G1 Climax 32 Day 16 Report: Jay White vs. Taichi, Ospreay vs. YOSHI-HASHI

Bruce Lord recaps highlights and results from NJPW G1 Climax 32 Day 16 featuring Taichi vs. Jay White and YOSHI-HASHI vs. Will Ospreay.

G1 Climax 32 Day 1 Report: Okada vs. Cobb, White vs. SANADA

G1 Climax 32 Day 16 Report: Jay White vs. Taichi, Ospreay vs. YOSHI-HASHI

With just three days of regular block action (including today) to go, models of how the G1’s four blocks might look at the close of Day 18 this Tuesday are being postulated left and right. While I’ve yet to move from my original predictions of Okada, White, Naito, and Ospreay winning their blocks (though a Tongan upset of White is starting to feel quite possible), I am very surprised by the degree to which many of the blocks are still cluttered with contenders this late in the tournament. There’s the possibility of a four-way tie between Okada, JONAH, Cobb, and Archer in the A block (though if New Japan would elect to look to each competitor’s record within that field, it could be made out to be a tie between Cobb and Archer alone). Then, there’s the seriously outlandish possibility of a seven-way tie between all competitors in the D block. How that might be resolved would be anyone’s guess.

Seasoned G1 viewers will know that the possibility of ties after the completion of block matches is a running theme in the back halves of nearly all G1s. Even when one block becomes a runaway between two competitors, as the B block did for Cobb and Okada last year, the other almost always stays hotly contested until the end of the last match. Seasoned viewers will also know that additional tie-breaker matches have become exceedingly rare, with head-to-head records usually being sufficient to decide a block winner (including in 2013, when a record-setting six competitors finished with ten points). The last tiebreaker match occurred in the 2004 tournament (between Masahiro Chono and Shinsuke Nakamura), while in 2009 a tie between Nakamura and Togi Makabe was decided via a coin flip rather than a match. For whatever it’s worth, in 2000, the last time a four-block round robin structure was used for the G1, two blocks required additional tiebreaker matches.

Towards the end of every G1 pencils are chewed, spreadsheets are pored over, and Chris Charlton’s computational capacities are pushed to their limits, and it generally is all in vain – Gedo’s recent booking philosophies have prioritized giving non-winning contenders feuds and storylines separate from their overall win-loss records, and we’re left with decisive winners. The 32nd G1 might follow suit, but I can’t help but think that something feels different. Between somewhat perplexing early upsets and the amount of time commentators and wrestlers alike have spent crunching numbers, it would not at all surprise me to see at least one tie-breaker match on the 19th night of the tournament before the semi-final matches.

If my math is correct, if the two matches today with tiebreaker implications for the A and D blocks go chalk (Cobb over Yano and Shingo over Yujiro), those complicated tie situations remain in place (hypothetically either Ospreay or YOSHI-HASHI could win their match and keep the D block logjam in place). From the Machida Gymnasium in Tokyo, let’s see if these standoffs hold…

Spoiler-free Recommendations

  1. Undercard – Nothing of major note, though the genteel mutual admiration between Tetsuya Naito and Zack Sabre Jr. remains charming, and the fourth match between TMDK and Team Filthy kept Bad Dude Tito and Royce Isaacs’ strong showings going.
  2. G1 Climax 2022 Block C Match: KENTA vs. Aaron Henare – Some decent striking between two eliminated competitors, but nothing remarkable.
  3. G1 Climax 2022 Block A Match: Toru Yano vs. Jeff Cobb – Cobb meets Yano on his own comedy turf.
  4. G1 Climax 2022 Block D Match: Yujiro Takahashi vs. Shingo Takagi – The usual House of Torture garbage and laconic sloppiness from Yujiro. Even Shingo’s workrate has its limits.
  5. G1 Climax 2022 Block D Match: YOSHI-HASHI vs. Will Ospreay – The second stand-out match for YOSHI-HASHI in the G1. – RECOMMENDED
  6. G1 Climax 2022 Block B Match: Taichi vs. Jay White – Stalling and some excessive involvement of both wrestlers’ seconds mar a few impressive sequences.

David Finlay, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Jado & Tama Tonga vs. BULLET CLUB (Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens, El Phantasmo & Juice Robinson)

Chase Owens pins Jado at 6:59.

TMDK (Bad Dude Tito & JONAH) vs. Team Filthy (Royce Isaacs & Tom Lawlor)

JONAH pins Royce Isaacs at 10:12.

