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(NOAH) NOAH WEEKLY NEWSLETTER VOL.137 ~ 8TH AUGUST 2021

Computer issues are resolved, so welcome back to the NOAH News! Hisame catches everyone up on the Pro Wrestling NOAH happenings.

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*There hasn’t been a newsletter since June 20th as I have had computer issues, which have now been resolved. I am going to briefly recap here what happened and is happening in NOAH since that time as a catch up for this week’s edition, and continue as usual next week.

Title news

GHC Heavyweight Champion: Naomichi Marufuji

Naomichi Marufuji defeated Takashi Sugiura to retain the GHC Heavyweight title in Sendai on the 11th July, after this he was challenged by Kazushi Sakuraba. Sakuraba, was defeated on the 1st August. Marufuji has announced that he will not be entering the N-1 Victory in September, and will face the winner of the league as his next challenger.

GHC Junior Champion: HAYATA

HAYATA won the belt from Atsushi Kotoge by winning the NOAH Junior Rumble (which he wasn’t billed to be in), on the 27th June at “MUTA the WORLD”. Challengers so far have been Ikuto Hidaka (22nd July, Korakuen Hall) and YO-HEY (1st August 2021, Hiroshima). His latest challenger is Kotaro Suzuki, who wants the belt to enter the N-1 Victory with, Title challenge will take place on the 3rd September at Yokohama Radiant Halls.

GHC Heavyweight Tag Champions: Masa Kitamiya & Kaito Kiyomiya

The issue of the GHC Heavyweight Championship was resolved on the 22nd July when Masa Kitamiya and Kaito Kiyomiya defeated Katsuhiko Nakajima and Manabu Soya. As of yet no challengers have come forward (and Kiyomiya is still sulking).

GHC Junior Tag Champions: STINGER (Yuya Susumu & Seiki Yoshioka)

STINGER won the belts from Daisuke Harada and Hajime Ohara on the 1st August in Hiroshima. They have been challenged by Kongoh Juniors (Tadasuke and Aleja). This is the second time in two months that Tadasuke has challenged, albeit with a different partner. Title match has been set for 15th August at KAWASAKI GO!!

GHC National Champion: Takashi Sugiura 

Takashi Sugiura defended the GHC National title against Kazushi Sakuraba on the 30th May, and was challenged by Masato Tanaka on the 15th August. Masato Tanaka will put the ZERO1 World Championship on the line, making the title match a double one.

Current news

YO-HEY ill with Coronavirus

After “DEPARTURE DAY 1” on the 5th August, YO-HEY ran a fever and later took a PCR test which was positive. As they have been in contact with him Eita, NOSAWA Rongai, Junta Miyawaki, Daisuke Harada and referee Shu Nishinaga have all had to self isolate. At the time of writing nothing further is known of YO-HEY’S condition, or when the others will be returning. They are still advertised for NOAH’s next show on the 15th however, but in the case of YO-HEY this will most likely change.

Yoshiki Inamura injured

Yoshiki Inamura has had to pull out of ZERO1’s Fire Festival (he was on a massive roll defeating Hartley Jackson, Fuminori Abe and Tsugutaka Sato), due to a fractured pelvis. NOAH have not announced any details of his return at the time of writing.

N-1 VICTORY

N-1 VICTORY 2021 has been announced in full with dates and competitors. The league will run from September 12th with the winner taking on Naomichi Marufuji in Osaka on the 10th October. Due to COVID there where no gaijin announced nor any other wrestlers from other promotions, bar the freelance regulars that often appear in NOAH. The league has been divided up into four blocks of fifteen heavyweights, and one junior heavyweight. which is a first. It is thought that Kotaro Suzuki has been included as there was no one else to get due to Yoshiki Inamura being injured, whose spot he has now taken. In NOAH itself there are only three heavyweights who are not entering and none of which are suitable – Mohammed Yone does not do leagues anymore and is not interested in chasing titles (Funky Express is an easy payday for him, and he has more than earned it), Shuhei Taniguchi, now the over the top “King Tani” is not suitable due to his gimmick, and Masao Inoue (a freelancer) is out of the question.

BLOCK A

  • Takashi Sugiura
  • Kaito Kiyomiya
  • Manabu Soya
  • Keiji Mutoh

BLOCK B

  • Kenoh
  • Daiki Inaba
  • Masaaki Mochizuki
  • Kazunari Murakami

BLOCK C

  • Katsuhiko Nakajima
  • Kazushi Sakuraba
  • Kotaro Suzuki
  • Masato Tanaka

BLOCK D

  • Masa Kitamiya
  • Akitoshi Saito
  • Masakatsu Funaki
  • Kazuyuki Fujita

This week in NOAH

 Sunday, August 8th: Akitoshi Saito (56)

Tuesday, August 10th: Yasutaka Yano (21)

Thursday August 12th: Junta Miyawaki debut anniversary (4)

Sunday, August 15th: KAWASAKI, GO!

