G1 Climax night 16 (October 14) Preview 【G131】

B Block turns corner to Budokan finals

Yamagata sees G1 Climax’s B block wrestle their eighth and penultimate matches, with block finals in the Nippon Budokan on Wednesday October 20, all leading to the grand final on the 21st. 

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Kazuchika Okada (7-0) vs Tama Tonga (2-5)

Singles record: 4-0 Okada G1 record: 2-0 Okada

Tama Tonga is mathematically eliminated

Tama Tonga walked into this year’s G1 with the stated intent of ‘reminding the world just who the f*** I am’. While points have been thin on the ground for the ‘Good Bad Guy’, his in ring efforts have not been in question, and now is the biggest chance yet for Tama to show the world who he is. 

Back at Resurgence on August 14, Tama and Tanga Loa stood nose to nose with Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows, a faceoff with a lot of tension and a lot of BULLET CLUB history gone bad. One of Tonga’s goals in this G1 would have to be to achieve what Anderson could not when he faced Okada in the 2012 G1 final; if he could pin the Rainmaker at a crucial late tournament stage, shots would definitively be fired at the Machine Gun. 

Certainly Okada, heading into Yamagata on an incredible, and almost unprecedented 7-0 streak. Matching Kazuyuki Fujita’s 2005 sweep of the table, Okada could make history tonight, but he cannot afford to be complacent against a highly motivated Tonga, undefeated against the BULLET CLUB member or not. 

5th Match: Jeff Cobb (7-0) vs EVIL (6-1)

Singles record: 1-0 EVIL

EVIL must win 

Only three remain in contention for the top of the B Block running and a spot in next Thursday’s G1 Climax final, and two of those meet in our semi main event tonight. Even with the seemingly indestructible run that Jeff Cobb has embarked on in this G1, the Imperial Unit knows full well that this is the toughest task he has had to face in this tournament, taking on a man in EVIL who stopped at nothing to beat him in the New Japan Cup this year. 

Cobb was mugged in a handicap match that saw EVIL, Yujiro Takahashi and Dick Togo all get involved back in the spring, and even then EVIL only barely escaped with a victory. Cobb is intent on revenge, and will be game planning for ample interference, but EVIL will be digging even deeper into his bag of tricks. Can Cobb put EVIL out of the running and turn his attention solely to Kazuchika Okada? Or will EVIL be a factor next week in the Budokan?

4th Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi (3-4) vs YOSHI-HASHI (2-5)

Singles record: 4-0 Tanahashi G1 record: 3-0 Tanahashi

Both men are mathematically eliminated

Despite a fresh sense of wrestling IQ that has seen him wrestle a more effective counter based style through the G1 with some smart misdirections of each of his opponents, YOSHI-HASHI still hasn’t managed to piece together convincing results in the tournament of tournaments, and now is faced with a best possible score of six points. He won’t have an easy path to that target either, as tonight he takes on a Hiroshi Tanahashi who is determined to end his tournament with a positive win:loss ratio, especially as the IWGP US Heavyweight Champion that wants the world to know he still has what it takes in the global top flight. 

3rd Match: Hirooki Goto (2-5) vs SANADA (3-4)

Singles record: 2-2, G1 record: 2-1 Goto 

Both men are mathematically eliminated

Hirooki Goto faces SANADA in the second tournament match of the night. Both men are having to deal with a disappointing record in this tournament; SANADA has crashed from a 2020 final to now fighting for a positive win:loss record. For Goto though, more bitter disappointment yet; with only two wins to his name, the possibility exists for this to be the worst G1 of his career. Not wanting one more black mark on his scoresheet, Goto will be bringing the fight to an opponent who shares his stoic approach and desire to end the tournament with some impressive victories.

2nd Match: Taichi (2-5) vs Chase Owens (1-6)

Both men are mathematically eliminated 

 ‘Fighting for pride’ is an oft used cliche for competitors in Chase Owens and Taichi’s position at this point in the G1; with no hope for contention in the finals, they’re battling for the last few points and somewhat of a happy ending to their campaigns. Yet while Owens’ pride has been bolstered by recent performances, Taichi’s has only been further bruised with each passing night. 

Taichi’s latest loss came Tuesday in Sendai at the hands of Tama Tonga, striking with a gunstun after a sustained attack on Taichi’s injured back and ribs. Chase also ended his Tuesday night with a loss, but after a riveting performance against Kazuchika Okada that saw him come within a hair’s breadth of victory, just finally falling short when he was caught in the Money Clip. Recently celebrating seven years in NJPW, Owens is full of confidence, and will look to use that positive energy against a Taichi who has doen nothing but struggle from his third match on in this tournament. 

1st Match: Kosei Fujita & Ryohei Oiwa vs Los Ingobernables De Japon (Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI)

After Ryohei Oiwa and Kosei Fujita were both pit against Hiromu Takahashi in Sendai, they now tag together for the second time, against the LIJ duo of Hiromu and BUSHI. Oiwa and Fujita had surprising cohesiveness in their first ever tag match in Osaka last weekend against Yoshinobu Kanemaru and El Desperado. Will they impress again tonight?