Block C of the G1 Climax took centre stage in today’s main event, with KENTA looking to derail Tetsuya Naito in Hiroshima.
G1 Climax 32 – Block D: Yujiro Takahashi pinned YOSHI-HASHI in 13:12 (**¾)
G1 Climax 32 – Block B: SANADA defeated Chase Owens via referee stoppage in 12:45 (***¼)
G1 Climax 32 – Block B: Tama Tonga pinned Taichi in 16:53 (***¼)
G1 Climax 32 – Block A: Lance Archer defeated JONAH via count-out in 12:43 (***¼)
G1 Climax 32 – Block C: Tetsuya Naito pinned KENTA in 23:30 (***½)
We’re at Hiroshima’s Sun Plaza Hall for the first of two nights here… Kevin Kelly’s back with El Phantasmo on commentary for the block matches.
G1 Climax 32 – Block D: Yujiro Takahashi vs. YOSHI-HASHI
Yujiro’s got a 2-1 lead in prior singles matches, but YOSHI-HASHI won last time they met in the first round of last year’s New Japan Cup.
Yujiro attacked YOSHI-HASHI before the bell, and things start with YOSHI-HASHI taking a stomping before he came back with an elbow off the ropes. A neckbreaker has Yujiro down, but things head outside with YOSHI-HASHI throwing Yujiro into the railings… which gave him a chance to fish under the ring for a chair.
YOSHI-HASHI gets jabbed in the midsection and shoulder with the chair. Yujiro unties a corner pad and threw YOSHI-HASHI into the exposed corner, before a death valley driver drew a two-count. Elbows from above keep Yujiro ahead, as did a low dropkick before YOSHI-HASHI struck back with a chop.
Yujiro backs YOSHI-HASHI into the ropes for a front kick to cut him off, but a suplex from YOSHI-HASHI turned it around at the five-minute mark. A Head Hunter follows, before Yujiro bit YOSHI-HASHI’s hand… then hot shotted YOSHI-HASHI into the top rope. A Fisherman buster’s next for a near-fall as ELP noted YOSHI-HASHI’s shoulders weren’t down at all. Kenta Sato’s on the take, clearly.
YOSHI-HASHI blocks an Incolle slam, then rolled Yujiro down into a Butterfly lock… and here comes the bollocks. SHO’s out to distract the referee, allowing Yujiro to go for a low blow. YOSHI-HASHI blocks it, then baseball slid SHO off the apron, before he hung up Yujiro in the ropes. A trip up top allowed YOSHI-HASHI to hit a Head Hunter off the top for a near-fall, before Yujiro grabbed the ref to block Karma.
Yujiro throws the ref into YOSHI-HASHI, but it’s pushed aside as a superkick and Dragon suplex had Yujiro down, before something went amiss. Yujiro seemingly tried to grab the ref to use him as a human shield… they do it again, as SHO then cracks YOSHI-HASHI in the back with a chair before Pimp Juice got a near-fall. C’mon lads, you know the rule. You mess up, you at least wait a while before you go straight back to it!
YOSHI-HASHI countered a Big Juice into a back cracker… my feed buffers, returning with YOSHI-HASHI going for Karma again, only to get shoved into the exposed corner… Yujiro grabs his pimp cane, which distracts the referee, allowing SHO to come in with his spanner. He eventually cracks YOSHI-HASHI in the good shoulder with it, before Big Juice gets the win. You know the drill here… **¾
YOSHI-HASHI takes on Will Ospreay next on August 13, while Yujiro has Shingo Takagi on the same night.
G1 Climax 32 – Block B: Chase Owens vs. SANADA
SANADA comes in holding the win in their prior meeting, in last year’s G1…
When we get going, the pair trade waistlocks and wristlocks before Chase tried his luck and got a one-count out of SANADA. A headlock takedown from SANADA led to a bow-and-arrow hold that Owens escaped as we’re grappling, before a handshake led to Chase trying a cheapshot… they try Paradise Locks each before Owens charged down SANADA.
SANADA manages to tie up Chase in a Paradise Lock, before he got sent outside after freeing up Chase. Owens punched SANADA in front of BUSHI at ringside, before more punches followed back inside as the referee barely admonished it. A side chinlock from Owens has SANADA on the defensive, before a slam looked to set up for a fist drop… SANADA puts a boot up, but Chase stopped himself, only to miss an elbow drop.
A low dropkick spins down Owens ahead of SANADA’s double leapfrog/dropkick combo and the follow-up plancha. Back inside, Chase bounces SANADA off the ropes and into a crossface, before Owens’ gamengiri and a cravat snapmare off the top rope almost sent SANADA on his way.
