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Pantoja’s NJPW G1 Climax 32 Night Nine Review

July 31, 2022 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
NJPW G1 Climax 32 Night Nine - Kazuchika Okada vs. Bad Luck Fale Image Credit: NJPW
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Pantoja’s NJPW G1 Climax 32 Night Nine Review  

NJPW G1 Climax 32 Night Nine Review

July 31st, 2022 | Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium in Nagoya, Aichi | Attendance:

Yesterday was disappointing and this card is pretty rough on paper. Not the night to add that fifth match but we’ll see how it goes. After ELP’s fun job on commentary, Tom Lawlor joined Kevin Kelly here.

A Block: Jeff Cobb [2] vs. Lance Archer [2]

These two actually met before at The New Beginning in the USA 2020. I didn’t see it but Cobb won. BIG MEATY MEN SLAPPING MEAT. As athletic big men, these guys had a fair bit in common and that came into play early. Both were willing to do impressive bits of offense to try and one up their opponent. I liked them having to deal with the size of the other as they’re not totally used to it. Cobb pulling down Archer from his rope walk spot isn’t something that happens a lot to Archer. Meanwhile, Cobb getting chokeslammed outside is also different. We got a Monty Brown reference on commentary, which I love. Archer came close with some of his biggest moves but Cobb kept finding ways to kick out. Cobb avoided Blackout and connected on a hella impressive Tour of the Islands to win in 11:37. That was a good hoss fight and about what I was expecting from them. [***¼]

D Block: Juice Robinson [2] vs. YOSHI-HASHI [0]

Their one prior match was in the G1 20 (***¾), which Juice won and it was really good. Juice came into this a little more aggressive than usual, likely due to frustration about losing to his former partner the other day. That put YOSH-HASHI on his heels instantly and he’s usually at his best in the underdog role. They brawled outside a bit and we got a pretty intense countout tease as Juice just barely beat the count. YOSHI started hitting him harder and suddenly, it was Juice who was on his heels. Juice got caught trying to cheat with a handful of tights and argued with the referee, opening the door for more from YOSHI-. They traded offense until YOSHI countered Pulp Friction into a Dragon Suplex and won with Karma in 12:16. That was better than expected. Juice’s frustrations were clear, YOSHI-HASHI was a good underdog, and they told a good story with engaging action. [***½]

B Block: Chase Owens [2] vs. Jay White [4]

First time meeting here between Bullet Club buddies. This opened with shenanigans as Jay offered Chase an envelope of yen to do the easy job but he ultimately declined when he saw it was mostly just blank pieces of paper inside. That eventually gave us an actual match, complete with Chase even considering a Package Piledriver on the outside before Gedo stepped in to stop it. They went back and forth with Jay holding an advantage as the bigger star. None of this really ever got fully engaging and even the crowd barely clapped for some bits of offense. Chase kicked out of pretty much every mid-tier move Jay did from a uragani to a Blade Buster. Even when Chase hit the Styles Clash, I never bought it as a finish so there was no real drama here. Jay won with Blade Runner after 13:12. A mildly entertaining match after the early goofiness. It just never got better than okay. [**½]

A Block: Bad Luck Fale [4] vs. Kazuchika Okada [4]

Fale is usually better than average against Okada though not as good as he was against Tanahashi or Nakamura. Okada holds a 5-3 edge winning at Invasion Attack 2015 (**¾), Destruction in Hiroshima 2016 (**), Wrestling Dontaku 2017 (***½), The New Beginning in Osaka 2019 (***), and G1 29 (**), while Fale won in the 2015 New Japan Cup (***), G1 26 (**¾), and G1 28 (**¼). So, this was certainly on the lower end of Fale/Okada matches. We got Okada getting overpowered early and having to fight from beneath which is a fine story though it wasn’t totally executed in an engaging way. Instead of many Rainmaker attempts or teases, this was built around the Money Clip. Fale survived it all and then came close with a Spear and elbow drop from a press slam. Okada escaped the Grenade and then the Bad Luck Fale, turning the finisher into the Money Clip to win after 11:52. I dug the near-crossface version of the Money Clip at least. I’m glad this was kept short but it still wasn’t really any good. [**]

C Block: EVIL [2] vs. Tetsuya Naito [0]

There’s a personal issue here after EVIL turned on Naito in 2020 and had a laughable title reign. Naito has a slight 3-2 advantage in history, winning in the G1 26 (***½), Summer Struggle in Jingu 2020 (***¼), and Power Struggle2020 (***¼). EVIL won at Dominion 2020 (**) and the G1 30 (***¼). It’s a pairing that should work and likely would’ve if we got more of it from the LIJ days rather than House of Torture EVIL. This thankfully wasn’t bogged down by the overbooking and run-ins from your usual HOT match but that doesn’t mean it was really anything I’d call good. EVIL used a chair early on and hoped for a countout victory. He kept up the pressure in his attempts to stay ahead of Naito and prevent him from making a real comeback. Dick Togo got involved a handful of times but ended up getting sent into the guardrail. They moved into bigger spots late including a leaping piledriver through a table by Naito. As they got back into the ring, Naito had blood on his back. We got a series of Destino attempts and counters that saw Togo knocked off the apron. Soon after, Naito got his first win with Destino after 24:54. As usual, EVIL is not very good when working 15+ minutes. His sweet spot was that NEVER division with 10-15 minute hard-hitting bangers. This dragged but was better than their Dominionouting. [**¾]

The final score: review Not So Good
The 411
I knew this was a weak card on paper but man, it was worse in execution. We got off to a solid start but it fell and never reached ***+ after the first two matches.

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G1 Climax 32, NJPW, Kevin Pantoja