NJPW “G1 Climax 33 Night Six” results (7/23): Vetter’s review of David Finlay vs. Evil, Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Jeff Cobb, Tomohiro Ishii vs. Shingo Takagi, Toru Yano vs. Tetsuya Naito, Henare vs. Eddie Kingston

By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)

NJPW “G1 Climax 33 Night Six”
July 23, 2023 in Nagano, Japan at Big Hat
Streamed on New Japan World

The tournament is comprised of 32 wrestlers, spread out in four Blocks, each comprised of eight competitors. This is a round-robin tournament, so each competitor has seven tournament matches. New this year, the top TWO finishers in each Block advance to a single-elimination, eight-man tournament. The winner gets a title shot at Wrestle Kingdom on January 4. Time limits are 20 minutes this year, NOT 30 minutes, so we’ll see how that impacts the tournament. Kevin Kelly provided live commentary; no Chris Charlton today. The tournament is spread out over 19 shows in a 29-day span.
The lights are low and I really can’t see the crowd, but this feels like an arena, not one of the tiny gyms they occasionally use.
1. Zack Sabre Jr. (w/Kosei Fujita) (6) defeated Alex Coughlin (0) in a D Block tournament match at 11:11. They brawled to the floor at 1:00 and Alex whipped Zack into the guardrail. Coughlin grabbed his title belt, but Kosei took it from him before he could use it. Sabre stood on the ring apron and stomped on Alex’s hand and he went to work on the left arm. In the ring, Coughlin hit a backbreaker over his knee at 4:00 and Sabre sold the pain. Sabre applied a mid-ring Octous, but Coughlin reversed it, and he turned it into a fallaway slam. Nice. Sabre applied a submission hold in the ropes at 6:30 and held it for a four-count.

Sabre applied a rearnaked choke on the mat, but Coughlin powered to his feet and turned it into a Bulldog Powerslam for a nearfall at 9:00. Sabre hit a Pele Kick to the damaged arm, and they traded forearm shots. Coughlin hit a German Suplex with a bridge for a nearfall, then a falaway slam with a bridge for a nearfall. Sabre switched to a cross-armbreaker out of nowhere and Coughlin tapped out. This was really good; I liked how Coughlin kept powering out of submission holds here. Sabre remains undefeated, joining Kazuchika Okada and Sanada at 3-0. (Kaito Kiyomiya is 2-0-1.)
2. Tama Tonga (4) defeated Mikey Nicholls (2) in a C Block tournament match at 9:08. An intense lockup at the bell, and Tama hit a shoulder tackle that dropped Nicholls. Nicholls hit a vertical suplex at 2:00. Kelly pointed out Nicholls still has a bandage from a headbutt against Henare in his first match. They went to the floor, where Tama whipped him into the guardrail. In the ring, NIcholls was in charge, hitting a Death Valley Driver for a nearfall at 4:30. Tama nailed a clothesline and ripped off his vest and that fired up the crowd. He hit a Stinger Splash and an Exploder Suplex for a nearfall. They traded forearm shots, and Mikey hit another Death Valley Driver. Tama hit an enzuigiri, and his own rolling Death Valley Driver.

Nicholls avoided the Gun Stun, and he hit a spinebuster for a nearfall at 8:00. Nicholls hit a stunner; he went for a moonsault, but Tama caught him with a stunner on his way down! Tama then nailed a Gun Stun stunner for the clean pin. Good match; as a Block winner last year, Tama really needed this win to stay in the hunt for a playoff spot.

