By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
New Japan Pro Wrestling “G1 Climax Tournament Night 12”
August 6, 2022 in Osaka, Japan at Edion Arena
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 and Chris Charlton provided commentary from ringside, and Kelly immediately said this was the largest post-pandemic crowd in this venue.
1. Sho, Yujiro Takahashi, Chase Owens, and EVIL defeated Ryohei Oiwa, David Finlay, Tama Tonga, and Tomohiro Ishii at 8:48. Sho battled Oiwa early, and Chase entered at 3:30 and battled Shingo. Ishii entered and traded forearm shots with Ishii. Ishii nailed a shoulde rtackle on Sho at 6:00. Oiwa entered and hit a nice dropkick on Sho, then a gut-wrench suplex, then he applied a Boston Crab, but Sho reached the ropes. However, Sho applied a cross-armbreaker and Oiwa tapped out. Solid opener. Chase and Ishii traded slaps to the face, and they will face in tournament action Sunday.
2. Jeff Cobb & Aaron Henare defeated Royce Isaacs & Tom Lawlor at 9:32. I believe Lawlor had a legit concussion a day earlier after an Ospreay spin kick to the head. Kelly (rightfully) heaped praise on the Cobb-Jonah match from Friday. Tom seems alright as he danced to the ring; Kelly talked about that Lawlor injury, saying Tom had an ice pack on his neck during commentary. Isaacs and Henare started with mat reversals. (Lawlor shouldn’t even wrestle tonight.) Tom tagged in at 1:30. Henare knocked Lawlor down, and Tom grabbed his head in pain.
Cobb entered and dominated Lawlor, “surfing” on his back. Cobb dropped him with a headbutt at 4:00. Lawlor went for a cross-armbreaker on Henare, but Aaron blocked it. Royce hit repeated clotheslines on Cobb, then a belly-to-back suplex on Henare. Lawlor applied a guillotine choke on Cobb on the floor. In the ring, Henare hit a fisherman’s suplex on Royce for the pin. Good match, and I’m happy to report that Lawlor seems ok, because it certainly didn’t look good after his Friday match.
3. Bad Luck Fale, Kenta, and Juice Robinson defeated Sanada, Tetsuya Naito, and Bushi at 7:18. All six brawled at the bell, with the Bullet Club team working over Naito early. Kenta hit a DDT for a nearfall at 2:30. Sanada entered and hit dropkicks on each of the three heels. Sanada tied Kenta in the Paradise Lock, then kicked his rear. Sanada accidentally hit a low blow on Juice at 5:30. Juice hit a Spinebuster on Bushi. Juice nailed the Left Hand of God, then Pulp Friction/Unprettier faceplant on Bushi for the pin. Decent match.
4. Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kazuchika Okada defeated Jonah and Bad Dude Tito at 8:31. Jonah and Okada opened with an intense lockup. Okada tried for a bodyslam but he couldn’t get Jonah up. They brawled to the floor, with Jonah whipping Okada into the guardrail at 2:00. In the ring, Tito worked over Okada, and he hit a slingshot senton at 3:30. Jonah applied a belly-to-back bearhug on Okada. Okada finally hit a basement dropkick on Jonah, and they were both down.
Tanahashi finally made the hot tag at 6:00 to enter the match for the first time, and he hit a second-rope summersault splash on Tito for a nearfall. Tito fired back with a Blue Thunder Bomb on Tanahashi. Okada hit a dropkick to Jonah’s face. Tanahashi nailed the High Fly Flow frogsplash on Tito for the pin.
Intermission. As a whole, this was among the better nights of undercard matches on this tour.
5. Yoshi-Hoshi (4) defeated El Phantasmo (2) in a D Block tournament match at 15:55. Just the third tournament match for each man, who both sit at 1-1. Shoulder tackles early with neither man budging. ELP dove off the top rope onto Yoshi-Hoshi on the floor, and they were both down at 3:00. Phantasmo hit an Asai moonsault. In the ring, ELP went for a Swanton, but Yoshi-Hoshi got his knees up to block it. ELP his a series of forearm shots in the corner, then a springboard crossbody block for a nearfall at 7:30. ELP then hit a Lionsault for a nearfall.
