G1 Climax’s opening day is all about Block A!
For the second time, NJPW’s Summer tradition is in the Fall! Will Kota Ibushi begin his climb towards a FOURTH G1 Climax Finals appearance?
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.
- Kota Ibushi VS Yujiro Takahashi w/ Pieter; Takahashi wins.
- Great-O-Khan VS Tanga Loa; Khan wins.
- Toru Yano VS KENTA; Yano wins.
- Tetsuya Naito VS Zack Sabre Jr; ZSJ wins.
- Tomohiro Ishii VS Shingo Takagi; Takagi wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
Kota Ibushi VS Yujiro Takahashi w/ Pieter!
The Golden Star is last year’s winner, as well as the year before that, and is the only man to appear in three consecutive finals. But will the Tokyo Pimp look to ruin his chances of making it back there again to start things off?
The bell rings and fans cheer as the two stare down. Ibushi and Yujiro slowly circle, tie up, and Ibushi powers Yujiro to ropes. The ref calls for the ropebreak and Ibushi lets off, but Yujiro pulls hair to turn it around! The ref reprimands, so Yujiro lets off to slap Ibushi! Ibushi keeps cool as he resets with Yujiro. Ibushi rushes in but Yujiro dodges, to slap Ibushi again. Yujiro eggs Ibushi on then kicks low to throw forearms. Yujiro CHOPS then throws more forearms against the ropes. Yujiro stands Ibushi up, runs but into a boot! Ibushi walks into Yujiro’s kick, things speed up and Ibushi dropkicks Yujiro down! Fans cheer as Ibushi stands up and stomps Yujiro.
Ibushi stands Yujiro up for forearms, then Ibushi wrenches and whips Yujiro to a corner. Ibushi runs in but Yujiro puts him on the apron. Yujiro comes back but into a forearm. Ibushi goes up to springboard but Yujiro shoves him down! Ibushi hits the floor and Yujiro goes out to fetch him. Yujiro POSTS Ibushi, shoulder first! Yujiro regroups with Pieter to get his pimp cane, and he has Pieter distract the ref. Yujiro takes aim to CANE SHOT Ibushi in the gut! Then he chokes Ibushi with the cane! The ref leaves Pieter behind and sees Yujiro using the cane. The ref reprimands and counts, Yujiro lets off to get in the ring.
Ibushi drags himself back in the ring but Yujiro is on him with a rain of fists. The ref reprimands about closed fists so Yujiro stops to bring Ibushi up. Yujiro scoops and SLAMS Ibushi down, then paces around. Yujiro drops a leg, an elbow then a headbutt! Cover, ONE!! Fans cheer Ibushi’s toughness but Yujiro keeps his cool. Fans rally up but Yujiro bumps Ibushi off buckles. Yujiro knees low, throws forearms, then whips Ibushi corner to corner. Yujiro runs in and BOOTS Ibushi down! Cover, ONE!! Fans fire up again as Ibushi shocks Yujiro! Yujiro paces while Ibushi crawls, and Yujiro stomps Ibushi down.
Ibushi glares at Yujiro so Yujiro slaps him around. Ibushi fires off forearms but Yujiro knees low! Yujiro knees Ibushi against ropes, whips him but Ibushi reverses to GAMANGIRI! Fans fire up with Ibushi as he gets back up. Ibushi dares Yujiro to get up, then he fires off a strike fest! ROUNDHOUSE to the chest, STANDING MOONSAULT! Cover, TWO! Ibushi keeps his focus as the fans rally back up. Ibushi reels Yujiro in for a waistlock but Yujiro fights the lift with elbows. Yujiro is free and runs, into a RANA from Ibushi! Yujiro bails out, fans fire up and Ibushi takes aim. Ibushi runs to the corner, GOLDEN TRI- NO! Yujiro YANKS Ibushi down to the ground!
Yujiro has cameramen move aside so that he can whip Ibushi into railing! Ibushi staggers back into a REVERSE DDT! The ref checks on Ibushi but Yujiro gets him up and into the ring. Yujiro drags Ibushi up, stands him against ropes and takes aim, to BOOT Ibushi again! Yujiro reels Ibushi in, FISHERMAN BUSTER! Cover, TWO! Fans rally up as Yujiro brings Ibushi back up. Yujiro reels Ibushi in but Ibushi fights the Incolle Slam. Yujiro ducks the Roundhouse, tries again, INCOLLE SLAM! Cover, TWO! Ibushi is still in this but Yujiro fires up. Yujiro drags Ibushi up, fireman’s carry, but Ibushi fights free.
Yujiro blocks the kick to fireman’s carry again, but again Ibushi fights free! ROUNDHOUSE! Fans fire up more as Ibushi calls for his shot! Ibushi drags Yujiro up, reels him in, LAST RIDE! Cover, TWO!! Yujiro survives but barely! Ibushi vows this will end it now, and he gets Yujiro’s wrists. But Yujiro kicks Ibushi’s leg! Yujiro reels Ibushi in but he shoves free of Pimp Juice. V-TRIGGER! KENNY~! Yujiro flops over but Ibushi isn’t done with him! KAMI- No, Yujiro sends Ibushi at the ref! LOW BLOW! Yujiro reels Ibushi in again, PIMP JUICE!! Cover, TWO!?! Ibushi survives by the seat of his pants and everyone is shocked!