3. Hirooki Goto (4) defeated Shane Haste (2) in a D Block tournament match at 2:30. These two have certainly battled a lot in the past year in tag action. Goto is 66-62 all time in G1 action (he won in 2009). Haste immediately hit a running cannonball in the corner and had a nearfall at 0:20 and Goto was clutching at his ribs, not able to get to his feet. Haste immediately hit kicks to the gut. Goto hit a clothesline but fell to the mat, still selling the rib injury. Haste hit a series of European Uppercuts, then another body blow. Goto applied a sleeper then he got a fluke rollup out of nowhere for the pin. Didn’t see that coming! Goto put an ice pack on his ribs.
4. Eddie Kingston (4) defeated Henare (2) in a C Block tournament match at 10:54. Worth reiterating that Henare has dropped “Aaron,” he is now bald and has a tattoo across his face honoring his heritage. Kingston carried his NJ Strong title. Henare hit a kick before the bell that dropped Eddie, and the ref checked on Kingston before ringing the bell. Henare hit the Sheamus-style blows to the chest as Eddie was in the ropes, and he was in charge as they brawled to the floor. In the ring, Henare hit a Divorce Court armbreaker, and he snapped it across the middle rope at 2:30. He hit a series of gut punches. Eddie hit some chops. Henare hit a kick to the spine and a senton for a nearfall. He applied an armbar but Eddie reached the ropes.

Eddie hit a pair of Exploder Suplexes and a clothesline at 5:00, but he clutched at his sore right arm, shaking it out to get feeling back. They traded headbutts while on their knees, and switched to chops while standing. Henare went for his Rampage football tackle, but Eddie caught him and hit a DDT, and they were both down at 7:00. Henare hit a Blue Thunder Bomb, then a running kneestrike in the corner and a penalty kick to the chest for a nearfall. Henare hit the Rampage for a believable nearfall. Eddie hit a pair of enzuigiris and a half-nelson suplex at 10:00. Eddie hit a spinning back fist; Henare hit a headbutt, Eddie hit another spinning backfist and he collapsed on Henare for the pin, as they both seem to be knocked out, and Eddie was just fortunate to land on him.
5. Tetsuya Naito (4) defeated Toru Yano (0) in a D Block tournament match at 7:24. Naito took an extraordinarily long time getting to the ring and disrobing (even for him!), which drove Yano nuts. Never count out a Yano sneaky victory and I’m on upset alert. Naito got some rollups for nearfalls, and Yano bailed to the floor at 2:00 and started walking toward the back. He finally got back into the ring, but then Naito rolled to the floor. Funny. Yano whipped Naito into the guardrail. Yano got tape and tried to use it on Naito, but Naito stole it and he handcuffed Yano in the guardrail. Yano escaped and dove back into the ring at the 19-count at 5:30.

Yano went for an Irish Whip, but Naito just rolled into the ‘Tranquilo pose.’ Yano flipped Naito into an exposed corner and got a nearfall. Naito got a rollup for the pin. Decent comedy. At 0-3, I think I can definitely say that Toru Yano is not reaching the playoffs!

6. Shingo Takagi (2) defeated Tomohiroh Ishii (0) in a C Block tournament match at 18:00. It hurts my heart that both men have started 0-2 and one of them will all but be eliminated with a loss here. They charged at each other at the bell and immediately traded stiff forearm shots. They switched to shoulder tackles with neither man going down; these two aren’t going to a time limit draw. Shingo eventually dropped Ishii with a shoulder tackle and a senton at 2:00. They got up and traded more chops and forearms. Shingo hit a vertical suplex and they were both down at 5:00. Shingo hit a DDT. They fought on the ropes in the corner, and Shingo nailed a top-rope superplex for a nearfall at 9:00.

Ishii hit a hard clothesline into the corner, and he hit a second-rope superplex for a nearfall, and they were both down at 11:00. Shingo hit a Death Valley Driver. Shingo hit a series of forearm shots. Ishii hit a dropkick and a standing powerbomb for a nearfall at 13:00. This clearly should have been the main event. Shingo hit a DDT and the Made In Japan flipping powerbomb for a believable nearfall.

Shingo hit a hard clothesline. Ishii hit a headbut. Shingo hit a sliding clothesline but only got a one-count. Ishii dropped Shingo with a clothesline for a nearfall at 15:30, but he couldn’t get Shingo up for the brainbuster. Shingo hit a Tiger Driver powerbomb for a nearfall. They hit double clotheslines and Ishii hit an enzuigiri. Shingo hit the Last of the Dragon powerbomb but he couldn’t get the cover. He nailed the Pumping Bomber clothesline for the clean pin.
7. Jeff Cobb (6) defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi (2) in a D Block tournament match at 10:28. Cobb has won their only prior singles meeting. An intense lockup to begin. They brawled to the floor, where Cobb held Tanahashi upside down and ran him back-first into the ring post at 2:30. In the ring, Cobb was in charge of the action. Tanahashi hit a Dragonscrew Legwhip at 5:30, and a second-rope summersault senton for a nearfall. Cobb hit a dropkick and a standing moonsault for a nearfall, but he missed a second-rope summersault senton. Tanahashi hit the Twist and Shout spinning neckbreaker and a Sling Blade clothesline for a nearfall at 8:30.

