EVIL vs. Kazuchika Okada. Will Ospreay vs. Tetsuya Naito. Four men. Two places in the final at stake.
Kaito Kiyomiya & HAYATA pinned Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Master Wato in 10:57 (**½)
Ren Narita & Minoru Suzuki submitted Tomoaki Honma & Shota Umino in 10:18 (**¾)
David Finlay, KENTA, Chase Owens, Gabe Kidd & Alex Coughlin pinned Togi Makabe, Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI, Toru Yano & YOH in 10:48 (**¾)
HENARE, Jeff Cobb & Great O-Khan submitted BUSHI, Yota Tsuji & Shingo Takagi in 10:57 (***)
Eddie Kingston, Tomohiro Ishii, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Ryusuke Taguchi pinned Kosei Fujita, Zack Sabre Jr., Shane Haste & Mikey Nicholls in 11:40 (***½)
Jado, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, Hikuleo & El Phantasmo pinned TAKA Michinoku, SANADA, Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & DOUKI in 11:56 (***)
G1 Climax 33 – Semi-Final: Kazuchika Okada pinned EVIL in 18:18 (**¾)
G1 Climax 33 – Semi-Final: Tetsuya Naito pinned Will Ospreay in 29:58 (****¾)
The G1 Climax has reached its last stop as we’re inside Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo for the final two shows… today it’s the two semi-finals. Kevin Kelly and Chris Charlton are on commentary…
Kaito Kiyomiya & HAYATA vs. Master Wato & Hiroyoshi Tenzan
Kiyomiya’s brought NOAH’s GHC Junior Heavyweight champion HAYATA with him, presumably after getting sick of losing alongside some Young Lions.
We start with HAYATA and Wato, but it’s HAYATA who pulled ahead early, only for Wato to take him down with a tiejras. Kiyomiya’s in, as is Tenzan, with the pair locking up into the ropes before Tenzan charged down Kiyomiya. Mongolian chops have Kiyomiya down to a knee, before Kiyomiya fought back with a springboard forearm out of the corner. A snapmare and an elbow drop keeps Kiyomiya on top, as HAYATA came back in and mocked Tenzan with Mongolian chops of his own. Ryogoku didn’t like that, and loved it when Tenzan hit some of his own.
Wato’s back in with a springboard uppercut for a two-count, but Kiyomiya’s missile dropkick leads to a near-fall. A dropkick from Wato cuts off Kiyomiya, with Tenzan tagging back in for the home stretch, landing Mongolian chops and a brainbuster for a near-fall. Kiyomiya’s Dragon screw bought him some time, only for him to run into a Mountain Bomb ahead of an Anaconda Vise that HAYATA needed to break up. Wato took care of HAYATA with a ‘rana… but he misses on a plancha as Tenzan went back to the Mongolian chops… only for Kiyomiya’s leaping knee, HAYATA’s enziguiri and a Kiyomiya Shining Wizard to get Kaito a somewhat rare win on this tour. **½
Shota Umino & Tomoaki Honma vs. Strong Style (Minoru Suzuki & Ren Narita)
We’re continuing the beef between Umino and Narita here – and if it’s like their tensions on Friday, it’ll be tasty.
It’s Narita and Umino starting with a lock-up that heads into the ropes, ahead of the pair trading elbows to the head. A shoulder tackle put Narita ahead, but Shota switches around for an armdrag, a back elbow and a low dropkick… before he took a swing for Minoru Suzuki on the apron. Honma tags in to help charge down Narita for a two-count… Narita fought back, stopping to kick Umino off the apron, before Shota tagged in so he could put a beating onto young Ren. Eventually Narita fires back, cracking Umino with a spinning heel kick, before Suzuki came in to hammer away on Shota.
A clonking elbow takes Umino into the corner as Suzuki was having his fun, leading to a snapmare and a PK for a two-count. That’s followed with a headbutt, then a front facelock… but Umino breaks free to hit a dropkick, before tags bring us to Honma and Narita. We’ve a bulldog as Honma set up for the Kokeshi, but Narita rolls away from it, then rolled with Honma to the mat in a rear naked choke. Narita can’t keep Honma down as the ropes force the break, before Suzuki came in to help… but ran into a leaping Kokeshi instead. Umino’s back to chuck Narita with an Exploder as Honma finally added the Kokeshi, before Narita fought back with a front kick… only for a headbutt to stop a Cobra Twist. Narita tries again, slapping Honma ahead of the Cobra Twist for the submission.
