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Hamilton’s New Japan G1 Climax 33 – Night Twelve 08.02.2023 Review

August 2, 2023 | Posted by Ian Hamilton
NJPW G1 Climax 33 - Night Twelve - Shingo Takagi vs. David Finlay Image Credit: NJPW
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Hamilton’s New Japan G1 Climax 33 – Night Twelve 08.02.2023 Review  

Quick Results
G1 Climax 33 – Block D: Alex Coughlin pinned Hiroshi Tanahashi in 8:50 (***¼)
G1 Climax 33 – Block C: Mikey Nicholls pinned EVIL in 9:40 (**¾)
G1 Climax 33 – Block D: Toru Yano pinned Shane Haste in 6:09 (**½)
G1 Climax 33 – Block C: HENARE pinned Tomohiro Ishii in 14:21 (****)
G1 Climax 33 – Block D: Hirooki Goto pinned Jeff Cobb in 11:33 (***¼)
G1 Climax 33 – Block C: Eddie Kingston pinned Tama Tonga in 11:39 (***¼)
G1 Climax 33 – Block D: Tetsuya Naito pinned Zack Sabre Jr. in 18:30 (***¾)
G1 Climax 33 – Block C: Shingo Takagi pinned David Finlay in 18:45 (***½)

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We’re at the Sun Plaza in Hiroshima for the last of the combined block shows. Kevin Kelly once again is riding solo on English commentary…

G1 Climax 33 – Block D: Alex Coughlin vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
Surprise! A first-time meeting starts us off… Coughlin’s already eliminated, and a loss for Tanahashi would all-but eliminate him.

Coughlin charges through Tanahashi early on, but Coughlin’s taken into the corner as Tanahashi began to work over the left leg. Breaking free, Coughlin returns with chops before he clotheslined Tanahashi to the outside, where those guard rails of course came into play. Even Oskar Leube came into play as Coughlin slammed the German onto Tanahashi for good measure.

Back inside, Tanahashi fought back with a leaping forearm, then with a slam and a flip senton out of the corner, before Coughlin caught Tanahashi and spun him into a backbreaker. A sidewalk slam’s next, but Tanahashi’s able to sneak in a Twist and Shout neckbreaker, then a Slingblade. A reverse Slingblade facebuster keeps Coughlin down for a two-count, before Tanahashi headed up top… but his Ace’s High is caught and turned into a bridging fallaway slam for a near-fall.

Tanahashi’s caught with a death valley driver next for a near-fall, before Coughlin overpowered a cradle and turned it into a Jackhammer for the win. A huge upset for Coughlin as Tanahashi continues to slide. ***¼

G1 Climax 33 – Block C: EVIL vs. Mikey Nicholls
We’re 2-for-2 in first-timers today…

EVIL jumped Nicholls in the aisle before the bell, and continued the underhanded tactics when the match got underway with some t-shirt choking. Nicholls struck back with a stalling suplex, before Dick Togo tripped up Nicholls in the ropes… it led to things spilling outside as EVIL wiped out the ring announcer, as per usual.

They head into the crowd, as Nicholls got flung through some chairs, which led to a count-out tease… Nicholls beats it, but gets caught in the cheating abdominal stretch. Turning it around, Nicholls wallops EVIL with a clothesline in the corner, before Dick Togo popped up on the apron… and had EVIL thrown into him.

A death valley driver and a sliding lariat gets Nicholls a two-count, before EVIL cynically tried to cause a ref bump. The ref cowers, but Nicholls gets a knee up to block a low blow attempt… before we finally got the ref bump. Here comes the crap as Dick Togo hit the ring as Nicholls gets double-teamed ahead of a fist drop to the balls.

The referee returns to count a near-fall from that, then got bumped again as more double-teaming laid out Nicholls… Kosei Fujita has had enough and jumps into the ring to break up a Magic Killer, before Mikey won out with a Euro clutch. Turnabout is fair play and all that, but the interference was really getting overdone here. **¾

G1 Climax 33 – Block D: Shane Haste vs. Toru Yano
The streak ends – we’ve got a prior match, going back over a decade to June 2013 when Yano beat Haste on a Pro Wrestling NOAH card.

Right as Kevin Kelly predicted a scientific battle, Yano came out with a blindfold over the top of his head, like he was drying his hair. Yup. Anyway, Yano tried to give Haste the blindfold as a present, as long he could try out Shane’s hat. Yano pulls the blindfold over Haste and rolled him up for a two-count… only for Haste to return the favour.

Yano tries to slingshot Haste into the exposed corner, but ends up running into the buckles himself before bopping Haste’s head. A dropkick takes Yano outside for respite… which led to a delayed chase as Yano tried to hide some freeze spray. Haste covers up as Yano scurried under the ring… with Haste and Kosei Fujita joining him.

Comedy ensues as we hear banging noises before Yano rolled out unscathed… and headed back into the ring. Fujita’s out next, with the blindfold on, while Haste… has a bucket taped over his head?! Eh, that’s a new twist, I guess. Haste makes it back into the ring, and gets his bucket slapped as Yano pratted around… but Haste is able to find a way in with uppercuts.

