New Japan Pro Wrestling
G1 Climax 33 Night 7
July 25, 2023
Korakuen Hall
Tokyo, Japan

Watch: NJPWWorld

After Night 6 ended up being one of the weakest shows on the entire tour, the G1 Climax continues as New Japan returns to Tokyo for two straight nights in Korakuen Hall before a third event in the Ota City General Gymnasium. This first night in Korakuen Hall is headlined by IWGP World Heavyweight Champion SANADA going up against Pro Wrestling NOAH’s Kaito Kiyomiya. Meanwhile, we’ve got some inter-stable battles in the form of Kazuchika Okada vs. YOSHI-HASHI and Will Ospreay vs. Great O-Khan, while the three Reiwa Musketeers are all still searching for their first win of the entire tournament. How will things unfold as we start to close in on the halfway point of this year’s G1 Climax?

G1 Climax 33 – B Block
Will Ospreay (6) def. Great O-Khan (2)

Up first was a battle between United Empire stablemates, as Will Ospreay took on Great O-Khan in what I believe was the first singles encounter since O-Khan returned from his excursion in 2020. Despite being the same group, these two didn’t hold back, and they ended up having a great opening contest that saw Ospreay pick up the win with the Leap Of Faith. Ospreay was awesome (as per usual), but Great O-Khan more than held up his end of things, as it was easily his best match of the tournament thus far. O-Khan really pulled out all the stops as he tried his best to put Ospreay away. He busted out some mist, tried for some quick flash pins, utilized chairs, and even did some high flying in the form of a high cross to the floor and a second rope moonsault! Despite O-Khan’s best efforts, it just wasn’t enough to put the leader of United Empire away. A very entertaining match for the eleven minutes or so that it lasted, and an awesome way to kick off the show. The crowd in Korakuen Hall was super lively for this one, so you just knew at this point that we were in for an exciting night of wrestling. ****1/4

G1 Climax 33 – A Block
Shota Umino (4) def. Gabe Kidd (4)

Shota Umino made his entrance through the famous Korakuen Hall stairwell, but just after he emerged in front of the crowd, Gabe Kidd came in at full speed and just blindsided him. The good news is that the usual pre-match brawling we’ve been getting for Kidd in this tournament didn’t last very long this time around, as Kidd dragged Umino back to the ring to officially get the match started. For a few minutes, Kidd was firmly in control as he delivered some pretty devastating moves to Umino (including a brainbuster on the apron). Once Umino was finally able to string together some offense, it became a more even affair down the stretch. Kidd would utilize a variety of tricks in an attempt to put Umino away, but they all failed, and Umino finally put Kidd away with the Death Rider. This was Umino’s first win of the entire tournament, as he’s had one loss and two time-limit draws up to this point. While this didn’t quite reach the heights of the opener, it was still very good on the whole, and (much like Great O-Khan) Gabe Kidd had his best match in the tournament to date. I believe that was down to a combination of keeping the on the floor brawling to a minimum, Kidd getting some strong heat from the Korakuen crowd, and Kidd just….really working well with Umino here. Solid action throughout this one, and a much-needed result for Umino. ***3/4

G1 Climax 33 – B Block
KENTA (4) def. Taichi (4)

As Taichi is doing his usual entrance, KENTA starts playing his Defy Title like an air guitar, which leads to a pre-match contest where the two of them try to see who gets the bigger reaction when they raise their respective titles (KENTA with the Defy Title, and Taichi with the KOPW Title). KENTA eventually gets Yoshinobu Kanemaru (who was on Japanese commentary) to come in and judge, and when he obviously picked Taichi, KENTA attacked, and the match was underway. Taichi was already on the back foot after a belt shot from KENTA, but he fought back with a backdrop driver. How did KENTA respond to this comeback? He tore Taichi’s pants off, which legitimately got the biggest reaction of the whole match (it was a pretty funny spot), but then immediately ate an Axe Bomber. The referee then got knocked down during a sequence where Taichi tried for the Gedo Clutch, and this allowed KENTA to grab his Defy Title. He used it to block a kick from Taichi, hit a low blow, and rolled him up to score the pin. This was a shade over two minutes, and for what it was, I thought it was fine. It did have a fun moment or two, and as I said in my review of Night 6, I don’t mind getting these super short G1 matches every so often, especially when it involves a guy like KENTA who clearly is not the same level of performer he once was. Enjoyable for the time that it lasted. **1/2

