By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
New Japan Pro Wrestling “G1 Climax Tournament Night 14”
August 9, 2022 in Hiroshima, Japan at Hiroshima Sun Plaza 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. On this show we have five Block matches.
Kevin Kelly provided commentary from ringside; no Chris Charlton to provide Japanese translation.
1. Shingo Takagi and Bushi defeated Tomohiro Ishii and Kosei Fujita at 6:41. Fujita attacked the LIJ members to start. Ishii tagged in at 2:30 and traded forearm shots with Shingo. Bushi traded shots with Fujita. Bushi applied the Boston Crab, and Fujita tapped out. Ishii and Shingo continued trading blows after the bell. Solid opener.
2. Tom Lawlor and Royce Isaacs defeated Zack Sabre Jr. and Taka Michinoku at 6:53. Interesting matchup, as Sabre and Lawlor won’t meet in tournament action, and Kelly immediately pointed that out as they started with really good mat reversals. Sabre hit a European Uppercut at 4:00, and Lawlor responded with a forearm that dropped Sabre Jr. Royce tagged in and they worked over Sabre. Taka tagged in at 5:30 and traded offense with Royce. Lawlor re-entered, hit the knee strike to the back of Taka’s head, and scored the pin. The Lawlor-Sabre exchange was really good stuff.
3. Will Ospreay, Great-O-Khan, Jeff Cobb, and Aaron Henare defeated Dick Togo, EVIL, Sho, and El Phantasmo at 7:04. All eight men brawled at the bell. GOK tied up EVIL on the mat and hit his Mongolian Chops. EVIL choked him with a T-shirt. GOK bit Phantasmo’s nipple. Yep, that happened. The House of Torture team began working over O-Khan. Ospreay entered at 5:30 and traded offense with Sho. Henare entered, slapped on the Full Nelson Lock on Togo, and Togo tapped out.
4. Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi, and Hirooki Goto defeated Bad Luck Fale, Gedo, and Juice Robinson at 841. This was supposed to be an eight-man tag, but Jay White and Toru Yano were dropped from this match; if it was announced why, I missed it. Okada and Juice battled early. The Bullet Club began beating up Tanahashi. Juice slammed Tanahashi’s back into the guardrail, allowing Gedo to get a nearfall on Tanahashi at 3:30. Juice hit a senton for a nearfall.
Okada finally made the hot tag and he worked over Fale, but he couldn’t bodyslam him on the first try, but got him up for one on his second attempt at 6:00. Gedo tagged in and traded blows with Okada. Goto entered for the first time and worked over Gedo, hitting a bulldog for a nearfall. Goto hit his inverted DDT on Gedo for the pin.
* El Phantasmo joined Kevin Kellly on commentary after intermission, and I really enjoy his humor and heelish remarks. He talked about his confusion of not knowing the rules for a disqualification and that his DQ loss Sunday would haunt him.
5. Yujiro Takahashi (w/Sho) (6) defeated Yoshi-Hoshi (4) in a D Block tournament match at 13:42. Yujiro attacked before the bell, and they brawled to the floor. Kelly pointed out that Yoshi-Hoshi’s shoulder is taped up again. In the ring, Yujiro hit a Mafia Kick to the jaw at 5:00. Yoshi hit his Headhunter/running neckbreaker, then a dropkick as Yujiro was tied in the ropes for a nearfall. Yujiro hit a fisherman’s suplex for a nearfall at 7:30. Yoshi-Hoshi came back with his butterfly lock/double-arm submission hold.
Yoshi-Hoshi blocked Yujiro’s low blow attempt, and he hit a top-rope Blockbuster for a nearfall at 10:00. Yoshi-Hoshi nailed a superkick and a Dragon Suplex. Sho hit a chairshot to the back while Yujiro distracted the ref, allowing Yujiro to hit the Pimp Juice DDT for a nearfall. Yoshi-Hoshi came back with a running kick to the spine. He shoved Yujiro into Sho and got a rollup for a nearfall. Yujiro pushed Yoshi-Hoshi into an exposed corner. Sho got in the ring and hit Yoshi-Hoshi in the head with his wrench, allowing Yujiro to hit the Pimp Juice DDT for the tainted win.
