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

G1 Climax 33: Night Two | Sun July 16 2023 | Hokkaido

Welcome to night two 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 C Block and D Block with some new faces making their debuts. Eddie Kingston is representing AEW while also being the NJPW Strong Openweight Championship and living his dream while Alex Coughlin is ready to show everyone why he is one of the best to come out of the LA Dojo. The team of Mikey Nicholls and Shane Haste of TMDK look to bring that Australian fire to the competition.

Elsewhere we have veterans filling out the rest of C Block and D Block with the latter containing the most experienced group when it comes to the G1 Climax. D Block includes the like of Tomohiro Ishii, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tetsuya Naito and NJPW World Television Champion Zack Sabre Jr.

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.

C Block: Tomohiro Ishii [CHAOS] Vs David Finlay [Bullet Club: War Dogs]

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Credit; NJPW

Tomohiro Ishii is the MVP of the whole of the G1 Climax every year and fans of New Japan are expecting no different. He is facing the new leader of the Bullet Club and all-around bastard, David Finlay. This match is a hard-hitting affair with Ishii repeatedly ranging down forearms to Finlay in the corner. Finlay retaliates with a considered and deadly attack on his opponents’ knees. Ishii is all about the big power moves and despite the damage to his leg he still manages to hit when needed. Finlay is no slouch either, he is strong and can take a beating, but would you expect anything less from the son of Fit Finlay?

Winner: David Finlay

Rating: ****.5

D Block: Toru Yano [CHAOS] Vs Hirooki Goto [CHAOS]

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Credit; NJPW

Toru Yano, if you don’t already know, is one of the best wrestlers on the roster yet he chooses to play a different game to most. Yano will always look for the easiest and quickest way to win, he is a joy during the G1 and will normally play spoiler to your favourites. Hirookie Goto on the other hand is a very serious wrestler, before these two went on excursion he couldn’t beat Yano. Since then Yano hasn’t been able to defeat this adversity, except once, this should be an interesting one.

This match is just a fun time with both men trying and failing to roll the other one up before it heads to the outside. There is dancing, and swinging around, with both never letting up on wrist control which is hilarious and genius. Soon enough Goito is pushed under the ring, followed by Yano’s mascot, yes he has one, followed by Yano. This is utter madness with Yano getting back in the ring only for Goto to emerge wearing the head of the mascot. If you need a good time, watch this match.

Winner: Hirooki Goto

Rating: *****

C Block: HENARE [United Empire] Vs Mikey Nicholls [TMDK]

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Credit; NJPW

The former Aaron Henare, now just known as HENARE, is entering his second G1 Climax while Mikey Nicholls is entering his first. Hanare is Maori and has been very vocal about his love and connection to his heritage. Tonight he is showing off his new face tattoo known as a Mataora being the first to do so in all of professional sport. This match is brutal with Nicholls being busted open, but as the absolute madman he is, continues fighting, looking to beat Henare. There is some really great back-and-forth here that shows off both men’s skills and might be the sleeper hit of the night. I would advise you to keep a close eye on these two during this tournament.

Winner: Mikey Nicholls

Rating: ****.25

D Block: Shane Haste [TMDK] Vs Alex Coughlin [Bullet Club: War Dogs]

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Credit; NJPW

Shane Haste is up next and he is sporting his bright orange top hat from the G1 Climax 33 press conference. If you haven’t seen his outfit go look for it cause it is hilarious. He is facing another newcomer to the tournament and one of the NJPW Strong Openweight Tag Team Champions Alex Coughlin. There is a lot at stake tonight as both men want to have a good showing and get that two-point lead on their first night ever in the G1 Climax.

It feels like all the hard hitters this year are in the C Block and D Block and they are really out here to prove that. Coughlin and Haste are no different, they want to put on the best bouts, they want to show what they’ve got and be in contention for that IWGP World Heavyweight Championship match, but first, they need to get that head start. Neither man is willing to lay down with both being students of strong style utilising forearms and kicks with the added sprinkling of submission holds.

