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NJPW G1 Climax 31 night eight results: Tanahashi vs. SANADA

The G1 Climax 31 B Block continued today at Hamamatsu Arena.

Hiroshi Tanahashi faced SANADA in the main event, while Kazuchika Okada took on Hirooki Goto in the semi-main. 

YOSHI-HASHI vs. Taichi, EVIL vs. Chase Owens, plus Jeff Cobb vs. Tama Tonga were the other tournament matches today. 

Yoshinobu Kanemaru faced Ryohei Oiwa in the non-tournament opener. 

Here are results and a report from the show. 

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Recommended matches --

  • Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. SANADA

Report --

Yoshinobu Kanemaru defeated Ryohei Oiwa (7:36)

Small sample size, but I think Oiwa is the better of the two Young Lions in this class. 

Oiwa attacked Kanemaru before the opening bell to get this show started off right. Oiwa used a side headlock. Kanemaru sent Oiwa to the floor and worked over his legs to set up the finish. 

Back inside, Kanemaru continued the leg work. Oiwa tried a belly-to-belly, but Kanemaru blocked with a face rake. Oiwa hit a great dropkick and tried to get Kanemaru over for a crab, but Kanemaru blocked. 

Kanemaru hit his own dropkick, then used a single-leg crab. He transitioned to a figure four for the submission. 

B Block: Jeff Cobb defeated Tama Tonga (w/Jado) (12:47)

Once they got into teasing finishers this was very good. A very good closing stretch. 

The first half of the match was all Cobb, to the point where it dragged a bit. I always talk about the Ricky Steamboat rule of fighting from underneath, where the underdog can't let the aggressor hit more than two consecutive moves without throwing in a hope spot. I think that applied here.

Cobb quickly established the advantage with a belly-to-belly throw. Tonga rolled outside. Cobb went out after him and pounded on his lower back with strikes. Back in the ring, Cobb hit a stalling vertical suplex for an early near fall. 

Cobb used a waistlock on the mat and some combination strikes in the corner. Tonga avoided a pillar to post and hit a dropkick, then guillotine grip to drop Cobb with a DDT. Tonga hit a neckbreaker. 

Cobb blocked a splash in the corner and tried his own, but Tonga escaped and then hit his splash. Tonga hit a death valley driver for a two count. Cobb hit a backdrop out of a powerbomb attempt and followed with a dropkick. 

Cobb hit a standing moonsault. Tonga blocked Tour of the Islands and hit a Tongan Twist and a frog splash for a two count. 

Cobb blocked a Gun Stun. They traded superkicks. Cobb blocked another Gun Stun attempt and hit a release German, then followed with Tour of the Islands for the pin. 

B Block: EVIL defeated Chase Owens (12:38)

EVIL can't have a good match with this gimmick and these patterned matches. It's not possible. 

EVIL asked Owens to lay down for him. Owens declined and slapped EVIL across the face. So the match was on, unfortunately. 

Owens made a point of telling Togo not to get involved, but he did. They did all the Bullet Club EVIL spots. EVIL bumped the ring announcer. They exposed a turnbuckle. Togo choked Owens with his ligature while EVIL took the referee. 

Togo took the ref, EVIL hit a low blow and Everything is EVIL for the pin. 

B Block: YOSHI-HASHI defeated Taichi (w/Miho Abe) (22:26)

They tried to have an intense brawl as the sparse crowd politely sat there in silence. This was a struggle. People like YOSHI-HASHI. The NEVER Six-Man titles have become the most prestigious titles in wrestling while he has held them. Long singles matches are not his strength.

Taichi hit a forearm strike before the bell and they brawled to the floor. Taichi threw the referee aside and taunted YH with his own title belt. Both used the barricade and hit strikes on the floor. 

YH fought to the ropes out of a stretch plum from Taichi. YH ducked an axe bomber and hit a dragon suplex. YH hit a lariat and the kumagoroshi for a near fall. 

YH escaped Black Mephisto and got the butterfly lock applied. He transitioned to a sleeper as Taichi tried to fight to the ropes. Taichi hit a backdrop suplex to break the hold as the crowd finally woke up near the 20 minute call.

Taichi hit a huge gamengiri. YH blocked Black Mephisto and hit a destroyer for a two count. YH blocked a high kick and hit a lariat. YH then hit Kharma for the pin. 

