New Japan Pro Wrestling
G1 Climax 31 Night 4
September 24, 2021
Ota City General Gymnasium
Tokyo, Japan

Watch: NJPW World

G1 Climax 31 B Block
Hiroshi Tanahashi (2) def. Hirooki Goto (0)

While competitive, Tanahashi had the edge in the match after targeting Goto’s left leg. I liked how Goto went to the ring posts several times against Tana to supplement his hindered momentum. He didn’t succeed at the Ushigoroshi attempt from the top rope, but it’s the thought that counts. As the closing stretch began, Tanahashi missed the High Fly Flow, giving Goto an advantage. Tanahashi and Goto turned up the offense, neither man being able to put each other away. In the end, Tanahashi secured his first two points via roll-up. I know these guys are capable of so much more together, given their personal and shared history. Still, the opener started with the Ace, and the match was good. ***1/2

G1 Climax 31 B Block
Tama Tonga (2) def. Chase Owens (0)

I loved the intensity to begin the match. Kevin Kelly said it right that Tama and Chase had something to prove. Just them doing minor things like Tama taking off his shirt and Chase adding moves like the Sobat Kick to his arsenal meant they weren’t putting on kid gloves just because they were both members of Bullet Club. For a clap crowd, the fans responded very well to the competitors’ actions. If they were allowed to make noise, I’d swear that Tama’s Death Valley Driver and Chase’s Tiger Driver would have received good reactions. As the match went on, these guys kept using more devastating moves until Tama Tonga hits Chase with the Gun Stun out of nowhere to take the victory. Show of respect by Tama to Chase post-match as they walk to the back together.

From start to finish, these guys kept my attention by delivering this action-packed throwdown. I’m glad there were no Bullet Club shenanigans and no cocky leader underestimating his opponent. Just a great fight. ***3/4

G1 Climax 31 B Block
Jeff Cobb (4) def. YOSHI-HASHI (0)

YOSHI-HASHI is the quintessential underdog, and he wrestles well enough that you can buy him being victorious against those who outpace him or outweigh him. Jeff Cobb is one of those guys who is both compared to YOSHI. YOSHI-HASHI and the crowd have this symbiotic relationship where the crowd’s cheers energize him, and in return, he fights on and floors Cobb several times. For Cobb’s part, he straight punished Y-H in this match, and his agility is insane. Cobb sends YOSHI-HASHI on a one-way Tour of the Islands to wrap up the contest. This match was a blast as both of these guys were selling like crazy for each other’s offense. This match was fantastic stuff. ***3/4

G1 Climax 31 B Block
Taichi (4) def. SANADA (2)

Taichi and SANADA had a brief pec-popping contest to entertain the fans at the Ota Gym. Once this match began, SANADA was unable to escape from Taichi’s arm stretch unassisted. Worked at a steady pace, the match’s action was impactful, and the transitions between spots were smooth. Taichi looked like a man determined to defeat SANADA as SANADA himself showed moments of emotion as he dialed up the intensity. His athleticism and agility is nothing short of outstanding when it’s displayed. It’s not enough to defeat Taichi though as the Holy Emperor won with Black Mephisto.

I enjoy Taichi when he leans face. There is something so earnest about his reactions and the response he gets from the crowd. He and SANADA had a solid, well-worked match. ***3/4

G1 Climax 31 B Block
Kazuchika Okada (4) def. EVIL (2)

This match is of two parts. When Okada and EVIL fought inside the right, this match was pretty good. When Togo would get involved, it was a bit cliche. Okada stayed one step ahead of EVIL until, predictably, EVIL and Togo used metal objects to even the odds. Okada going back to the Rainmaker and his other early career moves when the Money Clip proved ineffective hopefully leads to him returning them to his arsenal more often. EVIL’s ref bump schtick is groan-worthy at this point. Okada hits “Everything is EVIL” and the Rainmaker on EVIL to pick up the win. I liked what actual match there was, but I’m so tired of Dick Togo, the heel manager. ***1/4

Final Thoughts

Night 4 proved to be a good show that would have been better if pointless and excessive cheating from EVIL and Togo didn’t hinder the main event. There is plenty of G1 left, and this show may get overshadowed closer to the end of the tournament. In a bubble, it was an easy watch with good action.