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NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING G1 CLIMAX 31 – DAY 11
OCTOBER 7, 2021
HIROSHIMA, JAPAN AT HIROSHIMA SUN PLAZA HALL
AIRED LIVE ON NJPWWORLD.COM
(1) EL DESPERADO vs. RYOHEI OIWA
Both guys grapple to start things off with each trading brief spurts of momentum. Eventually, Desperado grounds Oiwa by tying up his legs in a submission. Oiwa tries to escape and repeatedly slaps Desperado in an effort to do so. Desperado stands in place, keeping the pressure on, but staying out of the reach of the slaps. This forces Oiwa to tap out.
WINNER: El Desperado via submission
(Heydorn’s Analysis: A straight forward match. Oiwa had moments, but the pace and cadence of the match was driven by Desperado.)
(2) KENTA vs. HIROMU TAKAHASHI – A Block Match
Takahashi got some quick offense in to start things off. Kenta halts that momentum fast and takes over, beating up Takahashi around the ringside area with shots into the guardrail. The action rolls back into the ring and Kenta maintains control with a neckbreaker that he follows with a quick pin attempt. He gets a two count. Out of the pin, he locks in a head scissor submission to ground Takahashi. Takahashi gets to the ropes, causing the audience to clap for him. He doesn’t gain momentum though, as Kenta drops Takahashi to the mat with a snap mare and then kicks him in the chest three times. While in control, Kenta mocks Naito’s pose and then drops Takahashi with another neckbreaker. He covers again, but only gets a two count. With Takahashi down, Kenta removes one of the corner pads and whips Takahashi back first into the exposed steel. Kenta makes the cover again, but again, only gets a two count. Takahashi tries to battle back with a series of chops, but Kenta maintains control with a headlock. Eventually, Takahashi gets to his feet while in the hold and escapes. He hits the ropes and connects with a hurricanrana. From there, he hits Kenta with a forearm strike and follows with a dragon screw leg whip. The audience claps for Takahashi as he keeps control with a dropkick and a Falcon Arrow. After, he makes the cover, but only gets a two count.
Kenta retakes control of the match by using an eye rake to slow Takahashi down. After, he connects with a power slam and a DDT before making another cover for a two count. Kenta keeps the offense flowing and goes for spot pin attempts, but only gets two counts.
The action spills to the outside of the ring and Kenta connects with a power slam on the floor. When the action goes back into the ring, Takahashi fires up and hits some offense, but Kenta slows it and pushes Takahashi into the referee, knocking him out. Without a referee, Kenta rolls to the outside of the ring and grabs a steel chair. He acts as if he is going to hit Takahashi with it, but Takahashi yells at him. Instead, Kenta drops the chair and both exchange strikes. With Kenta losing the upper hand in that exchange, he picks up the chair and throws it at Takahashi. From there, he hits Takahashi in the back with it and then delivers Green Killer to him on top of the chair. At that point the referee awakens and counts the pin, but Takahashi kicks out at two. In the end, Takahashi musters up energy to turn the tide one last time, but Kenta ends up smashing his face into the exposed steel on the ring post and rolling him up for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Kenta via pinfall
(Heydorn’s Analysis: This match started hot and aggressive. A very effective way to set the tone around the match. Takahashi sold well and played the underdog opposite Kenta. Kenta was pretty traditional with his move set and heelish tactics. The spots with the chair was the highlight.)
(3) KOTA IBUSHI vs. TANGA LOA – A Block Match
Both men circle each other to start things off. Loa backs Ibushi into the ropes, but then lets him go to a chorus of claps from the crowd. They tie up in the middle of the ring and Ibushi grabs a side headlock. Loa throws him off the ropes and Ibushi tries for a shoulder tackle, but it doesn’t knock Loa to the mat. From there, they run the ropes and dodge each other with Loa taking Ibushi down to the mat with a headlock. Loa then hits the ropes and goes for a shoulder tackle and connects cleanly. They run the ropes again and Loa tries for more offense, but Ibushi counters with a dropkick. Ibushi then connects with slingshot over the top rope and onto Loa who rolled to the outside of the ring. Ibushi keeps control and whips Loa into the guardrail. He runs at Loa for a move, but Loa explodes out of the corner and spears him to the mat.
