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NJPW G1 CLIMAX 31: NIGHT 12 REPORT
OCT. 8, 2021
KOCHI PREFECTURAL GYMNASIUM
AIRED LIVE ON NJPW WORLD
Commentary: Kevin Kelly
(1) EL DESPERADO vs. KOSEI FUJITA – non-tournament match
Desperado went after Fujita’s leg for most of the match. Fujita turned the tables on Desperado at one point and tried to work a Boston Crab, but Desperado got to the ropes. Desperado fired back and got the Indian Deathlock. Fujita tried to fight out of it, but Desperado stood up and he tapped out.
WINNER: El Desperado at 8:27 via submission. (**½)
(2) TAMA TONGA (W/JADO) (2) vs. YOSHI-HASHI (2) – B block match
Hashi set up for a neck breaker at one point, but Tonga countered it into the Tongan Twist for a nearfall. Tonga hit a big DVD and went up top for Supreme Flow and hit it for another two count. The fans fired up with claps as Tonga set up for the Gun Stun. Hashi managed to counter the Gun Stun into a lung blower and both men were down. Hashi blocked a Gun Stun a short time later and hit a big lariat. Tonga blocked Karma and tried to turn it into a Gun Stun, but Hashi blocked it and hit a dragon suplex. Tonga went for another Gun Stun, but Hashi nailed him with a kick to the head. Hashi hit another big lariat and hit Karma for the win.
WINNER: Yoshi-Hashi (4 pts) at 13:41. (***½)
(Radican’s Analysis: This was a very good start to the block action on this show. Hashi continues to shine on the G1 stage. He doesn’t get big wins, but he’s been such a good performer for NJPW during this G1 and in his past appearances.)
(3) CHASE OWENS (2) vs. HIROOKI GOTO (2) – B Block match
They had a hot start to the match and they took the action to the floor. Later in the match, they ended up on the apron. Owens set up for a package piledriver, but Goto backdropped him to the floor. They really picked up the pace a short time later with some big exchanges. Goto no-sold a German, but Owens caught him with the Jewel Heist a short time later for a nearfall. Goto fired back and hit a reverse GTR and a clothesline for a near fall and the crowd applauded and both men were down. Owens caught Goto with a C-Trigger (my lord). He went for the package piledriver, but Goto countered it into a GTR for the win.
WINNER: Hirooki Goto (4 pts) at 12:41. (***½)
(Radican’s Analysis: This was a fun high-energy match from start to finish.)
(4) JEFF COBB (10) vs. SANADA (4) – B Block match
Cobb was in control until Sanada hit a dropkick to his leg. Kelly mentioned Cobb had injured that knee earlier in the year and it had also taken some damage in his last match against Taichi. Cobb mounted a comeback, but Sanada hit another kick to the leg. They went to a big exchange and Sanada caught Cobb with a TKO for a two count. Sanada tried to go up top, but Cobb grabbed his leg. Cobb caught Sanada coming off the ropes. Sanada ended up on his shoulders, but Cobb dropped him down into a German! Cobb went for a Tour of the Islands, but Sanada floated around him and got Skull End. Cobb flipped over Sanada and ran him into the corner. He went for a powerslam, but Sanada got Skull end again. Sanada got a pinning combination for a nearfall. Sanada missed a moonsault, but landed on his feet. He went for a hurricanrana, but Cobb blocked it. Sanada tried to flip over Cobb to get Skull End, but Cobb caught him and hit Tour of the Islands for the win. WOW!
WINNER: Jeff Cobb (12) at 14:17. (***¾)
(Radican’s Analysis: Sanada was looking to play the role of spoiler here and he went after Cobb’s knee and this match told a satisfying story of Sanada trying to take Cobb’s leg away from him, but Cobb’s power was just too much in the end. The finishing sequence was fantastic. Sanada is eliminated, which is disappointing given that he was a finalist last year.)
(5) HIROSHI TANAHASHI (6) vs. EVIL (W/Dick Togo) (8) – B block match
Evil worked over Tanahashi’s knee on the floor with a chair during the early going as Togo took off one of the turnbuckle pads inside the ring. Tanahashi mounted a comeback, but Togo nailed him with a punch to the gut on the floor. Tanahashi no-sold a whip into the barricade, but Evil nailed him with a clothesline. Evil sent Tanahashi into the timekeeper’s table, which sent the timekeeper flying to the floor. Togo tried to drag Tanahashi away from the ring so he would get counted out, but Tanahashi barely managed to make it back into the ring. Kelly said Tanahashi was essentially in a handicapped match here. Ain’t that the truth.
