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.]
In the main event of night 17 of G1 Climax 32 action, KENTA will seek revenge for the brutal No Disqualification match from Wrestle Kingdom 16 against Hiroshi Tanahashi. Tanahashi must win if he wishes to claim victory in the C Block, but then Tetsuya Naito must also defeat Zack Sabre Jr. in their upcoming match. KENTA is already eliminated, but a victory over Tanahashi to deny The Ace tournament glory would be a wonderful thing indeed for the Bullet Club member. Meanwhile in the monster A Block, thought Tom Lawlor is already eliminated, Jeff Cobb can win the block overall if a few things go his way. Firstly, he must defeat Lawlor tonight, and then JONAH and Okada must both lose their final matches on Tuesday against Bad Luck Fale and Lance Archer, respectively. In the B Block, both Taichi and Great-O-Khan are mathematically eliminated but will face off for bragging rights and personal pride. In the first of the tournament matches, the ever-intriguing D Block sees YOSHI-HASHI and David Finley lock horns. YOSHI-HASHI must win to stay alive, but a Finlay win would win him the D Block outright, with no need for any tie breaker situations to unfold.
+ Hiroshi Tanahashi vs KENTA (G1 Climax 32 Block C Match): I really liked this. There were a few different sorts of shenanigans, but all of them made sense in the context of this being a call back to, or follow up from, the Wrestle Kingdom match. After Tanahashi’s wild left hand against Goto, both KENTA and Tana were smashing each other with open palms that had me wincing, though thankfully one stupid crazy moment was averted. There was also a slightly sloppy referee moment which you won’t be able to miss, but I guess it served its purpose. This was a good main event overall
+ Jeff Cobb vs Tom Lawlor (G1 Climax 32 Block A Match): this was a good match. I love two professional wrestlers who can also really wrestle, and Filthy’s striking was better than Cobb’s, but Cobb clearly had the power edge. Filthy Tom’s tournament did not go the way I wanted it to, but I never really expected he’d be tearing through the tournament. Cobb’s holding on by a thread at this stage was as interesting a story hook as it was unlikely, and that made for a good match between the two here
+ Taichi vs Great-O-Khan (G1 Climax 32 Block B Match): this was an interesting one, mostly in the way that it ended. Taichi tried his sumo stuff where he would have the clear advantage, and O-Khan attempted to bait Taichi into some groundwork, but neither really set the pace for the match in a meaningful way. Though I don’t know the official time, this felt really short and I think it might have been better earlier in the tournament
– YOSHI-HASHI vs David Finlay (G1 Climax 32 Block D Match): this was okay, but frankly both guys looked tired and a step behind compared to usual. I have a new respect for YOSHI-HASHI and those stiff chops, and Finlays underdog story has been something to really get behind, but this wasn’t either man’s best
> For the first time, JONAH joined Kevin Kelly on English commentary. As a fellow Aussie, JONAH’s smooth voice may actually be my favourite guest commentator this tournament, or perhaps El Phantasmo, JONAH and Lance Archer can tie for first with David Finlay in second.
Should you watch this event: This second last night of tournament action was good, but seemingly not as good as previous days. The wrestlers are of course tired by this stage, but with only four matches instead of five, I was still surprised at the short lengths of at least two of them. One more night to go!