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NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING G1 CLIMAX 31 – DAY 8
OCTOBER 1, 2021
SHIZUOKA, JAPAN AT HAMAMATSU ARENA
AIRED LIVE ON NJPWWORLD.COM
(1) RYOHEI OIWA VS. YOSHINOBU KANEMARU – NON-TOURNAMENT MATCH
Oiwa started the match by attacking the veteran Kanemaru, with head stomps and then a lengthy head lock. Yoshinobu Kanemaru was able to get out and then he took the fight to the outside and threw Ryohei Oiwa into the barrier. Back in the ring the two men traded forearms, until Kanemaru took out the knee of Oiwa on a ring whip. Kanemaru locked in a single leg Boston Crab, Oiwa was able to get a rope break, another hold and rope break by Oiwa followed. Oiwa blocked a vertical suplex, he tried to reverse it and then Oiwa hit a drop kick. Oiwa then hit a hip toss and then a scoop and slam into a two count. Kanemaru hit a dropkick of his own. then a knee breaker and a single leg crab submission, turning that into a figure four leg lock that forced Oiwa to tap out.
WINNER: Yoshinobu Kanemaru
(Sage’s Analysis: A standard young lion match to start a G1 show.)
(2) JEFF COBB VS. TAMA TONGA – BLOCK B MATCH
A collar and elbow tie-up started the bout, after an exchange of slam attempts and rope running Tama Tonga had Cobb worn out in the corner. But, Cobb was playing opossum and hit a big suplex, sending Tama out to the floor, where Cobb worked his offense. Back in the ring, Cobb then stood on the back of Tonga and then suplexed him into a two count pin. Cobb then ran with Tonga in hand and slammed him in adjacent corners. Tama then hit punches from his knees to try and get the advantage once more, Tonga then hit a reverse from a slam position to get the advantage on Cobb.
From here Tonga hit a neck breaker, and a death valley driver, Cobb then countered and back dropped Tama Tonga. Cobb hot a two count, a moonsault, then another two count. Cobb tehn called out Tonga’s podcast and family. Tonga then hit a move and the dive off the top rope for a near fall. Tonga tried a Gun Stun, was caught by Cobb. This lead to a German by Cobb into a Tour of the Islands for the pin fall win.
WINNER: Jeff Cobb
(Sage’s Analysis:A match to show the dominance of Cobb. Tama Tonga looked athletic and had surprising strength in this match. This G1 looks like prep for G1 Climax 33 for Tama Tonga.)
(3) EVIL VS. CHASE OWENS – BLOCK B MATCH
The match started with Evil demanding Chase Owens lay down and give him the easy win, as they are teammates outside the G1. Owens slapped Evil in response and then raked the eyes of Evil and worked over some kick based offense. On the outside, Dick Togo tripped Owens. This lead to Evil getting Owens outside the ring and threw him into the ring announcer and table on the outside. Evil then removed the red turnbuckle and got Owens back into the ring and threw Owens into the exposed turnbuckle.
Evil tried three consecutive covers, all being two counts. Owens was able to get his hope spot in and he was able to run the ropes and get a springboard elbow on Evil. The match then went to the outside once more, Dick Togo was present once more leading to Evil tossing Owens into the barrier. Evil then hit a submission on the outside and let go at the 12 count, Dick Togo pulled Owens out of the ring at the 17 count, but Owens fought and beat the 20 count. Evil then hit Darkness Falls for a near fall, Owens then hit a neck breaker then Jewel Heist for a near fall. Evil grabbed the Texas title, Togo then choked Owens. Owens fought back and hit a spear on Evil through the ropes and got a near fall. Owens then hit a C-Trigger and then set up the package pile driver. Togo distracted the ref and Evil hit a low blow. Evil then hit Everything is Evil for the pin fall win.
(Sage’s Analysis: I liked this match much more than I though I would have. The interplay of being teammates made for some interesting spots throughout the match. I thought the Owens double count out beat was entertaining. The end sequence was very much a standard Evil match, but a higher level one than most.)
(4) YOSHI-HASHI VS. TAICHI – BLOCK B MATCH
Taichi hit a forearm on Yoshi-Hashi before the bell. Taichi then threw Yoshi into the barrier multiple times and using the camera cables and his six-man title. Toshi-Hashi then came back with a flurry of punches and threw Taichi into the barrier multiple times, he then tried as power bomb that was blocked. Taichi then tossed Yoshi-Hashi into the ring post twice. The two men then traded slaps and stomps. Tachi then stood on the hand of Yoshi-Hashi and stomped his injured shoulder, this was followed up with an abdominal submission.
