By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
New Japan Pro Wrestling “G1 Climax Tournament Night 7”
July 27, 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.
Because of an uneven number of competitors in blocks, it means that Tomohiro Ishii will have his third tournament match on this show, but several others have only had one tournament match so far. (At 0-2, Ishii will be eliminated with a loss.)
Kevin Kelly and Chris Charlton provided commentary at ringside.
1. EVIL and Sho (w/Dick Togo) defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi and Yuto Nakanishi at 6:49. EVIL and Tanahashi started with basic standing reversals. Sho and Yuto entered and traded offense. I have said this before, but Yuto is so big, he could be a star. Yuto applied a Boston Crab, but Sho reached the ropes at 6:00. However, Sho applied a cross-armbreaker on Yuto (who has a gimpy elbow that is always wrapped), and Yuto immediately tapped out. Did Fujita, who has been battling an injury, even get in? I don’t think so…
2. Kenta and El Phantasmo defeated Tom Lawlor and Royce Isaacs at 7:33. Lawlor and ELP started with forearm shots. Lawlor and Isaacs worked over ELP. Kenta entered at 4:00 and traded kicks to the back with Lawlor. Isaacs hit a powerslam on Phantasmo, thehn a Goldberg-style Jackhammer. However, Phantasmo hit a superkick on Isaacs, then his modified Styles Clash for the pin. Decent. We once again saw a tease of a Lawlor-Kenta match that sounds intriguing but won’t happen in this tournament.
3. Great-O-Khan and Jeff Cobb defeated Jonah and Bad Dude Tito at 5:31. Cobb and Jonah will meet later in the tournament; they split wins in back-to-back nights in the U.S. recently. All four brawled at the bell. Jonah hit a splash on GOK for a nearfall. Cobb hit several shoulder tackles on Tito, then stood on his back at 3:00. The UE team worked over Tito. Cobb and Jonah stood toe-to-toe, traded forearm shots, then traded shoulder tackles. Simultaneous clotheslines sent both men rolling backward and out of the ring. That was awesome. Tito hit an enzuigiri. However, Khan applied the Claw to Tito’s face, while bending him over Khan’s knee, and Tito tapped out. I don’t think you can have a better undercard match than this one.
* Khan shouted to the fans that the United Empire was going to win the tournament and everyone will be waving their green flags.
4. Jay White, Juice Robinson, Chase Owens, and Gedo defeated Kazuchika Okada, Yoshi-Hoshi, David Finlay, and Ryohei Oiwa at 10:25. Charlton predicted that Jay White, who is already 2-0, will “run the table in his block.” It appeared Okada and White were going to start, but the other heels jumped Okada before they locked up. Juice and Finlay argued at each other (a reminder they had fought a night earlier with Finlay picking up the win.) If there is a swear jar, Juice just added a lot of cash to it. Yoshi-Hoshi and Juice traded offense at 3:00.
Finlay entered and stomped on Juice in the corner. The four faces took turns hitting flying moves in the corner on Juice. Oiwa applied a Boston Crab at 5:00. However, Juice flipped Oiwa to the floor, and White beat up Oiwa on the floor, throwing him into the guardrails. In the ring, White grabbed the ref and Charlton speculated that it could lead to a DQ. Gedo entered at 8:00 and continued the beat-down on Oiwa.
Chase hit some forearm shots on Oiwa. Oiwa fired back with a dropkick. Juice hit a senton splash, and Chase hit a running kneestrike for a nearfall. Owens then hit a second C-Trigger kneestrike on Oiwa for the pin. Pretty sure that Okada’s time in the match was limited to those first 30 seconds, and Yoshi-Hoshi was barely more than that, too.
5. Tetsuya Naito, Bushi, Sanada, and Shingo Takagi defeated Lance Archer, Taka Michinoku, Zack Sabre Jr., and Taichi at 7:26. Shingo and Archer started, and the announcers believe this is the first time these two have ever locked up. Taichi entered and choked Shingo. Naito and Sabre tagged in at 3:30 and traded quicker offense. Bushi and Taka entered at 6:00 and squared off. Taka applied a crossface on Sanada on the mat, and he got a few rollup attempts. However, Sanada applied the Skull End sleeper-hold, and Taka tapped out. Disappointing in that there is so much talent here that we saw just a taste of what could be great matches. Sabre and Naito continued to argue after the match.
6. Will Ospreay (4) defeated Yujiro Takahashi (2) in a D Block match at 11:15. A heel-heel match, but the crowd has been cheering for the United Empire. They fought to the floor immediately, and Yujiro slammed him to the thin mat. Yujiro took control in the ring. He hit a belly-to-back suplex for a nearfall at 3:30. Ospreay came back with a handspring-back-spin kick. Ospreay nailed a springboard flying forearm for a nearfall. He went for a standing shooting star press, but Yujiro got his knees up to block it at 5:30.
Yujiro hit a fisherman’s brainbuster for a nearfall. Ospreay hit an enziguri. Yujiro hit a Samoan Drop for a nearfall. Ospreay hit an impressive springboard 450 splash for a believable nearfall at 8:30. Yujiro hit a low blow uppercut and a Death Valley Driver for a nearfall. Yujiro nailed a tornado DDT, and he nailed his Pimp Juice DDT for a believable nearfall at 10:30. Ospreay hit his spin kick to the face, then a pop-up forearm, then he nailed the Hidden Blade/running forearm to the jaw for the pin. Good match. Ospreay becomes just the fourth wrestler to be 2-0 at this point.
