G1 Climax 32 Day 12 Report: Will Ospreay vs. Shingo Takagi, Jay White vs. Great O-Khan
This is the twelfth instalment of POST’s coverage of the 32nd G1 Climax Tournament. We have now reached Osaka, as this is the first of two shows at EDION Arena. The attendance was 3370 fans, making it the highest attended show so far in this year’s G1 Climax. On paper it was probably also the best-looking card so far in this year’s tournament.
- Undercard – The highlight was Naito asking for an autographed copy of KENTA’s book.
- G1 Climax 2022 Block D Match: El Phantasmo vs. YOSHI-HASHI – A very good opener, with Phantasmo as the athletic upstart against the credibly dominant YOSHI-HASHI – RECOMMENDED.
- G1 Climax 2022 Block A Match: Lance Archer vs. Toru Yano – Possibly this year’s most balanced Yano G1 Climax match, in terms of the length and the quality of the comedy spots. – RECOMMENDED
- G1 Climax 2022 Block C Match: Hirooki Goto vs. Zack Sabre Jr. – A good, solid power vs technique match with a good finish.
- G1 Climax 2022 Block B Match: Jay White vs. Great O-Khan – Another good match, with White targeting O-Khan’s.
- G1 Climax 2022 Block D Match: Will Ospreay vs. Shingo Takagi – My favorite match of the tournament so far. A fast paced, all octane popcorn match with some good twists that kept things fresh. – RECOMMENDED.
David Finlay, Ryohei Oiwa, Tama Tonga & Tomohiro Ishii vs. BULLET CLUB (Chase Owens, SHO, Yujiro Takahashi & EVIL)
SHO submitted Ryohei Oiwa in 8:47.
United Empire (Aaron Henare & Jeff Cobb) vs Team Filthy (Royce Isaacs & Tom Lawlor)
Aaron Henare pinned Royce Isaacs in 9:33.
BULLET CLUB (Bad Luck Fale, Juice Robinson & KENTA) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, SANADA & Tetsuya Naito)
Juice Robinson pinned BUSHI in 7:16.
Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kazuchika Okada vs. TMDK (Bad Dude Tito & JONAH)
Hiroshi Tanahashi pinned Bad Dude Tito in 8:40.
G1 Climax 2022 Block D Match: El Phantasmo vs. YOSHI-HASHI
Phantasmo and YOSHI-HASHI were evenly matched at the start so of course Phantasmo poked YOSHI-HASHI in the eye, only for YOSHI-HASHI to fight back with a Head-hunter. Phantasmo surprised YOSHI-HASHI with a Superman Plancha, before following that with a Quebrada to the outside. YOSHI-HASHI got the knees up when Phantasmo went for a Swan Dive Swanton Bomb and YOSHI-HASHI was confident and aggressive. Phantasmo escaped a chin lock and gained time to recover thanks to a dropkick.
Phantasmo laid into YOSHI-HASHI with repeated strikes in the corner, before getting two counts with a reverse crossbody and a Lionsault. When Phantasmo went for the CR2, YOSHI-HASHI countered it with a Small Package for a nearfall. A basement dropkick by YOSHI-HASHI saw Phantasmo land on his head and YOSHI-HASHI stayed in control by using big chops, including one that sent Phantasmo spilling to the floor.
YOSHI-HASHI caught Phantasmo with a Tope con Hilo. Phantasmo used multiple slaps to YOSHI-HASHI’s face, only to get hit by YOSHI-HASHI’s Lariat. After a strike exchange Phantasmo nearly won the match with a crucifix pin. Phantasmo missed the Superkick and got caught with a Release Dragon Suplex, only to finally hit the Superkick. Phantasmo hit a spinning neckbreaker and the Thunder kiss 86, but YOSHI-HASHI kicked out for a huge reaction. YOSHI-HASHI countered the CR2 into a jack-knife Cradle for a nearfall before hitting a Superkick of his own and a Lariat. Phantasmo just about kicked out of the Kuma Goroshi, but YOSHI-HASHI then hit a Canadian Destroyer and Karma to win the match.
YOSHI-HASHI defeated El Phantasmo via pinfall in 15:47.
YOSHI-HASHI has been very consistent in this year’s G1 Climax. This was another very good match from him, and I always smile when I see that I am covering a show where he has a singles match. He has grown as a wrestler, and he is now seen as credible by the crowd. Here he was the dominant wrestler, the established threat that the upstart El Phantasmo had to overcome. El Phantasmo more than pulled his weight with his athletic high spots. This was a very good match. The kind of match that you take for granted in a good G1 but the thing that you are hoping for in a bad G1.
