After 18 nights, and 118 matches, the G1 Climax comes down to two men: Kazuchika Okada and Tetsuya Naito.
Kaiyo Kiyomiya & Ryohei Oiwa pinned Oskar Leube & Toru Yano in 7:47 (**½)
Shota Umino, Yuji Nagata, Tomoaki Honma & Master Wato pinned Yuto Nakashima, Ren Narita, Minoru Suzuki & El Desperado in 8:41 (***¼)
YOH, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Eddie Kingston & Tomohiro Ishii pinned Tiger Mask, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima & Togi Makabe in 9:37 (**¾)
Shane Haste, Mikey Nicholls, Zack Sabre Jr. & Kosei Fujita pinned Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI, Ryusuke Taguchi & Boltin Oleg in 10:05 (***)
Tanga Loa, Tama Tonga, Hikuleo, Jado & El Phantasmo pinned Chase Owens, Gabe Kidd, Alex Coughlin, KENTA & David Finlay in 11:03 (***)
Yota Tsuji, Shingo Takagi, Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI pinned Will Ospreay, Great O-Khan, Jeff Cobb & HENARE in 10:50 (***½)
SHO, Dick Togo, EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi pinned Taichi, SANADA, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & DOUKI in 11:03 (**½)
G1 Climax 33 – Final: Tetsuya Naito pinned Kazuchika Okada in 34:18 (****½)
We’re back in Ryogoku Kokugikan for the final night of this year’s G1 Climax. Kevin Kelly and Chris Charlton are on commentary…
Kaito Kiyomiya & Ryohei Oiwa vs. Toru Yano & Oskar Leube
Kiyomiya’s back with the Young Lions after HAYATA helped him to a win last night…
We start with Leube and Oiwa trading standing switches as Oskar ended up on the deck and in a chinlock. Getting back up, Oskar tagged in Yano… who took so long to come in that Oiwa broke free of a wristlock as we moved to Yano against Kiyomiya. Kiyomiya’s wise to Yano’s pranks, stopping him from undoing the corner pad at first, before he became the patsy. A bop on the head just seems to piss of Kiyomiya though, as he took down Yano for an elbow drop, while Oiwa came in to score with a splash for a two-count.
Yano gets free and tagged Oskar back in, who cleared Kiyomiya off the apron before he chopped Oiwa into the corner. A big boot takes Oiwa back down, as does a bodyslam, before he missed a charge in the corner and ran into an armdrag from Oiwa. We’re back with Kiyomiya, whose dropkick took Oskar back to the corner ahead of a springboard forearm. Heading up top, Kiyomiya lands a missile dropkick before he got caught with a bodyslam from Oskar – who nearly took home the upset with that. Oiwa cuts off Oskar as we begin a Parade of Moves, featuring Toru Yano running into dropkicks, before Kiyomiya measured up and finished off Oskar with a Shining Wizard. **½
Yuji Nagata, Tomoaki Honma, Shota Umino & Master Wato vs. Strong Style (Ren Narita, Minoru Suzuki & El Desperado) & Yuto Nakashima
We’re continuing the Shota/Ren stuff – along with the sorta backstory that Narita’s a little off-the-pace as well…
Those two start us off with shoulder tackles, quickly exploding into palm strikes and slaps as Narita got taken into the corner for a hefty dose of mudhole stomping. Narita shoots back as they continued to scrap, with Shota’s headbutts drawing in Honma and Wato to split the pair up. Tags bring in El Desperado and Master Wato, but things didn’t exactly calm down there as they trade forearms before Wato’s kicks took down Desperado… who returned fire with a spinebuster. In comes Nakashima, whose hiptoss out of the corner led to him going for a Boston crab on Wato, which Honma nonchalantly came in to chop apart.
Minoru Suzuki clears the opposite apron… but that just draws in Yuji Nagata as I get most-recent flashbacks to the early pandemic-era shows that they absolutely shone on. Desperado’s back to slap Wato, but Wato’s able to counter back with a leaping kick, before tags get us to Suzuki and Nagata. Yep. It’s good. Kicks from Nagata were eventually caught and returned as Suzuki’s elbows took down Nagata ahead of a rear naked choke… Shota’s in to try and break it up, but Narita’s running kick took care of him as Suzuki looked for the Gotch-style piledriver… only to be back body dropped and thrown with an Exploder.
