wrestling / TV Reports

Pantoja’s NJPW G1 Climax 32 Night 18 Review

August 16, 2022 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
NJPW G1 Climax 32 Night Eighteen - Kazuchika Okada vs. Lance Archer Image Credit: NJPW
The 411 Rating
Community Grade
Your Grade
Pantoja’s NJPW G1 Climax 32 Night 18 Review  

NJPW G1 Climax 32 Night 18

August 16th, 2022 | Budokan Hall in Tokyo, Japan | Attendance: 3,227

So, the final night of block play in this disappointing G1 Climax is here. Can they turn things around and deliver something great? Will Gedo stick to the expected final four or will he try something new? Will he have the balls to do the seven-way tie in D Block? I think I know the answers to all of these but we shall see.

Chase Owens was on commentary for the WHOLE NIGHT.

D Block: Juice Robinson [4] vs. Will Ospreay [6]

Give me the seven-way tie dammit! Though I guess I don’t want more of this G1, so maybe not. A surprising first time meeting here though both were in a four-way earlier this year. Willy jumped Juice during his entrance but Juice didn’t have the US Title he stole again. This US Title stealing gimmick is so dumb. I didn’t know this was the build to WrestleMania 31 with the IC Title. Once this officially got started, Juice put a target on Will’s neck. He apparently hit him with a piledriver on an undercard tag. This picked up as they fought on the apron, including a powerbomb that set up a 450 splash attempt which saw Juice get his knees up. Juice used the US Title (which was discovered during the match) as a weapon for a near fall and also only got two on Pulp Friction. Ah, so we’re going with finisher kick outs in the opener. That’s a decision. They countered signature moves from each other until Will avoided Rockslide a second time and won with Hidden Blade in 11:07. I am here for short openers. This had good action from start to finish and made sense. Gedo didn’t go with the chaotic tie. Lame. [***½]

D Block: El Phantasmo [4] vs. Shingo Takagi [6]

Shingo needs to win to take the block as he holds the tiebreaker over Willy. Coming into the tourney, I picked Willy to win D Block and have no reason to suspect anything else, so there’s no real drama here. ELP got off to a solid start here. He was certainly outmatched in terms of power but he used smart offense to combat that. He actually ended up as the guy in trouble for a bit which you don’t often see from a heel. He came back with stuff like Thunderkiss ’86 for two. I never liked smaller guys going for splashes against big dudes. That’s not going to work. Down the stretch they traded blows and ELP came very close with CR2 as he managed to avoid Shingo’s best offensive moves. ELP then hit two superkicks and a cross-armed piledriver to win in 12:12, sending Ospreay to the finals. A good match here that, though it lacked drama, had a lot of other good things going for it. [***½]

C Block: EVIL [4] vs. Hirooki Goto [6]

A loss would knock Goto out. Guess how this will go? These two met at Power Struggle 2015 (**¾), Wrestling Dontaku 2016 (***¾), Dominion 2016 (***½), New Beginning in Osaka 2018 (**½), the 2020 New Japan Cup (***½), the G1 30 (***¼), and the G1 31 (**¼). EVIL jumped Goto during his entrance because we didn’t just see that two matches ago. This was a match filled with House of Torture shenanigans, as you’d expect. Dick Togo got involved a bunch, Goto fought valiantly, and it ultimately didn’t really matter because Goto couldn’t be in play as the block wrapped up. I’ve said it before but I don’t have the energy for the House of Torture. EVIL won with Everything is EVIL after ref bumps and help from Togo. It went 8:40. [**]

C Block: Tetsuya Naito [6] vs. Zack Sabre Jr. [8]

Predictions wise, I said either Naito or ZSJ would win C Block and once Naito started 0-2, I picked him. It’s a Gedo booking trope. Naito won in the G1 27 (***¾), Power Struggle 2018 (***¾), G1 30 (****), and Summer Struggle in Osaka last year (***¼). Sabre Jr. won in the New Japan Cup 2018 (****), the G1 28 (****¼), and G1 31 (***¾). Commentary teased that this would be worked at a quick pace and they were right. They packed in some great back and forth to start and both guys had flash pin near falls. Naito then countered the Zack Driver into a cradle to win in 2:58. Hell yeah! The outcome was predictable but I love a shockingly short match. It had the sense of urgency that a tournament match needs when it’s all on the line. Both guys didn’t come here to bullshit and put on a classic. They were here to win. I’m a sucker for that. [***]

