It is the most wonderful time of the year. It is NJPW G1 Climax 31 B Block time yet again! The G1 Climax is arguably the most prestigious pro-wrestling tournament in the world. The 31st edition of the G1 is filled with some very interesting storylines as it starts in September for the second straight year. During this unique year, New Japan has had many stops and starts because of the Pandemic. Can they regain their momentum with the G1? The B Block has some unique storylines for sure.
G1 Climax tournament will have two ten wrestler blocks competing in a very grueling round-robin tournament. The winners of A Block and B Block will compete in the G1 Final on October 21st. Let us take a closer look at a very interesting NJPW G1 Climax 31 B Block field:
NJPW G1 Climax 31
B Block :
This will be the 20th G1 Climax for the legendary Tanahashi. The 44-year-old Tanahashi has had an impressive 2021. He won the IWGP United States Championship at NJPW Resurgence in August. He even defeated the title in a huge main event against Kota Ibushi at the Wrestling Grand Slam event.
But is it too much for “The Ace”? He has defended the title around the world. Will he be ready for the difficult G1 schedule? He will face an early test when he kicks off the tournament against Kazuchika Okada. The old rivals should help kick off the B Block the right way on Sunday night.
In recent months, Taichi has focused on tag team action with Zack Sabre Jr. as part of the Dangerous Tekkers. He is currently in his third reign with Sabre Jr. as the IWGP Tag Team Champions. But the G1 is a whole different story. This will be Taichi’s third chance at G1 glory.
Taichi has a lot of old rivals in this block, with the likes of Hiroshi Tanahashi and Jeff Cobb. However, one of his most interesting match-ups is against Tama Tonga. They have fought in multiple tag team matches and a brutal singles ladder match in 2021. So who will gain the upper hand in the G1?
Okada has had a surprising 2021. He did defeat Will Ospreay at Wrestle Kingdom but has lost some huge matches since that point. He lost to Shingo Takagi in the New Japan Cup and NJPW Dominion. In addition, he has lost a lot of tag team matches. He even lost to Jeff Cobb at the recent Wrestle Grand Slam show. Can Okada get back on track in one of his favorite events of the year?
He will have some rivals to face in B Block that can hopefully get him back to his old self. Okada will face Jeff Cobb. He will face Tanahashi on the very first night. And having a match against SANADA on October 4th? “The Rainmaker” will be out to prove he is back in 2021.
Tama Tonga will be in his first G1 Climax in three years. The controversial Bullet Club member has been focusing on tag team wrestling and NJPW Strong since the start of the Pandemic. However, he will be looking to remind New Japan fans why he is so dangerous in his first G1 Climax since 2018.
He can make a statement against New Japan legends like Okada and Tanahashi. But don’t overlook his match-up with Taichi. He will be holding a grudge against the man who ended his IWGP Tag Team Championship. So what will Tonga have in store for Taichi and the rest of B Block? It will be a dangerous match-up for the entire Block for sure.
Hirooki Goto has always been one of the most underrated wrestlers in all of New Japan. In his 14th consecutive G1, can he prove the doubters wrong? He will certainly want to improve on his losing record in the G1 in 2020.
Goto hasn’t really had a lot of singles success in 2021. He has focused on tag team, and 6-Man Trio matches instead. Can facing the likes of Cobb, Okada, and EVIL be enough to motivate Goto in this G1 Climax? It would be fun to see him in singles action yet again.
EVIL shocked the world when he won the New Japan Cup, IWGP World Championship, and joined the Bullet Club in the Summer of 2020. Despite losing the World Championship later that summer, he was cruising to a G1 final in 2020. That is until his former friend, SANADA, defeated him on the final night of B Block, denying him a shot at G1 glory.
EVIL has fallen short in his World Title chances in 2021. However, this is likely his best shot to get back into the title picture on the road to Wrestle Kingdom. And who will be standing in his way on the final night of B Block? It will be SANADA yet again.
“The Headhunter” is back in the G1 Climax for a second straight year. Can he improve on his performance in 2020 when he only had two victories last year? He certainly has some momentum in 2021.
No one can ever doubt YOSHI-HASHI’s talent. It is more an issue of injuries that have plagued his New Japan career. In 2021, he has been the workhouse for his CHAOS team that has a record-breaking NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship reign. Can he continue his momentum in the G1 Climax?
Jeff Cobb is riding high heading into the G1. He pulled off arguably the biggest win of his career on September 4th against Kazuchika Okada in a huge singles match. This came on the top of a series of tag team victories for the United Empire. So who can stop Jeff Cobb right now?
He will have to defeat the likes of Okada and EVIL again if he is going to have some glory in his 3rd G1 Climax. EVIL was the man who ended his New Japan Cup run earlier this year. Will the momentum of Cobb carry him to B Block glory? It will be hard to bet against him in 2021.
Chase Owens will be making his G1 Climax debut in 2021. It is always hard to predict how a wrestler will do in his first-ever G1 Climax. And add in the factor of it being a Bullet Club member as well? We have a high chance of dirty tactics from Owens in this tournament.
Owens is coming off a big KOPW I Quit loss to Yano at the MetLife Dome shows. Keep an eye on his match-up with Tama Tonga on September 24th. Who will prevail in that huge Bullet Club faction match-up? Owens will be looking to play spoiler on that night and throughout the B Block in 2021.
SANADA always seems on the brink of breaking through at the G1 Climax. One of the most talented wrestlers in the world, SANADA won the B Block and lost in a heartbreaking match in the G1 Climax Final against Kota Ibushi in 2020. Can SANADA live up to his unlimited potential and finally win the G1 Climax this year?
SANADA has focused in recent months on tag team wrestling with Naito. But can he get back into focusing on singles matches yet again for this difficult tournament? Facing the likes of EVIL, Jeff Cobb, and Okada should be enough to motivate “The Cold Skull” this time around during NJPW G1 Climax 31 B Block.
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