D block wrapped up as Tetsuya Naito and Zack Sabre Jr. were among those battling for quarter-final spots.
SHO & EVIL pinned Yuto Nakashima & Eddie Kingston in 8:31
Mikey Nicholls & Kosei Fujita pinned Ryohei Oiwa & Kaito Kiyomiya in 10:05
Master Wato, Shota Umino & Hikuleo submitted Gedo, Gabe Kidd & David Finlay in 10:07
HENARE & Great O-Khan pinned Tomoaki Honma & Tomohiro Ishii in 10:53
Ren Narita, El Desperado & Minoru Suzuki submitted BUSHI, Yota Tsuji & Shingo Takagi in 10:19
G1 Climax 33 – Block D: Alex Coughlin pinned Toru Yano in 5:07 (**¼)
G1 Climax 33 – Block D: Shane Haste and Jeff Cobb went to a double count-out in 11:10 (***)
G1 Climax 33 – Block D: Zack Sabre Jr. submitted Hirooki Goto in 14:30 (****)
G1 Climax 33 – Block D: Tetsuya Naito pinned Hiroshi Tananashi in 17:54 (***)
We’re in Shizuoka at the Act City Hamamatsu for these last block matches… Kevin Kelly’s joined by Eddie Kingston on English commentary.
G1 Climax 33 – Block D: Alex Coughlin vs. Toru Yano
Our block matches today start with a first-time meeting, with the loser guaranteed to finish at least joint-bottom of the block.
Gabe Kidd attacks Yano from behind in the aisle as we’ve some double-teaming before the bell, burying Yano under guard railings. Eventually, Yano’s put into his chair… but he trips Coughlin into it before wiping out Gabe with a chairshot. Coughlin gets the chair too, before Gabe’s dragged up the aisle with his head in a chair and all the way to the back.
Attentions turn to Coughlin, who’s thrown into the crowd as we’re still waiting for the opening bell, but Coughlin just throws Yano into the chairs before he flung a few more chairs around the crowd as both guys ended up all over the crowd.
FINALLY we get going, with Yano having removed a corner pad… Coughlin’s thrown into it, then sent into the ropes for a wrist-tape clothesline and choke. Recovering, Coughlin took Yano into the same exposed corner ahead of a shoulder tackle, but Yano returns with a slingshot to take Coughlin chin-first into the corner.
A powerbomb’s escaped as Coughlin shoved Yano into the referee, who spills outside. Cue a returning Gabe Kidd, as apparently they’re both needed to put away Yano… Kidd pulls out a table as Coughlin threatened to suplex Yano from the ring and through it… but Yano avoids it as Kidd jumped on him once more.
Gabe demolishes a guard rail, then gets sent through that table, before Yano… pulled out scissors. That’s a bit far! The ref’s back as Yano threatened to stab, but in removing the scissors the ref misses Coughlin’s belt shot, before a jackhammer put Yano away. Not a fan of how Toru Yano of all people had to be put down with double-teaming, but it is what it is… **¼
G1 Climax 33 – Block D: Shane Haste vs. Jeff Cobb
We’ve another first-time meeting here as Jeff Cobb needs to win to go through – owing to his tie-breaking wins over ZSJ and Tetsuya Naito… but Haste could single-handedly derail Cobb with a win. He also won over the crowd by signing his wacky hat and giving it to a kid before the match…
Haste pretty much melted into the ropes from the opening lock-up, then reached for them again as Cobb put him in a wristlock. Cobb rolls free as Haste reversed the hold, before he caught Haste’s leapfrog and turned it into a suplex attempt. Haste slips out, but got taken outside with a dropkick… where he capitalised by taking Cobb into the rails, then the post, before herc’ing him up for an apron powerbomb. Bloody hell, Shane…
Cobb beats the count-out, but Haste is right on him with stomps and a chinlock… but Cobb breaks free, taking Haste back into the corner for a series of clotheslines. A running back suplex takes Haste out of the corner, while a standing moonsault adds a near-fall, before a running knee from Haste almost led to the sudden win.
Haste pulls up Cobb for a Falcon arrow, but Cobb kicks out at two, before the pair went back-and-forth on uppercuts. A dropkick takes Cobb outside as the pair fight up the aisle… Haste tries for a piledriver on the walkway, but ends up bouncing with a back body drop from Cobb. Cobb heads back to the ring, but Haste tries to stop him to force a draw… clinging onto Cobb and hooking his leg on the guard rails as we end up with a stinky double count-out. That result means that Cobb’s hoping for Naito or Sabre to slip up, as Haste threw a spanner in the works here. ***
G1 Climax 33 – Block D: Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Hirooki Goto
Sabre’s 4-2 against Goto in prior singles meetings – and hasn’t lost to Goto since 2017. Zack needs a win here to make sure of a quarter-final spot after what just happened.
We’ve a tentative start as Sabre took Goto into the ropes, only for Goto to come back with a hiptoss and a shoulder tackle. Heading outside, Sabre made a point of going after Goto’s ribs, before pulling him into a bow-and-arrow hold back inside as the ropes eventually saved Goto.
