Tournament continues in Aichi
Nagoya’s Dolphin’s Arena saw night eight of the G1 Climax 32 tour on July 30 with four more block matches with some expert technical wrestling across the card.
Tom Lawlor had a difficult second opponent in JONAH in A Block, both men at 0-1 and hungry for two points. Lawlor would try and shoot in on the big man to no avail in the opening moments, but was able to sidestep the Top Dog and send him to the floor where a running PK was waiting. A second attempt was much too ambitious though, and JONAH pounced the Filthy one into the apron and then dropped his foe ribs first over the guardrail.
JONAH was in full control until Lawlor was able to roll out of the way of a big senton, and countered a second attempt with a heel hook. The Top Dog made the ropes, but Lawlor kept moving, cutting him down to size with leg kicks. An enzuigiri staggered JONAH and Lawlor sunk in a rear naked choke, but a full speed charge would take down the former STRONG Champion, who was set up for a superplex.
Lawlor countered, and used the ropes for leverage to hit a big uranage suplex. Heavy knees followed, but the wounded JONAH was able to go back to the ribs, elevating Lawlor over the top ropes, before following with a powerbomb and the Torpedo to gain victory.
B Block would see SANADA take on Great-O-Khan in a rematch from January 5 in the Tokyo Dome. It was a tense exchange on the mat in the opening moments that saw O-Khan gain the upper hand, but a springboard dropkick and then a plancha created separation for Cold Skull. O-Khan had to stop SANADA’s perpetual motion, and did so with a big boot, jarring his knee but causing significant damage before dropping SANADA face first into the corner and rocketing off a lariat.
O-Khan kept moving with Mongolian Chops, and even as SANADA replied with a TKO, a Moonsault attempt was met with the Dominator’s knees. A back breaker was followed with the Sheep Killer, but SANADA’s wrestler’s instinct saw him flip over the top rope and get his hooks in on Skull End. Desperate, O-Khan clawed the eye of SANADA and then met a charging LIJ member with a straight right hand. The Dominator landed a second rope moonsault for two and went for the Eliminator, but SANADA rolled out and connected with a pop-up TKO, before the Moonsault got three, putting O-Khan solidly down to the bottom of the group.
The main event of the evening saw Zack Sabre Jr. attempt to defend an unbeaten record against the 1-1 Hiroshi Tanahashi. Sabre would frustrate the Ace with effortless control of Tanahashi’s wrist, forcing the three time former G1 winner to go down to the hurt rib cage with strikes. Tanahashi grew in confidence, but Sabre made the Ace pay dearly, catching his foe with a Dragon Screw, and then brutally targeting the left arm.
Tanahashi howled in pain as both arms were stretched behind his back but still made the ropes and was able to fire off a flurry of strikes. Blocking a Cobra Twist, the Ace fought for one of his own, before calling an audible with a Dragon Screw instead to gain the upper hand. After crushing the air from his foe with a flipping senton, Tanahashi shot in with a Dragon Screw, but got caught when trying again; Sabre read Tanahashi’s attempt at the straightjacket German suplex and countered into an armbar with a head scissors for added torque.
Tanahashi again found the ropes and again kept himself in the running, albeit frustrated and pained. A wounded animal, Tanahashi would fire off a pair of Twist and Shouts, and then used ZSJ’s own Zack Driver; Slingblade followed for two, and the Ace went upstairs for a High Fly attack, but Sabre rolled through for two off a European Clutch; as the crowd in Aichi became vocal for both men, Tanahashi got a roll up, and though Sabre7s hand broke the plane of the bottom rope, the three count was rendered.
D Block saw Shingo Takagi face David Finlay. Takagi would gain an early advantage with a DDT on the floor and kept up the pressure on the Rebel before a plancha from Finlay created distance. Finlay was able to follow up with a Blue Thunder, but the Ryukon lariat put Shingo back in charge, and Takagi rattled off a combination, flowing into a Dragon Elbow, powerbomb and then an STF.
Finlay made the ropes, and used the Irish Curse to mount a comeback. After a superplex, Finlay looked for the Acid Drop but was thrown off the top; the fourth generation star would get the move on a second try, and created a near two as the fans got behind him. Takagi was able to stall Finlay’s momentum with the Noshigami though, and Pumping Bomber set the table for Made in Japan. Finlay still kicked out at the last instant, and as Shingo approached for the kill, he was surprised with a Prima Nocta and then a roll-up for three.
G1 action continues Sunday in Aichi, where two A Block matches have Lance Archer battle Jeff Cobb and Kazuchika Okada face Bad Luck Fale, B Block sees Jay White facing Chase Owens, Tetsuya Naito takes on EVIL in the C Block main event, and D Block has YOSHI-HASHI meeting Juice Robinson.