Hiroshi Tanahashi is the latest man to try and stop the path of Jeff Cobb as block B of the G1 rolls on.
Hiromu Takahashi submitted Ryohei Oiwa in 7:00 (**½)
G1 Climax 31 – Block B: Tama Tonga pinned Taichi in 12:58 (***)
G1 Climax 31 – Block B: SANADA submitted YOSHI-HASHI in 17:35 (***)
G1 Climax 31 – Block B: Kazuchika Okada submitted Chase Owens in 15:37 (***½)
G1 Climax 31 – Block B: EVIL pinned Hirooki Goto in 14:16 (***)
G1 Climax 31 – Block B: Jeff Cobb pinned Hiroshi Tanahashi in 19:05 (***¾)
Kevin Kelly’s in the Xebio Arena in Sendai as lightning hopefully doesn’t strike twice – one of New Japan’s shows here earlier in the year was hit by a mid-match earthquake…
Ryohei Oiwa vs. Hiromu Takahashi
This ought to be a short day at the office for Hiromu, as Ryohei Oiwa’s still a ways off of making us bite on flash pins?
Oiwa does start out hot, charging at Hiromu with a shoulder tackle, but a slam’s blocked before Oiwa ran into a chop. More chops from Hiromu take Oiwa into the ropes as the Young Lion’s chest got ever-redder, with Hiromu continuing to spam the chops as Oiwa was left in a heap.
Hiromu absorbed some chops in return, but Oiwa’s downed with more chops for a couple of one- and two-counts, before a search for a Boston crab ended in the ropes. A dropkick from Oiwa finally put Hiromu down at the five minute mark, as the Young Lion proceeded to scoop and slam Hiromu ahead of a wacky gutwrench suplex for a two-count.
Another chop has Oiwa down, as does another, as Oiwa’s then rolled into a Boston crab… with Oiwa pulled away from the ropes as a tap-out completed the trouncing. Very squashy, but exactly what you’d expect from one of the top juniors against a newcomer… **½
G1 Climax 31 – Block B: Tama Tonga vs. Taichi
These two have had plenty of goes around over the tag titles… but their ladder match earlier this year was their only singles meeting to date. Taichi won that one in 27:11, with the Iron Fingers from Hell then going into retirement afterwards…
Taichi’s coming in with heavily taped-up ribs, and of course Tama homed in on those to start. A choke from Taichi has Tama down, before we head outside with Tama Tonga getting thrown into the guard rails. Back inside, Taichi chokes again, before he was sent into the ropes, with a double leapfrog ending with Tama chopping him in the ribs.
A camel clutch followed by the ropes, which Taichi grabbed onto quickly, but he’s again taken outside as Tama throws him between the apron and railings. Jay White says hi. Rolling back in, Taichi remains on the defensive as Tama homed in on the ribs again with some bodyscissors, prompting Taichi to elbow his way free.
Tama’s caught with a hook kick from Taichi, who followed up with some mid kicks before he ripped off his trousers… an Axe bomber’s kicked away by Tama, who instead counters with a Tongan Twist, before he sprinted up top and missed the top rope splash. More kicks from Taichi lay out Tama, as did an Axe Bomber and an enziguiri… before a Dangerous backdrop eventually took out Tama.
Taichi can’t get the three-count from there though, and Tama’s right back with a death valley bomb. A top rope splash is next for a near-fall as Tama came closer, before the Gun Stun put Taichi away. Pretty decent stuff, with Taichi’s ribs being the obvious target as Tama picks up his second win. ***
G1 Climax 31 – Block B: SANADA vs. YOSHI-HASHI
SANADA’s 2-1 in prior singles meetings against YOSHI-HASHI – but that loss came in last year’s G1…
YOSHI-HASHI looked to work over SANADA’s knee early on, picking up on the injury SANADA’d gotten in his match with Okada… but of course, YOSHI-HASHI’s shoulder is always hurt, and that also proved to be a focal point. YOSHI-HASHI baseball slid to the outside to pull SANADA onto the apron, before attempted trips into the guard rails saw SANADA meet the bars face-first.
