By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
NJPW “G1 Climax 33 Night 19”
August 13, 2023 in Tokyo, Japan at Sumo Hall
Streamed on New Japan World
We are down to our finals, Kazuchika Okada (7-1) vs. Tetsuya Naito (6-2). Kevin Kelly and Chris Charlton provided live commentary. This crowd is huge.
1. Kaito Kiyomiya and Ryohei Oiwa defeated Toru Yano and Oskar Leube at 7:46. The Young Lions started, then Kaito and Yano entered at 1:30. Kelly and Charlton talked about how Will Ospreay has rebranded his title as the IWGP UK Title; it is no longer the IWGP U.S. Title. Kaito hit a dropkick on the tall Leube and a flying forearm. Kaito hit a missile dropkick for a nearfall. Leube hit a powerslam for a nearfall. Oiwa and Kaito hit team dropkicks on Yano, then a team suplex on Leube. Kaito then hit a Shining Wizard to pin Leube. Good opener; the Young Lions always seem to excel against the top-tier talent.
2. Yuji Nagata, Tomoaki Honma, Shota Umino, and Master Wato defeated Yuto Nakashima and “Strong Style” Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado, and Ren Narita at 8:34. Once again, Ren and Shota charged at each other at the bell and immediately hit stiff slaps to the face, and this is intense right away! Desperado and Wato tagged in for their respective teams and traded more stiff chops and kicks. The SS team began working over Wato in their corner. Suzuki and Nagata tagged in at 4:30 to massive cheers, and Nagata hit some Yes Kicks to the chest. They traded stiff forearms and the crowd was into this.
Charlton and Kelly talked about how someday Ren and Shota will be like this, still battling each other 20 years from now and still hating each other. Nagata hit an Exploder Suplex on Minoru. Honma and Yuto tagged in at 7:00 and brawled. Shota tagged back in and he hit a dropkick and a Death Rider double-arm DDT to pin Yuto. The two teams argued and brawled more after the bell, as they had to separate Narita and Umino.
3. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tomohiro Ishii, Eddie Kingston, and Yoh defeated Togi Makabe, Tiger Mask, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, and Satoshi Kojima at 9:39. Togi’s team must be at a combined age closing in on 200. Tanahashi and Makabe started, with Hiromu hitting a springboard crossbody block. Ishii and Tenzan battled at 2:00, with Ishii hitting a suplex. Yoh entered and hit some Mongolian Chops on Tenzan, earning some boos! Eddie entered at 4:30 and hit some chops on Tenzan; Tenzan suplexed Eddie. Satoshi entered and he hit the rapid-fire chops in the corner on Eddie, and that’s funny as Eddie has been doing that in recent years. Eddie now did the rapid-fire chops on Kojima in a different corner, and Eddie hit an Exploder Suplex. Kojima hit a stunner, and they were both down.
Tiger Mask and Yoh tagged in at 6:30, and Yoh hit a Dragonscrew Legwhip and a suplex for a nearfall. Togi hit a double shoulder tackle. Tiger Mask hit a Tiger Driver powerbomb on Yoh for a nearfall at 8:30. Yoh hit a Falon Arrow for a nearfall, then a superkick to pin Tiger Mask. Tenzan and Ishii continued to argue after the bell. Solid match; the winner was never in doubt.
4. “The Mighty Don’t Kneel” Zack Sabre Jr., Mikey Nicholls, Shane Haste, and Kosei Fujita defeated Ryusuke Taguchi, Boltin Oleg, and “Bishamon” Yoshi-Hashi and Hirooki Goto at 10:07. Kelly praised Oleg for beating three Young LIons in a row in 11 minutes in a non-televised match on Saturday. Nicholls and Yoshi-Hashi started and the commentators talked about how TMDK could earn a tag title shot with a win here. Taguchi and Fujita entered. TMDK began working over Taguchi in their corner. Oleg entered at 5:30 and he easily tossed Fujita, then he bodyslammed Sabre; I have compared Oleg’s size to Lars Sullivan and there is just so much potential with him just on his size and muscle mass.
