NJPW G1 Climax 31: Results for Night 3 of the tournament

TOKYO, JAPAN - JUNE 22: Shingo Takagi reacts during the New Japan Pro-Wrestling 'New Japan Cup' on June 22, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - JUNE 22: Shingo Takagi reacts during the New Japan Pro-Wrestling 'New Japan Cup' on June 22, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images) /

It’s the second round of Block A action in this year’s G1 Climax 31 from NJPW. The drama of the opening two nights was compounded by the news that Tetsuya Naito withdrew from the tournament with a knee injury after his defeat to Zack Sabre Jr. on night one. The rest of his matches, including tonight’s scheduled match with Tanga Loa, are now forfeited, meaning all his future opponents have an automatic two points.

The second round of block matches gives us a two-night stint in Tokyo’s Ota City General Gymnasium, built on the site of the venue that hosted New Japan’s first-ever show in 1972. Tonight’s card would deliver hard-hitting action in the tradition on NJPW with an absolutely incredible main event.

Results for Night 3 of the 31st G1 Climax

*Tanga Loa defeats Yuji Nagata by pinfall

*Great-O-Khan defeats Toru Yano by pinfall (Block A)

*KENTA defeats Yujiro Takahashi by submission (Block A)

*Kota Ibushi defeats Tomohiro Ishii by pinfall (Block A)

*Zack Sabre Jr. defeats Shingo Takagi by submission (Block A)

NJPW, Yuji Nagata
NJPW, Yuji Nagata (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images) /

Tanga Loa v Yuji Nagata

Tanga Loa was supposed to face Tetsuya Naito tonight but Zack Sabre Jr. put pay to that night one. As such, all Naito’s scheduled opponents will be involved in non-tournament matches instead for the rest of the tour. Former G1 Climax winner and IWGP Heavyweight Champion Yuji Nagata fills the spots for nights three and five.

There are certain times you can see “The Silver Back’s” inexperience in major singles matches. It was quite a slow match but Nagata worked hard to bring the best out of the former IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champion. Loa relied mainly on his power while Nagata worked on Loa’s left leg.

Loa would hook in the Operation Jado Killer but the crafty veteran countered into Nagata Lock 1. After looking in control Nagata would fall victim to Apes**t as Tanga Loa would pick up the biggest win of his singles career so far in NJPW.

Great-O-Khan v Toru Yano (Block A)

Back to tournament action, we next see two men coming off big wins in their opening matches. Both on four points thanks to wins on week one as well as the Naito forfeit this was a great opportunity for both men to move ahead of the pack early.

Great-O-Khan was on a mission tonight, having been humiliated by Toru Yano at the New Japan Cup earlier this year when Yano defeated “The Dominator” by tying Khan’s braid to the barrier for a count-out win. Khan had to have his hair cut to escape and he came down to ringside with that braid that he had kept since that match in the spring.

Despite Yano trying to apologise, we would see Will Ospreay’s general in The United Empire lay waste to “The Sublime Master Thief” on the outside. Yano survived the initial onslaught and tried to repeat his New Japan Cup trick and tied Khan to the barrier yet again, which only served to annoy Great-O-Khan more than he already was.

Great-O-Khan would use his old braid to choke Toru Yano at every opportunity. Khan had some Yano-esque tricks up his sleeve, or under his hat, literally, when he pulled out a pair of handcuffs to try and attach Yano to the barriers. Yano avoided this fate initially but eventually, “The Dominator” got Yano hooked to the barriers and there was seemingly no escape.

Ever resourceful, however, Yano had a spare handcuff key on him and attempted to unhook himself but Khan was wise to it and stole the key. Yano looked doomed to a count-out defeat, but he somehow managed to unscrew the barrier and beat the count. Yano would get a couple of near falls but Khan would soon hit The Dominator for the pin and two more points.

