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Pantoja’s NJPW G1 Climax 32 Night 17 Review

August 14, 2022 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
NJPW G1 Climax 32 Night Seventeen - Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. KENTA Image Credit: NJPW
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Pantoja’s NJPW G1 Climax 32 Night 17 Review  

NJPW G1 Climax 32 Night 17

August 14th, 2022 | Nagano White Ring in Mashima, Nagano | Attendance: 1,728

I was NOT looking forward to this as this entire G1 is just so lame. It’s typically an exciting thing to witness and even bad blocks in the past (A Block in 2018 for example) was more interesting than this year’s. At least it’s only four matches today.

D Block: David Finlay [6] vs. YOSHI-HASHI [4]

They’ve split past meetings with HASHI winning on a G1 undercard in 2016 and Finlay winning in the New Japan Cup last year (***½). You know how Gedo books so the outcome here was obvious. Finlay had big wins which of course means a come down where he blows the block. Because of course he does. HASHI came in with his shoulder more taped up which was basically a target as Finlay went after it almost immediately. That set the tone for the story of the match as HASHI had to play the underdog role he’s so used to. Not being a heel, Finlay’s aggression toward the shoulder wasn’t anything to write home about but it was fine. HASHI rallied and managed to block Trash Panda late. On the flip side, Finlay kept avoiding Kumagoroshi and even countered one into a cutter. I liked that the finish saw HASHI counter the Acid Drop into a full nelson rollup of sorts, ending this after 11:14. That was a good opener with the totally expected result. [***¼]

B Block: The Great-O-Khan [2] vs. Taichi [4]

Taichi won their only prior match which came when GOK was a Young Lion in 2018 (**). This could be fun if they go all in with their goofy gimmicks. And right off the bat GOK wanted to go to the mat while Taichi opted to try for some sumo stuff. It’s hard to even cover what happened here because it wasn’t traditional wrestling. They just kept having weird exchanges and you know what…I liked it. I’m so desperate for something different and fresh in this company that this was enough. Taichi escaped a claw hold and got two on the Gedo Clutch before GOK used a jackknife pin to take this in 7:06. That was different and a blast. [***]

A Block: Jeff Cobb [6] vs. Tom Lawlor [4]

First time meeting in Japan but they’ve wrestled six times in other promotions. I appreciated commentary talking about how sweaty Lawlor gets. It is hard to not notice. Cobb threw Lawlor around to start and Lawlor retaliated with a rear naked choke that slowed the pace and took Cobb down to the mat. Even with his idea, Cobb was still too powerful and could dominate things with his size. I liked that a lot of Lawlor’s offense was stuff that makes sense against a bigger guy like Divorce Court and an ankle lock. Still, Cobb could power out of these things like how he turned a guillotine into a suplex. Lawlor got going with elbow strikes and other things that make sense against a guy who is much bigger. I liked that the closing stretch didn’t rely on counters and such. It’s a New Japan trope that I’m so over. Lawlor hit a modified Regal Plex and added the NKOTB to win after 14:03. I liked this and was surprised at the result a bit as Cobb finishing 3-3 after dominating last year is one of the few Gedo calls I didn’t see coming. [***½]

C Block: Hiroshi Tanahashi [6] vs. KENTA [4]

They’re 3-3 against each other coming into this with matches at the G1 29 (****), G1 30 (***¾), Power Struggle 2020 (***½), Summer Struggle in Nagoya2021 (***¼), Power Struggle 2021 (***¾), and Wrestle Kingdom 16(***¾). We got some goofy antics to start with both men playing to the crowd, KENTA getting a chair, and Tanahashi air guitaring on a seat. Alas, that all set up a KENTA cheap shot that gave him the first true advantage. They did a surprising amount of brawling here, with KENTA and Tanahashi fighting into the crowd and throwing each other into the guardrails quite often. Once back inside, KENTA slowed the pace and wore Tanahashi down with a body scissors. Tanahashi’s comeback involved Dragon Screws and the usual fare from him. I liked how their strike exchange wasn’t the usual “yay”/”boo” thing from the crowd. It had more to it and felt like two guys who flat out don’t like each other. The referee took an accidental slap from Tanahashi, allowing for KENTA to wail on him with a crutch he stored under the ring. I wasn’t a big fan of the stuff with KENTA at the timekeeper’s table and the DDT on the aisle. It just never really felt like it clicked here. That said, I did like KENTA throwing a table at him. That’s not something you see every day. Tanahashi still rallied but ate knees on his High Fly Flow attempt. KENTA kicked out of a Go to Sleep into a cradle counter and then hit GTS to win after 23:46. A really good main event that would’ve likely been great had I found the finishing stretch stronger. [***¾]

The final score: review Good
The 411
Another night of the G1 peaking at just being good and never really sniffing greatness. I don’t have much more to add to that. It’s the story of this tournament.

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G1 Climax 32, NJPW, Kevin Pantoja