Yujiro roars and fans fire up as he brings Ibushi up. IMPALER!! Cover, YUJIRO WINS?!?
Winner: Yujiro Takahashi, by pinfall (gains 2 points; Ibushi gains 0)
A true shocker to open the G1!! The Tokyo Pimp and his naughty little bunny get to celebrate defeating the double G1 Climax winner! Is this a sign that the Golden Star is starting to dim?
Great-O-Khan VS Tanga Loa w/ Jado!
The United Empire’s Dominator and the Bullet Club’s Silverback are both in their first G1 Climax! But they aren’t going to let that get to them, they’re both hungry for the golden opportunity at the end of this grueling tournament! Whose debut is the better by starting off with a win?
The bell rings and the two stare down as fans rally up. Loa grins as the two approach and compare muscles. They talk a bit of trash and Khan shoves Loa. Loa laughs that off then shoves back. They tie up, are in a deadlock, but Loa finds a point of leverage to push Khan back. Khan digs in his heels to push Loa back, but Loa puts Khan on ropes. Khan turns things around, Loa turns them back and the ref calls for the break. Loa lets off cleanly and fans cheer, but then Loa takes a swing! Khan gets around to waistlock and he carries Loa around in a rear bearhug. Loa elbows free, runs, but Khan rams shoulders with him! Fans cheer as neither falls and Khan eggs Loa on.
Loa runs, they ram shoulders again and again neither falls. Loa smiles and dares Khan to try. Khan runs but dodges the clothesline to run Loa over! And again! And again! Fans fire up as Khan sees Loa bail out to regroup with Jado. Jado gives Loa some pointers but Khan dares Loa to get back in. Khan goes out, Loa slips away and Jado distracts Kha. Loa gets in the ring, Khan keeps his eyes on Jado as he approaches the ring. Khan gets in, dodges Loa again and throws forearms! Khan hits Mongolian Chops! Fans cheer, Khan runs but into a SPEAR! Loa doesn’t cover, he stomps Khan around instead, then rains down fists!
Loa chokes but the ref counts and Loa lets off and “apologizes.” Then Loa stands on Khan’s throat! The ref counts again, Loa steps away, and he stalks Khan to ropes. Loa CLUBS Khan down, stomps him at the ropes, then drags Khan up by his ponytail. Loa scoops then SLAMS Khan for a BIG leg drop! Cover, TWO! Loa clamps onto Khan, choking him with his own ponytail! The ref notices, reprimands, and Khan gets a ropebreak at the same time. Loa lets off, Khan sputters, but Loa CLUBS him down. Loa chokes Khan with his ponytail again! The ref counts, Loa stops and he brings Khan up. Loa goes to suplex but Khan blocks, so Loa throws body shots and throws Khan out.
The ref reprimands Loa but Jado JAMS Khan with his kendo stick! The Master Heater stomps Khan and eggs him on as he gets up. Another kendo stick jab and Khan goes down again! Loa wants the ring count and so the count begins. Khan starts getting up so Loa goes out after Khan and RAMS him into the apron! Loa snap suplexes Khan to the ground with authority! Fans rally up as Khan writhes and the ring count begins again. The count is 10 of 20 as Khan drags himself up at the railing. Khan hears the 15 and gets in at 16! Loa waits for Khan to stand again, and he runs in to BOOT Khan down! Loa stomps away on Khan’s right arm, perhaps to prevent the iron claw from working.
Khan scrambles to ropes but Loa is on him again. Loa wraps the arm around ropes and pulls! The ref counts, Loa lets off at 3, then he brings Khan up. Khan throws body shots and forearms, but the bad arm is weak. So Khan grabs Loa’s ear! The ref reprimands but Khan CLUBS Loa’s ear! Khan whips, Loa reverses and hits a SPINEBUSTER! Cover, TWO! Khan survives but Loa looms over him. Loa drags Khan up, “I expected more from you. Empire who? Great who?” Loa DECKS Khan and continues to mock him. “Great who? Not you!” Loa stands Khan up and ROCKS Khan again! Khan wobbles and falls back against ropes but the fans rally up.
Loa stands Khan up, reels him in but Khan blocks the suplex! Khan suplexes Loa and holds him up before the GOURD BUSTER! Both men are down but the fans rally again. Khan crawls after Loa, and gives him Mongolian Chops! And then more Mongolian Chops! Khan chops and CHOPS Loa in the corner, then whips him corner to corner, to clothesline from behind! Khan puts Loa up top backward to Mongolian Chop him on the back! Loa falls into a Tree of Woe, Khan stomps him down and digs in his boot! The ref counts and Khan lets off. Khan runs corner to corner, hits his three point stance and runs in to basement dropkick!
Jado gets on the apron but Khan Mongolian Chops him down! Loa frees himself from the Tree but Khan haul shim up. Khan back suplexes to SLAM Loa on his face! Cover, TWO! Khan grows annoyed but he toys with Loa. Khan asks where all Loa’s bravado went, then brings him back up. Mongolian Chop, but Loa doesn’t flinch. Loa throws body shots but Khan throws more Mongolian Chops! Loa throws uppercuts, throws forearms, then eggs Khan on. Khan gives back the forearm and the two brawl! Fans rally up as they pick up the speed! Loa gets the edge, then runs, into a BOOT! Khan runs, but Loa grabs at the ref! Jado SMACKS Khan with the kendo stick!