SANADA makes it back inside, where YOSHI-HASHI worked a chinlock before the search for a Bunker Buster was elbowed away… with SANADA coming back with a low dropkick off the ropes instead. Firing back, SANADA hits elbows and armdrags ahead of an atomic drop that left YOSHI-HASHI prone for a Paradise Lock…
A ‘rana takes YOSHI-HASHI outside, but it’s YOSHI-HASHI who nails the plancha after a switcheroo, before a flying Head Hunter took SANADA down for a two-count. YOSHI-HASHI couldn’t get a powerbomb off, but instead hits a clothesline before the running sitout powerbomb nearly put SANADA away…
SANADA blocks a kumagoroshi and counters with a Magic Screw off the ropes, before a missile dropkick and an eventual Skull End was rolled out of. A TKO followed to YOSHI-HASHI for a near-fall, but YOSHI-HASHI recovered and had SANADA down… only for the Loose Explosion to land in SANADA’s knees. Ow.
The pair fight back from their knees, but it’s YOSHI-HASHI who pulls ahead, but SANADA manages to spin in for a Skull End, which YOSHI-HASHI tries to counter. Another kumagoroshi’s blocked, but YOSHI-HASHI hits a thrust kick that allowed him to hit that kumagoroshi for a near-fall… but SANADA’s quickly back with an O’Connor roll as the pair begin to trade pins…
Ending with a Western lariat as YOSHI-HASHI took over again. Karma gets countered into a Skull End, before SANADA maneuvered into TKO, then a moonsault, before the Skull End drew the submission. A good effort from YOSHI-HASHI, but this dead rubber served to list SANADA higher into midtable – and perhaps set up another trios title shot down the road. ***
G1 Climax 31 – Block B: Chase Owens vs. Kazuchika Okada
Having picked up his sole win of the tournament so far against Hiroshi Tanahashi, can Chase Owens get the unlikeliest of second scalps here?
We open with Okada’s usual tactics of taking Owens into the ropes for a clean break, but a senton atomico from the apron into the ring gets blocked by Chase’s knees. Owens stands on Okada’s back, following up with a nerve hold as he targeted Okada’s neck with elbows as well.
Okada fires back with a sliding back elbow off the ropes, but Chase throws him to the outside… only to miss with a dropkick through the ropes as Okada scored with a DDT instead. Back inside, Owens takes Okada to the corner, then caught him with a backbreaker before a cravat snapmare out of the corner nearly put Okada away.
Forearms from Okada look to break up a Jewel Heist attempt, before he caught Owens out of the corner with the neckbreaker slam. A Money Clip from Okada’s broken out of, but Owens can’t avoid a dropkick as the Money Clip’s reapplied, with the ropes this time saving Owens. Chase tried to steal a win with his feet on the ropes, before a C-Trigger left Okada weakened… but a second one’s countered into a German suplex. Owens ducks a Rainmaker and returned with a Shining Wizard, before a C-Trigger looked to lead to a package piledriver. Okada blocks it and tries for a Money Clip, before a tombstone left Chase down.
From there, a Rainmaker’s countered into a backslide as Owens hauled up Okada again, before he countered a counter for a near-fall… we cross 15 minutes as the pair pick up the pace, leading to an Okada backbreaker and another Money Clip… turning it into almost a crossface variant as Owens reached for the ropes, and there’s the quick tap! A nice variant to that move we all grew to hate, as Okada remains on track to run the field… ***½
G1 Climax 31 – Block B: EVIL vs. Hirooki Goto
A win for EVIL here keeps the threat alive, and with these two 3-3 in prior meetings, it’s very even.
Goto struck first, charging EVIL to the outside as Dick Togo tried to cause a distraction in the opening seconds. EVIL needs to go to the eyes of Goto, but ends up getting thrown into a corner as Togo removed a corner pad… which Goto ran into. Things head outside as Goto’s charged into the timekeeper’s table, which led to the bell (and the timekeeper) clattering into the floor, while EVIL chokes on Goto with a chair for good measure.
Back inside, a half crab has Goto in the ropes, before a bodyslam drew a couple of two-counts for EVIL before Goto’s response saw EVIL slide to the outside for respite. Togo tries to distract again… and it works as EVIL manages to kick Goto off the apron, sending him back through the timekeeper’s table, complete with the “bell sounding like pipes falling” sounds.
