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Andrew’s G1 Climax 31 Day 3 & 4 Results & Match Ratings

Well a combined article is what will have to suffice here! The 9-5 was too busy for me to be able to sneak in any extracurricular observations, so I figured let’s just combine the days!

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Well a combined article is what will have to suffice here! The 9-5 was too busy for me to be able to sneak in any extracurricular observations, so I figured let’s just combine the days!

Hopefully combined days doesn’t happen too often, but given Japan’s propensity for weekday shows, I’m at the mercy of my workload. It does have to noted though, that A Block will be 1 match shorter since Naito is officially out, so all of his remaining matches are forfeit losses, so sort of a BYE for his opponent.

All in all, do we see Shingo get a measure of revenge for Naito? Which Bullet Club member will get their first win between Chase and Tama? Can Tanahashi bounce back?

Let’s get to this longer than usual article!

Ratings:

  • Tanga Loa vs Yuji Nagata: Loa wins via Ape Shit @15:35 – ** ½
  • A Block: Toru Yano vs Great-O-Khan: O-Khan wins via Eliminator @11:30 – **
  • A Block: KENTA vs Yujiro Takahashi: KENTA wins via Game Over @15:48 – *** ½
  • A Block: Kota Ibushi vs Tomohiro Ishii: Ibushi wins via Kamigoye @ 17:42- ****
  • A Block: Shingo Takagi vs Zack Sabre Jr: ZSJ wins via Triangle Armbar @27:17 – **** ½
  • B Block: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Hirooki Goto: Tanahashi wins via Inside Cradle @14:10 – *** ¼
  • B Block: Tama Tonga vs Chase Owens: Tama wins via Gun Stun @12:59 – *** ¼
  • B Block: YOSHI-HASHI vs Jeff Cobb: Jeff Cobb wins via Tour of the Islands @13:21 – ** ¾
  • B Block: Taichi vs SANADA: Taichi wins via Black Mephisto @25:15 – **** ½
  • B Block: EVIL vs Kazuchika Okada: Okada wins via Rainmaker @21:46 – **

 

Results:

Day 3 – A Block

Tanga Loa vs Yuji Nagata

Since Loa is the first recipient of the Naito pass, NJPW officials decided to still give him a singles match against an unofficial competitor. So Blue Justice shows up to make sure that Loa doesn’t get a legit BYE because of the unfortunate early injury. Should be interesting to see if any of the G1 competitors lose to their fill in match.

Nagata keeps Loa grounded, wrestle circles around the usual tag wrestler. Hammerlock take downs push Loa into the ropes and Nagata looks very superior early. Loa gets back up and utilizes his power advantage. This allows a few strikes back and forth, with Loa laying Nagata out. Then they head to the outside, Loa uses the Apron and stays on top of the veteran until you can see Nagata go into that irritated demeanor.

Nagata fires back a bit, Loa was left reeling and trying a few different submissions like an Anaconda Vice and OJK, but Nagata pulls out an old classic, Nagata Lock 1 (Reverse Figure Four). Loa has issues getting back up, Nagata rattles off some low Round Kicks, Loa fires up and Nagata chucks him with an Exploder. Loa manages to throat Nagata over the ropes, land a Spear and then a Power Slam, but only a 2 count.

PK from Nagata, Loa hits a Lariat and quickly goes to hit Ape Shit and pulls off the win.

Toru Yano vs Great-O-Khan

This match picks back up from the New Japan Cup where Yano tied him to the guardrail with his hair, and forced him to cut his braid and still lost the match. So Yano walks out already apologizing and O-Khan is irate. Yano manages to counter 1 Irish Whip and attempted to go after the current braid and tie that to the guardrail, but O-Khan fights back.

