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NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING G1 CLIMAX 31 – DAY 17 – BLOCK A FINALS
OCTOBER 18, 2021
KANAGAWA, JAPAN AT YOKOHAMA BUDOKAN
AIRED LIVE ON NJPWWORLD.COM
(1) SATOSHI KOJIMA vs. GREAT-O-KHAN
O-Khan was able to get Satoshi on the outside, he worked him over there and then put him back into the ring. O-Khan did a step pin and Satoshi kicked out. O-Khan continued to work in his offense with a gut-wrench suplex leading to a two count. O-Khan had Kojima in the corner, but Kojima was able to hit fast chops and then hit an elbow drop to even the odds against O-Khan. The men then traded forearms, Kojima won the exchange with a lariat that used O-Khan’s body weight. Kojima then hit a DDT on the ring apron.
Back in the ring, O-Khan was planted by Kojima. But, O-Khan was able to kick the stomach of Kojima, and then a face slam put him in control. But, only for a moment; as Kojima hit a cutter and then a brain buster. O-Khan hit an arm drag to counter a Kojima lariat, both men were then laying in the ring. Kojima clothes lined O-Khan’s back, but O-Khan was able to fight back. The men battled evenly for a few moments, until O-Khan hit the eliminator for the pin fall win.
WINNER: Great O-Khan
(Sage’s Analysis:A fun opener, I like a match like this as opposed to a young lions match, I also like a 5 match card as opposed to a 6 match one. Great O-Khan has gone from Bad O-Khan to, OK-Khan in this G1 in my opinion. I’m not sure what his ceiling is but I feel better about it than I did before the tournament.)
(2) TOMOHIRO ISHII vs. TORU YANO – A BLOCK MATCH
Toru Yano kick Ishii in the gut before the bell rang. Yano then choked Ishii with a towel and then he tried to pin Ishii twice. The match then went to the outside and Ishii slammed Yano into the barricade, Yano then returned the favor. Toru Yano then went under the ring, he was screaming that he was scared under the ring, and barely was able to beat the 20 count. Ishii then hit several kicks on Yano as he reentered the ring. Ishii the perched Yano on the ring ropes and put his shirt over his head and chopped the bare chest of Yano.
Yano then got upset and both men traded forearms in the center of the ring, with Ishii winning the exchange. Yano hit two suplexes and then a belly-to-belly, Ishii followed that up with a German Suplex. Yano got an inside craddle for a near fall, he then sent Ishii headfirst into the exposed turnbuckle and got another near fall. Ishii fought back and tried a running elbow that was turned into a pin by Yano. Ishii kicked put and hit the elbow, and then hit a lariat for a near fall on Yano. Yano hit a low blow and then a backslide to get the pin fall victory.
WINNER: Toru Yano
(Sage’s Analysis: This was on the higher end of a Toru Yano match. I understand that Yano in the G1 is really a tradition at this point. I just don’t really understand him and Evil compared to the other people 18 people in the tournament. At some point Yano has to be in contention on the last day of a G1, also shouldn’t you just wear a cup against Yano in aG1 match?)
(3) SHINGO TAKAGI vs. YUJIRO TAKAHASHI – A BLOCK MATCH
Yujiro did a dive out onto Shingo before the bell was sounded, Yujiro then worked over Shingo until they were both in the ring. Here Shingo hit elbows and then a tackle, this transitioned into a suplex and leg hook for a two count. The match was on the outside once more, Yujiro was thrown into the fencing, Until Yujiro’s bunny distracted Shingo until he was struck by the pimp cane. Yujiro then beat on Takagi, and the men beat the 20 count. Yujiro hit a lariat and got a two count, this was followed by a back drop and another cover.
Shingo tried to fight back, but Yujiro hit a back suplex to continue his control of the match. Shingo then hit several forearms, sending his opponent to the mat. Shingo then bit the fingers of Yujiro and hit wrapping paper and the a German Suplex. This was followed by a running lariat and a near fall for Shingo. Yujiro hit the stun gun and then a suplex slam, leading to a near fall. Shingo then got a boot and a clothesline to get full control of the match. After a flurry of forearms Shingo hit Made in Japan for a near fall.
In desperation Yujiro bit the hand of Shingo, Yujiro then got Shingo on the outside and slammed Shingo into the barrier twice, and Yujiro went in once himself. They went back outside and Yujiro hit Pimp Juice on the floor as teh count was going. SHingo then hit a Death Valley Driver but Yujiro kept him from being inside the ring and both men were counted out.
WINNER: Double Count Out – Draw
(Sage’s Analysis: A really weird match from start to finish. Good action but a ton of outside stuff for the story of the block finale. The match itself was fine, this is just teh problem having the champion in a block they have to look good but not win, creating several odd finishes like this.)
(4) ZACK SABRE JR. vs. TANGA LOA – A BOCK MATCH
ZSJ started the match with a flurry of kicks and forearms and a submission within the first minute. Tanga Loa was able to break the hold and he then tackled Sabre jr. The match went to the outside where Tanga Loa continued the attack, Zack Sabre Jr. was thrown into the barricade and then countered another attempt to be slammed and he locked in Loa in a submission move. Both men were visibly beaten down, with Tanga Loa hitting a slam of ZSJ on the mat.
