9/24 G1 Climax 31 report: Radican’s results & analysis of Sanada vs. Taichi, Okada vs. Evil B block action

By Sean Radican, PWTorch columnist (Twitter: @SR_Torch)


SEPT. 24, 2021

You can watch this show for free on NJPW World

G1 Climax 31 Central: Your complete guide to G1 Climax 31 with updated standings, viewing guide, tournament schedule, and more!

Commentary: Matt Charlton and Kevin Kelly

(1) HIROOKI GOTO (0) vs. HIROSHI TANAHSHI (0) – B Block match

Tanahashi dominated the early stages of the match while working over Goto’s leg. Goto finally cut him off with a Ushigoroshi and both men were down on the mat. This was a very good match with Tanahashi looking good working over Goto until he got the win with a pinning combination to counter the GTR.

WINNER: Hiroshi Tanahashi (2 pts) at 14:10. (***1/2)

(Radican’s Analysis: This match was a nice way to kick off the show with Tanahashi wrestling his style of match. Right now he’s at his best working the submission game, but he snuck out a win here with a small package.)

(2) CHASE OWENS (0) vs. TAMA TONGA (0) (W/JADO) – B Block match

They did a low Too Sweet before going at it. After a bit of a slow start, both men went for their finishers, but were not successful. Tongo took over his shirt to reveal that he had a good physique. Owens pointed at Jado, which allowed Tonga to catch him with a powerslam. Owens worked a STF and then continued to go after Tonga’s leg. He went for a package piledriver, but Tonga hit a backdrop. He then hit the Tonga Twist and both men were down. Owens hit the Jewel Heist for a nearfall. The fans fired up as Owens hit a big knee. He went for a package piledriver, but Tonga turned it into a Gun Stun for the win.

Both men shook hands after the match was over. They walked out together as the Bullet Club theme played.

WINNER: Tama Tonga (2 pts) at 12:59. (***½)

(Radican’s Analysis: Well wouldn’t you know it. Bullet Club members wrestled each other in a clean match. These two had a very good match that the crowd was into despite the heel vs. heel dynamic.)

(3) JEFF COBB (2) vs. YOSHI-HASHI (0) – B Block match

Hashi had the upper hand early, but Cobb fired back and showcased his power. Hashi mounted a comeback and set up for a powerbomb, but Cobb hit a big backdrop and the fans fired up. Hashi fired back a short time later with a dragon suplex. Hashi went for a clothesline and connected, but Cobb didn’t go down. He went for another one and connected flush. Hashi ended up connecting with a destroyer, so it turned out he wasn’t going for a powerbomb earlier in the match. Hashi countered a Tour of the Islands attempt. It looked like he was going for kharma, but he ended up getting a nearfall with a pinning combination on Cobb. Cobb then nailed him with a shoulder tackle that sent him flying across the ring. Cobb then hit a ripcord Tour of the Islands for the win.

WINNER: Jeff Cobb (4 pts.) at 13:21. (***½)

(Radican’s Analysis: This was a fun back and forth encounter. Hashi continues to do his best work during the G1. They’re positioning Hashi as someone that could pull and upset during the tournament. Cobb continues to look good after his big win over Okada at MetLife earlier in the month.)

(4) TAICHI (w/MIHO ABE) (2) vs. SANADA (2) – B Block match

They had a fast exchange and came to a stalemate. Both men flexed their pecs as the fans fired up. Taichi had the advantage early, but Sanda hit a dropkick to his knee to halt his momentum. The fans fired up with both men down on the mat with claps. They went back and forth and Sanada hit a Magic Screw for a two count. Shoutout to Arik Cannon. Sanada set up for a TKO. He then flipped Taichi over and went for Skull End, but Taichi countered it into a modified abdominal stretch. Taichi finally ended the exchange with a low angle enzuguri. Kelly noted that Taichi was favoring his back at this point in the match. Both men traded big moves and got right up. Sanada hit a second tiger driver and both men fell out of the ring to the floor. Both men made it back into the ring at 19. Taichi had a little help getting into the ring from Abe.

