New Japan Pro Wrestling
G1 Climax 33 Night 5
July 21, 2023
Aore Nagaoka
Nagaoka, Niigata, Japan

Watch: NJPWWorld

Welcome to Night 5 of the G1 Climax 33! After a really fun night 4, we’ll see what block A and B have in store for us. We have Yota Tsuji once again wrestling SANADA and we find out if he finally gets a single win after coming back from excursion. Kaito Kiyomiya will face Shota Umino in the battle of good looking gents from two different promotions. We’ll also find out if Will Ospreay does the very hard job of getting something above *** from KENTA. Will Gabe Kidd continue attacking before the bell? Will Taichi beat Okada? Continue on to find out. 

G1 Climax 33 B Block Match
YOSHI-HASHI (4) def. Tanga Loa (w/Jado) (2)

YOSHI-HASHI threatened me with a good time when he almost beat Tanga Loa with two quick roll ups at the start of the match, but it went on for 10 more minutes. Since YOSHI-HASHI is awesome, he actually did the impossible and finally made a Tanga Loa match enjoyable. Gotta love Kevin Kelly harping on how Loa’s knee is injured and all I could think of is “Why is he in the G1 then? Let him rest” and “I miss Tom Lawlor in undercard G1 matches.”

Overall, this was a decent opener that did not overstay its welcome and YOSHI-HASHI is so good that he got this over. Made me pay attention to the TV (laptop in my case). In the end, YOSHI-HASHI won with his new crucifix bomb called Easy Pickings. ***

G1 Climax 33 A Block Match
Gabe Kidd (4) def. Ren Narita (2)

Kidd has been attacking all of his opponents before the bell, but Narita was finally the smart one to turn around and avoid the pre-match attack. Narita hit Kidd, grabbed a mic, got into the ring, and told him to get inside. So the bell rings and the match starts with both men hitting the shit out of each other, and they go outside with the move I always love, the Suplex to the Outside. Both men continued their brawl, but it was short, and when Kidd got the upper hand he went back inside of the ring.

The rest of the match was Narita working on Kidd’s back, while Kidd was trying to get the upper hand with cheating or hard bombs. When Kidd finally had control of the match, he got distracted by a midmatch promo, so Narita took control of the match back. The ending was Kidd giving Narita a low blow and his leg-trap Piledriver to get two more points.

I liked that the match took the previous Kidd’s match formula and switched it up. I also liked that the crowd brawl was kept to a minimum, it was just two guys going at it nonstop. Hopefully they keep doing different stuff with Kidd’s matches instead of it being always an “attack opponent on entrance and brawl” approach. ***

G1 Climax 33 B Block Match
Great-O-Khan (2) def. El Phantasmo (0)

O-Khan, after losing his first two G1 matches, is on a fierce streak here in an awesome match with hard hitting action, flying, and nipple play.

We got threatened with not having a good time when ELP almost pinned O-Khan with small packages at the beginning of the match. After going to the outside and ELP missing a dive, O-Khan started attacking ELP’s soft spot, his neck, by taking off the tape and just going at him. ELP got so desperate that he did the nipple twist to O-Khan, but O-Khan actually enjoyed in and started biting ELP’s nipple, which ELP countered by biting O-Khan’s ear. I told you there was nipple play.

After a beautiful dive from the ring to the outside by ELP and O-Khan landing on the audience’s chairs, the match got back into the ring, where O-Khan’s offense was too much for ELP and he was put into the Sheep Killer for the submission win. O-Khan finally gets two points in a really fun match. I love ELP’s babyface fire and how fierce O-Khan looks. ***½

G1 Climax 33 A Block Match
Chase Owens (4) def. Hikuleo (w/Jado) (0)

After having so much fun on this night, we got this match. I have to admit that my eyes glaze over when Hikuleo is on the screen, what can I say. This was just Owens at first trying to not wrestle Hikuleo by trying to get Oscar Leube to wrestle for him. He went under the ring, Hikuleo went under too, and was hit with a tire iron. Owens kept working on his hand, the big guy eventually got the advantage, and Owens had to pretend to be hurt to hit Hikuleo with a knee strike to win. Just skip it, life is short. Nothing special to watch here or to write about. **