G1 Climax 2022 Block A Match: Lance Archer vs. Toru Yano
Yano was afraid of the confident Archer. After Archer flattened Yano with a running crossbody and a big boot, things spilled to the outside. Archer pulled out his own roll of tape and taped Yano to the guard rail. Yano had learned his lessons from years gone by, and he had a pair of scissors in his gear to avoid getting counted out. All four turnbuckle pads were removed, and Archer went for an Apron Tope Con Hilo. Yano threw Young Lion Yuto Nakashima in the way, low blowed Archer and then taped Archer to Nakashima.
Archer pulled Nakashima through the guard rail and returned to the ring still attached to Nakashima. Archer used the poor lad as a weapon, slamming him onto Yano. After Archer chokeslammed Nakashima, Yano Irish whipped Archer into all four exposed turnbuckles. Archer kicked out of a low blow assisted Schoolboy before Pouncing Yano. Archer then hit Yano with the Blackout to win the match.
Lance Archer defeated Toru Yano via pinfall in 9:14.
This was a good Yano comedy match. Archer’s time in TNA and WWE showed that he could handle goofy shtick. The spots with Nakashima were great fun and I loved how Archer sold the low blow. It will not change people’s minds on Yano matches but this was probably the best or second-best Yano G1 match so far this year.
G1 Climax 2022 Block C Match: Hirooki Goto vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
Sabre Jr. struggled to manage Goto’s raw power, finally getting some success by using an armbar in the ropes. The Brit then attacked Goto’s arm, bending the rules as well as the limb. Sabre Jr got angry at Goto, unleashing a flurry of European uppercuts, and repeatedly kicking away at Goto until Goto struck back with a Lariat. Goto and Sabre Jr. engaged in a slugging match, with Sabre Jr. coming out on top with a Cobra Twist.
Goto fought back with a reverse GTR before battering Sabre Jr. with kicks to the chest. One Kick too many gave Sabre Jr. the chance to nearly win the match with a Dragon Suplex. Sabre Jr. repeatedly paint brushed Goto before getting laid out with a headbutt. Goto reversed a front neck lock into the Ushi-Goroshi. Sabre Jr. reversed the GTR into a European Clutch for a near fall, although Goto then nailed Sabre Jr. with a Lariat. Sabre Jr. locked in a Jujigatame, but Goto scrambled for the ropes. Goto used a rope assisted Shouto and the GTW, but he hurt his arm on the GTW and Sabre Jr. kicked out due to the delayed cover. Goto’s GTR was reversed into a Triangle choke, which was transitioned into a Wakigatame called the South Mimms Services that forced Goto to tap out.
Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Hirooki Goto via submission 17:31.
This was another good match on what was proving to be a good show. While Goto could have done a bit more arm selling in the middle section, this was a really solid match mixing Goto’s power and grit with Sabre Jr’s technique, cockiness, and aggression. It was not the best G1 Climax 32 match for either wrestler, but it was another good, enjoyable match.
G1 Climax 2022 Block B Match: Jay White vs. Great O-Khan
White got overconfident and nearly paid for it when O-Khan took him down with a double leg takedown, with O-Khan using his superior grappling skills. O-Khan got a series of two counts incredibly early on before sitting on White’s neck. Gedo got involved, which let White attack O-Khan’s legs. White used the ropes and the ring post to do further damage to O-Khan’s legs.
White grew overconfident, and he got caught with an Ippon Zeoi. O-Khan repeatedly rammed White’s head into the turnbuckle and hit a gut wrench suplex for a two count. White fought back with a Dragon Screw in the ropes. The Blade Buster earned White another two count, and when O-Khan tried to fight back White used a chop block. White caught O-Khan with a Complete Shot and a German Suplex, before getting a nearfall with a Uranage suplex. When White went for the Sleeper Suplex, O-Khan countered with a belly-to-belly suplex.
O-Khan again avoided the Sleeper Suplex, but he got caught with a leg breaker and White locked in the TTO leg submission, forcing O-Khan to scramble for the ropes. White hit O-Khan with a pair of chops before getting hit with a Mongolian Chop. O-Khan used a palm thrust and Mongolian Chops, but White escaped the TTD and finally hit the Sleeper Suplex. O-Khan avoided the Bladerunner by using the Iron Claw, locking in the Sheep Killer submission. O-Khan looked for the Eliminator, with White escaping the Iron Claw but getting punched in the face. O-Khan again went for the Eliminator, but White kicked the back of O-Khan’s knee and hit the Bladerunner to win the match.
Jay White defeated Great O-Khan via pinfall in 18:14.
This was another very good match. O-Khan still has some way to go in terms of having consistently great single matches. That said, the match had a really good balance in terms of selling, White’s leg-based offense, White’s character work and some good transitions and hope spots for O-Khan. I think that O-Khan has failed to build on the potential that I saw in last year’s G1 Climax, but this was one of O-Khan’s better performances this year. It was also helped by having less of the usual irritating Jay White antics.