Cultz Kawasaki, Kawasaki

Starts: 16:00 JST

Viewing: ABEMAWrestleUniverse and FITE TV

*Please note that with ABEMA you can only watch live, you must be a subscriber to view any replays or past events, which I do not recommend if you are outside of Japan due to the issues in getting a VPN that gets past their firewall. WrestleUniverse you must be a subscriber to, and FITE TV you can view PPV with English commentary (as will be the case on WrestleUniverse) for $19.99. FITE is not available for those based in Japan. I would recommend a subscription to WrestleUniverse.

Picture credit: NOAH.co.jp

GIFS taken from ABEMA


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Andrew’s IMPACT Results & Match Ratings: 10.21.2021

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Bound for Glory is on Saturday! How does IMPACT! hype us up for one of their crowning PPVs of the year?!

We get to see Mickie in an IMPACT ring for the first since 2015, Heath tries to get answers out of Rhino and we’ll probably see a lot of Josh Alexander and Christian Cage fleshing out the last little bits of the World Title match.

Aside from that, do we get anything of note to talk about, or is it just an appetizer for the real show on Saturday?

Ratings:

  • Bullet Club (Chris Bey & Hikuleo) vs FinJuice: NO CONTEST/Double Pinfall – ***
  • Jordynne Grace & Fallah Bahh vs Tenille Dashwood & John Skyler vs Chelsea Green & Crazzy Steve: Tenille wins via Spotlight Kick – ***
  • Pick Your Poison: Savannah Evans w/Tasha Steelz vs Mickie James: Mickie wins via Mick DDT – *** ¼
  • Alex Zayne vs Trey Miguel: Miguel wins via Meteora – ** ¾

 

Results:

The Insiders Stream on YouTube didn’t start until about 9:00pm, I’m not sure why IMPACT constantly has issues, but YouTube is not a hard platform to utilize. These delays are inane and embarrassing.

Bullet Club (Chris Bey & Hikuleo) vs FinJuice

Bey and Leo try some trickery early, but Finlay keeps pace. When Leo gets back into the match he starts throwing Finlay around a bit, which opens up opportunity for Bey. Bey looks to get flashy, but Finlay manages to get Juice in and Juice comes in hot. He nearly flips Bey out of the ring, takes Leo off the apron and tags in Finlay for some tandem work.

Leo breaks up the pinfall and then throws out Juice. Finlay grabs Bey in a Backbreaker/STO combination but Bey’s feet bump the referee. Leo chokeslams Finlay, puts Bey on top, but it takes the new referee too long to show up and it’s only a two count. We see Hikuleo trying to finish things, while the new referee tries to wake up the original referee. Leo gets double teamed, Juice Rolls Up Leo and then Bey Rolls Up Finlay, both referees count a 3 count for the different pinfalls. So we get a little call back to Beer Money and Motor City Machine Guns if we’re staying within TNA Universe.

This will probably end up a triple threat, unlike the MCMG/Beer Money double pinfall which ended in overtime.

There’s a long segment with Josh Alexander giving us his story. It’s not a bad segment, but the only advantage to the show starting late means I got to rewind for the match and speed through most of this. Alexander is a great story, but I already mostly know it, and would really like to see him win at Bound for Glory. Get the title back on a wrestler on the actual IMPACT roster.

Jordynne Grace & Fallah Bahh vs Tenille Dashwood & John Skyler vs Chelsea Green & Crazzy Steve:

This is a Digital Media Championship preliminary match. I find it interesting that there’s 3 men and 3 women. So instead of one or two for “inclusion” it’s actually an even spread. The way the teams are broken apart is interesting too where it’s Power vs Crazy vs Opportunistic.

The gimmicks actually paid off in the match. Jodynne massacred kids, but then things started to get a little messy. Fallah gets a handle on things, squishes the world, and then looks to BAHHnzai Drop on Tenille but Kaleb gets involved. A little more confusion, Steve hits King Kill 33 on Fallah, but Skyler pulls Steve out of the ring. Tenille hits the Spotlight Kick and the Opportunistic team win because well…there was an opportunity.

Pick Your Poison: Savannah Evans w/Tasha Steelz vs Mickie James

Mickie takes a moment to absorb the accolades from the crowd first, and then we see a quick strategy twist. Savannah looks for a few Haymakers and using her reach to her advantage, where Mickie just finds a few quick strikes and interesting angles to land some offense. Mickie looked to be building some momentum, and then Tasha got involved.

Savannah starts to dominate after the assist from her second. Big Bear Hug in the middle has Savannah just ragdolling Mickie until she can land a few choice Forearms. Mickie fights out, Sole Butts, a few nice attacks and Mickie hits the Avalanche Thesz Press, but only a 2 count. Deonna’s music plays as Savannah kicks out, Mickie is distracted and then we see Savannah lay in some big shots. The Full Nelson Bomb only gets Savannah a 2. Mick Kick rocks Mickie and then Mick DDT for the win. Hardcore Country wins the match.