G1 Climax 33 – A Block
Yota Tsuji (3) def. Chase Owens (4)

Much like Shota Umino a little earlier in the show, Yota Tsuji is also still searching for his first win of the tournament. To this point, he had two losses and one time limit draw. Fortunately, he was finally able to break through and get that first singles win (which was also his first singles win since returning from excursion) over Chase Owens. This bout featured good action from start to finish, and (continuing a theme that’s been present throughout this card) it was Chase’s best match of the tournament so far. Owen jumped Tsuji before the bell, and was in control early, but Tsuji was able to fight back with a moonsault to the floor. The closing stretch featured some fun exchanges between the two that got the crowd pretty excited. Tsuji was able to survive Jewel Heist (along with a number of knee strikes) and avoided the Package Piledriver before going on his final offensive flurry. A heatbutt, a curb stomp, and a big spear finally got the job done for Tsuji. This was by no means an outstanding match, but given its spot on the card, it worked really well. ***1/2

G1 Climax 33 – B Block
El Phantasmo (2) def. Tanga Loa (2)

It’s been a really rough stretch for El Phantasmo. Not only is he off to a 0-3 start in the G1 Climax, but (more importantly and unfortunately) he learned that his grandfather had passed away (he cut a very sad and emotional promo following his loss to Great O-Khan back on Night 5). He came to Korakuen Hall looking to finally get on the board, and he managed to do just that with a win over former Bullet Club stablemate Tanga Loa. While the two shook hands before the bell, the match quickly spilled to the floor, with the brawl culminating with Phantasmo diving off one of the low platforms that had seats on them. ELP seemed to have the momentum, but that was stopped dead in its tracks when Tanga Loa speared him out of midair after ELP had tried for a springboard crossbody. From that point, Tana Loa was firmly in control of the match (including connected with an insane Super Powerbomb) before ELP caught him with a crucifix to score the victory. Much like the previous match, it was far from the best thing on the card, but there was solid wrestling from start to finish, and the lively Korakuen crowd definitely added to the atmosphere. I would still say that Tanga Loa’s match with YOSHI-HASHI from Night 5 was his best of the tournament, but this wasn’t far off. As for ELP, while him advancing out of the block stages is highly unlikely, his tournament is culminating in a big way as he’ll have the chance to play spoiler against Will Ospreay. Can ELP pick up a few more wins along the way? Time will tell. ***1/4

G1 Climax 33 – A Block
Hikuleo (2) def. Ren Narita (2)

Coming into Korakuen Hall, Ren Narita was going through the same struggles that his fellow Reiwa Musketeers were facing. He had two points, but they both came as a result of time limit draws with Shota Umino and Yota Tsuji. His only other match was a loss to Gabe Kidd. While Tsuji and Umino were finally able to get wins, Narita is going to have to wait a little bit longer, as he came up short here against Hikuleo. This was the weakest match on the card, but it was still a good match, which just goes to show how strong this card ended up being. For the most part, Hikuleo dominated this match. Narita did manage to get moments here and there, but he was on the defensive for the bulk of the bout. Hikuleo ultimately put Narita away with a chokeslam to pick up his first win of the tournament. Given that this was a mostly one-sided affair, it could’ve been a few minutes shorter, but that’s just a minor complaint. ***1/4

G1 Climax 33 – B Block
Kazuchika Okada (8) def. YOSHI-HASHI (4)

