G1 Climax Update: Day 1 【G132】

First big wins, first big upset recorded in the G1 for 2022

Watch the day one replay now!

G1 Climax 32 kicked off on July 16 with action from each of the four blocks producing some thrilling action and big first time wins. 

The main event would see Kazuchika Okada narrowly come away with his first two points of the campaign, putting away Jeff Cobb after a hard fought battle that summed up the monstrous nature of A Block. Cobb showed his clear power advantage in the early going, and brought Okada easily to the floor where the 2021 winner was hurled violently into the guardrail. Effortlessly powerful, Cobb hurled the Rainmaker easily, Okada relying on speed and momentum to land a back elbow and then a flapjack.

The move would make a board pop up under the ring, and Okada would bring Cobb to the floor to avoid the damaged area. There the high risk environment paid off well for Okada, a DDT seeing Cobb’s head drilled into the floor and a moment’s respite. The Rainmaker started to build momentum with a reverse neckbreaker, but Cobb would pull a page from Okada’s own playbook to dropkick the former world champion who was sat on the top ropes, and following with a top rope side suplex for a very long two. 

Okada was able to rally with a top rope elbow, but could not go home against Cobb, who met a Tombstone attempt with one of his own, and the Rainmaker with an Aloha Maker, one that should have secured victory had Cobb’s own momentum not almost taken him out of the ring. 

Instead the match continued, and as Okada had difficulty bringing the win home, so Cobb couldn’t take Okada on a Tour of the Islands. Eventually there was one attempt too many; as he had against Tetsuya Naito at Dontaku back in May, Okada went to an Inoki-esque Enzuigiri, before landing his Cobra Twist Flowsion move qand then the Rainmaker to secure victory. 


In B Block, Jay White got off to a strong start with a victory over SANADA in Hokkaido. The ever cerebral Switchblade would expertly manipulate SANADA to the outside with an attempted plancha, and from there did all he could to deprive Cold Skull of oxygen. In contrast, SANADA would opt for his more classical approach, sealing White in the Paradise Lock, and nearly securing a win with an acute Skull End. Gedo would hop on the apron to draw SANADA’s ire however, and a release of the hold meant that the LIJ member instead had the middle rope kicked between his legs. 

Jay White would know similar pain with an ‘accidental’ low blow from SANADA, before an elevated TKO got two. Yet as SANADA again negotiated Skull End, Jay White buried his finger deep in the eye socket of his opposition, before walking the ropes and going into the Bladerunner. 

C Block action would kick off the night’s tournament matches with an upset as Aaron Henare defeated former mentor Hiroshi Tanahashi. Henare was quick to bring fists and feet to the Ace before straining the neck and mid section of his foe. Tanahashi would fire back with a flipping senton and his Dragon palm strikes, but his momentum would be killed as Henare used his size advantage to land a big second rope senton. 

Tanahashi resisted the Ultima at first, but when High Fly Flow only found the knees of the Ultimate Weapon, Henare was in full control. The Ultima came together on the second attempt, and the Maori warrior released the hold only to land Streets of Rage for the three count. 

D Block would see El Phantasmo show exactly what the G1 meant to him in a spectacular effort against Will Ospreay, but a losing one as United Empire’s Commonwealth Kingpin took top spot in the block. 

After Phantasmo’s less than charitable comments delivered in absentia at the G1 press conference, Ospreay started fast against Phantasmo with a double barrelled dropkick out of his home corner as the bell rang. With a high speed and high level of intensity, Ospreay pursued Phantasmo and drilled him with boots and chops before ELP’s athleticism saw him score with a high cross, a tope suicida and then a spectacular quebrada. 

In a shift from his usual in ring arrogance, Phantasmo opted not to mock his foe, instead keeping the pressure up with a direct offensive style. ELP was able to match his opposition for speed, if not power, and Ospreay would be able to respond with a spinning backbreaker, a powerbomb and the Orange Crush. Still though, Phantasmo’s knowledge of the Commonwelath Kingpin’s offense saw him stay a half step in front, Sudden Death almost setting up CR II. 

In the end, an evenly matched battle was decided in a split second. As Ospreay went for the Os Cutter, ELP caught the Briton with a perfectly timed backslide that nearly got three. As Ospreay kicked out, Phantasmo made a momentary appeal to the referee, enough time for a sudden, precise and powerful Hidden Blade that saw the three count rendered.