By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
New Japan Pro Wrestling “G1 Climax Tournament Night 13”
August 7, 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, This is the second consecutive night in this building.
1. Toru Yano, Yoshi-Hoshi, and Hirooki Goto defeated David Finlay, Yuto Nakanishi, and Hiroshi Tanahashi at 8:37. Yuto attacked Toru Yano, and the announcers explained Yuto is angry because a day earlier, Lance Archer beat up Yano and Yuto, and Yuto blames Yano. Funny, really. Yuto was in the ring a lot early. The announcers pointed out that Yoshi-Hoshi has a shoulder taped today, and he hasn’t needed that previously. Yoshi-Hoshi and David Finlay traded some good offense. Yoshi-Hoshi applied his double-armbar submission hold on Yuto, andY Yuto tapped out. Yoshi-Hoshi and Finlay jawed at each other some more after the bell. Not much to this one.
2. Yujiro Takahashi and Sho defeated Jado and Tama Tonga at 7:10. Yujiro beat up Jado on the floor and the heels dominated. Tama finally made the hot tag at 5:00 to enter for the first time and he beat up Yujiro. Yujiro hit a low blow on Jado, then nailed the Pimp Juice DDT on Jado for the pin. Not good at all, really.
3. Tetsuya Naito, Sanada, Shingo Takagi, and Bushi defeated Taka Michinoku, Zack Sabre Jr., Taichi, and Lance Archer at 8:02. Naito and Sabre opened and traded some excellent reversals. Taichi and Sanada squared off at 2:00. Archer entered at 4:30 and hit several running elbows in the corner on Sanada. Shingo tagged in and hit some shoulder tackles on Archer; unfortunately, these two don’t have a singles match in the tournament. Archer hit a flying crossbody block for a nearfall on Shingo at 6:00. Really good exchanged between these two, with Shingo nailing a Pumping Bomber. Bushi and Taka entered for their respective teams, and Taka applied an STF submission hold on the mat. However, Bushi hit his second-rope Lungblower to the chest to pin Taka. The Sabre-Naito and Archer-Shingo exchanges, each about two minutes in length, were really good.
4. Will Ospreay, Jeff Cobb, and Great-O-Khan defeated Jay White, Kenta, and Gedo at 6:33. Jay and Ospreay had a brief exchange in the first minute, and I want to see more of that. White worked over O-Khan’s legs early. Ospreay and White again had a brief exchanged. O-Khan and Gedo traded offense, with O-Khan applying a Claw at 5:30. In a funny segment, Cobb and O-Khan held Gedo like a baby and threw him back and forth into each other’s arms, before ultimately just slamming him to the mat. O-Khan applied the Claw on Gedo for the win. Meh. White and Ospreay continued to argue after the bell. I’d love to see that as our tournament finale.
* Intermission. I don’t want to disparage tonight’s block action matches, but outside of the main event, no one here has a winning record at this point in the tournament. (Fale is 2-2).
5. EVIL (w/Dick Togo) (4) defeated Aaron Henare (2) in a C Block tournament match at 10:39. EVIL jumped Henare before the bell. Charlton observed that Henare just turned 30 this week. EVIL barreled into Henare as Aaron was standing on the ring aprong, sending Henare flying onto a table at ringside at 4:00. However, Henare whipped EVIL into a guardrail. In the ring, Henare hit a swinging sit-out powerbomb for a nearfall. He hit a second-rope senton for a nearfall at 6:30. Togo grabbed Henare’s leg, allowing EVIL to hit a Stinger Splash, then a fisherman’s suplex.
EVIL hit Darkness Falls/modified sit-out powerbomb for a nearfal, but Henare blocked Everything is Evil. Henare hit his running shoulder tackle. (That is the finisher he was using until this tournament.) Henare then applied the Full Nelson lock. We had a ref bump as EVIL escaped the hold. Henare applied the Full Nelson on Togo, then dumped him to the floor. EVIL threw a chair at Henare’s face, then he hit the Everything is Evil/Rock Bottom for the pin. Henare is eliminated from the tournament but has looked good.