Loa LARIATS Khan down! Cover, TWO! But into a CROSSFACE! Jado distracts the ref but realizes Loa has control so he hops down. Khan endures the hold, reaches for ropes, but Loa rolls him away! CROSSFACE! Khan endures again, kicks and flails, but he thrashes to get around and reach out! ROPEBREAK! The ref counts but Loa lets off quickly. Khan flounders to a corner but Loa runs in to clothesline! Whip out then in, another clothesline! Loa reels Khan in, back suplex to POWERBOMB! Cover, TWO!! Khan survives Loa’s take on Blue Thunder and the fans rally up. Loa mocks Khan’s Jiangshi moves, does some pop ‘n’ lock then steals the Mongolian Chops!
Khan slowly gets up, so Loa Mongolian Chops again! Khan gets mad and stands, but Loa Mongolian Chops again! Loa gets Khan up and reels him in but Khan holds off bomb to back drop! Khan fires up and blocks a clothesline to spin Loa into the HITSUJIGOROSHI! Loa endures the “Sheep Killer” stretch as Khan thrashes him around! Loa reaches for ropes, Khan cranks the hold harder, digging into that chinbar! Loa fights up, Khan scoops him, and Jado gets in the ring! Khan swings Loa to smack Jado down, and then gives Loa a BACKBREAKER! Then he makes it an IRON CLAW, to the ELI- NO! Loa slips out, kicks and ENZIGURIS!
Khan drops to his knees and Loa hurries to get him in position. POWERBOMB! Cover, TWO!! Khan survives and shocks Loa! Fans fire up as Khan falls over in a daze. Loa hurries to get Khan back up, scoops him, but Khan slips out to IRON CLAW and ELIMINATOR!! Cover, Khan wins!
Winner: Great-O-Khan, by pinfall (gains 2 points; Loa earns 0)
The Silverback falls to the Dominator! Will Khan make a huge impact in the G1 for the glory of the United Empire?
Toru Yano VS KENTA!
After bringing out his vicious past against the Bullet Club’s Crown Jewel, surely the new provisional Mr. KOPW 2021 is ready for retaliation. Will Fang Revived sink his teeth into Chaos’ Clown Prince?
Kenta presents the timekeeper with a new script to read, as if to parody Yano’s long introduction with his own incredibly long introduction. Yano gets impatient with the checks but Kenta wants the ref to be thorough, since we all know Yano has tricks up more than just his sleeves. Wouldn’t you know? Spare tape was in the leg of his tights! Yano promises that’s the only one, and then asks the ref to check if Kenta is hiding something! Kenta denies such things but Yano says Kenta is very suspicious! The ref checks but Kenta refuses to have his butt inspected. Wait, there was wrist tape back there, too! Kenta says he only had it cuz he knew Yano would have some!
Tempers flair and the bell finally rings, only for Kenta to bail out. Yano complains but Kenta tells him to shut up. Kenta paces around the outside and fans rally up. Kenta takes his time returning but then slips right back out. Yano gets annoyed but Kenta wants space to return. Yano’s on the opposite side of the ring and demands Kenta get in. Kenta slides in, Yano storms over, but Kenta slides back out. Yano wants Kenta to get in already, but again Kenta trolls him. Yano rushes out after Kenta, only for Kenta to slide back inside. Now tables have turned and Yano dares Kenta to get back outside while Kenta says for Yano to get inside. Yano gets in, Kenta bails out!
Kenta keeps trolling Yano and Yano storms back outside. Kenta slides in, Yano storms up the ramp, and a ring count begins. Yano says he doesn’t care, but then he walks backwards. The count is 10 of 20, Yano sees Kenta is in the ring and rushes in, but Kenta stomps him down! Kenta stands Yano up and throws haymakers, then he rakes Yano’s eyes! Kenta lets off to throw more forearms, then he whips Yano. Yano holds ropes to taunt Kenta now. Kenta runs in, Yano dodges and he rakes eyes! Yano whips, Kenta holds ropes to mock Yano! Yano storms over and Kenta bails out again. Yano has no idea what is going on here but Kenta snatches Yano’s spray bottle!
Yano pursues to get sprayed in the face! Kenta undoes the nozzle and pours the liquid right on Yano’s face! Kenta stomps Yano down, then brings him up to throw forearms. Things go up the ramp, and Kenta tells the ref to shut up about the ring. Kenta CLUBS Yano on the back, rakes Yano’s eyes, then brings Yano to the entryway and the girders. Kenta finds tape hidden inside a gap! Yano kicks back and throws the tape away! Kenta kicks low, throws haymakers, and the ref gets in between them to say this has to go back to the ring. Wait, Kenta had more tape hidden in another gap in the structure! Kenta brings that out to tape Yano to the entryway! Then Kenta runs to the ring!
Yano is anchored as the ring count begins! Yano curses as he has to rip at the tape! The count is 8 of 20, then 10 before Yano is free! Yano gets free at 11 and sprints for the ring! Yano gets in at 16 and Kenta is frustrated. Kenta rains down rights on Yano, then stomps him around. Kenta whips, Yano reverses and sends Kenta to a corner, then goes to untie the buckle pads of the opposite corner! Yano has bared one of the corners, but Kenta comes back to mule kick. Kenta runs, but into an atomic drop! Yano trips and catapults Kenta into bare buckles! Roll up, TWO!! Yano fires up and whips Kenta at the bare corner, but Kenta reverses to send Yano in!