Yano throws the ref at Haste, who’s stopped from doing anything silly by Kosei Fujita… Yano then goes for a low blow, but it’s blocked as a clothesline drew a near-fall for Haste. Shane hulks up and rips off the bucket, only to put it over the ref’s head as a low blow and a spear allowed Yano to snatch the win with a roll-up. What do you want me to say? It’s a Yano comedy match, but at least they found a new prop… **½

G1 Climax 33 – Block C: HENARE vs. Tomohiro Ishii
Just the two prior matches here, with Ishii beating Henare both times… but this should be spicy!

Starting with shoulder tackles, Ishii looked to be stunned early on before we reached a stand-off. Another shoulder tackle bumps Ishii, who quickly got up to trade strikes ahead of HENARE’s back senton as HENARE looked to be in control. Kicks keep Ishi down to a knee, only for Ishii to jack HENARE’s knee to turn things around.

A shoulder tackle out of the corner bounced HENARE to the mat, as did a suplex, before headbutts wore down HENARE’s shoulder. Firing up, HENARE rips off his KT tape, then cracked Ishii with a spinning heel kick to end another exchange of fire. Body blows follow from HENARE as he took Ishii into the corner, following with a Berzerker bomb off the ropes for a near-fall.

Ishii pops up after he took a PK, decking HENARE with a simple forearm, then followed up with the rapid-fire elbows until he was stopped with a gut punch in return. A springboard enziguiri out of the corner drops Ishii, who came back with a German suplex… then a clothesline as he almost put HENARE away.

HENARE avoids a sliding lariat and returned with a Samoan drop, only to get met with an enziguiri moments later. Ishii hits the ropes and spun HENARE down with another lariat, but it’s not enough as HENARE rattled Ishii with an elbow to the head… then a short-range knee strike. Oof.

HENARE adds a Rampage spear for a near-fall, before his attempt at the Ultima trapped Ishii… it’s stopped as a uranage sees HENARE pick up another two-count, following that up with the step-up knee in the corner… before a Streets of Rage attempt was blocked. Ishii’s right back in with a headbutt, adding a sliding lariat as he looked to snatch the win, before a hook kick from HENARE and a headbutt left Ishii laying. From there, all that’s needed is the Street of Rage, as HENARE picked up the win in this cracker to leave Ishii adrift at the bottom of the block. ****

G1 Climax 33 – Block D: Jeff Cobb vs. Hirooki Goto
These two have a pair of wins and losses against the other in prior matches – including a win apiece in prior G1 outings. A loss for Goto eliminates him, while Cobb needs to stop a slide from developing at the worst moment.

Goto’s met with an early shoulder block as his attempts to overpower Cobb were thwarted. Goto’s able to reply with a kick to Cobb, but Cobb’s able to return with a leaping uppercut into the corner… then a leaping shoulder tackle as Goto headed outside for respite. Things didn’t improve on the outside as Cobb stayed on Goto, scoring with a throat thrust before catching Goto’s spinning heel kick into the corner.

It’s turned into a slam for a two-count, before a standing moonsault was missed by Cobb. A clothesline from Goto helps him chip away at Cobb, while a sleeperhold brought Cobb down to the deck… only for a follow-up PK to be caught as Cobb got back up and took Goto down with a dropkick.

Cobb keeps going with a Spin Cycle and a standing moonsault for a pair of two-counts, before Goto gritted his teeth and looked to go for an ushigoroshi. A second attempt lands, before Goto headbutted away a Tour of the Islands as he proceeded to grab a near-fall out of a Code Red. The hell?! A GTR follows, and that’s enough to get the win as the G in G1 seems to stand for “Goto’s alive by the skin of his teeth”. ***¼

G1 Climax 33 – Block C: Tama Tonga vs. Eddie Kingston
We’re back to the first-time match-ups here…

Opening with a lock-up, Kingston ends up in the corner as the referee eventually splits the pair. Kingston has more luck with a side headlock, clinging on as Tama tries to push away before Kingston’s chop prompted Tama to take off his vest.

More chops follow, but Tama replies with a forearm as elbows to the nose of Kingston had him rocked. Kicks keep Eddie by the ropes, but he replies with a suplex as things remained even. Elbows help Tama take Kingston to the corner ahead of a Stinger splash. A second one misses though, with Kingston returning with some Kobashi-like chops and a flying shoulder tackle off the middle rope.

Tama hits back with a flying neckbreaker off the middle rope, adding the SRC and a Supreme Flow to the mix… but he crashes and burns as Eddie rolled away. Kingston took over with some elbows, before an Exploder looked to cut-off Eddie’s offence… except hsi replied with one of his own, then a Saito suplex to remain in front.

Kingston goes for a Backfist to the Future, but Tama blocks it and hits a Tongan Twist for a near-fall. A second Saito suplex rocks Tama, who’s then wiped out with the Backfist… and kicks out! Tama looks to counter with a Gun Stun, but another backfist followed, then a Northern Lights Bomb as Kingston left with the win. ***¼

G1 Climax 33 – Block D: Tetsuya Naito vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
We’ve ten prior meetings in singles matches here, with Naito edging ahead with six wins – the most recent of which came last October at Royal Quest 2 in London. Naito’ll need to repeat that win to keep his G1 alive, since a loss here would put him behind on tie-breakers to Cobb and Sabre.

