The G1 Climax heads to Ota City in Tokyo as we’ve got Jay White and Tomohiro Ishii clashing in the main event.
G1 Climax 32 – Block C: Zack Sabre Jr. submitted Aaron Henare in 14:15 (***½)
G1 Climax 32 – Block D: Shingo Takagi pinned YOSHI-HASHI in 17:28 (***½)
G1 Climax 32 – Block A: Kazuchika Okada submitted Toru Yano in 15:10 (***)
G1 Climax 32 – Block B: Jay White pinned Tomohiro Ishii in 22:02 (***½)
We’re in the Ota City General Gymnasium in Tokyo for this leg – Kevin Kelly and Chris Charlton are on hand for English commentary… and yes, it is a little weird how some folks will have had two matches by the end of today when others in their block are still waiting for their call!
G1 Climax 32 – Block C: Aaron Henare vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
It’s a first-time singles meeting here…
The early skirmishes see Henare get to the ropes before he missed a stomp… but found a way through with a shoulder tackle. A deadlift suplex takes Sabre down, rolling to the outside for respite, where he caught Henare with almost an Octopus in the ropes from the apron. Resetting, Sabre peppers Henare with uppercuts, but gets elbowed in the corner ahead of a springboard enziguiri as Henare pulled ahead. A series of kicks to the legs of Sabre ended with a right hand that knocked Sabre down, with Henare claiming it was an elbow strike. Boot choking followed in the ropes, but Sabre grabbed it and turned it into a leg lock as the ref forced a break. Henare stretches Sabre in the middle of the ring next, leading into a curb stomp and a forearm that kept Sabre down.
Sabre’s back with a snapmare and a neck twist, before a cravat was broken up… only for Henare to be caught in a Cobra twist. Getting free, Henare goes back to the strikes, only to get caught and pulled down… fortunately right into the ropes as an Achilles lock could have led to the stoppage. Henare rolls outside, as Sabre stayed on top of him with kicks to the leg, only for a knee to the gut to stop Sabre in his tracks. Henare throws Sabre into the rails, but a second time’s blocked as Henare then had to suplex his way out of a guillotine. Back inside, a Blue Thunder Bomb gets a two-count for Henare, before his Rampage uranage’s blocked. Sabre slaps away at Henare, who waffled back with an elbow to the head, before his spinning enziguiri was blocked and turned into a knee stomp on the mat.
Kicks from Sabre just seem to wind up Henare, who sits back up and ate a PK… but rolled back to his feet and hit a Rampage seconds later for a near-fall. A back senton off the middle ropes keeps Henare ahead, but Sabre snuck back with a Euro clutch… which Henare broke as he came in with the Ultima full nelson. Sabre gets free, but is wheelbarrowed right back into the Ultima… elbowing free before hitting an overhead kick to the arm. A gut shot from Henare drops a charging Sabre, who then rolled out of a Streets of Rage and went back to an Achilles hold mixed with a half crab – a move tagged on the New Japan results page as the Sunday rail engineering works replacement bus – and that rather straightforward hold’s enough to force the quick submission. ***½
ZSJ’s next match is on July 30 as he main events against Hiroshi Tanahashi in Nagoya… Henare’s got a quick turnaround, returning on July 27 in Korakuen Hall against Hirooki Goto.
G1 Climax 32 – Block D: Shingo Takagi vs. YOSHI-HASHI
Another first-time singles meeting here…
We open this one with a lock-up as YOSHI-HASHI was taken into the ropes. Shingo swung with a chop on the break, but it’s ducked before the pair traded shoulder tackles, leading to forearms before YOSHI-HASHI threw Shingo to the outside. A dropkick through the ropes takes Shingo into the rails, before a quick trip to the ring post led YOSHI-HASHI to follow-up with an attempt to supled Shingo back inside. Shingo blocks it, then snapped YOSHI-HASHI’s arm over his shoulder, before he low-bridged a charging YOSHI-HASHI to the outside. Cue a charge to the apron as Shingo stayed on the arm, before he chucked YOSHI-HASHI into the rails. Shingo “surfs” on a doubled-over YOSHI-HASHI before a suplex led to a two-count, ahead of a Cobra twist.