Yano is just getting throttled this entire time. O-Khan nearly has Yano unconscious with a Head and Arm choke, but Yano manages to keep it together enough to find the ropes. Yano manages to grab the ropes, O-Khan charges, Yano dodges, O-Khan bounces off the ropes and we have the Benny Hill moment. Yano thinks he has a shot with the spray bottle, but the small advantage gets reversed. O-Khan then goes for handcuffs he was hiding, and things get silly. Yano throws them into the crowd, then undoes the turnbuckle pad, the referee takes a bump, Dragon Screw Turnbuckle Whip and then Yano shows his own handcuffs! As Yano tries to cuff O-Khan, O-Khan Claw Holds Yano and slams him into the guardrail.

Yano has the keys, but O-Khan figured he would so he attacks him. Then Yano is almost counted out but takes the guardrail apart and slips the cuffs out to slide in the ring. Yano almost pulls the win out of nowhere with a Single Leg Cradle and then Backslide, but O-Khan won’t let it happen. Eliminator gets O-Khan a measure of revenge.

KENTA vs Yujiro Takahashi

Now it wasn’t really clear how these two would interact since it’s the first House of Torture vs Bullet Club match. KENTA threw up the Too Sweet, Yujiro ignored it, KENTA offered the Too Sweet to Pieter, but she rebuffed him. Yujiro then continued to attack while KENTA seemed to want to play nice. It did seem like Yujiro stalled for a second when KENTA was in the ropes and sounds like KENTA was pleading with him saying that they were friends.

Yujiro tried to ignore it, KENTA powdered, then we saw a switch flip in KENTA. Yujiro was dominating but decided to pander to Pieter and KENTA kicked him and hit a DDT. The referee was a 18, and KENTA decided to throw Yujiro in instead of just taking the Count Out victory. KENTA looked serious and was peppering in Forearms and kicks and slowly looks to be remembering his old self.

Game Over, Green Killer, Double Foot Stomp and finally a Go 2 Sleep attempt, but Yujiro has enough in the tank to counter! Yujiro is actually putting on a decent fight and KENTA is looking more serious than he has in a while. Yujiro hits the forearm and then the Olympic Slam for a near fall. Yujiro’s forearm strikes have been really gaining him traction, Miami Shine gets hit and KENTA kicks out.

Pimp Juice attempt, KENTA counter Jacknife Cradle, kick out, School Boy from the corner, kick out, rope run, Busaiku Knee! Go 2 Sleep attempt number two, Yujiro slips out and shoves KENTA into the referee, KENTA blocks the Low Blow, spins it into Game Over and Yujiro taps out!

Damn good match from Yujiro. Wow! Yujiro throws up the Too Sweet, KENTA actually does it. They hug, Pieter comes in and hugs KENTA. So maybe we get a return of Dating Game KENTA so he can cut a promo about Yujiro’s hair or something.

Kota Ibushi vs Tomohiro Ishii

Ishii and Kota start off striking but Ishii easily over takes him. Ishii is trying to motivate him as he chops his chest concave. Ishii finally motivates Ibushi to start catching him back. However we see no reaction from Ishii, just more talking crap. After a flurry of slap exchanges, Ibushi hits a middle kick and Ishii is dropped.

Ibushi bits the Frakensteiner to the outside, followed by Plancha, and Ishii gets thrown back in. Trying to hit the ropes for a lariat, Ishii gets caught by a Snap Powerslam and then a middle rope Moonsault gives Ibushi a 2 count. Ishii fires out of the corner, Ibushi hits a Dropkick, Ishii bounces off and then Pounces Ibushi into next week. Delayed Superplex from Ishii gives him a near fall.

Enzuigiri dodge, Moonsault dodge, Sliding Lariat dodge, low Gamengiri connects from Ibushi as both men try to recover. Ibushi looks slightly off on each move though. We see more stiff strikes and tough guy stuff after they both piss each other off with mocking strikes. Sitout Powerbomb from Ibushi seems to have given him control even if it only gives him the near fall. Ibushi tries the Kamigoye, Ishii blocks, so he gets kicked in the head, then fires up like a bottle rocket and an upward Headbutt knocks Ibushi down and…maybe out? No not quite.