The fans tried to clap along in support of Tanahashi. Tanahashi countered Evil and whipped him into the exposed corner. He then hit a dropkick to Evil’s knee and the fans fired up clapping with both men down on the mat. Tanahashi got some momentum going. He hit Togo with a dropkick through the ropes. He then hit a Slingblade on Evil. Evil grabbed the ref’s foot, but he got away from Evil. Tanahashi hit a High Fly Flow to Evil’s back. He then applied the Cloverleaf hold. Evil tapped, but Togo grabbed the ref and dragged him to the floor. Togo went after Tanahashi with the IWGP U.S. Hvt. Championship. Tanahashi cut him off and applied the Cloverleaf hold, but Evil made the save by raking his eyes. Tanahashi fought off a Magic Killer from Evil and Togo. He hit Everything is Evil on Togo. He went for Everything is Evil on Evil, but he hit a low blow. Evil went to pick up Tanahashi, but Tanahashi returned the favor and the fans fired up big time with the clapping.
Evil threw the ref into Tanahashi’s path a short time later. Evil hit Darkness Falls, but the ref was still down. Evil nailed Tanahashi with a belt shot. The fans clapped to try to rally behind Tanahashi. Evil hit Everything is Evil. He dragged the ref over and sat on top of Tanahashi’s chest and pointed a gun at his head while the ref counted the pin. I’m sure that will be made into a meme about New Japan vs. its western audience.
WINNER: Evil (10 pts) at 17:22. (**3/4)
(Radican’s Analysis: This match worked for the audience in terms of them wanting to see Tanahashi overcome all of the outside interference, but it was really a downer to see Evil beat Tanahashi the way he did given that Tanahashi was coming off a loss to Chace Owens.)
Kelly said he feared that Evil would win the G1 and people would cancel their NJPW World subscriptions because people are so upset that Evil and The House of Torture won G1. Kelly said Tanahashi and Cobb play by the rules, but Evil does not.
(6) KAZUCHIKA OKADA (10) vs. TAICHI (W/MIHO ABE) (4) – B Block match
Okada had the upper hand early, but Taichi turned the tide on the floor and continued to work him over inside the ring. Okada mounted a comeback, but Taichi cut him off with a hook kick and both men were down. Okada began using the Money Clip to wear Taichi down. Taichi managed to counter two Rainmaker attempts. They went to a spot where Taichi struggled for a long time in the Money Clip before getting his foot on the bottom rope. The fans fired up and Okada hit a slam on Taichi and dropped the elbow.
Okada set up for the Rainmaker pose and hit it. Kelly said that one was for Rocky Romero. Okada went for a third Rainmaker attempt, but Taichi ducked it. He ended up shoving Okada away before nailing him with a thrust kick to the head and both men were down as the fans fired up. Taichi crawled over to make the cover a short time later and Okada barely kicked out. They traded kicks to the face. Taichi sent Okada down with a forearm. He went for Black Mephisto, but Okada sat down on top of Taichi for a near fall. Okada missed a fourth Rainmaker attempt and Taichi caught Okada with his own signature kick off the ropes.
The fans fired up as the 20 minute mark passed. Taichi went on a tear and hit a Saito suplex for a nearfall. The fans clapped in unison with both men down on the mat. Okada slipped out of Black Mephisto and hit a spinning Rainmaker, but Taichi wouldn’t go down. Okada went for another spinning Rainmaker, but Taichi cut him off with an axe bomber. Okada hit his signature dropkick and Taichi got right up only to eat a spinning tombstone! Taichi ducked yet ANOTHER Rainmaker and got the Gedo clutch for a nearfall. Taichi hit Okada with a head kick. He set up in the corner and charged, but Okada hit a landslide tombstone. Okada then connected flush with a Rainmaker for the win. WOW!
WINNER: Kazuchika Okada (12 pts) at 23:10. (****½)
(Radican’s Analysis: This was a tremendous match and one the better matches of the tournament. I thought Taichi slipped a little after having a tremendous match against Sanada earlier in the tournament, but he put on some amazing performances. This was a tremendous match and the crowd was as hot as they could be given the restrictions.)
Okada cut a promo after Taichi left, but Matt Charlton wasn’t at the show to translate.
Contact Sean at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SR_Torch)