Will Ospreay looks to knock off Kazuchika Okada in the main event as the G1 stayed in Tokyo.
G1 Climax 33 – Block A: Shota Umino pinned Chase Owens in 9:35 (**¾)
G1 Climax 33 – Block B: Taichi pinned YOSHI-HASHI in 13:13 (***½)
G1 Climax 33 – Block A: Kaito Kiyomiya and Gabe Kidd went to a double count-out in 11:44 (***½)
G1 Climax 33 – Block B: Tanga Loa pinned Great O-Khan in 12:41 (**¼)
G1 Climax 33 – Block A: Hikuleo pinned Yota Tsuji in 12:12 (***¼)
G1 Climax 33 – Block B: El Phantasmo pinned KENTA in 0:19 (NR)
G1 Climax 33 – Block A: SANADA pinned Ren Narita in 16:30 (***¼)
G1 Climax 33 – Block B: Will Ospreay pinned Kazuchika Okada in 17:21 (****½)
We’re still in Tokyo, but it’s the Ota City General Gymnasium today for some block A and B outings. Kevin Kelly’s alongside Chris Charlton once again on English commentary.
G1 Climax 33 – Block A: Chase Owens vs. Shota Umino
We open with a first-time meeting, not counting all those undercard tags back when Shota was a Young Lion…
Owens tried to catch Umino with a dropkick to the floor before the bell, but to no avail as Shota’s able to remove his entrance gear before his match. Umino powered ahead early on, but Chase crawls under the ring for reasons… he’s pulled back out before he took Shota into the guard rails, then dropped him with a death valley driver on the rebound.
Shota beats the count, but Owens stays ahead with uppercuts, while a chinlock slowed the pace down some more. Finally he breaks free from the chinlocks of doom, landing a Fisherman suplex for a near-fall, only for Owens to come back with a clothesline and a knee strike for a two-count of his own.
Umino’s dropkick lands right on the button to knock Owens down, while the Trident lifting reverse DDT almost ends the chase. Ignition followed, but Chase side-steps it twice and hits a German suplex. Strikes from Owens just rile up Umino, but a Jewel Heist lariat almost puts Shota away, while a C-Trigger looked to lead to the package piledriver. Instead, Shota countered with a cradle that see-saws, before another package piledriver’s flipped out of and into a Death Rider as Shota took home the win. This picked up at the end, but c’mon, what are we doing with those long chinlocks in the opener? **¾
G1 Climax 33 – Block B: Taichi vs. YOSHI-HASHI
These two are 1-1 in their prior singles meetings, with YOSHI-HASHI winning at roughly this stage in the G1 in 2021, while Taichi beat a then-young-lion YOSHI-HASHI in 2010.
Taichi went for a Dangerous backdrop driver at the bell, but YOSHI-HASHI stops it as they instead traded kicks and elbows in the opening stages. It breaks down into chops there, with YOSHI-HASHI pulling ahead… at least until Taichi booted him into the corner.
A hook kick from Taichi dropped YOSHI-HASHI like a bad habit, before an abdominal stretch kept YOSHI-HASHI trapped. Freeing himself, YOSHI-HASHI returns with a Head Hunter, before he caught Taichi in the corner with a chop, setting up for the dropkick to Taichi in the ropes. Elbows to the neck keep Taichi on the back foot, but a gamengiri catches YOSHI-HASHI in the corner as Taichi turned things around in a heartbeat.
A half-and-half suplex gave YOSHI-HASHI a fresh opening as the pair trade lariats… it’s Taichi who crumbles first though, only to bounce back with a Dangerous backdrop driver. An Axe Bomber followed, before Taichi hit a Destroyer to counter the Black Mephisto, leading to a Western Lariat for a near-fall as we hit the ten-minute mark. Kumagoroshi follows, but it’s still not enough to put away Taichi, who returned by slipping out of Karma and sneaking in a Taichi clutch for a near-fall.
YOSHI-HASHI’s caught with an enziguiri after the kick-out, before chops to the neck from Taichi earned him a slap. A back cracker’s next out of YOSHI-HASHI, but his crucifix bomb attempt gets countered into the Black Mephisto, before another a superkick and a proper Black Mephisto ended up putting YOSHI-HASHI away. This one’s probably going to go under a lot of radars, but this was a really good back-and-forth outing given both guys’ spots in the middle of their blocks. Close, but no cigar for YOSHI-HASHI. ***½
G1 Climax 33 – Block A: Kaito Kiyomiya vs. Gabe Kidd
This’ll shock you, but these two haven’t met before… and yeah, Gabe attacked Kiyomiya as he was barely out of the curtain.