Tags get us back to Honma and Nakashima, who trade shoulder tackles… a leaping Kokeshi takes Nakashima down as we Umino tagged in first. He charges Narita off the apron, then scored a dropkick to Nakashima before the Death Rider picked up the win… before sparks flew with Narita once more after the bell. They’ve got something between these two, methinks… ***¼
Everyone squares off after the match, except for Honma and Nakashima, who exited stage left, as the focus stayed squarely on the remaining six guys brawling… and you know what, as much as parts of this G1 haven’t landed with me, I’ll always be around for stuff like that!
Togi Makabe, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima & Tiger Mask vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tomohiro Ishii, Eddie Kingston & YOH
They’re already pushing the story of Tanahashi maybe being on the bubble for future G1 Climaxes…
Makabe and Tanahashi start us off, but it’s Makabe who pulled ahead first with a shoulder tackle, before Tanahashi came out of the corner with a crossbody. Ishii’s in to help with a pair of low dropkicks to Makabe, who tagged out to Tenzan as we get Ishii and Tenzan blasting each other with elbows. Mongolian chops from Tenzan sandwich a headbutt as Ishii’s taken down… ahead of the falling headbutt/slingshot elbow drop as Kojima made a cameo. Ishii hits a suplex, then tagged in YOH who comes in like a choo choo train and hits some Mongolian chops. Which got booed. There’s some for Tiger Mask too, before Tenzan came back in with a headbutt.
Kingston’s in for Mongolian chops too, but he just runs into a Mountain bomb as we crossed the five-minute mark. Kojima’s in to give Kingston some Machine Gun chops in the corner, following with the forearm in the corner… but Eddie stops Kojima going up top and returns with the Kobashi-ish chops. A Koji Cutter lays out Kingston, before tags bring us to Tiger Mask and YOH…
YOH’s Dragon screw and bridging front-facelock suplex nearly puts Tiger Mask away as we sparked a brief Parade of Moves… but it leads to YOH getting thrown into a Ten-Koji cutter, before a Tiger Driver almost got the win. The ring fills again as everyone batters Tiger Mask, leading to a Tanahashi Slingblade before a Falcon arrow almost put Tiger Mask down… before YOH took the win with a superkick. **¾
TMDK (Zack Sabre Jr., Mikey Nicholls, Shane Haste & Kosei Fujita) vs. Bishamon (Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI), Ryusuke Taguchi & Boltin Oleg
Zack’s preparing for his eventual NJPW World TV title defence against Oleg… and an appearance in PWA’s Colosseum tournament in October.
Nicholls and YOSHI-HASHI start us off, trading chops before Nicholls charged down YOSHI-HASHI… who turned things around with the help of Hirooki Goto. Tags bring in Taguchi and Fujita, as Taguchi’s developed a thing for Fujita’s hair… A shoulder tackle charges down Fujita, but he’s back with armdrags… that Taguchi outsmarted him on. Hip attacks take Fujita to the corner, but he comes back with a dropkick as TMDK took over, wringing Taguchi’s arms as if they were trying to twist them out of his body. Stomps to the elbow, then the arse of Taguchi have him on the back foot, while an arse uppercut eventually gave way to a hip attack.
Boltin’s in to throw fools around, following in with a bodyslam to Sabre for a two-count. Sabre blocks a Boston crab, but couldn’t block a chop as the pair exchanged shots for a while. Oleg counters a wristlock by lifting up Sabre for a Finlay roll… but Zack switches into a guillotine instead, which Oleg threw away. Tags bring us to Goto and Haste, as Goto’s clothesline and spinning heel kick led to a back suplex out of the corner for a two-count. Haste fires back with a huge cannonball into the corner for a near-fall, before we burst into a Parade of Moves, which led to Haste kicking away a Shoto attempt… as Haste and Nicholls instead dumped Goto with a Tankbuster for the win, as Haste and Nicholls proceeded to call out Bishamon for a future tag title shot. ***
This was apparently Kosei Fujita’s last day as a “Young Lion” as he’s heading off on excursion – with some oft-mentioned stops in Australia coming after he appears for Rev Pro against JJ Gale in two weeks…
Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, Hikuleo, El Phantasmo & Jado vs. Bullet Club (David Finlay, KENTA, Chase Owens, Gabe Kidd & Alex Coughlin)
We go again…
Finlay and Tama start and quickly blow up as Finlay took things to the ropes, only for Tama to strike back. Some biting takes Tama into the corner, before a clothesline spun down Finlay as Tama took things back to the corner for a Stinger splash. Jado’s in to score with a clothesline, but a quick turnaround has the Bullet Club on top as things spilled outside. Gabe Kidd takes ELP into the crowd, before Tama Tonga tried to jump Finlay back in the ring… only to get dragged into the Bullet Club corner, then chucked to the outside. Jado’s left isolated in there, as Finlay took him out of the corner with a backbreaker. Kidd’s next as he bit Jado for flipping him off, before ELP came in and crashed into Kidd with a springboard crossbody.