KENTA v Yujiro Takahashi (Block A)

Our first all-Bullet Club encounter of the tournament was laced with intrigue. Yujiro, of course, had become part of the BC subgroup, the House of Torture, that formed on night one of Wrestle Grand Slam in Metlife Dome. The exact position of the House of Torture within Bullet Club has led to much speculation, in particular, whether or not they actually get on with the other members of Bullet Club, drawing parallels to the days of The Elite and the Bullet Club OG civil war.

KENTA would throw up the “2 Sweet” before the match only to be rebuked by “The Tokyo Pimp”. Despite Yujiro’s early aggression, KENTA would almost get the win early after hitting a DDT on the outside. He could have had the win but he opted to put Yujiro back in the ring and try for the clean pin instead.

The biggest weapon for KENTA seemed to be the DDT as he would hit several variations of it during the match including a vicious Green Killer which almost gave him the win. Yujiro would use his own DDT to counter the Go 2 Sleep. Miami Shine would almost give Yujiro the three count.

A low blow attempt from Yujiro was countered into Game Over which forced Yujiro to tap out. A cracking match which would see the two men “2 Sweet” and embrace afterwards. Yujiro in particular has stepped up massively and is looking better than he has ever looked as a single competitor.

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

Tomohiro Ishii v Kota Ibushi (Block A)

It’s fair to say “The Golden Star” has looked well below his best since his return from a bout of aspiration pneumonia in the summer. He’s managed to put most of his muscle mass back on but he definitely still isn’t up to full speed yet. “The Stone Pitbull” was never going to make life easy for Ibushi either.

Ishii tried to intimidate Ibushi early on and the match degenerated in a vicious battle of forearms, slaps, and kicks for the most part. To say this match was ugly would be an understatement but it was also very believable.

The finish of the match came when Ishii blocked the Kamigoye only to have his own Vertical Drop Brainbuster blocked. Ibushi would nail two Kamigoye’s in quick succession to get his first singles win since his return from illness.

Shingo Takagi v Zack Sabre Jr. (Block A)

Much talk before the main event was in regards to the only previous singles meeting between the two which took place in 2009 during WXW’s 16 Carat tournament; a match that Shingo Takagi won by submission. ZSJ was determined to gain vengeance for that defeat while Shingo was determined to gain vengeance for his injured stablemate in LIJ: Tetsuya Naito.

The match began with some absolutely beautiful and fast-paced counter wrestling. A cocky ZSJ would take no time in reminding Shingo what he did to Tetsuya Naito. “The Submission Master”, however, would start by trying to wrestle a Shingo Takagi style match but this would lead the reigning IWGP World Heavyweight Champion into a false sense of security. ZSJ would soon target Shingo’s right arm which became the story of the match.

Shingo would escape Clarky Cat by making the ropes, but the onslaught on his arm by ZSJ would not slow. A Zack Driver couldn’t get the job done, but some Naito-esque elbows would incur the wrath of “The Dragon” when he hit Made in Japan and a Pumping Bomber but was too injured to make the cover.

Unfortunately for Shingo, he just couldn’t catch the Englishman for Last of the Dragon. ZSJ however would hook in a triangle choke. When Shingo tried to get out of the move, ZSJ trapped the arm and extended it into an armbar, which forced Shingo to immediately tap out.

ZSJ would grab the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship and taunt Shingo with it, making his intentions clear after an incredible match. During his post-match promo, he would make reference to WXW 16 Carat tournament where he lost to Shingo but he had also beaten Bryan Danielson in a previous round of that tournament. Could the Forbidden Door be opened further? And what a match Zack Sabre Jr. v Bryan Danielson would be!

Next. G1 Climax Night 2 Results. dark

Block A standings after night thee (including Naito’s forfeited points)

6 points: Great-O-Khan

4 points: Toru Yano, KENTA, Yujiro Takahashi, Kota Ibushi, Shingo Takagi, and Zack Sabre Jr.

2 points: Tanga Loa and Tomohiro Ishii

0 points: Tetsuya Naito