G1 Climax 32 Day 7 Report: Hirooki Goto vs. Tetsuya Naito, Bad Luck Fale vs. Jeff Cobb
This is the seventh installment of POST’s coverage of the 32nd G1 Climax Tournament. This is the fourth G1 show in Tokyo, the second of two consecutive second days at Korakuen Hall. The attendance was 1323 fans, eleven more than the previous day’s Korakuen Hall show
- Undercard – Two matches might be worth your while depending on your tastes. Team Filthy & BULLET CLUB was a very silly clash of cadences. LIJ vs Suzuki-Gun was great fun although the thing it did best was building up interest in Archer vs Takagi, which is not happening as they are in different blocks.
- G1 Climax 2022 Block D Match: Will Ospreay vs. Yujiro Takahashi – My favorite Takahashi G1 match so far. Lots of action, a quick pace, and some very unexpected spots. – RECOMMENDED
- G1 Climax 2022 Block A Match: Toru Yano vs. Bad Luck Fale – A decent Yano comedy match that overcame Fale’s limitations.
- G1 Climax 2022 Block C Match: Hirooki Goto vs. Aaron Henare – A good, hard-hitting match that was partly held back by Henare’s deliberately paced offense and an anticlimactic finish.
- G1 Climax 2022 Block B Match: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tama Tonga – A very good match and a good main event with Ishii as the dismissive veteran and Tonga fighting from underneath, although it did lack something. – RECOMMENDED
Ryohei Oiwa, Yuto Nakashima & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. House of Torture (Dick Togo, EVIL & SHO)
SHO submitted Ryohei Oiwa at 7:01.
Team Filthy (Royce Isaacs & Tom Lawlor) vs. Bullet Club (El Phantasmo & KENTA)
El Phantasmo pinned Royce Isaacs at 7:37.
TMDK (Bad Dude Tito & JONAH) vs. United Empire (Great O-Khan & Jeff Cobb)
Great O-Khan submitted Bad Dude Tito at 5:22.
Kosei Fujita, David Finlay, YOSHI-HASHI & Kazuchika Okada vs. BULLET CLUB (Gedo, Chase Owens, Juice Robinson & Jay White)
Chase Owens pinned Kosei Fujita at 10:26.
Los Ingobernables des Japon (BUSHI, SANADA, Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito) vs. Suzuki-Gun (TAKA Michinoku, Taichi, Zack Sabre Jr. & Lance Archer)
SANADA submitted TAKA Michinoku at 7:27.
G1 Climax 2022 Block D Match: Will Ospreay vs. Yujiro Takahashi
Ospreay was strong early on until Takahashi avoided a Plancha and hit a reverse DDT on the floor. Takahashi controlled his opponent until Ospreay hit a handspring Enziguri. When Ospreay went for a standing Shooting Star Press, Takahashi got his knees up and hit a Fisherman’s buster for a two count. Ospreay got overconfident after hitting a flashy Enziguri, getting caught with an Olympic slam.
Takahashi intercepted Ospreay on the top rope but Ospreay took inspiration from his opponent, and he bit Takahashi’s hand. Ospreay hit a top rope hidden blade for a nearfall. That move reminded me of All Japan era Jun Akiyama. A Springboard 450 splash earned Ospreay another nearfall before Takahashi used the referee to hit a low blow and the Miami Shine for a nearfall. Ospreay escaped the Pimp Juice DDT, but Takahashi hit a Satellite DDT and then the Pimp Juice DDT for a big nearfall. Takahashi reversed an Oscutter into a Big Juice DDT attempt, but Ospreay reversed that into a pop-up forearm and then pinned Takahashi with the (not so) Hidden Blade to win the match.
Will Ospreay defeated Yujiro Takahashi via pinfall at 11:17.
This was my favorite Yujiro Takahashi match so far. They cut down the dull Takahashi control sequence and Ospreay’s offense mixed well with Takahashi’s offense to make things feel fresher. The pace was quick, the action was entertaining and varied. Some of the unique moves were really unexpected and the big nearfall for Takahashi was great. Just a great quick-paced, action-paced undercard match. The kind of match that you got a lot of in the better G1 Climaxes of years gone by.
G1 Climax 2022 Block A Match: Toru Yano vs. Bad Luck Fale
Yano tried to defeat Fale with a direct approach. That failed. Yano tried raking the eyes. That failed. Yano tried a schoolboy. That failed. Yano went out of the ring and tried to bait Fale to chase him. Even that failed, as Fale just sat in the ring for the world’s most stationary game of chicken which forced Yano to run back into the ring to avoid being counted out.
Yano had some luck when a drop toe hold sent Fale headfirst into a chair. Yano then riled up Fale by slapping his head, which saw Fale follow Yano outside the ring. Yano crawled under the ring and blinded Fale with a bottle of liquid, but Fale made it back in the ring at nineteen. Fale called for the Grenade, but Yano hit a mule kick. Sadly for Yano, Fale was too big to go down for a backslide and Fale used a Schoolboy of his own to defeat Yano.
Bad Luck Fale defeated Toru Yano via pinfall at 5:36.
Many Toru Yano matches struggle because you feel that Yano’s opponent can have a better serious match with someone else. That is not the case with Fale, so I ended up enjoying this. Yano’s comedy may be stale at times, but I really liked the structure of the comedy, especially the first count-out spot, and the finish was a simple yet logical surprise.
