9/29 NEW JAPAN G1 CLIMAX RESULTS – DAY 6: Wells’s report on Kazuchika Okada vs. Yoshi-Hashi, Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Tama Tonga, Hirooki Goto vs. Jeff Cobb

by Kelly Wells, PWTorch Contributor


SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING G1 CLIMAX 31 – DAY 6
SEPTEMBER 29, 2021
TOKYO, JAPAN AT KORAKUEN HALL
AIRED LIVE ON NJPWWORLD.COM

(1) TAICHI (w/Miho Abe) vs. EVIL (w/Dick Togo) – B Block

On a night with no particularly marquee matchups, this is the one I came in dreading most, under the assumption that most of it will be outside brawling. Taichi enters the match tied atop the block with 4 points, while Evil is tied with others with 2.

Taichi booted Togo from the ring to open, then booted Evil out as well and the bell sounded. Of course, things immediately went outside. Taichi briefly choked Evil with a cable, but Togo stole his attention and Evil got some cheap shots in and briefly took it inside, then took Taichi back outside and charged him into the barricade in front of the ring announcer, who went falling and looked like he may have hit the back of his head on the bleachers. Evil returned to the ring and Taichi made it back inside at the count of ten. Evil wanted to use Taichi’s mic as a weapon, but referee Kenta Sato put a stop to that. Evil leaned a boot on Taichi in the corner.

Taichi tried to power out of the corner, but Evil went at his eyes to ground him again. Evil whipped Taichi into an exposed turnbuckle; we didn’t see the pad come off but it was likely Dick Togo who removed it. Evil worked Taichi’s fingers but had to break as Taichi was under the plane of the ropes. Taichi got back into it with a hook kick to Evil and both guys sold on the mat.

Both guys got to their feet, and Taichi went at Evil with a choke. Dick Togo jumped to the apron and Taichi aggressively choked him as well. Action went outside and Taichi charged Evil into the barricade by the ring announcer, who went flying a second time. The two returned to the ring and jockeyed for position. Evil missed a corner splash and Taichi hit a back elbow, but Evil caught Taichi off the ropes and hit Darkness Falls for a quick two count.

Evil slashed his throat to signal Everything is Evil, but Taichi fought it off and charged Evil to the exposed corner. He went for his own finisher but Evil fought it off. Evil ran the ropes into an axe bomber by Taichi, who tossed his pants. The two tried to hit their finishers and countered a few times, and Taichi put down Evil with a kick. The crowd was firmly behind him. Taichi set up Black Mephisto. Evil tossed the ref in the corner and went for a low blow, but Taichi blocked it and hit a low blow of his own. Taichi covered for the visual pin but Dick Togo got involved. The ref got back into things and the two exchanged attempts at finishers again. Taichi hit a Saito suplex for two. Taichi set something up, but Dick Togo was yanking Miho Abe’s hair on the outside. Taichi ran to the corner to take care of it and Evil hit a low blow. Evil hit Everything is Evil. Instead of covering, he slapped on the Darkness Scorpion while Dick Togo forced Miho Abe to watch. Taichi was knocked out, and the ref dropped his arm and called for the bell.

WINNER: Evil at 11:31. (**1/4)

(Wells’s Analysis: Basically the mess you’d expect, and possibly hope for depending on your preferences, between these two. Evil of course picked up the win to keep pace with those just behind the leaders. Certainly not a match to write home about, but it was a digestible match time for the style they were going for)

(2) SANADA vs. CHASE OWENS – B Block

Sanada enters the match with two points, while Chase has zero. Chase isn’t going to be anywhere near the top of this block at the end, and his appearance is likely more of an audition for next year than anything.

Quick waistlock by Chase followed by some reversals. Chase went for a wristlock, reversed, and Chase worked a brief cravat. Sanada broke and attempted a paradise lock, but Chase put on the brakes. More quick reversals resulted in the two going for kicks at the same time and agreeing to put the other’s leg down. Owens has faking it and snapped a paradise lock on Sanada. Of course, Owens didn’t apply it properly and Sanada got out of it easily. Chase thought the crowd was cheering for him and Sanada dumped him, but Owens took control on the floor and charged Sanada into a barricade. Sanada took his time and entered at the 16 count.

Owens threw some rights and referee Kenta Sato stopped him from a choke hold. Owens whipped Sanada hard to the red corner, then followed up with some knees to the back. Bow and arrow by Owens, and Sanada eventually escaped. Sanada hit some rights but Owens hit a neckbreaker to stay in control and he covered for two. Owens worked a headlock on the mat for a moment and put an elbow to Sanada’s skull. He threw some forearms and Sanada threw some back. Rope run and Sanada hit a basement dropkick. Both guys sold for a bit. Sanada kipped up and hit an armdrag and a big atomic drop. Sanada tied up Owens in the paradise lock and posed with his foot on him and asked for announcer Milano Collection AT for his approval, and Milano gave two thumbs up.