Sabre applied a Dragon Sleeper but Boltin powered out. Haste and Goto entered at 7:30 and they traded forearm shots. Goto hit a Saito Suplex for a nearfall. Haste hit a rolling cannonball in the corner for a nearfall. Taguchi entered and hit a flying buttbump on Kosei Fujita. Goto hit a neckbreaker over his knee on Haste. Haste and Nicholls hit a team faceplant move to pin Goto. Really entertaining match, as TMDK got the win over the tag champs, but Oleg was an unstoppable beast.
5. Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, Jado, El Phantasmo, and Hikuleo defeated “The Bullet Club” David Finlay, Gabe Kidd, Alex Coughlin, Kenta, and Chase Owens (w/Gedo) at 11:03. Tama and Finlay started and they immediately traded forearm shots, and Tama peeled off his vest right away. Everyone brawled to the floor at 2:00 as the ref has completely lost control. Finally back in the ring, Kenta worked over Jado and the BC took turns beating up Jado. Gabe Kidd ran over to the commentary table to add a few quick words. Kidd bit the forehead at 6:00.
Phantasmo entered and hit a second-rope crossbody block, a springboard swanton, and a Lionsault. Coughin and Hikuleo brawled. ELP hit a superkick on Coughlin. Loa and Chase tagged in at 9:00 for their teams, with Loa hitting a series of strikes to the throat and gut. Owens hit a Jewel Heist short-arm clothesline.
Loa blocked Owens’ package piledriver attempt. Loa got a rollup out of nowhere to pin Owens! They continued to brawl after the bell. Tama Tonga held Finlay’s NEVER title belt above his head, taunting Finlay; he eventually dropped it on the mat, so Finlay could reach into the ring, grab it and scamper away. It also appears Hikuleo and Phantasmo are challenging Coughlin and Kidd for their Strong Tag Titles.
6) “Los Ingobernobles De Japon” Yota Tsuji, Bushi, Shingo Takagi, and Hiromu Takahashi vs. “United Empire” Will Ospreay, Great-O-Khan, Henare, and Jeff Cobb at 10:54. Kelly once again talked about Ospreay rebranding the US Title into the UK Title. The UE attacked before the bell and everyone brawled on the floor. Bushi hit a DDT on Henare for a nearfall in the ring. Shingo hit a senton on Henare, and he slammed teammate Hiromu onto Henare. Cobb entered and bodyslammed HIromu, then he hit a standing moonsault for a nearfall at 3:00. Ospreay entered and helped beat down Hiromu. O-Khan hit a back suplex for a nearfall. Shingo entered and he battled Great-O-Khan. Ospeay entered; Shingo hit a DDT on Will and he tagged in Yota.
Cobb hit a Spin Cycle swinging slam on Yota. Ospreay hit a Falcon Arrow on Tsuji for a nearfall at 8:00, but he missed the Hidden Blade. Hiromu hit a huracanrana on Cobb, and Bushi dove through the ropes and barreled onto Cobb. Yota hit a Blue Thunder Bomb on Henare. Yota hit a superkick on Ospreay, then a flipping sit-out powerbomb on Ospreay for a nearfall. This has been tremendous action.
Ospreay hit an Oscutter for a believable nearfall on Tsuji. He set up for an Oscutter but Yota hit a spear on him! Yota hit a second spear to PIN Ospreay! WOW. You never see a top-tier talent get pinned in these multi-man matches. This was a stellar, non-stop sprint and everyone looked good here. Yota held the UK Title above his head, taunting Ospreay, but Will got it back.
* Eddie Kingston appeared at ringside, dressed in his street clothes, and he brawled with Henare to the back, continuing their feud from Saturday.
7) “House of Torture” EVIL, Yujiro Takahashi, Sho, and Dick Togo defeated “Just 5 Guys” Sanada, Taichi, Douki, and Yoshinobu Kanemaru (w/Taka Michinoku) at 10:32. The HoT attacked before the bell. Togo and Douki started in the ring. The HoT worked over Kanemaru in their corner. Sanada once again has his arm taped as he has a legit biceps injury, and he tagged in at 4:30, hitting dropkicks on a couple heels, then a plancha to the floor on EVIl, then two others. Sanada hit a swinging neckbreaker on Sho at 7:00 but he clutched at his wrapped arm. Taichi tagged in and he hit an enzuigiri on Sho, then a hard spin kick to Sho’s head.