Tanahashi went for a crossbody block, but Cobb caught him. Tanahashi missed a High Fly Flow frogsplash. Cobb went for the Tour of the Islands, but Tanahashi turned it into a rollup for a believable nearfall. Cobb hit a German Suplex and he hit a Sling Blade clothesline, then the Tour of the Islands swinging powerslam for the clean pin. I am not surprised Cobb won, but this was more dominant than I would have anticipated. After posting a (shockingly!) losing record in last year’s G1, Cobb is off to a 3-0 start this year.

8. David Finlay (w/Gedo, Gabe Kidd) (6) defeated EVIL (w/Yujiro Takahashi, Sho, Dick Togo) (4) in a C Block tournament match at 16:07. Yes both men are off to a 2-0 start but I can’t fathom this heel-heel match is worthy of a main event slot. EVIL’s House of Torture is a sister faction to Finlay’s Bullet Club War Dogs, so maybe this match will finally separate them. Right on cue, the entire House of Torture is present; we hadn’t seen Sho or Yujiro in EVIL’s first two matches. They had an intense tie-up at the bell; no ‘finger poke of doom’ or any cartoonish agreement that one would allow the other to get a pin. They began trading hard forearm shots, and Finlay was whipped to the floor. This looks like a lumberjack match, with the factions arguing but not yet interfering. In the ring, EVIL choked Finlay with a shirt and let go at 2:00.

EVIL hit a backbreaker over his knee for a nearfall, and he applied a half-crab. Finlay whipped EVIL into the corner, then he hit a snap suplex for a nearfall at 7:00. The refs got bumped. All the henchmen got in the ring and brawled! They brawled back to the floor and toward the back, leaving just EVIL and Finlay down on the mat. They got up and traded forearm shots. Finlay avoided Everything is Evil, but EVIL hit a hard clothesline at 11:00, and they were both down. EVIL hit a sit-out powerbomb for a nearfall. Finlay hit a Dominator, slamming EVIL stomach-first to the mat, for a nearfall at 13:00.

Finlay accidentally speared the ref! EVIL immediately hit a low blow. Togo hopped in the ring and he choked Finlay with his piano wire. EVIL and Togo hit the Magic Killer team swinging slam, and EVIL got a nearfall. EVIL put a chair around Finlay’s neck, and he struck it with another chair at 15:00. EVIL grabbed Finlay’s shillelagh, but Finlay hit EVIL with the NEVER title belt before he could use it! Finlay then hit EVIL over the head with the shillelagh. Finlay then hit Oblivion (formerly dubbed Trash Panda) neckbreaker over his knee for the pin.

* Finlay got on the mic and said “EVIL you pulled out all the stops and you still couldn’t beat the rebel.” He boasted that he is still undefeated and he’s still the favorite to win this tournament. “Ladies and gentlemen, you are looking at the future G1 Climax champion,” he said.
Final Thoughts: No surprise looking at the lineup before the show, Shingo-Ishii was best match. These two always brutalize each other and it’s fun to watch. As a recent NJPW champion, Shingo needed the win to avoid elimination, and I really wouldn’t be terribly surprised if he winds up 5-2. However, this might be the only show of the G1 that neither of the top Block matches make my “top three match” list. Instead, I’ll go with that Sabre-Coughlin opener for second-best, and I’ll go with Tama-Nicholls for third, ahead of Cobb-Tanahashi. 
The tournament takes an off-day on Monday, but has three straight shows in Tokyo Tuesday through Thursday. (It’s the only time the tournament has three straight days; they have been really good about giving days off.)


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