By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
New Japan Pro Wrestling “G1 Climax Tournament Night 11”
August 5, 2022 in Ehime, Japan at Item Ehime
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. On this show we have five Block matches.
Kevin Kelly provided commentary from ringside. This is a huge room with perhaps a crowd of 1,000, and it appears all the seating is on the floor.
1. Tama Tonga and Jado defeated David Finlay and Kosei Fujita at 6:41. Gedo and Fujita started. Finlay tagged in and beat up both opponents. Finlay hit a backbreaker over his knee on Tama, and they were trading good offense. Fujita applied a Boston Crab on Tama at 5:30. However, Tama avoided a dropkick, applied a Sharpshooter, and Fujita tapped out. Fairly basic but decent.
2. Will Ospreay and Great-O-Khan defeated Tom Lawlor and Royce Isaacs at 7:25. Lawlor and GOK started with mat reversals, and Lawlor went for a cross-armbreaker. Ospreay ran in and CLOCKED Lawlor with a kick to the head to break it up. Ospreay and Isaacs brawled on the floor. Ospreay was beating up Lawlor in the ring, and Lawlor appeared groggy and dazed, and this appeared to be legit injury from that kick to the head; Lawlor barely got Ospreay up before awkwardly slamming him. When Lawlor tagged out, he was just lying on the ring apron.
Ospreay hit a handspring-back-spin kick on Royce. O-Khan tagged back in and beat up Isaacs. Lawlor did break up a pinfall attempt, but Ospreay just rolled him to the floor. O-Khan hit a backbreaker over his knee, applied a Claw to Isaacs’ face, and Royce tapped out. Awkward match and hopefully Lawlor will recover and continue on in this tournament.
3. Shingo Takagi, Bushi, and Sanada defeated Lance Archer, Zack Sabre Jr., and Taka Michinoku at 7:45. Bushi and Taka fought early. Archer entered and he helped beat up Bushi. Shingo tagged in and faced Archer at 4:00. Shingo hit a hard clothesline. Sabre entered and hit some European Uppercuts on Shingo. Shingo fired back with a Death Valley Driver, and they were both down. All six brawled in the ring. Archer hit a running forearm in the corner on Sanada. Sanada traded offense with Taka. Bushi hit a lungblower on Taka, then Bushi hit a dive to the floor. This allowed Sanada to lock on the Skull End submission hold, and Taka tapped out. Really good action when Shingo was in the ring against Archer or Sabre.
4. Kazuchika Okada, Toru Yano, Tomohiro Ishii, Yoshi-Hoshi, and Hirooki Goto defeated Bad Luck Fale, El Phantasmo, Jay White, Gedo, and Kenta at 9:24. White and Okada once again led off for their teams. Ishii entered and hit a vertical suplex on White. The Bullet Club took turns beating up Ishii. Ishii nailed a Saito Suplex on White at 6:00. Yoshi-Hoshi made the hot tag and traded offense with El Phantasmo. Goto hit a snap suplex, dropping Gedo onto ELP. Yano entered at 8:00 and immediately removed pads over the corners. Yano hit a low blow on Gedo, and got a rollup for the pin. Ishii vs. White was the highlight. Once again, some guys like Okada were barely in the ring, but that happens in a 10-man tag.
5. Yujiro Takahashi (w/Sho) (4) defeated Juice Robinson (2) in a D Block match at 12:09. Heel-heel matches are tough. Yujiro offered a “Too Sweet” hand gesture, but Juice just punched him instead. Juice hit a Mafia Kick. Yujiro bailed to the floor. Juice whipped Sho into the guardrail at 3:00. The crowd was quiet, which is expected. Juice set up for a piledriver on Yujiro on the floor, but Sho made the save. In the ring, Yujiro hit a fisherman’s suplex for a nearfall at 5:30.
Yujiro clipped Juice’s left knee, and he dominated for a few minutes. He nailed the Pimp Juice DDT for a nearfall at 9:30. Juice clocked him with a punch. Sho tried to hit Juice with his wrench, but Juice stole it from him. The ref yelled at Juice for having it, so Juice gave it to him. Yujiro pushed Juice into the ref, and the ref was down at 11:30. Yujiro hit a low blow with his walking stick. He then hit the Pimp Juice DDT for the tainted pin. That is among my five least-favorite matches of the tournament. At 1-3, Juice is eliminated.
6. Taichi (w/Miho Abe) (4) defeated Chase Owens (2) in a B Block match at 13:22. Another heel-heel matchup, but I expect Taichi will be the de facto babyface. They brawled to the floor, and Chase whipped Taichi into the guardrail. In the ring, Owens hit a gutbuster over his knee at 5:30, and he was dominating. Owens nailed a running knee to the jaw, and he can’t keep his eyes off Miho Abe, who is showing zero interest. Taichi hit some Yes Kicks to Owens’ chest at 8:00. Taichi nailed a Saito Suplex for a nearfall.
Owens nailed a superkick at 10:00, and they were both down. Owens hit a running knee strike for a nearfall. Taichi caught him with a spin kick to the jaw, and they were both down again. Owens hit another knee strike, but he couldn’t hit the package piledriver. Taichi hit a roaring forearm, then an Air Raid Crash for the pin. Good match. I must admit I’m surprised Abe didn’t play a role in the finish of the match, with the way Owens’ was trying to flirt with her early on.
NOTE: Lawlor joined commentary and joked that he has “nine lives.” The good news is he seems alert and conversational.
