We’re into the final week of the G1, and we’ve got Jay White looking to keep the only unbeaten run in the tournament alive as he took on Taichi in today’s main event.
G1 Climax 32 – Block C: KENTA submitted Aaron Henare in 12:35 (***¼)
G1 Climax 32 – Block A: Jeff Cobb pinned Toru Yano in 4:28 (***)
G1 Climax 32 – Block D: Shingo Takagi pinned Yujiro Takahashi in 15:24 (***¼)
G1 Climax 32 – Block D: Will Ospreay pinned YOSHI-HASHI in 18:46 (***¾)
G1 Climax 32 – Block B: Jay White pinned Taichi in 23:20 (***¾)
We’re at the Machida Gymnasium in Tokyo for this, with Kevin Kelly and Chris Charlton being joined on commentary by David Finlay.
G1 Climax 32 – Block C: KENTA vs. Aaron Henare
A first-time meeting opens up our block matches today…
The pair feint with strikes early, but some body blows from Henare sent KENTA to the outside for respite. Returning, KENTA goes for the eyes as he took Henare into the corner, only to get met with a springboard enziguiri out of it as another feinted kick made KENTA scarper to the floor. Henare followed to kick KENTA by the ring post… which led to the eventual miss as Henare then got thrown into the post and had his arm worked over some. Returning to the ring, KENTA worked over Henare’s historically-injured heel, then went back to the arm before Henare kicked KENTA into the corner. A snapmare and a kick follow, while a headbutt sank KENTA ahead of a back senton off the middle rope. KENTA fought back, taking Henare onto the apron so he could drag him back in for a Green Killer DDT, before the hesitation dropkick into the corner set up for the double stomp off the top.
Kicking out, Henare dumps KENTA with a Blue Thunder Bomb, before Ultima ended with KENTA somehow trying to ‘rana the referee. Henare lets go of the hold, then nearly fell to a roll-up before a scoop powerslam had KENTA back ahead. A gut shot and a hook kick turned it back around for Henare, who followed up with a Streets of Rage… only for KENTA to hook the nose as he pulled Henare down into a Game Over. The hold’s not applied fully though, so KENTA switches to a triangle choke, which Henare powerbombed his way free of. Henare tries for Rampage, but KENTA pulled him back into Game Over… and with no escape in sight, Henare tapped. A disappointing end to his G1, as KENTA now looks to spoil Hiroshi Tanahashi tomorrow night in his final match. ***¼
G1 Climax 32 – Block A: Jeff Cobb vs. Toru Yano
Cobb holds the win in their only prior singles meeting, coming at a similar stage of the G1 in 2018.
Cobb’s out doing his best Toru Yano impression, wearing a somewhat muted shirt (compared to what Yano wears), while he carried a chair, a DVD, and had a custom intro. Oh, and Cobb even did the Yano shrug too. I think my sleep deprivation’s finally manifesting itself onto these shows…
Meanwhile, a scared Yano seemed to be a no-show. The referee calls for the bell as Cobb demanded a count-out start, but Yano eventually sneaks through the crowd and snatched a two-count with a roll-up. Shoving aside the ref, Yano sprays Cobb in the eyes with the disinfecting spray for another two-count, before we headed outside. Yano’s whipped into the rails, but came back with a Manhattan drop before he tied Cobb in his own singlet… then made an United Empire burrito out of Cobb, using the ring apron. Except it’s way too early in the 20 count, as Cobb’s able to wriggle free with the help of Ryohei Oiwa, as he flopped back into the ring.
Yano surfs on Cobb next, then removed a corner pad as an armless Cobb ends up landing an Orange Cassidy-ish dropkick. Finally, Cobb frees his arms from his singlet as he then blocked a whip into the corner. Yano misses a charge and takes the corner, then an overhead belly-to-belly, before he tried a mule kick. Cobb blinds Yano with his own t-shirt, before a superkick and a Tour of the Islands kept Cobb’s slim hopes having a tie-break for the block alive. Wacky and entertaining, which is probably the best way to go with an eliminated Yano. ***
Cobb faces Tom Lawlor in both of their final matches tomorrow, while Yano’s done with his G1 matches.
G1 Climax 32 – Block D: Yujiro Takahashi vs. Shingo Takagi
Amazingly, Yujiro starts today top of block D on tie-breakers… but he’s never beaten Shingo, with a double count-out in last year’s tournament being the closest he’s come. A loss for Yujiro would keep that seven-way tie going, by the way…
Yujiro tries to jump Shingo at the bell, but gets taken into the corner as running knees and a shoulder tackle led to a clothesline and a suplex. Heading outside, Shingo threw Yujiro chest-first into the railings, before Pieter tried to distract Shingo with some dancing. It’s brushed off as Shingo posts Yujiro, before Yujiro went fishing under the ring and came back with a chair. Shingo’s jabbed in the midsection with a chair, which the referee removed before Yujiro blocked a whip into the rails. He nails a drop toe hold to take Shingo into the bars, ahead of a reverse DDT, before a return to the ring saw Shingo get choked in the corner. A low dropkick adds a one-count for Yujiro, while the elbow drop/leg drop/headbutt combo got Yujiro a two-count as he stacked up some offence.