6. Sanada (6) defeated Chase Owens (4) in a B Block tournament match at 13:38. Because of the quirks of having an odd number of competitors in each Block, this is Owens’ second consecutive show with a tournament match, which (kayfabe) has to put him at a serious disadvantage. It is also his sixth (and final) tournament match. Standing switches to start. Owens tried to put on a Paradise Lock at 3:00, but he couldn’t figure it out. So, Sanada put one on Owens. Owens took control, and he stomped on Sanada’s head, over his recently broken orbital bone at 5:30.
Sanada hit a basement dropkick on Owens’ left knee, hobbling Chase. Sanada nailed a plancha to the floor at 7:00. Chase applied an STF on the mat, and he hit a running knee strike for a nearfall at 9:30. Sanada got out of a package piledriver, then Chase got out of a Skull End. Chase applied a sleeper on the mat. Sanada went for an O’Connor Roll, but Chase blocked it and applied a Dragon Sleeper. However, Chase missed a moonsault at 11:30, and they were both down. Sanada went for a moonsault, but Chase got his knees up and a rollup for a believable nearfall.
They traded mid-ring blows and Owens hit a kneestrike onto Sanada’s eye. Sanada hit a moonsault for a nearfall, then he applied the Skull End submission hold; Owens tried to get to the ropes, but he passed out. Kelly stressed that Owens did not tap out. Chase Owens finishes his tournament at 2-4. Decent match, on par with what I expected here.
7. Tama Tonga (w/Jado) (6) defeated Taichi (4) in a B Block tournament match at 16:52. Too much stalling early on. Taichi has the metal glove, and Tama acted afraid of it. Dumb stuff. They brawled on the floor at 4:00. Taichi dominated in the ring, hitting a series of spin kicks to the chest. Tama hit a clothesline, and they were both down at 7:30. Tama hit a belly-to-back suplex for a nearfall, and the crowd was coming alive. Taichi hit an enzuigiri, and they were both down at 10:00.
Taichi went to the corner and again got the metal glove. I have not missed this stupidity. Tama hit his rolling Death Valley Driver and a top-rope frogsplash for a nearfall. Now Tama is transfixed by the glove and he grabbed it too. Kelly talked about the glove has magical powers. Jado hopped on the ring apron and urged Tama to set it down. Tama gave it to the ref; he went for Gun Stun but Taichi avoided it. Taichi got a rollup for a nearfall, and they were both down at 14:00. They each hit an enzuigiri. Tama hit a spinning neckbreaker, and they were both down.
They hit simultaneous clotheslines with neither man going down. Tama again couldn’t hit Gun Stun. Taichi set up for a running forearm, but Tama caught him with the Gun Stun/cutter for the clean pin. Good match that was hurt by the silliness of the metal glove. Let’s retire that gimmick.
8. Lance Archer (6) defeated Jonah (w/Bad Dude Tito) (6) via count-out in an A Block tournament match at 12:41. Because of that same quirk in the schedule, this is Jonah’s third tournament match in a five-day span. Kelly said that Jonah “shocked the world” when he beat Okada on Sunday. They stood toe-to-toe in the middle of the ring, and Archer has a significant height advantage. They immediately traded forearms and chops, and Jonah hit a DDT at 2:00. Jonah hit a headbutt, and he was in charge early. “There hasn’t been a big man this agile since Bam Bam Bigelow,” Kelly said.
Jonah stayed in charge with forearms and a Stinger Splash in the corner at 4:30. Kelly said it is a year ago this week that Jonah was let go by WWE. (What a mistake!) Archer nailed a couple running forearm shots in the corner. They each missed a senton attempt. They began trading mid-ring forearm shots at 7:00, as Kelly said that no one would face Archer in AEW so he had to come here. Archer hit a chokeslam move for a nearfall. Archer hit a Pounce but it didn’t knock Jonah down. Jonah hit a running body attack that dropped Archer at 8:30.
