Will Ospreay and El Phantasmo look to see who’ll join Kazuchika Okada in the quarter-finals as the swing through Osaka wrapped up.
SANADA & DOUKI submitted Ryohei Oiwa & Kaito Kiyomiya in 10:45
Hiroshi Tanahashi & Tomohiro Ishii submitted Kosei Fujita & Mikey Nicholls in 10:12
Jeff Cobb & HENARE pinned Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Tama Tonga in 9:53
David Finlay & Chase Owens pinned Togi Makabe & Eddie Kingston in 10:18
Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi, Yota Tsuji & BUSHI pinned Dick Togo, SHO, Yujiro Takahashi & EVIL in 9:35
G1 Climax 33 – Block B: KENTA pinned YOSHI-HASHI in 12:16 (**¾)
G1 Climax 33 – Block B: Great O-Khan submitted Taichi in 17:41 (***¼)
G1 Climax 33 – Block B: Kazuchika Okada pinned Tanga Loa in 12:33 (***½)
G1 Climax 33 – Block B: Will Ospreay pinned El Phantasmo in 18:52 (****¾)
We’re back in Osaka – and we’ve got Kevin Kelly and Chris Charlton on the English-language call from the Edion Arena.
G1 Climax 33 – Block B: KENTA vs. YOSHI-HASHI
Neither man can make it to the quarter-finals, so this is a bit of a dead rubber…
We get KENTA and YOSHI-HASHI playing to the crowd early on, but that just allowed KENTA to blind-side YOSHI-HASHI… a shoulder tackle takes KENTA outside, before he caught a baseball slide and ended up hurling YOSHI-HASHI into the guard rails. Back inside, knee drops get KENTA a one-count, while some kicks to the back finally fired up YOSHI-HASHI… but he’s just maneuvered into a DDT for a two-count. A chinlock keeps YOSHI-HASHI down, but YOSHI-HASHI manages to break free from that chinlock and returns with a low dropkick.
Chops have KENTA on the back foot ahead of a running Head Hunter neckbreaker, before YOSHI-HASHI hung up KENTA in the ropes for a dropkick to the arse. We almost get a ref bump as KENTA shoved YOSHI-HASHI into the corners… but Marty Asami’s luck runs out as YOSHI-HASHI steamrolls over him. Cue plunder, with KENTA grabbing a Kendo stick, which of course he uses on YOSHI-HASHI… before KENTA got eyes for YOSHI-HASHI’s bo staff. Like a naughty dog with someone else’s stick. Unfortunately, KENTA bonks himself after YOSHI-HASHI ducks by the ropes, before YOSHI-HASHI returned with a sit-out powerbomb for a near-fall.
KENTA fights away from a Kumagoroshi attempt, then caught YOSHI-HASHI with a right hand as he built up to a Busaiku knee… but it’s not enough. YOSHI-HASHI escapes a Go 2 Sleep, but ends up eating a pair of backfists before he returned with the Kumagoroshi for a near-fall. Karma looks to follow, but KENTA escapes… shoving YOSHI-HASHI towards the referee. YOSHI-HASHI blocks a low-blow in among all that, then hit the ropes for a Western lariat, before Karma was countered into an inside cradle out for the win. **¾
G1 Climax 33 – Block B: Great O-Khan vs. Taichi
Another match without implications, given Taichi’s less-than-favourable record in any potential tiebreakers…
A tentative start quickly gave way to O-Khan tripping up Taichi, before Taichi rolled outside to compose himself. Returning, Taichi manages to catch O-Khan in the lower back with an overhead kick, before O-Khan just picked up Taichi and threw him over the top rope. Sadly, this wasn’t the ranbo, so we continue with O-Khan picking up and charging him into the guard rails. Taichi’s popped up into the side of the ring, before O-Khan wrapped the arm around the guard rails. Back inside, O-Khan stays on Taichi, but ended up running into a buzzsaw kick, before a hammerlock’d guillotine choke almost forced O-Khan to give up. The ropes save O-Khan, but Taichi just pulls him down into an armbar before the ropes again came to O-Khan’s aid.