SANADA backflips out of the corner but gets caught in a sleeperhold by Owens, but SANADA pushes out of the corner and rolled back for a near-fall. An O’Connor roll from SANADA’s blocked as Owens pulled him into a Skull End, before Chase did a SANADA… letting go of the hold only to miss a moonsault.
Chase tries to win with a package piledriver, but SANADA breaks out for a pop-up TKO before he went up and landed a moonsault for the near-fall. A Skull End followed, but Chase slips out… only for SANADA to reapply the hold… Chase was able to get a finger to the ropes (and seemingly a leg under), but the ref didn’t deem it enough, and ended up waving off the match. A dubious finish to a pretty decent match as they continue to build up Chase. ***¼
That’s it for Chase’s G1, while SANADA takes on Tomohiro Ishii on August 16.
G1 Climax 32 – Block B: Taichi vs. Tama Tonga
These two have shared a win apiece in their prior singles matches – with Taichi winning that interminable ladder match for control of the funky oven glove last May, while Tama won in their G1 meeting last October.
Hold on a second, Taichi’s got a pouch with him… and there’s something silvery in it. Oh God, he’s got the funky oven glove with him. The Iron Fingers from Hell.
We open with a lock-up as Taichi melted into the ropes… Tama breaks cleanly, then again as Taichi offered little resistance. Taichi handed Tama Tonga that pouch, with Tama recoiling when he noticed the funky oven glove, before Taichi booted the ungrateful Tama into the corner. Tama rolls away as Taichi tried to put the glove on him, then got stomped on as the referee took care of it…
Heading outside, Tama’s thrown into the railings, then choked with some camera cabling, before we returned to the ring. Choking and a hook kick helped Taichi on his way for a two-count, which ended up firing up Tama… until he was choked into the corner. Tama returns with a clothesline out of the corner, before a back suplex drew a two-count.
Taichi goes back to the throat, only to get uppercutted into the corner as Tama misses a Stinger splash. A gamengiri has Tama down, leading to Taichi ripping off his trousers… and then grabbing the funky oven glove. Everyone’s against it, as Taichi got all Conflicted… allowing Tama to hit a death valley driver to break it up.
Supreme Flow followed of the top as Tama splashes Taichi for a near-fall, then took off his vest. Unfortunately, Tama got enamoured with the iron fingers next, prompting Jado to try and talk him out of it. It’s the angel and devil on the shoulders situation as Taichi encouraged Tama, only for Tama to throw it to the referee… a Gun Stun’s blocked, while a Gedo clutch gets Taichi a near-fall.
A Dangerous back suplex gets a near-fall before the pair tease finishers… leading to them trading enziguiri. Taichi’s head kick cracks into Tama, who snapped back with a Tongan Twist as the pair reset with a strike exchange. An Axe bomber from Taichi leaves Tama laying, before a Black Mephisto was rolled out of… only for Taichi to return with the uwatanage sumo throw to counter a Gun Stun. Taichi tries to finish off with a Hakuho elbow, but Tama caught him with a Gun Stun and that’s your lot. A decent match if you’re not bothered by the iron fingers stuff, as Tama moves into joint second place. ***¼
Taichi’s back on August 13 against Jay White, while Tama Tonga’s next match is against Great O-Khan tomorrow.
G1 Climax 32 – Block A: Lance Archer vs. JONAH
We’ve no prior singles meetings here, but quite a few in tag matches in Pro Wrestling NOAH… Archer’s coming in on the crest of a wave after his torpedo over Okada on Sunday, but is this too short a layoff?
Archer’s got the clear height advantage over JONAH, and offered him the first shot as they traded elbows to start. JONAH switches it up, throwing chops, but Archer’s got some of those too before the pair went to a knee. They resume with elbows, before a DDT from JONAH finally saw him pull ahead.
A headbutt from JONAH sinks Archer, before things went to the corner as JONAH squashed Archer against the padding. Archer tries to fight back, but ate a forearm, then a clothesline before JONAH splashed him again. A clothesline to the back of the head from Archer caught JONAH coming off the ropes, allowing Archer to follow in with running back elbows in the corner as he charged through JONAH.
The pair miss back sentons as they went back to the tit-for-tat, trading elbows before JONAH ducked clotheslines… only to eat a boot. A Hellacoaster ripcord Black Hole Slam gets Archer a two-count, before he tried to trap JONAH in a EBD Claw. Headbutts get JONAH free again before he shrugged off a Derailer and squashed Archer with a body attack.
JONAH heads up top for… a moonsault? Archer hits the ropes to crotch him though, then joined him to tease a German superplex. It’s elbowed away, but Archer’s right back to try for a Blackout… but JONAH escaped and hit a lariat. The Black Forest Bomb followed from the Aussie, but Archer’s up to hit a knee as JONAH went up for a Torpedo.