Kenta runs in to BOOT Yano down, then goes corner to corner to HESITATION DROPKICK Yano into the buckles! Yano is down, Kenta goes up, DIVING DOUBLE STOMPS! Cover, TWO! Yano survives Kenta’s coup de grace but Kenta slashes his throat. Kenta drags Yano up, fireman’s carries, but Yano slips out to pull hair! Kenta pulls hair in return! The ref reprimands them both and counts, but only Yano lets go! Kenta throws Yano out of the ring! Kenta goes out to fetch Yano, whips but Yano reverses to send Kenta into railing! Yano goes looking under the ring, and he finds spare wrist tape! The ref tries to stop Yano but Kenta shoves Yano into the ref!
Kenta stomps Yano, looks under the ring, and brings out more wrist tape! How many of these were hidden around the arena? Kenta wraps Yano’s wrists together, then he lifts the apron skirt. Kenta throws Yano under the ring! Kenta has the ref get up and get in the ring to start a ring count! Yano is nowhere to be found so the count begins. Kenta wants it to be faster but we’re only at 7 of 20. The count passes 10, then 15! Yano appears from behind! Yano LOW BLOWS Kenta behind the ref’s back! Roll up, TWO!! Kenta waistlocks, Yano grabs at the ref, then mule kick LOW BLOWS! Yano drags Kenta into a cradle, Yano wins!
Winner: Toru Yano, by pinfall (gains 2 points; Kenta earns 0)
Kenta is furious with the ref, but it was his own tricks that came back to bite him! Will Yano be able to find further ways to win by the skin of his teeth?
Tetsuya Naito VS Zack Sabre Jr!
Los Ingobernables de Japon couldn’t strike out the Dangerous Tekkers at the MetLife Dome, but can the Uncontrollable Charisma get a leg up towards the top title? Or will the Submission Master make Naito #JustTapOut for the Fall?
ZSJ is patient as Naito takes off his elaborate entrance attire, a new red suit. The bell rings and fans cheer as the two stare down. ZSJ stretches a bit as he waits on Naito. Naito calls for a test of strength, but he’s reaching out in all directions. ZSJ brushes that off by mocking the Tranquilo pose. Naito and ZSJ circle, tie up, and ZSJ gets an arm. Naito holds off the wrench and gets a leg, but ZSJ again goes for an arm. Naito defends with a waistlock but ZSJ uses that to shift to a drop toehold. ZSJ floats to a headlock but Naito slips out the back to hammerlock. ZSJ rolls and gets free, and fans cheer as the two stand off from that technical exchange.
Naito and ZSJ circle again, then tie up collar ‘n’ elbow. ZSJ waistlocks, goes for a full nelson but Naito switches to full nelson back. ZSJ uses his leg for leverage to break free, but the two switch around and Naito is back in control. ZSJ pries the full nelson apart, drops and kangaroo kicks Naito away. Fans cheer again as the two reset. ZSJ and Naito circle again, feel out the grapple, then Naito gets a leg pick to a toehold. ZSJ fights back with a chinlock and fish hooks, but Red Shoes reprimands. Naito shakes that off to crank the toehold. ZSJ keeps trying the chinlock but Naito pulls on the leg. Naito shifts position, has a standing toehold and twists the ankle.
ZSJ rolls, reels Naito into a headlock and hits a takeover, but Naito headscissors. ZSJ moves around, turns Naito over, ties up the legs, Bow ‘n’ Arrow! Naito pops out to a cover, ONE, and Naito Tranquilos while ZSJ paces. ZSJ backs off to a corner while fans cheer, but Naito is patient as the two reset again. They tie up, ZSJ gets an arm and wrenches to step over, arm-drag and then headlock. Naito powers out, things speed up and the two do-si-do for cobra twists. Naito schoolboys instead, ZSJ rolls through but Naito arm-drags him! ZSJ gets up into a back elbow and a RANA! ZSJ bails out as fans fire up! Naito takes his time slowly going out to fetch ZSJ.
Naito gets ZSJ up and into the ring, clamps on with a chinlock and grinds him down. ZSJ pries at the hold but Naito drives an elbow into ZSJ’s head. Naito then gets a cravat for a neck wrench but ZSJ fights with a leg hooking Naito’s head. The two struggle for control, Naito gets free of the leg to stand ZSJ up. Naito whips corner to corner, runs in and rocket kicks! Leg sweep, but ZSJ catches Naito in a cravat! Naito rolls but ZSJ holds on to then bring Naito in for a snap suplex and basement dropkick! Fans fire up for that flurry while Naito bails out. ZSJ catches his breath while the ring count climbs, but he goes out to fetch Naito into the ring.
ZSJ drags Naito up and around, throws EuroUppers, then DECKS Naito. ZSJ drags Naito back up into an Italian Stretch but Naito fights. Naito makes it a cover, ONE! Naito tries again, ONE! ZSJ kicks Naito’s legs out to bring him down into just the cross leg headscissors hold! Naito endures, moves around, but ZSJ grabs at Naito’s arms to reel him back in. ZSJ sits on Naito’s head in the headscissors, then pushes up to get leverage on the necklock. Naito endures, and gets a ropebreak with a foot! ZSJ lets off cleanly and waits for Naito to sit up. ZSJ wraps on a chinlock, digs his elbows and knuckles in, then wraps Naito up in a straitjacket stretch.
