New Japan Pro Wrestling
G1 Climax 33 Night 9
July 27, 2023
Ota City General Gymnasium
Tokyo Japan

Watch: NJPW World

We arrive on night 9 of the G1 Climax 33 with one of the biggest main events in the tournament: Kazuchika Okada vs Will Ospreay. They have been going at it for eight years, and Okada always wins, with the lone exception being at the G1 Climax in 2020, where Ospreay beat him with the help of a debuting Great-O-Khan. The question: will Ospreay finally do it by himself? Is this the end of the story? Okada is on a hot streak too, so we’ll see the final results. 

Other important matches: Narita has his opportunity against the champ, who he has beaten before in the TV Title tournament. We will also see if the other R3M can rack up points in their matches against Chase Owens and Hikuleo, since between the draws they have not gotten full points and Umino is clearly the forerunner. 

G1 Climax 2023 Block A Match
Shota Umino (6) def. Chase Owens (4)

Umino has been studying the G1 Climax 32 on NJPW World since he managed to avoid the pre-match attack by Owens. After the bell sounded, he was desperate to take off his entrance gear to get into the match. He was in control until Owens did a DVD on the outside that turned the match to him, who kept complaining to the ref after every two count. Finish was fun, with a failed Package Piledriver by Owens, followed by a failed Death Rider by Umino, and after two package pin attempts by both men, they went back to their finishers. Umino countered the Package Piledriver into Death Rider for the three count. And Umino loves us watchers of the English feed, since he said it on Kevin Kelly’s mic.

A perfectly fine opener to give Umino two more points and a lead over the other R3M. This will be Owens role for the young guys in the A block, as points and a base to them. ***

G1 Climax 2023 Block B Match
Taichi (6) def. YOSHI-HASHI (4)

The match started with both men kicking each other, and then into a chop endurance test, which YOSHI-HASHI won. Gotta love that after this, Kevin Kelly reminded us to not try this at home, so there goes the chop battle in the next Voices of Wrestling staff meeting. Taichi is being beat up with small flourishes of hope, until a missed corner chop by YOSHI-HASHI gave Taichi the opportunity for an Enzuguiri for some control. Both of them tried the lariat at the same time, YOSHI-HASHI won. Taichi got his revenge with the Dangerous Suplex. They have been hitting each other so hard that by the 10 minute call they are dead. In the end of this battle, Taichi got the win with Black Mephisto to get 6 points. 

This really worked since these two are having a great tournament. This was one of the matches I was looking forward to the most and it worked. YOSHI-HASHI’s fire is great to witness, and both men knowing each other had them countering everything. Fun, hard hitting, exciting, what’s not to love? ***½ 

G1 Climax 2023 Block A Match
Gabe Kidd (4) vs. Kaito Kiyomiya (6) – Count Out

This match started immediately since Kidd did not even let Kiyomiya have 3 seconds of his entrance. I like how Kidd is varying the time of his pre-match interruptions to keep his opponents on his toes. They went straight to the crowd brawl, with Kidd putting Kiyomiya on top of some chairs, and when Kidd went for a tope, Kiyomiya moved. Kiyomiya tried getting the match back in the ring, but Kidd stopped him, looked for a chair and hit him straight in the head. Then he was confident enough to get Kiyomiya back in the ring to properly start the match.

We have Kidd doing mid-match promos, biting Kiyomiya, yelling at the audience, counting and getting his head up, chopping him from the ropes to the outside, until our hero was able to do something by doing a Moonsault and Missile Dropkick. Sadly, his control was cut off with a low blow. Kiyomiya had enough of the shenanigans so, while being beaten up, he got enough fire to not only start hitting Kidd back nonstop, but spit on him, kicked him nonstop on the outside and threw him to the guardrail. At this moment it becomes once again a violent brawl through the crowd with no one taking the advantage. The match ends with a count out since both men can’t stop fighting outside. It even continues after the bell rings and it takes a while to separate them.

This was fucking awesome. This was a war. Kiyomiya took a hell of a beating for minutes on end, until his fire was lit enough and could not stop fighting back. It was violent as hell, it looked amazing, and they just went through all of the crowd, and all of the referees had to come out to stop this. This was special and Kidd’s disrespect was enough to justify Kiyomiya throwing this match. Watch it. ****

G1 Climax 2023 Block B Match
Tanga Loa (4) vs. Great-O-Khan (2)

We go from excitement to a Tanga Loa match, which started with a standard feeling out process until O-Khan attacked his knee with a chair, and sat on the chair that was on the knee, creating an interesting submission. This became a knee match, one that made glaze over halfway through. When Loa was getting some advantage, O-Khan countered with a hit on his knee. O-Khan tried going for his chokeslam and Loa countered with a variation of the Tombstone Piledriver to win and the crowd went mild. O-Khan is officially eliminated, so between his bad streak in the G1 and his attitude towards Ospreay on Night 7, who knows what’s next for him. 

