The G1 picks up in Sendai as we’ve got some Bullet Club, some House of Torture, plus Tetsuya Naito and Hirooki Goto in the main event.
G1 Climax 32 – Block D: Yujiro Takahashi pinned David Finlay in 12:59 (**¼)
G1 Climax 32 – Block B: Tama Tonga pinned Chase Owens in 13:18 (**½)
G1 Climax 32 – Block A: Bad Luck Fale defeated Lance Archer via count-out in 10:46 (**)
G1 Climax 32 – Block C: Hirooki Goto pinned Tetsuya Naito in 22:41 (***½)
The Xebio Arena in Sendai’s the host today with Kevin Kelly running solo on commentary.
G1 Climax 32 – Block D: Yujiro Takahashi vs. David Finlay
This was Finlay’s first ever G1 match, unless you count his Block C japes from a few years back. It’s also a first-time pairing here…
Finlay’s got new music, and we start with Yujiro going after the shoulder of Finlay, before he got grounded in a side headlock. Yujiro bites his way free, but gets caught in a backslide for a near-fall, then a crucifix, before a dropkick took him outside. Finlay misses on a plancha as he’s sent into the guard rails, while a reverse DDT from Yujiro left Finlay laying in the aisle.
Back inside, forearms from the mount get Yujiro a one-count, before Finlay’s taken into the corner for some elbows and a front kick. Yujiro stretches Finlay’s arms, countering the reversal before Finlay broke free and ran in with a neckbreaker. A Blue Thunder Bomb keeps Yujiro down, as a charging uppercut into the corner sent Yujiro rolling outside for respite… only to get met with a plancha.
A backbreaker followed back inside for a near-fall, before Yujiro cut-off Finlay’s offence with a hotshot into the ropes. Things head into the corner as Yujiro teased an avalanche Fisherman buster, but Finlay escaped with a sunset bomb out of the corner for a near-fall. SHO runs out with his wrench to distract as Finlay went for the Trash Panda, allowing Yujiro to return with an Incolle Slam for a near-fall.
Cue more bullshit as SHO slides in Yujiro’s pimp cane. The ref stops it but misses a low blow as the Pimp Juice DDT drew a near-fall. Oh, we must not be at 100% of our RDA for bullshit? Finlay escapes a Big Juice, then hit back with a Prima Nocta stunner for a near-fall, before the pair tease their finishers… it led to an O’Connor roll, with Finlay getting cracked with SHO’s wrench on the kick-out, before Big Juice gets the win for Yujiro. This was holding steady until SHO’s interference for the sake of it, sadly. **¼
Yujiro’s second match is against El Phantasmo on July 24, while Finlay picks up on July 26 against Juice Robinson.
G1 Climax 32 – Block B: Chase Owens vs. Tama Tonga
Tama’s got a 1-0 singles record over Chase, by way of his win in last year’s G1…
Tama cuts off Chase at the start as we’re quickly in with a back body drop that sent Owens crawling to the ropes. Chase heads outside, where he ends up superkicking Jado… Tama heads out as a Benny Hill chase breaks out, leading to him getting booted onto the apron. Chase pulls Tama down and into the barriers as a count-out tease started.
Tama beats the count as Chase set up for a double sledge off the top. That bought him time to undo the corner pad, as Chase then built up to a neckbreaker for a near-fall. Chase keeps it grounded with a chinlock, then a cravat, before a front facelock led to a bodyslam on Tama. Another trip up top sees Chase go for another double sledge, but it’s punched out of mid-air as Tama looked to get back in it.
Uppercuts from Tama and a clothesline have Chase down, before Tama knocked him into the corner for a Stinger splash. A back suplex followed for a two-count, before a sunset flip bomb from Chase took Tama back into the buckles. Chase keeps going with a lariat and a neckbreaker for two-counts, before a forearm cut off a C-Trigger attempt.
Chase eats an enziguiri and a rolling death valley driver in return, before Tama went up top for a Supreme Flow… which got nothing but the mat. Heading outside, Chase pulls up the floor mats as he then took Tama outside for a suplex onto the exposed floor… but Jado kicks the pads back into place. Annoyed, Chase grabs a chair from under the ring and threatened to use it on Tama, but Jado grabs it… and the ensuing scuffle led to a back body drop on the outside from Tama.
Back inside, Tama goes up for Supreme Flow again, this time landing it for a near-fall, before Chase pushed off a Gun Stun, then hit a C-Trigger to the back of Tama’s head. From there, he sets up Tama for a package piledriver, but blocked a Gun Stun counter before a roll-up with a handful of tights yielded a near-fall. Tama’s shoved into the exposed corner, but he blocks back with another Gun Stun… that’s blocked as Chase sends him back to the exposed corner.
Tama returns the favour with a slingshot to the corner, before a Gun Stun finally got the win. A decent match, if not unexciting. **½
Chase Owens gets back into action on July 26 against Great-O-Khan, while Tama’s second match is on July 27 against Tomohiro Ishii.
G1 Climax 32 – Block A: Bad Luck Fale vs. Lance Archer
We’ve a split singles record, with both men having a win other the other from the 2018’s New Japan Cup (Fale) and 2018’s G1 (Archer)…
Fale attacked Archer from behind, looking for a Bad Luck Fall at the bell, but Archer gets free and begins with shoulder tackles instead. Archer goozles Fale, but its broken out of before Fale charged down Archer as things headed outside. Fale chokes Archer with his own braid, with Archer retaliating with an Irish whip that sent the big man into the barriers.