ZSJ uses his head as a point of pressure and he pushes up with his feet to get more torque. Naito endures, fights back up, but ZSJ brings him around to pull on the hold again. Naito fights to his feet, powers up to turn the hold around but ZSJ turns it back around onto Naito! Fans rally as Naito endures again. Naito fights back up, fights the hold and spins it onto ZSJ but ZSJ spins it onto Naito! They spin and spin, and ZSJ gets control again! Fans cheer the technical exchange as Naito endures. Naito fights up again, ZSJ pulls on the arms, but Naito stomps ZSJ’s foot! Naito arm-drags ZSJ, dodges him, but ZSJ kicks back! ZSJ runs, into an atomic drop and NECKBREAKER!
Both men are down and fans fire up! Naito throws forearms and kicks on ZSJ, whips him to ropes then hip tosses for a basement dropkick! ZSJ staggers to a corner, Naito whips him corner to corner. Rocket kick, leg sweep, COMBINACION CABRON! Naito poses as fans fire up again! Naito gets ZSJ up, dragon sleeper for a BACKBREAKER! PLUMA BLANCA! ZSJ endures the leg hook full nelson but Naito pushes up to apply pressure. ZSJ moves around, kicks his way over and gets the ropebreak! Naito says he needs help so Red Shoes undoes the hold. ZSJ sits up but Naito CLUBS him down.
Naito hammerlocks but ZSJ resists the rest of Gloria, so Naito CLUBS him again. Naito shoves ZSJ into the corner, puts him through the ropes, but ZSJ slips around to have a DRAPING GUILLOTINE! Red Shoes counts, ZSJ lets go and kicks Naito down. ZSJ runs in to pick the leg and trip Naito up, then PENALTY KICKS Naito down! Both men are down as fans rally up. ZSJ sits up and watches Naito stir. ZSJ grins as he stands up and throws EuroUppers. Naito grins back but ZSJ throws more EuroUppers. Naito eggs ZSJ on, the EuroUppers knock him over! ZSJ watches Naito get to the corner and runs in, but into BOOTS! Naito walks into an uppercut, but he comes back to TORNADO-
No! ZSJ shoves Naito away, goes for the arm, wrench to PELE! ZSJ whips, Naito leaps but into a DRAGON SUPLEX! Bridging cover, TWO! Naito narrowly escapes but ZSJ is too tired to be upset. Fans rally up, ZSJ catches his breath as he grins at Naito. ZSJ slaps Naito around, brings him up and KICKS him in the leg. Naito drops to a knee, ZSJ KICKS him again. Naito gets up, blocks the Penalty Kick to CLUB the leg! Naito reels ZSJ in, spins him, but ZSJ slips out of the neckbreaker! ZSJ wrenches the arm but Naito avoids the Pele! Naito runs into a headbutt, but he turns uppercut into a TORNADO DDT! Both men are down but fans fire up again!
Naito crawls after ZSJ as he heads for a corner. Naito stands, eggs ZSJ on, and ZSJ stands, to get back elbows! Naito knocks ZSJ down, hops up and brings ZSJ up for ESPARANZA! Fans fire up more and Naito aims from the corner. ZSJ slowly rises, Naito runs in, but into a dropkick to the legs! ZSJ runs back in, body scissor takedown to a KNEEBAR!! ZSJ grapevines as he has the ANKLE LOCK added in! Naito endures, ZSJ ties up his legs for a figure four and even a calf killer! Naito fights, reaches and gets the ROPEBREAK! ZSJ lets off fast as fans cheer. ZSJ comes back to SMASH Naito’s knee into the mat, and then SMASH it again! And then he SMASHES the other knee!
Naito writhes but ZSJ gets a leg for a TWIST! Red Shoes checks but Naito refuses to quit here. ZSJ drags Naito up by an arm but Naito throws a forearm. ZSJ shrugs it off but Naito throws another. ZSJ CLUBS Naito, gets a leg and an arm and reels Naito in. Naito resists the lift so ZSJ kicks the bad leg. ZSJ hooks Naito up again and lifts, but Naito makes it a DDT! Naito stalks ZSJ to a corner, gets him up to the top rope, but ZSJ fights that and moves around, TOP ROPE OCTOPUS! Naito endures, Red Shoes counts the ropebreak, and ZSJ shifts to a SUNSET FLIP SIT OUT BOMB!! Cover, TWO!! ZSJ gets the legs again, HEEL HOOK!
Naito endures and pries at the grip! Fans rally as Naito rolls and rolls and gets the ROPEBREAK! ZSJ lets go again, growing a bit annoyed. ZSJ starts taunting Naito, mockingly asking if he’s okay. ZSJ then stomps Naito’s leg, but Naito CHOPS! ZSJ shrugs that off but Naito CHOPS again! And again! ZSJ kicks but Naito blocks. ZSJ blocks Naito’s kick, ducks the enziguri, and hooks up both legs to STOMP them! Naito clutches his knee but he avoids Penalty Kick to CORRIENDO SHIKI! Both men are down and fans are thunderous! Naito gets up and drags ZSJ around to fire forearms. ZSJ falls over and Naito stomps him on the back.