A shoulder tackle off the apron from JONAH follows, before Archer reversed a whip that sent JONAH into the railings. Bad Dude Tito threw himself in harm’s way to try and soften a cannonball into the railings from Archer… before Archer and JONAH continued to fight on the apron. JONAH clotheslines Archer back into the ring, only to get charged off the apron into the railings… JONAH can’t beat the count-out, and that’s yet another count-out in this year’s G1. This was a pretty good match, with JONAH having a point about the finish as he took his second count-out of the tour having been unable to follow-up on that big Okada win. ***¼
Archer’s final block match comes on August 16 against Kazuchika Okada in what could be a winner-takes-all match, while JONAH wraps up against Bad Luck Fale on the same night.
G1 Climax 32 – Block C: KENTA vs. Tetsuya Naito
We’ve only had two prior singles meetings, and it’s a win apiece – Naito successfully defended the double gold back in February 2020, but lost to KENTA later that year in the G1.
KENTA does his version of the Toru Yano rope break shtick to start, while Naito returned the favour. KENTA goes for Naito’s hair in the ropes, only to run into an armdrag as he was then sent outside for a… tranquilo. The tables turn as KENTA raked the eyes to throw Naito outside so he could go for a pose, but Naito followed that up by pulling KENTA outside and into the railings.
Behind the ref’s back, KENTA clocks Naito with the bell hammer and microphone, before KENTA threw Naito over the rails… and started the 20-count. Unofficially. Naito’s rolled back inside for a two-count, then got kicked in the ropes ahead of a knee drop to the back of the head. It’s good for another two-count, as KENTA removed a corner pad and threw Naito into the exposed corner.
Grounded headscissors keep Naito down, as did a back elbow, but Naito’s up at two… and into a side chinlock as KENTA remained on the offensive. Naito sneaks in a neckbreaker to break the flow, following up with Combinacion Cabron, a neckbreaker, and some more headscissors on the mat. KENTA gets to the ropes to force a break, then bought himself some time with a powerslam off the ropes… a hot shot and a flying clothesline puts KENTA back in control for a near-fall, while a STF looked for a submission.
Naito got to the ropes, then got stuck with a DDT by KENTA, who almost won it right there. Naito returns the favour with a swinging DDT as we crossed the fifteen minute mark. KENTA fights out of a cravat, but couldn’t avoid some elbows nor Gloria as Naito began to dig into the latter stages of his playbook. A massive spinebuster sticks KENTA, who then managed to counter a Destino into a draping DDT.
KENTA pushes on with a running front kick, then a soaring dropkick into the corner, before he went up top for a double stomp that went through Naito for a near-fall. Naito took KENTA to the exposed corner for a hanging neckbreaker, before Esperanza out of the corner kept Naito on track… until he ran into a Busaiku knee.
A Go 2 Sleep’s countered into a sorta-Destino at the 20-minute mark, as we reset with the pair trading elbows. A sucker punch from KENTA edged him ahead, only for his palm strikes to be ended with an enziguiri and a leaping forearm. KENTA cradles his way out of Destino for a near-fall, then ran Naito into the exposed corner as another roll-up nearly won it… while a rapid Busaiku knee nearly put away a bloodied Naito.
Naito countered Go 2 Sleep into a Valentia though, stopping all that momentum before a Destino dumped KENTA by the ropes for the win. This one kicked into another gear towards the end as the Naito comeback continued to remain on-course for next week’s finale. ***½
Naito wraps up his G1 block matches on August 16 against Zack Sabre Jr. – as he’s going to be hoping to get through on tie-breakers – while the virtually-eliminated KENTA next faces Aaron Henare on August 13.
Block A: Okada (3-1 / 6pts); Archer, JONAH (3-2 / 6pts); Cobb, Lawlor (2-2 / 4pts); Fale (2-3 / 4pts); Yano (1-4 / 2pts)
Block B: White (4-0 / 8pts); SANADA, Tonga (3-2 / 6pts); Taichi (2-2 / 4pts); Owens (2-4 – 4pts) O-Khan (1-3 / 2pts); Ishii (1-4 / 2pts)
Block C: Zack Sabre Jr., Tanahashi (3-1 / 6pts); Naito (3-2 / 6pts); EVIL, Goto (2-2 / 4pts); KENTA (1-3 / 2pts); Henare (1-4 / 2pts)
Block D: Finlay (3-1 / 6pts); Yujiro (3-2 / 6pts); Ospreay, Takagi, YOSHI-HASHI (2-2 / 4pts); Robinson (2-3 / 4pts); Phantasmo (1-3 / 2pts)
We’re staying in Hiroshima tomorrow as we’ve a top of the C-Block clash with Hiroshi Tanahashi and Hirooki Goto locking horns in the main event.
After the bright spells in Osaka, this was back to the solid-not-spectacular G1 action as we’re heading into the home stretches… and a potential headache-inducing finale in block D.