7/24 NJPW G1 Climax Tournament Night 5 results: Vetter’s review of Hiroshi Tanhashi vs. Tetsuya Naito, Jeff Cobb vs. Bad Luck Fale, Sanada vs. Taichi, and El Phantasmo vs. Yujiro Takahashi in tournament matches

By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)

New Japan Pro Wrestling “G1 Climax Tournament Night 5”
July 24, 2022 in Tokyo, Japan at Ota City General Gymnasium
Streamed live on New Japan World

This is a 28-man round-robin tournament, which is spread out over 20 shows held in a 33-day span. There are four blocks, each comprised of seven wrestlers. Thus, each competitor has six tournament matches. Most of the 20 events have between four and six tournament matches. This is the first year there have been four blocks since 2000.

In a quirk because of having an odd number of competitors in each Block, all four matches today are the second tournament bouts for each competitor, but EVIL, Great-O-Khan and Tom Lawlor won’t have their first tournament match until Tuesday. From a kayfabe standpoint, that has to put those three at a disadvantage, as they will have six tournament matches over the next 13 shows.

Also, because there are just six tournament matches, it means that the main event tonight of Tetsuya Naito (0-1) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (0-1) is essentially an elimination match. With tiebreakers, it is hard to imagine whoever starts 0-2 could win the block, even if they somehow won their final four matches.

Kevin Kelly and Chris Charlton provided commentary at ringside. This event had a LARGE crowd; during the main event, Charlton noted it is the biggest crowd since before the pandemic began.

1. Toru Yano, Hirooki Goto, and Hiroshi-Yoshi defeated Sho, EVIL, and Dick Togo at 7:46. All six brawled at the bell. Yano got in and removed the corner post. The heels worked over Yano. Yano hit a low blow on Togo, rolled him up, and got the pin. Well below-average action here.

2. Chase Owens and Kenta defeated Tom Lawlor and Royce Isaacs at 8:48. In a fun spot, Owens set up for a dive to the floor, but instead basically did a baseball slide through the ropes while holding onto the ropes. Kenta and Isaacs traded good mid-ring reversals. Lawlor nailed Kenta with a series of kneestrikes and got a nearfall; unfortunately these two won’t meet in a singles match in this tournament. Owens hit a stunner out of the corner on Isaacs for a believable nearfall. Isaacs hit a Goldberg-style Jackhammer on Owens. However, Owens hit a package piledriver on Isaacs for the pin. This was a really good undercard match, and made up for a really bad opener.

3. Jonah and Bad Dude Tito defeated Bushi and Shingo Takagi at 8:32. Jonah and Shingo traded good offense to open, and that’s another singles match I’d love to see but won’t play out in this tournament. Tito and Bushi squared off with Tito dominating the offense. Shingo hit a clothesline at 5:00 on Jonah, but Jonah didn’t budge. Shingo hit a snap suplex on Jonah. Shingo went for a bodyslam, but they did the Hogan-Andre spot, with Shingo’s legs buckling and Jonah getting a nearfall. Bushi hit a dive to the floor. Jonah hit a double clothesline on his opponents. However, Jonah nailed a standing powerbomb on Bushi for the pin. Jonah is so much fun to watch. Kelly points out that Jonah has six more days to wait until his second tournament match.

4. Will Ospreay, Great-O-Khan, Aaron Henare defeated Lance Archer, Zack Sabre Jr., and Taka Michinoku at 6:18. Rivals Ospreay and Sabre started with standing switches and fast reversals. Just a great first two minutes of action. O-Khan and Henare tagged in and out and worked over Sabre. Archer finally tagged in at 4:00. Archer and O-Khan tugged on each other’s long braids. Ospreay hit a chop on Archer that Lance no-sold; Archer then hit a Pounce on Ospreay. Taka tagged in at 5:30 for the first time and he hit a superkick on Henare. However, Henare slapped on the Full Nelson lock, and Taka immediately tapped out. Fun match.

5. Kazuchika Okada, David Finlay, and Tama Tonga defeated Juice Robinson, Jay White, and Gedo at 8:51. Tonga attacked White, and they rolled to the floor and brawled, while former teammates Juice and Finlay also brawled. Finally in the ring, Juice hit a senton on Finlay for a nearfall at 4:00, and the heels worked over Finlay. Tonga made the hot tag at 7:30 and he hit a side slam on Jay White, then a Stinger Splash, and he was fired up. He went for the Gun Stun, but White blocked it and hit a DDT. Gedo hopped in the ring, but Tonga immediately hit the Gun Stun on Gedo for the pin. Fun match, but Okada basicaly had a day off here.

6. El Phantasmo (2) defeated Yujiro Takahashi (w/Pieter) (2) in a D Block tournament match at 15:45. The D Block actually has three Bullet Club/House of Torture participants, so we were going to get this heel-heel matchup. They shook hands and ELP laid down on the mat, but of course kicked out at two. ELP hit a basement dropkick as Yujiro was tied in the Tree of Woe. Phantasmo hit an Asai moonsault to the floor at 2:30, then a springboard Swanton Bomb in the ring for a nearfall.

Yujiro hit his Pimp Juice DDT on ELP on the thin mat on the floor at 4:00 and Phantasmo was nearly counted out. (Keep in mind, we already have two count-outs in the tournament.) Yujiro grounded ELP with a headlock on the mat. ELP hit a second-rope knee drop at 7:30. Yujiro hit a Slop Drop inverted DDT, and they were both down. Yujiro hit a fisherman’s brainbuster for a believable nearfall at 9:00. Phantasmo fired back with a Lionsault for a nearfall.