ZSJ stands and throws EuroUppers! Naito kicks low and reels ZSJ in for a back elbow! ZSJ drops, Naito brings him back up, another back elbow. Naito stands ZSJ up again but ZSJ gets under and around to SNAP DRAGON! But Naito rises! Naito baits ZSJ into a corner but ZSJ hits a TORNADO DDT! ZSJ gets Naito up but Naito scoops for VALENTIA!! Fans fire up as Naito wrenches and- ZSJ drops! Victory roll to EURO CLUTCH! TWO?!?! How close was that?! Naito elbows, ZSJ kicks, Naito ENZIGURIS! ZSJ dropkicks the bad leg! Naito hobbles but ZSJ sweeps the legs! ZSJ DOUBLE STOMPS the bad knee! Naito writhes but ZSJ is after him with a scoop, but Naito hits DESTINO!
Both men are down but Naito sits up first. Fans rally as Naito gets his bad leg moving. Naito drags ZSJ up, wrenches, but ZSJ body scissors to a toehold! INDIAN DEATHLOCK! Then a KIMURA!! Naito is a pretzel as ZSJ combines a leg lock with an armlock! Naito is fading, Red Shoes checks, Naito TAPS!! ZSJ WINS!
Winner: Zack Sabre Jr, by submission (gains 2 points; Naito earns 0)
The Submission Master flexes, he’s ready to show the power of being 100% Vegan! Will he make everyone in the A Block #JustTapOut?
Tomohiro Ishii VS Shingo Takagi!
The Stone Pitbull has the luck of drawing THE IWGP World Heavyweight Champion in the first round! Will Ishii determine this entire tournament’s trajectory by slaying The Dragon already? Or will Takagi use Ishii as the cornerstone of a run at the finals?
Ishii and Takagi stare down even before the bill, then they fire up in their corners. The bell rings and they start ramming shoulders! They egg each other on, they both run and ram, ram, RAM! They get forehead to forehead and the fans fire up! Then the forearms start flying! Ishii, Takagi, back and forth and fans rally. Ishii eggs Takagi on, Takagi eggs Ishii on, and the forearms keep going! Faster and faster, harder and harder, no guard or hesitation! Ishii wobbles first, Takagi hits him again! Takagi runs, rams shoulders, but Ishii comes back to return the favor. Takagi rebounds and runs Ishii over! Fans fire up as the champion stands tall in this exchange!
Takagi steadies himself, stalks Ishii, and throws him out of the apron. Takagi follows him, CLUBS Ishii against railing, then RAMS him into the apron. Takagi whips Ishii into railing, Ishii hits hard and falls in a heap. Fans cheer while Takagi takes a moment again. Takagi stands on Ishii’s head, digs his boot in, then lets off to drop a knee. Takagi drags Ishii up, bumps him off the apron, then bumps him again. Ishii just stares Takagi down! Ishii CHOPS, whips Takagi into railing, but Takagi comes back, into a POWERSLAM! Fans fire up as Ishii evens things up! Ishii tells Takagi to get up, then brings him up to put him in the ring.
Ishii stalks Takagi, brings him up and CLUBS him on the back. And then again! Ishii brings Takagi up again but Takagi throws forearms. Ishii tanks those to CHOP and CHOP again! CHOP, but Takagi fires up and fires forearms. Takagi CHOPS, Ishii doesn’t flinch and he CHOPS Takagi off his feet! Ishii eggs Takagi on some more, then stands on Takagi’s head in return. Takagi gets up, Ishii CHOPS him! And CHOPS! And CHOPS! Takagi fires a forearm, goes to scoop but Ishii knees low. Takagi staggers to a corner, Ishii CHOPS him again! And again! Takagi kicks back, boots Ishii, but Ishii CHOPS him again! Ishii eggs Takagi on and they go forehead to forehead again.
Takagi throws forearms but Ishii doesn’t back down. Takagi headbutts but Ishii CHOPS and CHOPS and CHOPS! Ishii stops and Takagi sputters as he falls over. Fans cheer as Ishii paces around. Ishii gives toying kicks, stands Takagi up and throws forearms. Ishii CHOPS, CHOPS and CHOPS, then eggs Takagi on. Takagi fires off forearms but Ishii DECKS him with one! Fans cheer as Ishii steadies himself. Ishii drags Takagi up, whips him to a corner then runs in, but Takagi dodges. Takagi comes back, blocks the boot and swings, but Ishii ROCKS him first! Ishii runs into ELBOW, JAB, Yukon feint to DDT! Fans are fired up while both men are down!
Fans rally up, “TA-KA-GI!” “I-SHI-I!” as the two stir. Takagi gets himself to a corner, watches Ishii rises and runs in to run Ishii over with a shoulder! Scoop SLAM and BIG back senton! Cover, TWO! Takagi rallies up the fans, brings Ishii up but Ishii’s dead weight, so Takagi drops him to drop a knee! Ishii checks his face and Takagi fires up with the fans again. Takagi dares Ishii to get up and Ishii stirs. Takagi gives Ishii toying kicks to the back of his head but Red Shoes reprimands. Takagi KICKS Ishii in the back and Ishii stands right up! Ishii glares as Takagi throws forearms, and Ishii doesn’t budge! Ishii eggs Takagi on so Takagi fires off more.