YOSHI-HASHI hiptosses his way free, but Shingo’s right back on him before a low dropkick spun Shingo to the mat. A neckbreaker from YOSHI-HASHI is broken, but he’s able to run back in with a Head Hunter instead, following with a clothesline and that neckbreaker for a near-fall. Shingo blocks a Fisherman suplex, before he scored with a back elbow, a jab and a lariat, while a twisting neckbreaker nearly put YOSHI-HASHI away. YOSHI-HASHI chops back, but a clothesline into the ropes and a backdrop cuts him down… before it’s back to the clotheslines, which they trade ahead of a Dragon suplex from YOSHI-HASHI and a sliding lariat from Shingo.
A trip up top sees Shingo tease a superplex, which he follows through with, adding a clothesline into the corner before YOSHI-HASHI ducked another lariat… only to get caught with a stalling Made in Japan for a near-fall. YOSHI-HASHI slips out of the Last of the Dragon to hit a back cracker, only for Shingo to mount a series of strikes, jabbing YOSHI-HASHI ahead of a Pumping Bomber. It’s good for a near-fall, as Shingo then went for a Last of the Dragon… but YOSHI-HASHI DDT’s out of it! YOSHI-HASHI adds a low dropkick before he tried to hit Karma… Shingo rolls free as the pair trade chops and right hands. That puts YOSHI-HASHI back on the deck, but he’s right back with Karma… only to not be able to follow up with a cover! Eventually pulling himself up, YOSHI-HASHI gets a near-fall from that, as he then peppered Shingo with strikes… ending with a superkick that left the former champion laying.
YOSHI-HASHI goes for a Destroyer, then a Pedigree, before he hit the Destroyer… as a Kumagaroshi almost led to the huge upset. Another crack at Karma’s blocked as Shingo snuck out into a Cobra Twist, pulling YOSHI-HASHI to the mat for the flash pin-fall. My word, YOSHI-HASHI nearly snatched that one, but Shingo had to go deep to get the result – a real big scare for the former champion. ***½
Shingo’s next block match is July 30 in Nagoya against David Finlay, while YOSHI-HASHI returns on July 31, also in Nagoya, against Juice Robinson.
G1 Climax 32 – Block A: Toru Yano vs. Kazuchika Okada
It’s been five years since their last singles meeting, but you’ll be shocked to see that Okada’s 3-0 against Yano, with wins in 2013’s New Japan Cup, as well as in 2014 and 2017’s G1 Climax.
Yano’s brought a bottle of sake with him as he was Deadly Serious, Violent Yano for this match today. He attacked Okada before the bell, choking him with his ring jacket as the referee begrudgingly started the match anyways. After breaking, Yano’s thrown outside by Okada… but reverses a whip as Okada’s taken into the guard rails. Cue the chair from Yano, which he bounced off Okada’s back (not for a DQ, because reasons), before another Irish whip saw Okada reverse Yano into the rails. Okada grabs the chair and puts Yano in it… only to get tripped into it by Yano as we almost had a count-out win here. Instead, Okada makes it back in as Yano removes a corner pad, then stomped on Okada before Yano ran into the corner he’d exposed earlier.
Okada’s neckbreaker has Yano down, as did a back elbow off the ropes, leading to a DDT out of the corner for a two-count. Yano clubs away to block a neckbreaker slam, then grabbed the hair of Okada as he built up to a slingshot into the exposed corner. An attempted powerbomb into the exposed corner’s blocked as Okada came back with the neckbreaker slam… a top rope elbow drop… before Yano countered a Rainmaker into a Demon Killer powerbomb for a near-fall. Yano goes back to the chair, bringing it into the ring as he shoved down the ref, only for Okada to DDT him onto the chair. A Money Clip follows, then a spinning Rainmaker as Yano had escaped… before Yano sprayed sake into Okada’s eyes. A roll-up to the blinded Okada gets a near-fall, before Okada sent Yano into the exposed corner… a back body drop led to a tease of the SummerSlam 92 finish, which Yano countered for a near-fall, before Yano went for a low blow.
Okada blocks it, then hit a dropkick to Yano coming off the ropes, before teased Rainmakers led to a backbreaker and a Money Clip for the quick submission. Yano switching things up certainly gave this another edge, but at no point did I even think Yano was getting the win here. ***
Okada’s back in block action on July 31 in Nagoya against Bad Luck Fale, while Yano picks up on July 27 in Korakuen, also against Fale.
G1 Climax 32 – Block B: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Jay White
The reigning IWGP World Heavyweight Champion doesn’t have a good run against Tomohiro Ishii – losing in 2019 and 2020’s G1 Climax, while also losing the NEVER Openweight title to Ishii last November in San Jose. A lone win for White came in February 2021 at Castle Attack.
