NJPW G1 Climax 31: Results for night two of the tourament

KOBE, JAPAN - SEPTEMBER 27: Kazuchika Okada enters the ring during the New Japan Pro-Wrestling 'G1 Climax 30' at the World Hall on September 27, 2020 in Kobe, Hyogo, Japan. (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)
KOBE, JAPAN - SEPTEMBER 27: Kazuchika Okada enters the ring during the New Japan Pro-Wrestling 'G1 Climax 30' at the World Hall on September 27, 2020 in Kobe, Hyogo, Japan. (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images) /

For our second night of G1 Climax 31 we remain in Osaka at the Edion Arena. Night one got off to a blistering start as Block A was headlined by a brutal battle where IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, Shingo Takagi, outlasted “The Stone Pitbull” Tomohiro Ishii. Now, it was time for Block B to take center stage in Osaka…

The standout fixture of the whole weekend was always going to be Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi. Their rivalry dates back almost a decade to when Okada came back off excursion to not only challenge Tanahashi for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in his pomp but actually defeat him for that title in 2012. And guess where he won it? Edion Arena in Osaka. Perhaps the greatest rivalry in NJPW comes full circle tonight.

Results for Night 2 of the 31st G1 Climax

*SHO defeats Kosei Fujita by submission

*EVIL defeats YOSHI-HASHI by pinfall (Block B)

*Jeff Cobb defeats Chase Owens by pinfall (Block B)

*SANADA defeats Tama Tonga by pinfall (Block B)

*Taichi defeats Hirooki Goto by pinfall (Block B)

*Kazuchika Okada defeats Hiroshi Tanahashi by pinfall (Block B)

Kosei Fujita v SHO

Less than 24 hours after the House of Torture’s resident “Murder Machine” ate up Young Lion; Ryohei Oiwa, it was now Kosei Fujita’s turn. This was very similar to the Oiwa match but Fujita arguably got less offense in.

SHO was dominant from the bell as he hurled Fujita around the ringside barriers and began working on his left arm. In came the brutal forearms from SHO before he eventually locked in the Snake Bite for the straightforward win.

These are very early days for the two Young Lions. Remember these moments though and that guys like Tanahashi, Okada, Naito, White, etc were all in this exact same position many moons ago. For SHO, his focus is now going to point toward Best of the Super Jr.28 which is once again being held alongside the World Tag League through November and December. This could be SHO’s coming-out party.

TOKYO, JAPAN – JULY 31: Satoshi Kojima and YOSHI-HASHI compete during the New Japan Pro-Wrestling at the Korakuen Hall on July 31, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN – JULY 31: Satoshi Kojima and YOSHI-HASHI compete during the New Japan Pro-Wrestling at the Korakuen Hall on July 31, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images) /


New Japan’s most controversial wrestler is without a shadow of a doubt EVIL. From the moment he turned on Tetsuya Naito and joined Bullet Club after winning the 2020 New Japan Cup he has been a massive heat magnet. He is one of the pre-tournament favorites but will NJPW really go with EVIL as the G1 winner knowing the backlash that could happen?

Well, they definitely won’t be going with YOSHI-HASHI. A talented performer who has put together a career resurgence this past year since he teamed with fellow CHAOS stablemates, Hirooki Goto and Tomohiro Ishii, to win the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Championships. YOSHI-HASHI has been the heart of soul of that team and brought relevancy back to the oft-derided titles. Tonight was not his night though.

The match itself began just as everyone expected: Dick Togo gets involved with distractions and interference while EVIL uses his opponent as a battering ram to takeout the ring announcer (poor old Kimihiko Ozaki). YOSHI-HASHI came back into it though with a tremendous running neckbreaker. Eventually, the “Head Hunter” locks in the Butterfly Lock and is seemingly heading for a shock two points until Dick Togo, shock horror, gets involved and saves the “King of Darkness”.

