wrestling / TV Reports

Hamilton’s New Japan G1 Climax 33 – Night Eleven 08.01.2023 Review

August 1, 2023 | Posted by Ian Hamilton
NJPW G1 Climax 33 - Night Eleven - Kazuchika Okada vs. KENTA Image Credit: NJPW
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Hamilton’s New Japan G1 Climax 33 – Night Eleven 08.01.2023 Review  

Quick Results
G1 Climax 33 – Block A: Hikuleo pinned Kaito Kiyomiya in 9:46 (***)
G1 Climax 33 – Block B: Great O-Khan pinned YOSHI-HASHI in 13:50 (***)
G1 Climax 33 – Block A: Ren Narita submitted Chase Owens in 9:08 (**½)
G1 Climax 33 – Block B: El Phantasmo pinned Taichi in 13:56 (**¾)
G1 Climax 33 – Block A: SANADA pinned Gabe Kidd in 12:08 (***½)
G1 Climax 33 – Block B: Tanga Loa defeated Will Ospreay via count-out in 15:34 (**¾)
G1 Climax 33 – Block A: Yota Tsuji pinned Shota Umino in 19:20 (***½)
G1 Climax 33 – Block B: Kazuchika Okada pinned KENTA in 19:10 (***)

— If you’re on Twitter/X/the bird app, give me a follow over on @IanWrestling. I’m also over on Instagram and Threads by that same name, and if you’ve put your chips in on Mastodon, catch me here… and check out the GoFundMe that’s still open for Larry’s family

The G1’s moved to the Takamatsu City General Gymnasium #1 in Kagawa – and once again we’ve got Kevin Kelly flying solo on commentary for the penultimate round of block A and B matches.

G1 Climax 33 – Block A: Kaito Kiyomiya vs. Hikuleo
Unsurprisingly, this is a first-time meeting…

Kiyomiya tries to charge down Hikuleo early on, but gets flung skyward with a back body drop as things spilled outside, with Kiyomiya getting thrown into the barriers. Back inside, a floatover from Kiyomiya’s caught as he eventually took out Hikuleo’s leg, which made that the obvious focal point.

Hikuleo’s overhand chop forces an opening as he struck his way back into proceedings, building up to a Snake Eyes and a clothesline to take down Kiyomiya. A Dragon screw helps Kiyomiya back in it, as he then went back to the legs with a Figure Four… following with a Tiger suplex for a near-fall as Kiyomiya almost snatched the win.

A second Tiger suplex is blocked as Hikuleo countered back with a powerslam instead, before an attempt at the Godsend was countered into a ‘rana for a near-fall. Kiyomiya’s second ‘rana is blocked as Hikuleo returned with the powerslam… before the Godsend put away the former GHC Heavyweight champion. A perfectly fine opener, and something of a surprise result unless you’ve gone into the weeds and planned out permutations… ***

G1 Climax 33 – Block B: Great O-Khan vs. YOSHI-HASHI
This may as well be a first-time meeting, with their only prior meeting being in 2017 when YOSHI-HASHI got the win over a then-Young Lion O-Khan.

O-Khan takes down YOSHI-HASHI early on, but an early triangle choke’s escaped quickly as YOSHI-HASHI tried his luck with an armbar… which ended quickly in the ropes. We’re back to the mat as O-Khan’s head-and-arm choke has YOSHI-HASHI in trouble, to the point where the tag champion had to squirm towards the ropes to force a break.

Mongolian chops take YOSHI-HASHI into the corner as O-Khan continued to dominate… at least until a basement dropkick took out O-Khan’s knee. A running Head Hunter, then a dropkick to O-Khan in the ropes is next, ahead of a Blockbuster for a near-fall, before O-Khan fought back with a back body drop.

YOSHI-HASHI taken back into the corner as O-Khan lifted him up into a torture rack, following up with a drop for a near-fall. The Sheep Killer submission follows, then the Tenzan Tombstone Driver – almost getting the win – before YOSHI-HASHI DDT’d his way out of the Eliminator.

