Welcome to night five of the G1 Climax 33 taking place in Ao-re Nagaoka, Niigata. It’s an exciting night of action from the A Block and B Block with front runners coming forward as some fan favorites get left behind. It is only the third night for A Block and B Block, there is still so much to play for but SANADA, Kazuchika Okada, Taichi and Will Ospreay are looking to take a comfortable lead after tonight’s round of action.
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: Tanga Loa [Guerrillas of Destiny] Vs YOSHI-HASHI [CHAOS]
This match starts off fast with IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champion YOSHI-HASHI going for a quick roll-up. Tanga Loa is still rehabbing his knee, which will be the story of his tournament this year but YOSHI-HASHI doesn’t care about that. The Head Hunter just wants to win and has been having a fantastic G1 so far. This might be one of my favourite matches from both competitors in this tournament, with both men really going for it. This match is all about pride and determination, with both men coming out of their shells and showing how great they are as singles stars.
A Block: Ren Narita [Strong Style] Vs Gabe Kidd [Bullet Club: War Dogs]
As Ren Narita makes his way down to the ring Gabe Kidd tries to attack his opponent before the match. Narita is too smart for that, takes him out, goes down to the ring and then demands that Kidd fights him properly. He does as he is told but instantly tries to bite the top of Narita’s head, this match just descends into chaos before Kidd, after some cheating tactics. initiates a chop-off with his opponent. This was a mistake, despite both men having trained together in the LA Dojo, Narita has the upper hand in this respect due to being the prodigy of Shibata and working alongside Minoru Suzuki and El Desperado.
Winner: Gabe Kidd
B Block: Great-O-Kahn [United Empire] Vs El Phantasmo
Neither man here has got off to the best start in the G1 this year, so they are in need of a win and 2 points. This is also the first singles match between the two of them, so whoever loses here will be looking for revenge moving forward. Phantasmno is a showman and loves to entertain, he is trying to show everyone that he isn’t that guy, the guy from bullet club, but he has lost something. he will get back to himself but right now ELP is on a voyage of discovery and I am here for the ride.
Kevin Kelly said something interesting about the Great-O-Kahn and I have to agree, that this year he doesn’t have that spark and has been very flat. His matches have been the same way. I hate saying that, I hate agreeing but his matches just are not clicking, despite the amazing year he has had. ELP does take to the sky here several times, risking it all to pick up his first win, but to no avail. This match goes just under 15 minutes and it feels like about double that, which is disappointing.
A Block: Chase Owens [Bullet Club] Vs Hikuleo [Guerrillas of Destiny]
Chase Owens has his ass handed to him by Hikuleo in the opening moments of this match unable to lift or even get the youngest Guerrilla down. That does change when he heads under the ring, making Hikuleo follow him and hitting him in the head with a tire iron. This match is slow and bitty, not really up to both men’s usual standard I have to say. Chase does take control after this at least for a while but no one seems to get the upper hand here.
Winner: Chase Owens
B Block: KENTA [Bullet Club] Vs Will Ospreay [United Empire]
Will Ospreay is looking to get himself in the top two tonight with a win here over KENTA, who attacks him before the bell, putting on Ospreay’s entrance jacket. This is more like it, with the match starting fast and getting brutal straight away with KENTA taking his opponent into the crowd and throwing him into chairs and barricades. This is what tonight has been missing and in all honestly what KENTA has been missing.
Ospreay has somehow unlocked the old Kenta, the pro-wrestling NOAH version of KENTA and it is magical to see. This does get Ospreay going hitting every move in his playbook and looking to get the big win. Oh, these two are perfect dance partners with differing styles but also both being two of the hardest hitters in the company and this block. The back and forth is just magnificent with neither man giving an inch, this is one to seek out of you haven’t seen it already.
Winner: Will Ospreay
A Block: Kaito Kiyomiya [Pro Wrestling NOAH] Vs Shota Umino
Kaito Kiyomiya is facing off tonight against one of New Japan’s biggest, brightest and most popular young stars in the shape of Shota Umino. This should be a barn burner of a match as all the young guys in the A Block seem to be just knocking it out of the park right now, trying to be the best. Kaito Kiyomiya and Shota Umino are the best.
This is fast, hard-hitting and absolutely magical, the way they counter each other in the opening moments and then stare each other down feels very reminiscent of Kazuchika Okada and Kenny Omega. These two young guys just seem to get one another and wrestling. This match is thrilling and epic, one of the best of the tournament this year. Umino has started utilizing the STF, handed shown to him by former musketeer Masahiro Chono. His application of the hold is stunning but he can’t quite put Kiyomiya away with it, a Dragon Screw Leg Whip from the latter levels the playing field.
More Dragon Screw Leg Whips are followed up by a Figure Four Leg Lock but Umino isn’t willing to give up that easily as we surpass the 15-minute mark. He is still in it after two minutes but Kiyomiya releases the hold with less than 3 minutes left. The crowd is electric, rooting for their favourites but that fighting spirit is strong here. Kiyomiya tries everything to put him away as the final minute ticks away, Umino takes control trying to pick up the win, but there isn’t enough time.
Winner: Time Limit Draw
G1 Climax 33 Semi Main Event | B Block: Taichi [Just 5 Guys] Vs Kazuchika Okada [CHAOS]
In the semi-main event, we have the two block leaders facing off against each other to get the upper hand, These two just make magic together during the G1 Climax and tonight should be no exception. They were in the same class having gone on excursion on the same day but their career trajectory has been very different. Straight off the bat, Okada hits Taichi with every big move he has, but this is a mistake. Taichi fires back flooring The Rainmaker. If this is how this match starts I can’t imagine where it will go next.
The match does slow down when Okada takes control, but you know it will ramp up soon enough. These two are just hitting the holy hell out of one another with DDTs onto the floor outside This crowd is very vocal for Taichi tonight which is great to hear, he is someone who has come into his own over the last few years. He isn’t willing to go down without a fight and might be one of Okada’s toughest opponents so far in this year’s tournament. It’s nail-biting and heart-pounding stuff with the crowd and competitors not knowing till the closing min suites who will win. This is pure New Japan all heart, all pride and hard-hitting beyond belief.
G1 Climax 33 Main Event | A Block: Yota Tsuji [L.I.J] Vs SANADA [Just 5 Guys]
Our main event sees the rematch between SANADA and Yota Tsuji from Dominion this year. Yes, this time it isn’t for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship but if Tsuji picks up the win tonight he will gain two points and be in contention for another match. On the other hand, SANADA has beaten Tsuji before and is also on the run of his life right now, he isn’t about to drop a match to any of these younger boys. As this tournament goes on it looks like SANADA will be making it to the playoffs.
This match is even better than their last with both men having a great back and forth, but ta switch gets flipped and that is SANADA’s switch, when this happens he becomes more intense, fast and creative inside of the ring, willing to crack things out that we don’t see as often since he became the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion. The three musketeers, two of which he has faced, have proven to be some of his toughest opponents in this years tournament. That does make for a good athletic and competitive match.