Phantasmo hit a brainbuster for a believable nearfall, then a sit-out powerbomb for another believable nearfall. ELP put Yujiro on his shoulders, did an airplane spin and dropped him to the mat for another nearfall at 11:00. Yujiro hit a boot to the face in the corner for a nearfall, then a Death Valley Driver for a nearfall. Yujiro hit a Pimp Juice DDT for a believable nearfall at 13:00; I really thought that was the finish. ELP collapsed to the mat and sold a groin injury. He hopped up and hit a superkick. ELP grabbed Sho, who had hopped on the ring apron.

They did the “Eddie” spot where ELP tossed Sho’s wrench at Yujiro and collapsed to the mat. The ref turned around and thought Yujiro used it. I thought the ref was about to DQ Yujiro, but instead he just confiscated the wrench. This allowed ELP to hit a low blow, a superkick, and a frogsplash for the pin. This topped all expectations. Pieter left the ring with Phantasmo, and that enraged Yujiro. Funny.

7. Sanada (2) defeated Taichi (2) in a B Block tournament match at 15:50. Sanada lost to Jay White in his first match, so a loss here will almost certainly eliminate him. Stalling early. Yujiro tied up Sanada mid-ring. Taichi hit a spin kick in the corner at 6:30. Sanada hit a dropkick, and he tried to lock in Skull End at 8:30, but Taichi escaped. Taichi hit an enziguri. Sanada fired back with a roaring elbow and a butterfly suplex.

Taichi went for a second-rope chokeslam at 12:00, but Sanada avoided it. Sanada hit a TKO stunner for a believable nearfall. Sanada locked in the Skull End sleeperhold on the mat. Sanada went for a moonsault, but Taichi got his knees up. Taichi got a rollup for a believable nearfall at 14:00. Taichi hit a roaring forearm, and they were both down. Taichi caught him with a spin kick near his eye, and Sanada sold the pain. (Sanada missed a couple months this year with a broken orbital bone.) Sanada got an O’Connor Roll for the pin. Sanada immediately put a bag of ice on his eye, not even taking a moment to celebrate his victory.

8. Jeff Cobb (2) defeated Bad Luck Fale (2) in an A Block tournament match at 7:12. Just like my note from the prior match, Jeff Cobb is 0-1 after losing to Okada, so a loss here would all but mathematically eliminate him. Fale missed a Stinger Splash early, and Cobb clotheslined him over the top rope to the floor. Fale took control in the ring, and stood on Cobb’s back, then got a nearfall at 4:00. Charlton observed how unusual it is for Cobb to have a larger opponent. Cobb caught him with a dropkick, but he couldn’t pick up Fale. Fale nailed a running splash onto Cobb for a nearfall.

Fale hit a Stinger Splash in the corner at 6:30, and he set up for a Razor’s Edge, but Cobb escaped. Cobb then hit an impressive vertical suplex on the big man, and it popped the crowd. Cobb then nailed the Tour of the Islands swinging powerslam for the pin. Satisfying big man match, and it didn’t need to be longer than this.

9. Hiroshi Tanahashi (2) defeated Tetsuya Naito (0) in a C Block tournament match at 22:21. Like I noted above, this is essentially an elimination match. An intense lockup to start, some mat reversals and a standoff, and the crowd is hot. They brawled to the floor, and Naito applied a leg lock around the head on the floor at 5:00. Naito rolled Tanahashi back into the ring, but immediately applied the leglock move in the center of the ring. Naito hit a neckbreaker as Hiroshi was tied in the corner to get a nearfall at 7:30.

Tanahashi hit a dragon screw leg whip, and the announcers immediately talked about Naito having an injury last year that led to him having to forfeit most of his tournament matches. Tanahashi began working over the damaged left leg. Naito hit a modified Blockbuster move out of the corner at 11:30. Naito nailed the Gloria sideslam for a nearfall, and he applied a different leg lock submission hold around Tanahashi’s head.

Naito hit a Frankensteiner out of the corner at 15:00, but Tanahashi rolled through and got a nearfall. Tanahashi hit another dragon screw leg whip, and they were both down. They traded stiff forearm shots, and this went on for more than a minute. Naito hit an enzuigiri at 18:30. Tanahashi fired back with three swinging neckbreakers, then three consecutive Sling Blade clotheslines for a nearfall. Tanahashi hit a top-rope crossbody block, but he missed the High Fly Flow frogsplash, and Naito immediately got a rollup for a nearfall at 20:30.

They traded hard slaps to the face. Naito hit a Snow Plow driver, and it appeared he was about to set up for Destino. However, Tanahashi got an inside cradle for the pin. I am stunned by this outcome. “A death knell for Naito’s dreams of headlining Wrestle Kingdom!” Kelly shouted.

* Tanahashi got on the mic and thanked the crowd for coming. He said he would thank the fans by winning the G1 tournament.

Final Thoughts: While I liked Jay White-Ishii more, this was a fantastic main event, and I truly was stunned when Naito was pinned. A great back-and-forth match, but it was the fluke rollup that got the win.

New Japan heels, and Yujiro Takahashi in particular, become de facto babyfaces in heel-heel matches too often. Not here on this day. Yujiro and Phantasmo had an extremely watchable heel-heel match without resorting to trying to garner sympathy or babyface fan support.

A quick summary: 15 wrestlers have now had two tournament matches, with just Jay White, Kazuchika Okada and Zack Sabre Jr. at 2-0, while Ishii and Naito are the only two at 0-2. That means ten wrestlers have just one tournament match so far, with three who haven’t started.

The show clocked in at just over three hours. New Japan takes Monday off before returning on Tuesday, when Lawlor, EVIL and Great-O-Khan finally get their first tournament matches.


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