Welcome to night eight of the G1 Climax 33 taking place in Korakuen Hall, Tokyo. It’s another exciting night of action with every point being crucial at this point in C Block and D Block. Tonight we have some surprising upsets, some of the best matches of the tournament, courtesy of Tomohiro Ishii and Eddie Kingston along with a rematch from Dominion in the main event between Zack Sabre Jr and Jeff Cobb.
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: EVIL [Bullet Club: House of Torture] Vs HENARE [United Empire]
EVIL is facing off against HENARE tonight and gets the upper hand with Dick Togo attacking the United Empire member with a chair before the match starts. House of Torture will do anything to get those points, as he is the second-top point scorer in C Block going into tonight. The pair brawl into the crowd with HENARE getting the upper hand and bashing EVIL’s head into the famous ‘West’ sign in Korakuen Hall.
HENARE is vicious tonight, hitting hard and not holding anything back. Unfortunately with Togo on the outside, he might not stand much of a chance at winning tonight. And he doesn’t, EVIL doesn’t need all the help, he is a good wrestler but Togo wants to get his man to that playoff stage and is willing to do everything in his power to achieve this.
D Block: Alex Coughlin [Bullet Club: War Dogs] Vs Hirooki Goto [CHAOS]
Everyone is beat up but Hirooki Goto is suffering from his ribs thanks to a brutal drop kick from Shane Haste during his last match. Alex Coughlin knows all of this and is ready to expose and exploit this for all its worth. Coughlin knows Goto very well, helping him prepare a few years ago for his return to the G1. This match is hard-hitting and The War Dog is vicious, brutalizing Goto who is struggling. That doesn’t mean he isn’t fighting back but the younger man is just too much for him. With Alex Coughlin’s win, he is now in line to challenge for Goto’s IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships.
Winner: Alex Coughlin
C Block: Mikey Nicholls [TMDK] Vs Shingo Takagi [L.I.J.]
Mikey Nicholls hasn’t competed in Korakuen Hall since 2014 and is facing off against the venue’s favourite son Shingo Takagi. Both men are around the same age, well travelled and so smooth inside of the ring. They are also both hard as nails but in the opening moments, it’s the Australian that gets the upper hand. He looks incredible here with a Delayed Vertical Suplex followed up by a submission hold. He is taunting Takagi which might be a mistake. And it is with Shingo getting the upper hand with an almighty Lariat.
This is an absolute war which is something you will hear a lot during these C Block matches. No one here is messing around and it’s still all very much to play for.
Winner: Shingo Takagi
D Block: Toru Yano [CHAOS] Vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
I love Toru Yano and you should too, tonight he is facing off against the ACE Hiroshi Tanahashi. Yano instead of being a sneaky little so-and-so tonight is choosing to wrestle. He has a background in amateur wrestling and uses it to full effect here against Tanahashi. That doesn’t mean he won’t go to the outside, using the barricade and also acquiring some wrist tape. Tana knows what’s up and stops this very quickly. There is a corner pad removed and used very creatively by Yano. This is just a fun match and really needed after the war we just watched.
Winner: Hiroshi Tanahashi
C Block: Tomohiro Ishii [CHAOS] Vs Eddie Kingston [AEW]
Now this is the match I have been waiting for this whole tournament, Tomohiro Ishii Vs Eddie Kingston. They have fought against one another and beside one another but tonight is the third in their trilogy of matchs. They have already torn the house down twice and tonight should be no different. These two men start off with a test of strength and it just gets worse from there. And when I say that I mean better and right up my alley. They chop one another, Eddie Kingston’s are even louder than Ishii’s.
This match is pure unadulterated strong style full of fighting spirit and a battle of wills and toughness. Kingston’s lower back is hell for him tonight, throwing his back out but still fighting on, finding something within himself to just keep going. Kawada Chops abound from Kingston while Ishii never lets up, refusing to show any kind of weakness. It is phenomenal to watch and they do not disappoint, this crowd are wild, loving every moment of this bout.
This is a true spectacle. It has a big match feel. It has brawling, skill, submission holds and hard hits. We have near falls and kick outs at one. Fighting spirit, and willpower, a true display of why these competitors love professional wrestling. It is full of intensity. It is everything and both these men, who have spent their years being very much underappreciated by the wider wrestling audience just put on the best match of this year’s G1.
Winner: Tomohiro Ishii
D Block: Shane Haste [TMDK] Vs Tetsuya Naito [L.I.J.]
Shane Haste and Tetsuya Naito start off on a lighter note than the last match, with a small discussion and swapping of hats. Naito isn’t that impressed with Haste’s orange top hat and throws it away, which is caught by a very happy female fan. Despite the funny bits and humour, they have brought to this with their hat gimmicks what also needs to be stated is that Naito and Haste are two of the most creative and well-rounded competitors in their block this year.
It also looks like Naito has found a new “let’s ruin each other’s necks” friend and he brings this to the forefront by dropping his opponent on his neck on the barricade. Once both men are back in the ring Naito focuses on the neck even more applying a Kravat. Just pure skill and intelligence from the two time G1 winner.
You can’t count Shane Haste out here, he is long, lean, fast and naturally gifted. Everything he does looks easy, effortless and like a natural reflex. He is a star and has proven throughout this C Block that he can hang with the top stars in New Japan. Yes, he doesn’t have many wins under his belt but he sure knows how to make an impact.
Winner: Shane Haste
G1 Climax 33 Semi Main Event | C Block: Tama Tonga [Guerrillas of Destiny] Vs David Finlay [Bullet Club: War Dogs]
In the semi-main event, we have a battle built on revenge with Tama Tonga looking to get his own back on the man who beat him up and sent him packing from Bullet Club. He gets the jump on David Finlay taking him up into the crowd, beating him within an inch of his life and trying to get his own back. Finlay manages to push Tama away and off the raised platform, using a chair and stomping on Tama’s knee. Red Shoes is trying so hard to control this match but sometimes you just have to let them fight it out.
Oh, and they fight. Finlay is merciless with his attacks on Tama Tonga who fights back with everything he has. This match is a good one from both competitors with both showing off their skills. I know a lot of international fans aren’t very hot on either man but hold your tongue cause this is marvailous. They are perfect dance partners and with all that resentment and rage they both have, this could be a fued for the ages if people just give it the time of day. A story of redemption and revenge told through the art of pro-wrestling. Tama Tonga picks up the win here and it is desurved.
Winner: Tama Tonga
G1 Climax 33 Main Event | D Block: Jeff Cobb [United Empire] Vs Zack Sabre Jr [TMDK]
These two last faced each other at Dominion earlier this year with Zack Sabre Jr retaining his Television Championship against Jeff Cobb. This match starts fast, heavy and full of hard hits and submission moves. Jeff Cobb has the upper hand when it comes to strength and the opening of this match, really taking it to Zack Sabre Jr. There is back and forth here and ZSJ even cracks out a Tornado DDT which is as perfect as his submission holds.
Yes, Jeff Cobb has the power but ZSJ has the mind of a man who knows more holds than Dean Melenko. This is an absolute battle and both just have this ability to make every match they are involved in be the most talked about match of the night. That is saying something cause tonight has had a lot of phenomenal bouts. This is a match you need to seek out as it had everything and more and was so fast-paced I couldn’t keep up. Cobb hit a Tour of the Islands on ZSJ for this first win against him in singles computation in New Japan.
Winner: Jeff Cobb