Deonna walks down, mouths off…actually pushes Mickie…so I’m confused about the no contact clause…but then Rehwoldt shows up behind Mickie and wipes her out.

Alex Zayne vs Trey Miguel

The Sauce against the other guy who can’t speak but likes to try to use food analogies and sucks at it, aka, Trey Miguel. He’s like a Young Will Ospreay with less ability to talk…so no upside at the moment cause Ospreay was pretty awful up until a year or two ago.

So this is just a lot of counters, blocks, Arm Wringers, not much direct offense, just a lot of choreographed spots. This feels like a much slower paced version of a Ricochet/Ospreay match from 2016. Zayne is a more fluid wrestler, and he just makes everything look good. Miguel does a weird Cradled Octopus but Zayne responds with a Handspring Frankensteiner, as an early highlight spot.

Miguel in Ospreay fashion hits the Cheeky Nandos, into the corner stuck Tiger Feint, Meteora and Trey wins.

Thankfully Maclin attacks Trey after the match so I feel generally better. Bullet Club comes out and take out both Maclin and Trey. El Phantasmo just baby faced himself in my house.

Show ends with the usual talking segment hyping the World Title match. Alexander gets a “You Deserve It” from the crowd and portrays himself as the everyman fighting for his boys. Christian’s music hits and Captain Charisma vacuum shows up to stir a pot that doesn’t need to be stirred.

Christian taking the experienced thrives under pressure condescending veteran angle is…annoying. Like I said a few weeks ago, the boxes they are trying to play in, I don’t love. Alexander does flip the script nicely talking about how people classified him as nothing more than a Tag Team guy, and “sounding familiar” strikes a chord with Christian. Small scuffle as Christian tries to snip back, but it’s fairly paint by numbers.

Overall Score: 5/10

Low key? This was a pretty lame episode for an Impact Go Home. The matches weren’t really anything special, with the most happening during Pick Your Poison, but it effectively being a non-issue. The YouTube delay of course hurt my enjoyment of the show, but even without the delay, I don’t really feel like this would’ve registered much higher on my scale.

I am looking forward to Bound for Glory because of who’s in the matches, but this episode didn’t help sell it. Thankfully it’s already sold out, and most people probably decided if they were purchasing it by now.

When it comes down to it, I’m expecting quite a few title changes, even though I’m figuring that Mickie’s involvement is more of a one off to give the rub to younger talent and cement her dominant reign. Alexander I would love to see win the belt and The IInspiration would do wonders and put an immediate spotlight on a division that has floundered behind a lack of real teams and no real direction.

So I’ll see all of you on Saturday for Bound for Glory!


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Mitchell’s NJPW G1 Climax 31 Results & Report! (10/21/21)

Will history be denied in the Climax?

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NJPW G1 Climax 31

The Autumn heatwave comes to a head right here!

NJPW could see something never before seen! The Golden Star makes a fourth finals appearance, but will he have a historic THREEPEAT in the G1?

NOTE: NJPW no longer wants to feed AXS TV now that it is with Anthem and Impact Wrestling. But never fear, I will cover NJPW in the spirit of AXS in providing the most important matches of the show.

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • The United Empire VS Toru Yano & Yuji Nagata; Yano & Nagata win.
  • Six Man Tag: Chaos VS House of Torture; House of Torture wins.
  • Special Exhibition: Zack Sabre Jr. VS Katsuyori Shibata; Time Limit Draw.
  • G1 Climax 31 Finals: Kota Ibushi VS Kazuchika Okada; Okada wins and has the Right to Challenge for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship.

PLAY BY PLAY

The United Empire VS Toru Yano & Yuji Nagata!

Jeff Cobb was so close to the G1 finals but he still fell short. Will he and Great-O-Khan unleash their frustrations on the Producer and Blue Justice? Or will their woes only continue on the final night?

Cobb and Khan stand still at center during Yano’s long introduction. The teams sort out and Khan calls Yano out. Fans rally up, Yano starts with Khan and the two circle. Yano is a bit scared of Khan but then Khan attacks from behind! Khan stomps and CLUBS Yano in a corner, rakes his eyes, then lets off as the ref counts. Khan whips Yano corner to corner but Yano reverses, and goes to untie the corner pad! Yano gets the buckle pad off, Khan runs corner to corner but Yano dodges! Khan hits bare buckles, Yano slaps Khan on the back of his head! Fans rally up as Yano runs, but Khan BOOTS him down!

Khan drags Yano up by his ears, the ref counts and Khan throws Yano out. Cobb gets in to DECK Nagata! The United Empire goes out, Khan SMACKS Yano with the buckle pad! Khan stomps Yano at the railing, then storms off. Cobb stomps Nagata, fans rally up, and a ring count begins. Khan drags Yano up and puts him in, then CHOKES him! The ref reprimands, Khan lets go at 4, and he taunts Yano with his ponytail before he stomps him down. Fans rally up for “Y T R! Y T R!” but Khan drags Yano up and to the corner. Cobb tags in and headbutts Yano in the side! Cobb slaps Yano around, brings him up and ROCKS him with a forearm.