That leads to the pair brawling around the crowd, but it’s Kiyomiya who looked to have Gabe rocked, only for Kidd to clear the crowd as he prepared to dive into Kiyomiya… only for Gabe to end up hitting a running cannonball into the third row. They head towards ringside, where Kidd grabbed a chair from under the ring, and smacked it over Kiyomiya’s head. We’ve not had a bell yet, by the way…
Kidd finally takes it inside, where the bell goes as he gets a two-count on Kiyomiya, before stomps kept Kiyomiya by the ropes. Eventually Kiyomiya begins to fight back, only to get punched out and thrown with a Saito suplex. Bloody hell, Gabe. Kidd pulls up Kiyomiya at two, then turfed Kiyomiya to the outside.
Kiyomiya makes it back inside though, catching Kidd with a springboard forearm out of the corner ahead of a bridging German suplex for a near-fall. Kidd grabs the referee to avoid a Tiger suplex, and snuck in a low blow in the process before he began to lay into Kiyomiya with palm strikes in the corner.
Knee strikes force the referee to separate the pair, before Kiyomiya double-legged Kidd out of the corner and began a fightback. There’s some heavy fire here as Kidd’s choked by the railings, then hurled into the bars as the pair spilled back into the crowd to continue the fight. Eventually, the ref heads back to the ring to start the 20-count, but the fight continues with Kiyomiya opting to take things further away from the ring as they lost track of the count… and both guys are seemingly happy to take the draw if it means they’re able to throw more bombs on each other. ***½
The fight continued afterwards, with Kidd taking the mic… but it’s Kidd left standing tall, filling the swear jar as Kiyomiya’s herded to the back. Can we have more of this Gabe?
G1 Climax 33 – Block B: Great O-Khan vs. Tanga Loa
O-Khan’s got the win from their sole prior singles meeting, back in the G1 two years ago…
This was such a different pace to what we’d come from, leaving commentary enough time to read out upcoming shows without missing much. O-Khan’s able to trap Tanga Loa in a knee bar, forcing the former tag champion into the ropes as O-Khan wrenched on the hold some more.
On the outside, Tanga Loa has his knee wrapped around a chair, before another leg lock from O-Khan led to him tying up the legs as he again forced Tanga into the ropes. A knee breaker follows, but Tanga tried his luck with a roll-up… only for O-Khan to go back to the knee.
Tanga Loa returns with a hiptoss, but a front kick puts him back down for a two-count. Tanga shrugs off Mongolian chops, and took O-Khan into the corner with a variety of strikes. A German suplex takes O-Khan out of the corner, but O-Khan’s claw-assisted sleeper suplex has Tanga back on the defensive, as did a belly-to-belly.
Tanga’s right back up as they’re popping up from suplexes, before he caught O-Khan with a short spear for a one-count. O-Khan kicks at the knee again, then grabbed a face claw… but couldn’t get Tanga up for an Eliminator, and eventually ran into the Apeshit as Tanga Loa picked up the win. O-Khan’s eliminated with that as he’s got tie-breaking losses to the current top three (Okada, Taichi and Ospreay). This one struggled to get out of the shadow of what preceded it, unfortunately. **¼
G1 Climax 33 – Block A: Yota Tsuji vs. Hikuleo
Another first-time meeting between guys who spent time in Rev Pro on excursion…
Hikuleo takes Tsuji into the corner early on, before Tsuji’s attempt at a satellite DDT was blocked. He’s quickly knocked down with a back elbow. Elbows to the midsection looked to carve an opening for Tsuji, but an attempted low bridge to take Hikuleo outside is stopped as the big man knocked Tsuji down.
Instead, Tsuji gets back in with a clothesline to take Hikuleo outside, but a follow-up tope’s caught… but Tsuji’s able to take Hikuleo into the ring post anyways. A flying ‘rana off the apron sends Hikuleo into the barriers, leading to a rough landing for the big man. Back inside, Hikuleo kicked out before one from a simple cover, so Tsuji takes him into the corner for the push-down stomp.
Tsuji keeps going, but Hikuleo fires back with chops before a Snake Eyes and a running clothesline had Yota down. A reversed suplex puts Tsuji ahead again, at least until he’s caught with a snap powerslam. Tsuji’s knee strike deals with another snap powerslam attempt, but another strike exchange led to Hikuleo going for the Godsend… it’s countered with a roll-up as Tsuji came back with a headbutt and a Falcon arrow to do the deal for a near-fall.