Anyway, a nothing match, it only works to see the continued downfall of O-Khan. You can skip. **

G1 Climax 2023 Block A Match
Hikuleo (4) def. Yota Tsuji (3)

Hikuleo is doing better in the G1! That was part of the story here when he was countering almost everything Tsuji threw at him, but after going outside and catching Tsuji’s doing the tope, and him countering that, he was back to the floor. He even got a hurricarana straight to the guardrail. Back in the ring, Tsuji is hitting him in the gut and taking him down with confident kicks and elbows to the head. The big man tried his best to counter back, but even his Chokeslam was countered and was hit with a headbutt and suplex for a two count. Tsuji went for his Spear and was countered into a Powerslam and one Chokeslam later  Hikuelo got two points. He bested Tsuji.

This is one of the best Hikuelo matches I have seen and that was thanks to Tsuji’s personality, ability, and the match being perfectly structured. He looked like a big man that belonged there. I was thinking that Tsuji was going to take it, but it got to the point midmatch that I went “Hey, Hikuelo is looking great. He might do it”. It’s finally nice to watch a Hikuleo match that does not tempt me to skip. ***½  

G1 Climax 2023 Block B Match
El Phantasmo (4) def. KENTA (0) 

KENTA is just outside milling around, ELP trying to get the crowd to convince him to get inside, until he had enough and got into the top rope and did a beautiful dive into his opponent. Then we have a walk and brawl through the crowd and the hard bleachers of the Ota City Gymnasium. Bleachers so hard that ELP is just bleeding. They moved around to the entrance area, where ELP tried to get onto the entrance beams for an aerial attack, but KENTA stopped him, and did a DDT and left to go backstage. When I thought the match was over, he came back with a kendo stick he started using. 

After beating ELP up with said kendo stick, KENTA went under the ring, but this time ELP got the kendo stick and started beating the hell out of the opponent. ELP prepared a table to powerbomb KENTA through, but was countered with a DDT on said table. Finally the match goes to the ring, and the bell sounds. ELP immediately got KENTA on an inside cradle pin for the win.

Your enjoyment of this match will depend on what you think of KENTA and his walk and brawls. This was the equivalent of a No DQ match in another promotion, with the hits around the arena and weapons. This might have been more fun if there wasn’t a more violent and better version of a walk and brawl earlier in the show. My only complaint is that this felt long, and I was begging for them to get to the ring. ***

G1 Climax 2023 Block A Match
SANADA (10) def. Ren Narita (2)

After feeling each other out, Narita gets the advantage by throwing SANADA outside and working on his legs inside the ring. SANADA has control periods that are cut off by Narita going after his knee. His knee is so bad that when SANADA went for the Moonsault and landed on his feet, he was injured enough for Narita to take advantage of it. After the 10-minute call, the action was Narita trying to submit the champ by abdominal stretch, a choke, but SANADA was able to find strength to get into his signature spots. Narita tried going for his finisher but SANADA countered and knocked him out with the Deadfall.

I was not feeling this match. It was okay, and I liked Narita trying to submit SANADA and the champ finding a way to win and be the better man tonight. Still, Narita was off in the final moments. Could have been better and it has been better before. ***

G1 Climax 2023 Block B Match
Will Ospreay (8) def. Kazuchika Okada (8)

This started fast. I was fooled when this started with a similar feel-out process of some main events, but when Okada put Ospreay into the ropes, and instead of slapping his chest, he tried punching him, things started hot with a plancha by Ospreay to the outside. They went back to the ring, Okada hit a flapjack and took Ospreay outside again not for one but two DDTs, still in his asshole mode. Ospreay goes back into the ring and gets hit with a third DDT for the two count. Ospreay was able to fight back this assault with a kick from the ropes to get some revenge. He tried going for the Leap of Faith early but was stopped by Okada. 

Ospreay went for the Oscutter, but Okada countered with a Rainmaker for the two count. Another Rainmaker was countered into a Powerbomb. There was a nasty spot where Okada went to the top rope and Ospreay did a cutter to the famously hardest part of the ring. They are wrestling with the urgency of the 20-minute limit and the 10-minute call is called and it seems like 5.

Back in the ring, an Oscutter really gave Ospreay a close two count. A failed Leap of Faith was turned into a Money Clip. 15 minute call and Okada is still applying the Money Clip to a desperate Ospreay. He was able to escape and hit the Standing Spanish Fly for another two count. He went in with the Hidden Blade and did not work. Okada went for the Rainmaker, Ospreay reversed with a Ridcord Hidden Blade and a Stormbreaker to finally do it. Ospreay has finally beaten Okada cleanly in the middle of the ring.

As a surprise to no one, this was just amazing. This match was different from their previous encounters since it was wrestling with urgency. They knew they only had 20 minutes, they knew they were some of the hardest opponents to take out, so they went guns ablazing from the first minutes. They tried getting quick pins and hitting big moves to get it over quick but they could not pull a fast one on either of them. Finally, after an exciting 18 minutes, Ospreay did it. ****¼  

Final Thoughts

Night 9 was a pretty decent show. Okada vs. Ospreay, Kidd vs. Kiyomiya, and YOSHI-HASHI vs Taichi are worth checking out. This show also had Hikuleo’s best match I have seen, so that’s an added bonus. The rest is just decent, with KENTA vs. ELP lasting a bit much. 

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