They fought on the ropes in the corner and Archer teased hitting a German Suplex but he couldn’t lock it in. Archer got Jonah up for Blackout, but Jonah escaped and hit a clothesline. Jonah hit a standing powerbomb and he went to the ropes. However, Archer popped up, hit a running knee to Jonah’s face in the corner, and they were both down. Jonah nailed a running splash from the ring apron to the floor, and they were both down at 11:00. Archer whipped Jonah into the guardrails. Archer went for a running cannonball, but Tito jumped in front and absorbed the move.
They continued to fight on the floor as the referee counted. Archer got in the ring. As Jonah hopped on the ring apron, Archer shoved him back to the floor, and Jonah couldn’t get back in before being counted out. Jonah drops to 3-2, with both losses via count-out.
9. Tetsuya Naito (6) defeated Kenta (2) in a C Block tournament match at 23:29. Just the fourth tournament match for Kenta, who enters at 1-2. Kenta refused to lock up early. Naito whipped Kenta into the guardrails at 3:00. Kenta did the same to Naito. In the ring, Kenta nailed a kneedrop to the back of the head as Naito was tied in the ropes for a nearfall at 5:30. Kenta applied a leg lock around Naito’s head and slowed the match down. Kenta hit a standing neckbreaker at 8:30, and they were both down. Naito fired back with his slingshot dropkick in the corner.
Naito applied a leg lock around Kenta’s head, but Kenta reached the ropes. Kenta hit a powerslam at 11:30, then a top-rope clothesline for a nearfall. Kenta applied an STF on the mat, and this has been methodical early. Kenta hit a DDT for a nearfall at 14:00. Naito fired back with a tornado DDT, and they were both down, and the crowd came alive. Kenta hit a running dropkick in the corner, then a top-rope double stomp to the chest for a nearfall at 18:00.
Naito hit a neckbreaker over his knee, then his Esperanza/modified Blockbuster out of the corner. Enta went for a Go To Sleep, but Naito escaped and dragged him to the mat at 20:00, and Kelly noted we haven’t had a time-limit draw in this year’s tournament. They traded forearm shots while on their knees, then from their feet. Naito hit an enzuigiri and a flying forearm, but Kenta got an inside cradle for a believable nearfall at 2:30. Naito’s head hit an exposed corner, allowing Kenta to get another believable nearfall. Naito was bleeding from the bridge of his nose. Naito nailed the Destino for the clean pin. Very good final five minutes. After starting 0-2, Naito has won three straight and is back in contention for winning the block, while Kenta dropped to a disappointing 1-3.
* Naito spoke on the mic in Japanese to close out the show. Phantasmo provided more funny commentary with his “translation” of what was being said.
Final Thoughts: Entering the tournament, I fully expected Okada to win the A Block, and in the past two days, I wondered how that would happen with Jonah being un-pinned and having the tiebreaker over Okada. So, I guess I liked the outcome of the Jonah-Archer match. Neither man could really afford a loss, and it allows Okada to presumably finish 5-1 and win the block, but knowing he lost to Jonah, who presumably finishes at 4-2.
I am intrigued by the story they are telling with Naito being in the chase position since the start of the tournament, but he still is behind Tanahashi and Goto because of tiebreaker losses, so presumably those two will lose a match or two to allow Naito to catch up.
We are in the stretch run of this tournament, with just four nights left of regular Block action. The final two days of this tournament feature the Block winners (semifinals) on night 19, then the finals on night 20. If they have any singles matches on either of those nights, a Sabre-Lawlor matchup should happen. I do anticipate Sabre will win his Block, though, so that may complicate things.
The show clocked in at just over three hours. The tournament continues Wednesday.
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