New Japan Pro Wrestling
G1 Climax 33 Night 12
August 2, 2023
Hiroshima Sun Plaza
Hiroshima, Japan

Watch: NJPW World

We are on Night 12 of the G1 Climax 33 and on the last C and D block joint show. Each block gets their final night on their own. The final night of the C block is next Tuesday and for the D block next Wednesday.

The main drama on the C block side of this night is if all participants will tie or get really close to it, since David Finlay, EVIL, Eddie Kingston, Tama Tonga, and Shingo Takagi are on top of each other. Their matches are the ones to look out for. Plus, we will get Tomohiro Ishii vs HENARE in a big boys fight, those are always fun. 

On the D block, Naito and Zack Sabre Jr. will battle for the needed points for the final night, with Jeff Cobb and Hiroshi Tanahashi close behind them.

G1 Climax 2023 Block D Match
Alex Coughlin (4) def. Hiroshi Tanahashi (6)

Coughlin did it, he beat the Ace. Match was worked at a fast pace, with Tanahashi working over Coughlin’s leg while he tried to outpower Tanahashi. A great moment was when Tanahashi did two Swing Blades, went to the top rope for a High Fly Flow, but Coughlin got up just in time and caught him midair for a pin. Tanahashi kicked out, but Coughlin did not let go and scooped him on his shoulders for a slam for another two count. What finally did it was the Jackhammer for the three count. 

With this loss, Tanahashi officially has it really hard to win the block or the semi spot and gave Coughlin bragging points. Overall, it was a really fun opener. ***

G1 Climax 2023 Block C Match
Mikey Nicholls (4) def. EVIL (8)

EVIL attacked Nicholls during his entrance, and I don’t know how he was successful since he went straight at him from the ring. Maybe Nicholls was distracted by someone in the crowd. Back in the ring, and even with the advantage, EVIL was put into Nicholls seconds long suplex for a close two count at the start. Then we got the typical EVIL bullshit, you already know what it is (referee down, timekeeper down, thrown into chairs, Togo, etc.) On the final stretch, Nicholls blocked a low blow, but was pushed into the referee. While the ref was out, Togo and EVIL were doing their bullshit two on one attack which prompted Fujita to go in and help. Nicholls used the help to wrap EVIL in a double leg pinning maneuver for the win.

This was just every EVIL match so you already know if you like it or not. I enjoyed it, even though the final pining combination looked bad since it was done in slo-mo. Most importantly, it possibly held EVIL off from being in the quarter finals by not giving him an advantage. **½ 

G1 Climax 2023 Block D Match
Toru Yano (4) def. Shane Haste (4)

Yano entered with a big hat, that looked suspiciously like a blindfold, to counter Haste’s hat. He wanted an exchange, but Haste was willing to do it if Yano promised to not throw it away, and agreed to it. Haste put on Yano’s hat, and Yano ran and pulled on it, covered his face, proving that it was indeed a blindfold, and went for a quick two count. Haste tried the blindfold too for another two count. Haste was able to block the unexposed corner and the water mist, which made Yano hide under the ring, so he followed him. With bothmen under the ring, we just heard sounds while the referee started the 20 second count. Haste came out with a bucket taped to his head, and was able to go back to the ring and avoid the count out. He wrestled blindly with it for a while, but when he took it off, Yano did a low blow, and then pinned him.

Okay, this was funnier than reading it, I promise. I enjoyed it and it got a chuckle out of me. ***

G1 Climax 2023 Block C Match
HENARE (4) def. Tomohiro Ishii (2)

A fight for pride since both men are eliminated. They had the exact hard hitting match you can expect from these two. They had tests of strengths, headbutts, suplexes, elbows, knees, a lot of everything. At the 10 minute call, HENARE tackles Ishii for the two count and follows it up with Ultima, which he eventually breaks, and slams Ishii for another two count. Since nothing was working, HENARE exposes his knee and hits his opponent with it, yet it did not put Ishii out since he answered back with a headbutt. Later, the exposed knee comes into play again since HENARE did a strike combination that ended with a knee hit, a headbutt, and then a Streets of Rage to him his first victory over Ishii.

Big boys hitting the shit out of each other is always fun in my book. Match was excellent and hard-hitting. Loved it. Next for HENARE is Tama Tonga, and he has the momentum to possibly spoil the other’s man tournament. ****

G1 Climax 2023 Block D Match
Hirooki Goto (6) def. Jeff Cobb (8)

This was Goto’s last dance before being mathematically eliminated, but luckily, he still has a small chance. Match started with Goto running into Cobb, but since he has bad ribs, he hurts himself by crashing into the other man. The solution is to start working Cobb’s legs. Still, this did not work since Cobb was manhandling him throughout the match, even kicking him on the taped ribs. He even suffered a couple of Spin Cycles and standing Moonsaults. Goto was able to hit a Ushigoroshi (love the name of that move) but could not capitalize on it. Still, he fought back hard, was able to escape the Tour of the Island, and with a GTR got the win.

