By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
New Japan Pro Wrestling “G1 Climax Tournament Night 6”
July 26, 2022 in Tokyo, Japan at Korakuen Hall
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.
At the conclusion of this show, 20 wrestlers will have competed in two tournament matches, with the other 8 wrestlers having competed on one each. While no one is “technically eliminated” at 0-2, it will require a lot of luck in tie-breakers to win a block, even if the wrestler goes 4-0 the rest of the way.
Kevin Kelly and Chris Charlton provided commentary at ringside.
1. Yujiro Takahashi and Sho defeated Yuto Nakashima and Ryohei Oiwa at 6:35. The announcers pointed out that Pieter is not with Yujiro, as she left with him after the match Sunday, so this storyline is going to continue. Funny, harmless undercard storyline. Charlton said Kosei Fujita was supposed to be in this match but was banged up from a recent show. The commentators joked about Yuto having big, curly hair that he’s really growing out. The Young Lions applied simultaneous Boston Crabs. Sho applied a headlock submission hold that also grabbed Yuto’s weak left arm, and Yuto tapped out. Basic as expected here.
2. Toru Yano and Tomohiro Ishii defeated Jonah and Bad Dude Tito at 8:23. The announcers said this was Jonah’s first match in Korakuen Hall in seven years. At 4:00, Jonah and Ishii squared off (they battled in Impact Wrestling earlier this year), and Jonah hit a senton splash. Ishii fired back with a huge German Suplex that got a pop. Tito tagged in and traded forearm shots and chops with Ishii. Ishii hit a vertical suplex. Yano tagged in, took off the corner post, but was immediately whipped into that corner. Ishii hit a clothesline on Tito, and Yano was right there to get a schoolboy rollup on Tito for the pin. Ishii and Jonah jawed some more.
3. Will Ospreay, Aaron Henare, and Jeff Cobb defeated Hirooki Goto, Jado, and Tama Tonga at 8:05. Ospreay and Tonga started with fast reversals and Tonga hitting a nice dropkick. Ospreay came back with a huracarana and a spin kick in the corner. Cobb entered at 4:00 and stood on Tonga’s back. Henare and Goto entered and traded stiff shots, and Goto dropped him with a clothesline at 6:00. Jado entered for the first time and brawled with Henare. All six brawled in the ring, but it was suddenly just Henare and Jado again, and Henare applied the Full Nelson lock, and Jado tapped out.
4. Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanhashi, and Yoshi-Hoshi defeated Zack Sabre Jr., Taichi, and Taka Michinoku at 9:02. Zack and Tanahashi started, and Charlton said it has been two years since these two had a singles match, but have been familiar foes in the past. Okada and Taichi started brawling on the floor at 3:00 while Sabre was still tying Hiroshi in knots in the ring. Taichi and Okada traded offense in the ring. Yoshi-Hoshi entered at 7:30 for the first time and he traded blows with Taka. Taka applied a Crippler Crossface move on the mat. Yoshi-Hoshi hit a clothesline on Taka for the pin. Sabre and Hiroshi continued to jaw after the match.
5. Tetsuya Naito, Bushi, Sanada, and Shingo Takagi defeated. El Phantasmo, Jay White, Bad Luck Fale, and Gedo at 9:59. White and Sanada started, and White did some push-ups and wanted a pose-off. Of course, when Sanada went to do push-ups, White attacked him. The LIJ team started working over White with some quick tags in and out. Phantasmo entered and raked Naito’s back at 4:30. Shingo entered and traded offense with ELP, hitting a senton on Phantasmo. ELP came back with a springboard crossbody block at 7:30. Bushi entered and hit a DDT on Phantasmo for a nearfall. Bushi hit his second-rope Lungblower to the chest on Gedo for the pin.
* Intermission. I want to point out that of the eight men in tournament action here, Juice Robinson is the only man presently at 1-0. Four others are 0-1 and three others are 0-0. I have stated this already, but a 0-2 start all but guarantees an elimination in a six-match tournament.
6. Chase Owens (2) defeated Great-O-Khan (0) in a B Block tournament match at 12:02. Owens threw powder in GOK’s eyes as Khan entered the ring, and he immediately took control. GOK hit a snap suplex for a nearfall at 4:30, then he hit his Mongolian Chops to the shoulders. Owens hit a Lungblower to the chest. Owens got a rollup with his feet on the ropes, but the referee saw it. Owens went for a C-Trigger knee strike, but O-Khan blocked it. O-Khan applied a Claw over Owens’ face, but Owens was able to escape at 10:30. Owens snapped O-Khan’s throat over the top rope, then he hit the C-Trigger. Owens then nailed the package piledriver for the pin. Stunning upset, but GOK never got going after that powder in the eyes to start the match.
7. EVIL (w/Dick Togo) (2) defeated Kenta (0) via count-out in a C Block tournament match at 10:12. Kevin Kelly noted that EVIL went 7-2 in block action last year, but he”s never won a Block. This is a battle of two stable-mates, so this will be intriguing. EVIL offered a handshake, faked an attack, and backed off. Kenta got a book from under the ring and handed it to EVIL, but EVIL tossed it in the air and attacked Kenta. They brawled to ringside. In the ring, they took turn cheating, using Togo to help. EVIL and Togo hit a team Magic Killer slam for a nearfall at 6:00.
