Originally published at G1 Climax 32 Day 4 Report: Ishii vs. White, Shingo vs. YOSHI-HASHI
G1 Climax 32 Day 4 Report: Ishii vs. White, Shingo vs. YOSHI-HASHI
Night four of the G1 is coming on the heels of one of the most heavily criticized shows in the history of the illustrious tournament. How heavily criticized, you ask? Well, Cagematch has Wednesday’s show rated at 4.79 out of 10, the second lowest rating given to a G1 show on the site, avoiding infamy by just beating out the second night of the 2011 tournament’s 4.71 rating. For context, then, the last time a G1 show was that disappointing, Yoshihiro Takayama was in the main event. That’s…not good.
All eight men in night four’s tournament matches needed to have their working boots on if the company hoped that the receptions to Yujiro/Finlay and Fale/Archer were a quick bump on the road rather than a portent of very early G1 burnout. While none of these four matches would be likely to headline an NJPW card outside of the context of the G1, at least on paper this card should have been able to right the ship, between a first-time singles match between Shingo Takagi and YOSHI-HASHI, and Jay White looking to even his singles record against Tomohiro Ishii at two apiece and net his first G1 victory over the Stone Pitbull. Coming to you from the Ota City General Gymnasium in Tokyo (which was home to a much better third G1 show last year via Ibushi/Ishii and Shingo/ZSJ) it’s night four of the 32nd G1 Climax.
- Undercard – Nothing necessary, of course, but if you fix yourself a coffee during the House Of Torture stupidity, you’ll likely be entertained by arguably the strongest undercard of the tournament thus far, including the first confrontation between the former FinJuice partners.
- G1 Climax 2022 Block C Match: Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Aaron Henare – A decent enough clash of styles, with Henare further consolidating the moveset and pace he set forth against Tana.
- G1 Climax 2022 Block D Match: Shingo Takagi vs. YOSHI-HASHI – An excellent fast and hard-hitting match with a terrific story. Quite possibly the best singles match of YOSHI-HASHI’s career. – RECOMMENDED
- G1 Climax 2022 Block A Match: Toru Yano vs. Kazuchika Okada – Not at all noteworthy in terms of in-ring, but has the novelty of Yano going back to a more serious heel playbook.
- G1 Climax 2022 Block B Match: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Jay White – A classic “your mileage may vary” Jay White main event, but if you can get through his usual antics, he and Ishii have some fantastic sequences. – CONDITIONALLY RECOMMENDED
David Finlay, Hirooki Goto & Ryohei Oiwa vs. BULLET CLUB (El Phantasmo, Juice Robinson & KENTA)
El Phantasmo pins Ryohei Oiwa at 8:02.
TMDK (Bad Dude Tito & JONAH) vs. Team Filthy (Royce Isaacs & Tom Lawlor)
Tom Lawlor submits Bad Dude Tito at 9:20.
Suzuki-gun (Lance Archer, Taichi & TAKA Michinoku) vs. BULLET CLUB (Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi)
Yujiro Takahashi pins TAKA Michinoku at 6:09.
United Empire (Great-O-Khan, Jeff Cobb & Will Ospreay) vs. House Of Torture (Dick Togo, EVIL & SHO)
Great-O-Khan submits Dick Togo at 7:48.
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Jado & Tama Tonga vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, SANADA & Tetsuya Naito)
SANADA submits Jado at 9:30.
G1 Climax 2022 Block C Match: Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Aaron Henare
Henare hits an early vertical suplex, keeping things slow, but Zack wraps him up in the ropes. Henare maintains control with some big strikes, and a curb stomp gets him a lackadaisical two-count. Henare wins another strike exchange, and each time Zack is able to grab a leg, Henare’s close enough to the ropes. Another vertical is hit to Zack on the floor, along with the Berserker Bomb spinning backdrop back inside. Zack still can’t counterpunch Henare, but finally grabs a leg and torques both knees to create some space. Zack hits a PK, but Henare immediately responds with his Rampage running tackle and a second rope senton. Zack goes for a Euro Clutch but Henare niftily reverses it into his Ultima full nelson. Zack reverses out of a Streets of Rage attempt and takes the bigger man down to the floor for the win with a knee lock.
Zack Sabre Jr. defeats Aaron Henare via submission at 14:16.
The takeaway: The story throughout the match was that while Henare could deliver a one-kick KO, Zack could just as easily grab an errant leg and quickly finish him. Henare worked the same, methodical power style that he did with Tana for most of the match, speeding up a bit towards the end, but you get the sense his actual speed and range are still consciously being kept in reserve.
G1 Climax 2022 Block D Match: Shingo Takagi vs. YOSHI-HASHI
YOSHI-HASHI’s able to hang with Shingo in terms of shoulder blocks and strikes to begin, but Shingo’s soon in control with a standing senton and vertical suplex, while targeting the arm for good measure. YOSHI-HASHI’s able to use some speed to hit some targeted strikes and a neckbreaker, but Shingo again retakes control with a lariat. YOSHI-HASHI powers through a backdrop to hit a lariat of his own, with some nice back and forth. Shingo gets a superplex and reverses a Karma attempt into Made In Japan. YOSHI-HASHI eats some forearms and a Pumping Bomber, and slips out of a Last Of The Dragons attempt, and after enduring more strikes hits Karma, but is too winded to make a quick enough pin. He follows that up with a Destroyer and a Kumagaroshi for a two-count as the crowd is very fired up. YOSHI-HASHI sets Shingo up for another Karma, but Shingo is barely able to reverse it into a Ground Cobra hold for the three-count.
Shingo Takagi defeats YOSHI-HASHI via pinfall at 17:58.