Goto is still in, and Cobb could not take an advantage in the tournament. Goto looked good this time selling the injury and the match was perfectly fine. ***½ 

G1 Climax 2023 Block C Match
Eddie Kingston (8) def. Tama Tonga (7)

You know it’s serious when after a chop battle early in the match, Tama took off his vest. First minutes was an equal back and forth battle, with neither man taking complete advantage over the opponent. Even when Kingston was propped up for the Supreme Flow, he moved and clotheslined Tama. They are hurt, hitting each other so hard that Tama has his chest marked. Kingston used his winning weapon, the backfist, but it did not take Tama out. He had to hit another second one after a flurry and a Northern Lights Bomb later gave Kingston the win.

This was another hard-hitting fun match. Just two men going at it, neither having an advantage over the other, but in the end, Kingston was the best this night. Kingston is a contender to win the block, while Tama has the disadvantage of being at 7. Not looking good for him for the final block night. Still, awesome match. ***¾ 

G1 Climax 2023 Block D Match
Tetsuya Naito (8) def. Zack Sabre Jr. (8)

These men’s last G1 encounter lasted less than two minutes. This match started with Sabre mocking Naito by doing his pose. Before the two minute mark they teased a quick roll up, but Sabre escaped to the outside and Naito was able to pose this time. He went outside, threw Sabre to the guardrail and then did a Neckbreaker on it, and another one on the floor. While Naito was working Sabre’s neck, he was able to counter it by working on Naito’s arm. An arm vs neck match. 

They kept working each body part, until Naito got the advantage with a spinebuster and a running Destino for the two count. He went for Esperanza, but Sabre applied one of his patented submissions and the 15 minute call made Naito go to the rope break. Back and forth pinning combinations gave both men a couple of close two counts. A Zack Driver was countered into a Destino, but Zack got up, hit his Driver but could not pin him with 3 minutes left. He tried the Zack Driver again, but Naito countered with his own Driver at the 2 minute call. Zack kicked out, and after some struggle, Naito did a quick pinning combination out of nowhere and won the match.

Naito is a step closer to winning the block, tying up in points against Cobb and Sabre. Awesome match that had great beginning, good submission work, and a hot closing last 5 minutes. I loved how Naito won out of nowhere again. ****

G1 Climax 2023 Block C Match
Shingo Takagi (7) def. David Finlay (8)

Match started with Shingo hitting Finlay hard, hitting him so hard that he pretended to be injured, and when Shingo gave him a breather, he proceeded to chop Shingo’s knee and took him outside. Finlay prepared a table to suplex Shingo into, but was prevented from doing so. Back in the ring, Finlay kept his dominance until a Shingo combination switched the momentum. Shingo was just owning the opponent for a few minutes. When he tried to powerbomb Finlay through the table outside, Finlay escaped and powerbombed Shingo instead.

After a Finlay control period, Shingo was able to fight back by doing a superplex from the top rope to even things out. With the crowd eating from the palm of his hands, he tried Enter the Dragon, but Finlay countered into a gutbuster on the ropes, which he followed up with a crucifix slam from the top rope for a two count. When both men went down after a hard clothesline, they started headbutting, slapping, and elbowing each other. Finlay won the exchange by hitting a spear and two powerbombs with three minutes left. He got Shingo up, but was hit with a knee at the two minute call. A clothesline and Last of the Dragon gave Shingo a win here and once again tied things up on the block.

Another match I loved. I was really interested throughout since the results would either give Finlay an advantage over the rest of the block or Shingo would have everything stay the same. And it did. Not knowing what would happen gave the match excitement. Still, it was great action and it is worth watching. ****

Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed this show. It had four matches worth watching, and the rest was pretty good. Nothing boring and nothing felt like a waste of time. Plus, the drama of the points had me thinking if they were planning on having everyone alive on the C block, and almost all of them are. For those looking for a short watch, go with Ishii vs HENARE, Naito vs Sabre, Kingston vs Tama, and Finlay vs Shingo. But if you have the time, this is a solid show.

Here are the points:

C Block: 

  • David Finlay: 8
  • EVIL: 8
  • Eddie Kingston: 8
  • Tama Tonga: 7
  • Shingo Takagi: 7
  • Mikey Nicholls: 4
  • HENARE: 4
  • Tomohiro Ishii: 2

D Block:

  • Jeff Cobb: 8
  • Tetsuya Naito: 8
  • Zack Sabre Jr.: 8
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi: 6
  • Hirooki Goto: 6
  • Shane Haste: 4
  • Alex Coughlin: 4
  • Toru Yano: 4

The most interesting outcome is the C block, where five men could easily take the top spot or tie it. D block is a three man race, so next week we’ll find out what surprises are in store for the final block nights. As always, go to Chris Samsa for all of your G1 math needs.

We say goodbye to the joint shows for now, so if you have not been watching the whole tournament, now it’s a good time to jump in because of the drama and the shows will be easier to watch. I don’t know if I’m loving the format this year, since it has brought bad matches and there were a couple of bad and boring shows, but maybe with a better combination of wrestlers this could be better in the future. At least the good shows, like this one, have felt breezy. What I definitely loved this year has been the 20 minute time limits. 

See you in the final block nights. 

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