Cobb headbutts Yano down, drags him to a cover, TWO! Another try, TWO! Cobb is annoyed but fans rally up as he drags Yano around. Cobb hoists Yano up and RAMS him into a corner! Then goes corner to corner, but chooses not to use the bare buckles as he rams Yano in again! And again! Fans fire up for that showing of strength, and Cobb taunts Yano. Fans rally, Yano throws body shots, but Cobb eggs him on. Yano throws a forearm, Cobb knees him down! Yano pulls hair, Cobb ROCKS him with a right! Cobb whips but Yano reverses to throw Cobb down by his hair! Hot tag to Nagata! Nagata BOOTS Cobb, BOOTS Khan then KICKS away on Cobb!

Nagata whips Cobb but Cobb reverses, only for Nagata to come back with a BOOT! Nagata brings Cobb up but Cobb blocks the exploder, so Nagata ENZIGURIS! Cobb staggers, fans rally for Nagata and he runs in to SHINING WIZARD in the corner! Nagata reels Cobb in but Cobb fights off the exploder. Nagata throws forearms, whips but Cobb reverses to DROPKICK! Fans rally up and Cobb tags in Khan. Khan and Cobb coordinate, Khan CLUBS and stomps Nagata. The United Empire double whip then Cobb whips Khan in, but Nagata dodges to BOOT Cobb down! Khan dodges the boot but Nagata holds off the iron claw!

Khan keeps trying but Nagata throws the claw away. Nagata fakes Khan out to dropkick Khan’s leg! Nagata then dodges Khan’s clothesline to hit an EXPLODER! Fans fire up and Nagata tags in Yano! Yano fires up and whips Khan. Khan reverses but Yano stops himself from hitting the bare buckles, only for Khan to RAM him in! Khan whips Yano to ropes, Yano holds ropes and dodges Khan to clinch and BELLY2BELLY! Fans rally, Yano drags Khan up and dodges the claw to Fireman’s Carry Takeover! But Khan returns the Fireman’s Carry Takeover! Fans fire up, Khan elbows Nagata down and Cobb joins in.

The United Empire double whip Yano, Khan runs in and clotheslines! Cobb runs in to back elbow! Cobb gut wrench suplexes Yano, then Khan gut wrench suplexes Yano back! Cover, but Nagata breaks it! Cobb throws hands on Nagata then throws Nagata out. Cobb keeps after Nagata with a choke against railing! Fans rally up as Khan pushes Yano towards his boot! But the ref is distracted by Nagata whipping Cobb into railing and Yano LOW BLOWS Khan! Cover, Yano & Nagata win!!

Winners: Toru Yano & Yuji Nagata, by pinfall

The United Empire got ahead of itself and now they’ve lost again! Will they ever be able to face their leader, Will Ospreay, like this?

 

Six Man Tag: Chaos VS House of Torture!

Tomohiro Ishii fell in the ninth but Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI finished strong. Now they go back to focusing on being NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Champions. Will they win together in this non-title match? Or will the King of Darkness lead Tokyo Pimp and High Voltage to victory in their first trios outing?

Sho still has a Chaos towel and looks at it. It hasn’t been updated, it still has his name on it. He throws it down and stomps on it! And a brawl breaks out! Hashi throws Evil out, Ishii is after Yujiro, and Goto goes after Sho in the ring. The bell rings and Goto stomps away in the corner. The ref counts as Goto digs his boot in but Goto lets off to then stomp Sho more. Goto stands Sho up to CHOP him, then whips him corner to corner. Goto runs in to clothesline, then he feeds Sho to Hashi’s CHOP! Sho sputters and crawls but Goto-Hashi fire off on him. They double whip but Sho holds ropes, and then Evil and Yujiro get in to throw them down! Sho DECKS Ishii, then stomps away on Goto!

Evil and Yujiro go after Ishii and Hashi, then Sho stomps Goto out of the ring. Sho goes after Goto’s bad arm with elbows, and Evil RAMS Ishii into railing in front of commentary! The ref is busy watching Sho and Goto so Evil gets a chair to dig it into Ishii’s neck! Sho digs his heel into Goto, the ref reprimands, but Yujiro whips Hashi into railing on the other side. Sho stomps Goto but fans rally up for Chaos. Goto hits back but Sho CLUBS away on him! Sho drags Goto up and puts him in the ring. Sho whips him in, and surprise! The blue corner’s buckles are bare! Standard Bullet Club fare at this point. Evil tags in and he stands on Goto’s head.

