G1 Climax 33
Bam In Real Life,  NJPW,  Our Writers,  Wrestling

G1 Climax 33: Night One | Sat July 15 2023 | Hokkaido

Welcome to night one of the G1 Climax 33 taking place in Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center, Hokkai, Kitayell, in the Hokkaido Prefecture. It’s an exciting night of action from the A Block and B Block with some of the youngest competitors in the company making their debuts. The Three Mustakaters are looking to make their mark while Hikuleo and Gabe Kidd are ready to destroy the competition. Kaito Kiyomiya is the most exciting prospect this year coming into his first G1 from NOAH.

Elsewhere we have veterans filling out the rest of A Block and B Block including four-time winner Kasuchika Okada, IWGP World Heavyweight Champion SANADA, IWGP United States Champion Will Ospreay and KOPW Champion Taichi.

This year is also a little different, we have an even bigger selection of wrestlers than before while continuing the four-block format from the previous year. On top of that, the time limit for each tournament bout has been reduced from 30 minutes to 20, making for an even more fast-paced and frantic set of matches this year. The last three nights will see the top two scoring participants from each block enter the playoff stages, fighting it out to be crowned the winner of the G1 Climax 33 and a guaranteed match for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship at next year’s Wrestle Kingdom.

B Block: El Phantasmo Vs YOSHI-HASHI [CHAOS]

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Credit; NJPW

El Phantasmo, now out on his own and away from Bullet Club, is facing off against one of the IWGP Heavyweight tag team champions in YOSHI-HASHI. With the G1 you always want to start off hot and pick up those first two points, it won’t guarantee that you will continue on that trajectory but it is a good confidence booster. El Phantasmo is an incredible wrestler and someone I have seen many times live, he is a treat to watch. This match starts very slowly and it takes a while to get going and just as it does it’s over. ELP flys around while YOSHI-HASHI, despite my liking him, wasn’t really up to the standard I am used to.


Rating: **.75

A Block: Chase Owens [Bullet Club] Vs Gabe Kidd [Bullet Club: War Dogs]

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Credit; NJPW

Chase Owens hasn’t been seen in a New Japan ring for a while and is finally back. He is facing off against one of the newest members of the BC, Gabe Kidd, a man personally brought in by the new leader David Finlay. Kidd is a menace and attacks Owen’s before the bell, brawling on the outside, using everything he can find to destroy his opponent. It takes a while for both men to get inside the ring allowing for the match to actually start. Chase Owens begins to fight back but he is suffering from the attack before the match

Winner: Chase Owens

Rating: ***.75

B Block: KENTA [Bullet Club] Vs Tanga Loa [Guerrillas of Destiny]

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Credit; NJPW

Next, we see the DEFY Champion, KENTA, face off against a returning Tanga Loa after a year of absence. Loa and his brother Tama Tonga were ousted from Bullet Club last year and are out for revenge. KENTA as always spends a lot of time messing with his opponent and staying well away, rolling in and out of the ring but there is a method behind this madness. KENTA is an intelligent competitor who also has some of the most lethal kicks in the industry, along with this he will target any weakness you have and Loa’s weakness here is his knee.

Tanga Loa is the underdog here, I think we will see him grow a lot in this tournament and this match is a good start for him. We all know how great KENTA is but I just want to praise Tanga Loa for a moment, he is coming back from a career-ending injury, yes he is not as quick as he once was but his power is still there. He shows off his power a lot during this match but he is always fighting an uphill battle during this one. Beautiful storytelling from both men.

Winner: Tanga Loa

Rating: ***.75

A Block: Ren Narita Vs Shota Umino

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Credit; NJPW

Now we have the first match involving two of the three musketeers. Ren Narita has never beaten Shot Umino and now both are back from an excursion the two are about to meet again. We have Narita who is very much in the same vain as his mentor Katsuyori Shibata while Shota Umino might be being positioned as the Hiroshi Tanahashi of the group, he has something very Naito about him while also having that hint of danger he has learnt from Jon Moxley.

This match is hard-hitting beyond belief with both men never letting up for one moment. While Umino is a little flashier with his style, while also being hard-hitting and very strong we have the complete opposite in Narita who is smooth and technical in his style. This is a real mashup of styles and just from this match, you know that the future of New Japan is in good hands.

