NJPW G1 Climax 31, 9.18

NJPW G1 Climax 31, 9.18NJPW G1 Climax 31, 9.18

From September 18, 2021

SHO vs. Ryohei Oiwa - 5.5/10

SHO is now dressed like an astronaut, and not cool astronaut like Abe or Nomura, but a dork medieval astronaut, and he calls himself the "Murder Machine" What a dork.

This match served two purposes well, one was to showcase a fully fledged heel SHO, and to showcase Oiwa in a match against established talent, talent he was kinda towering over if not for Oiwa's posture. Oiwa looked great in what he did. SHO won via submission.

After the match, Fujita wanted to get in SHO's face as a mean of protecting his fellow Young Lion, but the referee held him away. I'm so excited for Oiwa and Fujita.

G1 Climax 2021 Block A Match
Yujiro Takahashi (w/Pieter) vs. Kota Ibushi - 6.5/10

Pieter is back with Yujiro, and I kinda feel that could had been a good way to have Yujiro beat Ibushi, with Pieter's surprise return at the end of the match, but I guess Pieter is not really that type of valet to get involved in matches, not even for distraction reasons.

Well, if there is any indication of what this G1 may become, first match in and we already had weapon attacks behind the referee's back, but I also understand that this is Yujiro we're talking about and he's always been like that. So I'm neither surprised nor phased.

Once the cheating was out of the way, the match itself wasn't all that bad, it was all about Ibushi having trouble to gain momentum because Yujiro kept cutting him off one way or another. It wasn't super energetic, but I moved it to 1.25x the speed, and it really improved. Maybe that's the trick to Yujiro matches. Finish came when Yujiro low blowed Ibushi after he dodged the Kamigoye, he hit Pimp Juice, but Ibushi kicked out, so instead he used a new Evenflow DDT for the win.

Yujiro and Pieter's happiness for the win makes all the cheating worth it. As for Ibushi, it seems like he may do the slow start story, which would work given the time he had to take off.

G1 Climax 2021 Block A Match
Tanga Loa (w/Jado) vs. Great-O-Khan - 7.5/10

This is a battle between two debuts, Loa has been with the company for a while, but this is his first G1, whereas GOK just came back from excursion. I personally thought both guys looked good, especially considering they're in there with someone that won't be able to carry them. The one damaging thing that most people will point out is the Bullet Club cheating that we just won't be able to escape.

As for the match, we saw Loa work over O-Khan's arm after Jado helped Loa cut him off. O-Khan made a comeback, beat up Loa and Jado, survived a second onslaught by Loa after a Jado kendo stick shot to the back, and at the end, won with the Eliminator. This got a lot of time. Take all of Jado's presence away, and this was a pretty good match.

Loa came out with a 'Control Your Narrative' tee and I immediately had a nightmare of ECIII in NJPW.

G1 Climax 2021 Block A Match
KENTA vs. Toru Yano - 4/10

We're back to black hair, a lot of gimmicks, Toru Yano. Unfortunately, everyone's hopes of G.B.H. Yano in the G1 end tonight. Prior to the match, KENTA requested a really long intro, which I wouldn't mind if it becomes an everyday thing, I loved that introduction.

70% of this match as both men stalling, dodging each other, having the referee check on their opponents for hidden tricks, but at the end, the match finally started and KENTA starting copying and using Yano's tricks on him. They wrestled up to the entrance gate where KENTA tied up Yano with tape, but Yano made it back. They did some spots on the exposed turnbuckle. YTR kicked out of a foot stomp. Finish came with a referee bump and KENTA tying up Yano, tossing him under the ring, and forcing the referee to count him out, except Yano snuck up behind KENTA and got a couple of low blows and roll up for the win. Even for a Yano shenanigans match, it wasn't the best or innovative

We're 3/3 on matches with shenanigans.

G1 Climax 2021 Block A Match
Tetsuya Naito vs. Zack Sabre Jr. - 9.25/10

This was freaking great, both guys looked great, Sabre was even pulling off submissions that had Liger and Milano trying to figure out what the hell he had locked in. These two have a long history together, with tons of chemistry, and not more than a month ago, they were feuding for the tag titles, so they're pretty much in the same page right now.

Sabre did an amazing job working Naito's legs as the main focus of all of his submissions, while Naito kept going for the head when he could, but in a Sabre match, Naito knows that he needs to go into submission style if he is to survive. The way they laid out the match gave us a normal match between the two, but when it seemed like Naito was closing in on Destino, Sabre changed his approach and took out Naito's legs, which also forced Naito to go into striking mode, but at that point, Sabre had done enough damage, so it came down to Sabre finally locking in a submission that Naito wasn't able to escape and so Naito was forced to submit.

Post-match - They really played out that Naito was injured and had to be helped to the back.

G1 Climax 2021 Block A Match
Tomohiro Ishii vs. Shingo Takagi - 9.75/10

This was exactly what you would expect, an amazing performance between two ass kickers, who want to go in and kick ass for close to 30 minutes. The match was all you'd expect from an Ishii versus Shingo match, tons of striking, shoulder tackles, lariats, a couple of big slams here and there, some uncomfortable strikes that people will focus on tomorrow's news, and just a LOT of intensity from bell to bell. Shingo won with the Last of the Dragons, but mentioning it feels irrelevant, any move could have ended a match with this level of brutality.

Post-match - Ishii barely made it to the back, he was taking off his shoes halfway there. Shingo in the ring cut his winner's promo


Regardless of what your opinion is on the lack of White or Ospreay and the addition of wrestlers like Owens and Loa, you can't deny that there are still many wrestlers involved in the G1 that will no doubt deliver top level matches. The last two matches in tonight's card were incredible, some of the rest were ok, and if everything else fails, we still have Oiwa and Fujita wrestling in the openers. I'm excited for this G1!

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