The semi-main event of Night 7 was a battle between CHAOS stablemates. Okada came into this bout 3-0 against YOSHI-HASHI in singles matches since they returned from excursion, and that streak continued here, as Okada scored the victory to move to 8 Points with a 4-0 Record. This was a really strong match, as you would expect, with great action throughout. Of course, Okada putting on an awesome singles bout in Korakuen Hall is no surprise and, at this point, it’s not that much of a surprise from YOSHI-HASHI either. He really took to Okada in this one, both on the floor and in the ring, while also managing to avoid the Rainmaker a couple of times. In the closing moments, he tried for the new crucifix bomb that he’s been using as of late, but Okada caught him, dropped him, and finished him off with the Rainmaker. This was right up there with the opener as far as Match Of The Night goes. In a fun side note, the results of YOSHI-HASHI’s four matches (in order) have been a win, a loss, a win, and a loss. If that pattern continues, you can pencil him in to beat Taichi on Thursday. ****1/4

G1 Climax 33 – A Block
SANADA (8) def. Kaito Kiyomiya (5)

I was really excited to check out this main event. The IWGP World Heavyweight Champion against one of NOAH’s top stars, with both having a common link (for better or for worse) in the form of Keiji Muto. It was also a bout that would go a long way in determining who would be the top point getter in the block (if Kiyomiya had any shot of winning the block, he pretty much had to beat SANADA here, based on how things had gone up to this point). After the initial opening exchanges, which included a big running dive from Kiyomiya over the top rope and to the floor, the NOAH star started to target SANADA’s leg, and that became his main focus for the rest of the bout. SANADA would respond with some of his typical offense, but Kiyomiya would always go back to the leg. He managed to lock in a Figure Four at one point, though SANADA managed to survive it. As they got closer and closer to the time limit, the crowd (which had been invested in the match since the opening bell) got even more excited. The two traded big moves as the time continued to tick away, and just when it seemed that we were about to get yet another draw in the A Block, SANADA hit a Shining Wizard and pinned Kiyomiya with only two seconds left! The timing of that finish was nothing short of amazing. Combine that with strong action between the two and a great Korakuen crowd, and you have yourself an incredible G1 main event that capped off a super entertaining card. The result pretty much assures that SANADA is on his way to winning the A Block, as with all of the draws that have taken place between the Reiwa Musketeers, and rest of the field in the block having middling records, the real battle in the A Block is going to be for that second place spot. Kiyomiya was SANADA’s closest challenger coming into this show at 5 Points, but he ultimately came up short in this Korakuen Hall main event. ****1/4

Final Thoughts

After a very shaky Night 6, I think many of us were hoping that three shows in a row in Tokyo would help inject some energy into this year’s G1 Climax. Well, we’re only one night into that three night stretch, and the Korakuen Hall faithful absolutely brought it. This turned out to be a quality card from start to finish, with plenty of really good to great matches, though the energy of being in Korakuen Hall added so much to the atmosphere and the bouts themselves. It’s hard to pick a Match Of The Night between Ospreay vs. O-Khan, Okada vs. YOSHI-HASHI, and SANADA vs. Kiyomiya, because they were all awesome matches. If you have the time, you should just go back and watch the entire show. You can almost never go wrong with a show in Korakuen Hall during the G1 Climax.

Here are the updated standings for the A and B Blocks, respectively:

A Block

  • SANADA (4-0) – 8 Points
  • Kaito Kiyomiya (3-0-1) – 5 Points
  • Chase Owens (2-2) – 4 Points
  • Shota Umino (1-1-2) – 4 Points
  • Gabe Kidd (2-2) – 4 Points
  • Yota Tsuji (1-2-1) – 3 Points
  • Hikuleo (1-3) – 2 Points
  • Ren Narita (0-2-2) – 2 Points

B Block

  • Kazuchika Okada (4-0) – 8 Points
  • Will Ospreay (3-1) – 6 Points
  • KENTA (2-2) – 4 Points
  • Taichi (2-2) – 4 Points
  • YOSHI-HASHI (2-2) – 4 Points
  • Great O-Khan (1-3) – 2 Points
  • El Phantasmo (1-3) – 2 Points
  • Tanga Loa (1-3) – 2 Points

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