A Western lariat gets YOSHI-HASHI back in front, ahead of a sit-out powerbomb for a near-fall as the pair looked to enter the final stretch…ending with a Kumagoroshi for a near-fall before O-Khan caught him out of nowhere with a pop-up Eliminator for the win. ***

G1 Climax 33 – Block A: Chase Owens vs. Ren Narita
It’s another first-time meeting… and we’ve got a tease from Owens beforehand as he hassled Milano Collection AT for tips on the Paradise Lock. He’s so beating SANADA on Saturday, isn’t he?

Narita had Owens on the back foot early, taking him to the outside and into the railings. Owens returns the favour, before a neckbreaker caught Narita through the ropes for a near-fall. A nerve hold keeps Narita down as I’m left wondering where the killer instinct in Narita evaporated.

Finally, Narita hits back with a bridging half-hatch suplex for a two-count, before Owens took Narita throat-first into the ropes. A clothesline gets Owens further ahead, before Narita hit back with an Exploder for a near-fall… a bell clapper stops a Kanuki suplex as Owens added a C-Trigger in the ropes, only for Narita to throw away a package piledriver that seemed to have been held for an age.

Narita ducks a Jewel Heist and counters into a Cobra Twist from there, pulling Owens into the middle of the ring and into a manjigatame for the submission. This did very little for me apart from continue to slot Narita in the roster. **½

G1 Climax 33 – Block B: El Phantasmo vs. Taichi
It’s another first-time meeting…

Taichi eventually accepts a handshake before the bell as things started off with back-and-forth chops. ELP manages to pull ahead with a tijeras to take things outside, dragging Taichi in front of his fans for some chops.

Back inside, Taichi pulls ahead, taking down Phantasmo with a Kitchen Sink knee, before ELP got caught in a Cobra Twist. Rather than hiptoss free, ELP dragged himself to the ropes for the break as Taichi remained in front… at least until ELP landed the springboard crossbody and Quebrada combo for a two-count.

Kipping up, ELP looked to add to the mix with a slam and a Bret Hart-esque forearm off the middle rope, only for a Sudden Death to get countered with an enziguiri. The pair trade kicks, but it’s Taichi’s that find a way through at first, before an ELP enziguiri created an opening.

Another crack at Sudden Death’s stopped as Taichi came back with an Axe Bomber, before a bridging Dangerous backdrop driver almost got him the win. Out of nowhere, ELP’s Sudden Death gave him a near-fall, before Taichi superkicked away an attempt at the CR2… then went for a Black Mephisto, which ELP tries to counter… leading to him getting caught in a Gedo clutch for a near-fall.

ELP tries one of his own for a similar result, as the pair trade more strikes… leading to a Sudden Death and a Gedo Clutch as Phantasmo stole the win. This one just didn’t click for me, and with commentary teasing a rematch for the KOPW title, I can only hope the crowd makes a more sustained reaction. Well, apart from those three guys… **¾

G1 Climax 33 – Block A: Gabe Kidd vs. SANADA
…and another first-time outing… Kidd’s out first, and decides to go through the crowd, throwing some of the unused seats away.

Kidd cracked SANADA with a belt before the bell, then met him on the floor as the guard rails came into play. The referee’s pushed aside as Kidd went to use a chair… and popped the seat over SANADA’s head. Taking things inside, Kidd demanded the bell go, as he pulled up SANADA for a Saito suplex… which picked up a two-count.

Kidd goes all Okada, lifting SANADA up and shoving him to the floor, before he snatched SANADA’s world title and posed with it. Good thing Gabe’s not superstitious! Kidd threatened the ref as he wouldn’t count out SANADA… so Kidd heads back outside to throw SANADA into the crowd.

The crowd’s made to scatter as Kidd cannonballed into SANADA in the crowd, and now the crowd finally chant for SANADA. Back inside, SANADA finds a way through with some dropkicks to take Kidd outside, following with a plancha and a whip into the rails as Kidd was finding himself very much on the defensive.

SANADA continued to take Kidd into the railings, then back into the crowd for a piledriver on the floor… but Kidd reverses a whip as he sent SANADA over the railings, but SANADA springs back in to beat the 20-count. A Magic Screw from SANADA followed back inside, before Kidd bit his way out of a superplex, then hung up SANADA in a hangman’s choke.

Kidd gets a two-count out of a brainbuster, before an attempted piledriver was thrown away by SANADA. A Shining Wizard followed front he champion, but we’ve a teased ref bump as SANADA went for a Dead Fall… the ref misses a low blow as Kidd nearly wins with a tombstone, before Gabe went all SANADA on us, missing a moonsault before SANADA moonsaulted into a Skull End.