Back in the ring Tanga Loa was in control in and out of the ring. Sabre Jr. made a comeback and the men traded big blows. Sabre Jr. grabbed the foot of Tanga Loa and then hit some kicks. Tanga Loa then hit a drop kick and then transitioned into a head lock. ZSJ broke the hold, from here he was able to lock in a hold in the ropes after the break he hit a head scissors and then a low drop kick on Tanga Loa. He then got a wrist lock and then stomped on the arm of Tanga Loa.
Sabre then kicked Loa, but his leg was grabbed and slammed. Loa was in control but he was selling his wrist, The men then equally traded offense that had Tanga Loa get a two count on a suplex, then they traded slams and suplexes. ZSJ got a rear naked choke, Loa tried to slam ZSJ but it turned into a pinning attempt, eventually Tanga Loa stood while ZSJ had a crucifix lock. Then men were then trading offense once more. Tanga Loa ended that exchange with a power bomb, ZSJ hit a destroyer for a near fall, leaving both men down. They both continued to battle, trading forearms. Loa was able to transition a pinning attempt and get the win via pinfall.
WINNER: Tanga Loa
(Sage’s Analysis: Not as big of an upset as his brother had a few days ago, but still very unexpected. The match was a bit redundant at times but the even battle for the last 12 minutes was a fresh way to tell the story. Overall an excellent match.)
(5) KOTA IBUSHI vs. KENTA – A BLOCK MATCH
Kenta started in classic fashion, by rolling out of the ring. He then entered and then the men traded leg kicks in an MMA style. Kenta grabbed the hair of Ibushi and then took his opponent to the ground and put a headlock, Kota responded with a running knee. Kota was about to jump down onto the floor, but Kenta pulled his legs and Brough him down and slammed him into the barricade. Ibushi followed up and then did the same to Kenta. Both men barely beat the 20 count and made it back in the ring.
Kenta continued to kick and use his legs in submission holds. Ibushi went for a high kick, which was caught by Kenta and turned into an STF that Kota had to break, by grabbing the bottom rope. Kenta ran the ropes and Ibushi hit a hurricanrana and then tried to hit the Golden Triangle. But, Kenta took him out before he could complete the move. Kenta then threw Ibushi into the barricade.
An enraged Ibushi then took Kenta even farther out into the arena. Kenta threw Ibushi into the wall and then took him past the entrance ramp. Kenta ran back to the ring as the 20 count started, Ibushi then barely beat the 20 count. After that Kenta again kicked and put rest holds on Ibushi. After a while Kota Ibushi was able to hit a tall drop kick to give himself some room to make a counterattack, he did with a power slam and a moonsault for a two count.
Kenta countered with a DDT type move then an elbow off of the top rope, which got him a two count as well. Kenta then pressed his foot on the face of Ibushi, but then hit a suplex to stop the offense of Kenta. Kenta then slammed Ibushi into the referee, red shoes. Kenta then hit a vertical suplex, he then went to the outside and grabbed a chair. Ibushi ate a chair shot and then stop dup and got the chair from Kenta. He acted like he would use the chair, but then threw it out and hit Kenta in the head with his shin.
Ibushi then went out and set up a table on the floor area. The two men were on the apron near the table, with many near moves that would have ended through the table. Ibushi was then able to put Kenta on the table, the table fell under the weight of Kenta, Ibushi still went to the top and dove out onto Kenta and the half standing table, leading to a nasty fall for both. Kenta and then Ibushi got back into the ring at 18 and 19 respectively on the 20 count.
Kenta then hit dream killer, a DDT off of the middle rope. Kenta then hit a drop kick on his seated opponent, then the double stomp off of the top rope, leading to a near fall. In the middle of the ring Kenta hit several slaps to the face, while Kenta hit a head kick and Ibushi’s knee finish the Kamigoye, leading to a near fall.
Kenta was able to battle back and he got a cross-face hold locked in, Ibushi was able to get his foot on the rope as the 25 minute mark was called. Kenta countered a Kamigoye and rolled up Ibushi for a near fall, and then another near fall. Kenta then tried the GTS, but was countered and Kota hit a front and back Kamigoye to get the pinfall and to win block A of the G1 31 Climax.
WINNER: Kota Ibushi
(Sage’s Analysis: A match the lived up to a match of this magnitude. The match went about 27 minutes and felt like it was alit 15 minutes, which is always a good sign that you are watching an excellent match. The triple use of the super close count out lose would be my only critique. Kenta was able to be a mix of super annoying heel and the hard hitting future babyface. I really think Kenta will be a top 4 contender to win the next G1 and I am really excited for his arch in New Japan. I was down on him for a long time since he has come back, but 2021 has really been a great year for him. Kota was excellent as always, I wonder if they will have him and Okada in the final. I personally would like to see Ibushi vs. Cobb but we will see.)