Wrestling Review: NJPW G1 Climax 32 (2022) (Night 16)

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.]

As the G1 Climax 32 heads into the 16th night of action, things start to get tricky. In the main event, the as-yet undefeated IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Jay White looks to cement his position atop the B Block when he battles Taichi, who is already mathematically eliminated. With no tournament to play for, “The Black Emperor” Taichi wil surely be seeking a future championship match against “King Switch” Jay White if he can earn the victory here. A pair of matches continue to keep things incredibly tight in the D Block: firstly, Shingo Takagi will face Yujiro Takahashi and then YOSHI-HASHI faces off with Will Ospreay. First and foremost for Shingo Takagi, he must win if he wishes to remain in tournament contention. However, if Yujiro defeats Shingo, then both YOSHI-HASHI and Ospreay will be battling to stay alive in the tournament, in the following match. In an A Block match, the already eliminated Toru Yano looks to play spoiler against Jeff Cobb, who must win to remain alive in the standings, and kicking off the show, KENTA and Aaron Henare battle in a C Block match, though both are already eliminated due to their win-loss records.

+ Jay White vs Taichi (G1 Climax 32 B Block Match): first and foremost, I was expecting this to be better than it was. The Bullet Club scumbags have been having some fun with Miho Abe in the matches between them and Taichi, but I think this was probably the most of it in one match. Jay is so good at everything, but really looked at his best when Taichi was on offence, and that is in large part to just how good Taichi’s offence can be. Especially once the crowd gets involve, there is something special about Taichi as the underdog
+ YOSHI-HASHI vs Will Ospreay (G1 Climax 32 D Block Match): this has basically cemented YOSHI-HASHI as one of the absolute MVPs of this tournament. Ospreay is of course fantastic, but YOSHI-HASHI had some of the best comeback/underdog stylings I’ve seen in wrestling this year, and the crowd was completely into everything that either man did
+ Aaron Henare vs KENTA (G1 Climax 32 C Block Match): I was low key looking forward to this one for a while, but I am genuinely surprised both guys are already eliminated, specifically KENTA. There was the expected strike trading here, including a brutal elbow exchange that really got me going, but it was Henare’s power versus the speed of KENTA that made the match interesting. I liked this a lot

Shingo Takagi vs Yujiro Takahashi (G1 Climax 32 D Block Match): I wanted to get into this one, but I just couldn’t. There was one moment at the end where I audibly and physically winced at one shot one guy took, but other than that I never felt much at all
Toru Yano vs Jeff Cobb (G1 Climax 32 A Block Match): Cobb promised we would all get to see ‘Funny Jeff’, and I guess that’s sort of true. Yano is always a viable spoiler in these matches, particularly in his last G1 match of the year against the guy who must win. This was what it was, but it wasn’t for me

> David Finlay joined both Kevin Kelly and Chris Charlton on commentary, and he was… fine. He just doesn’t have that scumbag nature to him that makes ELP so fun to listen to, or the pure joy of stiff fights like Lance Archer.

Should you watch this event: Though perhaps I am just spoiled after the previous night of action was so good, this felt like a bit of a hit and miss show. None of the matches were ones to go out of your way to see, and I think I enjoyed the match between the already eliminated Henare/KENTA the most.


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