New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) presents the G1 Climax 32, this year featuring 28 competitors across four blocks of seven. Each competitor in the four blocks will face all the others in their block once, with points being determined in the following ways: any win is worth 2 points; any loss is worth 0 points; a tie with no clear winner (such as a 30 minute time limit draw) is worth 1 point each. The overall point leaders at the end of the the tournament enter a 4-way elimination play off, with the final winner earning the main event championship match at Wrestle Kingdom.
[Please note: to save myself some time, I will only review the tournament matches themselves. If there is a particularly interesting preliminary match up, I’ll tell you about it. You can catch up with all previous days of action here.]
The G1 Climax 32 is underway, and in the main event on this second night of tournament action it is a Dragon facing a Rock Hard challenge: Shingo Takagi, the rampage dragon of Los Ingobernables de Japon will battle the newest member of Bullet Club, Juice Robinson as each looks to get their first points in the D Block. KENTA and Zack Sabre Jr. will also renew their rivalry in their first outings in the C Block, in a match where KENTA’s striking will look to turn the tables against the unparalleled technical prowess of the Submission Master. For the A Block, Toru Yano and the “Top Dog” of TMDK, JONAH will go one on one in a first time ever meeting, where surely Yano must use his veteran wiles against the monstrous size of JONAH. And in the first tournament match of the show, B Block competitors Tomohiro Ishii and Taichi will battle in what promises to be a hard hitting affair, as all their previous encounters have been.
+ Shingo Takagi vs Juice Robinson (G1 Climax D Block Match): it was a few years ago that Juice proved himself to be an underrated hoss against the likes of Shingo and Ishii, and for the most part this was more of that. I have a feeling one of these two (I think Juice) might have gotten rocked at about the 3/4 mark, because the match did get really sloppy, and the two were clearly talking about something until the ending. This was still good even after things got a bit messy, but it’s a shame it ended the way it did. Overall a positive
+ Zack Sabre Jr. vs KENTA (G1 Climax C Block Match): all throughout this has really good back and forth, with an added storyline about who was the ‘senpai’ between the two. The ending, and immediate lead up to it, will perhaps be the most memorable part of this match, as both men look to make a strong start to their 2022 tournament run. Sabre is of course fantastic, and he has shined so brightly in NJPW over the past year. KENTA meanwhile is one of those guys that you don’t realise how much you miss until they are back in these big matches. This was fun
+ Tomohiro Ishii vs Taichi (G1 Climax B Block Match): I have said it before and I’ll say it again; Ishii brings out the best in Taichi like no one else. This was a surprisingly intense match even before the physicality started, but that just made me like it even more. This wasn’t the best match these two have had, but it certainly ticked more than enough boxes to make it easy to recommend
– Toru Yano vs JONAH (G1 Climax A Block Match): I have a lot of thoughts on this one, but all I can say for fear of spoilers is that I really didn’t like it
> I can’t wait for crowd noise again. It’s been years, and I need to hear it again. I think Forbidden Door spoiled me on seeing NJPW guys with a lively crowd
Should you watch this event: These early shows are always a bit hit and miss, and this was a bit of both. The Yano/JONAH match soured me almost immediately on many more incoming A Block matches, and the disappointing end to the main event was eyebrow raising. While none of the matches topped ELP/Ospreay from the first night, this was still an overall very enjoyable quartet of matches.