Sanada stayed on the offensive and hit a huracanrana. Owens bailed, Sanada missed a plancha and Owens put him into the barricade. Back inside and Chase hit a Last Shot. Owens hit a lariat and covered for two. Sanada got sent to a corner, but he hopped up and hit a missile dropkick. TKO by Sanada got two, and he went up for a moonsault. Owens moved but Sanada landed on his feet and snapped on Skull End, but Owens rolled through, set up Sanada on a corner and used a cravat to slam him to the mat. Shining Wizard by Owens. Sanada trapped Owens in an O’Connor roll but Owens dragged the ref and bumped him so the visual pin didn’t matter. The two exchanged impact knees and kicks as the ref got back into it. Package piledriver, reverse, and the two reversed finishing spots rapidly until Sanada snapped on the Skull End again. Owens wouldn’t tap, but he was gassed. Sanada went up and hit a moonsault for the victory.

WINNER: Sanada at 11:58. (***1/2)

(Wells’s Analysis: Chase did a really good job of wrestling Sanada’s type of match and didn’t look out of his depth tonight at all. A very nice, relatively brief match that easily could’ve gone five or eight minutes longer, and if Owens keeps this up, that time will come)

(3) HIROOKI GOTO vs. JEFF COBB – B Block

Cobb comes in with four points while Goto still sits at zero. One of my big early questions is whether Goto is just losing early to set up a run or if his slide down the card will resume. Chris Charlton called Jeff Cobb “a lock to win the block.” Cobb was my pre-tournament pick in this block as well.

Lockup to start. Cobb shoved off Goto once, and then drove him to the ropes for a clean break. He tried a cheap charge and Goto trapped him in a headlock. Goto tried a shoulderblock that went nowhere, and Cobb responded with one that sent Goto to the mat. Goto pulled down a rope and the charging Cobb was dumped. Goto followed Cobb outside and drove his shoulder to the steel, then charged him into a barricade. He threw some boots and rolled Cobb back inside. Cobb tried an arm submission and Cobb quickly got to a rope to break. Goto threw some boots and a few palm strikes, then whipped Cobb to the blue corner. He flew in with a spinning heel kick, but Cobb caught and slammed him.

Cobb hit his feet first and stomped Goto. Goto whipped Cobb to a corner, but Cobb exploded out of the corner with a shoulder tackle. Cobb put some knees to the small of Goto’s back and added a forearm there. Cobb lifted Goto for some knees to the midsection, then tossed him with little effort and made a one-handed cover for two. He covered more fully for another two count. Cobb whipped Goto to a corner, then drove him to one corner, then another, then repeated two corners and dropped Goto to applause. Corner chop with a lariat follow-through by Cobb. Goto desperately grabbed one of Cobb’s legs and fought to his feet, but Cobb tackled him effortlessly again. They’re really selling him as almost unbeatable in this tournament.

Cobb missed a standing moonsault and sold it as hobbling him a bit. He charged Goto in a corner and missed. Goto hit a corner lariat but had no strength for his usual bulldog follow-up. He whipped Cobb, then hit a corner lariat and this time added the bulldog. Goto covered for two. Cobb got to his feet and the two exchanged shots, and Cobb took Goto down with a standing dropkick of impressive height. Cobb hit a flying forearm in the corner and a big backdrop. Cobb covered for two. Standing moonsault landed for two.

The two sold for a bit and then got to their feet for a forearm exchange. Cobb ran the ropes right into an ushigoroshi by Goto. Both guys sold on the mat again. The two met in the ring with lariat attempts at the same time, and then again. Goto blocked a shot and hit a discus lariat. Goto wanted the GTR but Cobb escaped. The two fought for position and Goto used a waistlock takedown, then worked an arm submission until Cobb reached a rope. Goto held on as long as he could before breaking. Both guys hit their feet again and Cobb hit a thrustkick to lay Goto out. Goto missed a lariat and the two reversed a few moves until Cobb hit the Spin Cycle. Deadlift German suplex by Cobb. Goto just barely evaded Tour of the Islands and trapped Cobb in a crucifix for a convincing near-fall. Goto hit a reverse GTR, then a huge lariat for two. Goto fired himself up and went for the GTR. Cobb fought it off and threw a headbutt to lay out Goto, then caught him with the Tour of the Islands to finish.

WINNER: Jeff Cobb at 15:10. (***3/4)

(Wells’s Analysis: Really great stuff near the end of this one with Goto finding a way to get back into it and nearly pull it off, but Cobb just has too many tricks up his sleeve. Block winners usually don’t start out with three wins and establish themselves as the block leader for the length of the tournament, but I might be in favor of that with Cobb. Here’s hoping Goto pulls off some wins soon because I’m not ready for him to be irrelevant yet. Unfortunately, Okada is next up for him)

-Cleaning and disinfection.

