NJPW G1 Climax 31: Results for night one of the tournament

TOKYO, JAPAN - FEBRUARY 14: Shingo Takagi looks on during the New Japan Pro-Wrestling 'Road to Castle Attack' at Korakuen Hall on February 14, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Masashi Hara/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - FEBRUARY 14: Shingo Takagi looks on during the New Japan Pro-Wrestling 'Road to Castle Attack' at Korakuen Hall on February 14, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Masashi Hara/Getty Images) /

For the second straight year, we head into the Autumn for the G1 Climax in New Japan Pro Wrestling. Thanks to the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics the leaves will be turning by the time we head into the Nippon Budokan for the finals next month. Who will be there? The journey starts tonight as Block A has its opening showdowns…

Osaka’s Edion Arena is the home for the opening weekend of this year’s G1 Climax. Japan’s second city has always had a red hot crowd, not dissimilar to the reputation Chicago has in the USA. Even with restrictions on cheering put on the crowds due to the current pandemic the Osaka crowd didn’t disappoint.

Results for Night 1 of the 31st G1 Climax

*SHO defeats Ryohei Oiwa by submission

*Yujiro Takahashi defeats Kota Ibushi by pinfall (Block A)

*Great-O-Khan defeats Tanga Loa by pinfall (Block A)

*Toru Yano defeats KENTA by pinfall (Block A)

*Zack Sabre Jr. defeats Tetsuya Naito by submission (Block A)

*Shingo Takagi defeats Tomohiro Ishii by pinfall (Block A)

NJPW, SHO (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images) /

Ryohei Oiwa vs. SHO

This weekend we see the new and far more evil (no pun intended) SHO showcased against the two newest Young Lions. Kosei Fujita awaits SHO on Sunday but it’s Ryohei Oiwa tonight and SHO made short work of him.

The newly-minted “Murder Machine” brutalised Oiwa, whipping him constantly into the outside barriers. Oiwa got a little bit of offence when the two returned to the ring but it wasn’t long before SHO hooked his gogoplata (Snake Bite) in for a pretty straightforward win. After the match, Fujita got in the ring to stare down SHO ahead of their match tomorrow.

NJPW, Kota Ibushi
NJPW, Kota Ibushi (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images) /

Kota Ibushi vs. Yujiro Takahashi (Block A)

With SHO picking up the win for not only Bullet Club, but also EVIL’s new House of Torture, it seemed just about impossible for Yujiro to pick up the first win for EVIL’s new sub-group in the G1 Climax. Kota Ibushi of course had won the last two G1 Climax’s and had appeared in three straight finals. Despite having to take time off with pneumonia, surely Ibushi would have no problems with  Bullet Club’s resident fall guy…right?

With Pieter back by his side, Yujiro dominated the majority of the match with his methodical offence. Despite looking in significantly better shape than he did at the MetLife Dome against Hiroshi Tanahashi a couple of weeks ago, Ibushi just didn’t still look up to pace.

Yujiro took advantage of Pieter distracting the referee to use his cane multiple times. Despite the cheating, Yujiro had very few problems. After dodging the Kamigoye twice the Tokyo Pimp hit a low blow and Pimp Juice for a near fall before causing one of the biggest shocks in recent NJPW history when he hoisted Ibushi up and slammed him front first into the mat to score a monumental win with his new finisher he called Big Juice.

Now, it’s not uncommon to see guys have a very bad start but then pick it up and make a deep run in the G1, so do not rule out “The Golden Star” yet. A massive night for Yujiro Takahashi, though, as he grabs two points, which equals his record from last year already.

Tanga Loa vs. Great-O-Khan (Block A)

With Jado at Tanga Loa’s side, it was obvious from the outset that Great-O-Khan was taking the temporary role of babyface in this all heel encounter. Both men were of course making their G1 Climax debut tonight and two points were deemed a must for both.

Both men tried to assert their dominance with big shoulder tackles before the G.O.D.’s Silver Back hit the spear to take advantage. Jado constantly got involved with his Kendo stick, allowing Loa to target Great-O-Khan’s right arm and hook in Operation Jado Killer before Khan made the ropes.

Tanga Loa managed to avoid one attempt at the Eliminator and score a 2 count with a powerbomb before Khan grabbed Loa by the face and drove him into the mat with the Eliminator to pick up his first two points in Block A competition.

Toru Yano vs. KENTA (Block A)

One of the big questions going into tonight was which Toru Yano would come through the curtain. Would it be the “Sublime Master Thief” we all know and love or would it be nasty, sadistic “Most Violent Player” who Chase Owens called out and said “I quit” to at Wrestle Grand Slam two weeks ago? The blonde hair had gone back to black and Yano was all fun and games again.

