Wrestling Review: NJPW G1 Climax 32 (2022) (Night 19 – Semi Finals)

[Please note: there are full incidental spoilers for the entire G1 Climax 32 block stage, as tonight decides the two semi final matches. Please read about all of the previous nights of action here.]

The four block winners have been decided in the G1 Climax 32, and Night 19 will determine who will go to the finals tomorrow night. In the main event, the C Block and D Block winners, Tetsuya Naito and Will Ospreay respectively, face off in a massive first time ever match up. Just as important, the A Block and B Block winners, Kazuchika Okada and Tama Tonga, will battle in a rematch from last year’s G1 Climax, in which Tama Tonga handed Okada his only loss for the tournament. Owing to their company wide dominance, three straight tag matches involving the BULLET CLUB will take place on the undercard, including as KUSHIDA makes his much anticipated return to action in NJPW as he teams with David Finlay, Toru Yano and Hiroshi Tanahashi against the incredible team of Taiji Ishimori, DOC Gallows, Karl Anderson and Jay White, all of whom are draped in championship gold. The Bullet Club and House of Torture sub-group will also combine into one team as El Phantasmo, Yujiro Takahashi, KENTA and EVIL face the foursome of BUSHI, Hiromu Takahashi, SANADA and Shingo Takagi of Los Ingobernables de Japon. Finally, the United Empire heavyweight trio of Aaron Henare, Jeff Cobb & Great-O-Khan will battle Chase Owens, Bad Luck Fale and Juice Robinson as all six men look to cap off their personal G1 Climax 32 stories. Capping off the show are three more preliminary tag team contests, including JONAH alongside his TMDK partner, Bad Dude Tito, facing the team of Tomoaki Honma and Togi Makabe; Team Filthy’s Tom Lawlor and Royce Isaacs facing off with Taichi and Zack Sabre Jr.; and the NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Champions, YOH, Hirooki Goto and YOSHI-HASHI, along with CHAOS teammate Tomohiro Ishii, stand across from the first time ever teaming between Suzuki-gun members, Lance Archer, DOUKI, TAKA Michinoku and Yoshinobu Kanemaru.


+ Tetsuya Naito (C Block Winner) vs Will Ospreay (D Block Winner) (G1 Climax 32 Semi Final Match): hot damn, this was amazing. As a first time meeting, there was no template or preconceived idea of what this could be, but based on the way each man does their thing in the ring, it was always going to be at least great. I dare say this was the match of the tournament so far, I loved it so much. And I can’t wait to see it again
+ Kazuchika Okada (A Block Winner) vs Tama Tonga (B Block Winner) (G1 Climax 32 Semi Final Match): this was good, much like their match in the G1 Climax last year. Tama has more than proven he could be a big time solo wrestler, especially with his out of nowhere offence. And that sort of offence really does play perfectly into what I have said about Okada through this whole tournament. I enjoyed this a lot, and it felt like a big time match becauseof their history
+ Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, Hiromu Takahashi, SANADA & Shingo Takagi) vs BULLET CLUB (El Phantasmo, Yujiro Takahashi, KENTA & EVIL): I really liked this, thanks in part to how charismatic KENTA is (by which mean, how much of an asshole he is). The stuff between SANADA/EVIL will always have some heat to it, even when the guys themselves are not particular high in personal status
+ G.B.H. (Tomoaki Honma & Togi Makabe) vs TMDK (JONAH & Bad Dude Tito): this was a rare meat man tag match, as all four guys are known for their strength and size. When the smallest guy in the match is Tomoaki Honma, you can predict some stiff lariats are coming, and there were no disappointments in that regard. I really feel like JONAH has endeared himself in a special way to the NJPW crowd, but Bad Dude Tito has found a real following too
+ Team Filthy (Tom Lawlor & Royce Isaacs) vs Dangerous Tekkers (Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr.): the segments where Sabre went one on one with Filthy Tom were all fantastic, but that is not to say that Isaacs and Taichi weren’t involved in some good stuff, too

KUSHIDA, David Finlay, Toru Yano & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs BULLET CLUB (Taiji Ishimori, DOC Gallows, Karl Anderson & Jay White): I’ll say it bluntly, that KUSHIDA absolutely flopped in WWE because they are dumb, and I am thrilled to see him back. There was some comedy here between Yano/Gallows, but I didn’t much care for it, and Finlay disappointingly didn’t do much at all after his G1 showing
United Empire (Aaron Henare, Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb) vs BULLET CLUB (Chase Owens, Bad Luck Fale & Juice Robinson): this was another that did nothing for me. O-Khan, Cobb and Juice are all good, but they are clearly sore and tired and obviously didn’t need to pull out all the stops in a tag match early in the show
CHAOS (YOH, YOSHI-HASHI, Tomohiro Ishii & Hirooki Goto) vs Suzuki-gun (TAKA Michinoku, DOUKI, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Lance Archer): this was about as standard as these prelim tags get, with just some more TAKA/Archer shenanigans to keep things fun

> for the first time I think I can recall, Kevin Kelly said “Wrestlemania” instead of “Wrestle Kingdom”. I won’t even make fun of him for saying it wrong, because he is genuinely one of the best commentators around right now.

Should you watch this event: This was essentially a two match show, but some of the undercard tags were still fun. The G1 Climax 32 Final is going to be incredible, and I can’t wait.


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