G1 Climax 2022 Block C Match: Hirooki Goto vs. Aaron Henare
Goto and Henare traded shoulder tackles and headlocks before Henare took control with his measured strikes. Goto came back with a hip toss, but Henare got the better of Goto on the outside. Henare used a rebound Enziguri and followed it up with a leg lock. Henare used a version of the Curb Stomp, while Goto made his comeback with a rolling Lariat. Goto used his signature offense to gain momentum, but Henare fought back with a powerful middle kick.
Henare used a variety of attacks, including a second rope senton. He caught Goto with the Ultima Full Nelson, but Goto escaped by stomping on Henare’s foot before hitting the Ushi-Goroshi. The reverse GTR and a Lariat earned Goto a two count, but Henare withstood a flurry of elbows and hit a sit-out side slam. Henare absorbed a corner Lariat, leading to a forearm exchange. Goto used a flurry of slaps, but Henare fought back, hitting a jumping knee and the Rampage (his version of Shuji Kondo’s Lanzarse) for a nearfall. Henare again locked in the Ultima Full Nelson before hitting a big spin kick. Goto got himself out of trouble with a rope-assisted GTR before hitting the GTW and the GTR to defeat Henare
Hirooki Goto defeated Aaron Henare via pinfall at 17:12.
This was a good match but nothing more than that and probably not worth seeking out unless you like Henare or Goto. Henare was good and I like a lot of his offense but his measured pace when on the attack lacks energy and he does not have the charisma or crowd connection to make up for that. This means that his matches often feel slow and a little dull in the middle of the match. Henare’s finishing run was better, but the finish felt a little anticlimactic. Henare has potential but he is currently lacking something in his character and personality that would offset the pacing issues.
G1 Climax 2022 Block B Match: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tama Tonga
Ishii refused to budge for Tonga’s shoulder tackles, so Tonga used arm drags instead. Tonga struggled to match Ishii with striking, with Ishii looking down on Tonga. Ishii was dismissive of Tonga, constantly pushing and mocking his opponent. After a struggle for control, Tonga hit a vertical suplex and his strikes finally started leaving their mark. A great diving corner splash was followed by a spinning back suplex, and Tonga was on top.
At least, he was until he tried chopping Ishii. The Stone Pitbull absorbed the chops and beat down Tonga before smashing into Tonga with a shoulder barge and hitting a huge back suplex for a two count. Tonga seemed to have gained some respite after hitting a dropkick, but Ishii used a desperate shoulder barge to cut off Tonga’s momentum. Ishii then used a stalling superplex for a two count.
Tonga came out on top of a counter exchange by hitting the Tonga Twist. Yet again Ishii absorbed Tonga’s strikes, but this time Tonga hit back with a dropkick. Ishii went for a Powerbomb, but Tonga countered with a headscissors, hit a DVD, and then a top rope splash for a nearfall. Tonga then stripped off his vest and signaled for the Gun Stun, only for Ishii to reverse it into a backdrop suplex in a great counter that I cannot remember seeing before.
Tonga absorbed a corner Lariat and again tried to out-strike Ishii. Ishii crumbled after a European uppercut but absorbed a Lariat. An Ishii powerbomb earned him a two count before Ishii hit an Enziguri and another Lariat for a nearfall. Tonga repeatedly tried to escape the Brainbuster, hitting a great Headshrinker DDT for a big nearfall. Ishii shrugged off another Gun Stun attempt, but Tonga hit a sliding Lariat and refused to give up. Tonga hit a Brainbuster of his own for another nearfall, but Ishi escaped a double underhook piledriver. Ishii kicked out of a TKO before hitting one of his own. Tonga landed on his head after a huge Lariat but still kicked out. Ishii again escaped the double underhook piledriver, blocking another Gun Stun attempt before pinning Tonga with a Brainbuster.
Tomohiro Ishii defeated Tama Tonga via pinfall at 20:07.
This was a very good main event. Ishii was great as the aggressive, dismissive veteran who finds it harder and harder to stay in control. Tonga was the fiery underdog fighting from underneath. There was lots of action and some great counters. You saw what Ishii brings to the table with his selling and his structure. His desperate shoulder barge to stop Tonga from gaining momentum was an amazing throwaway spot. This was even the shortest main event so far in this year’s G1.
Despite all of that, it felt like this match was lacking something. It might have been my lack of investment in Tonga, or the clap crowd. It might have been that the match was 5 minutes too long. It might even be that the finishing stretch felt like it started too early, plateauing off instead of building to a crescendo. Whatever it was, I appreciated this match, but it will not be one that I am thinking about when this year’s G1 Climax is over.
The takeaway: Final Thoughts
This was a very solid G1 Climax show. The crowd had energy but again, this was a clap crowd and it lacked a little something. I eagerly await the days of a G1 Climax with a vocal Korakuen Hall crowd. That said, both Takahashi and Fale had their best G1 matches so far and Ospreay vs Takahashi is worth a watch. While Henare vs Goto felt a little flat, the main event was very good and reminded you how good Ishii is. While it lacked something intangible to make it a great main event, overall this was one of the stronger top to bottom shows on this G1 Climax tour, although the four-tournament match format is starting to wear thin for me.