Suzuki-gun (Lance Archer, TAKA Michinoku & Zack Sabre Jr.) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, SANADA & Tetsuya Naito)

SANADA submits TAKA Michinoku at 8:45.

CHAOS (Hirooki Goto, Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii) vs. House Of Torture (Dick Togo, EVIL & SHO)

Tomohiro Ishii pins Dick Togo at 7:24.

G1 Climax 2022 Block C Match: KENTA vs. Aaron Henare

Both men use strikes to feel each other out, with KENTA taking a couple of powders outside and pressing the advantage there. KENTA targets Henare’s surgically repaired leg, and at the five-minute mark Henare’s able to repay the favor. Henare hits a senton for two and tries to lock in Ultimata but KENTA staves him off with a DDT and Green Killer. The delayed dropkick and double stomp also get him two. Henare hits a slightly loose Berserker Bomb and applies the Ultima but KENTA ropes the ref into the hold. Henare fights out of the GTS and gets into a meaty exchange of forearms and slaps. KENTA eye-gouges his way out of Streets Of Rage, gets a triangle which Henare powerbombs through, and follows up with a Game Over for the submission win.

KENTA defeats Aaron Henare via submission at 12:35.

The takeaway: Given that both men were eliminated walking into this match, the clash of striking games was the only angle really in play here. Those moments looked impressive enough, and KENTA’s mixing in of grimier heel tactics to hold the advantage over the younger and stronger competitor made sense, but the lack of stakes and a couple of sloppy spots kept this match in second gear.

G1 Climax 2022 Block A Match: Toru Yano vs. Jeff Cob

Cobb comes to the ring doing a pretty decent imitation of Yano’s outfit and various sponsorship products. For his part, Yano doesn’t appear while his introduction plays, and the bell is rung to start a countout of the still missing Yano. The Sublime Master Thief sneaks into the ring from behind at ten to try some rollups (one spray bottle assisted) to no avail. Yano stuffs Cobb’s arms in his singlet and rolls him up in the ring apron, forcing Cobb to leap into the ring and dropkick Yano without the use of his arms. Freeing himself, Cobb pulls Yano’s shirt over his head and dispatches him with a Tour Of The Islands.

Jeff Cobb defeats Toru Yano via pinfall at 4:40.

The takeaway: Cobb’s done more than enough indie shows to be able to roll with Yano’s comedy, and given that it’s JONAH who’s being pushed as the dead serious monster this year, this was a bit of harmless fun.

G1 Climax 2022 Block D Match: Yujiro Takahashi vs. Shingo Takagi

Shingo smashes Yujiro around the outside of the ring, where Pieter’s feminine wiles are unable to distract the Rampage Dragon. Yujiro hits a reverse DDT and things finally move into the ring. Kevin Kelly notes that Yujiro’s matches have “lacked in terms of artistic success”, and Yujiro looks to keep that run going with some sluggish brawling. Shingo gives Yujiro one of his own finger bite counters and begins to fire up but SHO grabs Shingo’s leg (god forbid this match actually builds some momentum), allowing Yujiro to hit a Collegiate Slam and Miami Shine for two. SHO gets a chair shot in to set up Pimp Juice for two. Yujiro kicks out of Made In Japan and things spill outside. Yujiro hits a fisherman’s buster and Shingo a DVD as the countout continues, but SHO rolls Yujiro back in. There’s a ref bump and some chair shots but Shingo fires through them, tosses the chair in SHO’s face, and finally dispatches Yujiro with a Pumping Bomber and Last Of The Dragons. 

Shingo Takagi defeats Yujiro Takahashi via pinfall at 15:25.

The takeaway: It’d be tough to find a sharper contrast between G1 competitors in terms of intensity and match quality. Just about every House Of Torture stalling and distraction tactic was used to give Yujiro a whisper of a chance in this match, but as is almost always the case with HoT booking, that pursuit of heel heat makes it impossible to actually care about the match itself. The sidebar in Shingo and Will Ospreay’s ongoing feud should be which of the two is able to carry the sack of potatoes that is Yujiro to a better match – right now Ospreay holds the lead.