Ibushi rotates out of the German Suplex, but eats a Lariat, then eats a Rope Run Lariat, but kicks out at 2. Vertical Drop Brainbuster attempt, Ibushi slips it, High Kick and Ibushi looks for Kamigoye. Kamigoye gets countered by a wild Lariat. V-Trigger from Ibushi, then he exposes the knee, Ishii Headbutts him in the stomach, tries the Brainbuster, countered, Kamigoye to the chest which drops Ishii down and then normal Kamigoye gives Ibushi an ugly win.

Shingo Takagi vs Zack Sabre Jr

Early one we see ZSJ looking for openings and hold transitions, as Shingo keeps up well. They have a whole dozen move or so counter, then they a submission trade, and it’s just really great to watch them both be very well balanced. Shingo even manages to drive ZSJ to the outside and do the one knee Naito pose to send a message.

ZSJ’s whole plan of attack was to go after the right arm. It started when he hit a Flying Octopus in the ropes and then just kept going after it. He did his leg twist Hammerlock, multiple Armbar variations and Octopus stretches variations that kept a focus on extending that right arm.

Shingo fought through it valiantly, hitting Noshigami, Made in Japan, power up and rolling out of many of the submissions. Shingo stubbornly still went for his power strikes, and he looked like he was going to catch ZSJ. But ZSJ stayed patient, he kept a Triangle Armbar in, Shingo tried his best to find a way to do something, but ZSJ extended the right arm further and Shingo was forced to tap out!

A Block:

  1. Great-O-Khan/ 3-0 / 6 Points
  2. Zack Sabre Jr/ 2-0 / 4 Points
  3. Shingo Takagi/ 2-1 / 4 Points
  4. Yujiro Takahashi/ 2-1 / 4 Points
  5. Toru Yano/ 2-1 / 4 Points
  6. KENTA/ 2-1/ 4 Points
  7. Kota Ibushi/ 2-1/ 4 Points
  8. Tomohiro Ishii/ 1-2/ 2 Points
  9. Tanga Loa/ 1-1/ 2 Points
  10. Tetsuya Naito/ 0-9/ 0 Points (Eliminated Injury)

 

Day 4 – B Block

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Hirooki Goto

Goto does not have much success against Tanahashi in his career, but when it comes to Goto, one never knows if he’ll choke or be impressive. The early goings are very slow as they feel out each other’s ability at the moment. Tanahashi gets the best of Goto on the ground and breaks out a Muta Lock, softening up most of the spots the Texas Cloverleaf attacks as well.

After a little bit of fight from Goto we get a nice spot of missed lariats, missed low dropkicks, dodges, Sentons and then Tanahashi manages to connect. The counters never really end, both head to the corners for different moves and the other either powers through or counters directly. Goto tries the callback to how he beat Tanahashi last year with Avalanche Ushigoroshi, but Tana counters it into a Sunset Bomb attempt, but Goto rains down elbows to break that up. The dismount is sloppy, but Shoten Kai attempt gets turned into a Twist and Shout. Tanahashi hits Aces High, tries to the finishing High Fly Flow, but Goto moves out of the way and comes through with a clubbing lariat.

Goto hits the Reverse GTR, goes for the legit GTR, Tanahashi wriggles out, Shoten Kai attempt gets blocked, GTR attempt again gets turned into an Inside Cradle, as Tanahashi picks up the win.

I hate this outcome. This is very reminiscent of the last few years when Tanahashi wins matches he shouldn’t with “veteran savvy” when the matches aren’t really Ace caliber.

Tama Tonga vs Chase Owens

Before the bell we get a nice Too Sweet, then we get the trading spot where the push each other into the ropes and get a clean break, but both clean break with Low Sweets. So they establish a different tone than KENTA and Yujiro had. Chase and Tama seem to really like each other, and then they start to pick up the pace and we get to real wrestling, not just playful gamesmanship.