7. Bad Luck Fale (4) defeated Toru Yano (2) in an A Block match at 5:33. Ugh, this could be ugly if it goes too long. Fale immediately dropped Yano with a forearm, and he no-sold Yano’s forearm shots. Funny stuff early. Yano went for a rollup at 1:00 and immediately rolled to the floor to stall, but Fale refused to take the bait, and Yano had to run back in to avoid being counted out. Yano slapped the back of Fale’s head, and that pissed Fale off, and Yano immediately apologized. They went to the floor at 3:30, and this feels like a trap for Fale.
Yano got a water bottle from under the ring and sprayed Fale with it. In the ring, Fale beat Yano with a corner pad. Yano hit a low blow mule kick. Fale pushed Yano into the exposed corner (no pad), and Fale immediately got a rollup for the pin. Harmless and at times funny, and that’s the best you can hope for here.
8. Hirooki Goto (4) defeated Aaron Henare (2) in a C Block match at 17:09. Henare is the first man to have the third match in the tournament, as he is 1-1, while Goto is 1-0 after that huge win over Naito. An intense lockup to start and they brawled to the floor, with Henare hitting the guardrail, but bouncing off it and nailing a clothesline at 3:30. In the ring, Henare hit a second-rope spin kick to the jaw. Henare applied an ankle lock, and he tied up Goto’s head, then he nailed a Curb Stomp at 6:30. Goto hit a short-arm clothesline and they were both down.
Henare hit a spin kick to Goto’s chest that dropped him at 8:30, then a running kneestrike in the corner, then a second-rope senton splash for a nearfall. Henare applied a Full Nelson, but Goto powered out. Goto hit a neckbreaker over his knee, and they were both down at 11:00. Goto hit a clothesline for a nearfall. Henare hit a Blue Thunder Bomb and they were both down again. This has been intense and believable offense. Goto hit a clothesline in the corner, then they traded mid-ring forearm shots.
Henare hit his running shoulder tackle for a believable nearfall; this is the finisher he had been using earlier this year before switching to the Full Nelson. He then applied the Full Nelson at 14:30. Henare let go of the move and hit a kick to the jaw. Goto hit his Slop Drop inverted DDT out of the corner, and they were both down again. The crowd was really hot, as this has been really good. Henare charged Goto, but Goto scooped him up for a DVD move for a believable nearfall. Goto then hit a swinging neckbreaker over his knee for the pin. That was really, really good. Goto now is the fifth man at 2-0, joining Ospreay, Sabre, Okada, and Jay White.
9. Tomohiro Ishii (2) defeated Tama Tonga (2) in a B Block match at 20:03. I love these two, and the crowd is hot for this face-face matchup. An intense lockup to start. Ishii dropped him with a shoulder tackle. They traded forearms in the corner, with Ishii again getting the upper hand. Tama hit a suplex at 3:30, a Stinger Splash in the corner, and a high belly-to-back suplex for a nearfall. Tama hit a chop that Ishii no-sold, so Ishii hit his chop and forearm strikes. Ishii hit a belly-to-back suplex for a nearfall at 6:30.
Tama hit a dropkick and was fired up, but Ishii immediately hit a flying shoulder tackle, and they were both down. Ishii hit a second-rope superplex for a nearfall at 8:00. Tama came back with a swinging neckbreaker, then a drop kick, but he missed a second Stinger Splash. Tama hit a rolling Death Valley Driver and a top-rope frogsplash for a nearfall at 11:00. Tama went for a Stun Gun/stunner, but Ishii fell backward and they both crashed to the mat.
They traded mid-ring forearm shots, and Ishii went down. They traded more, with Tama going down. This has been physical. Ishii hit a standing powerbomb for a nearfall at 14:00. He hit an enzuigiri and a clothesline for a nearfall. They avoided each other’s big moves. Tama leapt into Ishii’s arms and turned it into a DDT for a nearfall. Tama went for a Gun Stun, but Ishii avoided it. They traded headbutts at 16:30 and both collapsed.
Tama hit a brainbuster for a believable nearfall. Tama hit a TKO Stunner for another believable nearfall at 18:30. Ishii hit his own TKO Stunner, then a decapitating clothesline for a nearfall. Tama hit an enziguri. Ishii nailed the brainbuster for the pin. “What a great match,” Kelly observed. Usually, the winner of the main event takes the mic and addresses the crowd, but Ishii just walked to the back.
* Backstage, Ishii said he has started slow but he’s coming back. That’s it… one sentence from the man of few words. (Thanks as always for Charlton’s spot-on live translation.)
Final Thoughts: Great show after a subpar outing a day earlier. Ishii and Tonga had an epic outing, and even with Ishii at 0-2, I could have seen him losing again here. (He’s teflon; he loses all the time but is so believable, it doesn’t hurt him to take a loss.)
Of the non-headliner tournament matches through seven shows, that Henare-Goto is probably second-best so far behind an excellent Shingo Takagi vs. Yoshi-Hoshi matchup last week. Just intense and believable and I felt it could go either way, which really added to the drama. Ospreay’s match against Yujiro won’t go down in the Ospreay greatest matches volume 83, but he got a decent match out of Takahashi.
The show clocked in at 2 hours, 40 minutes. The tournament takes two days off and returns Saturday.
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