New Japan Pro Wrestling’s (NJPW) annual round robin tournament is underway, as twenty competitors contend to win the G1 Climax 31. Two blocks of ten competitors face each other once, and for each match up, the rules are simple: a win will earn the winner 2 points while the loser earns nothing, and a time limit draw will grant both competitors 1 point (both men being counted out will result in 0 points given to anyone). Once everyone has faced each other once, the two overall winners meet with a Wrestle Kingdom main event up for grabs.
[Please note: there may be spoilers for all previous days of the tournament so far. Please click here for my thoughts on Day 5!]
Day 6 is once again the B Block’s time to shine, where the main sees CHAOS members collide as YOSHI-HASHI faces Kazuchika Okada for tournament points. It is a rare main event singles match for YOSHI-HASHI, but something Okada has become incredibly used to, so it is certain that YOSHI-HASHI will be giving it his all as he looks to continue his recent form against The Rainmaker. Former G1 winner Hiroshi Tanahashi will also be in action against a Bullet Club OG in Tama Tonga, and Hirooki Goto looks to get on the board against the currently undefeated Jeff Cobb. Chase Owens, too, will be looking for his first win of the tournament against SANADA, and in the opening contest Taichi and EVIL square off.
+ Kazuchika Okada vs YOSHI-HASHI (G1 Climax 31 B Block Match): hot damn, big match YOSHI-HASHI brought the thunder in this match. Okada will always be Okada, especially now that he is back to being “The Rainmaker” and using that same move in his matches, but this was arguably the biggest singles match of YOSHI-HASHI’s recent/renewed career, and he didn’t disappoint. Lots of main events (and even undercards) of previous days have gone a bit long for my liking, but this one went just the right length to really capitalise on the hype they were building
+ Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Tama Tonga (G1 Climax 31 B Block Match): I was surprised this was the semi-main over Cobb/Goto, but in the end it was worth it. Tama Tonga looked really smooth against the Ace, but Tanahashi’s connection to the crowd in unparalleled. There was an interesting mini sort of twist in this match that I was expecting, and I wasn’t a huge fan of the finish, but overall this was definitely a positive for the show
+ Hirooki Goto vs Jeff Cobb (G1 Climax 31 B Block Match): there was a smaller story in this match that Goto had to rely more on his technical skills, because he simply couldn’t overpower Cobb, and I really enjoyed that aspect. Cobb’s strength is freakish and I am in awe of the way he just lifts someone the size of Goto like he’s nothing. This was good
+ SANADA vs Chase Owens (G1 Climax 31 B Block Match): once again, I can’t help but think this was so much better than I was expecting it to be. Chase is putting in so much work and the crowd is appreciating it, even though SANADA is (for some reason) beloved by every crowd he is in front of
– Taichi vs EVIL (G1 Climax 31 B Block Match): this was not very good. Taichi playing the de facto babyface was kind of fun, but the match itself did nothing for me. EVIL matches are so boring, because even when they don’t go the way you expect them to, they still sort of do
Should you watch this event: EVIL, the Bullet Club, and his cut and paste formula for matches ruins everything he is involved in, which is such a shame. Definitely seek out the main event, Tanahashi/Tama Tonga, and Goto/Cobb. Might not need to both with the others.