A kick to the back winds up Goto, but a telegraphed hiptoss from Goto allowed Sabre to slide in with a Cobra twist. Grounded the hold, Sabre ended up rolling into the ropes again before Goto returned with a clothesline, then with a back suplex to pick up a two-count.
Goto’s caught on the top rope as Sabre looked to be on the defensive… elbows soften up Goto, but he shoves down Sabre … who popped up, then wandered into a hanging choke in the ropes. Relinquishing the hold, Goto returned to the top rope, but his elbow drop’s caught and turned into an armbar… with the ropes once again saving Goto.
The pair trade clotheslines as Goto tried to get back into it… eventually knocking down Sabre ahead of an ushigoroshi. Back suplexes continued to bounce Sabre, but he hits back with a backbreaker to cut off Goto before a Zack Driver planted Goto at the ten minute mark. Zack can’t make the cover though, as we reset with the pair trading strikes, only for Sabre to come abc with an overhead kick to the arm.
A mid kick from Goto sinks Sabre though, ahead of a GTW for a near-fall… a GTR follows, but Sabre countered into a rear naked choke, then into a Euro clutch for a near-fall. Goto’s headbutt stems the tide, but Zack goes back to the ribs as a manjigatame pulled Goto to the mat, where a tied-up double armbar forced Goto to verbally give up. Sabre got vicious at the end as he booked his spot in the quarter-finals, but will have to wait to see whether he gets Hikuleo or Okada tomorrow. ****
G1 Climax 33 – Block D: Tetsuya Naito vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
Our main event has history – with seventeen prior meetings. Both men have won eight, and we’ve a 30:00 draw from back in 2010’s G1 as Tanahashi started the show looking to sneak in a second-place finish… but now can only play spoiler as anything but a Naito win sends Jeff Cobb through.
We start with the ref gauging crowd reactions before Tanahashi almost beat Naito with an inside cradle from the off. Rolling outside, Naito gathers his thought, then returned to lock-up with Tanahashi… only to get dragged down in a side headlock. Hair pulling breaks the hold, but Tanahashi tries the same trick as things head into the corner, where a springboard crossbody helped take down Naito.
Naito goes back to the hair as he pulls down Tanahashi in a neckbreaker, then stretched Tanahashi over the ropes with another hair pull. A trip to the guard rails keeps Tanahashi on the back foot as Naito then grounded him back inside with the leg nelson… my feed drops out here, returning with Tanahashi avoiding a Combinacion Cabron as a forearm took down Naito.
A slam and a flip senton out of the corner gets Tanahashi a two-count, while a dropkick to the knee and a Dragon screw sank Naito. Hitting back, an armdrag and a low dropkick put Naito back in control, as we passed the ten-minute mark, with Tanahashi using a Dragon screw in the ropes to block the Combinacion Cabron.
Tanahashi pulls off an Ace’s High to the floor as he went all high risk on us… following up as he rolled Naito back into the ring for a Slingblade. Heading up top, a second Ace’s High crushes Naito, before the High Fly Flow landed on Naito’s knees. Both men get back to their feet to trade blows, as Naito followed in with elbows to the neck as Tanahashi ended up flopping to the mat once more.
Naito measures up Tanahashi in the corner for the Esperanza flip stunner, before Tanahashi elbowed away a Destino… and caught Naito with an inside cradle for a near-fall. A Twist and Shout follows, then a bridging German suplex, before Naito SPIKED THE SHIT OUT OF TANAHASHI with a tornado DDT for the win. This wasn’t particularly grabbing me, but that tornado DDT sure got my attention at the end, as we now have Naito taking on Hikuleo tomorrow, while ZSJ snuck through to take on Okada. ***
Here’s how the blocks finished up…
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)
Block C Final
David Finlay (5-2 / 10pts) C1 qualifier
EVIL (5-2 / 10pts) C2 qualifier
Tama Tonga (4-2-1 / 9pts)
Eddie Kingston (4-3 / 8pts)
Shingo Takagi (3-2-2 / 7pts)
HENARE, Tomohiro Ishii, Mikey Nicholls (2-5 / 4pts)
Block D Final
Tetsuya Naito (5-2 / 10pts) D1 qualifier
Zack Sabre Jr. (5-2 / 10pts) D2 qualifier
Jeff Cobb (4-2-1 / 9pts)
Alex Coughlin, Hirooki Goto, Hiroshi Tanahashi (3-4 / 6pts)
Shane Haste (2-4-1 / 5pts)
Toru Yano (2-5 / 4pts)
Here’s how your quarter-finals stack up – with match order to be determined…
SANADA vs. EVIL
Kazuchika Okada vs. D Block, 2nd place
David Finlay vs. Will Ospreay
D Block, 1st place vs. Hikuleo
Which in turn means that Saturday’s semi-finals will be:
SANADA or EVIL vs. Kazuchika Okada or Zack Sabre Jr.
David Finlay or Will Ospreay vs. Tetsuya Naito or Hikuleo
It’s a quick turnaround as the Funibashi Arena in Chiba hosts the quarter-finals on Thursday – ahead of the semis and final on Saturday and Sunday in Sumo Hall.
Another story-heavy finale to block D kind of exposed just how many stories you really need when you increase the number of blocks. Not that that’s a bad thing, as the in-ring more than carried things, as we head into the home stretch of the tournament.