Again surprisingly solid wrestling from two Bullet Club guys. The strikes are solid, Chase works on Tama’s neck between a Hip Toss Neckbreaker, Bobby Eaton style Neckbreaker and an STF. Hell Chase even pulled off a Tiger Driver. Tama might not have been expecting so much fight, but the Tongan Twist gives him a moment to breathe. Tama goes for the Gun Stun, but Chase shakes it off and hits a V Trigger, Tama keeps trying to fight through but he gets caught or countered each time. V Trigger, into Jewel Heist and Chase looks to have it locked up. Chase goes for the Package Pildriver, but Tama counters, flips through it and Gun Stun out of nowhere! Tama wins!

Also can’t be understated that Jado did not get involved in the match. He really did respect the fact they were on the same team. Tama helps Chase up, and they walk out together after a damn good match.

YOSHI-HASHI vs Jeff Cobb

There was a definite believability issue with this match. YOSHI-HASHI no matter what they try to do, never looks legitimate. YOSHI did have a few flashes of solid offense and a surprising Head and Leg Cradle as he picked the pace up.

YOSHI couldn’t gas Cobb, couldn’t really be quicker than him, and couldn’t be more clever. He falls victim to the Tour of the Islands, and no one is surprised.

Taichi vs SANADA

As per the tradition of their odd relationship, the match starts off a little slow and then leads into a peck popping contest. These two really do come off like good friends with different views on life but seem to have fun with each other. Which also kinda makes sense because a bunch of fans have their issues with both of these men not always giving 100%.

There’s a few quick interactions, but things really seem to pick up during one of their spots where SANADA counters the Kawada Kicks with a Low Drop kick, SANADA then ends up following to the corner for Taichi to reverse into a Gamengiri, Axe Bomber attempt but SANADA says no. Both of them have an All Japan reference spot with Tiger Driver, into Dangerous Backdrop into Tiger Suplex and both men are staggered and fall out of the ring. These two are really more similar than most fans realize.

Early on SANADA was working Taichi’s back and Taichi sold it great by having issues executing his offense. It was a great showing of calls back to King’s Road classic matches and wrestlers. All Japan came to the New Japan ring and put on a great match. SANADA likes to utilize a lot of Misawa offense even though he was trained by Muta and that plays well into the fact that Taichi was trained by Kawada. So we see a few spot callbacks to Kawada vs Misawa, simple things Taichi doesn’t really do like a Jumping Knee Strike.

If it weren’t for a couple exhaustion sloppy spots, this would’ve been the best match of the G1 so far. Taichi managing to avoid being stuck in the Skull End too long and always dodging the Moonsault gave him enough openings to go through a nice hold transition spot, Gedo Clutch almost wins him the match, Axe Bomber, Black Mephisto and our Holy Emperor is at the top of the block!

EVIL vs Kazuchika Okada

There were glimmers of something resembling a wrestling match, but we really need to petition New Japan to stop giving EVIL 20 minute or more matches if it’s just all of this interference/heel garbage. Yes I know he’s a heel, I’ve defended the concept of giving the fans in attendance someone to hate (and BOY do they), but enough is enough. Mix it up, stop with the same exact thing match after match.

At least Okada won, since the match was ruined after what was trending towards an okay match, then all of the Dick Togo involvement was back loaded. Red Shoes had a few bumps, chairs, numbers advantage stuff…ugh. NO MORE EVIL MAIN EVENTS!

B Block:

  1. Taichi / 2-0 / 4 Points
  2. Kazuchika Okada / 2-0 / 4 Points
  3. Jeff Cobb / 2-0 / 4 Points
  4. EVIL / 1-1 / 2 Points
  5. SANADA / 1-1 / 2 Points
  6. Tama Tonga / 1-1/ 2 Points
  7. Hiroshi Tanahashi / 1-1/ 2 Points
  8. Chase Owens / 0-2/ 0 Points
  9. Hirooki Goto / 0-2/ 0 Points
  10. YOSHI-HASHI / 0-2/ 0 Points

 

Overall Scores – Day 3: 8/10 – Day 4: 6.75/10

So let’s look at things, even if commentary wants to lie to you that B Block outperformed A Block, that’s half true. The first two days, B Block was a little better, but between Tanahashi having a sloppy match and Goto gets to start behind the 8 ball for no reason and EVIL existing in the main event…is awful. Plus YOSHI-HASHI doing the YOSHI-HASHI thing and getting close but failing, doesn’t really help the show. Day 4 had the Bullet Club face off with Tama and Chase; and SANADA versus Taichi as the only things worth watching.