6. Tom Lawlor (w/Royce Isaacs) (4) defeated Bad Luck Fale (4) in an A Block match at 11:22. I want to again point out that Lawlor clearly had a legit concussion two days ago, but he seemed alright in his tag match a day ago. Fale attacked before the bell; they went to the floor, and Fale whipped him into the guardrail. Fale tried to bury him under guardrails, but Lawlor got back in the ring before being counted out. In the ring, Fale applied the Tongan Massage Parlor, standing on Lawlor’s back at 3:00. Fale nailed a flying spear. Kelly and Charlton talked about Lawlor’s concussion.
Lawlor applied an anklelock at 5:00. He used his extra pair of shorts to choke Fale. Lawlor applied a rear-naked choke while Fale was standing, but Fale managed to turn it into a Samoan Drop at 8:00. Fale hit a running splash for a nearfall. Fale hit his Grenade/strke to the throat for a believable nearfall; I thought that was it. Fale picked him up for a Razor’s Edge move, but Lawlor turned it into a DDT for a nearfall. Lawlor clipped the left knee, then hit a running knee to the face for a nearfall at 11:00. This has been a really good big man/little man matchup. Lawlor hit the knee strike to the back of the head for the pin.
7. Juice Robinson (4) defeated El Phantasmo (2) via DQ in a D Block match at 16:27. These two are aligned in Bullet Club but gave each other a sign of respect at the bell and ELP shouted they were going to have a good clean match. Standing switches early, and they start going at half-speed, not taking this seriously. (If you’ve seen the slow motion comedy matches at PWG’s BOLA, it is like that.) It ended with a standoff at 3:30, and it was pretty funny. They began trading rollups, and the berated the ref for not making the three-counts. Their heads accidentally collided, they got angry, and started shoving each other, and it seems like the match is “really” going to begin. They set up a table on the floor… only to decide to do an arm wrestling contest.
However, Juice stood up and whipped a chair at ELP’s unprotected head at 7:00, and they brawled up the ramp toward the back. Juice hit a piledriver on the stage! ELP barely made it back in the ring before being counted out at 8:30. Juice applied a Boston Crab, but Phantasmo reached the ropes. ELP avoided Pulp Friction, clotheslined Juice to the floor, then dove through the ropes onto Juice at 10:00. Phantasmo slammed Juice head-first onto the table. The table cracked where Juice’s head hit it, and Juice was bleeding.
ELP ran across the ring, jumped onto the top rope, and hit a springboard 450 Splash to the floor! He then hit a springboard frogsplash into the ring for a nearfall at 12:30. Phantasmo hit a Styles Clash for a nearfall. Juice nailed the Left Hand of God punch, but Phantasmo hit a superkick for a nearfall. Juice used his head to hit a low blow. Juice then nailed the Pulp Friction/Unprettier for a believable nearfall at 15:30, and I thought that was it.
Jucie got a chair and brought it into the ring, and wanted to hit a Pulp Friction onto it. However, ELP hit the same low-blow move with his head that Juice had just done to him. Phantasmo threw the chair at Juice’s head, and the ref called for the bell. Charlton explained that the referee will give wrestlers “a long leash” on the floor, but not in the ring. Phantasmo clearly didn’t know this would lead to a disqualification, as Juice had done the same thing to him minutes earlier.
8. Chase Owens (4) defeated Tomohiro Ishii (2) in a B Block match at 16:48. Both are 1-3 and are already eliminated. Ishii dropped Chase with a forearm, and Chase immediately bailed to regroup. In the ring, Chase clipped the left knee at 2:30 and immediately began targeting the leg. He wrapped the leg around the ring post. Ishii hit a vertical suplex, and they were both down at 5:30. Ishii backed him into the corner and unloaded his chops & forearms combo, then he hit a belly-to-back suplex for a nearfall.
Chase did his baseball slide dropkick to the floor, sending Ishii into the guardrail at 7:30. However, Chase chopped the ring post. Chase slammed Ishii backward, with Ishii’s head hitting the guardrail. That was sickening. Chase rolled him in the ring and hit a knee strike to the face for a nearfall. Kelly wondered how Ishii’s head isn’t gushing blood. They avoided each other’s big moves, then Ishii hit a German Suplex, and they were both down at 9:30.