YOSHI-HASHI keeps countering EVIL’s offense though even countering Everything is Evil into a pinning combination but Dick Togo distracts the referee again. A low blow and Everything is Evil later and the leader of Bullet Club’s House of Torture has his first win of the tournament. Darkness falls in Osaka.

Jeff Cobb v Chase Owens (Block B)

Jeff Cobb is an early favorite for the G1 Climax thanks to his high-profile feud with Kazuchika Okada, including a victory over the “Rainmaker” at Wrestle Grand Slam in MetLife Dome couple of weeks ago. The “Imperial Unit” has come into his own and feels like a legitimate threat to the top of the card, especially while the United Empire’s leader (Will Ospreay) is over in the United States appearing on Strong.

For Chase Owens, this is both a great reward and a massive opportunity. Bullet Club’s “Crown Jewel” now has the chance to step out on his own on major shows. Forever placed in the utility position in Bullet Club without much spotlight he proved with his feud against Toru Yano that he can carry his own end of the bargain.

It wouldn’t be Chase’s night, however. A valiant effort but Jeff Cobb is a man on a mission. From the moment Cobb picked Owens up and launched him on the floor with a brutal overhead belly-to-belly suplex it was obvious Owens had an uphill battle.

An excellent missile dropkick from Owens seemed to open up the match before Cobb came back into it with the Oklahoma Stampede and a beautiful standing moonsault that brought an audible gasp from the Osaka crowd. An athlete the size of Cobb simply should not execute such a perfect-looking moonsault as that.

The first attempt at Tour of the Islands was turned into a V-Trigger and Jewel Heist which brought Owens closest to a victory but a Tour of the Islands gave Cobb the two points in a reasonably straightforward affair for the “Imperial Unit”. Keep your eye on Cobb. Even if he doesn’t win the G1 Climax he will still be in with a shout on the final night of Block B action come the Nippon Budokan.

FUKUOKA, JAPAN – MAY 04: SANADA looks on during the New Japan Pro-Wrestling ‘Wrestling Dontaku’ at the Fukuoka Convention Center on May 04, 2021 in Fukuoka, Japan. (Photo by Masashi Hara/Getty Images)
FUKUOKA, JAPAN – MAY 04: SANADA looks on during the New Japan Pro-Wrestling ‘Wrestling Dontaku’ at the Fukuoka Convention Center on May 04, 2021 in Fukuoka, Japan. (Photo by Masashi Hara/Getty Images) /

Tama Tonga v SANADA (Block B)

Tama Tonga makes his return to G1 Climax action tonight after dropping out of the last few tournaments. It may be by necessity given the depleted roster but Tonga is a great addition to the field. Tremendously charismatic, ultra-athletic, and with a mouth-watering all-Bullet Club encounter with EVIL down the line it’s great to see the other half of Guerrillas of Destiny back in singles action.

On the other hand, SANADA has been slightly overlooked going into this year’s tournament. Last year, “Cold Skull” was as close as is humanly possible to beat Kota Ibushi in the Budokan for the G1 Climax 30 title. However, Ibushi won in the end and SANADA came up short in the big one again. Could this be his year though? Finally?

This was an absolutely tremendous match. An athletic clinic was put on that was relatively free of Jado’s interference for the most part barring a few moments early on. A crossbody seemed to keep it one on one from that point forth.

The highlight of the match was probably a brutal-looking double underhook piledriver from Tama Tongo on SANADA that only got two. An attempt at Gun Stun was reversed into Skull End which SANADA opted to drop so he could hit the moonsault only for the “Good Bad Guy” to reverse into a small package for another near fall.

After some more quick counters, we would see SANADA use the O’Connor roll to pick up the win. A great match that gave SANADA the crucial two points but also really showed that Tama Tonga deserved his spot in the G1 Climax once again.

Hirooki Goto v Taichi (Block B)

Goto has arguably been one of the most consistent performers of the last decade and a half in New Japan. A constant threat, even if he’s never won the big one. He is of course a former G1 Climax winner and can deliver absolute bangers any night he puts his mind to it. Tonight would be no exception.