Beating the count, Fale’s caught in a chinlock, but he breaks free and boxes Archer into the corner ahead of a reversed Irish whip that saw Archer boot Fale back outside. Archer gets sent into the barriers as Fale looked under the ring for a chair… which the ref stopped him from using.
Red Shoes Unno removed the chair, but Fale just grabs another… which the ref also disarmed. Fale opts to just post Archer from there, before he set up a pair of chairs as a makeshift landing pad, which Archer eventually got slammed through as Archer barely beats the count-out.
Archer’s taken into the corner, but kicks away Fale before scoring a leaping crossbody for a near-fall. A rope-walk from Archer led to him getting crotched, while a Samoan drop from Fale nearly ends things… before Fale began to climb the ropes. He’s caught though, as Archer hoisted Fale for a Blackout, but Fale escaped… then missed a charge into the corner as Archer pushed on.
Mounted punches in the corner follow from Archer, but Fale’s attempt to break out ends with Archer using headscissors to take them both to the outside. That’s followed up with a cannonball off the apron a la Liger, before the pair fought on the outside, pulling each other off the apron before a Grenade-like spike from Fale knocked Archer to the floor, leaving him unable to beat the count. I’ve seen worse, but the “hoss block” really is going for count-outs this year, eh? **
We’ve a quick turnaround as Fale’s second match is on July 24 against Jeff Cobb, while Archer returns on July 26 against Tom Lawlor.
G1 Climax 32 – Block C: Tetsuya Naito vs. Hirooki Goto
We’ve a fairly even record here – with Naito having won 5 times to Goto’s 4, but Goto’s not picked up any wins since 2016 in those head-to-heads…
Both men took their time at the bell, as Goto locked up into the ropes with Naito. They break, then lock-up again, with Naito’s waistlock turning into a wristlock going back-and-forth, ahead of a headlock takedown from Goto. Getting back up, Naito takes it to the ropes for a clean break, but charged right back on the arm of Goto, wrapping it around the ropes, before Goto charged out of the corner with a shoulder tackle.
Goto misses an elbow drop, as Naito then took him into the ropes… they collided, then went back into the ropes as Goto reverses a hiptoss, before Naito powdered to the outside. Naito trolls as he slowed the pace down to a crawl, breaking the count-outs until Goto ran out after him. Goto’s booted and thrown into the rails, before an attempted clothesline saw Naito duck, with Goto lariating the ring post instead.
Naito targets the arm from there, wrapping it around the guard rails, before he threw it back into the ring post. Beating the count-out, Goto’s trapped in short arm scissors by Naito as he dragged himself to the ropes for a break, before Goto was taken to the corner for elbows to the side of the head. More elbows keep Goto on his knees, but he’s able to fight back with a clothesline after some misdirection.
Using the arm Naito’d been working on, Goto fired back with elbows and a spinning heel kick into the corner, before a bulldog out of it drew a near-fall. Naito slips out of an ushigoroshi as he came back at Goto with a neckbreaker and some grounded headscissors while also targeting the arm. Again, Goto gets to the ropes but gets taken into the corner for Combinacion Cabron and a top rope ‘rana.
Naito seems to be going through the motions, almost akin to Okada’s wacky balloon phase a few years ago, but was able to stay on Goto with a spinebuster… only to get caught in a trapped-arm armbar, which Goto morphed into almost an Anaconda Vise as Naito got his feet to the ropes for a break.
Naito responds with forearms, as did Goto, but its elbows from Naito that led to a boot from Goto as both men hit the mat. Goto’s back with an Olympic slam for a near-fall, then an ushigoroshi for another two-count, before Naito fought out of a GTR. Another ushigoroshi’s escape as Naito came back with a rolling kick, then a leaping forearm, before he ran in with Destino for a near-fall.
Goto blocks a second one, but can’t avoid an enziguiri as Naito went for Valentia… Naito’s taken into the corner for a hanging neckbreaker – almost like the Shoto finisher he does with YOSHI-HASHI, except using the buckles as a YOSHI-HASHI substitute. Both men get back to their feet, but it’s Goto who strikes first with a kick and a Fireman’s carry bomb for a near-fall.
Naito countered a GTR into a sheer-drop Valentia, but didn’t go for the pin as he wound up Goto for a Destino… it’s countered into a Shouten Kai, before a GTR got the win for Goto – complete with an audible gasp from the Sendai crowd. This was a pretty decent outing as Naito seems to be missing something these days. An “entitled” Naito, perhaps, expecting what worked in the past to still work today, and it’s cost him an opening win in this year’s G1. ***½
Goto’s back on July 27 against Aaron Henare, while Naito picks up on July 24 against Hiroshi Tanahashi.
Your standings then…
Block A: Fale, Okada, Yano (1-0 / 2pts); Lawlor (0-0 / 0pts) Archer, Cobb, JONAH (0-1 / 0pts)
Block B: White, Taichi, Tonga (1-0 / 2pts); O-Khan (0-0 / 0pts); Ishii, Owens, SANADA (0-1 / 0pts)
Block C: Goto, Henare, Zack Sabre Jr. (1-0 / 2pts); EVIL (0-0 / 0pts) KENTA, Naito, Tanahashi (0-1 / 0pts)
Block D: Ospreay, Robinson, Yujiro (1-0 / 2pts); YOSHI-HASHI (0-0 / 0pts); Finlay, Phantasmo, Takagi (0-1 / 0pts)
We’ve another few days off as the G1 picks up on Saturday in the Ota City General Gymnasium in Tokyo, headlined by Tomohiro Ishii and Jay White in block B.
This was perhaps what you expected given the four matches going in – and the outcomes left this the first hard-skip night of the G1… at least until the main event.