Kenta went for Go To Sleep, but EVIL escaped; EVIL went for his Everything is EVIL uranage, but Kenta escaped. The referee got bumped, and Kenta got a crutch from under the ring. Togo hopped in the ring and took it. Kenta immediately did the “Eddie Spot,” collapsing and pretending he was struck. Kenta got a series of rollups for nearfalls. Kenta applied a crossface submission hold at 8:00, but the lights went out! When the lights came back on, EVIL was choking Kenta with a shirt.
They dueled with chairs on the floor and began brawling away from ringside. EVIL dove in the ring. Kenta tried to get in the ring, but Togo, who was hiding under the ring, held onto Kenta’s feet, stopping him from getting in before being counted out. Lame finish to a rather disappointing match. At 0-2, Kenta is all but eliminated. Sho came to ringside and Kelly decided that Sho was responsible for the lights going out. Kenta did the “Too Sweet” hand gesture with EVIL, Sho and Togo, even though he lost. That is already the third countout of the tournament, which sure is a cheap cop-out.
8. Lance Archer (2) defeated Tom Lawlor (w/Royce Isaacs) (0) in an A Block tournament match at 11:48. Quite the height and weight difference here; the announcers have tried so far to talk up Lawlor’s knee strike finisher as how he can win matches in this “monsters block.” Archer no-sold Lawlor’s early offense, and they traded forearm strikes. Archer hit some running elbow strikes in the corner at 3:30.
Archer hit a release suplex, with Lawlor crashing to the mat. Lawlor hit a dropkick on the knee at 5:00 and applied a front choke, and he tried to put a submission hold on as they fought on the mat. Archer hit a Mafia Kick to the jaw, but he seemed winded. Archer set up for a Pounce, but Lawlor applied another front headlock move at 8:00. In a crazy spot, Archer chokeslammed Lawlor off the ring apron and onto Isaacs on the floor. Archer hit a Black Hole Slam for a nearfall.
Lawlor picked him up and dropped him to the mat, and they were both down. Lawlor applied a rear-naked choke, but Archer fell backward to squish Lawlor and escape at 11:00. However, Archer hit the Black Out overhead flipping powerbomb for the pin. That was fairly lopsided; I never felt like Archer was in risk of losing.
9. David Finlay (2) defeated Juice Robinson (2) in a D Block tournament match at 24:03. It is worth reiterating these two didn’t turn on each other or “break up” as a tag team; Robinson had declared he was leaving NJPW only to show up as a surprise member in the Bullet Club just weeks later. Also, it has been nearly six years since they last fought each other. Robinson attacked the ring announcer with a low blow.
They glared at each other and opened with standing reversals and mat holds. It feels they are telling a story that Juice isn’t upset with Finlay; he’s just indifferent. Finlay hit a dropkick at 2:00. They brawled to the floor, and Juice rammed Finlay’s left shoulder into the ring post. In the ring, Juice tied up the left arm and did more damage to the injured shoulder. Finlay hit a running elbow strike in the corner at 7:30, but Juice went back to work on the damaged shoulder. This has been methodical and slower than expected.
They fought back to the floor at 9:00, and Finlay was whipped into a guardrail. Finlay flipped Juice onto the exposed hard wood floor, but he was shaking his shoulder in pain. In the ring, Finlay hit a backbreaker over his knee for a nearfall at 12:30. Finlay hit a running elbow to the back of the head for another nearfall, and he began to stomp on Juice’s left hand and work it over. Juice removed a corner pad, and he thrust Finlay shoulder-first into the corner at 15:00.
Juice nailed the Left Hand of God punch, then a Lungblower to the chest, and they were both down. Juice hit a flipping cannonball into the corner. Juice nailed a second-rope superplex, but Finlay followed it up with a neckbreaker over his knee, and the crowd suddenly came alive. However, Juice rolled to the floor at 18:00 to avoid being pinned. Juice got in the ring and hit Pulp Friction/Unprettier for a nearfall.
Finlay hit a Sliced Bread #2 out of the corner for a believable nearfall, but Juice got his foot on the ropes at 21:00, and the crowd has really gotten into this match. Finlay clotheslined Juice over the top rope to the floor. Finlay went for a Plancha, but Juice caught him with a Left Hand of God. Juice then hit a tombstone onto the hard wood floor! He rolled Finlay in the ring and hit another Left Hand of God. Juice charged at Finlay but he wound up striking the referee, and they were both down at 23:00.
Juice grabbed the U.S. Title belt, but Finlay avoided it. Finlay struck him twice with his shillelagh and sent for the cover. However, Finlay pulled up Juice rather than get the pinfall. Finlay then hit his neckbreaker over his knee to get the pin. Decent match that was really good in the second half.
* Finlay got on the mic and said a phrase in Japanese that earned applause. He held up the U.S. title and said, “Will Ospreay, if you want your U.S. Title back, you’ll have to take it from me.” Charlton was surprised by that. Finlay said this was his year.
Final Thoughts: Not my favorite not of tournament action. The main event picked up, but it was really slow early on. I’m not thrilled about seeing yet another count-out in tournament action. The Owens win was a surprise, but much like Juice Robinson, Great-O-Khan had a nice excuse for losing.
With Juice Robinson losing, we only have three men who are 2-0 so far: Jay White, Kazuchika Okada and Zack Sabre Jr. The show ran just under three hours. The tournament resumes on Wednesday.