Winner: Time Limit Draw

Rating: *****

B Block: Great-O-Kahn [United Empire] Vs Kazuchika Okada [CHAOS]

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Credit; NJPW

Great-O-Khan has a huge challenge here tonight in the form of four-time G1 Climax winner Kazuchika Okada. It seems he watched Forbidden Door and instantly takes Okada down to the mat, grappling and getting the former champ in a selection of holds, channelling the strategy of Bryan Danielson. Kahn has an extensive background in amateur wrestling and is showing it off here, as well as his power, man Great-O-Kahn is powerful.

Kazuchika Okada is no slouch, as we all know, but he is coming off a huge loss at Forbidden Door which does affect him during the opening stages of this match. Soon enough though Okada manages to turn the tables allowing for his quickness and ability to hit moves out of nowhere to his advantage.

Winner: Kazuchika Okada

Rating: ****

A Block: Yota Tsuji Vs Kaito Kiyomiya [Pro Wrestling NOAH]

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Credit; NJPW

Kaito Kiyomiya is entering his first G1 Climax representing Pro Wrestling NOAH and has had a very bad year so far, he is a bright young star but want’s to prove his worth amongst new opponents. Yota Tsuji is the first challenger that Kiyomiya has to face in this huge gamble but he is willing to put it all on the line. Tsuji is the third of the Three Musketeers, his style is very much influenced by his time in Mexico while his look is that of a rockstar, he is just effortlessly cool like Shinsuke Nakamura.

This match is just fantastic with a great back and forth, Tsuji has been phenomenal since his return and this is just more proof that he will one day be at the top of this company. Kiyomiya is very highly influenced by Kaiji Muto which can be seen in his figure four leg lock. He is a very well-rounded competitor with a combination of power, speed and submission skill all in his bag of tricks. This match just keeps picking up with both men showing off and showing out. These young guys are really bringing it on night one of the G1 Cimax 33.

Winner: Kaito Kiyomiya

Rating: *****

G1 Climax 33 Semi Main Event | B Block: Taichi [Just 5 Guys] Vs Will Ospreay [United Empire]

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Credit; NJPW

Taichi is here in his home town looking to pick up his first two points of the tournament but he has a huge challenge ahead of him in the new IWGP United States Champion, Will Ospreay, who is coming off a huge win over Kenny Omega at Forbidden Door. Both men are going into this confident for many different reasons but we will see who comes pouty on top. There is the added threat of if Taichi pins Ospreay here he will have a claim to the IWGP United States Championship.

This match starts off very fast which is expected from an Ospreay match but the great thing about Tichi is that he waits for his opening before bringing the fire. Taichi, in my opinion, has been one of the most improved wrestlers on the roster in the last five years and it looks like that won’t be changing any time soon. Ospreay takes the first part of this match, beating Tichi down and belittling him verbally, wanting to embarrass the hometown boy. Taichi does fight back, more and more as this match goes on, getting his confidence and power back from this very vocal crowd in Hokkaido Prefecture.

Winner: Taichi

Rating: ****.75

G1 Climax 33 Main Event | A Block: SANADA [Just 5 Guys] Vs Hikuleo [Guerrillas of Destiny]

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Hikuleo is facing the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, SANADA, in the main event tonight and boy that is going to be a fight. Hikuleo is huge, a monster and the song ok Haku, so you know he is skilled and has improved so much in the last few years. SANADA has always been just on the cusp of greatness in New Japan but could never quite achieve it until this year, reaching the top of the mountain. This is his first G1 Climax as champion and has a hell of a lot to prove to match up to the likes of Okada, Tanahashi and Naito.

SANADA does prove himself here as does Hikuleo with both men looking incredible here, the match is a little shorter than I would have liked. SANADA isn’t about being flashy anymore, he wants to get the job done. That doesn’t mean he isn’t, oh SANADA throws everything at this match and his opponent, working hard for the crowd and for the win.

Winner: SANADA

Rating: ****.25

Bam is a self discribed spooky bitch who loves punk music, deathmatches & Edgar Allen Poe. She is a lover of books, words & old movies. She has been described by few as an Inebriate Facilitation Specialist but loyal & fiercely independent by most.

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