9/19 G1 Climax: Night 2 report: Fann’s results and analysis of B block action including Tanahashi vs. Okada

By Rich Fann, PWTorch columnist


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G-1 Climax Day 2 Results
September 19th, 2021
Osaka Prefectual Gym, Osaka, Japan
Aired Live on NJPWWORLD.com

(1) KOSEI FUJITA vs. SHO

The show kicked off with Kosei Fujita and the new heel version of Sho. At the bell, Sho bailed out of the ring and stalled for a bit, then returned and peppered Fujita with precision strikes. Fujita fired back instantly with a nice comeback and hit a great young lion drop kick. Sho got sick of Fujita, spiked the young man with several German suplexes and applied his Snake Bite submission, which led to the ref stoppage.

WINNER: SHO by referee stoppage (Snake Bite) in 8:09 (**)

(Fann’s Analysis: Sho is still trying to figure out how he’s playing this role – this isn’t too different from the debut of Jay White, where I’d note the deep breath he’d take prior to “turning into” Switchblade on the ramp, versus the complete character he is today. Fujita is still on his journey as a young lion, and was good in his role as cannon fodder.)

(2) YOSHI-HASHI vs. EVIL (w/Dick Togo) – Block B Match

This inaugural B block match for the G-1 Climax 31 was Evil versus Yoshi-Hashi. Yoshi-Hashi did his part in the match, being the earnest face that fought bravely against the constant (I cannot understate how constant this was) cheating by Togo and Evil.

Yoshi-Hashi tried to lock in the butterfly, but Evil got the ropes. Evil tried his usual ref shenanigans, but the ref slapped him. Yoshi-Hashi nailed a brainbuster and then went for Kharma, but Evil countered. Dick Togo got into the ring to distract/pull the ref while Yoshi-Hashi had an inside cradle on Evil. Evil then hit a crotch shot and his Everything is Evil for the win.

WINNER: EVIL by pinfall (Evil) in 17:15 (***)

(Fann’s Analysis: Yoshi-Hashi’s has improved by leaps and bounds from the last G-1, while Evil has regressed further. When you watch an Evil match at this point it’s formulaic – in the worst possible way – to the point of being painful. Truly annoying to see. Yoshi-Hashi’s pump handle into a backbreaker got a great response from the fans, and Yoshi-Hashi overall was really well received.)

(3) JEFF COBB vs. CHASE OWENS – Block B Match

Jeff Cobb started this match hot, then Owens bailed (per Bullet Club rules) to the outside. However, unlike his BC brethren Owens got back in to face his bigger opponent with intent. The smaller Owens (who was in really good shape to his credit) spent most of the match in the underdog position, though Owens was able to hit a v-trigger and his Jewel Heist. Kevin Kelly did a great job of talking through Owens’ decision to up his cardio to an hour a day and train in the heat of Texas to get ready for this year’s G-1. Cobb was a man on the mission though, and despite several v-triggers, countered the last Owens v-trigger attempt into a Tour of the Islands for the pin.

WINNER: Jeff Cobb by pinfall (Tour of the Islands) in 12:11 (***)

(Fann’s Analysis: Owens more than held his own in this match. While this was a showcase for Cobb, who seems like a strong candidate to be in the final few nights as a contender for winning the block as well as the final, Owens had a solid bit of offense here. His shape is gonna help throughout this slog and clearly Owens has taken this opportunity seriously.)

(4) SANADA vs. TAMA TONGA (w/JADO) – Block B Match

Handsome battle B block edition.

A motivated Tama Tonga is a fun thing to see, as we were treated to the pair’s exchange of holds and counter-holds to open this match. Tama takes his vest off after an exchange, and the crowd gasped at Tonga’s physique. After a bit of duplicity while Sanada appealed to the crowd on the middle ropes, Tama tossed Sanada over the top to the floor, where Sanada was driven into the barricade to tease the count out spot.

Once back into the ring, Tama took advantage and blocked a Skull End, with a Tongan Twist for Sanada’s trouble. Tama then hit a powerslam and blocked Skull End again – this time with an arm drag.

Sanada then got back on the offensive with a Skull End exchange with Tama. Tama then hit a piledriver for a long two. Sanada blocked Gun Stun into Skull End, and went for the moonsault, but Tama got the knees up and transitioned into an inside cradle for a crazy nearfall. Tama’s Gun Stun attempts again were rebuffed, and Sanada used the O’Connor Roll for the win.

WINNER: Sanada by pinfall (O’Connor Roll) in 19:04 (***1/2)

(Fann’s Analysis: Chris Charlton did a great job of explaining with Kevin Kelly that Tama Tonga wants to outdo Karl Anderson as a singles competitor in the G-1. That focus was clear, as this was one of the better G-1 matches that Tama has ever had. I loved this match, and Sanada getting the win doesn’t detract from the strong showing Tama Tonga had.)

(5) HIROOKI GOTO vs. TAICHI (w/Miho Abe) – Block B Match

Goto was absolutely not in this match for the pec pops and the theatrics of Taichi, but Taichi brought a great offense when the match actually started. Instead of a handsome battle, this was a hoss vs. baby hoss fight – lots of brawling and wildness.

The story of the match was Goto being ready to run through whatever offense Taichi had, but Taichi would use that aggressiveness to continually wear at the head and neck of his opponent.

Taichi nailed a hellacious kick to Goto’s head, then tried to push the pace, but Goto fought to save himself from what was clearly coming. Eventually, Taichi’s Black Mephisto was enough to get the W.

WINNER: Taichi by pinfall (Black Mephisto) in 18:30 (***3/4)

(Fann’s Analysis: Great match. Really fun, with Kelly and Charlton clearly enamored with Miho Abe and trying to sell her as the angel on Taichi’s shoulder. In the ring, both men were ready for a hossfight, and Taichi seemed to be really motivated in this first G-1 B block matchup for him. Goto as always was a solid foil, but the G in G-1 this year may not be for Goto.)

(6) HIROSHI TANAHASHI vs. KAZUCHIA OKADA – Block B Match

Main event time.

The pair began with a solid series of counters, and then settled into the big story of the match, which was first how well the pair knew each other, and then whether the match would go to a time limit draw.

Late in the match, both men attempted tombstone piledrivers, but Okada was the man to succeed. After his top rope elbow and customary Rainmaker pose, Tanahashi nailed a furious pair of sling blades. Tana then went for High Fly Flow, but ate the knees of Okada, which sent both men to the mat with minutes remaining. Okada hit a pair of Rainmakers, then when he attempted the spinning version, Tana countered in his “veteran special” cradle for a 2.999. Tana then hit a German suplex and then a dragon suplex. Okada kicked out at one and the fans went nuts.

Both men back on their feet, they began a strike exchange to challenge each persons’ fighting spirit. Okada hit a dropkick, and then after another Tombstone attempt, a Rainmaker for the win with less than 30 seconds left.

WINNER: Kazuchia Okada by pinfall (Rainmaker) in 29:36 (****3/4)

(Fann’s Analysis: Outstanding match. Tanahashi has really been on another level since he got the call with the injuries and illnesses that pervaded the roster this year. Okada had his working boots on against one of his greatest rivals. Fans were glued to the match, particularly the “will they, won’t they” aspect of being so close to a time limit draw. Watch this match.)

Overall thoughts (8.5): Solid B block card that flourished with the final 3 matches. The Okada/Tanahashi main event was an absolute treat, while Taichi vs. Goto and Sanada vs. Tama Tonga are nice treats in their own right.

Contact Rich at PWTDive@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/rich_fann.

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