Kidd tries to counter back into a tombstone, before he used the ref as a human shield. SANADA eats a closed fist, but in falling down he accidentally punts Kidd low. Another Shining Wizard eventually follows, before the Dead Fall finally put Kidd away. This’ll be another divisive match, but this had its moments as Kidd pushed SANADA close – but in the end saw him all-but-eliminated from the tournament with a match left. ***½

G1 Climax 33 – Block B: Tanga Loa vs. Will Ospreay
It’s another first-time meeting – and one that is pretty much win-or-bust for Tanga Loa.

We’ve a somewhat slow start as Tanga tried to overpower Ospreay, sending him onto the apron as Ospreay opted to throw some strikes… which Tanga laughed off. A Biel brought Ospreay back in, but Ospreay then turns up the pace and almost got caught with a roll-up before Tanga went to Ospreay’s midsection.

Ospreay finds form with a forearm off the middle rope for a two-count, before a reversed Irish whip led to a back body drop from Tanga Loa. Ospreay’s dropped across the edge of the ring as Tanga again took the upper hand, throwing in the Three Amigos before Ospreay hit back with a handspring enziguiri.

Tanga’s met with a springboard forearm after that as Ospreay looked to pull ahead, but he can’t get a Storm breaker off as he instead got met with a barrage of strikes, bouncing into the corner as he went. Ospreay flips out of a German suplex and kicked his way back into it, landing a hook kick before a Blue Thunder bomb cut him off.

The pair trade blows from there, with Ospreay’s Kawada kicks helping him back up Tanga into the corner… but Tanga struck back with a forearm before he waffled Ospreay with a clothesline for a near-fall. Ospreay hits a flip stunner to counter an Apeshit… then added an OsCutter for a near-fall.

Ospreay aborts a Leap of Faith before he was met with an uppercut on the outside as he went for a plancha. Recovering, Osprey went for an OsCutter off the rails, but ended up getting shoved into the front row, which led to a count-out tease… not helped when Ospreay charged into a spear as Tanga Loa pulled off a hit and run, rolling back into the ring to pick up the count-out victory. You’ll remember the finish, the result, and nothing else… **¾

G1 Climax 33 – Block A: Yota Tsuji vs. Shota Umino
Finally, a match with some history! There’s been 11 prior meetings in the past – but Shota’s won every single time in New Japan, as they’ve not even had a draw. The only time Tsuji’s beaten Umino was under the Rev Pro banner just over a year ago at the 2022 Summer Sizzler… something Shota righted a month later, beating Tsuji in a strap match.

Shota shoots out of the corner with a dropkick at the bell as he was all over Tsuji to start, but a push-down stomp from Tsuji led to him taking things outside for a tope. Back inside, shoulder charges have Tsuji ahead, as did a body slam and the Mount Tsuji splash, before a snapmare and a chinlock kept Shota grounded.

Umino finally turned it around with the facebuster and a diving uppercut, while a Fisherman’s suplex added a near-fall. Tsuji tries to block an Exploder, but ends up running into it as he’s sent outside for a cannonball off the apron. Back inside, a missile dropkick and the Trident reverse DDT keeps him ahead… at least until Tsuji cut him off.

Tsuji looks for a backslide, but his follow-up knee strike is blocked as he ended up getting sent into the ropes for a dropkick. Some headscissors from Tsuji take Shota outside, but a Fosbury flop’s stopped as Umino hits a dropkick between the ropes instead. That led to a slingshot DDT back inside, before Tsuji threw away a Death Rider DDT attempt.

A backbreaker and a curb stomp has Shota rocked, while a second curb stomp looked to spell the end for Umino… but a follow-up spear misses as Umino instead came back with a STF. The ropes save Tsuji, but Shota retained the upper hand as we crossed the 15-minute mark – at a pace which suggested we’re doing a draw.

Yota fires up with forearms, finally getting similar fire back out of Umino, whose enziguiri earned him a headbutt in return. A Stinger Splash crashed into Umino as Yota took things up top for a belly-to-belly superplex for a near-fall… then a suplex/powerbomb for a similar two-count. We’re into the final two minutes, but still missing urgency as Shota’s double stomp cut off a spear, following up with the Ignition neckbreaker for another near-fall.