The action moves into the ring with Tanga Loa still in control. He connects with a moonsault and covers, but only gets a two count. Out of the pin, Loa locks in a headlock that lays Ibushi down onto the mat. Eventually, Ibushi breaks the hold by reaching the ropes. Ibushi finally turns the tides with a flying kick that viciously drops Loa to the mat. The audience claps and both men rise to their feet. Ibushi crushes Loa with a series of fast strikes that back him into the corner. Loa kicks Ibushi away, but Ibushi stays on him and connects with a power slam, follows with a springboard moonsault off of the second rope, and tries for a pin, but only gets a two count. Out of the pin, Loa hits a Blue Thunder Bomb. He then makes a cover, but Ibushi kicks out. Right after, Ibushi hits a power bomb and covers, but Loa kicks out.
In the end, Ibushi goes for Kamigoye, but Loa counters it into a reverse Kamigoye that knocks Ibushi out. Loa follows up with a powerbomb and covers, but only gets a two count. Both men exchange offense and high impact moves until Ibushi connects with a running knee to the face. Ibushi tries to follow with Kamigoye again, but Loa counters with a spear. Loa follows with his finisher attempt, but Ibushi counters into a tombstone. Ibushi then hits Kamigoye for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Ibushi via pinfall
(Heydorn’s Analysis: Really good match. Ibushi seems to be getting more comfortable out there as the tournament rolls on. Both men built an environment in which it felt like Loa could win due to his aggressiveness and points of control in the match. These guys will be sore tomorrow.)
(4) YUJIRO TAKAHASHI vs. ZACK SABRE JR. – A Block Match
Takahashi attempts to gain the early upper hand with a low blow attempt. The referee misses both of them, but ZSJ wrestles his way away from any damage. ZSJ grabs a hold on Takahashi that works the arm causing him to roll out of the ring. ZSJ follows and continues to target the arm. ZSJ connects with a series of kicks. Takahashi catches one of them and then bites ZSJ’s foot. With ZSJ surprised and reeling, Takahashi connects with a basement dropkick that sends ZSJ out of the ring. Takahashi follows and smashes ZSJ into the guardrail. He then grabs the walking stick and hits ZSJ with it before rolling into the ring, allowing the referee the chance to start the count on ZSJ. ZSJ makes it back into the ring at the count of 13. In the ring, Takahashi takes ZSJ down with a snap mare and then mounts him before delivering punches to the face. He makes the cover, but ZSJ kicks out at two. ZSJ finally earns control of the match by countering a fisherman suplex and smashing Takahashi face first into the mat.
From there, ZSJ controls the match with various takedowns, holds, and strikes at a relentless pace. ZSJ targets the arm, which had been injured earlier in the match. ZSJ goes for a tornado DDT, but Takahashi counters it into falling neck breaker. He goes for a pin, but ZSJ kicks out at two. Out of the pin, Takahashi connects with a boot to the face and then lifts ZSJ onto his shoulders. Before he could get him in a position for a move, ZSJ squirms down his body and tries to lock in a front face lock. He gets it locked in, but Takahashi powers out and delivers the fisherman suplex to ZSJ. After, both men exchange standing offense until Takahashi hits the Olympic Slam. Takahashi, selling his arm, stumbles toward ZSJ to make a pin. ZSJ connects with kicks and Takahashi returns the fire in the form of chops to the chest. The exchange these until Takahashi knocks ZSJ to the mat. He doesn’t stay their long as he gets to his feet and connects with a European uppercut. Both men trade those back and forth until Takahashi hits the Miami Shine before making the cover. ZSJ kicks out.
In the end, ZSJ secures an octopus-like submission that traps Takahashi’s arms and neck to force the submission.
WINNER: ZSJ via submission
(Heydorn’s Analysis: Zack Sabre Jr. has been a treat to watch this tournament. This was closer than I thought it would be with Yujiro countering more and controlling more of the match than expected. With Yujiro beating Ibushi on the first night, it felt like nothing was off the table for him and the psychology of this played into that idea.)