Bishamon (Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI), Togi Makabe, Toru Yano & YOH vs. Bullet Club (David Finlay, KENTA, Chase Owens, Gabe Kidd & Alex Coughlin)
Surprisingly, the Bullet Club lads didn’t jump their opponents in the aisle…
They hold on for the jump start, as everyone but Yano and Chase spill outside… Yano pulls off the corner pad, but then decides to cover it as Owens went to stomp on it. It’s a little late for scoring points, Chase… Yano bops Owens on the head, then tagged in YOH, who scored with a trip and a low dropkick. KENTA gets involved, hanging up YOH before the Bullet Club troupe swarmed the ring… leaving YOH alone as Owens threw him into the exposed corner. Finlay tags in, then Coughlin as YOH got wore down in the ropes… Kidd took his shots too, before he choked out YOH with his own shirt.
KENTA’s in next as YOH remained isolated… he tries to fight back against Coughlin, but was sunk with an uppercut before he fought out of a suplex and scored with an uppercut. Hirooki Goto’s in next to clear house, helped by YOSHI-HASHI and Gabe Kidd, who both got thrown onto Coughlin. KENTA tried to intervene, but bailed… then got thrown back inside for the war drums. Goto tries to push on, but Coughlin countered a bulldog into a Blue Thunder bomb, before tags took us to Makabe and Finlay. Makabe corners Finlay for the mounted punches, while a clothesline nearly put Finlay away…
YOH’s Falcon arrow nearly got the win for Makabe, who then returned with clotheslines to Coughlin and Finlay… who raked the eyes to buy himself some time. A DDT dumped Makabe as Finlay got back in it, before he hauled up Makabe for Into Oblivion for the win. **¾
Post-match, Kidd and Coughlin posed with the IWGP tag titles – so I guess they’re looking for double double gold?
United Empire (Jeff Cobb, Great O-Khan & HENARE) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Shingo Takagi, Yota Tsuji & BUSHI)
The United Empire’s got a new theme, with O-Khan going all Rocky Romero on us… and hey, there’s Gideon Grey in the roll call…
We start with O-Khan trying to chop off Tsuji’s ear, only for Tsuji to return with a tijeras and make the tag to Shingo Takagi… who helped charge down O-Khan. LIJ exchange frequent tags as O-Khan found himself isolated for a stump puller from Tsuji… who found himself dumped over the top to the floor after O-Khan got free. Heading outside, Tsuji’s choked with a chair as O-Khan sat on him. Back inside, a kick and a back senton from HENARE gets him a delayed two-count, before Cobb’s stalling suplex took down Tsuji. That’s followed with a standing moonsault for a two-count, as Tsuji tried to make a comeback… ultimately finding a way through with a push-down stomp in the corner.
Shingo gets the tag in as he took out HENARE and Cobb with a Flatliner/DDT combo… only for Cobb to return with an overhead suplex. A Pumping Bomber takes down HENARE, as BUSHI tagged in to follow up with a missile dropkick… Tsuji’s back to help out on HENARE, but a quick switcharound sees BUSHI get overwhelmed. BUSHI’s nearly put away with a Spin Cycle and a PK, as Shingo has to break up the pin, before HENARE’s Streets of Rage was escaped… more kicks have BUSHI down though, as the Ultima ended up being enough to drag BUSHI to the mat for the submission. ***
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tomohiro Ishii, Eddie Kingston & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. TMDK (Zack Sabre Jr., Shane Haste, Mikey Nicholls, Kosei Fujita)
Sabre found out before the show he’ll be defending his NJPW TV title at some point against Boltin Oleg – who won the Young Lion gauntlet deal before the show.
We start with Fujita and Taguchi grappling into the ropes, where Fujita swings with a chop on the break. Taguchi returns the favour, stopping to do his hair as Fujita struck back, only for Taguchi to find his way back with hip attacks. Tanahashi’s in… as is Kingston, but Tomohiro Ishii doesn’t want any part of Taguchi’s wackiness as Fujita got repeatedly splatted into the corner. Tanahashi’s in the corner, but Taguchi got run into his rear before he dropped down and saw the TMDK lads waiting for him. Of course, they swarm him. Shane Haste stays on Tanahashi, tagging in Sabre to go for a cross armbreaker that ended in the ropes. Before Mikey Nicholls came in… and ate a Twist and Shout.
Ishii’s in to clear house, but a DDT from Nicholls spikes Ishii as Haste returned to hit their take on a Magic Killer for a near-fall. Taguchi’s in to clear the ring with hip attacks, before he countered Sabre’s rolling cross armbreaker into an ankle lock. Sabre slips free and hits an atomic drop as my feed gave out. It’s back with Kingston’s Kobashi chops to Fujita, who’s hurled across the ring… Fujita tries his luck with an O’Connor roll, nearly putting away Kingston, while a bridging German suplex got him even closer. Bloody hell, Kosei! Tanahashi broke up the pin, but got taken down with a Dragon screw from Fujita as Kingston then switched it up with chops.
