a top rope ‘rana for a near-fall. A snap German suplex adds to it, before a spinebuster cut off Tanahashi briefly… with a Dragon screw stopping Naito in his tracks. The pair trade elbow strikes from there, chipping away at the other until Naito went for the eyes, allowing him to follow with an enziguiri that took Tanahashi into the ropes. Naito looks to follow up with a Destino, but Tanahashi closes the distance ahead of a Twist and Shout neckbreaker. A second, then a third follows, before a hattrick of Slingblades earned him a near-fall. Tanahashi goes up top and went for an Ace’s High… then back up top for a High Fly Flow at the 20-minute mark… but Naito rolled away! A jack-knife pin nearly sees Naito steal another win over Tanahashi, before a flying forearm led to Valentia from Naito.
Naito looks to be heading for Destino… but Tanahashi surprises him with an inside cradle, and that’s the flash pin! Tanahashi outsmarts Naito’s perhaps too predictable offence at the end, and now Naito’s path to next year’s WrestleKingdom main event is almost in tatters. ***½
Naito main events on July 31 in Nagoya against EVIL, while Tanahashi returns in Nagoya on July 30 against Zack Sabre Jr.
Your standings then…
Block A: Okada (2-0 / 4pts); Cobb, Fale, Yano (1-1 / 2pts) Lawlor (0-0 / 0pts) Archer, JONAH (0-1 / 0pts)
Block B: White (2-0 / 4pts); Tonga (1-0 / 2pts); SANADA, Taichi (1-1 / 2pts); O-Khan (0-0 / 0pts); Owens (0-1 / 0pts); Ishii (0-2 / 0pts)
Block C: Zack Sabre Jr. (2-0 / 4pts); Goto (1-0 / 2pts); Henare, Tanahashi (1-1 / 2pts); EVIL (0-0 / 0pts); KENTA (0-1 / 0pts); Naito (0-2 / 0pts)
Block D: Ospreay, Robinson (1-0 / 2pts); Phantasmo, Takagi, Yujiro (1-1 / 2pts); Finlay, YOSHI-HASHI (0-1 / 0pts)
The G1’s staying in Tokyo as they move to Korakuen Hall on Tuesday for the first of two shows there – Juice Robinson and David Finlay’s your main event.
Steady and stable stuff, as the G1 wrapped up its first full week – giving us the early inklings of the runners and riders, and an idea of who’s got a mountain to climb to have a shot of winning their block.