Wrestling Review: NJPW G1 Climax 31 (Day 19 – The Final) (2021)

[Please note: obviously this will contain spoilers for the entire rest of the tournament.]

New Japan Pro Wrestling’s (NJPW) annual tournament is at its end, with just one match remaining to determine the winner of the G1 Climax 31. In the main event the winners of the A Block and B Block side of the brackets, Kota Ibushi and Kauzhika Okada, respectively, face off with no time limit to determine who will earn a Wrestle Kingdom championship match. However, there is another wrinkle in the formula, as each man looks to make history of their own: Kota Ibushi will be in his fourth consecutive final, the most in history, as he looks for his third overall victory, and the first ever man to win three in a row; Kazuchika Okada, meanwhile, is also looking to win his third ever tournament, on the back of becoming the highest-scoring competitor in a 10-man tournament block in the history of the G1 Climax. Whatever the outcome, a main event match against Shingo Takagi, or whoever reigns as the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion on 4 January 2022, awaits. Also on the show, various tag team contests will look to settle scores from the tournament, or capitalise on victories over current champions, including the first official match of the House of Torture, EVIL’s Bullet Club off-shoot.

NJPW presents: [Photos taken seconds before disaster]
+ Master Wato, Ryusuke Taguchi and Tencozy (Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan) vs Los Ingobernables de Japon (Hiromu Takahashi, SANADA, BUSHI & Shingo Takagi): firstly, my main man BUSHI rocking that mask game. This started out with some comedy, which was absolutely the right choice following the previous Exhibition match. Shingo/Tenzan was surprisingly my favourite part of this match, and while nobody will claim Tenzan can still go at the level of Kojima or Yuji Nagata. it’s always nice to see him on these G1 finals considering his prominence in these events. This was fun for what it was
+ SPECIAL EXHIBITION MATCH: holy shit. You don’t even understand. Tears in my eyes and a smile I still can’t quite get rid of. I’m very tempted to give this a double-plus score
+ CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii, YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto) vs House of Torture (SHO, Yujiro Takahashi & EVIL) (w/ Dick Togo): I can see myself really getting behind this House of Torture team, especially now that they are an official team. SHO is fantastic, and the segments he was in there with Ishii were easily some of the best on the show. The fact the CHAOS team is the reigning NEVER Openweight 6-Man Champions added an interesting twist, especially when you consider that all three did relatively poorly in their G1 matches
+ Yuji Nagata & Toru Yano vs United Empire (Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb): truthfully, Cobb deserved a higher spot on the card after the tournament he had, and O-Khan has probably earned a higher spot. Still, this was surprisingly good, with a genuinely unexpected outcome on my part. Nagata is just so good

Tiger Mask, Hiroshi Tanahashi and G.B.H. (Tomoaki Honma & Togi Makabe) vs BULLET CLUB (Chase Owens, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & KENTA): the most important part of this was the ending and immediate aftermath. I enjoyed the Bullet Club team, though. KENTA is such a jerk, it’s so easy to hate him (which is the plan, obviously)
Ryohei Oiwa & Kosei Fujita vs Suzuki-gun (El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru): you know the deal; young lions do basic stuff well, but still get their asses kicked. These boys are going to be big one day, though

> Kota Ibushi (A Block Winner) vs Kazuchika Okada (B Block Winner) (G1 Climax 31 Final): first things first, this is not what my ideal G1 Climax 31 Final match would be. That said, it was basically impossible for these two to have a poor match and I think it was well on the way to being that until the horrible doctor stoppage. Nobody wanted to see this match end the way it did, and therefore I don’t think I should rate it

Should you watch this event: This show was a rollercoaster of craziness. The opening tag matches are basically what you’d expect, but everything after the intermission is worth watching, including me crying actual tears at two points for very different reasons. I cannot believe the main event ended via doctor stoppage, but the winner is the winner and I look forward to where this is all going.


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