White offered to sit down Gedo away from ringside, as a suggestion that he wouldn’t interfere. He’s even got a second chair for Gedo to put his feet up on… We start with White clubbing away on Ishii, only to be shot into the ropes as a shoulder tackle sent the champion outside. Ishii gives chase so he could throw White back inside for another shoulder tackle, sending him outside to compose himself again. Ishii stays in the ring as White beckoned him outside… and it worked as White went under the ring for a chair. Of course, Red Shoes Unno goes to disarm Jay as Gedo literally flung one of his two chairs at Ishii as everyone was distracted. White followed that up by whipping Ishii into the rails, but Red Shoes refused to count the pin when White took things back into the ring.
Infuriated, White hits a front-facelock suplex to throw Ishii into the buckles for just a one-count, before a half crab ended with Ishii dragging himself to the ropes for a delayed break. White stays on Ishii as he wrapped the ring apron around his face… before taking things back inside as the referee refused to count another pin, choosing to fix the apron up instead. A chinlock keeps Ishii down, but he gets free, ducking a chop in the corner before he scored with a powerslam off the ropes. Forearms and chops wear down White in the corner, while a Saito suplex took White down after Ishii had stopped for a breather. White kicks out at one from that as Ishii’s clearly hurting, before standing switches allowed White to stack up Ishii with a DDT.
White cuts off Ishii with a rake to the eyes, taking things back to the corner as he resumed the focus on the ribs and midsection. Ishii’s dumped to the outside again as White hits a front suplex onto the apron, following up with a Blade Buster back inside for a near-fall. A knee to the midsection drops Ishii once more, leading to a deadlift German suplex as White was in clear control here. Ishii’s pulled up for a uranage, as White then resumed his focus on Ishii’s midsection… then began to take the piss as he followed with an Ishii-like forearm/chop barrage that left Ishii down in the corner. A superplex followed from White, but Ishii popped right back up to POUNCE White into the turnbuckles.
White’s lifted up top as Ishii looked for revenge on that superplex… and got it, with White kicking out at two. Ishii goes for a lariat, but White drops down to avoid it, then laid out from a sliding lariat before he got caught with an enziguiri. Ishii follows up with a sliding lariat for a near-fall, before Gedo popped up on the apron to distract. Ishii knocks him off the apron before White tried to capitalise with a brainbuster. Ishii’s right back up to take a lariat, as White looked to push on once more, landing some elbows before Ishii shrugged off a chop and knocked down the champion. The pair doe-see-doe as Ishii crunched in with a headbutt, following with a powerbomb that rolled White down for a near-fall.
Both men pull themselves up via the ropes as we cross the 20-minute mark… White ducks a lariat before Gedo tripped Ishii… we doe-see-doe some more around counters ahead of a sleeper suplex from White. A second one follows, as White then pulled Ishii up for a Blade Runner… more countering of counters ensues ahead of Ishii’s sleeper suplex, then a lariat for a near-fall as Ishii almost nicked it. From there, Ishii called for the vertical-drop brainbuster, only for White to slip out and nail a Blade Runner for the win. The result already puts Ishii on the bubble given everyone’s only got six block matches. As for this one, it was a good match, but that whole “counter-the-counter” sequence always takes me out of Jay White’s matches… ***½
White’s next G1 match is on July 31 in Nagoya against Chase Owens, while Ishii returns on July 27, main eventing Korakuen Hall against Tama Tonga.
Your standings then…
Block A: Okada (2-0 / 4pts); Fale (1-0 / 2pts); Yano (1-1 / 2pts) Lawlor (0-0 / 0pts) Archer, Cobb, JONAH (0-1 / 0pts)
Block B: White (2-0 / 4pts); Taichi, Tonga (1-0 / 2pts); O-Khan (0-0 / 0pts); Owens, SANADA (0-1 / 0pts); Ishii (0-2 / 0pts)
Block C: Zack Sabre Jr. (2-0 / 4pts); Goto (1-0 / 2pts); Henare (1-1 / 2pts); EVIL (0-0 / 0pts) KENTA, Naito, Tanahashi (0-1 / 0pts)
Block D: Ospreay, Robinson, Yujiro (1-0 / 2pts); Takagi (1-1 / 2pts); Finlay, Phantasmo, YOSHI-HASHI (0-1 / 0pts)
We’re staying put for Sunday’s round of the G1, with Hiroshi Tanahashi and Tetsuya Naito on top. This was a marked improvement on the dross that was Wednesday’s action, even if the results went the way you’d expect.