All that said, this is an interesting situation especially since A Block is sort of a day ahead. Shingo does need challengers leading to Wrestle Kingdom even if he were to win the G1, so I anticipate 1 more loss or at least a Draw. But Shingo is still my choice to win the whole thing.

  • A Block: Shingo Takagi
  • B Block: Jeff Cobb
  • Winner: Shingo Takagi


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Andrew’s G1 Climax 31 FINALS Day Results & Match Ratings: 10.21.2021

Kota Ibushi looks to 3-Peat, Kazuchika Okada looks to win his first G1 in 7 years! Who will win?

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Kota Ibushi looks to 3-Peat, Kazuchika Okada looks to win his first G1 in 7 years! Who will win?

So we get a fairly basic card. A few undercard tags, the semi-main contains Shingo and most of the main players not in the Finals. Jeff Cobb goes from a shot in the Finals to the opening match, that’s a big blow to the ego.

There’s a few interesting threads that can be pulled at, but the major draw is the G1 Climax 31 Finals. So let’s get to it!

Ratings:

  • Ryohei Oiwa & Kosei Fujita vs El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru: Kanemaru wins via Boston Crab @8:40 – **
  • United Empire (Jeff Cobb & Great-O-Khan) vs Toru Yano & Yuji Nagata: Yano wins via Roll-Up @8:29 – **
  • House of Torture (EVIL, SHO & Yujiro Takahashi) w/Dick Togo vs Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI & Tomohiro Ishii: EVIL wins via Everything is Evil @11:20 – * ½
  • KENTA, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & Chase Owens w/Jado vs Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma, Tiger Mask IV & Hiroshi Tanahashi: Chase wins via Package Piledriver @10:41 – ** ½
  • 5 Minute UWF Rules Match::Katsuyori Shibata vs Zack Sabre Jr: Time Limit Draw @5:00 – *****
  • TenCozy, Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato vs Hiromu Takahashi, BUSHI, SANADA & Shingo Takagi: Shingo wins via Pumping Bomber @12:17 – *** ½
  • G1 Finals: Kota Ibushi vs Kazuchika Okada: Okada wins via Referee Stoppage @25:37 – *** ¼

 

Results:

Ryohei Oiwa & Kosei Fujita vs El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru

Commentary doesn’t even really try to hide the fact that these Young Lions are very early in their careers and have no real chance. They are in this match to learn, build endurance and get experience.

Nothing special in this match, they give the Lions a few flash pinfall attempts but again, we all know better. More just moments of surprise cause the Suzuki-Gun duo were playing with their food. Still far too fresh in their training to show anything more than basics, and all I’ll say is, they didn’t embarrass themselves, so that’s a positive.

United Empire (Jeff Cobb & Great-O-Khan) vs Toru Yano & Yuji Nagata

So one of the most successful teams and singles wrestlers this year, against a clown and a veteran. I mean Nagata is no slouch, but he’s not in a position to be upsetting two rising stars. Maybe Yano pulls off some thievery, but I’m not really intrigued.

Early on we see the usual Yano stuff of shenanigans and turnbuckle pads going missing. Nagata gets tagged in and we get some real wrestling. However, Cobb and Nagata square off outside when they aren’t the legal men, and Yano executes the miraculous shot to the Ding-Ding, and Rolls-Up O-Khan for the win!

This does continue the weird story between O-Khan and Yano, so at least there’s a thread of story, but it does definitely leave Cobb in a weird spot.