The curb stomp followed from Tsuji, who then set up for the Hacksaw Jim Duggan three-point stance and spear… which was kicked away! Hikuleo goes for the Godsend from there, but Tsuji flipped out, only to run into the powerslam as the Godsend finally put him away. A little rough around the edges, but this had some good moments as Tsuji wasn’t able to build on his maiden New Japan singles win. ***¼
G1 Climax 33 – Block B: KENTA vs. El Phantasmo
It’s a first-time meeting as ELP took on his former Bullet Club stable mate…
KENTA’s pissing around before the bell means we’re delayed… until ELP leaps off the top rope onto him in the aisle as he clearly got fed up of waiting. We’re walking and brawling through the crowd, leading to ELP moonsaulting off the seating decks onto KENTA. They head up into the crowd, fighting on the benches as ELP’s CR2 was countered with a back body drop that looked like it sucked.
That’s followed up with a DDT onto the bench, which led to ELP coming up bloody as the pair continued to brawl around the room. ELP throws KENTA into the wall, before he scaled a lighting rig… KENTA pulled him down and hit a second DDT onto the floor as KENTA opted to head to the back… and returned with a Kendo stick.
ELP takes many shots as KENTA wore out the stick, and remember, the bell still hasn’t gone for this. Phantasmo snatches the stick from KENTA’s hands and begins to return the favour, cracking KENTA over the head with it, before the pair traded blows. It’s KENTA who snuck ahead though, at least until he took a Sudden Death as ELP then cleared the timekeeper’s table and put KENTA onto it for a CR2… only to be stopped with a low blow and a third DDT, this time with ELP’s neck going at a wonky angle on impact.
Finally they head into the ring as the referee rings the bell… KENTA’s hesitation dropkick crashes into ELP, only for a Go 2 Sleep to be countered into a cradle as Phantasmo got the quick win. I mean bell-to-bell, of course.
Post-match, KENTA swarmed ELP once more… this fight must continue, and I’d not be shocked if it ended up in the Pacific North West for that Defy title…
G1 Climax 33 – Block A: Ren Narita vs. SANADA
Surprisingly, Ren Narita holds the advantage here – having beaten SANADA in their only prior singles match in the semi-finals of last year’s NJPW World TV title tournament.
We start with some grappling as Narita and SANADA traded standing switches, before SANADA was forced to push out of a side headlock… only to get booted down as Narita came off the ropes. Heading outside, SANADA’s hurled into the railings, but then returned the favour… only for Narita to boot him on the rebound.
Back inside, Narita hits the Baba running neckbreaker, then tied up SANADA in a deathlock until the champion was able to drag himself into the ropes. Eventually, SANADA found a way back in, taking Narita outside with a dropkick… following up with a plancha before a spinning heel kick back inside gave Narita another opening.
SANADA’s taken from a rear naked choke and into a Cobra Twist, before Narita rolled him down into a knee bar that saw SANADA get dragged away from the ropes. A Narita Special #3’s teased, but SANADA rolled free and took Narita into the ropes for a Magic Screw, before he added in a springboard dropkick after he’s wrong-footed Narita in the corner.
A TKO’s next from SANADA, as was a missed moonsault… leading to SANADA jarring his knees as Narita then found his way back with the Narita Special #3. Eventually the ropes save SANADA, who’s taken back down with an elbow from Narita, before he responded to an enziguiri by charging back with a Shining Wizard.
Narita countered a Dead Fall attempt with a Cobra Twist… Narita switches it into a bridging German suplex for a near-fall. My feed drops out, breturning with SANADA landing on Narita’s knees from a moonsault as he almost fell to a grounded Cobra Twist… before a Skull End dragged Narita down to the mat. Narita escapes that, then went back to the rear naked choke… only to lose a battle of enziguiri.
An overhand palm strike left SANADA rocked, but he’s able to counter the Kanuki suplex into the Dead Fall… and that’s your lot. A good effort from Narita, but SANADA was able to slam the door in his face and book his spot in the quarter-finals – while also rooting Narita to the bottom of the block. For me though, this match didn’t hold my attention much – but if you’re more into SANADA than I am, your mileage will vary. ***¼
G1 Climax 33 – Block B: Will Ospreay vs. Kazuchika Okada
Out of eight prior meetings, Ospreay’s only beaten Okada once – but that win in 2020’s G1 came with a big asterisk on as the return of the Great O-Khan (and the formation of the United Empire) played a big part. Commentary played up the 20-minute time limit here, and how Ospreay was on a crusade to be seen as the best in the world… so you’d better believe we’re getting a draw tease here.