B Block: SANADA [6] vs. Tomohiro Ishii [2]

Nothing on the line here. SANADA beat him in the G1 26 (***¾) and 2021 New Japan Cup (****) but Ishii won in the 2017 New Japan Cup (***½) and the G1 28 (***¾). Although there’s nothing on the line this year, commentary suggested that Ishii could be on the bubble for future G1s thanks to this poor performance, especially if international talents join in. A G1 without Ishii sounds like a terrifying prospect, especially after this year. Anyway, this was exactly what you’d expect from these two. A good match with crisp exchanges and both guys playing to their strengths but ultimately it never really teased being anything more. Ishii looked like a guy fighting for survival while SANADA was fine in his role. That’s kind of SANADA in general these days. He did the Skull End, which looked like shit, and missed the moonsault because of course he did. SANADA might be the most unintentionally goofy dude in wrestling. Ishii kicked out of a rollup and got going, winning with the Brainbuster in 12:36. Ishii should be back next year and this was good. [***¼]

B Block: Jay White [10] vs. Tama Tonga [8]

Jay could sweep the block but Tama has a shot to win. I would’ve picked SANADA or Jay out of this block but once I saw how the schedule shaped up and that Tama had one loss after a few matches, you knew this was coming. I believe this is a first time meeting. There’s a lot of heat here given what happened with the Bullet Club. Jay went to do some of his classic stall tactics but Tama got to him and unleashed. I liked that because Tama should know Jay’s tricks better than most. What I liked here was that Jay never gained a clear upper hand. You’d think he would as champ but Tama was right by him the entire time and this was evenly matched. Jay could do a deadlift German but Tama would follow with Veleno. As they neared the conclusion, Gedo tried to get involved only for Jado to negate that. The closing stretch here saw Jay block Gun Stun several times until Tama avoided Blade Runner and nailed it to win at the 13:56 mark. Probably my favorite match of the night. The expected result and Tama is at least somewhat different in the final four though not an exciting prospect. I liked the way this was laid out, including playing on their history. [***½]

A Block: Bad Luck Fale [4] vs. JONAH [6]

First time meeting here though I don’t think it means anything. JONAH would only win the block if the main event is a no contest. This obviously played on the size of both men, with them sizing each other up and JONAH not backing down. They battled outside and we got a countout tease with both just barely got back in. I liked them trading splashes because that’s what BIG BOYS do. JONAH avoided the Grenade a handful of times, throwing in clotheslines and headbutts in between, before winning with the Torpedo in 9:13. That was inoffensive. [**¼]

A Block: Kazuchika Okada [8] vs. Lance Archer [6]

I’ve seen this in the G1 23 (***¼), G1 24 (***½), and G1 29 (***½). I loved the way Archer started here as he stood perfectly still all through Okada’s entrance and after the bell rang, only to surprise him with a chokeslam. I said it when Okada and Omega had their best match by keeping it under 30 minutes but the way to beat Okada seems to be to overwhelm him early. If you let him dictate the pace, you’re done. So, this was smart. Archer added another chokeslam and a Pounce, setting the stage for an ass whooping. Okada hasn’t taken a beating like this since maybe the G1 26 opener when Marufuji cooked him for like 20 minutes straight. Of course in this case, Archer is much bigger, which gave us the David vs. Goliath story. I’ve talked a lot about the Okada Formula and while it is very much still a thing, I appreciated that he strayed from the path a few times in this tournament, including against JONAH and here. Okada finally got going with the big elbow and Rainmaker zoom out, only for Archer to pull him into an inside cradle. Okada avoided Blackout and nearly won with a crucifix but had to keep fighting before taking the block with the Rainmaker in 12:43. I really dug the story of this match though I wish the finish were a bit different. Either have Okada win on a flash pin or have him do a bit more to take this. Otherwise, it looks like Archer dominated and it took just one big move to put him down, which is like Super Cena booking. Still, really good stuff here. [***¾]

So tomorrow will see Kazuchika Okada vs. Tama Tonga and Tetsuya Naito vs. Will Ospreay in the semi-finals. Mostly an expected, unexciting ending but I’m sure Naito/Willy will be a strong first time ever match.

The final score: review Good
The 411
Considering my feelings for the tournament so far, hearing that there would be an eight-match card had me concerned. However, they managed to deliver a show that was mostly strong and consistent, even if t wasn’t overly exciting.

article topics :

G1 Climax 32, NJPW, Kevin Pantoja