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Pantoja’s NJPW G1 Climax 31 Night 17 Review

October 18, 2021 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
NJPW G1 Climax 31
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Pantoja’s NJPW G1 Climax 31 Night 17 Review  

NJPW G1 Climax 31 Night 17
October 18th, 2021 | Yokohama Budokan in Yokohama, Kanagawa | Attendance: 874

It’s the final night for the A Block. As far as I know, KENTA, Sabre Jr., Ishii, and Ibushi are still alive.

A Block: Tomohiro Ishii [10] vs. Toru Yano [8]
Oh, never mind. Ishii has 10 points so he’s out. Ishii is 2-0 against Yano, beating him in the G1 28 (***½) and 29 (*** ¾). Unlike those matches, this one passed the 10-minute mark, which was ultimately a hindrance. That didn’t make it bad at all though. Yano’s antics work well against Ishii’s serious nature and that’s why they’re good opponents. Yano did things like go for roll ups with a towel, hide under the ring, and attempt all sorts of flash pins. Alas, Ishii came close a few times too but lost to a backslide in 11:08. A fun little match and nothing more. [***]

A Block: Shingo Takagi [12] vs. Yujiro Takahashi [4]
Shingo is 3-0 against Yujiro, winning in the G1 30 (**), Road to Castle Attack 2021, and Summer Struggle 2021 (**½). MY GOODNESS PIETER TONIGHT. Anyway, Yujiro jumped Shingo with a dive during his entrance. PIETER did a bit of distracting so Yujiro could use the pimp cane as a weapon. Even with that, Shingo could just wallop Yujiro and put him on his ass. They got into some solid back and forth down the stretch, mostly on the outside. They teased a countout and Shingo broke it, only to get pulled back outside. Yujiro hit a DDT out there and Shingo responded with a DVD before both were counted out, giving us a surprise double countout between these two after 13:36. That was good and takes out any intrigue of a possible Shingo A Block win. [***¼]

A Block: Tanga Loa [4] vs. Zack Sabre Jr. [12]
A Sabre Jr. win here means Ibushi is out and only KENTA would be alive in the final match. These two had a solid match at Wrestling Dontaku (***) this year. Here, the idea was that Tanga Loa would play spoiler and given their history as Tag Title rivals, that didn’t surprise me. What did was how well Tanga Loa performed here. I’ve given the Guerrillas tons of shit over the years but they were pretty good in this tournament. Tanga came out aggressively while Sabre Jr. looked to shut him down with some of his submissions and mat work. The closing stretch saw Sabre Jr. counter Apeshit a few times, a series of strikes, and some close calls on things like a European Clutch. However, it was that move that Tanga kicked out of before going into a rollup to steal this in 17:31. Better than expected. [***¼]

A Block: KENTA [12] vs. Kota Ibushi [12]
Guess what, everyone? Gedo booked the tournament so that it comes down to the two guys in the final match. What a shocker. I mean, a no contest would get Shingo in but that’s not happening. They’ve split their two meetings in the G1 29 (****) and Destruction in Kagoshima 2019 (**). In some ways, this reminded me of an hour draw between Tyler Black and Austin Aries from ROH. In that match, Aries kept trying to win by countout or things like that. Here, KENTA did the same, as they went hardcore into countout teases. While it’s a logical and sound strategy, it doesn’t make for the most interesting of matches. When they were in the ring going at, this was the usual goodness you’d expect from two hard hitting dudes. The finish saw a bunch of counters and attempts at the Kamigoye and Go to Sleep before Ibushi won with two Kamigoye strikes at the 26:16 mark. Some of those countout teases were awful, including some were Ibushi didn’t technically beat the 20 count. Ibushi is in his fourth straight finals. Gedo has been creatively bankrupt for years but New Japan sticks with him. [***¼]

Kota Ibushi 14 (7-2)*WINNER* Jeff Cobb 16 (8-0)
Shingo Takagi 13 (6-2-1) Kazuchika Okada 14 (7-1)
KENTA 12 (6-3) EVIL 12 (6-2)
Zack Sabre Jr. 12 (6-3) Hiroshi Tanahashi 8 (4-4)
Tomohiro Ishii 10 (5-4) SANADA 8 (4-4)
Toru Yano 10 (5-4) Tama Tonga 6 (3-5)
The Great-O-Khan 8 (4-5) Hirooki Goto 4 (2-6)
Tanga Loa 6 (3-6) Chase Owens 4 (2-6)
Yujiro Takahashi 5 (2-6-1) Taichi 4 (2-6)
Tetsuya Naito 0 (0-9) YOSHI-HASHI 4 (2-6)
The final score: review Average
The 411
Four matches and all of them got *** or ***¼. That kind of defines this G1 Climax this year. Pretty good, solid enough, and totally forgettable and uninteresting.

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G1 Climax 31, NJPW, Kevin Pantoja