Great-O-Khan leads the way as ZSJ’s submission streak grows
Kobe saw the fifth night of G1 Climax 31 action, and the third night of A Block competition, with Great-O-Khan taking advantage of Tetsuya Naito’s forfeiture to sit atop the standings on eight points, where he will face the similarly undefeated Zack Sabre Jr. next on September 30.
As expected, Sabre brought Ibushi to the mat from the outset, and grappled with the confidence instilled by his prior wins over Shingo Takagi and Tetsuya Naito. Ibushi would hit the first strikes of the match though, a pair of leg kicks knocking his opponent down and briefly drawing the proud Briton into a strike exchange he had little hope of winning.
Quickly adapting, Sabre stretched Ibushi in the ropes when he went for a springboard dropkick and then started in on Ibushi’s left arm with clinical precision. A leg lariat would get some much needed space for the reigning G1 winner however, and a standing moonsault got two for Ibushi. A plancha followed, as did the springboard dropkick Ibushi had wanted at the match open, but Sabre was able to find a shoulder breaker, and put on the brakes to avoid another kick, inflicting more punishment on the Golden God.
Ibushi would tap into his inner fury to land strikes to Sabre, but ZSJ responded in Ibushi’s own style, using his own leg lariat and sit out Last Ride to get two. As Ibushi tried to rally, the submission master would dropkick out the base of his opponent, creating a weakness in the left leg to go with the left arm, a weakness quickly exploited with a heel hook that Ibushi desperately broke up with a palm strike.
Rushing to take advantage of the break in offense, Ibushi landed a Boma Ye and went for the kill, but his Kamigoye attempt was caught into a flying armbar and then Yes! I Am A Long Way From Home. With nowhere to go, Ibushi verbally submitted, growing Sabre’s submission streak to three and his ego to suit as he drove home his victory on the microphone.
KENTA would do his best to get under Tomohiro Ishii’s skin as their bout kicked off, the BULLET CLUB member mocking the Stone Pitbull as he took his time engaging. Ishii’s patience did not last long, as he ran through KENTA on the outside, but a shot with the ring bell would put him on the floor. Keeping up the pressure, Ishii’s right arm would be assaulted in the ring, the CHAOS rep relying on instinct to reverse KENTA into an exposed corner and unleash right handed strikes, pain regardless.
Baiting Ishii into taking a swing in the middle of the ring, KENTA took his opponent down and then snapped the hurt arm over the ropes before hitting Green Killer. ‘Lil’K’ followed with signature offense to a downed Ishii in, only to take a German suplex into the corner as Ishii fired back, but his flurry was stopped with a KENTA rolling lariat and a double stomp that drove the air out of the NEVER 6-Man champion.
Ishii’s responses would again be cut off, as a shoulder tackle got him space that was closed with Game Over wrenching at the neck and injured arm. Ishii would turn away a PK and hit a German suplex before shaking circulation back into the limb however, and connected with a huge stalling superplex for two. KENTA escaped a backdrop suplex and landed a pair of Busaiku knees before raining in overhand rights as Ishii refused to stay down, only for the near indestructible Ishii to escape Go 2 Sleep and stay in the hunt.
Another attempt by KENTA was again blocked, as an enzuigiri and lariat put him to the mat. The vertical Drop Brainbuster couldn’t connect though, and with desperation mounting, KENTA sent Ishii into the exposed buckle and caught a quick rollup.
Tanga Loa would have to rely on much more brain than Ishii style brawn if he was to get past Toru Yano and his bag of tricks. A very literal bag of tricks, in fact, as Yano had a sack full of handcuffs and tape confiscated before the bout began. Loa was evidently ready, turning around Yano’s attempts to blind him by turning the master producer’s T-shirt over his head and almost getting him counted out, but Yano managed to get back inside, and to kick out of a Loa exploder suplex.
Yano responded with a belly to belly suplex, and tried to beat Loa with a corner pad to little avail, before using the exposed steel to his advantage. Loa responded with strikes, a side suplex and the OJK. Yano made the ropes and wriggled off the Apesh*t hook to send Loa back into the exposed steel, but when the referee stopped a low blow, he was caught in the middle. As Jado brought a kendo stick into the ring, Yano turned the ensuing assault around, and rolled up Loa to get to six points.
The first group match of the night saw Great-O-Khan going up against Yujiro Takahashi. With Yujiro a former Greco-Roman all Japanese, and Great-O-Khan having a phenomenal freestyle amateur record, the match started on the mat before quickly turning ugly, Takahashi’s cane leaving its mark on O-Khan’s head. O-Khan responded with signature suplexes as the crowd got behind the Dominator, but Yujiro hit equally hard in return.
A fisherman’s buster and Intercollege Slam had O-Khan reeling before Miami Shine got two. After a lariat, Yujiro set up for Big Juice, but O-Khan instead found the Sheep Killer and the Eliminator to move to eight points.
G1 31 continues on September 29 in Korakuen Hall with B Block, while A Block action follows on September 30.