A tentative start sees Okada work over Ospreay’s arm and wrist in the opening stages, before Okada took Ospreay into the ropes and swung at him. Ospreay ducks and lands a shot of his own, taking Okada outside for a plancha as the tempo was quickly dialled up. A dive from Ospreay’s cut off as Okada hits a flapjack, before Ospreay was taken outside and DDT’d on the floor.
Ospreay’s dumped with a second DDT by the ring… then a third one as soon as he returned to the ring, getting Okada a two-count in the process. An elbow to Ospreay’s neck sinks him in the corner, forcing Ospeay to try and fight back… but he’s already looking spent… and that’s the cue for him to duck a sliding back elbow, and instead hit a handspring enziguiri.
Okada’s downed with a springboard forearm for a two-count, before a Falcon arrow kept Ospreay ahead. Okada’s able to come back from a powerbomb attempt, countering back with a neckbreaker slam, before the pair began to trade elbows… it’s Ospreay who looked to pull ahead, before he found a way through with a hook kick.
Ospreay’s OsCutter’s countered as Okada backslides him into a Rainmaker… and keeps the grip on the wrist. A second Rainmaker’s escaped, but Okada dropkicks away an OsCutter as we’ve thankfully eschewed the slow first half of these Okada matches. We hit the ten minute mark as Ospreay proceeded to take Okada up top for a Spanish Fly… it’s pushed away, but instead Ospreay countered with a Tower of London onto the apron!
Ospreay rolls back into the ring first as he looked to take the count-out, but he tees up a returning Okada for a Coast to Coast for a near-fall. Another OsCutter finally counters a Rainmaker, but it’s not enough, as Ospreay then missed a Leap of Faith… and got locked into a Money Clip after the landing.
The Money Clip’s turned into a backbreaker, then reapplied as Okada retained the upper hand. Okada switches it up with the spinning Rainmaker as he then went back to the Money Clip, looking to get the win with that rather than anything else. Ospreay’s able to get back to his feet and charges Okada into the corner to break the hold, only to get lifted up top and dropkicked down to the floor.
Back inside, a standing Spanish Fly nearly steals the win for Ospreay, before the Hidden Blade… was almost turned into the landslide. Ospreay slips out and hits the Hidden Blade, but a Storm Breaker’s back body dropped away as a sit-down pin nearly got Okada the win. We’re turning the tempo up again as the landslide tombstone took out Ospreay, who return with a Rainmaker Blade?! Storm Breaker follows, and that’s enough for Ospreay to take the first clean, unquestionned win over Okada – and grab the lead at the top of block B on tie-breakers. Forced into a shorter time limit, this was the highlights-version of the match that we hoped to see – and ended up forcing Okada into some needless errors at the end. ****½
Updated standings, as we’re now getting eliminations:
SANADA (5-0 / 10pts)
Kaito Kiyomiya, Shota Umino (2-1-2 / 6pts)
Gabe Kidd (2-2-1 / 5pts)
Hikuleo, Chase Owens (2-3 / 4pts)
Yota Tsuji (1-3-1 / 3pts)
Ren Narita (0-3-2 / 2pts) eliminated
Will Ospreay, Kazuchika Okada (4-1 / 8pts)
Taichi (3-2 / 6pts)
KENTA, Tanga Loa, El Phantasmo, YOSHI-HASHI (2-3 / 4pts)
Great O-Khan (1-4 / 2pts) eliminated
EVIL, David Finlay, Tama Tonga (3-1 / 6pts)
Eddie Kingston, Shingo Takagi (2-2 / 4pts)
HENARE, Tomohiro Ishii, Mikey Nicholls (1-3 / 2pts)
Jeff Cobb (4-0 / 8pts)
Zack Sabre Jr. (3-1 / 6pts)
Hirooki Goto, Shane Haste, Tetsuya Naito, Hiroshi Tanahashi (2-2 / 4pts)
Alex Coughlin (1-3 / 2pts)
Toru Yano (0-4 / 0pts) eliminated
We’ve got two days off as block C/D heads over to Aichi with Hiroshi Tanahashi and Hirooki Goto in the main event.
Main event aside, this was missing a “grab you by the scruff of the neck” match to make you sit down and watch, in spite of Kidd/Kaiyomiya and Phantasmo/KENTA delivering some memorable moments. We’re getting into the business end of the block stages, and given SANADA’s already through, the risk of an unholy upset may well be rising…