Yoshi-Hoshi nailed a basement dropkick on ELP’s knee, and they were both down at 9:00. Yoshi-Hoshi chopped him, with ELP flipping over the top rope to the floor. Yoshi then hit a flip dive to the floor. In the ring, they traded forearm shots and ELP hit a crucifix takedown rollup for a nearfall at 12:00. ELP missed a superkick, and Yoshi-Hoshi hit a Dragon Suplex. ELP then hit the superkick, and they were both down. This has been really good; Kelly pointed out that ELP is being serious here and not doing any of his usual hijinx. ELP hit an impressive frogsplash, going far from the corner, for a believable nearfall at 14:00.
ELP hit a Helluva Kick. Yoshi-Hosohi hit a superkick and a hard clothesline, and he was fired up. Yoshi-Hoshi hit his fisherman’s buster for a believable nearfall; I thought that was it. Yoshi-Hoshi hit a Canadian Destroyer, then Karma/pumphandle sit-out powerbomb for the pin. That was really, really good, and among the top non-main event tournament matches so far. I felt it could have gone either way.
6. Lance Archer (4) defeated Toru Yano (2) in an A Block tournament match at 9:14. Archer beat up a Young Lion on his way to ringside. Kelly said Yano beat Archer 11 years ago. Yano refused to lock up. Yano immediately removed a corner pad. Archer hit a flying crossbody block. Archer hit a Mafia Kick. They went to the floor, with Archer whipping Yano into the guardrail at 2:00. Archer taped Yano to the guardrail; funny because that’s what Yano would do. Yano escaped and barely beat the 20-count into the ring.
Yano hit Archer with the corner pad, but it just angered Archer, who nailed a decapitating clothesline. Archer hit a flip dive off the apron, but he hit a Young Lion. This allowed Yano to hit a low blow on Archer. Yano taped Archer’s wrist to Yuto Nakashima’s wrist. So, Archer threw Nakashima into the ring, as they were connected at the wrist. Funny stuff. Archer finally freed himself; he picked up Nakashima and slammed him onto Yano at 6:00. Archer then nailed a chokeslam on Yuto and shoved him to the floor. Yano whipped Archer into the exposed corner, and he got a school boy rollup for a nearfall. Yano hit a low blow and got another nearfall. Archer nailed a Monty Brown Pounce at 8:00. Archer hit a rising knee strike in the corner, then Blackout/flipping Razor’s Edge for the pin. This humor worked for me today.
7. Zack Sabre Jr. (6) defeated Hirooki Goto (4) in a C Block tournament match at 17:30. An intense lockup to start. Both men are 2-1 entering this match. Mat reversals, as expected, to start. Sabre applied a cross-armbreaker in the ropes at 3:30, and they brawled to the floor. Goto is already selling an arm injury, and Sabre tied him up on the thin mat on the floor. In the ring, Sabre targeted the damaged arm. He hit a Pele Kick on the left arm at 7:30. Goto fired back with a clothesline, and they were both down. Goto hit a bulldog for a nearfall, and Sabre was selling a neck injury.
Sabre hit some European Uppercuts, and they traded forearm shots, and Sabre tied him in a mid-ring Octopus at 10:30. Goto fired back with some Yes Kicks to the chest. Sabre nailed a Dragon Suplex for a nearfall at 12:00. Goto dropped him with a headbutt, then he hit the neckbreaker over his knee. They traded rollups for one-counts. Sabre again got a cross-armbreaker, but Goto reached the ropes at 15:00. Goto hit his inverted DDT as Sabre’s feet were in the ropes, and they were both down. Sabre applied a Triangle Choke, then he rolled over and cranked on the arm, and Goto tapped out. Really good match.