O-Khan manages to find an opening, landing a belly-to-belly suplex, before a Judo takedown led to the head-and-arm choke on Taichi. This time, it’s Taichi who’s saved by the ropes, as he then came back with his take on a Deathlock… and again, it’s the ropes that save O-Khan, who fell for a superkick as Taichi went back to the hold. O-Khan’s able to counter while in the hold as we end up going past the 15-minute mark. Pulling each other up to their feet, Taichi tried to bait in O-Khan as they traded shots… front kicks lead to an enziguiri, before a head-and-arm choke/STO combo countered Taichi’s Axe bomber. We’re into the final three minutes as O-Khan sinks in the hold deeper until the eventual submission. This’ll be a divisive one – I enjoyed this as a possible set-up for a future KOPW title match, with Taichi having baited O-Khan into a ground game throughout, and ultimately paid the price. ***¼
G1 Climax 33 – Block B: Tanga Loa vs. Kazuchika Okada
A win for Okada puts him into the quarter-finals as the top seed…
Tanga Loa tries to end this early with a backslide, then with an O’Connor roll, before he ducked a Rainmaker and struck Okada in the throat. Tanga eventually gives chase, but Okada caught him with a DDT on the floor, before an Irish whip sent Tanga into the rails. Okada clears the English commentary table so he could throw Tanga’s head into it. Back inside, a DDT gets a two-count for Okada as we heard the English table being put back together. Tanga’s spear stopped Okada in his tracks, as did a clothesline, before the litany of strikes from Tanga Loa took things to the corner.
Clotheslines keep Okada in the corner ahead of a German suplex, as Okada then spilled to the floor. A back body drop counters a second Okada floor DDT, before a Tama Tonga-esque senton atomico led to a Blue Thunder driver for a near-fall. Okada looks to go for the Money Clip, but got charged into the corner before dumping Tanga with the neckbreaker slam. Okada keeps control after Tanga tried to dump him into the guard rails, but a swinging side slam turned it back around for a near-fall. Apeshit looks to follow, but Okada slips out and backslid his way into a Rainmaker… then pulled up Tanga for a second, delayed Rainmaker. The old spinny Rainmaker doesn’t budge Tanga, who returns with a headbutt before shrugging off a dropkick and hits one of his own.
Apeshit is again squirmed out of as Okada countered with a landslide… before the Rainmaker finally put Tanga away. Why yes, this was when I realised I’d messed up Okada’s record in my standings table… ***½
G1 Climax 33 – Block B: El Phantasmo vs. Will Ospreay
Winner of this takes second spot, and faces the C block winner in next week’s quarter-final…
Phantasmo’s taken to the ropes by Ospreay, but hits the first shot as he proceeded to take Ospreay outside with a dropkick, then had Will scurrying into the crowd as ELP threatened to pounce. Eventually returning to the ring, Ospreay hotshots ELP into the ropes, then booted him outside for a plancha, before he began to wear down Phantasmo’s neck and shoulders with elbows. A backbreaker back inside gets Ospreay a one-count, as he then proceeded to corner ELP like an Essex Ishii. Phantasmo goes for the nipples, but that doesn’t work, as Ospreay chopped him down, then worked a modified cravat.
Ospreay absorbs strikes from ELP and goes back to the cravat, only for ELP to counter with a satellite DDT. A quick turnaround from Ospreay has ELP staggered, leading to a flying forearm to the back of Phantasmo, who spills outside… but recovered to knock Ospreay off the top rope, then join him with a rope-walk moonsault to Ospreay in the aisle. Back inside, ELP stayed on top of Ospreay with the springboard crossbody/Quebrada combo, before a UFO was elbowed away by Ospreay. Front kicks knock Ospreay into the corner… but Will rose back up with a chop to the front, then to the back, before a superkick sent Phantasmo tumbling onto the apron.
