Originally published at G1 Climax 32 Day 9 Report: Tetsuya Naito vs. EVIL, Jeff Cobb vs. Lance Archer
G1 Climax 32 Day 9 Report: Tetsuya Naito vs. EVIL, Jeff Cobb vs. Lance Archer
This is the ninth installment of POST’s coverage of the 32nd G1 Climax Tournament. It is the second of two shows at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium in Nagoya. The attendance was 2741 fans, which was five hundred higher than the previous night’s show.
- Undercard – The undercard was decent and had its moments but there was nothing worth going out of your way to watch.
- G1 Climax 2022 Block A Match: Jeff Cobb vs. Lance Archer – A very good, fairly compact match showcasing their power and athleticism – RECOMMENDED
- G1 Climax 2022 Block D Match: YOSHI-HASHI vs. Juice Robinson – Babyface YOSHI-HASHI shows that he is one of New Japan’s more consistent wrestlers against Robinson, who feels fresher as a heel – RECOMMENDED
- G1 Climax 2022 Block B Match: Jay White vs. Chase Owens – Some fun Bullet Club vs Bullet Club shenanigans in a match that was five minutes too long.
- G1 Climax 2022 Block A Match: Kazuchika Okada vs. Bad Luck Fale – An okay match that felt too long as Okada fought from underneath.
- G1 Climax 2022 Block C Match: Tetsuya Naito vs EVIL – A long and often plodding match, with the usual EVIL antics, a decent finish, and some scary moments.
Ryohei Oiwa, Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. BULLET CLUB (SHO, El Phantasmo, Yujiro Takahashi & KENTA)
SHO submitted Ryohei Oiwa in 8:20.
TMDK (Bad Dude Tito & JONAH) vs. Team Filthy (Royce Isaacs & Tom Lawlor)
JONAH pinned Royce Isaacs in 10:02.
Jado, David Finlay & Tama Tonga vs. United Empire (Aaron Henare, Great O-Khan & Will Ospreay)
Aaron Henare submitted Jado in 7:29.
Los Ingobernables des Japon (BUSHI, SANADA & Shingo Takagi) vs. Suzuki-Gun (TAKA Michinoku, Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr.)
Shingo Takagi pinned TAKA Michinoku in 8:15.
G1 Climax 2022 Block A Match: Jeff Cobb vs. Lance Archer
The height difference was striking as they showed off their athleticism in the opening exchange, ending with Archer drop kicking Cobb out of the ring and hitting a Tope con Hilo off the ring apron. Archer then chokeslammed Cobb onto the ring apron for good measure. However, Archer got overconfident and when he tried to walk on the top rope Cobb caught him and hit his trademark spinning back suplex. Cobb was in control, showing off his power with a running suplex and surfing on Archer’s back. When Archer tried for a crossbody Cobb caught him effortlessly, although Archer reversed it into a DDT. The crossbody worked for Archer at the second time of asking, earning him a two count.
It was Cobb’s time to show off his athleticism, with a dropkick and a standing Moonsault. Archer escaped the Tour of the Islands and then Pounced Cobb. A Scrapbuster earned Archer another two count and a Chokeslam saw Archer get a nearfall. Firmly in control, Archer went for a superplex but instead went for the Blackout. Cobb slipped out and hit a trio of release German Suplexes before an impressive Tour of the Islands to win the match.
Jeff Cobb defeated Lance Archer via pinfall in 11:37.
This was a very good match. It had plenty of impressive power spots, but it also reminded you of both wrestlers’ athleticism. While Cobb still lacked a little personality at points and there were a couple of moments where they got lost, this was a very entertaining match. It felt different to most of the G1 Climax so far and it was the kind of match that really adds to the G1 without needing the main event spot. Well worth a watch, probably the match of the night.
G1 Climax 2022 Block D Match: YOSHI-HASHI vs. Juice Robinson
Robinson attacked YOSHI-HASHI before he could remove his entrance jacket, with Robinson punching away at YOSHI-HASHI. Robinson dumped his opponent out of the ring and repeatedly whipped him into the same guard rail. Robinson hit a Piledriver as soon as he returned to the ring, showing that he has been watching his DDT era Jun Akiyama tapes.
YOSHI-HASHI and Robinson fought on the outside, with Robinson trying to piledrive or powerbomb YOSHI-HASHI onto the exposed floor. Instead, YOSHI-HASHI used a headscissors to send Robinson into the ring post and the American only just avoided getting counted out. YOSHI-HASHI relied on chops to stay on top of Robinson, and he then hit the Blockbuster for a two count. YOSHI-HASHI went for Karma, but hit the Kumagoroshi instead, only for Robinson to break the pin by grabbing the ropes.
