NJPW G1 Climax 32 Day 5 Review
CHAOS (Toru Yano, Hiroyoki Goto, and YOSHI HASHI) vs. House of Torture (IVIL, SHO, and Dick Togo).
We’re still in Tokyo, at the Ota City General Gymnasium arena, which was attended by 2,518 people this time. A match of a little over seven and a half minutes that didn’t really surprise us at all. It started with a House of Torture attack and some classic dirt, both in and out of the ring. The main star of the fight was probably Toru Yano, because he took quite a bit of damage, found an opportunity for a comedy spot (he was “saving” a ternbuckle removed from the corner of the ring from being beaten by “House”), and responded with his own not-so-clean moves to the dirt of his opponents. In the end, Toru confronted SHO and Dick Togo, held both of them below the belt and rolled up the “legal” Dick to 3, bringing CHAOS the win.
Spotting Toru Yano, who defends the turnbuckle by risking himself, certainly made me smile at his “goofiness,” but overall in terms of in-ring work it was a below average match. Plus, I’m not quite sure what the point of this match was, since the Goto vs. IVIL match in Block C is still a while away, so what else could this teamwork be leading us to? Anyway, the match didn’t drag on, which in this case is a good thing, and the person it didn’t hurt much was retained, so that’ll do.
Team Filthy (Royce Isaacs and Tom Lawlor) vs Bullet Club (KENTA and Chase Owens)
This match lasted about a minute longer than the previous one, but just like the opening game, it’s not clear what it’s tied to. This one was marked by the expected power work from Royce, and KENTA showed a very nice exchange with both him and Lawlor. With Tom, the Japanese not only gave a nice exchange of punches, but also some close pain attempts. It’s even a shame that Tom and KENTA won’t meet in a singles bout for the foreseeable future, for that could have been interesting. Near the end, Chase had a very close Stanner to Isaacs, to which Royce responded with a jackhammer to 2. Owens didn’t allow himself to be finished, holding a C-Trigger and a Package Piledriver, which gave the Bullet Club the win.
This match was an order of magnitude above the opener: an exemplary short team undercard. Predictably, Royce was held back, as he’s the only one not competing in the tournament, and Owens got a bit of momentum at the expense of that.
TMDK (JONA and Bad Dude Tito) vs Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI and Shingo Takagi)
The wrestlers got eight and a half minutes. Shingo and JONAH started off the fight with some nice power work (why does this tournament make the exchanges between people who aren’t in G1 look better than the previews for tournament matches?). BUSHI and Tito also got their time, mostly dominated by a TMDK representative. Toward the middle, Shingo came to the aid of a comrade, spent a lariat…but JONA appeared to feel the damage. Tonga “The Dragon” charged with a snap suplex, attempted a badi slam, but the Aussie converted, roughly speaking, into a crossbody. BUSHI neutralized Tito with a suicide dive, in the quadrangle LIJ wanted to finish off JONU, but he fought off the teamwork attempt, held a double lariat and finished off BUSHI with a powerbomb.
Another very good match for its timing, with the main motive being the exchanges between JONA and Shingo. Hopefully we’ll see a big singles match between the two at some point. It was immediately clear that either BUSHI or Tito would be held back. In the end, it was BUSHI who got hurt. As a LIJ fan I’m offended, but objectively I realize it’s okay.
Suzuki-Gun (Lance Archer, Zach Sabre and TAKA Michinoku) vs. United Empire (Aaron Henare, The Great O-Han and Will Osprey)
Shortest match on the show: 6:22. Before kickoff, Archer and O-Han argued over who had the coolest braid. The match was started by old acquaintances Will Ospreay and Zack Saber, Jr. Naturally, they had a very nice speed and technique segment, after which Zack suffered some work from O-Han and Henare for a while. Aaron even “punched” ZSJ’s ribs, but he managed to fight back and send Archer into the match. Lance and O=Hean dragged each other by the braids, fought, the right to fight went to Ospreay, who gave Archer the chop… but Lance didn’t feel it, giving the United States Champion a hard takedown. TAKA got the right to fight, ran some classic attacks, and got Henare in the quad, who concluded Michinoka in Ultima without much trouble, from which the veteran surrendered.
A solid fun team match from the undercard, with old acquaintances (Sabre and Osprey, Osprey and Archer) giving away some cool spots, and Michinoku predictably falling to his death. Poor TAKA…
Kazuchika Okada, Tama Tonga and David Finley vs Bullet Club (Jay White, Juice Robinson and Gedo)
The wrestlers spent just under 9 minutes in and out of the ring. Tonga predictably focused all of his attention on Wyatt, and they brawled first in the ring and then out of the ring while Juice Robinson and David Finley did the same thing. Upon his return to the quadrangle, Robinson held the senton, turning the fight over to his partners. Dave suffered from the “club” work for a while, but fought back and handed the “hot” tag to Tama. He started destroying White, and did a couple or three crowning maneuvers, but Gun Stun Jay blocked and sent Gedo into the fight, which meant that the end was close. After the Parade of Moves, Gedo ran into Okada, which made him very unhappy. So much so that he missed Gun Stun from Tama, and the good guys team won.
Another fun teammate that promoted the sixth day main event, as well as one of Block C’s main matches. The only person who could be held back in a match like this, however, was held back, and that’s okay.
