New Japan announced this morning that former IWGP Heavyweight champion Tetsuya Naito suffered a knee injury during his first match of G1 Climax 31 against Zack Sabre, Jr.
No timetable was given for his return, and he will miss the remainder of this year’s tournament. Each of Naito’s remaining eight bouts will be forfeited, and the men he was scheduled to face awarded two points.
In place of matches against Naito, his scheduled opponents will be featured in showcase matches on those G1 cards (Naito’s original tournament opponent is listed first):
- Sept. 23: Tanga Loa vs. Yuji Nagata
- Sept. 26: Shingo Takagi vs. Yuji Nagata
- Sept. 30: Yujiro Takahashi vs. BUSHI
- Oct. 3: Toru Yano vs. BUSHI
- Oct. 7: KENTA vs. Hiromu Takahashi
- Oct. 9: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Hiromu Takahashi
- Oct. 13: Kota Ibushi vs. Satoshi Kojima
- Oct. 18: The Great-O-Khan vs. Satoshi Kojima
G1 31 is loaded with the company’s biggest names, but losing a two-time winner on night one still hurts.
We’ll keep you posted with updated on Los Ingobernables de Japon’s leader, and let us know if this changes you prediction for who will win this year’s briefcase.