New Japan Pro Wrestling just finished its annual G1 Climax tournament and, as always, it was full of top competitors and spectacular matches.
With a mixture of new faces, veterans and rising stars, there was a range of styles and personalities shown in the matches.
Despite the lack of international stars and several unfortunate incidents, it was another fantastic tournament.
With a number of excellent matches throughout, here is a look at the top 7 matches from this year’s G1 Climax 31.
7. Tomohiro Ishii vs. Great O-Khan – G1 Climax Night 11
Considering it was his first G1 tournament, Great O-Khan proved himself in several matches.
In particular, fans loved his main event match against Tomohiro Ishii! Both wrestlers are known for their size and power but, despite being at different stages of their career, were determined as ever to gain a much-needed two points.
When the bell rang, both men focused on their shared power offence trying everything to get the upper hand over their opponent.
The two brought the fight both in and out of the ring from strikes, tackles, and chops. In particular, the chops were so loud that they echoed around the venue and showcased the strength of Ishii and O-Khan.
Yet, it wasn’t just basic offence shown. With tombstone drivers, suplexes and lariats, there was something for everyone.
As the clock went past the 25-minute mark, both men were as determined as ever. Yet, after a near fall with an enziguri, Ishii finally hit the vertical drop brainbuster for the two points.
Although Ishii got the win, it was an excellent showing for O-Khan. With more experience through every match, he has shown that the future of New Japan will definitely shine with him at the helm.
Also, he proved his chemistry with Ishii, and fans will happily watch them wrestle in the future.
6. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. TAICHI – G1 Climax Night 18
Going into this match, both Hiroshi Tanahashi and TAICHI had a less than favourable tournament.
Yet, this match was going to be unpredictable with two wrestlers with entirely different styles and personalities. Yet, it was one that surprised fans with its passion, diversity and storytelling.
With damaged ribs, TAICHI went in as the underdog and gained fans’ love throughout the tournament.
Knowing this, Tanahashi changed roles and exploited this injury and, at one point, was admonished by the referee after refusing to release his hold.
By wearing TAICHI down with his injury, fans thought it was an easy result. Yet, with this newfound passion and determination, TAICHi managed to fight until the end and win with a Gedo Clutch.
For many, it was the role reversals and development of TAICHI’s character that struck a chord. A few years ago, fans would boo the Emperor at any opportunity he was given.
In 2021, he was put in the babyface role against the Ace and had fans willing him to do well. Tanahashi also showcased his veteran role by being able to showcase TAICHI in a different light and make fans cheer for him.
With incredible chemistry between the two, a US title match will be welcomed by fans.