El Fantazmo vs. Yujiro Takahashi – Block D Match
Peter was accompanied by Yujiro. These two are meeting for the first time, which is perhaps unsurprising. At the start, Takahashi “amicably” offered Fantazmo Peter in exchange for 2 points. ELP agreed, got a kiss on the cheek from the girl, lay down in the center of the ring… and, of course, converted the hold into a wrap-up to 2. A few more roll-ups followed, and the Canadian took control, scratching the back of the vis-a-vis and hanging him upside down in the corner. 2 dropkicks to the head, and the action moved to ringside, where El Fantazmo held several chops. He then held a great Asai Moonsault as well, adding a Springboard Senton on his return to the quadrangle followed, but only to 2. A CR2 attempt by Yugiro reversed, biting his opponent on the finger, for which he received an enziguri. Fantazmo climbed to the third rope, but Takahashi brought him down, buying himself some time. Again the wrestlers found themselves outside the ring, where Yujiro did a DDT that nearly caused ELP to lose on the countout. After enduring some more classic attacks, the Canadian caught his opponent with a dropkick. Punch and Manhattan Drop strengthened El Fantazmo’s advantage, and then a slam with an Elbow Drop followed. Sudden Death Takahashi blocked, held a reverse DDT and a hot shot on the ropes.
Fisherman buster to 2 followed, and a springboard crossbody with Quebrada allowed Fantazmo to get back in the fight. Brainbuster and Leaguer Bomb were great ground for UFO, breaking out of the hold after which, Yujiro “accidentally”. held his opponent with a low blow. Intercollegiate Slam and Miami Shine almost gave Takahashi the win, as did Pimp Juice, but only to 2. Big Juice Fantazmo blocked to hold Sudden Death. ELP was ready to wrap it up, but SHO showed up. Naturally, Fantazmo was distracted by him, and the House of Torture representative handed Takahashi a wrench. Yujiro, however, failed to hit his opponent, getting a kick below the belt. Taking the wrench away from his opponent, the Canadian gave it back to Takahashi, faking that he was attacked. The referee took his chance, but instead of disqualifying Yugiro, he put the wrench away… which Fantazmo took advantage of, hitting a low kick and a Sudden Death Superkick. Neutralizing SHO with a suicide dive, El Fantazmo jumped to the third rope, sent Peter an air kiss and held Thunder Kiss ’86 for the win. After celebrating the victory, he left, hugging Peter. And the girl didn’t mind. Yujiro, having come to his senses, was furious that he had been left without both his tournament points and his companion.
You know, this match has both pluses and minuses. I generally liked the story, and that thing with Fantasmo taking Peter with him (it would have been interesting if that story had continued in the tournament, like Peter would now go out with Fantasmo, but that’s minor stuff), and El Fantasmo was great, both in terms of in-ring work and interacting with everything alive within maybe a 500 meter radius. Takahashi, on the other hand, in his classic style, “dried up” the match, adding neither momentum nor spectacle to it, and in his moments of domination time seemed to run twice as slow. In the end Fantazmo won, and that, in my opinion, was the right decision (Takahashi wasn’t even supposed to win against Finley), although it was hard work. The Canadian is to be congratulated on his serious achievement, the first G1 victory of his career, too bad he’s not a banger.
SANADA vs. Taichi – Block B match
Miho Abe was accompanied by Taichi. The fourth match between the wrestlers (third in G1), and SANADA leads 2-1. The opening segment was memorable with a classic ropesbreak, after which SANADA played a bit of pecs. Taichi seemed to have decided to take part in this duel between the “dancing breasts”, but, apparently, realizing that the public supports SANADA more, somehow no longer wanted to participate in such a confrontation. The wrestlers exchanged showstoppers, Taichi rolled out of the ring and avoided the plancha, returning to the quadrangle, and we saw some more pecs action. Finally, the Suzuki-Gun representative got angry and choked his opponent in the corner, adding a couple of attacks. Seija tried to get back into the fight, but Taichi caught him with his Kitchen Sink Knee, and the abdominal stretch ended in a ropes break. To a series of lariats in the corner, SANADA responded with a back elbow and a dropkick to the knee. An atomic dropkick sent Taichi outside the four-corner, where the LIJ representative caught up with the plancha vis-a-vis, but “The Holy Emperor” held a gamengiri on his return to the ring. SANADA responded to the next couple of kicks with a dropkick, to which he received an Axe Bomber. Breaking off his tights, Taichi charged with a superkick, which SANADA interrupted by applying Skull End. Taichi fought back, smothering his opponent again, and then tried to go for a Nodo Otoshi, which was blocked…
But SANADA did get hurt by him a second later when he flew out of the corner of the ring. Hold up to 2, and SANADA “exploded” with a bunch of Rolling Elbow and Tiger suplexes to 1! Taichi broke free, hit a Dangerous Backdrop Driver, and this time it was SANADA who broke free for 1. In the next episode, Seiya tried to go flying off the third rope, but Taichi stopped him by trying to go for a Chokeslam… SANADA got away from him with a backflip, caught his opponent with a rollup to 2, and then did a TKO as well, also to 2. Skull End followed, but of course SANADA didn’t want to wait for his opponent to surrender, so he left him, went for a munsolt from the third rope, and naturally got right into his foe’s raised knees. A sudden Gedo Clutch, but only to 2, and SANADA came out on his own roll, which Taichi reversed by attacking the eye, which Seyi already had problems with for most of 2022. Another Gedo Clutch, and again not to the point of victory. Taichi had a few more punches, but Last Ride failed, for which SANADA got a series of Kawada kicks to the same eye. Enziguri there as well, and Black Mephisto was reversed, after which Taichi caught the momentum for the crowning sumo throw. The “loaded” forearm kick to the head didn’t go through, for SANADA reversed it into a Japanese Leg Clutch to 3. SANADA immediately put ice on his injured eye, not even celebrating the victory, and finally the wrestlers showed each other some respect.
A very good match that took quite a while to get going, but grew into something very close to the concept of a banger somewhere after the equator. The odds were even, but a win for SANADA was probably the right choice, for 2 straight losses would have probably very, very much reduced Seija’s chances of reaching the semifinals.