Hashi gets in and goes after Evil but Evil rakes Hashi’s eyes! Evil throws Hashi out but distracts the ref so that Dick Togo can whip Hashi hard into railing! Evil drags Goto up, CLUBS the bad arm, then gives him toying kicks. Fans rally up for Goto as Evil drags him up. Evil CLUBS the bad arm, tags in Yujiro, and Yujiro drives an elbow into the bad arm. Yujiro wraps the arm around ropes while Sho distracts the ref. Yujiro lets off to bring Goto around and snapmare. Yujiro runs to basement boot the bad arm! Cover, TWO! Fans rally up, Yujiro stomps Goto to the ropes but Goto kicks back. Yujiro knees low, tags in Sho, and Sho taunts Ishii before he mugs Goto.

Sho stomps and digs his heel into Goto’s bad arm! Sho even uses the ropes! Ishii gets in but the ref works to keep him back. Sho taunts Ishii but Ishii still backs down. Fans rally, Goto rises, but Sho slaps him. Goto throws elbows and CHOPS! Sho elbows the bad arm again and again! Goto drops to a knee, Sho wrenches the good arm and KICKS away. But Goto blocks a kick, so Sho rakes his eyes! Sho runs, Goto follows and LARIATS! Both men are down and fans rally up again! Goto crawls, hot tag to Ishii! Ishii storms in after Sho, drags him up but Sho throws forearms! Ishii just ROCKS Sho! Yujiro runs in but Ishii ROCKS him, too!

Ishii whips, Yujiro reverses and Evil catches Ishii. Yujiro runs in but Ishii boots him first! Ishii elbows Evil away and then baits Yujiro in! Yujiro falls for it, Ishii sends him at Evil! Ishii whips and sends Yujiro in again! Evil holds on but Ishii baits Yujiro in again! Yujiro runs but Ishii dodges and the BOOT sends Evil down! Ishii runs and CLOBBERS Yujiro! Fans fire up as Ishii stands tall and goes back to Sho. Ishii CHOPS high on Sho and the ref reprimands but Ishii still CHOPS! Sho gasps and sputters, Ishii stands him up to CHOP him and slap him! Ishii drags Sho up to suplex, but Sho slips out to waistlock. Ishii elbows away until he’s free, then runs into Sho’s kitchen sink knee!

Sho stomps Ishii to a corner, stomps away on him and digs in boots. The ref reprimands, counts, but Sho lets off at 4. Sho comes back to KICK Ishii but Ishii stands right up! Ishii throws forearms but Sho gives them back. Fans fire up as the two go back and forth, and Ishii gets the edge! Sho wobbles, Ishii runs but Sho JUMP KNEES! Sho whips Ishii into the bare buckles! But Ishii swats the clothesline away, only to swing into a waistlock. Sho shoves Ishii to ropes and Evil trips him up! Sho runs to basement dropkick! Evil tags in, Sho goes after Goto-Hashi! Yujiro and Evil whip Ishii into a corner, Yujiro runs in to BOOT! Sho adds a clothesline, then Evil adds his own!

Evil brings Ishii out to a FISHERMAN BUSTER! Cover, TWO! Evil is furious but the ref defends his count. Fans rally up for “I-SHI-I!” but Evil drags him back up. Evil fireman’s carries but Ishii fights free to shove Evil into Hashi’s forearm! Then Ishii reels Evil in for a BIG back suplex! Both men are down, fans rally up, hot tag to Hashi! Hashi runs but Evil blocks the clothesline, so Hashi CHOPS! Evil rebounds but Hashi forearms, kicks and CHOPS! Evil spins, into a SUPERKICK! Evil falls, Sho gets in but gets a mule kick! Yujiro runs in but gets a BACKSTABBER! Fans fire up with Hashi but Evil kicks and runs. Hashi ducks and dodges to LARIAT!

Hashi drags Evil up with a sleeper, then half nelsons and pump handles. Evil fights, grabs the ref, and Dick gets on the apron with the SPOILER CHOKER! Evil distracts the ref but Goto trips Dick! Hashi is free, Goto gets in but Evil kicks first. Evil runs, but into the fireman’s carry! Evil slips off, runs at Goto but Goto dodges and Hashi SUPERKICKS! Goto reels Evil in, HEADSHOT to Hashi’s METEORA! Fans fire up, Goto gets Evil up, dragon sleeper and Hashi picks Evil up, G Y W!! But Dick distracts the ref from the cover! Chaos would’ve won by now! Yujiro gets in to shove Hashi into the ref! CANE SHOT for Goto! CANE SHOT for Hashi!

But Ishii gets in to GERMAN SUPLEX Yujiro! Sho gets in to CHAIRSHOT Ishii! CHAIRSHOT to Hashi’s head!! Evil drags Hashi up and reels him in, EVERYTHING IS EVIL!! Dick gets the ref up and he counts the cover, House of Torture wins!

Winners: House of Torture, by pinfall

Bullet Club’s newest sub-faction just pinned the champions! And now they add insult to injury! SPOILER CHOKER for Goto! Sho reels Ishii in for the CROSS ARM DRIVER! Yujiro chokes Hashi with the pimp cane! Evil grabs the NEVER Openweight Six Man belts, and hands one each to Sho and Yujiro. The HOT boys stand tall, will they soon take gold away from Chaos?

