New Japan Pro Wrestling
G1 Climax 31 Night 14
October 12, 2021
Xebio Arena Sendai
Sendai, Miyagi, Japan
Watch: NJPW World
We are close to the finals! Night 14’s tension is if Okada and Cobb will continue their undefeated streak en route to their match on the final night of the B block. Also, will EVIL add another win to become a possible spoiler for Cobb or Okada? Will Goto lose again? Did Owens get another upset win? Only one way to find out.
Hiromu Takahashi def. Ryohei Oiwa
Tonight’s proceedings started with Hiromu beating the ever-loving shit out of Oiwa. Oiwa spent most of the match getting up to get knocked down again by one of Hiromu’s palm strikes to his chest. After a few cocky pinfalls by Hiromu only using his legs, the match ended with him tapping Oiwa out with a Boston Crab. Short, inoffensive fun match to get you pumped up for the night. ***
G1 Climax 31 B Block
Tama Tonga (4) def. Taichi (4)
Due to the results of this match, I think we are getting Tanga Loa beating Zack Sabre on the final night of the A block and then we could get another GoD vs Tekkers match. I’m not into that, I think Zack Sabre should go to the finals or at least do some single work, but whatever. I’m using review space to basically say that I don’t want to see GoD against the Tekkers. This G1 has shown me that GoD are better separated.
Speaking of that, this was a pretty good match with exciting nearfalls. Taichi did the usual “choking opponent on the outside” bit from his matches, and when they went back to the ring it was followed by a very competitive match. Taichi now has taped ribs due to his matches with Okada and Cobb, which made for an easy target for Tama Tonga anytime that he needed to get the upper hand. Anytime Taichi went for one of his patented moves, Tama punched him in the gut, and Taichi had to start relying on his kicks. Tama hit the Supreme Flow for a two count, then waited for Taichi to slowly get and hit the Gun Stun for the win. I think this is telegraphing Zack’s last match in the tournament. We’ll see. ***
G1 Climax 31 B Block
SANADA (6) def. YOSHI-HASHI (4)
Damn it, I love a fired-up YOSHI-HASHI! I honestly don’t know if this started when he won the 6-man NEVER titles, but if this was the YOSHI-HASHI that I had seen when I started watching NJPW, I would have been into him. I would not have been dreading seeing him like I had in the past. I have been loving his G1 matches! He’s proving that he deserves this spot.
One moment at the beginning that I loved was when YOSHI threw SANADA into the rail, and instead of going after him, he just shrugged and returned to the ring since he is all business and just wants to win. YOSHI does not care that he is technically eliminated, good for him.
This was a hard-hitting close match with lots of near falls that had me thinking that SANADA was going to lose. I was an idiot that thought that YOSHI had SANADA with a Powerbomb. Ending happened when YOSHI hit a Dragon Suplex for a two count, got SANADA up to hit him with Kharma but he countered with a TKO, Moonsault, and then a Skull End to tap him out. SANADA should just switch the Moonsault and Skull End, it seems to work better inverted, and looks better too.
A fun match that added to the streak of good matches to the show so far. ***
G1 Climax 31 B Block
Kazuchika Okada (14) def. Chase Owens (2)
If you jumped from the first paragraph to this one, no, Owens did not get the upset win, but was close to it. Twitter would have exploded if that happened. Owens looked great here, even when Okada had the advantage at the beginning of the match. Okada tried to hit the Money Clip and Rainmaker a couple of times but Owens always managed to escape and knock Okada down to get some advantage.
They teased the nearfall from the Tanahashi match with Owens almost hitting Okada with the Package Pilvedriver, even had him a couple of seconds in the air, but alas, Okada countered with a Rainmaker, but the move was reversed into a pin. Okada kicked out and he applied the Money Clip to tap Owens out.
Owens has been working really hard this tournament and I have been liking some of his matches. Okada was exceptional like he always is. This was a really cool match. ***
G1 Climax 31 B Block
EVIL (12) def. Hirooki Goto (4)
I think that every EVIL match review needs to add a “fuck EVIL and Dick Togo” sentence. In my reviews, I only use the f-word for EVIL and Dick Togo because I seriously don’t care, and I don’t know if the lack of reaction from the crowd after his wins means that fans in attendance are coming to my side. I don’t mind wrestlers cheating, it’s just that EVIL’s matches are basically handicap matches with every cheating trick in pro wrestling in 15 minutes. The only one that they need to add is throwing salt into their opponents’ face. They should just go crazy and do more over-the-top cheating to at least make it fun. Turning off the lights at least was funny the two times I saw it.
I mean, want a summary of the match? Just read any of the other EVIL match reviews, it’s the same. Starts fair, Togo helps EVIL take corner pad out, face is beating him, goes outside, Togo hits face, the referee eventually goes down, they hit the face, eventually choke him, EVIL does his finisher. At least this match made me laugh when the timekeeper was taken down twice since Goto was thrown twice into him.
EVIL is on the “turn off the TV” stage with me. You can complain about Toru Yano, but at least his matches are short and try to make you laugh. EVIL’s matches are annoying handicap matches with some good wrestling in the middle of it, which suddenly turn into a cheating fest. The other BC members are barely cheating, so I assume that they gave EVIL all of their cheating powers. So far, my favorite EVIL match was against Tama Tonga of all people since that was pretty controlled (even though they turned off the lights). Besides my complaining, I’m going with **1/2 because Goto did a really good job.
G1 Climax 31 B Block
Jeff Cobb (14) def. Hiroshi Tanahashi (6)
Going from awful to awesome, here are Cobb and Tanahashi! This one had me in a bit of tension since I really want Okada vs Cobb as a ‘winner-take-all’ match for the final night of the block. For me, this is the most exciting stipulation for said match, and also guarantees that EVIL won’t get to the finals.I have to admit though that Tanahashi almost got me thinking he was winning and spoiling my fantasy booking, he is that good.
This match has a cocky Cobb, who has been undefeated and killing opponents left and right, against the Ace. Cobb’s cockiness had him making fun of Tanahashi, not believing he could get out of his holds, but the Ace always found a way. The way for Tanahashi to beat him was not with power, but by dropkicking Cobb on the knees and starting to work on them. Cobb’s sell job was so good that I thought that was going to be the excuse for Tanahashi to get the win. Tanahashi even did a High Fly Flow to the outside to try to win by countout, but Cobb came limping back just in time. Tanahashi went again for the Flow but Cobb put up his knees, injuring himself even more in the process. After some struggle, Cobb hits the German Suplex and the Tour of the Islands that gave him the seventh win in the tournament.
This was an amazing job by Cobb and Tanahashi and clearly the match of the night. It had me on the edge of my seat a couple of times. I thought that Cobb was going down, nearfalls were believable, and I liked seeing the evolution of Cobb in the tournament as a man way too cocky getting scared in his final bouts. Not a great match, but a really good one. ***½
Night 14 isn’t the most exciting or amazing night of this G1, but it was solid. With the exception of the EVIL match, the whole card was between 3 to 3 and a half stars. That’s not bad, just that nothing went above average. Most importantly, here is why I liked the show: it did not feel lifeless and was not boring. All of the matches were the perfect length, with none of them going above 20 minutes just because. Longest match was the main event with 19 minutes. It is a solid wrestling show that while it did not have great matches, all of them were solid, fun, and had stakes. I would recommend the show if you have the time. If short on time, go for Cobb vs Tanahashi and skip the rest.
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