Wrestling Review: NJPW G1 Climax 32 (2022) (Night 12)

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.]

It will be one of NJPW’s top rivalries revisited in the main event of night 12 of the G1 Climax 32, when Shingo Takagi and Will Ospreay meet one on one, one more time. Ospreay claimed victory in their first meeting, the incredible Best of the Super Junior in 2019, before Shingo won the rematch in the 2020’s G1 Climax 30. A pair of Ospreay victories in 2021, first to win the New Japan Cup, and then to retain the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship later that year, have set the stage for this fifth meeting between the two. It will also be do or die for Great-O-Khan against the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, Jay White, in their first ever meeting of any kind. If Jay White is victorious, then all of Great-O-Khan, Tomohiro Ishii and Chase Owens will be eliminated from the B Block. Though third from the top tonight, Hirooki Goto versus Zack Sabre Jr. would be a main event almost anywhere in the world, and it will be the strikes of Goto against the technical prowess of Sabre. In the A Block, Toru Yano has finally drawn the unenviable task of facing off with the Murderhawk Monster, Lance Archer, with the match coming at a higher cost for Yano than just points: if Yano loses he will be eliminated from the tournament. Starting things off for the night, a first time ever singles meeting as YOSHI-HASHI and El Phantasmo meet in a battle in the D Block.

+ Shingo Takagi vs Will Ospreay (G1 Climax 32 D Block Match): these two know each other so well that there were counters to moves, sometimes before it was even clear what was coming next. The speed at which these two can avoid the blistering offence of their opponents is something to behold, and therefore it should come as no surprise that this was an incredible main event. I don’t think these two have had a bad match at all in their history together, and this was no exception
+ Great-O-Khan vs Jay White (G1 Climax 32 B Block Match): consider these two points: (1), Jay White is the best wrestler in the world right now, and; (2), O-Khan copies his opponents to match their style. Therefore, O-Khan copied the best wrestler in the world and looked incredible doing so. The threat of elimination not only for O-Khan but Chase Owens and Tomohiro Ishii loomed over this and made O-Khan almost the underdog hero that none of us knew we needed, which was incredibly compelling
+ Hirooki Goto vs Zack Sabre Jr. (G1 Climax 32 C Block Match): much like Henare/Sabre, this was a really satisfying strike versus hold contest. Every strike from Goto had the potential to end the match, or to be countered by Sabre, and not knowing what was coming was exactly what makes pro wrestling fun to watch
+ Toru Yano vs Lance Archer (G1 Climax 32 A Block Match): this is the sort of situation where I find Yano’s comedy to be really good. Archer came across like a real monster, thanks in part to that Yano comedy, but also just the way he moved and responded to Yano’s comedy. There is a difference between Archer’s stone faced responses, and someone like Bad Luck Fale’s overreaction to the same moments, and I prefer Archer’s
+ YOSHI-HASHI vs El Phantasmo (G1 Climax 32 D Block Match): YOSHI-HASHI pulled out all the stops in this one, including stuff you don’t really see him use. ELP has some incredibly athleticism and he uses the ropes almost effortlessly, and seemingly never misses. A really exciting final stretch cemented this as an easy positive

> Chris Charlton was back on commentary with Kevin Kelly, and I think it’s time we give him the credit he deserves. I absolutely loved ELP, Filthy Tom and especially Lance Archer over the last handful of shows, but Chris is absolutely fantastic in this role.

Should you watch this event: With the first mathematical eliminations actually possible starting on this night, every match begins to feel more important. This was a great night of action from start to finish, and I eagerly await the tail end of this tournament.

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