 

Zack Sabre Jr heads to the ring.

It’s not really clear what the Submission Master is doing here. He missed out on the finals, and he isn’t dressed in his usual gear. Wait is that Katsuyori Shibata?!?! He’s got wrist tape, a kneepad, and a wrestling towel, but this can’t be! Is he coming back to wrestling?!

Special Exhibition: Zack Sabre Jr. VS Katsuyori Shibata!

Fans are thunderous already and the bell rings! ZSJ and Shibata circle, feel things out, collar ‘n’ elbow but Shibata gets a waistlock. ZSJ moves around, Shibata keeps on him. ZSJ switches Shibata scrambles free and fans cheer. Shibata goes for a leg sweep, has a leg guard when it misses, but ZSJ works on getting through it. ZSJ facelocks, armlocks, goes back to the facelock as Shibata stands, but Shibata hits a takedown. ZSJ keeps Shibata back with a body scissors, but Shibata shifts around. ZSJ holds off the lateral press but Shibata manages a top mount. ZSJ tries to fight it with his legs but Shibata gets away. The two stand off and fans are thunderous again!

Shibata and ZSJ knuckle lock, Shibata gets a leg. Shibata gets under the leg and trips ZSJ up to then get a FIGURE FOUR! ZSJ fights it to the last, using his own head to block. Shibata fights through but ZSJ toeholds! Shibata has that kneepad for a reason and he lets off as he clutches his knee. ZSJ keeps on the foot, makes it a standing toehold and again uses his own head for leverage. Shibata rolls, reels ZSJ in for a headlock takeover but ZSJ headscissors! Shibata moves around, headstands and pops free to have ZSJ’s leg for a toehold. ZSJ grabs at Shibata but Shibata has the same standing toehold. ZSJ rolls and tries to use the same trick Shibata did but Shibata holds that off!

Shibata rolls ZSJ, the two stand off again and fans cheer. ZSJ and Shibata reset, tie up with knuckle locks, and Shibata brings ZSJ to his knees. ZSJ fights up but Shibata powers him down again. ZSJ spins things around to a straitjacket stretch! Shibata turns it around onto ZSJ and sits him down. ZSJ wriggles, spins Shibata around and brings him down. ZSJ hooks Shibata’s legs and brings him into a STRAITJACKET SURFBOARD! Shibata gets his legs free and rolls back to put the straitjacket back on ZSJ! ZSJ stands up, wiggles the straitjacket down and gets a headlock. Shibata powers up but ZSJ holds on tight!

Fans rally for “SHI-BA-TA!” and he powers out to get a SLEEPER!! ZSJ fights up, but Shibata goes for the Cobra Twist! ZSJ holds that off, switches and puts the twist on Shibata! Shibata fights, ZSJ does everything he can to get leverage, but Shibata switches back to the IRON OCTOPUS! But the bell rings because time’s up!!

Time Limit Draw

Fans are thunderous as ZSJ and Shibata let off and reset to their corners. The ref raises both men’s hands, and Shibata offers a handshake. ZSJ accepts it, and fans cheer even more! ZSJ takes his leave, and Shibata gets the mic to speak to the crowd. “Zack. Thank you.” Shibata then passionately promises that this isn’t the last time we see him back in the ring! Is the Wrestler to be believed? Is he on the mend back to wrestling shape?

 

G1 Climax 31 Finals: Kota Ibushi VS Kazuchika Okada!

The Golden Star has made history already by making it to the finals four years in a row. But he wants to make further history by winning three in a row! Will that be the headline of the year? Or will the Rainmaker rain on that parade to reestablish himself?

The bell rings and the clapping for “I-BU-SHI!” “O-KA-DA!” is thunderous as the two stare down. Okada and Ibushi slowly circle, approach, feel things out, and Okada backs away. They circle more, approach again and feel things out again. Ibushi shoots in but Okada blocks with a facelock. Ibushi slips around to a waistlock, Okada switches, but Ibushi wrenches the arm to a wristlock. Okada rolls and trips Ibushi to have a toehold. Ibushi tries to headscissor but Okada fights that off as he cranks the hold. Ibushi gets a chinlock and pries Okada off the foot. Okada stands up, Ibushi hits a takeover but now Okada headscissors. Ibushi kips free and fans cheer the standoff!

Okada and Ibushi go back to their corners, then approach again. They circle, tie up, Okada headlocks and grinds Ibushi down. Ibushi hooks a leg but Okada keeps on the headlock. Ibushi rolls but can’t get the cover so he gets Okada with a headlock. Okada fights off Ibushi trapping an arm, gets a headscissor and he clamps on tight. Okada pushes up to put on pressure but Ibushi endures. Ibushi kips, moves around, and he pops out to then get a headlock. Okada rolls it to a cover, ONE! Ibushi holds on, Okada fights up, pries at the hold, but Ibushi clamps it back on. Okada pushes with wrists to put Ibushi on the ropes and Red Shoes calls the ropebreak.