The men then traded forearms, with Taichi winning, but Yoshi-Hashi hit adrop kick to the foot of Taichi. Yoshi-Hashi went on offence for a while, until a heel kick by Taichi sent both men to the mat. they both got up and traded shots, Taichi hit a jumping kick to regain control. Taichi again locked in a shoulder submission that Yoshi-Hashi was able to break with a rope break after a long while. Taichi hit a head kick, then Tachi won a forearm battle. Yoshi-Hashi hit a German, lariat, vertical Suplex then the Butterfly Lock that Taichi was able to get out of with a suplex. Taichi took a pump kick, then hit one of his own.
Yoshi-Hashi hit a destryoer to counter Taichi’s finisher for a near fall. Yoshi-Hashi then hit Karma for the pin fall win.
(Sage’s Analysis: This is not a match that I would have booked to be 20 minutes. But, both guys worked really hard start to finish. This has to be one of the best Yoshi-Hashi singles matches to date and that is due largely to Taichi and his effort in this match.)
(5) KAZUCHIKA OKADA VS. HIROOKI GOTO – BLOCK B MATCH
The start of the match was focused more on the psychological advantage, with both men trying to win tests of strength, mat based holds and then trading chest pats in lieu of chops. Goto got an early advantage after both men ran the ropes, Goto tossed Okada outside and then back in and worked him over a few minutes. Okada hit a backdrop to take advantage leading to moves in the outside of the ring, with Okada in control. Okada continued in the ring for a long while until Goto hit a big lariat. Goto hit his moves for a two count, he then took the match to the outside once more. After a series of moves both men were down as a 20 count was started. Goto remained in control in the ring. but Okada took control with an impressive running neck breaker.
After a few minutes of Okada offense, Goto hit a cutter and then hit a series of kicks and his signature more for a two count on Okada around the 15 minute mark. Okada tried for wrist control and hit a dropkick and then the spinning tombstone. Goto was quick to counter with a reverse GTR. Okada hit a unique roll up and was able to keep Goto’s shoulders down for a three count.
WINNER: Kazuchika Okada
(Sage’s Analysis: A classic “quick,” Okada G1 match. High Speed and athletic with Goto really shining in portions of the match. After having the previous matches have some out of the ring story-lines, a straight up match was nice to see here. It is wild to have Goto 0-4 so far in the G1.)
(6) HIROSHI TANAHASHI VS. SANADA – BLOCK B MATCH
Tanahashi and Sanada spent the first few minutes feeling each other out, signalling a longer length match. After a long exchange of holds and whips, both men tried to hit the paradise lock, with Sanada getting Tanahashi in that. Sanada was then in control after playing air guitar on Tanahashi, with a leg lock on the head of Tana he dominated for several minutes. The men traded forearms with Tanahashi winning with a running forearm. Tana hit a top rope senton for a two count he then hit a drop kick to the knee of Sanada. But, Sanada then hit a knee drop kick as well. The men then both hit consecutive dragon screw leg twists, Sanada then hit a second one to get a brief advantage.
Sanada then hit a back breaker, Tanahashi was on the outside and Sanada then dove out to meet his opponent their. Back in the ring, Tanahashi hit two leg screws and a dropkick on Sanada. Tana tried for the cloverleaf but Sanada broke the hold. Tanahashi then properly locked in the cloverleaf, Sanada was able to get to his hands and he crawled to the ropes to break the hold. Sanada rolled outside and was met by a diving Tanahashi, Sanada was throw back into the ring. On the apron Sanada put Tanahashi on the top rope and hit a body screw. The men countered submission moves, Sanda was thrown into the turnbuckle and hit an amazing springboard move then a TKO for a two count. Sanada then went for a moonsault, but Tana dodged.
Tanahashi then countered with a twist and shout, leaving both men laying on the mat past the 20 minute mark. Tanahashi hit a slingblade and then went to the top and hit Aces High. he went up once more and hit the frog spash, but Sanada got his knees up. Sanada then went to the top rope and tried the moonsault once more, but Tanahashi got his knees up as well. After that both men traded forearms, Sanada then rolled up Tanahashi on a rebound for a near fall. Tanahashi then hit a suplex and then the High Fly Flow to get the pin fall.
WINNER: Hiroshi Tanahashi
(Sage’s Analysis: An outstanding main event with both men giving their all. Kevin Kelly pointed it out on commentary but this match was like each man was wrestling a mirror image of themselves. Typically that type of match does not work well for me, but these two made use of that story line and put on an exciting and compelling main event.)
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