Winner: Shane Haste

Rating: ****.5

C Block: Shingo Takagi [L.I.J.] Vs Eddie Kingston [AEW]

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Credit; NJPW

How do you even put into words how exciting and hotly anticipated this match between Shingo Takagi and Eddie Kingston is? The crowd is hot for it straight off the bat and so are the competitors choosing to test one another’s strength and might in a chop-off. This is my kind of wrestling and is a huge reason why I love wrestling in Japan, yes there are loads of different styles but the sense of pride and strength that is shown over there just makes me smile. It’s the core theme of this style and both of these men’s careers.

Eddie Kingston never thought he would get to wrestle in Japan, let alone inside a New Japan ring in one of the greatest tournaments in all of professional wrestling but here he is. He is not about to let this moment slip through his fingers and is willing to lay everything on the line to be the best. Takagi is very much the same in that respect and despite the fact this match is hard-hitting you can really tell that they both love this and enjoy one another’s fighting spirit.

Winner: Eddie Kingston

Rating: *****

D Block: Hiroshi Tanahashi Vs Zack Sabre Jr [TMDK]

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Credit; NJPW

There is a deep history between these men, despite the fact that Zack Sabe Jr is one of the best wrestlers on the planet and has beaten Hiroshi Tanahashi, who is the ACE of New Japan, on many occasions. He does not have a great track record against him in the G1 Climax. Mind you, Tanahashi also hasn’t won a singles match in this town since 2015, so there is a lot on the line.

I have seen these two in-person fight one another and there is just something altogether special when it comes to these two facing off. I can’t quite put my finger on why. ZSJ is a master of joint manipulation and limb work, always knowing exactly where to pinpoint his attacks on someone’s body, especially when it comes to Tanahashi. If you don’t already know, which seems crazy at this point as he has been everywhere, he is one of the best the UK has ever produced.

Winner: Zack Sabre Jr.

Rating: ****.75

G1 Climax 33 Semi Main Event | C Block: EVIL [Bullet Club: House of Torture] Vs Tama Tonga [Guerrillas of Destiny]

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Credit; NJPW

Tama Tonga has done everything he can in the tag division with his brother Tanga Loa and is ready to make his mark in the heavyweight division. From the bad guy to the good guy since his ejection from Bullet Club, it feels like he is on the cusp of greatness. He is fast on his feet and a pleasure to watch inside the ring, tonight is no different as he faces off against Bullet Club and House of Torture member EVIL.

EVIL’s heel turn and betrayal of Tetsuya Naito came right at the start of the global pandemic in 2020, despite all his success during this time it has taken a while for him to get to grips with this new character. Oh, he is still EVIL but he has also been able to have more fun. It feels like we are finally getting the old EVIL back in a lot of ways and this match seems to be the first step in that direction. Yes, he is still flanked by Dick Togo and willing to cheat to get a win, but his in-ring work is looking better than ever, dare I say as good as his G1 performance in 2019.

Winner: EVIL

Rating: ****.75

G1 Climax 33 Main Event | D Block: Jeff Cobb [United Empire] Vs Tetsuya Naito [L.I.J.]

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Credit; NJPW

Tetsuya Naito is here to redeem himself after last year’s G1 Climax where he was unsuccessful in making the final, the previous year his tournament was cut short by an injury. This year he is looking to win the whole thing and face off against his former teammate SANADA in the Tokyo Dome. Jeff Cobb on the other hand didn’t do as well last year as the previous, which saw him gain 16 points only losing to Okada, which scuppered his chances at a place in the final and possible win in 2021. Both men really want this.

This match is hard-hitting and fiery, the problem is that Naito normally goes longer than 20 minutes during the G1 Climax but he doesn’t have this luxury this year with the reduced time limit. If Naito wants to win this year he is going to have to figure out how to do so in less time and that might be his undoing. He is a fighter in every sense of the word, doing anything and everything to get the victory, even if it could cause him harm.

Jeff Cobb on the other hand is a powerhouse, a monster in the ring who is full of grace, agile, quick on his feet and isn’t afraid to go to the top rope. Both men throw everything at each other and this match from hard chops to a beautiful tornado DDT’s and huge power moves. This is definitely one to watch as these two just bring out the absolute best in one another.

Winner: Jeff Cobb

Rating: ****.75

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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