New Japan Pro Wrestling
G1 Climax 33 Night 11
August 1, 2023
Takamatsu City Gymnasium
Takamatsu, Kagawa, Japan

Watch: NJPW World

We are on Night 11 of the G1 Climax 33, just two shows away from the final nights of the blocks. Today is the last of the A and B Block combined shows since for the final matches, the blocks get their own night. We are getting the last days of the A and B block on Saturday and Sunday respectively. 

On our way to the final block nights, we will see if SANADA finally loses some points or gets into count out finish against Gabe Kidd, and we’ll see if Kaito Kiyomiya is able to destroy Hikuleo who is on a streak. We’ll see if miracles happen when Will Ospreay wrestles Tanga Loa and are able to manage an above *** match. We also get another Reiwa Three Musketeers match with Shota Umino vs Yota Tsuji and we’ll find out if we get another draw. Also, if KENTA will be Okada’s spoiler.

G1 Climax 2023 Block A Match
Hikuleo (6) def. Kaito Kiyomiya (6)

We started fast with this exciting opener, since the bell rang and both men ran at each other. Hikuleo was demonstrating his strength, and Kiyomiya’s course of action to defend himself is working his leg, which he constantly did. He worked Hikuleo’s knees for a while, but the big man was able to find his way out of the predicament with Powerslams and body drops. Kiyomiya countered a Chokeslam with a pinning combination, but it did not work. A Powerslam and Chokeslam later gave Hikuleo another win. He is truly the destroyer of the young guys.

Once again we got the story of Hikuleo finding his jam right at the end of the G1. Kiyomiya is finding it hard to stay for the quarter finals between this loss and the countout in his last match. Fun opener. ***

G1 Climax 2023 Block B Match
Great-O-Khan (4) def. YOSHI-HASHI (4)

O-Khan starts the match smartly by going after YOSHI-HASHI’s taped arm. After a minute or so of mat wrestling, O-Khan got the advantage by taking his opponent to the corner to Mongolian Chop the hell out of his back. YOSHI-HASHI’s fierce fire was not enough at the beginning of the match, with O-Khan cutting him off. Eventually our hero, YOSHI-HASHI, went on a streak of nonstop offense, with a Kumagoroshi that gave him a really close two count. Sadly, he was taken out when O-Khan out of nowhere gave him a surprise pop up slam for the win.

While O-Khan is out, he officially spoiled YOSHI-HASHI’s tournament. Still, an exciting match since we are dealing here with the MVP of the G1, YOSHI-HASHI, who has not disappointed in the tournament since 2020. I’m just into his comebacks and fire, what can I say. ***

G1 Climax 2023 Block A Match
Ren Narita (4) def. Chase Owens (4)

Hikuleo might be the R3M’s monster, but they are the kryptonite to Owens, who once again was foiled by a member of that group. The match started with Owens insulting Narita, calling him a young lion, slapping him, and while he had control for a while, Narita got it back. He did suplexes and the abdominal stretch, but it was not enough. After Owens escaped submissions a few times, he was finally catched with a Cobra Twist for the submission loss.

Basic match for the spot. Narita looked good getting out of everything and tapping out Owens. This is the match of this night you can easily skip. **½ 

G1 Climax 2023 Block B Match
El Phantasmo (6) def. Taichi (6)  

During Taichi’s entrance, ELP is talking to Kevin Kelly about his 19 second win against KENTA and commenting about Taichi’s entrance. That was something fun before the match. ELP tried to relate to Taichi by using his microphone and then shaking hands before the bell sounded. After that, it was kicks galore to start the action. ELP took the lead with a tope which was followed by a moonsault to the outside. 

Taichi got control back and worked on ELP’s injured shoulder with stretches and suplexes. A Dangerous Suplex gave him a two count. ELP started getting his flow back by kicking out and countering, and that launched the match into the ending. Gedo clutch by Taichi gave him a two count, and ELP countered with the same move for another two count. They clotheslined each other, ELP got the better of Taichi and another Gedo Clutch gave him the win.

A really fun match. I loved the back and forth and ELP’s playing with the audience during and after the match added to it. There were huge Taichi fans on the first row who were having fun booing the winner. Gotta love that. ***½ 

G1 Climax 2023 Block A Match
SANADA (12) def. Gabe Kidd (5)

This time, Kidd entered first and since he did not have an opponent to attack, he started breaking the barricade and did his own walk and brawl through the crowd by throwing chairs around and yelling at the audience and announcers. Still, when the champ entered the ring, he attacked him when he turned around with his tag belt. SANADA has not been watching Kidd’s tapes. He even broke a chair over SANADA’s head for good measure.

Kidd got SANADA back into the ring, but threw him outside again and got the World Heavyweight belt to pose around the ring. Since we can’t have a Kidd match without a walk and brawl, SANADA got his own version whe Kidd went back out. Back in the ring, SANADA got the match back with a dropkick on Kidd’s knees. SANADA went back to the outside with Kidd for a Pile Driver on the floor. He got Kidd up, but he pushed SANADA and ran to the ring, and when the referee was on the 19 count, SANDA went back. Teasing another count out on the G1.

TKO and Moonsault by SANADA was not enough. SANADA hit the Shining Wizard, and when he went for the Deadfall, it was countered and was hit with a low blow, which SANADA paid back later. A Deadfall gave SANADA the win. 