(5) SHINGO TAKAGI vs. TORU YANO – A Block Match
Takagi and Yano exchange pleasantries before the bell rings. After it does, Yano removes a black bag from his pocket. He tosses it at Takagi, but Takagi dismisses it with an eye roll. Yano puts a black bag over his head and Takagi follows suit. As soon as he does, Yano removes his and rolls Takagi up for a pin, but only gets a two count. Out of the pin, Takagi shoots up and clotheslines Yano to the mat. He covers, but only gets a two count. From there, the action spills out of the ring and Yano stuff happens out there. He tosses Takagi under the ring with the mask on and then climbs into the ring so the referee starts counting Takagi out. Takagi can’t find his way back to the ring at first, but finally does at 19.
Both men rip off the ring pads and battle with them like swords. Takagi drops Yano with a clothesline and then connects with shoulder tackles in the corner. Takagi follows with chops and then hits a body slam that he follows with a series of elbow drops along with a senton. Takagi makes the cover, but Yano kicks out at two. Its Takagi’s show until Yano battles back with strikes. He exchanges with Takagi and then nails him with a belly to back suplex. Yano gets a couple near falls after the move, using some ref distractions that allowed him to connect with a low blow after Takagi hit the exposed ring post face first. Out of the pin, Takagi clotheslines Yano to the mat and then puts his shirt over his eyes. Takagi hits a sliding lariat on Yano and covers for a two count. Yano gets to his feet, still unable to see and Takagi lifts him the air, hits Last of the Dragon and covers for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Takagi via pinfall
(Heydorn’s Analysis: Oh, your typical Yano match for the most part. The near falls were well-timed and well-executed enough to generate a little doubt as to who the winner would be. In the end, all the real action and control fell with Takagi who looked good in victory.)
(6) ISHII vs. GREAT-O-KHAN – A Block Match
Ishii and Khan tie up to start the match. The angle for leverage and momentum. Khan pushes Ishii back into the ropes, but then breaks the hold. After, they tie up again and Ishii secures a headlock. Ishii tries for a shoulder tackle, but can’t take Khan off of his feet with it. Khan then tries for the same, but can’t do it either. Both men then charge at one another and neither budges. Finally, Khan hits the ropes, darts at Ishii and connects with the shoulder tackle that drops Ishii to the mat for the first time. This spot leads to standing strike exchange in which Khan and Ishii trade a flurry of punches. Ishii earns the upper hand in that battle, punching Khan and sending him crashing to the mat. Ishii lifts Khan up and connects with a three strike chops to the chest. Ishii pulls on Khan’s hair, which fires khan up. He grabs Ishii’s head and pushes him out of the ring. Khan follows and connects with a double chop before slinging Ishii into the barricade. After, he stands on Ishii’s neck to choke him, using the guardrail to help with leverage. Khan rolls Ishii back into the ring and chokes him with his knee. The referee forces him to break the hold. Khan keeps offensive control until Ishii knocks him off his feet with a shoulder tackle. Ishii arrogantly kicks Khan and then lifts him to his feet. Ishii backs him into the corner and connects with a chop and punch combo that forces Khan to the mat. He lifts Khan back up and hits him with a vertical suplex. Ishii covers, but only gets a two count. Out of the pin, Ishii charges at Khan, but Khan countered the offense he had in mind by grabbing the arm and flipping him to the mat. From there, Khan hangs Ishii upside down on the ring post and delivers a running basement dropkick. He goes for an inverted pin attempt, but only gets a two count.
Later in the match, both men engage in a blistering chop exchange. From there, Khan does the Ishii bit and holds his arms behind his back before assuming a flurry of strikes. Khan battles back to gain momentum and then trades headbutts with Ishii. Ishii wins that battle.
In the end, Ishii stands and hits the ropes for a clothesline. Khan counters and devastates Ishii with his own. Khan goes for his finish, but Ishii counters and connects with an enziguri soon after. He follows that with a lariat and covers, but gets a two count. Out of the pin, Ishii lifts Khan to his feet and connects with the vertical drop brainbuster before covering for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Ishii via pinfall
(Heydorn’s Analysis: These guys beat the ever loving you know what out of each other. A very good match, but basically a series of crisp and snug strike sequences. Khan leaned into the Ishii style and looked like he belonged in doing so. Probably Khan’s best match of the tournament thus far.)
CATCH-UP: 10/4 NEW JAPAN G1 CLIMAX RESULTS – DAY 10: Wells’s report on Kazuchika Okada vs. Sanada, Taichi vs. Jeff Cobb, Hirooki Goto vs. Yoshi-Hashi, more
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