Across the ring would be a persistent rival and constant pain in the form of the “Holy Emperor”. Taichi has also become Mr. Consistency over the past 2-3 years. His constant dastardly deeds have been tempered with his ability to step up to the crease whenever asked to deliver in big-time matches.

This was a heavy-hitting matchup with Goto deciding that if Taichi was going to take the low road then so was he. The former three-time New Japan Cup winner used cables on the outside to choke Taichi and got into a battle of chokes with him as well after Taichi pushed him too far.

When it became apparent that cheating wasn’t really getting him anywhere Taichi resorted to fighting Goto straight up with a heavy emphasis on kicking. Goto brought the rarely seen in recent years, Shoten-Kai, out from the armory but he couldn’t cover him quick enough to win the match.

After a sequence of finisher counters, Taichi would hit the Black Mephisto for his first win of the tournament. Taichi is a bit of a dark horse in Block B and has the potential to go very deep into this year’s G1 which of course will make him and Miho Abe very happy.

NJPW, Hiroshi Tanahashi
NJPW, Hiroshi Tanahashi (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images) /

Kazuchika Okada v Hiroshi Tanahashi (Block B)

Okada and Tanahashi couldn’t have had a more different run in the last few months. The “Rainmaker” is coming off losing to Shingo Takagi at Dominion for the vacant IWGP World Heavyweight Championship and the loss to Jeff Cobb at Wrestle Grand Slam in MetLife Dome. A rough patch for Okada but how many times have guys gone into the G1 Climax on a downer and then won the whole thing?

On the flip side, we’ve seen Tana go through his 113th career resurgence. Every time people count the “Ace of the Universe” out he goes out and proves everyone wrong. A series of amazing matches with Jay White and Shingo Takagi as well as a short run with the NEVER Openweight Championship was followed by defeating Lance Archer to win the IWGP United States Championship at Resurgence.

After over two years apart it was exciting to see the two franchise players of New Japan Pro Wrestling for the past decade go at it yet again. Legendary encounters including the “Rainmaker Shock” (right here in this very same building in Osaka back in 2012), several time limit draws in previous G1 Climax and three headline matches at Wrestle Kingdom created one of the greatest wrestling rivalries of this millennium.

This match was yet another classic as Okada and Tanahashi began slowly exchanging mat-based counters. Things really heated up though when the “Rainmarker” threatened a Tombstone on the apron which Tana escaped and used a Dragon Screw followed by Ace’s High from the top rope to the floor.

The “Ace” would again attempt Ace’s High, this time in the ring, but Okada would roll through it and lock in the Money Clip before Tanahashi reached the ropes. Both would attempt a Rainmaker but Tana would hit two Slingblades and go for the High Fly Flow but Okada would get his knees up.

A few short clotheslines from Okada were setting up the Rainmaker but the “Ace of the Universe” would roll up Okada and came very close again to the three count. After a forearm exchange, Okada would hit a brutal-looking sitout Tombstone and a Rainmaker to score the win with less than 30 seconds left on the clock.

An incredible match which more that stacks up with their previous classics. In fact, this may have been one their best. Absence certainly made the heart grow fonder here and these two simply cannot have bad matches. Okada needed the two points more than Tanahashi. Plus, a win over the reigning IWGP United States Champion could see Okada go after Tana again, especially if he doesn’t win the G1 Climax this year.

Block B Standings

2 points: EVIL, Jeff Cobb, SANADA, Taichi, and Kazuchika Okada

0 points: YOSHI-HASHI, Chase Owens, Tama Tonga, Hirooki Goto and Hiroshi Tanahashi

Next in this year’s G1 Climax is Block A action this coming Thursday in Tokyo at the Ota City Gymnasium with Shingo Takagi v Zack Sabre Jr. headlining.

Block B also takes place in Ota City the following day as Kazuchika Okada goes head-to-head with the “King of Darkness” EVIL.