Ishii leans into the forearms and backs Takagi down! Then Ishii DECKS Takagi in the corner! Fans are fired up as the Pitbull is taking the fight to the Dragon. Ishii stands Takagi up to CHOP and forearm over and over and over! Ishii hammers in the forearms but lets off as Takagi sits down. Takagi sputters but Ishii gives him those toying kicks again. Ishii demands Takagi get up, Takagi slowly rises as Ishii keeps kicking at him. Takagi sits up, Ishi KICKS him in the back, and now Takagi stands right up! Takagi and Ishii are forehead to forehead, Ishii throws forearms but now Takagi is the one leaning into them! Takagi backs Ishii down then DECKS him in return!
Fans fire up as Takagi steadies himself and catches his breath. Takagi drags Ishii back up and fans rally. Takagi fires forearms and CHOPS over and over then fires off JAB after JAB! Red Shoes counts, Takagi throws big right hooks and left hooks until Ishii falls over! Takagi keeps the fans rallying as he drags Ishii to a drop zone, and goes up for the YUKON ELBOW! Cover, TWO! Fans fire up more as Takagi sits Ishii up. Takagi runs, but Ishii ducks the lariat! Ishii swings, Takagi spins him to a suplex! But Ishii growls as he rises back up! Takagi swings, but Ishii spins him to a suplex in return! Takagi growls as he rises, but Ishii follows.
Takagi dodges a clothesline to waistlock but dodges the back elbow. Roles reverse as Ishii waistlocks but dodges elbows. Takagi blocks, ducks and SAIDOS! But Ishii is right up to SAIDO! Takagi is back up, SAIDO!! Ishii staggers up, dodges Pumping Bomber to SAIDO!! Wait, Takagi is right back up?! SLIDING LARIAT! Ishii staggers and flounders to a corner and fans are thunderous as both men are down! Fans rally again, “TA-KA-GI!” “I-SHI-I!” as the two stir. Takagi sits up first, pounds the mat to the rhythm, and makes his way to a corner. Ishii is in the other, Takagi runs corner to corner, for a BIG corner clothesline!
Takagi hoists Ishii up top, climbs up to join him, but Ishii resists the superplex with body shots. Takagi headbutts again and again then gets Ishii back up. Fans rally as he stands on the very top, for a SUPERPLEX!! Ishii writhes but Takagi can’t make the cover right away! Takagi covers, TWO!! Ishii survives but fans rally again. Takagi grows frustrated but he keeps his focus. Takagi drags Ishii up, point-blank clotheslines and Ishii drops to his knees. Takagi stands Ishii back up for another point-blank clothesline. Ishii flops to the ropes but Takagi heads over. Takagi gives more toying kicks, then stands Ishii up again to fireman’s carry.
Ishii fights back with forearms, so Takagi clotheslines! Ishii shakes his head and then CLOBBERS Takagi! Fans are thunderous as Ishii flops back against ropes again. Takagi is dazed but Ishii fires himself back up. Fans rally up as Ishii goes over to Takagi and stands him up. Ishii runs but Takagi follows to clothesline! Takagi runs but Ishii dodges, so Takagi dodges, but ISHII LARIATS! Ishii checks his arm, gets Takagi back up and he hoists Takagi to the top rope now. Ishii climbs up to join Takagi now, but Takagi fights the superplex and the two flop off the top. Fans rally as both men are down and stirring.
Ishii and Takagi fire up, they start throwing forearms, and Ishii puts Takagi in the corner to clothesline! Ishii hoists Takagi back up top and climbs again. Bad arm or not, Ishii STALLING SUPERPLEXES Takagi!! Cover, TWO!!! Takagi survives as Ishii takes things to another level! Fans rally up, Ishii sits Takagi up and runs, but Takagi catches lariat for a half nelson! Ishii fights the pump handle but Takagi lifts. Ishii slips out, but PUMPING LARIAT outta nowhere!! Takagi even used his off hand, the left hand, for that one! Fans are thunderous again as the two are down on the mat. Takagi and Ishii go forehead to forehead like junkyard dogs!
Takagi and Ishii headbutt each other as they stand, then Takagi fires off boxing elbows! Takagi gest about a dozen in, then ROCKS Ishii with the 13th! But Ishii gives his own boxing elbows! Ishii gets about a dozen of his own and ROCKS Takagi back! Ishii swings, into a half nelson! MADE IN JAPAN!!! Cover, TWO?!?! HOW!?!? Takagi roars in frustration but the fans rally up! Takagi drags Ishii around, runs and BLINDSIDE BOMBERS! But Ishii rises again?! Takagi runs, Ishii blocks, ducks and SNAP GERMANS! Takagi stands and wobbles, but comes back to PUMPING BOMBER!! Cover, TWO!?! The Stone Pitbull still hasn’t broken!
Fans are thunderous and rallying again. Takagi headbutts the mat to fire up. “Oi! OI! OI!” Fans clap along as Takagi gets back up. Takagi drags Ishii around, pump handle and torture rack, but Ishii makes it a CRUCIFIX DRIVER! Cover, TWO!! Takagi narrowly escapes and the fans continue to rally. Ishii rolls to a corner but Takagi forces himself to get up. Ishii runs, Takagi swings, they both dodge, DOUBLE BOMBERS collide! Takagi blocks, forearms, but Ishii ENZIGURIS! Takagi falls on Red Shoes! Ishii stands and he hobbles over as fans rally, “I-SHI-I!” “TA-KA-GI!” Red Shoes is fine and Ishii reels Takagi in for a POWERBOMB! High stack, TWO!!
