The G1 Climax 31 tournament kicked off today in Osaka with A Block action.
IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Shingo Takagi and Tomohiro Ishii squared off in the main event, while Tetsuya Naito took on Zack Sabre Jr. in the semi-main.
Here are results and a report from today's show.
Recommended matches --
- Shingo Takagi vs. Tomohiro Ishii
- Tetsuya Naito vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
SHO defeated Ryohei Oiwa (6:08)
Great intensity from both guys in this quick opener.
Oiwa fired off a series of strikes right away. SHO quickly cut him off and dropped him with a forearm. SHO took the fight to the floor and whipped Oiwa into the barricade.
SHO stayed on offense as the fight returned to the ring. Oiwa made a fiery comeback and ht a series of strikes and a slam. SHO avoided a crab, then hit a lariat to halt Oiwa's momentum.
SHO used the Snake Bite and Oiwa tapped out.
G1 Climax 31 A Block: Yujiro Takahashi (w/Pieter) defeated Kota Ibushi (11:31)
So the story they're telling is that Ibushi has yet to fully recover from pneumonia and is vulnerable. Still, this was a pretty shocking result.
Ibushi hit one dropkick early, but this was pretty much all Yujiro. Yujiro hit stomps. Yujiro kicked Ibushi off the top rope to the floor as he tried a springboard attack. Yujiro used his walking stick to hit Ibushi. Yujiro hit some stomps.
Ibushi made a comeback with a mid kick, a striking combination and a standing moonsault. Ibushi hit a snap rana and sent Yujiro to the floor. Yujiro blocked the Golden Triangle moonsault off the post and sent Ibushi crashing to the floor. Yujiro hit a reverse DDT on the floor.
Back in, Yujiro used a boot and a fisherman buster for a near fall. Yujiro ducked a high kick and hit an Angle slam for another two count. Ibushi fought off two Miami Shine attempts and hit a high kick and a last ride for a near fall.
Yujiro blocked Kamigoye. Ibushi blocked Pimp Juice and hit a v-trigger. Yujiro used the threat of a ref bump to hit a low blow and Pimp Juice for a two count.
Yujiro hit a Big Juice implant DDT and got the pin.
G1 Climax 31 A Block: Great-O-Khan defeated Tanga Loa (w/Jado) (17:45)
Booking these guys to go more than ten minutes with each other is promotional malpractice, but this is also the same company that booked Chase Owens and Toru Yano to go nearly half an hour two weeks ago.
They began with a long collar and elbow, ending in a stalemate. O-Khan rolled outside and Jado threatened to get involved, but stayed away from O-Khan at this point.
Loa took over after a spear. Loa took the ref and threw O-Khan outside. Jado chopped O-Khan and hit him with a kendo stick. Loa hit a suplex on the floor for a countout tease.
O-Khan made a comeback with an inverted suplex and some of his unconventional offense. They traded strikes. Loa got a two count off a lariat. Jado took the ref for some reason as Loa locked on the OJK. The interference didn't lead to anything. O-Khan forced a rope break.
Loa got a two count after a blue thunder bomb. They traded strikes, then O-Khan used a standing choke. Jado hobbled into the ring and O-Khan bumped him. Loa avoided an Eliminator and hit a powerbomb for a two count.
O-Khan avoided a Michinoku Driver and hit the Eliminator to end this.
G1 Climax 31 A Block: Toru Yano defeated KENTA (11:07)
Yano G1 matches are a wrestling comedy artform. You have to learn to love them, or else you'll just be miserable all month.
KENTA gave the ring announcer a sheet of accomplishments to read off to match the length of Yano's introduction.
The referee confiscated a roll of athletic tape from each man before the bell.
KENTA stalled for the first minute. Yano then followed suit and rolled outside. They did some comedy. KENTA sprayed Yano in the eyes with hand sanitizer. They fought on the ramp and the stage.
KENTA stashed two rolls of tape on the entrance stage. Yano threw one away, but KENTA used the other to tape Yano to the entrance truss. Yano freed himself and beat the count back in.
Yano exposed a turnbuckle and hit a slingshot on KENTA into it. Yano used a schoolboy for two. KENTA sent Yano into the exposed steel and hit a Shibata dropkick. KENTA hit a double stomp off the top for two.
Yano avoided a GTS. They pulled each other's hair. They fought to the outside. KENTA bumped Yano into the ref. KENTA taped Yano's wrists together and threw him under the ring, then revived the ref. Yano beat the count back in and hit a low blow and a schoolboy for a near fall.
Yano used another low blow and cradled KENTA for the pin.