G1 Climax 2022 Block D Match: YOSHI-HASHI vs. Will Ospreay

After some solid chops from YOSHI-HASHI, Ospreay hones in on his heavily taped arm with knee strikes and wrenches as the CHAOS underdog cries in pain. YOSHI-HASHI buys a minute with a Bunker Buster and keeps the pressure on with a Headhunter, but a handspring kick and plancha put Ospreay back on top. Ospreay outmaneuvers YOSHI-HASHI’s attempts to chop his way into control and hits a forearm from the turnbuckle and Falcom Arrow. YOSHI-HASHI counters an OsCutter with a dragon suplex but Ospreay fights out of Karma. There’s a lengthy wrist controlled series of chops and forearms, out of which YOSHI-HASHI hits Karma put a delayed pinfall lets Ospreay kick out. Ospreay turns a second Karma attempt into a Stunner and hits the OsCutter for two. YOSHI-HASHI ducks the Hidden Blade, kicks Ospreay out of the air on another OsCutter attempt, and hits a Destroyer for two. Hook kicks and forearms set up a powerbomb from Ospreay which YOSHI-HASHI subtly reverses into a facebuster. A Kumagaroshi gets two, as does a Spanish Fly from Ospreay. A Chelsea Grin sets up a nasty Hidden Blade and a deep cover seals YOSHI-HASHI’s inevitable fate.

Will Ospreay defeats YOSHI HASHI via pinfall at 18:36.

After the match Ospreay jaws with David Finlay (who’s on English commentary) about their feud over the US title.

The takeaway: If both Ospreay and Shingo struggled to drag Yujiro to a passable contest, they’ve also given YOSHI-HASHI two of the best matches of his career. While not quite up to the snuff of the Shingo match, this was entertaining throughout, with Ospreay’s explosive speed being able to derail YOSHI-HASHI’s underdog momentum on the drop of a dime. But this was far from a carry job: YOSHI-HASHI’s selling in the first half of this match was great, and the pacing of his own sequences and counters was solid. New Japan’s perennial underdog is finally paying back audiences’ love for him in-ring.

G1 Climax 2022 Block B Match: Taichi vs. Jay White

Taichi entreats Jay to a sumo start and White of course jumps his opponent after making a show of agreeing. White stalls and picks his spots with some help from Gedo, strangles Taichi with a mic cord and smothers him with the ring apron. Both men are working chokes and necks, with Kelly speculating that depriving your opponent of oxygen in the oppressive heat might be the strategy. Taichi begins kicking away at White’s legs, and White hits a Death Valley Bomb to give his legs a chance to recuperate, following up with a Blade Buster. A Complete Shot sets up a deadlift German and deep uranage. More kicks buy Taichi enough time to rip the pants off much to Chris Charlton’s delight, but all of a sudden Gedo is pulling Miho Abe around by her hair. Taichi walks through chops from White to stalk Gedo, with Yoshinobu Kanemaru coming off commentary to assist his Suzuki-Gun pal.

Back in the ring, Taichi clotheslines White and Gedo, and gives his opponent a Last Ride for two. Taichi powers through a sleeper suplex to hit a Dangerous Backdrop for two. There’s another Gedo distraction but Taichi counters a Blade Runner with a Gedo Clutch for two and a big forearm for another two after more counters. A bridging Dangerous Backdrop gets another two, but White reverses an attempt at another into a Blade Runner. White’s too winded to cover. Taichi is dead weight as White pulls him up for another. Taichi tries to choke his way out, but a stumbling Blade Runner ends the match.

Jay White defeats Taichi via pinfall at 23:20.

Almost half of the crowd seems to have left the building by the time White takes the mic and demands ice to help with his heatstroke. White is thankful for the time off “pointless matches”, and feigns sincere thanks for the well wishes during his illness.

The takeaway: The dynamic of the first half of this felt a bit off, with White’s stalling being met by Taichi’s smarminess. The second half didn’t fare much better, with the wrangling of Abe breaking up the odd impressive sequence. The last three or four minutes of this match were quite nice, but not enough to make up for its overall length.

Final Thoughts

No matches on today’s card exceeded expectations, and if the English commentary is any indication, everyone’s mind was more on the points and tie-breaker possibilities than on these matches in and of themselves. Apart from the YOSHI-HASHI/Ospreay match, you’d be fine skipping today’s card and saving your attention for tomorrow’s, which will be headlined by what could be a fantastic grudge match between Tanahashi and KENTA.

About Bruce Lord 28 Articles
Bruce Lord lives in Vancouver where, between AEW and NJPW binges, he blogs and podcasts about industrial and goth music at idieyoudie.com.