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Kazuchika Okada wins NJPW G1 Climax 31 after Kota Ibushi injury


Kazuchika Okada won the G1 Climax 31 today after an injury to Kota Ibushi forced the early stoppage of their finals match at the G1 finals in the Nippon Budokan.

After failing to put Okada away with a Kamigoye, Ibushi climbed to the top rope to attempt a phoenix splash. Okada rolled out of the way and Ibushi landed on the mat. Ibushi immediately clutched at his right arm. Referee Red Shoes Unno checked on Ibushi, then quickly called for the bell. 

Medical personnel made their way to the ring. It appeared as though trainers were trying to pop Ibushi's right shoulder back into socket, but ringside attendants formed a circle around Ibushi to offer some privacy. 

The ring ropes were removed and Ibushi was helped to the back as he continued to hold his right arm. 

With the win, Okada earns an IWGP World Heavyweight Championship match at Wrestle Kingdom 16, set to take place on January 4, January 5 and January 8, 2022.

Backstage immediately after the show, Tama Tonga appeared and issued a challenge to Okada, so that match will likely take place at Power Struggle on Saturday, November 6.

Traditionally, the G1 winner will defend the right to challenge briefcase at least one time between the conclusion of the tournament and Wrestle Kingdom. Last year, Ibushi lost the briefcase to Jay White at the Power Struggle event in November. 

Okada's win is his third career G1 Climax victory. He also won the 2012 and 2014 editions of the tournament.