10/9 NJPW CLIMAX 31: Day 13 Sage’s Review and Analysis of Kota Ibushi vs. Great-O-Khan, Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Kenta, Shingo Takagi vs. Tanga Loa, More.

By Tyler Sage PWTorch Contributor (Twitter @ringoftyler)


OCT 9, 2021

Commentary: Kevin Kelly


This was your standard Young Lions vs. Veterans match. With some offense for the young guys, and a hope spot as well. But in the end the veterans win the war.

WINNER: Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado

(Sage’s Analysis: See match summary above.)


Ishii and Takahashi came out of the gate running in this special match, they ran the ropes with Ishii keeping pace and overpowering his opponent. The men traded slaps, with Ishii of course having the upper hand. After this Ishii got Takahashi into the corner and applies more chops, until Hiromu was in a seated position.

Eventually Takahashi was able to get in some forearms and chops of his own and the two men battled back and fourth fighting more of Ishii’s style than his own. Ishii ran the ropes, allowing Hiromu to hit a German and a shotgun dropkick, leaving both men laying on the mat. Takahashi tried a sunset bomb, Ishii was able to hold onto the ropes. Both were now on the apron, A knee kick on Ishii lead to a Death Valley Driver on the apron.

Ishii was able to beat the count and hit a back suplex on Takahashi. Hiromu was able to hit a solid sequence of moves, as this match looked more like his type of match vs. and Ishii style. After a series of slaps were absorbed, Ishii was able to hit a head strike and regain control. Ishii then hit the running lariat for a near fall.

Takahashi was able to counter slam attempt into a wheelbarrow counter slam, leaving both men prove on the mat. Ishii was able to get up, hit a German and try a lariat. But, Takahashi was able to get a pump kick and send Ishii to the mat for a count. Takahashi then hit two keys moves, one in the middle and one sending Ishii into the turnbuckle, right at the 15 minute mark.

Takahashi then hit Time Bomb and got a near fall on Ishii. After a brain buster, and a second attempt at once, Ishii hit a counter lariat then head kick followed by a thrust kick. This lead to a near fall, then another. Ishii then hit the vertical brain buster for the pinfall win.

WINNER: Tomohiro Ishii

(Sage’s Analysis:Wow that was a match and half. The first part was fast paced, but a typical Ishii match. The second part was a Takahashi match. The final third was great mix of the two that sums up modern Japanese wrestling. I wish Takahashi could have been in the tournament to make this match even more impactful. But I cannot wait for him in G1 Climax 32 next year.)


Both men started by bumping chests and trading forearms. The match quickly got the outside where Sabre Jr. was in control and he began to work on the left knee/leg of Kenta. Back in the ring, ZSJ continued to work the left knee, as he put Kenta in a bow-in-arrow hold.

Kenta was able to get up and lay in some kids to the chest and back of a prone and kneeling Sabre Jr. After a number of kicks the match went to the outside once more, with Kenta tossing his opponent into the barricade, and hitting forearms and kicks. The match went back into the confines of the ring, here Sabre Jr. tried to make comeback, but was cutdown by the knee of Kenta.

ZSJ counted a slam, and used his body weight to enhance a counter slam, leaving both men on the mat. Here Sabre Jr. was able to get in some uppercuts and then he brought the match back down onto the mat. At this point both men were trading forearms and uppercuts once more, Kenta ended that with a power slam. Kenta then hit a punch off of the top rope as the 10 minute mark was met.

Zack was able to lock in an octopus like hold in the ropes to end Kenta’s advancement. The two men battled and Kenta was able to hit a number of dropkicks in the corner. Kenta then went to the top and hit a double stomp, leading to a near fall. ZSJ think had the Cobra Twist hold in, Kenta countered into a Game Over attempt. The two men rolled into hold/pinning attempt, until ZSJ had an arm submission at the 15 minute mark, Kenta was able to break the hold. ZSJ then had a near fall on a pinning attempt.

Kenta hit a running knee, then tried another, but Sabre Jr. grabbed the knee and put him in a knee bar. Kenta was able to get to the bottom rope and break the hold. Sabre Jr. then started to work on the left knee like he had at the beginning of the match, signaling the end was nigh. Sabre then locked in a leg scissors and expanded that over his head in what looked to be truly painful, Kenta broke the hold, at the 20 minute mark.

ZSJ once again had a knee hold, Kenta flipped and hit the GTS on Sabre for the pinfall win.


(Sage’s Analysis:At the 10 minute mark I was ready to write this off as a slow plodding match. But the last 10 minutes really made the first 10 feel impactful from an in ring storytelling perspective and I was fully engaged and siding with Kenta by the closing sequence. I like Kenta in this role as opposed to his heel persona where he avoids fights. A match like this is why the G1 is such a great event.)


Almost at the start, Yujiro took out Yano and removed a turnbuckle pad. Yujiro then took a bite out of Yano’s hand and then threw him into the exposed turnbuckle. Yujiro then took off the pad of three of the four corners and one-by-one and threw Yano into them. The match then went to the outside as Yujiro continued to beat up Yano, throwing him back in eventually and getting a two count.