Ibushi lets go, Okada lets off slowly, and then he whips! Okada drops, hurdles, Ibushi leaps over, ducks and dodges, but Ibushi fakes out the dropkick! Okada lands on his feet, avoid the V-Trigger and gets around to wristlock! Ibushi avoid the Rainmaker and fans are thunderous again as the two stand off. Okada and Ibushi reset, approach, feel things out, and they feel things out. They knuckle lock, Ibushi kicks low then KICKS Okada off is feet! Ibushi wraps on a chinlock and grinds Okada down. Ibushi then gets Okada’s arms for a motorcycle stretch, with a knee in Okada’s back. Okada scoots forward but Ibushi uses a chicken wing and crossface!

Okada turns to block the hold but Ibushi hops on for a rear mount. Ibushi goes to a sleeper and body scissors, but Okada fights to the ropebreak! Ibushi lets off, but then he stomps Okada down! Fans rally up, Ibushi drags Okada up and CLUBS Okada on the back! Ibushi stands Okada up to whip but Okada reverses and FLAPJACKS! Fans rally again, “I-BU-SHI!” “O-KA-DA!” as Okada stalks Ibushi. Okada drags Ibushi up, turns him and hits a NECKBREAKER! Cover, TWO! Okada paces and brings Ibushi up but Ibushi scrambles away to ropes. Okada stomps him down, brings him back up, and snapmares to run for the basement dropkick!

Okada drags Ibushi back up, ROCKS him with a right, but Ibushi glares and throws a forearm back. Okada eggs Ibushi on and Ibushi throws more forearms. Okada takes those to knee low, then scoop SLAM! Okada goes to the apron to slingshot senton! Cover, ONE!! Okada clamps right on with a chinlock and fans rally again. Ibushi endures, fights up and throws body shots. Okada CLUBS Ibushi on the back, brings him around and ROCKS him with a forearm to the back! Fans rally up as Ibushi is in the corner. Okada stands Ibushi up to throw back elbows. Okada then whips Ibushi corner to corner, runs in, but Ibushi dodges! Ibushi comes back but Okada BOOTS him!

Okada runs but into a dropkick! Fans rally up while both men are down! Ibushi rises but Okada follows. Ibushi throws forearm after forearm then whips, but Okada reverses, only for Ibushi to GAMANGIRI! Fans rally, Ibushi fires off a strike fest, then ROUNDHOUSES Okada down! STANDING MOONSAULT! Cover, TWO! Fans keep rallying as Ibushi gets up. Okada bails out but Ibushi pursues. Okada kicks low and whips Ibushi into railing! Ibushi falls in a heap but Okada brings him up to whip him the other way. Ibushi reverses and Okada stops himself, only to swing into a HALF ‘N’ HALF to the floor!

Both men are down on the outside and Red Shoes checks on them. They’re both okay to continue and a ring count starts. Ibushi stands at 4, brings Okada up at 7, and puts him in at 9 of 20. Ibushi aims, springboards and missile dropkicks! Okada flounders to a corner, Ibushi runs in, but Okada dodges! Okada puts Ibushi up top to dropkick him to the floor! Fans rally up as both men are down. Okada goes out after Ibushi, throws a EuroUpper, then brings Ibushi around the way to the ramp, for a DDT! Red Shoes checks but Ibushi is somehow okay. Okada takes a moment while the ring count climbs to catch his breath and get up.

Okada goes into the ring at 8 of 20 then leaves the rest on Ibushi. Ibushi stirs at 13, rises at 15, stands at 16 but Okada goes out to put him in. Fans cheer as this continues in the ring, and Okada SHOTGUNS Ibushi into the other corner! Okada drags Ibushi up, reels him in and wrenches to the MONEY CLIP! Ibushi endures, throws body shots with his free arm and RAMS Okada into the buckle! Ibushi is free, he throws more elbows then runs, but Okada dropkicks him down! MONEY CLIP! Ibushi endures again, fights his way up, reaches for ropes, but Okada lets him go to scoop and SPINNING TOMBSTONE! And back to the MONEY CLIP!!

Ibushi endures, fans keep rallying and Ibushi fights for the ropes. But Okada drags him away! Ibushi pounds the mat and fans rally up. Ibushi reaches out again but Okada hits a BACK2BACKBREAKER! And back to the MONEY CLIP!! Ibushi scrambles and gets the ROPEBREAK! Okada lets go in frustration but fans are thunderous again. Okada brings Ibushi up, scoops and SLAMS him, then goes to the corner. Okada climbs, aims, MACHO ELBOW DROP! And… Rainmaker Pose! Okada stalks Ibushi, drags him up and ripcords, but Ibushi ducks! Okada ducks the roundhouse, tries again, Ibushi LARIATS first!!

