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Pantoja’s NJPW G1 Climax 31 Night 11 Review

October 7, 2021 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
NJPW G1 Climax 31 Night 11
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Pantoja’s NJPW G1 Climax 31 Night 11 Review  

NJPW G1 Climax 31 Night 11
October 7th, 2021 | Hiroshima Sun Plaza in Nishi-ku, Hiroshima

After a few days off, we’re back with A Block action. For the first time, I’ll be covering a match that isn’t part of the G1 itself because KENTA/Hiromu is too good to pass up.

Hiromu Takahashi vs. KENTA
This one got started hot as Hiromu came out like someone who had a serious grudge with KENTA. The heavyweight took control and seemed to enjoy getting to mock Hiromu by stealing Naito’s taunt and talking trash. Hiromu was a great foil for that because when KENTA wanted to slow things down or go with strikes, Hiromu could fire up with something explosive. Also, KENTA isn’t an overly big heavyweight, so him wrestling Hiromu worked out well and Hiromu could even hang in terms of strikes for a bit. You could see KENTA get more frustrated over time that he couldn’t seem to put away this junior heavyweight. Hiromu came close a few times but KENTA sent him into an exposed turnbuckle and rolled him up to win in 19:01. They made that work well and if Hiromu is going heavyweight soon, this works since he wasn’t beaten cleanly. [***½]

A Block: Kota Ibushi [8] vs. Tanga Loa [4]
First time ever meeting here. I will give Tanga Loa some props here as he has been better than expected, simply because I haven’t hated his matches. Working Ibushi is certainly a help. Surprisingly though, Tanga was mostly in control with suplexes, spears, and attacks on the outside. Of course, Ibushi could just floor him with a boot that swung the momentum. From there, Ibushi did his thing and called for Kamigoye but as always, Tanga Loa had it scouted. Man, does everyone have a counter to that move? That set up a series of counters before Ibushi hit a Tombstone and Kamigoye to win in 13:46. Another good Tanga Loa match? Are we in the twilight zone? [***]

A Block: Yujiro Takahashi [4] vs. Zack Sabre Jr. [8]
Another first time match. PIETER WITH NO MASK! I really liked the opening minutes of this as Yujiro was back to his cheating ways with several low blow attempts. However, the twist was that Sabre Jr. kept catching these attempts and turning them into submissions. It was a good way of playing into the stuff that both guys are well known for. Commentary hyped that Yujiro submits more than anyone, while Sabre Jr. taps more people out than anyone, foreshadowing the finish. Yujiro had to resort to other things including biting Sabre Jr.’s foot or hitting him with his pimp cane. Sabre Jr. put the focus on the shoulder, working it over repeatedly with Yujiro getting in a few bits of offense here or there. Sabre Jr. eventually made him submit to the Tesco Meal Deal, which is an arm submission, at the 14:15 mark. Another quality match that overdelivered given who was involved. [***¼]

A Block: Shingo Takagi [6] vs. Toru Yano [6]
Shingo won the only past meeting, which came in the G1 29 (**¾). This is big for Shingo because he lost tiebreakers to both Ibushi and Sabre Jr., so he needs to pass them in standings. Of course, Yano is known for upsetting people. As much as I love Yano, he isn’t quite as needed in this G1. Usually, he breaks up the dull monotony of the tournament but with shorter shows, it’s not as required. Still, I do appreciate short matches. This only went 8:17 and was decent fun. Yano did things like blinding Shingo and was up to his usual tricks but of course, he wasn’t beating the champion. Shingo beat him with Last of the Dragon. [**¾]

A Block: The Great-O-Khan [8] vs. Tomohiro Ishii [6]
Our third first time meeting of four! I thought this got off to an interesting start with O-Khan doing his best to match Ishii’s strength. He should be able to overwhelm him given his size but it’s actually Ishii who won out. That’s just how tough Ishii is. Even when O-Khan did his goofy spot of sitting on his opponent in the corner, Ishii managed to slip free which I haven’t seen before yet. They went into strikes and headbutts, which never look good, especially after seeing what happened to Shibata. O-Khan had to get more creative with some of his offensive moves and Ishii had to adjust to combat that. As is often the case with NJPW, this just went on too long. At 18 or so minutes, I think it would’ve done well but some stuff felt tired by the time this reached the conclusion at a whopping 26:26. Ishii hit the lariat and Brainbuster to win. [***¼]

Zack Sabre Jr. 10 (5-1) Kazuchika Okada 10 (5-0)
Kota Ibushi 10 (5-2) Jeff Cobb 10 (5-0)
Shingo Takagi 8 (4-2) EVIL 8 (4-1)
KENTA 8 (4-2) Hiroshi Tanahashi 6 (3-2)
Tomohiro Ishii 8 (4-3) SANADA 4 (2-3)
The Great O-Khan 8 (4-3) Taichi 4 (2-3)
Toru Yano 6 (3-3) Chase Owens 2 (1-4)
Tanga Loa 4 (2-4) Hirooki Goto 2 (1-4)
Yujiro Takahashi 4 (2-4) YOSHI-HASHI 2 (1-4)
Tetsuya Naito 0 (0-9) Tama Tonga 2 (1-4)
The final score: review Average
The 411
Another middling show from the G1 where nothing felt like you have to go out and see it but everything was relatively enjoyable.

article topics :

G1 Climax 31, NJPW, Kevin Pantoja