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.]
An interesting battle atop the C Block will main event the show, as Hiroshi Tanahashi battles EVIL. It’s a battle of “Ace” versus evil, or light versus “the King of Darkness”, but if anybody can overcome the shenanigans of the House of Torture, it is the legend himself, Hiroshi Tanahashi. Also on the show, the A Block will once again feature a massive match, as JONAH and Jeff Cobb look to see who is the number one monster amongst the two of them, and Aaron Henare looks to claim his second huge scalp in the tournament when he battles Tetsuya Naito in the C Block. Henare previously defeated Tanahashi, and Tanahashi previously defeated Naito, setting the stage for a very interesting home stretch if Naito can emerge victorious. Taichi and Chase Owens will also battle in the B Block, in a rematch from last year’s shock victory for Owens over Taichi. Chase Owens historically also has an eye for Taichi’s muse, Miho Abe, at ringside, and who knows what manner of debauchery Owens might get up to tonight? Finally, kicking off tournament action will be another intra-Bullet Club contest, as Juice Robinson looks to rebound off two tough losses when he battles Yujiro Takahashi. And once again joining Kevin Kelly on English commentary will be Filthy Tom Lawlor, himself still looking for a late push in the A Block.
+ Hiroshi Tanahashi vs EVIL (G1 Climax 32 C Block Match): I say this not entirely as a negative: the House of Torture brings out the real ‘Sports Entertainment’ side of things in NJPW. This match not what you might immediately expect when I say that, and both Tanahashi and EVIL looked good overall. I’d suggest Tanahashi might be the single best person to face these ‘forces of Darkness’ wrestlers in the House of Torture, as Tana is simply the most beloved fan favourite on the roster
+ JONAH vs Jeff Cobb (G1 Climax 32 A Block Match): this is the absolute shit I live for. Two absolute units just smashing into each other; the surprising speed of JONAH and the almost literally impossible strength of Cobb were a thing you’ll have to see to believe, and I definitely recommend seeing this. The crowd for this one was probably the loudest vocally they have been for some time, and I can concur, because I was making actual noise watching in my living room
+ Juice Robinson vs Yujiro Takahashi (G1 Climax 32 D Block Match): I liked this more than I thought I would. There was no ‘will they won’t they’ garbage like some other intra-Bullet Club matches, which meant things started quickly and didn’t get bogged down in bad storytelling. I like Juice overall, but I’m still undecided if this Bullet Club transition is going to be good for him
– Tetsuya Naito vs Aaron Henare (G1 Climax 32 C Block Match): this was good, but I am struggling to think of anything that really stood out. There was absolutely nothing wrong with this at all; Naito was fast and exciting, Henare was slower but precise. I didn’t dislike it, but I can’t think of any reason to list it as a positive
– Taichi vs Chase Owens (G1 Climax 32 B Block Match): unfortunately, this didn’t really do anything for me. Chase Owens being a creep to Miho Abe was probably the highlight of this overall. Not much else to say, really
> Filthy Tom got rocked in his earlier tag match, before joining commentary. I hope he’s okay.
Should you watch this event: JONAH/Jeff Cobb is the kind of match that everyone should watch. It obviously won’t match something like an Ishii/Suzuki for stiffness, or Omega/Okada for the marathon of emotions, but hot damn it was some meaty men bumping their meat. This wasn’t a particular good or bad show overall, but go out of your way to see JONAH/Cobb.