Phantasmo’s dive wipes out Coughlin ahead of more springboarding back inside that almost put Kidd away. Coughlin broke up that cover as Hikuleo came in to help out… throwing Kidd with a back body drop for good effect before Coughlin’s teased German suplex was thwarted. Kidd’s back to double-team the big man, with ELP making a save before tags brought us to Tanga Loa and Chase Owens. THOSE GODDAMN STRIKES take Owens into the corner, ahead of a bulldog before Owens’ spinning back elbow and Jewel Heist clothesline turned things back around. Tanga’s cornered as we built to a knee strike from Owens for a two-count… another knee strike looked to lead to a package piledriver, but Tanga escapes, then sat down on Owens’ Magistral cradle attempt to snatch the win. ***
A post-match Bullet Club assault’s thwarted as Tama Tonga made eyes for the NEVER title… while ELP and Hikuleo looked to call out Gabe Kidd and Alex Coughlin for the Strong tag titles.
Los Ingobernables de Japon (Shingo Takagi, Yota Tsuji, Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI) vs. United Empire (Will Ospreay, Jeff Cobb, Great O-Khan & HENARE)
Will Ospreay’s rebranded the IWGP US title as the IWGP United Kingdom title – so cue a load more Larry Poffo-isms for the new “champion of the British.”
The big match they’re building up here is Ospreay vs. Shingo for the Rev Pro show in a couple of weeks, but we start with LIJ getting jumped from behind as HENARE stayed in the ring with BUSHI… but it’s a DDT from BUSHI that draws our first pinning attempt of the match. Hiromu’s tagged in, while Shingo and Tsuji came in to help as Hiromu picked up a two-count on HENARE… HENARE’s met with chops before he pancaked Hiromu ahead of a kick… my feed drops, and returns with Cobb’s delayed suplex to Hiromu for a two-count, while a standing moonsault drew a similar result.
Ospreay’s in as Cobb held up Hiromu for a chop, before O-Khan just sat on Hiromu in the corner… eventually Hiromu breaks free and tagged in Shingo, who cleaned house as he sprinted into a suplex on HENARE. Ospreay’s in, but had little luck against Shingo, nor against Tsuji, until he sidestepped a charge in the corner. Tsuji’s pinged around by the United Empire lads, with a Spin Cycle from Cobb almost winning it… Ospreay comes close from a Falcon arrow, before a Hidden Blade was ducked. In comes Shingo to spark a Parade of Moves, ending with a HENARE and Tsuji trading Berzerker bombs… before Ospreay got caught with an Orange Crush for a near-fall. Bloody hell.
A leaping knee from Ospreay leads to the OsCutter… but that’s not enough, as he ends up going for a Hidden Blade. BUT SPEAR! A second Gene Blaster follows, and my God, Yota Tsuji’s got the upset. I guess he’s the first challenger for Ospreay’s UK belt, and based on their exchanges here, I am absolutely invested in that! ***½
Post-match, Eddie Kingston ran out and brawled with HENARE to the back as Tsuji posed with Ospreay’s new belt.
House of Torture (EVIL, Yujiro Takahashi, SHO & Dick Togo) vs. Just 5 Guys (SANADA, Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & DOUKI)
And just before the G1 final, a little breather…
Of course we’ve a House of Torture jump start as things largely spill outside, but DOUKI’s able to catch out Dick Togo with armdrags before a springboard back elbow took down Dick. Kanemaru’s in to help with the Dick bashing, with Togo calming things down as he took down Kanemaru in a hammerlock. Stomps from Togo keep Kanemaru down for a chinlock, before Yujiro tagged in to hit a leg drop for a two-count. SHO’s in next to work over Kanemaru’s wrist, while EVIL joined in with a bodyslam for a two-count. SANADA’s in, but has to overcome EVIL and SHO with dropkicks, before planchas helped wipe out the rest of EVIL’s crew.