Of course, Naito takes an age to get ready, so it’s no surprise that Sabre’s a little salty… tripping up Naito as he wound up for a taunt, before stopping to do a roly poly in the middle of the ring. Sabre and Naito jockey over a Cobra twist as Naito eventually took Sabre outside with a tijeras, before stopping to pose in the middle of the ring.

Naito heads outside, but baits Sabre with him as a trip to the guard rails awaited Zack… who was then dropped over the gate with a neckbreaker. A second neckbreaker follows on the floor, before Sabre kicked away Naito’s arm to break up a submission attempt, then dropped down for a cross armbar that instantly ended in the ropes.

Sabre stays on the arm, hammerlocking it then twisting it between his legs as the Hiroshima crowd began to get behind Naito. An overhead kick to the arm’s missed as Naito went back to the neckbreaker, then took Sabre into the corner for a delayed Combinacion Cabron. A grounded leg nelson has Sabre in trouble as we crossed the ten-minute mark, with the hold eventually broken via the ropes…

A trip up top sees Sabre take control of Naito’s arm once again, this time with a hanging armbar in the corner, before Naito fought back with a spinebuster. Elbows to the neck drop Sabre ahead of a running Destino, but Sabre’s not staying down after one of those, prompting Naito to take him back into the corner… only for Sabre to counter Esperanza into a trapped-arm armbar.

Of course, Sabre switches between holds, which allowed Naito to head into the ropes for a break at the 15:00 mark. Naito fights back, but his jack-knife cover see-saws as Sabre nearly snatched the win, before a Zack Driver’s countered into a Destino! A second Destino follows, but this time Zack countered it into the Zack Driver… and now we’re into the final three minutes.

Both men remain down as they looked to regain their composure, leading to Sabre landing uppercuts and a swinging DDT out of the corner… before a Valentia from Naito stopped Sabre in his tracks. The tempo raises as both men looked for the finish, but Naito fakes out a tornado DDT, turning it into an inside cradle for the win! This one picked up towards the finish, as Naito’s slender chances of a G1 win remains alive… ***¾

G1 Climax 33 – Block C: Shingo Takagi vs. David Finlay
Finlay holds the win over Shingo in their only prior meeting – just over a year ago in last year’s G1 Climax. Shingo needs to get a win here to stay alive going into the final night…

Opening with a lock-up into the ropes, Finlay swings for Shingo… who ducks away. Finlay pulls the hair as Shingo went for a shoulder tackle… but ended up on the deck seconds later, before the pair ended up on the outside as Finlay opted to grab a table from under the ring.

Shingo’s thrown into the table, then had to grab the guard rails to prevent a suplex… only for Finlay to suplex him onto the floor instead after a switcheroo. Back inside, headbutts and boots leave Shingo laying in the corner… before Finlay cut off Shingo’s jabs by going for the hair. Elbows and a clothesline take Finlay down though, while a handful of hair helped Shingo toss Finlay across the ring.

Finlay’s taken down with a suplex for a two-count afterwards, before a Shingo combination ended with a DDT and a sliding lariat. Heading outside, Shingo teases a death valley driver onto the apron… Finlay stops it, but ended up getting dragged onto the apron as the table was again teased… only for Finlay to ultimately powerbomb Shingo through it.

Finlay goes all Gabe Kidd with middle fingers to the crowd as he waited to take a count-out win… of course, Shingo beats the count, but couldn’t avoid a Blue Thunder Bomb as Finlay picked up a near-fall. A sliding lariat to the back of the head gets a similar result, before Shingo struck back with the noshigami.

Shingo adds a superplex to the mix, before a Made in Japan was blocked as Finlay countered by hanging up Shingo into the ropes. Finlay returns with a sit-out Dominator, but it’s not enough… so he adds a clothesline off the ropes, before Into Oblivion was countered into a Ground Cobra. Finlay kicks out, then hits a uranage backbreaker, before a swinging backbreaker drew another two-count.

We cross the 15-minute mark with Finlay going for another powerbomb, but Shingo withstands it and found a way back in with Made in Japan for a near-fall. Elbows from Shingo earn a reply, with Finlay’s spear leading to a powerbomb. He adds another, before a sliding elbow countered Into Oblivion, before Shingo finally hauled up Finlay for a Last of the Dragon to get the win. The time-limit tease didn’t fit the pacing here, but the result leaves everything to play for in block C going into their finale on Tuesday in Yokohama Budokan. ***½

With one match left in each block, here’s where we lie…

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, 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

Block D
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

The G1 takes two days off, and returns on Saturday in Osaka for the first of two shows – as block A has their final matches to see who finishes behind SANADA in that group. There’s some undercard tags too, for those who’ve missed them…

The final score: review Good
The 411
The joint-block shows wrapped up with a solid evening of action - which sets up for the expected squeaky-bum-moments across the next four shows as the quarter-finals settle into place.