Yujiro bites Shingo’s hand to avoid a suplex, then went for a Fisherman buster… but Shingo nibbles too before his back elbow, jab and lariat had Yujiro down. A back senton from Shingo, then a snap suplex gets a near-fall before SHO wandered out with his wrench. Shingo elbowed Yujiro, then got held in the ropes as Yujiro ran in with a front kick, before an Incolle slam left Shingo down. A Miami Shine drops Shingo next for another two-count, before SHO brandished a chair to avoid Shingo hitting the ropes. The comeback continues with elbow strikes, before Yujiro grabbed the ref to allow SHO to swing the chair, while a Pimp Juice DDT nearly stole the win. Shingo fakes out a clothesline to hit a DDT, while a sliding elbow lays out Yujiro as both men were left laying.
Shingo’s back up to his feet first, and drops Yujiro with a Made in Japan for a near-fall. We head outside after a low bridge from Yujiro, which led to Shingo getting sent into the railings. Shingo pushes off a Pimp Juice on the outside, but couldn’t avoid a Fisherman buster as they teased another count-out… but Shingo pulled Yujiro off the apron with a death valley driver, before SHO threw Yujiro back in at 19. Back inside, Shingo pushed on with a clothesline and a Last of the Dragon, but Yujiro bites his way free… then shoved Shingo into the referee. You know what’s next. In comes a chair, which is swung at Shingo… who clotheslines it back at him before launching it at SHO on the apron. A Pumping Bomber and the Last of the Dragons follows, and the mega-man tie is still alive! ***¼
Yujiro’s done with his G1 now, while Shingo wraps up against El Phantasmo in Budokan on Tuesday.
G1 Climax 32 – Block D: YOSHI-HASHI vs. Will Ospreay
A first-time match for the former stablemates… and if you’re looking for the mega-man tie, Ospreay needs to get the win to keep that particular permutation going.
Ospreay takes YOSHI-HASHI into the ropes as commentary remarked just how layered up YOSHI-HASHI’s tape was on his shoulder. A side headlock from YOSHI-HASHI traps Ospreay briefly, as did a shoulder tackle, but Ospreay bounced up… and got chopped away. YOSHI-HASHI lands a neckbreaker for just a one-count, before Ospreay escaped a suplex and hot shotted YOSHI-HASHI into the ropes, following up swiftly with a running front kick. YOSHI-HASHI gets lit up with a chop in the corner, then bounced off the opposite corner pad before a knee drop targeted the injured arm of YOSHI-HASHI on the apron. Staying outside, Ospreay pulls YOSHI-HASHI shoulder-first into the ring post, before Ospreay continued the focus on the arm and shoulder back inside.
An elbow to the back of the neck keeps YOSHI-HASHI down, before he broke out the Bunker Buster neckbreaker. YOSHI-HASHI keeps going with a low dropkick and a Head Hunter, while a chop allowed him to hang up Ospreay in the ropes for a dropkick to the back. Another low dropkick adds for a near-fall, before Ospreay burst back with a handspring enziguiri. A plancha followed as YOSHI-HASHI rolled outside, before a springboard forearm back inside landed for a two-count. Chops follow before Ospreay lands another enziguiri, before a superplex attempt ended with Ospreay hitting a flying forearm to the back of YOSHI-HASHI. That’s followed up with a Falcon arrow as Ospreay almost did the deal, before YOSHI-HASHI blocked an OsCutter and returned with a snap Dragon suplex.
YOSHI-HASHI adds a chop and a superkick as Ospreay tried to cut him off, before a Karma attempt was blocked. Chops try to wear down Ospreay, but he fires back in kind before a YOSHI-HASHI headbutt and an Ospreay head kick took them both down… only for YOSHI-HASHI to flash back with a Karma after ducking a second head kick. The delayed cover means YOSHI-HASHI only gets a two-count… before a Western Lariat looked to lead to more Karma. Ospreay countered out of it though, before he hit the ropes for an OsCutter… which wasn’t enough! YOSHI-HASHI ducks a Hidden Blade, then superkicked away another OsCutter as he added a Destroyer for another near-fall on Ospreay. We go back to Karma, but Ospreay slipped out for a couple of hook kicks, before YOSHI-HASHI countered a Storm Breaker into a facebuster.