Another attempt at Karma was countered by Robinson using a Schoolboy while holding YOSHI-HASHI’s tights. The referee spotted that and refused to count the pin, with Robinson pushing referee Marty Asami. Asami pushed Robinson back and YOSHI-HASHI used a Schoolboy for a big nearfall. Robinson hit YOSHI-HASHI with a right-hand punch, but YOSHI-HASHI reversed the Pulp Friction into a Back Cracker. A running knee to the back earned YOSHI-HASHI a two count and he called for another Karma, only for Robinson to escape. YOSHI-HASHI dodged punches and hit a superkick but Robinson caught him with a big left hand that sent YOSHI-HASHI sprawling. Robinson’s Pulp Friction was reversed into a Dragon Suplex and YOSHI-HASHI used a Lariat before finally hitting Karma to win the match.
YOSHI-HASHI defeated Juice Robinson via pinfall in 12:16.
This was another very good match, with Robinson sticking to his strengths and YOSHI-HASHI showing that he has become a key part to current day New Japan. A couple of years ago you would have expected this to be plucky underdog YOSHI-HASHI fighting from underneath. Instead, this was a noticeably confident YOSHI-HASHI controlling large swathes of the match and constantly looking for victory. New Japan has never been more behind YOSHI-HASHI in terms of booking, and it shows in his in-ring style as he relies on chops to control his opponent.
Robinson works well as a heel, and while I was surprised that he did not control most of the match it probably led to a better match as Robinson is at his best when he is reacting instead of controlling. This was not an instant classic; it will not be remembered in years to come, and some may feel that Robinson should have run. Despite that, this was another really good midcard G1 singles match, the kind of match that the G1 Climax used to be full of. YOSHI-HASHI is not to everyone’s tastes, and he has some flaws but here he is with another good match as one of New Japan’s most dependable midcarders.
G1 Climax 2022 Block B Match: Jay White vs. Chase Owens
White promised Owens an envelope of cash to lay down and let White win. When Owens checked the cash, he saw that it was mostly blank paper and tempers flared. White accused other people of stealing the money and framing him. Owens agreed to do the Finger poke of Doom, but White refused to cover him as he expected a trick. White tried to surprise Owens with the Bladerunner before getting impatient and attacking Owens from behind. The plan was in tatters when Owens hit the C-Trigger and nearly won the match.
Owens attempted a Package Piledriver on the floor and got another nearfall with a small package. White was frustrated as Owens refused to lay down, with White getting multiple two counts. The Blade buster got White a nearfall, but Owens fought back with a reverse neckbreaker and a Superkick. Owens again looked for the Package Piledriver, but Gedo begged him not to do it. White escaped and they traded strikes before White hit a complete shot. A Uranage slam earned White another two count and he went for the Sleeper Suplex, which Owens reversed into a Samson Clutch. Owens then hit another C Trigger, but he still could not hit the Package Piledriver, so he used the Styles Clash instead for a nearfall. White got caught with two more C Triggers, but White hit the Bladerunner out of nowhere to win the match.
Jay White defeated Chase Owens via pinfall 13:12.
Bullet Club vs Bullet Club matches have a history of teasing infighting and referencing NWO antics. This had both elements. We have seen “X wants Y to lie down, Y refuses, X gets angry” plenty of times. The start of this was very good, even if it was pretty hammy at times, and felt like a good change of pace. If it led into a finish within five minutes of that then I would have loved it. Instead, the match went on for much longer after those antics and started to feel dull and repetitive.
White is a good wrestler, but Owens does not connect with me and here he felt like a Bullet Club/Kenny Omega cosplayer with the repeated C-Triggers. Other people who are more engaged with the 2022 Bullet Club will enjoy this more than me, but this felt like what could have been a good 5–10-minute comedy affair that went too long. Good but not great.
G1 Climax 2022 Block A Match: Kazuchika Okada vs. Bad Luck Fale
Okada immediately took it to Fale, but he could not knock the big man down, so he attacked Fale’s left knee and then knocked an off-balance Fale down with a shoulder tackle. Okada was unable to slam Fale and he got caught with a back body drop. Fale was in control, using a bearhug to damage Okada’s back. Okada avoided a corner charge and hit a DDT and a running dropkick before finally slamming Fale, only to hurt his back in the process.
