NJPW Live: G1 Climax 31 Day 14 – 2021 10 12
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Main event: Hiroshi Tanahashi (3-3) vs Jeff Cobb (6-0)
This first time ever singles encounter in our Sendai main event will see IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion face the United Empire’s Imperial Unit Jeff Cobb. Tanahashi’s US title presents an opportunity for Cobb in and of itself; any champion has a target on their back in the G1, and there is a clear chance for more gold to potentially come the United Empire’s way should Cobb prove successful. Yet there is no doubt that Cobb has grander designs yet in mind.
With a sixth win earned over SANADA in Kouchi Friday night, Cobb has put together an incredible streak that makes the G1 final and a trophy and Wrestle Kingdom main event comfortably within reach.
A win will not just strike a blow to the US champion, but send a message to the current IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Shingo Takagi that Cobb is getting closer to revenge for his Tokyo Dome loss in January this year. For Tanahashi though, the chance to represent the IWGP US title with pride, in a match that will be key to getting toward that crucial positive win:loss ratio of ten points.
5th Match: Hirooki Goto (2-4) vs EVIL (5-1)
Singles record: 3-3, G1 record: 1-0 Goto
Hirooki Goto is mathematically eliminated
An Okada win and EVIL loss eliminates EVIL
After the events of Kochi on Friday, only three men remained in the hunt for B Block in the final third of league action. Jeff Cobb and Kazuchika Okada at the top of the table are two of them; EVIL, one win off the pace but with a match against Cobb in the third. Even at ten points, a loss could lead to EVIL’s elimination, and wild celebration from the NJPW faithful. Will Goto, out of the running but now on a two win streak after defeating CHAOS cohort YOSHI-HASHI and then Chase Owens in Kochi, still be able to at least prevent the G1 from falling into EVIL clutches?
4th Match: Kazuchika Okada (6-0) vs Chase Owens (1-5)
Chase Owens is mathematically eliminated
Chase Owens first career points in the G1 finally came on October 4 with a shock victory over Hiroshi Tanahashi. Though he was unable to keep the momentum coming, a Package Piledriver attempt countered with a Hirooki Goto GTR, the achievement in Korakuen was a significant one that could open the door to a G1 Climax 32 entry, or, just possibly, an IWGP US Heavyweight Championship opportunity in the future. Meanwhile,
Could that include Kazuchika Okada? Odds are long for Owens tonight in Sendai, but if he can catch lightning in a bottle again, it could completely change the face of B Block heading into its final two nights.
3rd Match: YOSHI-HASHI (2-4) vs SANADA (2-4)
Singles record: 2-1 SANADA G1 record: 1-0 YOSHI-HASHI
YOSHI-HASHI’s four point record in the G1, while not spectacular, nonetheless matches pre-tournament speculation.
The of the headhunter has never been in question, as brought the fire to each of his matches,
but hasn’t quite been able to string the dots together in the face of difficult opposition.
For SANADA however, the 2020 finalist has to be feeling disappointed as sunk to a 2-4 record and early mathematical elimination.
Now Cold Skull sits on the bubble, not of contention, but of even making it out of the tournament with a positive win:loss record, a position SANADA surely wasn’t expecting to be in even one week ago.
SANADA desperately needs to find answers to stop himself falling further,
but YOSHI-HASHI is not going to roll over and let himself be a stepping stone back to the limelight for Cold Skull.
2nd Match: Tama Tonga (1-5) vs Taichi (2-4)
Singles record: 1-0 Taichi
Another battle for pride sees Taichi and Tama Tonga face off in the second match of the evening.
With four straight losses, Taichi has to be feeling crushing disappointment heading into his final stretch of three bouts,
but nonetheless has the opportunity to end on an all important positive record of ten points.
meanwhile, reeling after impressive efforts in ring have not been followed through to results,
badly wants to get his second win, and getting it over Taichi would be doubly satisfying.
The first half of the year was dominated by Taichi and Tonga’s feud, culminating in a grueling match at Dontaku.
The that were the focal point of their issues have long been consigned to history, but the bad blood has not.
1st Match: Ryohei Oiwa vs Hiromu Takahashi
Another Young Lion test kicks off the action tonight in Sendai, as Ryohei Oiwa faces Hiromu Takahashi.
In this crucial set of learning experiences for both Oiwa and Kosei Fujita, competition is not on the agenda,
but Fujita has been able to survive very slightly longer than Oiwa in each of his single matches to date.
Will Oiwa be motivated to hang in there longer against the Time Bomb tonight?