Kumagoroshi lands next as YOSHI-HASHI nearly snatched the win, before Ospreay fired back with a standing Spanish Fly, a Chelsea Grin and a Hidden Blade that went through the back of YOSHI-HASHI for the win. “Project Chaos” remains alive despite YOSHI-HASHI’s best efforts as Ospreay was made to work every bit for those two points. ***¾
YOSHI-HASHI has a quick turnaround, taking on David Finlay tomorrow in Nagano, while Ospreay has Juice Robinson on Tuesday in his final match.
G1 Climax 32 – Block B: Taichi vs. Jay White
Jay White’s looking for a win to continue the last unbeaten run standing in the G1 – and with Taichi having never beaten him in a singles match, those odds look good…
Opening with a lock-up, White gets backed into the corner before he was baited into doing some sumo… only to rake Taichi’s eyes into the corner. White powders to the outside as Taichi came back at him though, before Gedo swiped for Taichi’s leg, which created a distraction. We have a quick switcheroo as White tried to grab Taichi, only to get backed into the corner again, leading to a choke from Taichi on White… then on Gedo. White’s eye rake allowed him to hang up Taichi in the ropes as things spilled outside, where White uses the camera cable to choke Taichi with. Elbows from White target Taichi on the apron, before he smothered Taichi with the apron… then graciously fixed it. Back inside, the referee refuses to count White’s pin on Taichi, with Gedo’s protest masking a towel choke from the world champion amid a chinlock.
Taichi tries for a choke from the bottom, but White stomps it away, then came back with a side chinlock as Taichi eventually elbowed free. A kick to the leg stings White, before a gamengiri knocked White down in the corner. More kicks softened up White, who was able to block a Dangerous backdrop… only to get knocked back with a right hand. White returns with a death valley bomb out of the corner, then a Blade Buster for a near-fall. A Complete Shot drops Taichi next, then a German suplex, before Taichi tried to come back with an Axe Bomber. It’s ducked, unlike an enziguiri, before Taichi ripped off his trousers. Gedo’s got Miho Abe by the hair to distract Taichi… who fell to a back suplex as White began to mock him for not doing anything. It kinda worked, as Taichi stood up and waffled White with an elbow, before he went outside to chase away Gedo… while Yoshinobu Kanemaru abandoned the Japanese commentary desk to help in the chase.
Gedo hits the ring as he and White ended up eating a double Axe Bomber, before a folding Last Ride powerbomb nearly snatched the win for Taichi. White flops down to avoid a thrust kick… before the pair traded suplexes, leading to the Dangerous backdrop from Taichi. Gedo tries to distract after a Buzzsaw kick, but Taichi kicked the ropes into him before a Gedo clutch nearly stole the win. Taichi keeps going as he lifts White up for a Black Mephisto, before White ate a uwatanage and a Hakuho elbow for a near-fall as a counter to a Blade Runner. Taichi went for Black Mephisto again, but White slipped out… then found a way in with a Blade Runner… only to not be able to drag his way over to cover Taichi.
White tries to pull Taichi back up for a second Blade Runner, using the ropes to help, before the Blade Runner landed in the middle of the ring for the win. ***¾
Taichi has the quick turnaround, taking on Great O-Khan tomorrow in both of their final matches, while Jay White wraps up his block matches in Budokan on Tuesday versus Tama Tonga.
Your standings, with *s marking who’s out of contention…
Block A: Okada (4-1 / 8pts); Archer, Cobb, JONAH (3-2 / 6pts); Fale*, Lawlor* (2-3 / 4pts); Yano* (1-5 / 2pts)
Block B: White (5-0 / 10pts); SANADA*, Tonga (4-1 / 8pts); Taichi* (2-3 / 4pts); Owens* (2-4 – 4pts); Ishii*, O-Khan* (1-4 / 2pts)
Block C: Zack Sabre Jr. (4-1 / 8pts); Goto, Naito, Tanahashi (3-2 / 6pts); EVIL*, KENTA* (2-3 / 4pts); Henare* (1-5 / 2pts)
Block D: Finlay, Ospreay, Takagi (3-2 / 6pts); Yujiro (3-3 / 6pts); Phantasmo, Robinson, YOSHI-HASHI (2-3 / 4pts)
Tomorrow’s the last stop before Budokan as Nagano’s White Ring plays host to just the four G1 block matches, including Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. KENTA.
Perhaps not the same level as we saw in Osaka or Hiroshima, but there’s definitely a raised “floor” as we’re coming into the final stretch of the G1 – with a lot of eyeballs on just would happen if we had that mind-bending 7-way tie.