What happened at the NJPW G1 Climax 32 tournament?

What happened at the NJPW G1 Climax 32 tournament?

Another G1 Climax Tournament is in the record books and we now know Okada will be going to Wrestle Kingdom in January to face the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion. Just like in any tournament though the result is not the only thing worth talking about. Especially with the tournaments different format and some incredible talking points, so what happened at the G1 Climax Tournament? 

What is the G1 Climax Tournament? 

The G1 Climax tournament is a round robin style tournament where participants must face everyone else in their Block with the winners facing each other at the end. It usually lasts for a month with the winner facing the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion at Wrestle Kingdom.  

How was it different this year? 

NJPW is having its 50th anniversary year currently and we have seen changes in the earlier New Japan Cup and Best of the Super Jrs. tournament to include more participants. Instead of having 2 blocks of 10 competitors, this year saw 4 blocks of 7 to include a whopping 28. Another change was instead of having 1 block compete each day in 5 matches it worked out most of the time to have 5 matches from across the 4 blocks. The winners of Block A and B would face each other in the semi-finals, facing the winners of Block C and D in the finals. 

What happened in Block A?

Block A was dubbed the monster Block which was aptly named since it featured not only Okada but other names like Lance Archer, JONAH, Jeff Cobb and Bad Luck Fale. The block would be won by Okada beating Lance Archer on the final day, but his loss to JONAH came as a surprise. Toru Yano managed only 1 win against JONAH by count out to finish bottom. 

Final Positions

Kazuchika Okada 10  
JONAH 8
Lance Archer 6
Jeff Cobb 6
Tom Lawlor 6
Bad Luck Fale 4
Toru Yano 2

What happened in Block B?

Block B's most notable competitor was current IWGP Heavyweight Champion Switchblade Jay White. That being said this wasn't an easy block for the champion as he also had names like Tomohiro Ishii, Taichi, SANADA and Tama Tonga to contend with. Tomohiro Ishii had good matches but it was a poor tournament for him as he finished bottom with only 2 wins. At the top of the block it looked like Jay White was going to win all 6 matches until the last day when Tama Tonga pulled off a surprise win to top the block and face Okada in the Semi-Final. 

Final Positions

Tama Tonga 10  
Jay White 10
SANADA 6
Taichi 4
Chase Owens 4
Great O-Khan 4
Tomohiro Ishii 4

What happened in Block C?

Block C was much harder to look at anyone as a clear favourite. Tetsuya Naito, Zack Sabre Jr., Hiroshi Tanahashi, Hirooki Goto and EVIL all could have reasonably won the group going into this tournament. Block C started with a shock as Aaron Henare managed to defeat Hiroshi Tanahashi in their first outing. The block would go all the way to the final day with Tetsuya Naito defeating Zack Sabre Jr. in a shockingly short match that only just reached the 3-minute mark. This would not be Zack Sabre Jr.'s only short match as earlier in the tournament he defeated EVIL in around 44 seconds. 

Final Positions

Tetsuya Naito 8
Zack Sabre Jr. 8
Hiroshi Tanahashi 6
Hirooki Goto 6
KENTA 6
EVIL 6
Aaron Hanare 2

What happened in Block D?

It would be hard to argue against Will Ospreay being favourite in Block D. He was joined by names such as Yujiro Takahashi, Shingo Takagi, David Finlay and Juice Robinson. Block D was so close the commentators were dubbing the last day "Operation Chaos" as it was still possible for everyone to finish on 6 points. The block was eventually won by Will Ospreay but the real story of block D was David Finlay who got 2 surprising results against both Ospreay and Shingo Takagi.  

Final Positions

Will Ospreay 8
Yujiro Takahashi 6
Shingo Takagi 6
David Finlay 6
YOSHI-HASHI 6
El Phantasmo 6
Juice Robinson 4

What happened in the finals? 

After the blocks had been decided, Okada was set to face Tama Tonga and Will Ospreay was set to face Tetsuya Naito for the first time ever. Tama Tonga put in a strong performance that at times looked like he might beat Okada but, in the end, Okada beat him with the Rainmaker to win. 

Ospreay vs Naito was everything it needed to be and more. A truly great back and forth match that had you on the edge of your seat with every big move and pin attempt. Ospreay beat Naito to face Okada in the final. 

Okada vs Ospreay was a decent match and is well worth your time to seek out and watch but in the end, Okada won and will face whomever the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion will become January. 

My thoughts on the tournament. 

I am going to address the elephant in the room first, I am not a huge fan of people winning tournaments like this back-to-back. I wasn't a huge fan of Kota Ibushi doing it and I'm even less happy Okada has managed it. I would have loved this tournament to make a new potential star by having them win it. I think everyone should keep a close eye on David Finlay because this tournament has made him look like one for the future. I was happy they didn't go for the obvious Jay White vs Okada semi-final. My favourite match was Juice Robinson vs El Phantasmo because it was full of shenanigans and daft moments.  

What did you think of the G1 Climax Tournament? 

What are your thoughts on competitors winning tournaments, Royal Rumble's etc. back-to-back? 

Let us know in the comments below