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

TOKYO, JAPAN - OCTOBER 18: Kota Ibushi celebrates his victory during the New Japan Pro-Wrestling 'G1 Climax 30 Final' at the Ryogoku Kokugikan on October 18, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - OCTOBER 18: Kota Ibushi celebrates his victory during the New Japan Pro-Wrestling 'G1 Climax 30 Final' at the Ryogoku Kokugikan on October 18, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images) /

Block A is back in action for the 3rd round of block matches with yet another massive main event. Two-time defending G1 Climax winner, Kota Ibushi, attempts to begin his road to recovery while Zack Sabre Jr. attempts to extend his amazing start to the tournament. The “Golden Star” has really struggled to gain a foothold since his return to NJPW from pneumonia a couple of months ago and is yet to pick a marquee win since. ZSJ however has tapped out both Tetsuya Naito and Shingo Takagi in his opening two G1 Climax 31 encounters. Who comes out on top for night five?

Night five takes us to Kobe World Hall on southern Honshu. This arena has been a regular stop for the Autumn Destruction shows prior to the rearranged calendar these last two years. For 2021 the Autumn means G1 Climax action however and the crowd is hot as always.

Results for Night 5 of the 31st G1 Climax

*Master Wato defeats Kosei Fujita by submission

*Shingo Takagi defeats Yuji Nagata by pinfall

*Great-O-Khan defeats Yujiro Takahashi by pinfall (Block A)

*Toru Yano defeats Tanga Loa by pinfall (Block A)

*KENTA defeats Tomohiro Ishii by pinfall (Block A)

*Zack Sabre Jr. defeats Kota Ibushi by submission (Block A)

Kosei Fujita v Master Wato

A pretty straightforward win for Master Wato over one of the newest Young Lions. Wato dominated most of the match but Fujita has some incredibly impressive forearm strikes that are better than many older hands. He would eventually fall to the Boston Crab from Master Wato, the traditional Young Lion submission move.

The most striking thing about this match however was a change in Wato. Since his return from the excursion, it’s fair to say Wato hasn’t set the world on fire. Not exactly the most charismatic of guys, some dodgy attire and a persona that’s never really been explained has seen Wato flounder. During this match, however, we would see Wato act much cockier. He was toying a bit with Fujita and a few cocky smirks crept in. With Best of the Super Juniors coming up Master Wato could be one to watch.

Yuji Nagata v Shingo Takagi

What a shame. Tonight was supposed to be the battle of Los Ingobernables de Japon between Tetsuya Natio and Shingo Takagi. Of course, Tetsuya Naito is out of the G1 Climax now with a knee injury, so Yuji Nagata comes in to fill Naito’s spot for the second Block A show in a row.

Shingo comes into the match with his right elbow taped up after his submission defeat to Zack Sabre Jr. in Ota. Unsurprisingly, this becomes a target for “Blue Justice” straight away. Nagata hits some very stiff slaps early and a nasty-looking exploder suplex on the outside early.

After avoiding the sliding lariat, Nagata locks in his famous armbar. Shingo would escape but eat a top rope exploder suplex. The “Dragon” would hit a Pumping Bomber but Nagata would kick out but then fall to Last of the Dragon in an awesome, old-school encounter.

Yujiro Takahashi v Great-O-Khan (Block A)

Will Ospreay’s general in the United Empire carries on his perfect start to the G1 Climax with a straightforward defeat of the House of Torture’s Yujiro Takahashi.

Khan begins the match on his back trying to goad Yujiro in. When Yujiro gets a bit too close Khan takes him down into a heel hook. This set the scene for the opening part of the match as the “Dominator” would try to enforce his amateur wrestling and martial arts background on the match.

Thanks to a distraction from Pieter, Yujiro would use his cane on Khan who would roll down the entrance ramp hurting his lower back. This gave Yujiro the opportunity to get some offense in. It wouldn’t last too long however as Great-O-Khan would eventually land the Dominator for the pin and move on to 8 points in his first G1.

Tanga Loa v Toru Yano (Block A)

Before the match, the referee manages to find a bag of handcuffs and tape on the “Sublime Master Thief”. Despite that, Loa gets Yano in the ropes and frisks him just to make sure.

While fighting on the outside Loa pulls Yano’s shirt over his head and throws Kosei Fujita into him in an attempt to win by count-out. Yano does manage to get back in the ring on time and continue the shenanigans.

While the referee is down Jado gets involved but Yano does the old Eddie Guerrero trick when he hits Loa with Jado’s kendo stick, throws it back to Jado as Loa turns around. As Tanga Loa remonstrates with his manager Yano hits the low blow and the roll-up for 3. A good start so far Toru Yano with 6 points.

KENTA v Tomohiro Ishii (Block A)

KENTA has been a sleeper in Block A so far and has continued his good start to the G1 Climax with a second straight win. Ishii on the other hand has yet to pick up an in-ring win during the tournament despite his regular popularity.

The match began with KENTA trying to get in Ishii’s head by playing the bullfighter and repeatedly leaving the ring. Eventually, Ishii catches up with him and drags KENTA into the ring to start the match properly.

The ring bell is brought into matters when KENTA hits the “Stone Pitbull” over the head and rams into the barrier. The right arm of Ishii becomes the main target as KENTA begins to dominate with Green Killer and the stomp. Game Over is eventually hooked in but Ishii escapes.

Ishii does manage to escape the GTS and nail a headbutt. But he finds himself rammed into the exposed turnbuckle and rolled up to give KENTA the points.

Zack Sabre Jr. v Kota Ibushi (Block A)

A fascinating encounter that felt like two guys passing on opposite sides of the road. It genuinely feels like NJPW are really trying to build ZSJ up for big things. Whether he wins the G1 Climax or not the “Submission Master” has a submission win the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion so a title match at Power Struggle seems likely.

ZSJ tries to get in Ibushi’s head early but the “Golden Star” counters with brutal kicks to ZSJ’s thigh. Initially, ZSJ targets Ibushi’s left arm but then transitions to Ibushi’s left leg.

Kota Ibushi attempts to land Kamigoye but ZSJ turns it into an Octopus which he then turns into a variation of Clarky Cat to see Ibushi tap out. That’s three straight submission wins over Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi, and now, Kota Ibushi. ZSJ is the favorite for Block A now.

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

8 points: Great-O-Khan

6 points: Toru Yano, KENTA, and Zack Sabre Jr.

4 points: Shingo Takagi, Yujiro Takahashi, and Kota Ibushi

2 points: Tanga Loa and Tomohiro Ishii

0 points: Tetsuya Naito