Shota picked up Tsuji for a hanging DDT, but it’s not enough as Tsuji barely kicks out as we hit the final minute… but we don’t go the distance as Tsuji popped-up Umino into a killer spear, and managed to beat the buzzer to get the win. Finally, we’ve got some difference between the Musketeers, as Tsuji got the first win between the three in a pretty good match. ***½

G1 Climax 33 – Block B: KENTA vs. Kazuchika Okada
We’ve just the one prior singles meeting here, with Okada beating KENTA in about this stage of 2019’s G1 Climax. That one almost went to the 30-minute limit, so Okada’ll need to be a little quicker here.

KENTA heads outside at the bell to wind the clock down… Okada finally catches him cutting through the ring, but KENTA’s quickly rolling back outside, where he caught Okada giving chase. Okada’s sent into the guard rails, before kicks back inside led to a DDT from KENTA. Figure Four headscissors follow, as did a neckbreaker, as KENTA’s deliberate pace kept him in control.

Okada’s forearms put him back in it, but KENTA remained an irritant, as a DDT from Okada took us through the ten-minute mark. KENTA’s tornado Gun Stun’s stopped as Okada dropkicks him to the floor instead, where a front kick knocks KENTA over the guard rails. KENTA’s able to sneak back in with a Green Killer as he beat Okada to the DDT-on-the-floor punch, causing another count-out tease in the process.

Back inside, Okada’s met with a hesitation dropkick in the corner, while a flying double stomp almost led to the upset win. Okada hits back with the neckbreaker slam, before a Money Clip ended with KENTA charging the pair into the corner, squishing the referee in the process.

KENTA kicks the referee to the floor, so you know we’re going to have shenanigans as we hit the final five minutes. Out comes a Kendo stick, which gets worn out on Okada… who finally replied with a shotgun dropkick. A belt shot’s dropkicked away by Okada, whose attempted Rainmaker’s countered with a cradle before he came right back with a tombstone. From there, KENTA’s pulled up… but palm strikes stun Okada ahead of a pair of Busaiku knees.

Okada’s dropkick finally forces an opening as he countered a Busaiku Knee into a landslide… before the Rainmaker was ducked. A second landslide followed as we hit the final minute, but Okada just lands a Rainmaker for the win. They tried to do the Okada hot finish, but this one just didn’t land as we misfired in the main event on back-to-back nights. ***

Your latest standings, with block A and B down to their final matches this weekend… and I’m only chalking people off if they’re mathematically incapable of finishing in the top two, rather than giving myself a headache over tiebreaking…

Block A
SANADA (6-0 / 12pts) qualified
Hikuleo (3-3 / 6pts)
Gabriel Kidd, Kaito Kiyomiya, Shota Umino (2-2-2 / 6pts)
Yota Tsuji (2-3-1 / 5pts)
Chase Owens (2-4 / 4pts) eliminated
Ren Narita (1-3-2 / 4pts) eliminated

Block B
Kazuchika Okada (5-1 / 10pts)
Will Ospreay (4-2 / 8pts)
Tanga Loa, El Phantasmo, Taichi (3-3 / 6pts)
KENTA, YOSHI-HASHI, Great O-Khan (2-4 / 4pts) eliminated

Block C
EVIL, David Finlay (4-1 / 8pts)
Tama Tonga (3-1-1 / 7pts)
Eddie Kingston (3-2 / 6pts)
Shingo Takagi (2-2-1 / 5pts)
HENARE, Tomohiro Ishii, Mikey Nicholls (1-4 / 2pts) eliminated

Block D
Jeff Cobb, Zack Sabre Jr. (4-1 / 8pts)
Tetsuya Naito, Hiroshi Tanahashi (3-2 / 6pts)
Hirooki Goto, Shane Haste (2-3 / 4pts)
Alex Coughlin, Toru Yano (1-4 / 2pts) eliminated

We’re back on Wednesday with a block C and block D card in Hiroshima, with Shingo Takagi and David Finlay on top, before we move to the split shows, starting with block A’s final matches on Saturday.

The final score: review Average
The 411
This wasn’t a night of good combinations on the card, as the booking gymnastics needed to keep blocks alive going into their final nights led to some particularly wacky results here.