(4) HIROSHI TANAHASHI vs. TAMA TONGA (w/Jado) – B Block match

Tana and Tama each have two points coming into tonight’s action. Tanahashi was out of the running with a show yet to go last year, which was the first time it’s ever happened to him, so the big question is whether Tanahashi will get back to that point again in his career.

Tama Tonga stayed intense before the match, selling Tanahashi as a big threat rather than a joke. Lockup to start and Tana took Tonga to the ropes and broke clean. The two reset and locked up again and Tonga wrenched Tanahashi’s arm. Tanahashi reversed and eventually transitioned to a headlock when Tonga tried to escape. Tonga tried to run the ropes to break, but Tana held on. Quick reversals on the mat finally led to a Tonga escape, and the two reset again.

Another collar and elbow. Tonga pulled Tanahashi’s hair and drove him to the ropes, and then broke clean and tried to charge in for a lariat, but Tanahashi ducked and hammered Tonga into a corner. Back elbow by Tana and a high cross-body. Tanahashi did a little air guitar and Tonga almost surprised him with a Gun Stun, but Tanahashi fought it off once, and then again. Somersault senton got two for Tanahashi, and Tonga used a crucifix and got a very close near-fall. Tonga snapped Tanahashi’s neck on the top rope to take control. Leaping elbow drop by Tonga. Tonga put on a chinlock and elbowed Tanahashi on top of the head. Tanahashi threw a few body shots but Tonga caught him in a headlock. He held on for a long time as Tana fought to his feet and tried to elbow out of it until he finally broke free. Tonga caught Tanahashi in a Tongan Death Grip and held on until referee Marty Asami made him break. Tanahashi put on a Death Grip of his own, then hit a dragon screw to lay Tonga out.

Tana slammed Tonga near a corner, then hit a somersault senton from the second buckle. Tanahashi tried to work a cloverleaf and Tonga fought against it, then charged in with a choke hold to free himself. He drove Tanahashi to a corner and held on until Asami nearly disqualified him. Tonga went back and missed a big splash in the corner, but reversed a sling blade into a Tongan twist and covered for two. Tonga hit a sling blade to some oohing by the audience, and then Tanahashi’s own High Fly Flow to another big reaction for a very close near-fall. Tonga stalked Tanahashi and went for the Gun Stun, but Tanahashi turned it into Twist and Shout after some jockeying. Sling blade by Tanahashi connected for two.

Tanahashi went up and hit Aces High. He went up the opposite side for High Fly Flow, but Tonga evaded it and hit the Gun Stun to a shocked reaction. He fired up and crawled slowly to Tanahashi, and his hesitation cost him the win as he got a long two. Tana rolled him into a crucifix and got the three.

WINNER: Hiroshi Tanahashi at 14:17. (****)

(Wells’s Analysis: Tanahashi continues to find new ways to have great matches, no matter what his body tells him. Tama Tonga was wonderful here, trying hard to get the legitimate win over Tanahashi but resorting to more heelish tactics as adrenaline took over and he tried to close the deal. Absolutely one of Tonga’s best singles matches ever both from an athletic and psychological standpoint. Jado and his kendo stick didn’t figure in whatsoever, which was a refreshing change of pace)

(5) KAZUCHIKA OKADA vs. YOSHI-HASHI – B Block

Okada is unbeaten as Yoshi-Hashi sits with Owens and Goto winless at the bottom of the block. By far my favorite Yoshi-Hashi singles match was against Okada in the G1, so here’s hoping they continue to match up well.

Waistlock by Hashi, reversed into a wristlock, back to Hashi. The two tangled on the mat for a moment and reset on their feet. Quick reversals on the mat led to a Hashi headlock. Okada tried to power out and Hashi held on, growling as he powered Okada back into the move. On Okada’s fourth attempt to escape and reverse, he succeeded, and held on as Hashi tried to power out. Headlock takeover by Okada. Hashi tried a scissors to escape but Okada held on. Hashi managed to get to a rope and Okada made the clean break, but Hashi ducked a chop and got in a shot of his own. Hashi tried a tackle that didn’t take Okada down, but he ran the ropes and hit a chop that leveled Okada.

Okada whipped Hashi, but Hashi exploded off the ropes with a tackle. Snap mare into a rear chinlock by Hashi. The two got to their feet and exchanged forearms. Okada won the exchange but Hashi slipped out of the ring and yanked Okada out and put him into a barricade. Hashi threw a big chop and ran Okada to another barricade. Okada didn’t eat the barricade but took another big chop right after. Okada hit a DDT outside the ring and the ref finally started the count. Okada rolled in at six, then rolled out at eleven and hit another DDT on the floor. Okada rolled back into the ring and Red Shoes started the count again, reaching 18 before Hashi made it in as well.