G1 Climax 2022 Block D Match: Will Ospreay vs. Shingo Takagi
As you would expect from these two, they quickly established Ospreay’s superior speed and Takagi’s superior strength. Takagi tried to ground Ospreay with submissions, while Ospreay was determined to prove himself on Takagi’s terms by using chops and headbutts.
Ospreay flipped out of a DDT, hit a Lariat and his great looking Plancha. The Brit was firmly in control, able to use power moves or strikes to cut off Takagi. Of course, Ospreay may have grown stronger, but Takagi is stronger than that and he used the Yukon Lariat and a back body drop to swing things back in his favor.
The Osaka crowd were firmly behind Takagi, with Takagi getting a two count after a Twist and Shout. Ospreay countered a Noshigami into a Stunner and hit the Pip Pip Cheerio for a two count. However, Ospreay’s strikes only managed to rile up Takagi, and a series of counters ended with Takagi getting his knees up for a standing Moonsault. The speed, complexity and length of the next counter sequence was honestly something that very few wrestlers can pull off. Even fewer can pull it off as well as these two did.
Ospreay looked for a double arm move on the top rope, but Takagi instead went for the Stay Dream, only for Ospreay to escape and hit a one-man top rope Spanish Fly for a nearfall. That was followed by a 450 splash that again earned a nearfall. Takagi grabbed Ospreay’s leg, refusing to let him gain distance. Takagi tried to back body drop Ospreay, only for Ospreay to land on his feet and hit a hook kick.
Ospreay’s (not so) Hidden Blade was countered by Takagi using a Jujigatame to snap Ospreay’s arm. That move meant that Ospreay struggled to match Takagi strike for strike. Takagi used the weakened arm as a target and a way to avoid Ospreay’s offense. An Oscutter was countered by Takagi using an Ace Crusher. Takagi went for the Stormbreaker, but Ospreay reversed it and Ospreay got a nearfall with Made in Japan. An Oscutter earned Ospreay another nearfall, and Takagi collapsed when Ospreay called for the (not so) Hidden Blade.
Ospreay dismissively kicked Takagi in the chest, but Takagi fired up, only to fall to a straight punch to the jaw from Ospreay. Takagi shocked everyone by hitting a Reverse Rana, but Ospreay absorbed and hit a Hidden Blade that left both men sprawled on the mat. Ospreay’s injured arm prevented him from using the Stormbreaker, but Ospreay’s legs still worked as he unleashed a flurry of superkicks on Takagi. Ospreay’s Super Oscutter was reversed into a backslide by Takagi, but Ospreay countered a Pumping Bomber into a standing Spanish Fly. Takagi nailed Ospreay with a short-range Pumping Bomber, but Ospreay kicked out at one. Takagi then hit a release Dragon suplex, following that with another Pumping Bomber, a Sliding D and the match winning Last of the Dragon.
Shingo Takagi defeated Will Ospreay via pinfall in 21:55.
This will be a polarizing match, so let us get the criticisms out of the way. This was very heavy on the fast paced, flippy counter sequences. There was some questionable no-selling. Some of the counters can be seen as nonsensical and the sheer speed can fuel criticism that this is more of a choreographed action sequence than a competitive match. I have criticized some Ospreay vs Takagi matches in the past for some of those reasons.
Despite those points, this was easily my favorite match of G1 Climax 32. So much of this year’s tournament has felt lethargic or by the numbers. This was a match where two incredibly talented athletic wrestlers with great chemistry pushed themselves both in terms of their abilities and in terms of trying new things. The sheer speed of some of the sequences was utterly breath-taking. This felt fresher than some of their more recent matches, thanks to elements like the arm selling and Takagi’s reverse rana. It probably helped that this was half the length of their last match, which felt excessive to me. Ospreay can be hit and miss at times, but I would argue that Takagi is his best opponent in New Japan, as their strengths complement each other, and they have excellent chemistry. Yes, a lot of people will not enjoy this but if you are a fan of action movie style popcorn matches then you will love this.
The takeaway: Final Thoughts
This was probably my favorite show from G1 Climax 32 so far. The crowd was hot (for a New Japan clap crowd) and none of the singles matches were bad. It was one of the most tolerable Toru Yano comedy matches, and even the matches that I did not recommend were good matches. White vs. O-Khan and Goto vs Sabre Jr. have their strengths and were entertaining. For me, my second favourite match was YOSHI-HASHI vs Phantasmo, another example of why YOSHI-HASHI is New Japan’s most improved wrestler this decade.
Of course, the main takeaway from this show was the incredible main event, a spectacle of fast paced, athletic action where Ospreay and Takagi added some different story elements to add variety. It was easily the match of the tournament so far, although I can also understand why people will dislike it. If you were tempted to watch any G1 Climax 32 show from start to finish, then make it this one.