Phantasmo’s back up as he posts Ospreay on the apron, then teased an apron CR2… only to get met with an OsCutter on the edge of the ring. Ospreay rolls in to beat the 20-count, but ELP needed to wait until the final second before he caught Ospreay’s waiting Coast to Coast with a Sudden Death. The Thunder Kiss splash is next as ELP’s second wind nearly won it, ahead of a sorta-gift-wrapped Burning Hammer for a near-fall. ELP’s resurgent, but runs into a standing Spanish Fly. A reverse ‘rana and a Sudden Death gets ELP back in it after he escaped a Storm Breaker… and nearly gets the win as Ospreay kicked out at two. Phantasmo adds a 720 DDT to keep the pressure on, before a CR2 was countered with a pop-up forearm… only for an OsCutter to get countered with a backslide.
Phantasmo expects and ducks away from a Hidden Blade, returning with a Gedo clutch for a near-fall, then a ‘rana for another… before an OsCutter and the CR2 got us agonisingly closer. ELP heads up for a top rope ‘rana, but Ospreay slipped free… the Cheeky Nando’s is stopped as ELP ends up leaping into an OsCutter. A second one lands, but still isn’t enough, prompting Ospreay to slide in with a Hidden Blade as ELP peels the shoulder off the mat in time. Ospreay digs deeper with the Storm Driver 93… and that’s all folks. A result I predicted in my pick ‘ems, but never have I been more gutted to be right in my wrestling predictions. For my money and tastes, this was the match of the tournament so far. A sickening loss for El Phantasmo, who almost got the victory of his life – but don’t be surprised if this was a loss that’ll make him here in the long run. ****¾
Your standings… and let’s pretend I’ve not screwed up Okada’s record here for a while!
Block A Final
SANADA (7-0 / 14pts) A1 qualifier
Hikuleo (4-3 / 8pts) A2 qualifier
Yota Tsuji (3-3-1 / 7pts)
Kaito Kiyomiya, Ren Narita, Shota Umino (2-3-2 / 6pts)
Gabe Kidd (2-4-1 / 5pts)
Chase Owens (2-5 / 4pts)
Block B Final
Kazuchika Okada (6-1 / 12pts) B1 qualifier
Will Ospreay (5-2 / 10pts) B2 qualifier
Tanga Loa, KENTA, Great O-Khan, El Phantasmo, Taichi (3-4 / 6pts)
YOSHI-HASHI (2-5 / 4pts)
EVIL, David Finlay, Eddie Kingston (4-2 / 8pts)
Shingo Takagi, Tama Tonga (3-2-1 / 7pts)
HENARE, Mikey Nicholls (2-4 / 4pts) eliminated
Tomohiro Ishii (1-5 / 2pts) eliminated
Jeff Cobb, Tetsuya Naito, Zack Sabre Jr. (4-2 / 8pts)
Hirooki Goto, Hiroshi Tanahashi (3-3 / 6pts)
Alex Coughlin, Shane Haste, Toru Yano (2-4 / 4pts) eliminated
With block A now finalised, here’s how the quarter-finals are shaping up:
SANADA vs. C Block, 2nd place
Kazuchika Okada vs. D Block, 2nd place
C Block, 1st place vs. Will Ospreay
D Block, 1st place vs. Hikuleo
We’ve got Monday off – and we’re back in Yokohama on Tuesday at the Yokohama Budokan for block C’s finale, featuring Eddie Kingston vs. David Finlay and Shingo Takagi vs. EVIL in our top two deciders.
Propelled by that cracker of a main event, block B’s finals more than made up for the lack of drama – and with Will Ospreay likely to be flung against a Bullet Club-adjacent opponent in the quarters, we now wait until Tuesday to see who that’ll be.