G1 Climax 33 B Block Match
Will Ospreay (4) def. KENTA (2)

Not even Ospreay is safe from the patented KENTA walk and brawl. KENTA attacked Ospreay before the bell rang, used his jacket, and then took him outside and was in control most of the match. He was just a dick: DDTs on the outside, and just nonstop attacks to Ospreay’s head. Slaps, kicks, he was just relentless in his abuse to Ospreay, showing an aggression that has been missing in this G1 by him. Even after the patented ref bump, KENTA just hit him with the kendo stick, and was really good at avoiding Ospreay’s signature moves. In the end, Ospreay found an opening, and a kick, front face Hidden Blade, and Stormbreaker gave him the win.

Ospreay made KENTA look like a million bucks in what was a fun match. I was wondering if this would actually be good, and it was. Worth watching for the abuse and Ospreay openings throughout the match to finally get the win. ***½

G1 Climax 33 A Block Match
Kaito Kiyomiya (5) vs. Shota Umino (2) went to a time limit DRAW

Third draw of the tournament on what was a beautiful, intense match. Kaito wanted to start slow, feeling it out, but Umino wanted none of it and just started hitting hard with elbows. What proceeded was a back and forth that Kaito dominated by working on Umino’s legs. One of the most intense moments was when Kaito had Umino in the Figure Four for two minutes. Umino was just yelling, holding on to the ref, looking back at Kaito, but the three minute call was heard and Kaito just stopped the move to try to pin him instead. This was Kaito’s big mistake in the match.

Kaito tried suplexes, but it did not work. Umino kept fighting back, even reversing a Shining Wizard into a DDT. But it was not enough. Both exhausted men heard the bell and that was it.

Umino still has not won a match, Kaito is doing great in the A block, and this was a match that was just another really good draw. The last few minutes really added to the match. ****

G1 Climax 33 B Block Match
Kazuchika Okada (6) def. Taichi (4)

Okada tried to finish this early with a Tombstone Piledriver and a Rainmaker, but Taichi was having none of it and blocked it. Not even a DDT on the outside by Okada prevented Taichi from giving his all. This was just exciting all around, with Taichi giving everything in his arsenal to Okada, and the opponent just getting out of things. We had a really close two count by Okada, one of those that makes you jump. I was on the edge of my seat alongside the crowd, until that bastard Okada rolled Taichi in his stack pin to win.

This was just fun and balls to the wall from beginning to end. There was the 15 minute call and I was surprised at how fast it came. Taichi is awesome and he has great chemistry with Okada, making this the match of the night. Don’t you dare miss it in your G1 catch up. ****

G1 Climax 33 A Block Match
SANADA (6) def. Yota Tsuji (1)

Tsuji suffered yet another loss in the G1, but he looked great doing it at least. He is easily my favorite guy that returned from excursion and this match was once again really good.

It started with a feeling out process, but SANADA landed outside from a tijeras and did the most heelish thing in this match: walk away when Tsuji was going to do his tope suicida. SANADA tried knocking him out on the stage, but Tsuji had the better of him, and after throwing him on the ramp brought the match back to the ring. Tsuji dominated a large part of the match, until SANADA countered a Curb Stomp, tried doing the O’Connor roll but Tsuji countered and applied his version of the Skull End. The 15 minute call happened, and Tsuji tried going for the Moonsault, was blocked, and SANADA tried the Deadfall which Tsuji countered beautifully. With two minutes left and after a successful Curb Stomp by Tsuji, SANADA was able to land a Deadfall for the three count.

A good main event to close up a great night. Tsuji looked awesome again against SANADA and I can’t wait for the day that he eventually beats him. SANADA did a good job on the main event here with a fun match. ***½

Final Thoughts

The A and B crew apparently heard that the C and D shows were better and decided to have the best show of the odd nights of the G1. With the exception of Hikuleo vs Owens, all of the matches were good, with the last four being the ones to watch. Skip the bad match and you won’t regret spending time with this show. If short on time, stick with the top four matches. It has the best KENTA match this year, a great drama filled draw, the great match between Okada and Taichi, and a good main event.