Palm strikes from Fujita looked to lead to a suplex, but Kingston throws him aside before a uranage almost put Kosei away. Backfist to the Future puts Kosei down, and that’s enough for the win in what was a cracker of a tag match. More of this please! ***½
Post-match, HENARE hit the ring and laid out Eddie Kingston with a Streets of Rage… and I think we have a contender for Eddie’s Strong title… bizarrely, for AEW’s Wembley show, if HENARE’s Tweets are anything to go by.
Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, Hikuleo, El Phantasmo & Jado vs. Just 5 Guys (SANADA, Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, DOUKI & TAKA Michinoku)
After SANADA crashed out in the quarter-finals, he’s part of the main event of the undercard here…
ELP and Kanemaru start us off, but they quickly reach a stalemate as we go to Taichi and Tanga Loa trading shoulder tackles. A clothesline from Tanga Loa takes Taichi down, before tags bring us to… DOUKI and Hikuleo. Big size difference. Nobody else in Just 5 Guys wanted a shot at Hikuleo, so DOUKI ended up getting hauled up… then wriggled free before hitting an enziguiri. Hikuleo’s one-armed sidewalk slam drops DOUKI for a two-count, before DOUKI got taken into the corner as everyone tagged in for some mounted punches on him. Even Jado. Eventually Kanemaru helps DOUKI out, as a tag brings in SANADA… whose dropkicks took Hikuleo into the ropes, then outside for a plancha.
Back inside, Hikuleo catches SANADA in a goozle, before he suplexed away a Skull End attempt. Tama’s in, ducking a moonsault before he countered a TKO into a Tongan Twist… but SANADA’s able to get back in with the Skull End, pulling down Tama as the ring filled to help break up the hold. Things clear out as Tama hits an Exploder… tags bring us to TAKA and Jado, just for the hell of it, as an OGK crossface on TAKA led to the ring again filling and clearing. Enziguiris knock down Jado as DOUKI’s double stomp opened the door for TAKA to hit a Michinoku driver?! What the hell… ELP breaks up the cover, then got faceplanted amid a Parade of Moves, ending with TAKA eventually poking Hikuleo in the eyes. A Sudden Death from ELP leads to TAKA going up for the Godsend, before Jado was dragged onto TAKA for the win. ***
Post-match, the Bullet Club crew come out to square off against ELP and the Guerrillas… which looked to tease Finlay and Tama for the NEVER title again.
Right, onto the meat and potatoes of the show…
G1 Climax 33 – Semi-Final: EVIL vs. Kazuchika Okada
EVIL at least waited for Okada to get his introduction before jumping him, choking Okada before he could even get out of his robe.
EVIL rakes the eyes as the Ryogoku crowd booed… and we’re going knee deep into the bullshit early as Okada got whipped into the guard rails, then charged into them as the timekeeper got wiped out. After some mic cable choking, Okada rolls back inside… and got slammed as EVIL picked up a nonchalant two-count. We’re back outside as Okada teased a tombstone on the floor, only to get whipped back into the rails. EVIL grabs some chairs and chokes Okada with one, leading to a count-out tease that’s easily beaten… so EVIL chucks Okada back outside, so Dick Togo could have his fun with a chair.
Back inside, EVIL goes for the eyes, but Okada’s big boot takes him down, as did a sliding back elbow. That all leads to a snap DDT for a two-count, while a second DDT followed on the floor as we had another trip outside of the ropes… then again after Okada lifted EVIL up top and dropkicked him down to the floor. Dick Togo tries a cheapshot, but Okada’s even to it, before a slam looked to set up for a top rope elbow… only for EVIL to roll away and then bait the referee into the corner. Okada squashes the ref, then trapped EVIL in a Money Clip as everyone’s favourites SHO and Yujiro hit the ring to attack Okada from behind as we crossed the ten-minute mark.
A double-team Fisherman buster sets up for a Dick Togo fist drop to Okada, who’d been held upside down so Dick could hit Okada’s… ahem. The ref comes to as EVIL picked up a two-count from all that, then again from a Darkness Falls, before Okada went back to the Money Clip. Okada’s charged into the corner to break up the hold, but Dick Togo again tries to interfere as EVIL had the referee. It backfires horribly as Okada took down EVIL for another Money Clip… Dick tries to intervene with the garrot, but it’s a distraction as SHO knocked Okada into the referee, and now here comes the bullshit again. Choke choke choke… but Okada kicks away a spanner, and a Pimp cane, before hitting everyone with dropkicks.