More cheapshots from Togo lead to EVIL getting a two-count back inside, before an ushigoroshi landed to give Goto some breathing room. The pair clatter into each other with clotheslines from there, before a Darkness Falls landed for a near-fall for EVIL. After the kick-out, the pair swing and miss on their moves, leading to a reverse GTR and a clothesline that nearly got Goto the win.
EVIL throws Goto towards the ref to block a GTR, but Goto blocks a low blow and came in with a deathlock’d cradle… but Dick Togo distracted the referee from a visual pin. Trying to capitalise, EVIL charges into Togo by mistake, before he raked Goto’s eyes to block a GTR. EVIL’s sent into the exposed corner, then met with a GTW for a near-fall, while another kick left EVIL down. EVIL grabs the ref to block a GTW as Dick Togo came in with the garrote wire. The ref doesn’t question why Goto’s passed out in the ring when he’s let go… and it’s easy from there. Everything is EVIL. Three-count. Yep. They’re going to tease the worst-case scenario HARD aren’t they? ***
G1 Climax 31 – Block B: Jeff Cobb vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
Tanahashi’s already eliminated from the G1, and in this first-time outing with Jeff Cobb, he could really put Okada in pole position for the block with two matches left.
We start slowly, with Cobb getting taken into the ropes, but he shoves Tanahashi aside before he lifted up off a side headlock and sent Tanahashi to the floor. Tanahashi dared Cobb to come outside with him – while the ref didn’t count – and when Cobb did slide out… Tanahashi heads back in. Chicken.
Tanahashi tries to capitalise, but Cobb breaks a full nelson before he took down Tanahashi and tried to pin him with a lone finger on his chest. Cobb continues to push ahead, charging Tanahashi from corner-to-corner ad nauseum before an attempt at Tanahashi’s flip senton off the middle rope came up short. Tanahashi’s hits, as did a Dragon screw en route to a Cloverleaf as Cobb needed to pull his way to the ropes for a break. Rolling to the apron, Cobb teases a deadlift superplex to the floor, but instead gets pulled between the ropes with a Dragon screw, before an Ace’s High on the floor left Cobb laying.
Back inside, Cobb ducks a Slingblade and hits a clothesline instead, before he caught a Tanahashi crossbody in the corner… only for it to be countered into a Twist and Shout. A Slingblade’s next for a near-fall, before Tanahashi’s High Fly Flow landed squarely in Cobb’s knees. The pair trade strikes as they got back to their feet, before Tanahashi ran into a Spin Cycle, countering it with a Slingblade in mid-air.
Cobb kicks out at two from that, before he caught an Ace’s High… turning it an F5 like Tanahashi weighed nothing at all. A Tour of the Islands is cradled out of for a near-fall, before Cobb turned a Dragon screw into a German suplex… with a Tour of the Islands firmly shutting the door on the Ace as Cobb continued to blitz through the block. ***¾
Your latest standings: remember, block A dished out points up front after Naito’s withdrawal.
Kota Ibushi (6-2 / 12pts)
KENTA, Zack Sabre Jr, Shingo Takagi (5-2 / 10pts)
Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano (4-3 / 8pts)
Great-O-Khan (eliminated) (4-4 / 8pts)
Tanga Loa (eliminated), Yujiro Takahashi (eliminated) (2-5 / 4pts)
Tetsuya Naito (withdrew) (0-9 / 0pts)
Jeff Cobb, Kazuchika Okada (7-0 / 14pts)
EVIL (6-1 / 12pts)
SANADA, Hiroshi Tanahashi (eliminated) (3-4 / 6pts)
Hirooki Goto (eliminated), Taichi (eliminated), Tama Tonga (eliminated), YOSHI-HASHI (eliminated) (2-5 / 4pts)
Chase Owens (eliminated) (1-6 / 2pts)
We stay in Sendai tomorrow, with Great-O-Khan looking to play spoiler against Shingo Takagi in the main event. Until the main event, this was a rather flat day of action at the G1 today, as we’re firmly into the rash of dead rubbers and spoilers.