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 14 of the G1 Climax 32 is a big one, with more potential eliminations even as high as the main event. In that main event, Tetsuya Naito renews a rivalry with KENTA, and KENTA will be out of the tournament if he cannot win against the leader of Los Ingobernables de Japon. The history between these two stemming from Naito’s Double Gold Dash victory at Wrestle Kingdom a few years ago and the ensuing chaos ensures nothing short of a violent fight in the final match of tonight’s show. In the semi main, an equally thrilling big boi contest for the A Block as JONAH battles Lance Archer. JONAH is fresh off a thrilling bout against Kazuchika Okada, and Archer will face Okada following this match up, no matter the outcome here. Two matches will take place in the B Block, firstly as both Tama Tonga and Taichi seek to remain in tournament contention against each other. There is no shortage of history between the two in both tag and singles matches, and these two are known to get in a bit over their heads when the gloves are off. The other match for the B Block is slightly more simple for SANADA and Chase Owens: Owens is already eliminated, and if SANADA is unsuccessful against Chase Owens, he will be eliminated as well. Starting off the night of tournament action are YOSHI-HASHI and Yujiro Takahashi, each with two wins to their name, in a must win contest for each: with no eliminations thus far in the D Block, it is still anybody’s game. El Phantasmo will once again join Kevin Kelly on commentary for all tournament block action.
+ Tetsuya Naito vs KENTA (G1 Climax 32 C Block Match): it is well known that Naito is a madman and will do anything to have a good match. After his death defying match at Wrestle Kingdom, surely KENTA is on that list as well. These two hardly went at it as hard as that may make it sounds, but they were doing lots of good stuff and taking some stiff shots, all in pursuit of a main event G1 match that had some double title heat behind it. I liked this
+ JONAH vs Lance Archer (G1 Climax 32 A Block Match): JONAH has proven he can get the crowd on his side here in NJPW, and this was another hard hitting meat match in the monster block. Of all the non-Japanese talent in the tournament, I would argue these two are getting the best reactions and that continued. I thought the immediate ending of the match was a bit silly, but it didn’t ruin the match by any means
+ Tama Tonga vs Taichi (G1 Climax 32 B Block Match): a really good match in the ring, with a great call back to the history between these two. I can understand completely if viewers thought it was overly cheesy, but I liked it for what it was and it made the match unique. This easily could have been another ‘yeah it was a good match, but nothing special’ and I think that addition elevated this
– SANADA vs Chase Owens (G1 Climax 32 B Block Match): maybe I’m missing something about this match. The crowd was getting into it by the end, but I never felt anything. Chase Owens is not an Ishii-style hoss no matter how good they want to say their match just recently was, and SANADA is just not the right kind of wrestler to either be an Ishii-style wrestler, or play offence against one. This was not good
– YOSHI-HASHI vs Yujiro Takahashi (G1 Climax 32 D Block Match): I’m trying to be kind here, but this was barely one step above garbage. There were lots of missed spots and timing issues, and despite my newfound love of YOSHI-HASHI’s powerful hands, this never felt like a match between two people still technically alive to win
Should you watch this event: I am loving these big boi matches in the A Block every time, and KENTA continues to shine. The D Block match tonight was not very good, but I am still super interested in who will come out victorious overall.