Okada, White, ZSJ, Ospreay and Juice G1 leaders after five nights
The second night for G1 Climax 32 in Ota-ku on July 24 saw the four groups take place, three groups having clear leaders by the end of the afternoon, one being more contentious, and one seeing a surprise backmarker.
A Block took the semi main event position on the day, and with a monster clash that fit the monster block designation. Bad Luck Fale took on Jeff Cobb, and took the Imperial Unit to task, putting Cobb in the unfamiliar position of the smaller man in the match. The Rogue General’s offense saw him surf on the United Empire member’s back and crunch him with an elbow drop, but attempts at signature finishing blows the Grenade and Bad Luck Fall were both denied.
Instead, Cobb caught a charging Fale with a thrust kick and immediately followed on the rocked opposition. A mammoth suplex was quickly followed by perhaps the biggest ever Tour of the Islands to put Cobb on the board in A Block.
In B, Jay White ended the day sitting pretty with a two point lead as Taichi did not remain undefeated, instead dropping his second bout to SANADA. Fans expected pec pops and violent All Japan like imagery and got both in a thriller that saw SANADA barely emerge with the win.
While pectoral movement saw both men have their fun at the start of the match, things soon turned serious enough, and with Taichi in control. Meeting SANADA’s athleticism with his own power, Taichi went to the Akira Taue playbook with the Nodo Otoshi; Cold Skull responded with a Misawa-esque rolling elbow and a Tiger Suplex for two. Taichi would again summon his hero Taue as SANADA spring to the top but it would be a second attempt Nodo Otoshi from the corner that proved his undoing.
SANADA narrowly evaded certain disaster by backflipping out of what would have been a match ender, and getting a near two from an O’Connor Roll. Transitioning to a TKO and Skull End, the LIJ member had the match won, but his moonsault press only found the knees of Taichi, who boasted his foe with a forearm shiver, this time going to the hurt eye socket of his foe. Vision was further blurred with Kawada kicks and a gamen giri, but as Taichi wanted the Yokozuna Elbow, he was rolled up with the O’Connor, this time with a bridge, for three.
C Block leader Zack Sabre Jr. sat down to watch the main event of the evening backstage safe in the knowledge that neither Hiroshi Tanahashi nor Tetsuya Naito could knock him off the top spot. What was a shock at the end of the day though was that one man was sitting rock bottom in the group, and that man was Naito.
Wrestling a familiar foe, Naito seemed relaxed and enjoying the flow of the match for its majority. Certainly Naito had the physical upper hand for the bulk of the bout, an assault on the neck of the Ace starting with a dropkick to the outside and then his trademark leg Nelson applied on the floor and only broken at the count of 19.
Tanahashi would respond with wild Dragon like swats of his left hand, and Dragon Screws that affected Naito’s long afflicted base. Even as Esperanza drilled Tanahashi neck first, the Ace held on, as he did when rolling through a top rope Frankensteiner to stay in the match.
Tanahashi would come up with a string of Twist and Shouts before a barrage of Slingblades, but Naito would avoid the High Fly Flow as the Ace crashed to the mat. With both men trading blows, Naito seemed to have a little more Will to survive, and busted out Valentia that seemed to seal the path to Destino. Yet a split second counter meant Naito was destined for defeat.
Naito had wrung the arm of Tanahashi earlier, drawing a Dragon Screw counter; this time Naito must have reasoned, there was no gas in the Tanahashi tank. But the fumes of the three time G1 winner drove him to an instinctual inside cradle, and the three count rendered, Tanahashi still very much in the C Block hunt as Naito is forced to the bubble.
D Block would see a drive to victory being pared against some very different cravings as El Phantasmo took on Yujiro Takahashi. Yujiro would offer up some ‘quality time’ with Pieter in exchange for a pinfall victory, but when ELP reneged on the deal, Yujiro took control of the match with a Pimp Juice on the floor. With a clear bullseye on the neck of his opponent, Yujiro delivered with the Intercollegiate Slam and Miami Shine, dealing damage compounded by an accident afflicting ELP’s motion.
When Phantasmo was able too mount a comeback on Yujiro, a lateral press saw Takahashi rocket his right shoulder of the mat, inadvertently catching ELP below the belt in the process. ELP was clearly badly affected, but still able to mount enough of a comeback for SHO to appear ringside. The Murder Machine’s attempt at pitching Yujiro his wrench backfired, and when Phantasmo created a distraction by acting as if Yujiro had swung the weapon, he followed up with a very deliberate low blow, and then Thunder Kiss ’86. Yujiro was dealt further emotional damage after the bell as Pieter ended up leaving Ota with Phantasmo.
The G1 series stays in Tokyo now for two nights in Korakuen Hall. Tuesday July 26 will have A Block represented by Tom Lawlor in his first group match with Lance Archer, Great-O-Khan facing Chase Owens in B, KENTA facing EVIL in C Block, and Juice Robinson versus David Finlay in the D Block main event.