No change at the top after seventh night as Okada, Cobb set a blistering pace
G1 Climax 31 saw its seventh matches in Sendai on October 12, the night ending with Kazuchika Okada, Jeff Cobb and EVIL still in the hunt with two matches to go.
The main event of the evening saw the 3-3 even Hiroshi Tanahashi take on the undefeated Jeff Cobb. The Ace was clearly outpowered from the jump, and would instead try to outsmart the Imperial unit, only to eat a dropkick for his troubles. Effortlessly muscling Tanahashi around the ring, Cobb would hold Tanahashi as a human guitar before ringing in a chop and lariat combo in the corner and hitting a standing moonsault for two.
Cobb’s hubris would finally get the better of him when he went for Tanahashi’s own flipping senton, crashing into the empty canvas and allowing Tanahashi to hit a flurry of strikes, capped with a flying forearm. Fainting a Slingblade, Tanahashi would change levels and target the knee instead with a Dragon Screw and then a Texas Cloverleaf that had Cobb straining for the ropes at the ten minute mark.
With Cobb on the apron, the United Empire member tried to muscle Tanahashi out to the floor, only to take a Dragon Screw through the ropes instead. A high cross to the floor would have Cobb struggling to make the 20 count, but once inside, a lariat would rock the Ace. Cobb would try and follow with a brainbuster but met Twist and Shout instead, and then a Slingblade for two, but the High Fly Flow met Cobb’s wounded knees as both combatants were stunned.
As Cobb and Tanahashi traded, an arrogantly cocked fist almost cost Cobb the match again, Tanahashi firing back and countering the Spin Cycle with an incredible Slingblade. Tanahashi again went upstairs for High Fly Flow, but would be caught in midair, spiked with the F5000 and covered for only two. Cobb set for Tour of the Islands, countered with a small package for two, but a huge German suplex and then the Tour would bring Cobb to 14 points.
Now facing a must win scenario, EVIL was quick to get to destructive work against Goto, responding to a take down from the CHAOS member by removing the cornerpad and then driving his foe through the timekeeper’s position. The fierce warrior would endure heavy punishment from EVIL, but a lariat would see Goto gather steam, and a bulldog would drive the King of Darkness’ face to the mat.
EVIL would take a time out, bailing to the floor as soon as he appeared under threat. At this point, Dick Togo interference came into play, but the will of Hirooki Goto was still burning. A lariat was absorbed, and returned by Goto, but the referee suffered rather more damage from a boot, leading to a Magic Killer with Togo to get two. Frantic, Goto stayed in the hunt with a reverse GTR, and blocked a low blow escape from the King of Darkness. A front trip and the Goto-shiki roll-up should by rights have gotten three, but Togo drew the referee, only to get rocked with a stereo lariat.
Goto went for the final GTR, but EVIL buried a thumb deep into Goto’s eyes. The CHAOS member rallied, sending EVIL into the exposed steel turnbuckle, before GTW, but this time EVIL grabbed the referee to stop GTR. Togo choked Goto out, and was easy pickings for EVIL.
EVIL’s BULLET CLUB teammate Chase Owens faced long odds in his bout with Kazuchika Okada, who was brimming with confidence at the bell with early knockdowns and full control of the bout until a giro was blocked with knees to the back. Pushing advantage, Owens would stay on the back, before transitioning to a trap hold, keeping Okada in place. Okada would use his acceleration in the ring and then a DDT on the floor to shift the advantage his way, but found difficulty getting in his signature offense.
Owens would resist the Money Clip, landing a backbreaker and then a slingshot spear through the ropes. A flapjack scored for Okada, but the dropkick on the corner was countered. A reverse neckbreaker and a dropkick led to the top rope elbow drop and Money Clip, but Okada would repeatedly escape the Rainmaker connecting with a pair of massive C-Triggers.
Okada was pushed harder than anyone had anticipated, nearly being struck on several occasions with the Package Piledriver. Owens still refused to be hit with the Rainmaker, and countered Okada’s flash cradle with a nearfall of his own, but in the end the Money Clip was too much to endure.
SANADA and YOSHI-HASHI were both trying to turn a rough run of results around in the second tournament match of the night, but it was SANADA turned around early and directed into the guardrails by the Headhunter. A blistering chop and a rope hung dropkick would ring off SANADA, who struggled to get into the match until a hard basement dropkick to the knee. SANADA followed with the Paradise Lock and a head scissors, but missed a plancha as YOSHI-HASHI connected with one of his own.
Showing the wrestling IQ that has seen YOSHI-HASHI come closest to victory during the tournament, the CHAOS member was able to misdirect SANADA in the ropes and then connect with a powerbomb to get two as SANADA struggled to control the pace, instead coming from underneath with a Magic Screw. A big springboard dropkick followed, and SANADA countered a Karma attempt with a TKO before going up for a Moonsault.
Cold Skull came right down on the knees of YOSHI-HASHI, who went up for the Loose Explosion Swanton that met SANADA’s knees in return. As both battled to land a finishing blow, SANADA powered through a Dragon suplex but would get levelled with a thrust kick, double knees and Kumagoroshi, getting two for YOSHI-HASHI. Just as YOSHI-HASHI went again for Karma though, SANADA would hit a rope hung TKO, a Moonsault to the back, and Skull End for a valuable win.
The night’s tournament action started with Tama Tonga facing Taichi. After punishment from Jeff Cobb back in Korakuen Hall, exacerbated by Kazuchika Okada in Kochi, Taichi came into the match with his ribs and back fairly heavily taped. Tonga would naturally target the weakened area inside and out of the ring before Taichi fired back with kicks to buy some space. Tama would slow his opposition with a Tongan Twist, but missed the Supreme Flow, and Taichi would rally with a pair of Ax Bombers.
Taichi would look to end things with a thrust kick but was stopped with a Tonga body blow to the hurt ribs, and he didn’t enough in the ribs to make a quick cover on a Dangerous Backdrop. Tama would resist the Black Mephisto and landed the SRC and then the Supreme Flow but would only get two before setting and priming for Gunstun. Taichi struggled to his feet and was hit flush for the three count.
Tama Tonga wrestles Kazuchika Okada in the next B Block main event on Thursday. The G1 continues Wednesday with A Block in Sendai headlined by Shingo Takagi vs Great-O-Khan.