Fans rally hard as ever as Ibushi gets Okada’s wrists. Okada throws a forearm but Ibushi gives it back! Ibushi eggs Okada on so Okada forearms again! Ibushi forearms back, Okada gives another! Ibushi forearms, Okada forearms, and they pick up speed. Fans rally as Okada eggs Ibushi on, the forearms keep going, Ibushi ROCKS Okada then fires off a flurry! Okada staggers but stays up and Ibushi grins! Is this Kowai Ibushi!? Okada roars but runs into a RANA! Okada bails out and fans are thunderous as Ibushi goes to the apron. Ibushi rallies the fans and ARIHARA MOONSAULTS!! Direct hit at the ramp and fans stay fired up!

Ibushi drags Okada up, puts him in, and he drags Okada up to reel him in. SIT-OUT POWERBOMB! Cover, TWO! Ibushi keeps his focus and gets the wrists. Okada shoots in to avoid Kami-Goye but Ibushi CLUBS away! Okada ducks the buzzsaw to backslide but Ibushi rolls through! Ibushi ducks the lariat to ripcord ROUNDHOUSE! Ibushi keeps the wrists, to V-TRIGGER! KENNY~! Ibushi gets both wrists, KAMIGOYE!! Cover, TWO!! Okada survives and fans are thunderous again! Ibushi brings the kneepad down and vows to end it this time. Ibushi drags Okada up with wristlocks but Okada shoots in to back drop and sit on the cover, TWO!!

Ibushi is surprised he escaped, but he runs in, only for Okada to dodge. Okada ducks the lariat, spins but Ibushi LARIATS again! Fans rally hard as ever, Ibushi puts Okada in a drop zone and goes to the corner. Ibushi climbs up, to PHOENIX FLOP!! Okada avoids the splash and fans are electric as both men are down! Okada sits up in the corner, Red Shoes checks on Ibushi, and he calls it?!? Ibushi can’t continue, Okada wins!!!

Winner: Kazuchika Okada, by referee’s stoppage (G1 Climax 31 Winner)

Medics hurry out to check on Ibushi as he clutches an arm. Okada lets Young Lions help, and this isn’t really how anyone wanted this one to go. Shingo Takagi even gets off commentary to be at ringside for this. Either way, the Rainmaker wins the 31st G1. Okada checks on Ibushi and fans clap for Ibushi as medics help him up. The injury does seem to be Ibushi’s right arm, and that complicates his ability to exit, so the bottom rope has to be undone. At the same time, Red Shoes and timekeeper Abe-san set up the NJPW flag and G1 trophy. Okada checks with Ibushi and assures him it’s alright. Fans clap to assure Ibushi the same, and he manages to exit the ring.

Red Shoes raises Okada’s hand in victory and now things can be a celebration. Okada is presented with the trophy and banner by the NJPW president, then they stand together for the photo op. Okada gets his solo photo op and fans cheer. Okada then takes a moment and gets the mic. “G1 Climax!” This match ended in a referee stoppage, but all the same, Okada sticks out his chest with pride in saying he won. Okada and Ibushi fought with heart and pride all over Japan, and in the end, the result is what matters, a win is a win, and Okada has won. He thanks the fans for their support in this hot, hot Autumn.

So now, Okada’s eyes are set on the Tokyo Dome, but also on showing us he is the CENTER of NJPW’s world! It is on him to tear it up! Okada vows to once again carry NJPW on his back. Okada wants to say that this is the end, but first, he hopes Ibushi can come back so they can do this again properly. And as the G1 Champion, Okada will say this to management. “Make sure that I get to re-assault Kota Ibushi again, so that I can face Ibushi and make sure I am the fourth IWGP World Heavyweight Champion.” Okada wants to be IWGP Heavyweight Champion if he can’t be world champion, as he waits for Ibushi. And of course, he’ll make it rain all over NJPW!

Okada strikes his pose and the streamers fly! Okada is fired up for the road to WrestleKingdom 16, will he make it to the goal of the Tokyo Dome?


My Thoughts:

That was a rough ending for the main event given how great it was going, but this was still an overall great event. I chose to skip the 8 Man Tags because in many ways, NJPW uses those as filler. I believe Bullet Club won theirs while Los Ingobernables de Japon won the other. I kept the first two matches, though, because I was curious. For one, I thought Cobb & Khan were going to rebound but Yano gets another one over on Khan. The Six Man Tag was really good stuff, even with the usual antics of Evil and Dick. But in the end, the House of Torture winning of course sets up a Six Man title match for Power Struggle (and hopefully not a random Road to event). Hard to say who wins that at this point but it wouldn’t surprise me if House of Torture cheats to take those belts.

As I said, a rough ending to what was building to be an epic match between Okada and Ibushi. Ibushi really went hot into that Phoenix Splash and that is clearly what injured his arm around the forearm to wrist area. Who knows if Okada was meant to win before, but that’s just how it goes. Okada now carries the Right to Challenge and might owe Tama Tonga a shot at that with Tama being the only one who beat Okada during the round robin. I’m pretty sure Okada holds onto the Right to Challenge to have another match with Takagi that at this point could go either way.

My Score: 8.9/10


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