Taichi applied a Stretch Plum on Sho; Sho tapped out but Togo was distracting the ref. Togo entered and choked Taichi with his wire. Kanemaru hit Douki with his staff. Taichi hit a double clothesline. Sho clocked Taichi in the head with his wrench at 10:00. Sho then nailed the Shock Arrow cross-arm piledriver on Taichi for the pin. Another surprise with a big name taking a pinfall in a multi-man match.
* Sho got on the mic, and he was holding Taichi’s KOPW title belt. He said it doesn’t have any value because Taichi is too weak as a champion. He said he was going to take it. EVIL grabbed the heavyweight title belt and he hit Sanada with it. EVIL then hit the Everything is Evil uranage to loud boos. “A one-armed Sanada cannot beat EVIL,” Kelly said. They then taped Sanada’s arms to the top rope! EVIL declared himself “the ruler of law.”
8) Tetusya Naito defeated Kazuchika Okada to win the G1 Climax 33 tournament at 34:16. Intense locked and reversals early. Naito tossed Okada to the floor at 4:00 and did the Tranquilo pose. They fought on the ring apron, where Okada hit a DDT at 8:00, then he whipped Naito into the guardrail, and Naito barely got back into the ring before being counted out. Okada immediately hit a DDT and made a cocky, one-foot cover on the chest at 10:00 and he was loudly booed!
Naito hit a neckbreaker. He placed Okada in the ropes and hit a second neckbreaker, then he hit a third one and got a nearfall at 12:30, and he stayed focused on the neck. They fought back to the floor, where Naito hit a neckbreaker across the guardrail at 14:30! “Has there ever been a G1 to end on a count-out?” Kelly asked. They got back into the ring, where Naito applied a leglock around Okada’s neck and shoulders.
Okada hit a neckbreaker across his knee and they were both down at 18:00. Okada dropkicked Naito off the top rope, sending Naito to the floor. They fought on the floor, but Naito was able to whip Okada into the guardrail as we hear the 20-minute notice. Okada hit a Tombstone piledriver on the thin mat on the floor! The crowd reacted loudly to the move. In the ring, Okada hit a German Suplex and a short-arm clothesline, then a dropkick at 22:00.
Naito stumbled to his feet; Okada hit some European Uppecuts. Naito looked dazed but he hit a tornado DDT off the ropes, and they were both down again. Naito hit some elbow strikes to the side of the head. This crowd is LOUD. Naito hit a Frankensteiner out of the corner for a nearfall at 26:00, and he went right back to a leglock around the head, but Okada eventually reached the ropes.
Naito hit the Esperanza/modified Blockbuster out of the corner, then a DDT, then a Snow Plow driver for a believable nearfall at 29:00. However he missed a top-rope corkscrew splash, and they were both down. Okada hit a shotgun dropkick. Naito used the ropes to get a rollup for a nearfall, then he hit an enzuigiri and they were both down at 32:00.
Okada hit a dropkick and his Landslide/Michinoku Driver. Naito went for Destino but Okada escaped. Destino got a rollup for a believable nearfall. Destino nailed the Destino for a believable nearfall. He went for a second Destino but Okada turned it into a sideslam. Naito hit another Destino, then a third one for the pin! Just like yesterday, I’m shocked, as I thought this was Okada’s night. An excellent match before an unbelievably hot crowd.
* The rest of LIJ came to the ring for the ceremony, where Naito was handed the trophy. He got on the mic and asked fans if they enjoyed this year’s tournament. He said “I’m always about the now.” He led them in the chant of shouting “Los Ingobernobles De Japon,” before the confetti cannons went off and he was covered in streamers.
Final Thoughts: A very good tournament and it came down to the stars you expected to be there. In the end, even though I was incorrect about who would win, I like how we have immediately launched into new feuds, particularly Tsuji vs. Ospreay, and also Tama-Finlay and Hikuleo/ELP vs. the BC Wardogs.
I have repeatedly stated that I’m a big fan of this year’s format and I hope the 32-man, four-Block field is used again next year. I get it … some people wanted more star power and sure, it would have been great if we had more top AEW talent in this field, but I loved having no meaningless undercard matches, and I’m sure the wrestlers appreciated having every other show off and not have to do the travel to each city.