G1 Climax 31 A Block: Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Tetsuya Naito (27:05)
This was excellent. These two don't always have the best matches with each other for some reason, but the psychology here was perfect. Naito always goes after the neck, Sabre went after Naito's knees, Naito gave out first.
They opened with some chain wrestling. Each won one of the two opening exchanges. Sabre used a neck crank to send Naito outside. Back in, Sabre used Naito's own arms to choke him. Naito would try to reverse, but Sabre kept working back to the same position.
Naito made a comeback ten minutes in with a dropkick and his combinacion cabron in the corner. Sabre cut Naito off again with an ankle pick and a PK. Sabre laid in some uppercut forearms.
Sabre blocked a swing DDT and a flying forearm, then used Naito's momentum to hit a dragon suplex for a two count. Naito then connected with a DDT and began to target Sabre's neck to soften it up for Destino.
Naito hit Esperanza. Sabre caught Naito coming in and used a heel hook with a body scissors, but Naito fought to the ropes to force a break. Sabre tried a knee breaker, but Naito blocked and hit a spike DDT.
Naito went for a top rope frankensteiner, but Sabre blocked and used an octopus on the top rope. Sabre hit a sunset bomb off the top for a two count. Sabre used another heel hook, Naito forced another break.
Sabre kicked at Naito's legs. Naito hit Destino, but could not follow with a cover. They traded strikes. Naito blocked a Zack Driver and hit Valentia. Sabre blocked Destino and used a clutch for a two count.
Sabre hit a dropkick to the legs and a leg sweep. Sabre hit a double stomp to the knees. Sabre tried a Zack Driver, but Naito countered into a clunky Destino.
Sabre used a double wristlock with a body scissors on the mat, almost a modified octopus hold from a seated position, he calls it YES! I AM A LONG WAY FROM HOME. After a ref stoppage tease, Naito tapped out.
Naito continued to sell his knees as he was helped to the back after the match.
G1 Climax 31 A Block: Shingo Takagi defeated Tomohiro Ishii (27:56)
This was everything you would expect from these two. Hard-hitting and a great match with insane pacing that flew by. Big, meaty men slapping meat.
They began at a crazy pace, firing off shoulder tackle attempts and trading forearms. Shingo scored the first knockdown. They fought to the floor, where Ishii hit a powerslam on the floor to establish the early advantage.
Back in, Shingo hammered away with forearms. Shingo dodged a headbutt and hit a DDT to win back control of the match. Shingo hit a series of strikes and a senton. Shingo hit some taunting kicks, so Ishii fired up and began to no-sell Shingo's strikes. Ishii dropped Shingo with a forearm.
Ishii continued to fire off chops and forearms in the corner. Shingo fired back and dropped Ishii with a forearm. Shingo then began hammering away with strikes in the corner. Shingo hit a diving back elbow off the top for a two count.
Ishii avoided a sliding lariat, but Shingo hit a vertical suplex. Ishii answered with his own vertical suplex. Each no-sold two suplexes from the other. Shingo hit a sliding lariat on his second attempt.
Shingo hit a top rope superplex for a two count. Shingo hit a lariat. Ishii stumbled. Ishii fired off a lariat and dropped Shingo. Ishii ducked a lariat and hit another lariat. Ishii dropped Shingo as he tried a superplex. They realized what was happening as Ishii was losing his grip and Shingo was able to land safely.
Ishii hit the superplex on a second attempt. Shingo answered with a clothesline. They traded short forearm strikes. Shingo hit Made in Japan for a two count. Shingo hit a short clothesline to the back of the neck. Ishii hit a German. Shingo popped up and hit another lariat for a two count.
Ishii reversed Last of the Dragon into a crucifix bomb for a two count. They hit simultaneous lariats. Ishii hit an enzuigiri and bumped Shingo into the referee., but Red Shoes popped right back up. Ishii hit a powerbomb with a stack cover for a two count. Ishii hit a sliding lariat for another near fall.
Ishii blocked the Vertical Drop Brainbuster and hit a death valley driver. Ishii hit a half-and-half suplex and another lariat for another two count. Shingo blocked another brainbuster attempt and hit a dragon suplex.
Shingo hit a Pumping Bomber, Ishii kicked out at two. Ishii hit a series of chops. They traded headbutts.
Shingo blocked a forearm shot and lifted Ishii for Last of the Dragon and pinned him.
Here is the lineup for tomorrow:
G1 Climax 31 night two, Sunday, September 19, 1 a.m. Eastern time on NJPW World --
- B Block: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada
- B Block: Hirooki Goto vs. Taichi
- B Block: SANADA vs. Tama Tonga
- B Block: Jeff Cobb vs. Chase Owens
- B Block: YOSHI-HASHI vs. EVIL
- SHO vs. Kosei Fujita