House of Torture (EVIL, SHO & Yujiro Takahashi) w/Dick Togo vs Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI & Tomohiro Ishii

Early on SHO starts with the mind games having a CHAOS towel in the ring and wiping his body with it, and being generally mocking. Things start quick, turnbuckle pads are taken off, people get wrapped into ropes and I suppose this is a more tolerable usage of EVIL. House of Torture can torture the 6 man division with bad wrestling and cliché paint by numbers heel work.

Togo uses the garrot on HASHI, but HASHI and Goto manage to hit GYR on EVIL, but Dick Togo of course gets involved to distract the referee. Chairs lay out the CHOAS members, Everything is EVIL on HASHI and yeah yeah, House wins and challenge for the six mans. Ugh.

KENTA, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & Chase Owens w/Jado vs Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma, Tiger Mask IV & Hiroshi Tanahashi

So wait, we get all Bullet Club members against the veteran Hontai Squad? I mean Tanahashi has looked extremely mortal lately, and he’s not really bringing a ton of back up. When Makabe is the second best one on your squad, and he’s barely wrestled this year…you gotta wonder.

Makabe starts things off and we can see his back and waist heavily taped. So it looks like Makabe’s part time schedule could have something to do with injuries. Injured or not, Makabe gets the most of Loa, brings in Honma, then Honma eats some offense from Tama, until Honma counters and lands a big suplex. Tiger Mask IV comes in and actually cleans house, it takes a little bit before Tama does the Double Leapfrog Haku Chop to start taking control.

Bullet Club smacks around Tiger Mask until KENTA eats a Tiger Driver (ironic, I’m aware) and then Tanahashi gets tagged in. Tanahashi works to get a measure of revenge on the Bullet Club, but  then we get some spam moments. G.o.D. tries to take out Makabe, but Makabe wipes out G.o.D. easily. Makabe brings in Honma, Honma takes it to Chase Owens, but no avail. A missed Kokeshi, a blocked Brainbuster attempt, and then C Trigger into Package Piledriver gives Chase the win.

Chase looks to be setting up a challenge, but KENTA blindsides Tanahashi with the belt. KENTA and Chase play tug of war a little, Chase tells KENTA he pinned him, KENTA says he doesn’t care, and Chase relents. He says KENTA can get the first shot, but he got next.

5 Minute UWF Rules Match: Katsuyori Shibata vs Zack Sabre Jr

This…this is amazing. Shibata gets his first match in 4 years, and it’s against the most perfect wrestler for Shibata to have a technical and safe exhibition match.

Since its UWF this is usually done in a points system like the old IMPACT Grand Championship. But a 1 round exhibition doesn’t allow for anything beyond a Draw, but this is wonderful. It’s a technical marvel with counters, submissions, references to Inoki’s classic on the ground pose that we saw Great-O-Khan reference back to during the G1. This is just a great moment, and hard to do any real play by play, but it’s a technical marvel. Hell, Shibata looks better than he ever has.

WAIT – After the match Shibata says “Next time I’m in the ring, I will be in my ring gear”. He punctuates the line with a hard flat back bump and a kip up. …Shibata is back? SHIBATA IS BACK?!

TenCozy, Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato vs Hiromu Takahashi, BUSHI, SANADA & Shingo Takagi

Taguchi and Hiromu start off with a good bit of comedy, before everyone not named Tenzan starts doing the Mongolian Chops, much to Tenzan’s chagrin. Wato has some nice spots early before LIJ do their wonderful Bum Rush. BUSHI comes in, uses the shirt and then LIJ starts dominating Wato. Wato manages to get a little space and get Kojima in and we get Machine Gun Chops on SANADA in the corner!

Hiromu tries to block it, gets shoved in the corner for his own chops, BUSHI tries to stop it, and gets put in the corner for the Triple Stacker of Chops. Shingo looks, and then drops off the apron and decides he’s just gonna let them play. Shingo does cut off Kojima before he does his signature Elbow, so Shingo didn’t ignore his team, just decided he wasn’t gonna fall into the dumb spot.