Yano was able to counter with a knee below the belt, he then threw Yujiro into an exposed turnbuckle and got a near fall. Yano was thrown into a corner but he was able to hit a belly-to-belly on Yujiro, but that was quickly countered. Takahashi hit a fisherman buster for a two count.

Yano threw Yujiro into the ref and hit another low blow, but the ref was out. Yujiro then hit a low blow of his own, both men were selling the low blows given and received. Yujiro then took out hand cuffs, Yano fought and went under he ring, Yujiro went under to see what was going on. Yano rolled from under the ring durning a 20 count. It was revealed that Yano handcuffed Yujiro under the ring and Yano won via count-out.

WINNER: Toru Yano

(Sage’s Analysis:I like some Yano G1 matches and I do not like others. I side with the distain in Kevin Kelly’s voice during this match.)


Tanga Loa got an early edge as he hit a series of forearms in the corner, Shingo Takagi then to the match to the middle of the ring and the two traded forearms and strikes there. Shingo won the exchange and then hit a series of elbow drops to begin his offensive segment of the match. After a series of moves Yanga Loa countered with a missile drop kick. Loa was then on the apron with Shingo, here Tanga Loa hit a back suplex on Shingo.

Tanga Loa then started working over his opponent on the outside of the ring, he then entered the ring and asked for the count to start. Loa then went outside on his own to continue the assault. Back in the ring Tanga hit an impressive standing moonsualt for a two count. Tanga Loa continued to dominate this segment of the match, leading to a power slam and a headlock.

Shingo was able to counter with a DDT to even the odds. A big lariat and a vertical suplex from Shingo followed for a two count as the 10 minute mark was called out. Tanga Loa countered with a blue thunder bomb for a two count of his own. Both men were exhausted on the mat at this time, Tanga Loa was up first. But, Shingo hit a back drop; then both men traded exploders and lariats until Tanga Loa hit a big power bomb.

Tanga Loa set up Shingo for a finish, but Shingo fought out and hit the running lariat. Shingo then hit a lariat in the corner at the 15 minute mark. Both men were on the middle rope, then the top leading to a superplex by Shingo. Tanga Loa countered with a spear and then tried a power bomb, but Shingo countered and then hit a knee.

Shingo hit a reveres GTR and then hit Last of the Dragon to get the pinfall victory.

WINNER: Shingo Takagi

(Sage’s Analysis: Another example of why the G1 is so good, first of all it was a really good match. Secondly, Shingo as champion was able to make Tanga Loa look great and elevate him while still winning the match. Really good semi-main.)


The two men battled in the early stages with strikes, in a standing MMA style exchange. Ibushi then transitioned into a kickboxing stance, while O-Khan matched. Ibushi needed this exchange on his back, with O-Khan in control. Red Shoes broke the hold once Ibushi got under the ropes. Once the match action restarted O-Khan tried to attach a head lock, at the five minute mark, signaling this would be a longer match.

Ibushi was able to hit a side suplex as the men got to their feet, O-Khan now on the ground, transitioned into a series of holds on Ibushi. After another transition, O-Kahn broke a hold he was in with a rope grab, the two men where no standing in the ring, until O-Khan feel into the ropes. After O-Khan gathered himself he grabbed the leg of Ibushi and applied a leg lock.

Ibushi worked and got to the bottom rope, as the 10 minute call was made. O-Khan applied a choke and then tripped his opponent with the choke still applied. Ibushi again was able to get to the bottom rope, he then pressed his knee on the neck of Ibushi for the four count. O-Khan then went for a wrist lock, into an elbow/arm lock as O-Khan mockingly slapped him.

O-Khan then stood and was kicked by a grounded Ibushi, who after a few kicks, got to this feet and then applied a figure four leg lock on O-Khan. After a good while, O-Khan was able to break the hold. Once both were up O-Khan hit Ibushi with a closed fist right at the 15 minute mark. After another strike O-Khan went for a pin and got a two count for his trouble. O-Khan then rolled through a hold and applied an impressive leg lock.

Both men were in the middle of the ring, here Ibushi hit a series of strikes and then his running knee, leading to a two count. O-Khan had a visible bloodied nose after the running knee. On the mat, O-Khan applied another leg hold; Ibushi went for the bottom  rope, but was pulled to the middle. Ibushi hit a head kick to get out, Ibushi then hit a big knee to the head of O-Khan to stun him.

Ibushi then got wrist control and missed the knee, then hit it and got a near fall on O-Khan. O-Khan put the claw on another knee attempt. Ibushi tried once more with the knee and was able to pin O-Khan with that final knee right at the 20 minute mark.

WINNER: Kota Ibushi

(Sage’s Analysis:Not your typical balls to the wall G1 main event, and I like that. This was an O-Khan special with the majority of the match being a contest of different fighting styles and stances, as well as a ton of mat wrestling. That being said, this was an atypical Kota Ibushi match and I think he shines in the face role in matches like this. My desire as a viewer for him to overcome an opponent who is more skilled in a certain style is what makes Ibushi a face of a company type guy.)

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