B Block: Kazuchika Okada defeated Hirooki Goto (18:06)

Okada was excellent here. He worked more heelish than he normally does, using some subtle facial expressions and things of that nature. He also did a great job of selling the cumulative damage of the tournament to his arms and neck. The lack of crowd reaction hurt this match too, though.

Okada broke cleanly in the ropes after the first lockup. Goto did not break cleanly against the ropes on the second lockup. They did some chain wrestling. Goto hit a clothesline, sending Okada to the floor. Goto threw Okada right back in. 

Goto used a chinlock. Okada hit a flapjack five minutes in. Okada sent Goto into the barricade and hit a DDT on the floor for a countout tease. Back in, Okada hit a sliding dropkick. They exchanged strikes. Goto ducked a boot and hit a lariat. Goto hit his heel kick in the corner and bulldog at the 10 minute call. 

They brawled to the floor as the niceties were dispensed with. Back inside, Okada hit a dropkick. Okada used the Money Clip, but Goto forced a rope break. Goto avoided a top rope elbow attempt and a shotgun dropkick attempt. Goto hit a neckbreaker for a two count 15 minutes in. 

Goto hit a lariat, a mid kick and an ushigoroshi for a near fall. Okada blocked a GTR and hit a clothesline into a double down. Goto ducked a Rainmaker, but ran into an Okada dropkick. 

Okada hit a tombstone. Goto ducked another Rainmaker attempt and used a leg sweep for a two count. Okada escaped an ushigoroshi attempt. Goto blocked a spinning Rainmaker and hit a reverse GTR. 

Okada ducked a spinning lariat, hit a backdrop, then sat down into a cradle and got the flash pin. 

B Block: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. SANADA (25:35)

This was a great main event. The story of the bout was that they were evenly matched. Neither held a significant advantage for any length of time. One would attack the legs, the other would counter attack the legs. 

Tanahashi had the slight edge in the opening mat wrestling sequence. Tana tried the paradise lock, but he couldn't figure it out and SANADA but Tana in the hold instead. SANADA played some air guitar. 

SANADA used a head scissors on the mat, but Tana rolled to the ropes. Tana fired up and hit the first real strikes of the match at the 10 minute call. Tana hit a flying forearm, a scoop slam and a somersault senton for a two count. 

SANADA reversed a whip into the corner, but Tana fired out with a basement dropkick to the knee. SANADA hit a dropkick to the knee. They traded dragon screws. Both ended up going for a dragon screw at the same time. They agreed to put each other down, but SANADA didn't keep his promise and hit another dragon screw. 

SANADA hit a backbreaker and a plancha. Tana caught SANADA coming back into the ring and hit a dropkick to the right leg and two dragon screws in the ropes. Tana fought for the Texas Clover Hold, but SANADA got to the ropes. Tana hit another dragon screw instead. 

SANADA tried to block a slingblade with a rana, but Tana blocked the rana to set up the Texas Clover Hold. This was a great spot. SANADA made the ropes for a break. Tanahashi hit a plancha. Tanahashi was really trying to get the crowd into it, putting his hand to his ear and clapping. 

Tana blocked a magic screw attempt and hit two twist and shouts, but SANADA held on and got the magic screw. SANADA used a TKO threat to set up Skull End, but Tana reversed into his own dragon sleeper. SANADA kicked out of the hold. 

SANADA hit a springboard dropkick at the 20 minute call. SANADA hit the TKO for a two count. SANADA rolled through on a moonsault attempt. They stumbled as SANADA set up a spinning Skull End. Tana hit another twist and shout. 

Tanahashi hit slingblade for a near fall. Tana hit a standing High Fly Flow. He tried a standard High Fly Flow, but SANADA got his knees up. SANADA tried a moonsault, but Tana got his knees up. 

They traded forearms. Tana hit a slap. SANADA used an O'Connor roll for a two count. Tana used an O'Connor roll to hit a dragon suplex into a bridge for a two count. 

Tana then went back up top and hit a High Fly Flow to get the victory. 

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Here is the lineup for the next show: 

G1 Climax 31 night nine, Sunday, Ocotber 3, 3 a.m. Eastern time on NJPW World --

  • A Block: Shingo Takagi vs. Kota Ibushi
  • A Block: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
  • A Block: Tanga Loa vs. Yujiro Takahashi
  • A Block: KENTA vs. Great-O-Khan
  • BUSHI vs. Toru Yano
  • Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Kosei Fujita