New Japan Pro Wrestling
G1 Climax 31 Night 10
October 4, 2021
Korakuen Hall
Tokyo, Japan

Watch: NJPW World

Welcome to Night 10 of the G1, B Block! This has not been a very exciting block for the past few nights. I don’t know if it was me, but I was not feeling it. On the last B block night, some of the matches seemed to last forever and SANADA was very sloppy against Tanahashi. I was not very excited to watch this show, so guess my surprise when this turned out to be one of my favorite 2021 G1 nights. A solid show from top to bottom, a night where not even EVIL ruined it for me. And even better, it’s free. So let’s get on with the review.

G1 Climax 31 B Block
Chase Owens (2) def. Hiroshi Tanahashi (6)

You probably read this result on Twitter and went “Really? Why?” just like I did. This has been the only G1 spoiler that I have found this year, which is good for me to watch the shows unspoiled but bad for NJPW since people are barely talking about the tournament. Still, the result is surprising, but if you think about it, it’s not that out there. NJPW clearly likes Owens, enough to even add him to the G1 this year, and upset wins are the norm in this tournament. Owens has also been working really hard, so this is not something that is out there and surprising.

This was a really good back and forth match where Owens was withstanding all of Tanahashi’s offense. Owens even worked on Tanahashi’s leg, and was able to block and survive all of Tanahashi’s signature moves. The finishing sequence was a Swingblade from Tanahashi for a two count, he ran to the top rope for the High Fly Flow, and when he jumped Owens put up his knees, got up, and landed a Package Piledriver. A really fun opener with an upset win. ***

G1 Climax 31 B Block
EVIL (8) def. Tama Tonga (2)

This pairing on paper is skippable to me. I find GoD boring as a team, even though I will say that Tama Tonga has been working really hard on the tournament and I have been enjoying his output. Meanwhile with EVIL, I could not give a single fuck about him and Dick Togo. Hell, I’ll even admit that I have been fast forwarding his matches and I just watched this one complete because I was reviewing the whole show. At least it was not a bad match and had enjoyable moments.

This was Bullet Club vs Bullet Club, so after they Too Sweeted each other, EVIL tried his finisher on Tama and he avoided it, which made for a quick start. This was enjoyable because it did not have EVIL and Togo doing all of the cheating tropes of pro wrestling history in a 15 minute match for most of it. Anytime EVIL was going for one of his tricks with Togo, Jado blocked it and helped keep it a fair match (until the ending). Sure, EVIL took out the corner pad and it was used a couple of times to turn the tide of the match, but this was nothing compared to EVIL normal over the top cheating ways.

Talking about over the top cheating ways: the ending! Tama was going for a Stun Gun to end the match when the lights went out in the building. There were a lot of noises, lights came back on and the referee was down, Togo was choking Tama, and EVIL finished it with Everything Is Evil. Then it was revealed that SHO was the one that turned off the lights. Well, at least it was a fun match until the ending, and said ending made me laugh. ***. Yeah, I went full three stars because the ending made me laugh and the work was decent.

G1 Climax 31 B Block
Jeff Cobb (10) def. Taichi (4)

Cobb continues his streak of great matches and performances at the G1. After joining The Empire and his match with Shingo at Wrestle Kingdom, he became a must see wrestler. He is finally the monster that he always looked like. On the other side, Taichi has been great for the past year, and the combination of both men created the match of the night.

The match started well for Taichi, who even took Cobb to the outside to try to neutralize him while choking him with the TV cables and throwing him into the rail. But it was all for naught since Cobb just started berating him and beating his ass. Taichi took a hell of a beating, with Cobb focusing his attack on Taichi’s back, which took out Black Mephisto from his arsenal. The sell job on the back was really good. This attack forced Taichi to wrestle with hard hits rather than his power moves. Match ended when Taichi went for the Black Mephisto, but was not successful, so Cobb countered with a German Suplex. Taichi got up from that and went straight to the Tour of the Islands for the 1-2-3. A great back and forth match. Check it out. ****

G1 Climax 31 B Block
Hirooki Goto (2) def. YOSHI-HASHI (2)

Goto finally got his first win after looking like a chump on four straight losses. Normally Goto has at least kickass matches, but I have not been feeling him that much this year, until tonight. He finally had his kickass match here. YOSHI-HASHI is officially eliminated after losing here. Just as last year and on the previous G1 shows, YOSHI has been working really hard and I have been loving his fire. The 6-man NEVER title really lit up a fire under his ass.

Talking about fire under asses, this match was hard-hitting as hell. They were wrestling like they owed each other money, which is not a sentence that I would use for YOSHI-HASHI’s matches. Let me lower the expectations a bit: this is not Ishii and Makabe beating the shit out of each other, but it was still hard-hitting. YOSHI even did Goto’s moves! He did a Shoten Kai and  a sleeper instead of the usual Butterfly Lock. Maybe that’s why he lost. After what felt like a million false finishes, Goto hit the GTW, Shoten Kai, and then a GTR to eliminate poor YOSHI out of the tournament. Hopefully, his fire is still there for the remaining nights.

This was a great ***1/2 match. I think they went overboard with the false finishes, but it was a really cool kickass match.

G1 Climax 31 B Block
Kazuchika Okada (10) def. SANADA (4)

I’m not the biggest fan of Okada and SANADA’s series of matches. My favorites are those that are under the 30-minute mark, since I found their title matches way too long. Yet, I loved their match at the 2019’s G1, where SANADA beat Okada just in the nick of time. It was really exciting. I felt less excitement for this year’s match since the outcome to me was obvious, but the last few minutes were awesome as hell.

The first few minutes had chain wrestling, but then it was a back and forth match with two even opponents. SANADA got the crowd to his side by doing a plancha and being dominant. Okada turned it to his side when SANADA went to the top rope and Okada dropkicked him to the outside. Back inside, SANADA injured his knee while attempting a Skull End. Still, the man persisted and just when he had Okada down with the Skull End, he did my pet peeve with him, which is when he lets go of the opponent when he’s almost out and goes for the Moonsault. Why? The guy is almost passed out and he just releases. Obviously, he fails the Moonsault and injures his knee more.

Later he tries the Moonsault again, nails it, but is too injured to cover Okada. Match ended when SANADA made the Destino jump to try to land on a Skull End, but Okada countered with a Tombstone Piledriver and the Rainmaker. The match was not much the first few minutes, but it really ramped up the excitement as it went on. Okada looked dominant and SANADA looked like he was the victim of a bad knee. And hey, no sloppiness from SANADA! ****

Final Thoughts

I have not been enjoying the B block aside from a match or two or Cobb’s performance, but today was a hell of a show. The best show of the B block so far. Did not feel as lifeless as the other ones, had two great matches, two good ones, and an EVIL match that did not overstay its welcome. Even better, the show is free on in English and Japanese. Check it out.

Powered by RedCircle