The fans fired up with both men back in the ring. Kelly mentioned Taichi was still looking for his first singles win over Sanada. They got up and traded blows. Sanada went for a discus forearm, but Taichi cut him off with a short elbow and both men were down. Taichi hit an axe bomber and ripped off his pants. Sanada blocked a kick and flipped over Taichi. Taichi rolled out of a Skull End attempt. Both men traded counters. Taichi eventually got the Gedo Clutch at the 20 minute mark for a nearfall. Sanada got up and hit a TKO for anearfall. He went for the Muta Moonsault, but Taichi got his knees up. They battled up top and Taichi set up for a Saito Suplex off the second rope, but Sanada grabbed a headlock to block it. Sanada sent Taichi to the mat and flipped over him. Taichi slipped out of a Skull End attempt. They began trading counters once again. Taichi ended a big exchange with a kick to Sanada’s head and both men were down as the fans fired up once again. That was a tremendous sequence!

Taichi hit a Saito suplex, but Sanada kicked out at the last second. Sanada went for the Muta Moonsault a short time later, but Taichi rolled out of the way. Sanada landed on his feet only to eat a big forearm. Taichi then hit Black Mephisto for the win. What a match.

WINNER: Taichi (4 pts) at 25:15. (****½)

(Radican’s Analysis: This was fantastic. Both men are so familiar with each other from their recent tag team feud and they turned that familiarity into a great storyline for this match. Both men countered each other’s signature maneuvers and built the match up and down with some nice strike exchanges and fighting spirit spots. The crowd was really good here as well considering the restrictions in Japan.)

(5) EVIL (W/DICK TOGO) (2) vs. KAZUCHIKA OKADA (2) – B Block match

Evil bailed from the ring. Togo got up on the apron and distracted Okada. Evil then attacked him from behind. Okada fired back and hit a slingshot splash from the apron into the ring and the fans applauded. Evil began targeting Okada’s back, which Kelly mentioned hadn’t been in great shape recently. Evil sent Okada into the exposed corner. He then grabbed a modified single leg crab while kicking away at Okada’s back. Okada managed to get to the ropes. Okada mounted a comeback and hit a neck breaker on Evil and both men were down. Okada followed Evil to the floor, but Evil ended up slamming him into the barricade and once again he went into the timekeeper. Evil set up Okada in a chair and charged at him, but Okada tripped him face-first into the chair.

Okada thought about tossing Evil into the guardrail, but he didn’t and the fans applauded him for not copying Evil’s tactics. Evil raked Okada’s eyes a short time later. He then poked Okada in the eye, but Okada caught him with a dropkick and applied the Money Clip. Okada hit a big slam a short time later and dropped the elbow off the top. He then hit The Rainmaker pose. He set up for a Rainmaker, but Evil grabbed him by the hair. Evil distracted the ref and Togo hit him with a chair from the floor. Evil then wiped out Okada with a clothesline with a nearfall. Okada blocked Everything is Evil and got a sit down pinning combination for a nearfall. Okada then rolled through on Evil while holding his wrist and hit a Rainmaker. Okada held onto Evil’s arm. He swung and missed a Rainmaker, but caught Evil with a dropkick. Okada then hit a spinning tombstone. Evil ended up throwing the ref into Okada. Evil then hit a low blow on Okada.

Okada got the Money Clip, but the ref was down and Togo ran into the ring and put the boots to Okada. Togo and Evil went for a Magic Killer, but Okada fought out of it. He shoved Evil into the exposed corner. He then hit a shotgun dropkick on Togo. Okada coutereed EIE twice, but Evil caught him with Darkness Falls for a nearall. The fans fired up with both men down on the mat.
Okada caught Evil with Everything is Okada. He hit a sitout landslide tombstone on Evil. He then finished him off with a Rainmaker for the win.

WINNER: Kazuchika Okada (4 pts) at 21:46. (****)

(Radican’s Analysis: This was a very good match that the live crowd enjoyed a lot. Your mileage may vary with Evil, but this match told a very good story of Okada overcoming all of Evil’s shenanigans while defeating him soundly in the end, which greatly pleased the crowd.)

Okada cut a promo after the match. He thanked the fans and said that although the G1 had just began, he was going to rain all over the G1 Climax.

Contact Sean at radicansean@pwtorch.com. Follow him on Twitter @sr_torch.

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