Final four set Tuesday in Budokan
Tetsuya Naito and Will Ospreay are the C and D Block representatives in G1 Climax 32, as a result set to face off in a first time ever singles clash this Wednesday in the Nippon Budokan.
Naito needed some help to make it through to the final four clean, and ironically got it from former ally turned bitter foe EVIL, who put Hirooki Goto decisively out of the running. EVIL tried to jump Goto during his entrance, but was soon cut off, and while Dick Togo would get involved on repeat occasions, it seemed as if Goto had an answer at each turn. The last shortcut for EVIL was the decisive one however as he countered GTR, and held the referee to allow Togo to punt the CHAOS member between the legs and lead to the finish.
That meant Tetsuya Naito’s clash with Zack Sabre Jr. was for all the C Block marbles. As ZSJ had the two point lead, a 30 minute draw would be in the Briton’s favour, but there wasn’t even the slightest flirtation with the time limit.
Instead, after a lengthy disrobing process for Naito, a fast and furious pace saw both men try to one up each other. As flash pin falls were exchanged, Sabre suddenly teased Zack Driver and was countered; Naito responded by feinting for Destino but instead cradling Zack to win in just under two minutes, Sabre left to tear apart the ringside area in frustration.
The road was rather more arduous for Will Ospreay, who opened the night against Juice Robinson. Wanting to preserve a chaotic seven man tie, Juice was merciless and brutal in the opener, with a target on Ospreay’s neck. Ospreay wanted to take down Juice fast outside the ring, but a kick to the guardrail stopped the Kingpin from using it as a springboard, and a neck breaker followed over the metal.
Ospreay fought his way back into the match, and as both men found themselves on the apron, Ospreay vaulted over the corner post to hit a powerbomb on the hardest part of the ring. A 450 only found knees though, and Juicebox drove the same joints into the gut. When Ospreay battled back with a shotgun drop kick, recoil sent its target flying into the referee, and Juice quickly went to the IWGP US title belt stowed underneath the ring.
The title belt would counter Hidden Blade from Ospreay and Juice quickly followed with a pile driver on the Budokan floor. Pulp Friction followed but incredibly only got two; as Juice tried to get the Rockslide, Ospreay was able to hit a quick instinctive Hidden Blade for three.
Ospreay was not automatically through however, and had to have results go his way; much like with Naito and EVIL, he wanted an enemy in El Phantasmo to be victorious over Shingo Takagi and got just that. Fighting for pride, the usually frivolous Phantasmo was deadly serious and deadly impactful in his offence, including making split second decisions to strike from midair to Shingo.
When Takagi fired back, Phantasmo was forced out of his comfort zone to roar back with uncharacteristic fighting spirit. Conversely, Takagi did the same as he was forced to be athletic in his counters, a Frankensteiner out of the CRII buying him time. Yet as ELP kicked out of Pumping Bomber, Shingo couldn’t get Last of the Dragon, as Phantasmo got CRII for a very long two. Not giving in, Phantasmo rang a Sudden Death off the chin of Takagi, before finally hitting a stump pile driver variant of the CRII, called the CR III for the victory. With perhaps the biggest singles win of his NJPW career, ELP’s G1 was over, but he declared on his exit that his journey as an official heavyweight was just beginning.