Okada used the Money Clip, but Fale rammed him into the corner to escape the hold. Fale teased the Bad Luck Fall on the outside, but Okada countered with a DDT. Okada powered Fale up for the reverse neckbreaker before hitting the top rope elbow drop and doing the Rainmaker pose. Fale reversed the Rainmaker into a Samoan Drop and got a nearfall with a spear. An elbow drop got Fale another nearfall, but Okada hit two dropkicks. His second Rainmaker attempt was again countered, and Fale hit the Grenade for a big near fall. Okada escaped the bad luck fall and hit an ugly neckbreaker before locking in the Money Clip and making Fale tap out.
Kazuchika Okada defeated Bad Luck Fale via submission in 11:52.
This was the second sub fifteen-minute match that felt about five minutes too long. The structure and story were good, with Fale working the back and Okada obsessed with slamming his bigger opponent. The problem is that Fale is broken down, slow and uninteresting in control while being too big for it to be realistic for him to fight from underneath.
Okada’s strengths shone through, but he could not elevate this Fale match to more than decent. I get loyalty and the strength of the Bullet Club, but Fale was a poor choice for this year’s G1 and is actively dragging his opponents down.
G1 Climax 2022 Block C Match: Tetsuya Naito vs EVIL
Naito nearly fell victim to EVIL’s EVIL while he was undressing, so Naito whipped EVIL into the guard rail in order to have enough time to undress. Naito got tricked into charging into an exposed turnbuckle. EVIL then threw Naito into the ring announcer’s table and left Naito prone on the outside, with the LIJ leader avoiding a count-out loss.
Naito fought back with a Manhattan drop and a dropkick to the knee, before taking control with his trademark offense. EVIL ran from the ring, but Naito anticipated EVIL’s attempt at an ambush before Naito used EVIL’s contrived chair spot, knocking over one of the Japanese commentary team monitors at the same time.
EVIL came back by dragging Naito off the top rope and going back to the ring announcer’s table. EVIL used a Scorpion Death lock, forcing Naito to grab the ropes. The Darkness Falls earned EVIL a two count, but Naito escaped the EVIL and hit a running kick to the face. Naito’s momentum was cut short when EVIL Lariated him off the top rope, while Dick Togo set up a table.
Naito fought back by throwing EVIL over the guard rail and controlled EVIL inside the ring using elbows to the neck. EVIL again tried for EVIL, but Naito used a ropey looking running Destino to get a nearfall. It was that time again, so EVIL threw Naito into the referee and hit a low blow on Naito. Togo and EVIL went for the Magic Killer off the apron through a table, but Naito escaped and hit EVIL with a piledriver through the table. This was scary as Naito really struggled to get EVIL up for the move.
Naito then hit Esperanza on EVIL but EVIL rammed Naito into the exposed turnbuckle. Naito ran into a huge Lariat but that only earned EVIL a nearfall. Naito came back with the Ebisigiri and a flying forearm. Although EVIL blocked the Destino, Naito turned it into a Tornado DDT, hit Valentina and then the Destino to win the match to the crowd’s delight.
Tetsuya Naito defeated EVIL via pinfall in 24:54.
When I saw that none of the other singles matches went longer than fourteen minutes, I feared that this would go long. My fears were proved right, as this was the longest main event of the G1 so far. It was full of the usual EVIL tropes, although I appreciated that EVIL relied less on Dick Togo to regain control. That said, this was full of the same usual stuff between these two, with some shoddy execution at times. While it built up decently to the finish, EVIL and Naito are not a good combination, and this match did not change my mind.
An okay match but a poor main event, probably my least favourite G1 Climax main event so far. Then again, I may be harsh on Naito as I felt like the low man when it came to this year’s Naito vs Tanahashi match.
The takeaway: Final Thoughts
When I saw this card on paper, I worried that the quality of the singles matches would be inversely proportional to their position on the card. I was proved right as it felt like the matches got progressively worse. I loved Archer vs. Cobb YOSHI-HASHI vs. Robinson. They felt like great appetizers for a good main event. Instead, we got a lackluster main event that gave way too much time to one of New Japan’s Western audience’s least favorite combinations. Seek out those first two matches, and maybe the Bullet Club battle if you enjoy Chase Owens, but the last two matches will not change your mind on the performers involved.
We are almost at the halfway mark, and this has generally felt like a sub-par G1 Climax. The structure has not helped my interest levels and the benefit of adding the likes of Archer and Lawlor is offset when you keep the likes of Fale, Takahashi, and Owens in the tournament. To me, the key to freshening up the G1 was less instead of more. Or rather, less sub-par or stale wrestlers instead of adding more wrestlers on top. This tournament so far has not changed my mind.