Last year, KENTA managed to tape Yano to the entryway and pick up two points by countout, so he knew he could match Yano’s shenanigans. They began during the introductions when KENTA handed the ring announcer a sheet of paper and demanded he receives a long, Yano-esque ring intro that got Yano extremely hot.

The usual Yano chaos occurred as the two headed up the entryway where KENTA had hid a couple of rolls of tape and tied Yano to the entryway in a call back to the two men’s previous G1 Climax encounter. Yano escaped this time and makes his way back to the ring.

The referee took a bump, allowing KENTA to tape Yano’s hands together and throw him under the ring. KENTA revived the referee and was seemingly going to win the match by countout, but Yano snuck back in the ring from behind. A low blow was followed by a two count on a rollup before another low blow gave Yano the victory in typical Yano fashion.

NJPW, Tetsuya Naito
NJPW, Tetsuya Naito (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images) /

Tetsuya Naito vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (Block A)

After all the craziness we had with KENTA and Yano, we now had the chance to settle down with a technical classic, as the leader of Los Ingobrenables de Japon and one half of the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions, Dangerous Tekkers, went at it again.

Naito holds a one on one victory over ZSJ in the Edion Arena during the main event Summer Struggle in Osaka only a few months ago. ZSJ had the last laugh during the feud between Dangerous Tekkers and Tetsuya Naito & SANADA, though, when the Suzuki-gun representatives regained their titles at Wrestle Grand Slam in Tokyo Dome and then retained them at Wrestle Grand Slam in MetLife Dome.

These two old rivals spent most of the 27+ minutes putting on a fantastic mat-based match. ZSJ looked absolutely ripped, having put on some muscle mass over the last few months and has constantly kept expanding his arsenal during his time with New Japan.

Naito began to focus on Sabre’s neck but the match really turned when ZSJ set his focus on Naito’s knees. From that point on, it was “The Submission Master’s” sole purpose to torture Naito in leg lock after leg lock, even eliciting rarely heard screams from the former “Stardust Genius”.

After reversing a knee breaker into a DDT followed by Destino it looked like Natio had snuck a win, but he was in too much pain with his knees to make the cover. Despite the pain, Naito still managed to escape ZSJ’s favourite pinning combination: the European Clutch. Naito managed to hit a version of Destino when reversing a Zack Driver attempt but he didn’t get all of it allowing ZSJ to kickout again.

Having stomped both knees a few minutes earlier ZSJ tied up Naito’s legs in Yes! I Am A Long Way From Home, forcing Naito to tap out with less than three minutes to go. After the match, ZSJ walked to the back gloating but Naito stayed on the match for several minutes selling his injured knees.

Shingo Takago, NJPW (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)
Shingo Takago, NJPW (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images) /

Tomohiro Ishii vs. Shingo Takagi (Block A)

The main event of the evening was always going to be a physical and hard-hitting affair, and it didn’t disappoint. In stark contrast to the technical masterpiece we saw just before this, we witnessed “The Stone Pitbull” and the reigning IWGP World Heavyweight Champion beat the Hell out of each other for over 27 minutes.

Ishii spent most of the match throwing chops at Shingo’s chest (turning it bright red) and even into “The Dragon’s” throat. Shingo gave as good as he got as the two had regular forearm and chop exchanges that the Osaka crowd ate up.

The highlight of the match was an absolute monster superplex by Shingo Takagi that rattled the boards of the ring, Ishii was struggling more and more with his right arm as his hand began to swell up from all the chops and punishment.

Despite the pain, we saw Ishii reverse Last of the Dragon into a picture-perfect crucifix bomb for the nearfall. Shingo almost got the 3 with a brutal Pumping Bomber.

Eventually, the match would turn into a headbutt battle before the world champion landed Last of the Dragon for his first two points of this years G1 Climax.

Block A standings

2 points: Yujiro Takahashi, Great-O-Khan, Toru Yano, Zack Sabre Jr. and Shingo Takagi

0 points: Kota Ibushi, Tanga Loa, KENTA, Tetsuya Naito and Tomohiro Ishii

With the first points on the board in Block A, we see Block B kickoff here in Osaka Sunday, headlined by Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi, as they reignite their classic rivalry.

Five inter-promotional wrestling trades that benefit all parties. dark. Next

Block A in this year’s G1 Climax is back Thursday with Shingo Takagi vs. Zack Sabre Jr. headlining in the Ota City Gymnasium.