Welcome to night three of the G1 Climax 33 taking place in Yamagata City General Sports Center, Yamagata. It’s another exciting night of action from the A Block and B Block, with the New Generation shining brightly once again. On the other side, we have the likes of Okada, El Phantasmo. YOSHI-HASHI and Will Ospreay battling it out in some of the best matches of the tournament.
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.
A Block: Chase Owens [Bullet Club] Vs Kaito Kiyomiya [Pro Wrestling NOAH]
Chase Owens and Kaito Kiyomiya have faced off against one another only once and that was in Canada while Kaito was away on excursion. Owens is a great professional wrestler who is very skilled and also willing to get a bit nasty. I admittedly don’t know much about NOAH or Kiyomiya but he is fast becoming one of my favourite wrestlers and hopefully, everyone else watching will feel the same way. This is a good little opening match that does get the crowd warmed up, which is what’s needed in these kinds of venues.
Winner: Kaito Kiyomiya
B Block: KENTA [Bullet Club] Vs Great-O-Kahn [United Empire]
The DEFY Champion, KENTA, is facing off against the United Empire’s Great-O-Kahn in what should be a hard-hitting match. Oh, and it is, with both men going to the outside, brawling, using chairs and just being downright vicious with one another. It really is all about these two trying to destroy the other but KENTA picks up the win with a sneaky roll-up and some help from the ropes.
A Block: Hikuleo [Guerrillas of Destiny] Vs Gabe Kidd [Bullet Club: War Dogs]
Former Bullet Club vs the new age of Bullet Club is going to be another hard-hitting affair, with Gabe Kidd attacking Hikeleo before getting inside the ring, they brawl into the crowd with the youngest Guerrilla beating the hell out of the British brute. Gabe Kidd doesn’t give a fuck and will use anything he can to get the upper hand on the much taller opponent, but it is all in vain. Hikeleo is just too strong and too big to allow Kidd to throw him into the chairs he has pilled up. He gets Kidd back to the ring wanting to just get this match started.
When this match does get started and the bell rings Hikeleo slaps Kidd in the mouth but he isn’t down for long delivering a suplex only for Hikelwo to fight back harder. There is a very scary moment where Kidd is dropped on his head, but he powers through. Trying to submit Hikeleo won’t work here cause of his high and arm reach but Kidd gets the win with a Piledriver.
Winner: Gabe Kidd
B Block: Tanga Loa [Guerrillas of Destiny] Vs Taichi [Just 5 Guys]
Tanga Loa comes into this match against Taichi with a banged-up knee, but that won’t stop him from working hard and trying to get the win here. Both men won their first match so this is an important one to get the upper hand in this tournament.
They start off with a lock-up before showing off their power and might in a chop-and-forearm battle. Taichi spends a lot of this match focusing his attacks on the weakened knee of Loa, with kicks and submission holds. Tanga Loa does fight back, he really does while trying to manage the pain in his knee, he is strong and despite still rehabbing his knee he really is turning out this year. This is a great back-and-forth battle between two underrated workers. This starts off slow but stick with it, it’s worth it, especially if you love Taichi.
A Block: Yota Tsuji Vs Ren Narita
The second in our three musketeers matches sees Ren Narita face off against the very popular Yota Tsuji. I have a feeling that none of these guys are going to get the upper hand on the other, positioning them as the next three big stars of New Japan. Tsuji has never beaten Narita and I don’t think that is gonna happen tonight, but he is now on the level of those in the class above him.
There is something altogether special about these three musketeer matches, they feel different, electrifying, magical even. Narita seems to have the upper hand here for the first quarter of the match, trying to wear out and wear down Tsuji. Yota Tsuji is just effortlessly cool and makes everything look so easy and smooth in the ring, finally getting the upper hand on Narita. The last half of the match sees a spirited back and forth with neither man allowing the other one to get the upper hand, they both show off all the skills they have acquired in their time away.
Winner: Time Limit Draw
B Block: YOSHI-HASHI [CHAOS] Vs Will Ospreay [United Empire]
YOSHI-HASHI has been having a bit of a renaissance since 2020 but will he be able to beat the Areial Assasion and the the leader of the United Empire? YOSHI-HASHI looks incredible here and has gone in with a different mindset, this might be down to Ospreay’s betrayal of Okada a few years ago, but there is something fresh about him now. He takes it to Ospreay giving him hard chops that even Chase Owens states ‘is one of the hardest chops I’ve taken’. Don’t ever count YOSHI-HASHI out as his size and strength are deceptive.
Will Ospreay does fight back, showing off his might and strength with chops and high-flying moves. He does less of these since becoming a Heavyweight but that hasn’t changed his agility and ability to pick up wins and put on fantastic matches. YOSHI-HASHI throws everything at his opponent trying to pick up the win but Ospreay just won’t lie down. He can hit moves out of anywhere and after the last match, which the crowd in Yamagata was really into, they are at a fever pitch here.
Winner: Will Ospreay
G1 Climax 33 Semi Main Event | A Block: Shota Umino Vs SANADA [Just 5 Guys]
Shota Umino has a very tough battle here in the semi-main event against the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion SANADA. This crowd is very much behind the Shooter who starts off fast making SANADA work for it. But experience wins out with SANADA fighting back and being a little more vicious than usual, he is the oldest and most experienced in this block and wants to put these young guys in their place, the first step is Shota Umino.
Umino isn’t going down without a fight here, SANADA has the experience but Shita has the fighting spirit. He seems to have the champion’s number being able to counter him and inflict pain wherever necessary. Umino’s uppercuts have greatly improved and his work alongside the Blackpool Combat Club and the master of them Claudio Castinoli. His star power can really be seen here, going toe to toe with the pace of the company, yet again proving he is more than ready for this ‘main event’ spot.
This match goes to almost 20 minutes with both men never letting up, it is captivating to watch. Getting a win here would result in a title shot and he more than deserves it, but can he defeat the master of the Paradise Lock? We haven’t seen in a while, I miss it. What a match but it was close going to the time limit.
G1 Climax 33 Main Event | B Block: El Phantasmo Vs Kazuchika Okada [CHAOS]
The main event tonight sees El Phantasmo, who is trying to rehabilitate his image after Bullet Club, face off against The Rainmaker Kazuchika Okada. This match is filled with both men throwing everything at it. There were times that El Phantasmo nearly had Okada with an absolute near fall where he almost didn’t kick out in time. Phantasmo is a great dance partner for Okada, who thrives against high-intensity creative opponents. They look like they are having fun while also keeping up that intensity and hard-hitting style we have all come to love from New Japan. A fabulous match between this pair.
Winner: Kazuchika Okada