Okada hit a big back elbow in the corner, then another. He ran the length of the ring and hit a flying back elbow, then a spike DDT for a two count. Hashi got to his feet and the two exchanged shots. Okada leveled Hashi with a big back elbow. Rope run and Hashi hit a headhunter after a couple of missed shots. Hashi hit a neckbreaker and covered for two. Okada tried to fight back into it and Hashi booted him to the floor and hit a plancha, then fired up for the crowd. Hashi rolled Okada inside and went to the top and hit a blockbuster for two. Hashi attempted a powerbomb but Okada dug in to fight it off. Backdrop by Okada. Running European uppercut by Okada, but Hashi trapped Okada in a butterfly lock. Okada fought his way over to the bottom rope to break at the 15 minute mark.

Okada smoothly took down Hashi and snapped on the Money Clip. Hashi reached the rope but Okada put him right back into it. Hashi looked like a smallmouth bass as he was starting to blubber as he faded. Okada leaned back harder into the Money Clip, seemingly for the inevitable win, but Hashi thumped forward and reached the rope to break again.

Okada slammed Hashi and went up for a flying elbow. He hit the Rainmaker pose, which he doesn’t always do anymore. He went for the Rainmaker lariat but Hashi ducked it and threw a big chop. Quick reversals led to an Okada lariat, then another. Okada’s second attempt at the Rainmaker was reversed into a Yoshi-Hashi lariat, and the crowd continued to fire up for Hashi, forever the underdog (the announcers mentioned that Hashi has never beaten Okada in their many singles meetings). Hashi wanted Karma, but Okada fought it off. Dragon suplex by Hashi and the clock hit the twenty minute mark. Double knees by Hashi got a two count.

Rope run and Okada hit a boot, then another. Hashi fired up and hit a big lariat, then a kumagoroshi for a long two. Hashi worked another butterfly lock. Okada teased a tap and referee Red Shoes Unno asked him if he was going to continue. Okada fought his way toward the ropes and Hashi transitioned to a sleeper, then took Okada back to the center and hit double knees and reapplied the butterfly lock. Okada teased a tap again. Once again, the action got close to the ropes and Hashi transitioned again, this time to a sleeper. Red Shoes asked Okada again and Okada weakly waved him off. Hashi went for Karma but Okada found the strength to fight him off and hit a tombstone piledriver.

Okada flew in with a shotgun dropkick, but Hashi slipped out of the way and hit a corner lariat. The match reached 25 minutes. Hashi hit a body slam and went to the top and went for a somersault senton, but missed. Okada hit a dropkick to Hashi’s back and then a conventional dropkick. Rainmaker missed and Hashi hit an inside cradle that got a long two. Okada closed in but Hashi hit a superkick. He went for Karma again but Okada caught and slammed him, then hit the Rainmaker to finish.

WINNER: Kazuchika Okada at 26:53. (****)

(Wells’s Analysis: Once again, the two match up nicely with much of the credit going to the fact that Okada is literally unbeatable for Yoshi-Hashi, which makes him the ultimate underdog. I feel like if he were ever going to get a win over Okada in one of these, the best time was either tonight or their battle in the G1 a couple of years ago, but the drama of Yoshi-Hashi’s quest to overcome Okada carried this otherwise non-elite match to as high as it could reasonably go. Yoshi-Hashi’s story, though, is always the same in the tournament – supposedly he’s a new man with newfound power who’s not an easy out anymore, and his record doesn’t reflect how great he is. The ship has sailed on people believing this as Yoshi-Hashi continues to bottom-feed his blocks every year. If they want to push him, they could consider giving him some wins)

Okada did some basic mic time after the match, putting over his opponent and the tournament.


FINAL THOUGHTS: For a show without the promise of any great matchups, it sure added up to more than the sum of its parts, as I’ve got four of the five matches between three and a half and four stars. It was strange in a tournament known for upsets for all five matches to be won by the favorite, but if that’s going to happen, it’s usually in these mid-early shows that, while fun, are treated as skippable for those who may not watch the entirety of the tournament.

Jeff Cobb and Kazuchika Okada remain unbeaten heading into the next show, though Cobb’s three victories came over the three guys with zero points, so his big tests loom. Four guys are just behind at four. I’ll be back for the fifth B Block show on October 4th, then I’ve got a long layoff before returning for the final B block show on the 20th. Zack Heydorn will be here tomorrow as A Block continues to try to put it together after the unfortunate injury of Tetsuya Naito. Cheers.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*