EVIL throws the ref back into Okada as things looked to calm down… he misses a low blow as we’re at five minutes of concentrated bollocks, ending with a clothesline for a near-fall. Everything is EVIL looks to follow, but Okada counters out with a German suplex, before EVIL ducks out to avoid a Rainmaker. Okada avoids a low blow and hits a landslide after the ref was shoved aside… we’re teasing finishers until Okada was dropped with Everything is EVIL for a near-fall. A second Everything is EVIL is blocked, but the sit-down pin only gets Okada a near-fall before… Everything is Okada?! Cobra Flowsion is next, before EVIL’s pulled up for a Rainmaker… and our nightmare-ish summer is over. EVIL is out, Okada’s in the final… and that’s that. They went comically overboard on the interference, with it lasting for almost half of the match, but if this is your bag… you’ll enjoy this. **¾
G1 Climax 33 – Semi-Final: Tetsuya Naito vs. Will Ospreay
Naito’s never beaten Will Ospreay one-on-one – but there’s no time like the present, I guess?
Our stand-offish start sees Ospreay and Naito trade holds in the early going, ending in the ropes as Naito countered out of a wristlock. Ospreay doesn’t follow the clean break, and ends up getting taken down with a snap tijeras, before Naito tried to go for Destino early… Ospreay countered with a Hidden Blade attempt, as we hit a stalemate. Ospreay pulls ahead as he took Naito outside for a plancha, landing on his feet as he went, before he vaulted the guard rails to avoid a reversed Irish whip… returning with a springboard forearm back off the rails. Back inside, Ospreay lights up Naito with chops, while a chinlock kept Naito down… only for Naito to break free and land an impressive hiptoss/backbreaker combo.
An armdrag and a low dropkick keeps the focus on Ospreay’s neck and back, ahead of a Combinacion Cabron, before a second hiptoss/backbreaker left Ospreay laying. Ospreay scoots into the ropes to force a break on the leg nelson, before he returned with a handspring enziguiri. Ospreay clotheslines Naito to the outside… but Naito’s right back up to stop a moonsault off the turnbuckles… with Ospreay then having to counter out of a neckbreaker before an OsCutter off the post was blocked and turned into a nasty neckbreaker. A second draping neckbreaker sees Ospreay hit the floor, leading to a count-out tease that Ospreay beat… only to get caught with a Gloria for a near-fall.
The Pluma Blanca followed, almost forcing the stoppage as Ospreay again scooted into the ropes. Naito takes things up top… Ospreay fought out, only to get walloped with an elbow before Naito went back up for an avalanche reverse ‘rana. Ospreay flips free though, then countered an Esperanza by hanging up Naito in the ropes for a shooting star press! A Ligerbomb’s next for a near-fall, as Ospreay then teed up for a Hidden Blade… but Naito’s low dropkick delayed it, before he sidestepped an OsCutter and rolled up Ospreay for a near-fall. An Obvious Spoon – my name for the Hidden Blade to the face – gets a near-fall… as Naito then countered a Storm Breaker into a nifty DDT. WHAT THE HELL?! Naito’s clearly been to DDT class lately…
With both men getting back to their feet, Naito looked to be a step ahead as he added a swinging DDT… then a Valentia as the head drops continued for Ospreay. A slam’s next as Naito sets up for the Stardust Press, but he crashes and burns as Ospreay flew in with a Hidden Blade…
Unable to make the cover, Ospreay has to go back to throwing elbows as he looked to edge ahead… but Naito finds a way through with elbows of his own as Ospreay went to being on offence to almost out of it… only to unload with a flurry, ending with a trio of hook kicks. The referee stops Ospreay diving on top of Naito with more punches, but doesn’t stop the match as we get a standing ten-count… Naito’s up at 9 to shove the referee out of the ring, but Ospreay’s right on him with a Hidden Blade for a near-fall… before an OsCutter planted Naito for another near-fall. A slam looks to set up Ospreay for a Leap of Faith, which connects for another two-count… so Ospreay resorts to a Storm Breaker… but Naito ‘rana’s out! Two-count… then fell into a thrust kick from Ospreay.
Naito ducks a Hidden Blade, but collapses as he tried to counter back… Ospreay pulls up Naito, but he’s out on his feet… a Storm Breaker’s twisted into Destino, before a second one BARELY was kicked out of! A THIRD DESTINO lands, and with the extra “landing on your head” twist to it, that’s your lot. This threatened to head off the tracks in the final moments, but when it counted, these two more than delivered. A half-an-hour that flew by, but Will Ospreay’s dreams of main eventing the Tokyo Dome again fall flat as Tetsuya Naito now has to face another old foe in less than 24 hours time to claim his spot at WrestleKingdom 18. ****¾
A show that was absolutely buoyed by the main event… the Okada/EVIL match isn’t going to be for everyone, as you’d probably expect by this point, but that main event really underscored just how this company can pull it out of the bag when they really need to.