Lots of shenanigans, but it worked and created sympathy for the champion. I like the teases for the count outs since that’s the only way I saw Kidd possibly spoiling SANADA. The champion still has a perfect score and his next opponent is Owens, so he’ll possibly win the block. Overall, a really good match between both men. ***½   

G1 Climax 2023 Block B Match
Tanga Loa (6) def. Will Ospreay (8)

You can’t say that Ospreay is selfish. Man was bumping all over the ring to make Loa look good, and was successful in doing so. After minutes of dominance by Loa, Ospreay got it back with a kick from the ropes. The match went back and forth with the usual Ospreay offense, yet Loa controlled most of it. There was even a moment of frustration where Ospreay could not spot elbowing Loa in the corner, the referee had to separate him, and Loa took advantage of that and knocked him out. 

Ospreay was giving so much that he even went for a crossbody to the outside and Loa knocked him out again midair. There was a crazy bump where he threw Ospreay from the barricade straight to the first few rows, and was speared through the chairs. Loa went to the ring when the referee started counting, and just as Ospreay was getting back to the ring, Loa went back out and speared the hell out of him and got back into the ring for a count out victory. 

I’m convinced Ospreay could have an awesome match with this unathletic reviewer. Not only did Loa win, but he looked great and like a proper threat. The count out was justified since he killed Ospreay on the outside and then smartly speared him to make him stay there. I bought into everything and it is easily the best Loa match in ages, probably ever. **** with the added quarter of a star because I always pop for a surprise win in pro wrestling, especially one as unexpected as this one. 

G1 Climax 2023 Block A Match
Yota Tsuji (5) def. Shota Umino (4) 

Match started fast with a Missile Dropkick by Shota, but then Tsuji recovered and threw the man outside for his beautiful tope suicida. It was slowed down with the Tsuji control period, which made me think they were definitely going to tease or do the draw. It was an evenly matched back and forth match until the 10 minute mark, where Shota was thrown outside and he blocked a tope suicida, and followed it up with a dropkick from the floor to the ropes, and a over the rope DDT. Death Rider was blocked and answered with two Curb Stomps by Tsuji. He prepared for the Spear, but Shota countered it into an STF, which he escaped. 

The 15 minute call and both men remembering the time limit went back and forth with nonstop strikes, elbows, knees, and a sick Tsuji headbutt knocked both men down, with the whole crowd behind Tsuji. Three minutes, both men on the top rope, and Tsuji hit the Spanish Fly and quickly followed it up with a suplex for a two count. Less than two minutes left, and Shota countered Tsuji’s Spear with a dropkick. He followed that with a neckbreaker and DDT for the two count. 1 minute left, Tsuji blocked the Death Rider and quickly did the Spear and won the match.

To quote Kevin Kelly after the count, that was awesome. After two draws between the R3M, Tsuji broke the spell with a really close win in the last minute. It was exciting, and while the beginning of the match and story telegraphed that this would last almost 20, it still did not take away from it. Action got crazy and nonstop at the 15 minute call, with both men feeling the pressure with the time limit on top of them. Match of the night ****¼

G1 Climax 2023 Block B Match
Kazuchika Okada (10) def. KENTA (4) 

The crowd is very pro KENTA at the beginning of this match, even though he is stalling after the bell sounded. After lots of stalling, KENTA was able to get Okada on the outside to start the action proper with kicks and throwing him into everything. Back in the ring, a DDT and headscissors kept the control on KENTA. Okada got up and started going back and forth with elbows, which KENTA won. Suddenly through all of this control period, the pro KENTA crowd was quiet. And my eyes started glazing over on what was a nothing match. On the 15 minute call there was the usual referee bump, KENTA used the kendo stick, until Okada did a dropkick. Okada avoided the belt shot, called the referee back, and after a quick Rainmaker, KENTA fought back with slaps. A GTS was avoided, Okada did two Landslides and a Rainmaker to finally end the match.

This was pretty boring throughout the middle portion of the match with the usual shenanigans and Okada’s hot stretch ending. I did not enjoy this match even though it was well worked. Just a boring main event. *** 

Final Thoughts

Tonight was a solid G1 show with a not so good main event. Loa vs Ospreay was really cool and I loved Umino vs Tsuji, both matches are worth watching. The rest of the show consisted of solid 3 star matches, which is good enough for me. Nothing bad outside of the main event, which was just boring.

Here are the standings entering the final nights for both blocks: 

Block A:

  • SANADA: 12
  • Hikuleo: 6
  • Kaito Kiyomiya: 6
  • Shota Umino: 6
  • Gabe Kidd: 5
  • Yota Tsuji: 5
  • Ren Narita: 4
  • Chase Owens: 4

Block B:

  • Kazuchika Okada: 10
  • Will Ospreay: 8
  • El Phantasmo: 6
  • Taichi: 6
  • Tanga Loa: 6
  •  KENTA: 4
  • Great-O-Khan: 4

For all of your G1 math needs, go over to Chris Samsa’s Twitter or X profile for all of the pertinent analysis. He is the best at that. Can’t wait to see what surprises are in store for the weekend, especially on the A block, where Umino, Hikuleo, Tsuji, Kidd, and Kiyomiya are all still alive.

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