Ishii sits Takagi up, SLIDING LARIAT! Cover, TWO! Takagi is still in this but Ishii roars. Ishii brings Takagi up, reels him in, suplexes but Takagi knees free! Takagi throws body shots, suplexes but Ishii knees free in return. Ishii wrenches, Takagi ROCKS him with a forearm, then fireman’s carries to a DEATH VALLEY DRIVER! But Ishii is up again! But he runs into the pump handle torture rack! Only to slip out and DRAGON SUPLEX! Takagi sits up in a daze and fans are thunderous once more! Ishii gets to his feet, Takagi rises, Ishii runs in to LARIAT Takagi down! Cover, TWO!! The Dragon will not be slain so easily, but Ishii roars and powers up again!
Ishii drags Takagi up, suplexes, but Takagi slips out to waistlock. Ishii throws elbows then a back headbutt! Ishii runs, into an ELBOW! Takagi gets around to DRAGON SUPLEX, SLIDING FOREARM!! Both men are down again but the fans are still loving this! Takagi and Ishii slowly rise, and Takagi gets up with the ropes. Takagi runs, PUMPING BOMBER!!! Cover, TWO!?!?! No one can believe this isn’t over yet! Takagi and Ishii are down again, but the rallying is as hard as ever. Takagi fires himself up with more headbutts to the mat, and he roars, “OI!!” Takagi gets Ishii up, Ishii CHOPS high! And CHOPS again! Ishii’s going for the throat and Red Shoes reprimands!
But Takagi JABS! Ishii HEADBUTTS! Takagi HEADBUTTS, they BOTH HEADBUTT!! Ishii roars, but Takagi HEADBUTTS first! Pump handle, torture rack, LAST OF THE DRAGONS!!! Cover, Takagi wins!!
Winner: Shingo Takagi, by pinfall (gains 2 points; Ishii earns 0)
The IWGP World Heavyweight Champion conquers the Stone Pitbull and has a very strong start to his G1! But this was just round one of this round robin, will he be able to make it to the end? As for Ishii, he gives kicks because his spirit hasn’t given up! Takagi drops one more elbow to make him stop, and the Young Lions get between them. Will Ishii make up for this loss in the coming rounds and still go for the finals?
After showing Ishii his respect, Takagi gets the mic to speak. “Gimme a minute.” Fans clap for “TA-KA-GI!” while he catches his breath. “Osu! It’s that time of year again! G1 is going to bring the intensity this Fall!” Takagi says that the fan support helped him get a great start. And he knows “there’s this misconception that the IWGP champion can’t win the G1, for some reason. Oi, who’s the idiot that started that line of thinking?!” There’s been two others before, so watch as Takagi, the third-ever world champion becomes the third-ever person to do that! Fans cheer that idea, but Takagi also says, “Watch this IWGP World Heavyweight Champion dragon go on a rampage through the G1!!” Will Takagi back up his words and make history this Fall?
Here are the current A Block standings!
Shingo Takagi: 1-0, 2 points
Yujiro Takahashi: 1-0, 2 points
Great-O-Khan: 1-0, 2 points
Toru Yano: 1-0, 2 points
Zack Sabre Jr: 1-0, 2 points
Tomohiro Ishii: 0-1, 0 points
Tetsuya Naito: 0-1, 0 points
Kenta: 0-1, 0 points
Tanga Loa: 0-1, 0 points
Kota Ibushi: 0-1, 0 points
A great opening to this G1 Climax opening weekend. A Block really surprised me by having Ibushi lose out the gate, but I felt that something had to give for him this year. He’s already had three consecutive finals appearances, and he’s won two of them in a row. To freshen things up a bit, I think Ibushi needs a crisis of confidence, maybe struggling to get out of the middle of the pack. I think his biggest match will be against Takagi as a sampler of the title match we’ve yet to see. That one could really determine everything in the block. As for Yujiro, he might’ve already gotten his definitive win here, who knows if he plays spoiler to anyone else.
The rest of Bullet Club didn’t do as well, with Kenta getting duped by Yano and Loa losing to Khan. Khan VS Loa was very good as both men were new to the G1 and not having faced each other before, I believe. Yano VS Kenta was great comedy, though, as Kenta is always surprisingly willing to go along with gags and stuff like that. Kenta’s going to face Yujiro next time and I’m very curious to see how that plays into the newest Bullet Club Civil War story. Yujiro is part of Evil’s House of Torture, Kenta seems to be Team Switchblade, this could push the tension a bit further.
Naito VS ZSJ was great stuff given all the history between them, and ZSJ winning was only a little surprising given the roll he and Taichi are on as the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champion Dangerous Tekkers. ZSJ is going to probably get some really good wins in this, but being a tag champion, he doesn’t necessarily have to win the G1. Ishii VS Takagi being the main event, of course it was the best match, and as with G1’s in the past, any match with the top champion will feel like a title match. Takagi of course stakes his claim as being the top champion to win it all, and he could come very close. At the very least, I’d like to see him in the finals to tease history being made.
My Score: 9.3/10
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?
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!
- 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
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.
Andrew’s IMPACT Results & Match Ratings: 10.21.2021
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?
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) October 22, 2021
- 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
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.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) October 22, 2021
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.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) October 22, 2021
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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