8. Jay White (w/Gedo) (8) defeated Great-O-Khan (2) in a B Block tournament match at 18:13. A heel-heel matchup. White stalled. He got in the ring, and GOK tackled him, and he dominated White early on. On the floor, O-Khan whipped him into a guardrail. White hit a dragon screw leg whip on the apron, and O-Khan immediately sold the pain in his knee. White slammed GOK’s knee on the ring post, and he stayed focused on that. As expected, the crowd is relatively quiet. O-Khan hit a gut-wrench suplex for a nearfall at 8:00. O-Khan went for his Claw, but White scrambled to the ropes.
White clipped the knee, then he nailed a Flatliner faceplant at 11:30, then he hit a German Suplex. GOK came back with a belly-to-belly suplex, and they were both down. White hit another dragon screw leg whip, and he applied the Jamie Noble Trailer Hitch, but O-Khan reached the ropes at 13:30. O-Khan hit his Mongolian Chops. White nailed a head-capture suplex, and they were both down at 16:30. O-Khan applied the Claw to the face, then hit a backbreaker over his knee.
O-Khan dropped White with a straight punch to the jaw at 18:00, and he once again applied the Claw. However, White hit a Blade Runner swinging faceplant for the pin. That was really good, and I thought that was a possibility of an upset. At 4-0, White has eliminated half the field. (Okada, at 3-0, is the only other undefeated wrestler.)
9. Shingo Takagi (4) defeated Will Ospreay (4) in a D Block tournament match at 21:51. These two have always clicked in the ring. Shingo hit a pair of early shoulder tackles that dropped Ospreay, and he tied Will in a body-scissors lock around the waist. Ospreay hit a dropkick that sent Shingo to the floor, then he hit a plancha to the floor, and they were both down at 3:30. In the ring, Ospreay hit a backbreaker over his knee for a nearfall. Shingo hit a clothesline, and they were both down at 6:00. Shingo clotheslined him to the floor.
I am predicting a time-limit draw, as neither man can afford a pinfall loss here. Shingo hit a swinging neckbreaker for a nearfall at 8:00. Ospreay hit a cutter, then a springboard forearm shot for a nearfall. Shingo got his knees up as Ospreay went for a splash. Shingo hit the Moxley-style elbow strikes to the head. Ospreay hit the handspring-back-spin kick, then a superkick; this was an awesome sequence with Ospreay avoiding Shingo’s big moves and they were both down at 11:30.
They fought on the ropes in the corner, and Ospreay nailed a top-rope Spanish Fly for a nearfall at 13:30, then a 450 splash for a nearfall. Ospreay hit the hook kick to the face, but as he went for the Hidden Blade, Shingo caught his arm. Ospreay went for a move off the ropes, but Shingo caught him with a cutter, then Shingo nailed a Death Valley Driver, followed by the Pumping Bomber clothesline, and both men were down at 16:30. This has been fantastic.
Ospreay hit the pump-handle Made In England slam, then the Oscutter off the ropes for a believable nearfall. The crowd is LOUD. Ospreay hit a series of kicks, but Shingo popped up and hit a Poison Rana. Ospreay hit a Hidden Blade roaring elbow at 19;30; another great sequence. Ospreay hit another hook kick to the face. Shingo avoided a Hidden Blade, and he hit a Dragon Suplex, then a Pumping Bomber for a believable nearfall. Shingo then nailed the Made In Japan/pump-handle sit-out powerbomb for the pin. That was just amazing.
* Shingo got on the mic and said somehow, some way, he won, and he will keep on going and keep on fighting. He said this was a huge chapter in his rivalry with Ospreay. He said this was a turning point for him in Osaka, and he will keep moving forward in G1. So good to have Charlton back for the translation.
Final Thoughts: This was a really good show, one of the best of the tournament. You can never go wrong with Shingo vs. Ospreay. They are just great dance partners. The Yano-Archer match was surprisingly fun, and the other three tournament matches all topped my expectations. As I noted earlier, too, the undercard was good today, too.
One of the longer shows of the tournament so far, at three-and-a-half hours. The tournament continues on Sunday, also from Osaka, headlined by Jonah vs. Okada.