The takeaway: I went into this hoping that a currently downcycled Takagi might be exactly the man to get the sort of high-energy (but actually technically sound) match YOSHI-HASHI can occasionally luck into in the G1, and the fact that this is a first-time singles meeting between men with nigh-identical finishers actually gave it some extra interest heading in. By all of those measures, this delivered. While still playing underdog, YOSHI-HASHI’s speed and striking looked credible, he hooked the crowd early and held them, and the finish was masterful. Shingo, having barely survived YOSHI-HASHI’s iteration of a move he’s mastered, knew he’d be unable to endure a second, and was forced to sneak a win with a grappling hold rather than one of the grand, powerful finishers he’s known for and which you’d expect him to be able to dispose of the likes of YOSHI-HASHI with handily. I’ll have to go back and look through my previous G1 and New Japan Cup ratings, but off the top of my head I can’t think of a better YOSHI-HASHI match I’ve ever seen.
G1 Climax 2022 Block A Match: Toru Yano vs. Kazuchika Okada
Yano is all business and no shtick coming out, and throttles Okada with his shirt before the bell. Yano takes Okada outside for some guardrail and chair spots. Okada rolls back in at nineteen and is smashed into the exposed turnbuckle, and Yano uses some actually crafty heeling for once, using his wrist tape to strangle Okada out of the ref’s view. Okada takes control for a second, but is catapulted into the turnbuckle. Okada hits a neckbreaker and top rope elbow, setting up an early Rainmaker pose. Yano hits his rarely seen Demon Killer powerbomb for two, brings a chair in, but eats a DDT on it. A spinning Rainmaker sets up the drawstring version, but Yano’s somehow taken a swig of beer off camera, sprays Okada’s eyes, and rolls him up for two. Yano ducks another Rainmaker attempt, but Okada quickly applies and squeezes in the Money Clip to finish Yano off.
Kazuchika Okada defeats Yano Toru via submission at 10:09
After the match, Yano seems to revert back to his clownish self, apologizes to Okada, and amends are made.
The takeaway: Yano’s no-BS attack on Okada in their tag match on the Night 3 undercard suggested that Yano might not be playing for a countout or the usual wrist tape antics in taking on his CHAOS boss. While he did go to those ends, it was refreshing to see the Sublime Master Thief turn back to his more sober heel tactics at least once in the tournament.
G1 Climax 2022 Block B Match: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Jay White
White sets Gedo up on some chairs just beyond the guardrail before the bell, and after a fast sequence of shoulder blocks White goads Ishii in and out of the ring, allowing Gedo to clock Ishii with one of them. White hits a half hatch into the turnbuckle and wrenches Ishii’s knee. There’s more Red Shoes stupidity with White demanding he reset the apron he’s just smothered Ishii with then insisting on him counting a pin. Ishii finally creates some space with a powerslam and saito suplex. After some more guardrail business, White hits a Blade Buster for two, a Complete shot, deadlift German, and big uranage. After some chops in the corner White hits a second rope superplex, but Ishii powers up and pounces White into the turnbuckle, and hits White with his own superplex. White ducks a sliding lariat, but an enzuigiri sets up another which he can’t. Gedo distracts Red Shoes on the corner, Ishii avoids a low blow and hits a straightjacket German, White counters Ishii’s brainbuster with his own and lariats him, putting both men on the mat seventeen minutes in. Forearms and reversals set up a powerbomb to White, who uses a flurry of counters to eventually net a pair of sleeper suplexes. More counters let Ishii hit his own sleeper suplex and a big lariat. White rolls out of the vertical drop brainbuster attempt to ultimately hit Blade Runner for the win.
Jay White defeats Tomohito Ishii via pinfall at 22:02.
After the match, White claps into the mic in faux-Morse code, mocking the crowd’s continued ‘refusal’ to cheer.
The takeaway: Jay White remains the most divisive figure in New Japan (just as I’m sure he prefers), and this match exemplified why that is. The first ten minutes of this were marred by White and Gedo ticking off every box in the heel playbook, with White squawking at Red Shoes, Ishii, and the crowd all the while. White, Gedo, and the rest of New Japan brass clearly believe this to be necessary to keep White from sliding into “cool heel” territory. While this philosophy might at times prompt groans from folks like myself (and likely you if you’ve read this far) who tune into New Japan for pure in-ring excellence, a match like this makes their thinking clear, as once you remove all of the schtick, White’s counter and reversal based style makes him one of the most compelling in-ring performers today, who has a tremendous face run to look forward to whenever the company sees fit.
You of course couldn’t find a presentation more different from White’s than that of Ishii, whose no-nonsense credibility made him a perfect foil in terms of character. However, his speed, power, and unique charisma gelled perfectly with White once the gimmickery was over and it was time to get down to business. I have no earthly idea why New Japan is rumored to be considering phasing Ishii out of the G1, as matches like this show why the Stone Pitbull’s ability to put on a worthy main event with anyone, regardless of style, makes him the tournament’s reigning MVP.
Rikidōzanzan himself could have returned from the dead to challenge Jay White for the championship at the end of this card and it still wouldn’t have drawn the pro wrestling world’s eyes away from the dramatic fall of Vince McMahon. Still, it was nice to see the G1 get back on track with a much better card than its previous one, and doing so by some unusual means (Yano playing things straight, YOSHI-HASHI effectively stealing the show).
It’s still too early to actually start talking about block standings; while Sabre, White, and Okada all have two wins and Ishii is already in jeopardy of effective elimination at two losses, Tom Lawlor still hasn’t had a single match and won’t until the sixth night.
Tomorrow’s show, which Mark Buckeldee will have a report for, looks to feature some more stylistically similar pairings than today’s, featuring Yujiro Takahashi vs. El Phantasmo, Tachi vs. SANADA, Bad Luck Fale vs. Jeff Cobb, and Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Tetsuya Naito in the main event.