Signature spams, LIJ pain train, signature spam again, and then we get solid call backs. Shingo and Tenzan are the last two, Shingo uses Mongolian Chops, Tenzan responds in his own way. Some haymakers thrown, a Headbutt from Tenzan, the attempted Flying Headbutt, but Shingo cuts him off, Pumping Bomber, and Shingo wins!

G1 Finals: Kota Ibushi vs Kazuchika Okada

So they feel each other out early, and have the usual fast pace wild swings that get dodged and end in a small rest moment where they just smile and absorb the energy of the match. Before Ibushi can really get anything going, the arrogance of the Rainmaker returns. Very deliberate shots, perfectly rolling through his Slingshot Senton, and his single foot Dropkick. It’s really interesting to see Okada reverting back to his old self. The 2017 form is further exemplified by Shibata’s return since it helps to bring everyone back to “brighter days”.

Okada goes for his corner Hip Attack, but now Ibushi gets to start a comeback. Dropkick, Roundhouse Kicks, Standing Moonsault and Okada powders. After some fighting on the outside, Okada takes control again and hits a DDT on the ramp, which has Ibushi pretty much out. Okada waits in the ring until about 18, before he decides that’s not how he wants to win. Drags Ibushi in, tries the Money Clip, Ibushi won’t go in comfortably, Okada rocks him, whips him into the ropes, hits the Million Dollar Dropkick, and finally gets the Money Clip sunk in. Okada is in a different aggressive form that we haven’t seen since 2018 when his nearly 2 year title reign ended and he went balloon crazy.

Savage Elbow, Rainmaker Pose, Zoom Out…Wind up…Rainmaker misses and Ibushi returns with his own Lariat turning Okada inside out. Now they stand up for the strike exchange. Okada falls into an old Nakamura trap, where he starts winning the exchange, taunts the challenger and gets rocked. Ibushi grins, hits the Frankensteiner sending Okada to Powder. So now it’s Moonsault time for Ibushi, and lands perfectly on Okada.

Going back inside, Ibushi looks for Kamigoye, Okada blocks and then ducks the Round Kick, goes for a Backslide, but Ibushi rolls through and kicks Okada. Okada then eats a V Trigger and a Kamigoye…but it’s only 2! Okada flips Ibushi over when he attempts another Kamigoye, Double Legged Cradle, but ibushi kicks out. They lay each other out, Ibushi crawls to the top rope, Phoenix Splash and…Ibushi lands weird. He immediately grabs his arm, Red Shoes goes over to Ibushi, and after a few moments Red Shoes calls for the bell.

Okada wins the G1 off of Ibushi missing the Phoenix Splash and possibly dislocating his right arm.

Overall Score: 7.25/10

There’s a dark poetry in the ending to this year’s G1. Starting with Naito’s injury and ending with Ibushi’s injury, just makes this a fairly cursed year which plays into the cursed aspect of this World Heavyweight Championship. In a way, this works out for the best since if this tournament was supposed to make a newer wrestler and ended the same way, there would always be an asterisk. But it’s Okada, he’s a proven commodity and no one will really question his victory. I really appreciated the fact that he always loomed close while Ibushi was struggling with the doctor and through his injury. He held his hand many times, even seemed to tell him it’s fine, we’ll do it correctly 1 more time in the future.

Katsuyori Shibata returns, Kazuchika Okada returns to the a level of prominence by winning the G1 Climax 31 and this is a nice way to remind people of the names that many of the current crop of IWC fans know. New Japan grew quickly because of AJ Styles and Kenny Omega’s Bullet Clubs, but in the last few years we’ve seen many of the names we know fall to the back or go to different companies. This could be a return to form finally for New Japan.

Even if it ended off a failed Phoenix Splash, it could help New Japan rise from the ashes of community favor like a Phoenix.


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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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