Ishii hit a second-rope superplex for a nearfall. They traded mid-ring forearm shots. Chase hit the Jewel Heist/short-arm clothesline for a nearfall at 11:30. Ishii nailed a Dragon Suplex. Owens hopped up and hit a superkick for a nearfall. Ishii fought out of the Package Piledriver. Ishii nailed a jumping headbutt, and they were both down. This might be the best Chase Owens match I’ve ever seen. Chase nailed a kneestrike, then a half-nelson suplex. Ishii dropped him with a clothesline but Owens kicked out at one.
Chase hit an enzuigiri at 15:30, then another C-Trigger knee strike, but he again couldn’t hit the package piledriver. Ishii hit an enzuigiri. Chase hit a knee strike, then the package piledriver for the pin. I am stunned. Great match, but I can’t believe that Ishii has fallen to 1-4. What a match. “That is what the G1 tournament is all about,” Kelly said.
9. Jonah (w/Bad Dude Tito) (6) defeated Kazuchika Okada (6) in an A Block match at 21:53. Kelly noted they are just about the same age. Okada has the slight height advantage, which I tend to forget how tall he is. An intense lockup to start. Jonah hit a shoulder tackle that sent Okada to the floor at 3:00. They brawled on the floor, with Okada tying up Jonah’s leg in the guardrail, and they brawled up the ramp toward the back. Both tried for a big move, but those were blocked. They went back to ringside, with Jonah whipping Okada into the guardrails. Okada avoided the countout at 7:30.
“There is just an awe around Jonah,” Kelly said. “You marvel at the presence of Jonah.” Right on cue, Jonah hit a chop that just dropped Okada, and he applied a belly-to-back bearhug. Jonah missed a Stinger Splash, and Okada hit a roaring forearm, and they were both down at 10:30. Okada hit a DDT for a nearfall, but he couldn’t get Jonah up for a bodyslam. They went to the floor, where Jonah accidentally ran into Tito, and Okada immediately hit a DDT onto the thin mat, and they were both down at 12:30.
Okada hit a flip dive over the top rope onto both heels, drawing a huge pop. In the ring, Okada again couldn’t get him up for a bodyslam. Jonah responded with a spear and a senton. Okada was able to hit a backbody drop. Okada applied the Money Clip sleeperhold at 16:00. Okada hit a Shotgun Dropkick. Charlton said if Jonah has a weakness, it’s not having the stamina to go 20+ minutes. Jonah hit a second-rope flying press, then a clothesline for a nearfall at 17:30.
Okada hit a dropkick, and he finally got a bodyslam, but Okada immediately clutched at his lower back. Okada hit a top-rope elbow drop, but he couldn’t hit the Rainmaker. He hit another dropkick. Okada hit a huge German Suplex but couldn’t hit the Rainmaker. Jonah hit a series of headbutts and a decapitating clothesline for a believable nearfall at 20:00. Okada dove off the top rope for a missile dropkick, but Jonah caught him and hit a powerbomb. Jonah hit a second powerbomb, then he climbed to the top rope, nailed the Torpedo frogsplash, and pinned Okada. That was awesome.
* Jonah got on the mic and said, “Okada, I told you I would beat you, and I did.” He added that “last year, I was given news that was heart-breaking,” referencing being cut by WWE. But he refused to stop. “Today, I beat the best wrestler in the world.” He declared himself the top super-heavyweight in the world. “I am Mighty, and the Mighty Don’t Kneel,” he concluded. Kevin Kelly said to “mark this day down in history.”
Final Thoughts: I love Jonah and he is delivering on the biggest stage. That match was incredible. Jonah is now 3-1 and leads the A Block. However, he has yet another Block match on Tuesday against Lance Archer, which seems really unfair that he has three singles matches in a five-day span. Worth pointing out that Jonah’s only loss was by count-out, so he’s not been pinned here.
Congrats to Chase Owens for having a stellar match I really didn’t know he had in him. That match with Ishii was just great. Lawlor-Fale was a really good big man/little man match. Nearly every night of this tournament, Kelly has pointed out that the knee strike to the back of the head was designed to take down a big man, and it finally paid off for Lawlor.
After having a really good undercard on Saturday, the four matches here were underwhelming.
After three straight nights, this tournament takes just a one-day break, before returning to action Tuesday and Wednesday.