7. Tetsuya Naito (4) defeated Aaron Henare (2) in a C Block match at 17:14. Henare opened with some punches to the gut. Naito hit a hurancanrana. They brawled to the floor, with Henare whipping Naito into the guardrails. In the ring, Henare tied up Naito’s legs. Naito hit a Rude Awakening standing neckbreaker for a nearfall at 7:00. Henare nailed a Stomp to the back. Naito took over the offense, and hit a Frankensteiner hurancanrana out of the corner at 11:30, and the crowd was coming alive.
Henare nailed a swinging sit-out powerbomb, and they were both down. Kelly told Lawlor he should avoid Henare, and Ospreay, after Ospreay gave him a concussion. Henare hit a second-rope senton splash for a nearfall at 13:30. Henare went for the Full Nelson Lock, but Naito escaped. Henare then locked it in, and Naito bent his knees, trying to power out of it. Naito looked like he might tap out as they fell to the mat, but Naito reached the ropes at 15:30.
Henare dropped Naito with a punch to the gut. Henare picked him up on his shoulders, but Naito somehow turned that into a modified Destino. Naito then nailed Destino for the clean pin. A really good match, and Naito remains alive at 2-2; because of tie-breakers, Naito really needs Tanahashi to lose later to stay alive. At 1-3, Henare is eliminated, but he continues to look really good.
8) Jonah (4) defeated Jeff Cobb (4) in an A Block match at 14:49. In my eyes, this is the real main event. I noted this the other day — these two traded wins on consecutive days recently in the United States, and this should be an excellent rematch. (New Japan’s website says Jonah has a 2-1 lifetime record). An intense lockup to start, and a test of strength. They traded shoulder tackles with neither man budging an inch. Like the other day, they collided and both fell backward and rolled out of the ring at 3:00. The crowd is hot here.
Jonah nailed a flying shoulder tackle from the ring apron to the floor, and he slammed shut a gate door on the guardrail, hitting Cobb. In the ring, Jonah stood on Cobb’s chest at 6:00, and he slowed it down with a belly-to-back bearhug. Cobb nailed a clothesline, but Cobb somehow tumbled to the floor. They hit simultaneous crossbody blocks at 8:30 and were both down; Lawlor said it was like seeing two jumbo jets collide in mid-air. They got up and traded forearm shots. This has been great.
Cobb hit some running shoulder tackles that dropped Jonah. Cobb hit an impressive pump-handle overhead slam, and the crowd popped for the move, to get a nearfall at 11:00. Jonah fired back with a spear for a nearfall. Cobb avoided a Stinger Splash. Jonah jumped off the second rope, but Cobb caught him; however, Jonah still rolled through and got a nearfall. Lawlor said this was like “a real life video game Rampage” with two super monsters colliding and fighting. Jonah NAILED a top-rope superplex at 14:30, and he followed that with the top-rope frogsplash for the clean pin. Wow that was good. At 2-2, Cobb is all but eliminated, as Okada is 3-0 and has the tie-breaker over Cobb.
9. Hiroshi Tanahashi (6) defeated EVIL (w/Dick Togo) (2) in a C Block match at 19:02. Standing switches early. Kelly said Tanahashi is 8-4 in singles matches this year, and EVIL is 6-3. Tanahashi hit a second-rope crossbody block at 2:00. They went to the floor, with EVIL slamming Tanahashi into the guardrail, and he choked him on the floor. EVIL held a mic to Hiroshi’s head (are we going to get an I Quit match later out of this?) In the ring, EVIl whipped Hiroshi into an exposed turnbuckle; the ref refused to make the three-count. EVIL got in the ref’s face, as Togo helped beat up Tanahashi.
Hiroshi fired back with a flying forearm at 5:30, then a second-rope summersault senton for a nearfall. EVIL applied a Sharpshooter leg lock. Hiroshi hit a dragon screw leg whip, and they were both down at 9:30. Hiroshi hit two more leg whips, and he applied a Texas Cloverleaf. The bell sounded at 10:55, and Hiroshi let go of the hold. But, it turned out that Togo rang the bell, so he was ejected from ringside. However, EVIL threw a chair into Tanahashi’s face; that was unnecessarily dangerous.
EVIL nailed a hard clothesline at 13:00. Tanahashi fired back with a swinging neckbreaker, and they were both down, and the crowd was hot. Tanahashi hit three Sling Blade clotheslines for a nearfall at 15:00. Tanahashi nailed a High Fly Flow frogsplash for a believable nearfall, but Sho suddenly appeared at ringside and pulled the ref from the ring. Sho hit a German Suplex. Togo returned to the ring with a new referee. EVIL got a nearfall. More refs got in the ring, and Hiroshi used a referee to hit the Magic Killer. Sho was in the ring with his wrench, but Tanahashi blocked him. Hiroshi hit a low blow on Sho; EVIL hit a low blow on Hiroshi. EVIL made a cover at 17:30 but all the refs were down. EVIL hit Darkness Falls/sit-out powerbomb for a nearfall. EVIL set up for Everything is Evil, but Tanahashi turned it into a rollup for the pin.
* Tanahashi spoke on the mic, and Kelly said “Once again, we are graced with the presence of wrestling royalty.”
Final Thoughts: That Cobb-Jonah match was tremendous and earns best match. At 2-1 (with his loss via count-out), Jonah could still win the block if he winds up beating Okada. The main event was a bit over-booked with all the chicanery that comes with EVIL matches, but it was compelling, and I truly expected EVIL to win this one. That Henare-Naito match was really fun.
The good news is that Lawlor sounded okay on commentary, so hopefully he is ok and will be able to continue as normal with his matches the rest of the tournament, but he was definitely knocked loopy in that tag match. The tournament continues in Osaka on Saturday (Shingo vs. Ospeay) and Sunday (Jonah vs. Okada).