Tetsuya Naito had to pull out of G1 Climax 31 with a knee injury.
NJPW announced Tuesday morning Naito has suffered a knee injury and has been forced to withdraw from the G1 Climax tournament. The injury occurred a few days ago, Sept. 18, in a match with Zack Sabre Jr. During the opening of the match Naito damaged his left meniscus and MCL. There isn’t a timetable as to when he is expected to return at least not as of yet.
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The G1 Climax Continues Without Tetsuya Naito
This brings up the question as to how this will affect his matches and opponents for the G1 Climax. However, don’t worry because NJPW has it all figured out already. Naito won’t be replaced which for wrestling fans kind of sucks. I just love the surprise opponent or last minute change for an unexpected opponent. Think of Becky Lynch’s surprise return, but for a tournament something like that doesn’t work as well.
All of Naito’s matches will be counted as losses for Naito via forfeit. His opponent will be awarded the victory and two points for the match. However, the matches aren’t just cancelled for the opponents. They will still have to wrestle a new opponent, but the matches will be categorized as special singles matches which won’t count for the tournament.
NJPW has already announced the updated match card for the replacement opponents and the change as to when the match will take place.
September 23: G1 Climax 31 Night 3, Ota-ku 3rd Match: Tetsuya Naito vs Tanga Loa, 1st Match: Yuji Nagata vs Tanga Loa
September 26: G1 Climax 31 Night 5, Kobe 6th Match: Tetsuya Naito vs Shingo Takagi, 2nd Match: Yuji Nagata vs Shingo Takagi
September 30: G1 Climax 31 Night 7, Korakuen Hall 4th Match: Tetsuya Naito vs Yujiro Takahashi, 1st Match: BUSHI vs Yujiro Takahashi
October 3: G1 Climax 31 Night 9, Nagoya 4th Match: Tetsuya Naito vs Toru Yano, 2nd Match: BUSHI vs Toru Yano
October 7: G1 Climax 31 Night 11, Hiroshima 6th Match: Tetsuya Naito vs KENTA, 2nd Match: Hiromu Takahashi vs KENTA
October 9: G1 Climax 31 Night 13, Osaka 6th Match: Tetsuya Naito vs Tomohiro Ishii, 2nd Match: Hiromu Takahashi vs Tomohiro Ishii
October 13: G1 Climax 31 Night 15, Sendai 6th Match: Tetsuya Naito vs Kota Ibushi, 2nd Match: Satoshi Kojima vs Kota Ibushi
October 18: G1 Climax Night 17, Yokohama Tetsuya Naito vs Great-O-Khan, Satoshi Kojima vs Great-O-Khan
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The G1 Climax 31 will continue this Thursday with some very solid matches. Shingo Takagi will face Zack Sabre Jr., Kota Ibushi vs. Tomohiro Ishii, KENTA vs. Yujiro Takahashi and Toru Yano vs. Great-O-Khan.
We wish Naito a safe, pain free and speedy recovery or at least as much as possible.
What do you think of NJPW’s decision to not replace Naito for his matches and just having them be forfeits? Were there any matches you were really looking forward to? What do you think of these special singles matches? Leave a comment below and let us know which special singles match you are most looking forward to.
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Sources: NJPW, Wrestling Inc.