Back inside, EVIL goes for the eyes to escape a TKO, then hit a thrust kick to SANADA’s arm. SHO’s back in, as Taichi got the tag in to help clear house… SHO’s battered with kicks, leading to the buzzsaw kick for a two-count as the ring filled, then emptied. SHO tries to use the ref for cover, only to get dumped with a Saito suplex before a Stretch Plum looked to lead to the submission… but Dick Togo distracts the ref. SHO’s tapping goes unnoticed, and we get a ref bump as Taichi’s shoved into the official. Cue bullshit, ending with EVIL laying out SANADA with DOUKI’s pipe, while Taichi’s double Axe bomber helped level things up. Taichi turns around and gets blasted by SHO’s wrench, before a Shock Arrow on Taichi led to SHO getting the win. **½
Post-match, SHO grabbed Taichi’s KOPW belt and laid out a challenge… while EVIL wiped out SANADA with the IWGP title. Yep, that’s a title match we’re getting, especially since SANADA got handcuffed to the ropes and flogged…
G1 Climax 33 – Final: Tetsuya Naito vs. Kazuchika Okada
Okada’s looking to win three G1’s in a row here – and from their prior 13 singles meetings, has just about edged it historically winning seven times to Naito’s six. Most recently, Okada successfully defended the IWGP title over Naito at Wrestling Dontaku in May 2022… but there’s major questions over Naito after he got shaken up at the back end of his semi-final win last night.
Naito’s the loud crowd favourite at the bell, as we start with Naito melting into the ropes at the first sign of offence from Okada. Working the wrist, Naito ends up getting taken to the mat as he carried the look of someone who’d taken a nasty kick to the head less than 24 hours previous. A side headlock from Naito ends with Okada taking things to the ropes, where he looked to swing for Naito on the break… but it’s ducked as Naito instead vaulted over Okada, then scored with armdrags before taking him outside… for a pose. Picking up, Naito spins Okada down for a chinlock, only for Okada to get free and return with a flapjack.
Okada’s snapmare and low dropkick cracked Naito in the head, before they headed onto the apron as Naito got stacked with an apron DDT. That’s followed up with a whip into the guard rails as Okada sought a count-out, but of course that ain’t happening. Another DDT followed back inside as Okada looked to make Naito forcibly stand on his head… before he put a boot on Naito, which the referee refused to count on. A dazed Naito looks to fight back, ducking a sliding elbow before he pulled Okada into a falling neckbreaker. Naito pulls ahead with a back elbow and a low dropkick to Okada, before more neckbreakers onto the knee left Okada laying. Okada tried to dropkick Naito off the top rope, but it’s avoided as Naito hits a hiptoss/backbreaker instead, sending Okada outside for some respite. Naito follows and threw Okada into the rails, before he had to fight the ringside gate as he proceeded to take Okada into the crowd… bringing him back with a neckbreaker over the gate.
Back inside, Okada’s pulled into the leg nelson… the ropes save Okada, who’s able to fight back with a neckbreaker slam out of the corner… before he lifted Naito up top and dropkicked him down to the floor. Except on the floor, Naito’s able to carve a new opening, throwing Okada into the rails… only for Okada to scoop him up out of nowhere for a tombstone on the floor. Returning to the ring, Okada hauls up Naito for a German suplex, then held on as he added a spinning Rainmaker. A second one misses as Okada ended up following through with a dropkick, which spawned a standing ten-count… but Okada breaks the count so he could stay on Naito… who spat back defiantly.
Out of nowhere, a swinging DDT from Naito drops Okada, as did some elbows to the neck, before a top rope ‘rana sent Okada flying once more. It’s good for a two-count as Naito transitioned from the lateral press and into a Pluma Blanca, forcing Okada to shuffle into the ropes to force a break. Esperanza followed as Okada got stacked up, before Naito added a Valentia after countering whateverthehell Okada was going for. A slam’s next as the crowd went apopleptic for Naito’s Stardust Press… but it misses again! We sail past the 30-minute mark as both men tried to pick themselves up, but Okada’s just waiting for Naito to stand up… so he could crash in with a shotgun dropkick.
Naito tries a leaping forearm, before he cradles out of a swinging DDT for a near-fall… an enziguiri’s next, then a leaping forearm that just about caught Okada. A dropkick cuts off Naito again, as Okada adds a landslide… only for his Rainmaker to get countered. Except Okada blocks the Destino, then got cradled out of another Rainmaker, before Naito snuck in a Destino! Okada’s out at two from that, but countered a second Destino into a Cobra Flowsion… before Naito won another exchange of counters. Two Destinos later, and that’s enough for Naito to win his first G1 since 2017. This perhaps didn’t hit the heights you’d have expected given the two involved, but this was still a fantastic final as Okada’s dreams of a three-peat were dashed. We now look to be on course for Naito and SANADA at the Tokyo Dome – and maybe, just maybe, Naito gets his big finale? ****½
An Okada/Naito final may have felt a little odd, given the big push in New Japan this year has been around new talent… but this was a good finals show that set up a fair amount for future tours – with ELP & Hikuleo vs. Kidd & Coughlin and Tsuji/Ospreay being the two eyeball grabbers…