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.]
Night seven of the G1 Climax 32 arrives, with the first of what is sure to be many must-win matches for competitors across each block. IN the main event, Tomohiro Ishii versus Tama Tonga in a match Ishii must win if he wants to keep his tournament chances alive. Ishii has been critical of Tama Tonga’s semi-recent departure from Bullet Club, wondering why Tama should be accepted after the less than savoury things he did as part of that faction, and Tama Tonga is fixing to show Ishii just why he deserves some more respect. In the semi-main, a low-key banger when two dangerous strikers stand across from each other as Hirooki Goto and Aaron Henare battle for points in the C Block. Notorious trickster Toru Yano battles the largest man in the tournament, Bad Luck Fale, in the lucky number seventh all time singles meeting between the two. Yano currently holds the 5-1 advantage over the “Rogue General”, but both Yano and Fale won their first matches via countout, and will looking to replicate that same success. Finally in the opening tournament match for the show, Will Ospreay and Yujri Takahashi battle in the B Block in what could very easily be a sleeper hit for match of the night. After losing the services of Pieter to El Phantasmo a few nights ago, will Yujiro come in with a spring in his step, or will the “Commonwealth Kingpin” prove that he is just too damned good?
+ Tomohiro Ishii vs Tama Tonga (G1 Climax 32 D Block Match): it was in the G1 last year that Tama’s brother, Tanga Loa, really made a name for himself as an Ishii-esque hoss against the likes of Shingo and O-Khan, and Tama got the chance here to show he can do something similar. I really do have to hand it to Tama, the crowd loves him, and even if I’m well and truly on the Ishii side of the fanbase, the split nature of the crowd did make things more exciting. I think Ishii might be my favourite wrestler to watch in any match, though, and this was no exception
+ Hirooki Goto vs Aaron Henare (G1 Climax 32 C Block Match): this was absolutely nuts. I surprise myself to say this, but I think I’m really becoming a big fan of Aaron Henare. The strikes from each man in this match, and the power of Henare versus the veteran instincts of Goto made for a really satisfying back and forth contest. This match really did have everything, and it has jumped in as a well above average match for the tournament, which I wasn’t expecting
+ Bad Luck Fale vs Toru Yano (G1 Climax 32 A Block Match): on the spectrum of Yano style matches, this was acceptable. I almost wrote ‘at least it was short’ but it wasn’t even necessarily short, either. These two do always have fun matches, and there is always inherent comedy in a giant falling victim to the ruse of the jester. Whether that was the case here or not I won’t spoil, but I enjoyed this
+ Will Ospreay vs Yujiro Takahashi (G1 Climax 32 B Block Match): this was surprisingly good, thanks a lot to how Yujiro made me a believer in a match I didn’t think he had a chance in. Ospreay is of course an incredible wrestler, but I also think that he is the most enthralling when he is on the defence (much like I say about Kazuchika Okada). Yujiro’s entrance was surprisingly sweet, after his loss of Pieter to El Phantasmo a few nights ago, and this ended up being better than I exepected
+ Team Filthy (Tom Lawlor & Royce Isaacs) vs BULLET CLUB (KENTA & El Phantasmo): with Filthy Tom set to face neither KENTA nor Phantasmo in the tournament, I was dead set on seeing this one, and both Lawlor/KENTA and Lawlor/ELP are now on my list of matches I need to see given proper time. Isaacs was also no slouch here, and this was a short but incredibly entertaining match
Should you watch this event: Despite being all positive, this wasn’t a perfect show, and I imagine Yano/Fale will be divisive. Between Henare/Goto and then Ishii/Tama in the main event, there were two bangers on here, and the Team Filthy/Bullet Club tag team match was very entertaining.