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.]
On the third night of block action of the G1 Climax 32, the main event will see Hirooki Goto and Tetsuya Naito face off for their first points in the C Block. Naito currently has a five match win streak in singles competition against Goto, and Naito will be looking to make up for last year’s injury and forfeiture after just one match of the tournament. All of the odds are stacked against Goto, who is looking to win his second G1 Climax 14 years after previously winning the tournament in 2008. Once again, it is big boi season for the A Block, as Lance Archer and Bad Luck Fale bump their meat in the semi main event. Archer has been on a tear in the US-based All Elite Wrestling, but Bad Luck Fale is back and refocussed, and ready for tough competition. Former Bullet Club companions and friends collide when Tama Tonga battles Chase Owens in the second match, and the Bullet Club’s sway over NJPW continues to be felt in the opening tournament match, as David Finlay battles Yujiro Takahashi. Finlay’s former partner, Juice Robinson, recently joined Yujiro in the Bullet Club, and this first ever singles meeting is sure to be a good one.
+ Hirooki Goto vs Tetsuya Naito (G1 Climax 32 C Block Match): after two relatively lacklustre matches before it, I am glad to say this was the absolute banger it should and could have been. Goto’s Shouten Kai might be my favourite finisher around these days, even when it’s not him that hits it (see Goto vs YOSHI-HASHI from last year). Naito had a lotto prove after his very early exit last year, and it was clear he was not going to let this main event match spot go to waste. I really liked this match
+ David Finaly vs Yujiro Takahashi (G1 Climax 32 D Block Match): the split from Juice has given Finlay a bit of the edge I think he needed, but Juice is Finlay’s upcoming opponent, not his first as Yujiro was here. Yujiro Takahashi is always primed to be the spoiler in these early tournament spots and that did add some drama to what was an other relatively bland match up. I enjoyed this for what it was, and I empathise with Kevin Kelly on commentary for one revelation he had mid match
– Lance Archer vs Bad Luck Fale (G1 Climax 32 A Block Match): this had all the makings for a proper hoss fight, but the supremely underwhelming ending has left a bad taste in my mouth. It’s a shame that two of the so-far three A Block matches have had that effect on me. Save me Filthy Tom
– Tama Tonga vs Chase Owens (G1 Climax 32 B Block Match): this was perfectly fine, but overall it just did nothing for me. Tama is shining in singles competition as of late, and I remember when I was high on Owens as a singles guy. The Tama/Tanga/Jado split from Bullet CLub has been far less important than I’d have expected, but I guess Tama working his way through the underlings to get to Jay might be interesting — assuming he even beat Chase here
Should you watch this event: Naito/Goto might well be the best match so far, and equally my favourite with ELP/Ospreay from night one. I could take or leave the rest, esecially as I can only imagine al those in the same factions are going to have similar sort of issues in every match.