NJPW G1 CLIMAX 33 – NIGHT 1 RESULTS (7/15): Sanada vs. Hikuleo Tanga Loa vs. Kenta, Owens vs. Kidd, Ospreay vs. Taichi, Okada vs. Great-O-Khan


JULY 15, 2023

English Commentary: Kevin Kelly, Chris Charlton

(1) YOSHI-HASHI (0 pts) vs. ELP (0 pts) – B Block match

There was a friendly handshake to start the match. ELP took over the match for a stretch after a brief back and forth. Yoshi-Hashi found an opening when ELP played to the crowd. ELP was able to slow Yoshi’s momentum but was selling a hurt neck-collarbone area. ELP hit Thunder Kiss ’86 after a Sudden Death superkick for a near-fall near the ten-minute mark. Things picked up as they traded moves but Yoshi unveiled a crucifix-bomb for the win.

WINNER: Yoshi-Hashi at 11:00.

ELP and Yoshi shook hands after the match.

(Javier’s Analysis: It took a while for the crowd to warm up to the match, noticeably enough that Kevin Kelly it brought up. It was an okay, unremarkable match otherwise. **)

(2) CHASE OWENS (0 pts) vs. GABE KIDD (0 pts) – A Block match

Despite both being Bullet Club, Kidd attacked Chase with a chair as Chase made his entrance. They fought on the stage and into the crowd. Kidd attacked the Young Lions. Kidd went back up the stage and took a running leap, taking out Chase and the Young Lions. Kidd went to Kevin Kelly and said that Juice Robinson got himself “cancelled” a few years ago for saying he was going to bed a Japanese woman, and that Kidd didn’t care (about getting “canceled”) and was going to bed three.

As soon as the match entered the ring the bell rang and Chase hit a knee to begin to fight back. Chase hit a half-and-half suplex, C-Trigger, and package piledriver for the win.

WINNER: Chase Owens at 3:42 (13:15 from the initial attack on the stage.)

Chase mockingly two-sweeted a downed Kidd, as to remind Kidd that they are both Bullet Club.

(Javier’s Analysis: I like the brawl into the crowd to wake the crowd up. Chase weathered the storm and found an opening to win showing his experience edge. The Finlay Bullet Club is willing to even kill their own members. I still find this version of Kidd a bit over the top so his act comes across as a bit to “try-hard”. **½)

(3) TANGA LOA (0 pts) vs. KENTA (0 pts) – B Block match

This was Tanga’s first match after being out with an injury. Tanga flexed his power advantage over Kenta in the early goings. Kenta tried playing keep-away until he found and opening and hit a dragon-screw leg-whip while Tanga was sliding into the ring. Kenta began working over Tanga’s knee for a stretch. Tanga eventually fired up, catching a Kenta kick into a sidewalk slam to stop Kenta’s momentum. Tanga went for Ape Sh*t but Kenta took out the ref. Kenta grabbed a chair that he used to work over Tanga and Tanga’s knee. Tanga escaped what was meant to be a flying double-stomp with a chair on his knee to take back over. Tanga survived a low blow from Kenta and hit Ape Sh*t for the win,

WINNER: Tanga Loa at 12:48.

(Javier’s Analysis: Tanga’s knee looks like the target for his opponents. Kenta has had a string of big losses recently so they might be telling the story of a slow start that eventually leads to a string of wins for him at the end. The match itself was fine. **½)

(4) SHOTA UMINO (0 pts) vs. REN NARITA (0 pts) – A Block match

This is the first meeting of the NJPW dubbed Reiwa Era Three Musketeers in the G1. They immediately began a striking exchange. Each man took turns taking the advantage in the match. Narita’s early offence mostly targeted Shota’s leg. Shota fought back with the Chono bequeathed STF. Shota also hit the Blackpool Combat Club hammer and anvil elbows. Shota controlled until he went for Death Rider which Narita countered. Narita fired up and fought back, continuing the targeting the knee. Narita applied a leg lace Boston crab Shota barely escaped. At five minutes, the two began to evenly trade moves, firing through each move received. They struck each other, both falling. They started striking while on their knees with only three minutes left. They fought to their feet and exchanged an enzuigiri and drop kick leading to the two-minute warning. Shota was on the offence with Narita barely kicking out of Shota’s maneuvers. At the one-minute mark Shota went for the Death Rider but Narita countered. Narita began eking out an advantage but as they went back and forth time expired for our first draw.

WINNER: Time-limit draw at 20:00.

After a period selling exhaustion, the two showed each other respect as rivals.

(Javier’s Analysis: This was exactly what I was hoping to see in this block. The two set out to prove themselves against each other giving the fans a taste of what is to come between these two in the future. Kelly and Chris on commentary did a great job selling the fact that this was the first chapter in a what should be a long saga. ****)

(5) KAZUCHIKA OKADA (0 pts) vs. GREAT-O-Khan (0 pts) – B Block match

The match started with a series of technical exchanges. Okada proved no match for O-Khan in this style and soon O-Khan was having his way with Okada. The longer O-Khan controlled things the more overconfident he got which gave Okada the opening to fight back letting Okada to string some offence together, going through his list of signature spots. At the ten-minute mark O-Khan began fighting back going through his own signatures. Okada started going for the Rainmaker but O-Khan kept escaping it until O-Khan missed his straight punch that Okada transitioned into the Rainmaker for the win.

WINNER: Kazuchika Okada at 15:25

(Javier’s Analysis: The match was fine. O-Khan going down after one Rainmaker tells me he is not high on management’s priority list to push. The match never really got out of second gear. **½)

(6) YOTA TSUJI (0 pts) vs. KAITO KIYOMIYA (0 pts) – A Block match

Before the bell, Tsuji dove through the ropes at Kiyomiya as Kiyomiya did his entrance routine on the floor. Tsuji controlled early on until he encouraged Kiyomiya to strike him. Kiyomiya stunned Tsuji with a chop and hit a dragon screw. Kiyomiya began to work the leg. Tsuji got a few offensive runs in, but Kiyomiya kept going after the leg. They went back and forth with Kiyomiya having a slight advantage. Kiyomiya set up, and hit, the shining wizard for the win.

WINNER: Kaito Kiyomiya at 14:53

(Javier’s Analysis: Man did commentary do no favors for Kiyomiya. It reminded me of how over the top harsh they were on Sanada before he went on his run which I believe is the intention, but still. As for the match, it was solid enough. Kiyomiya was shown to be the more dominant wrestler, only really being in trouble thanks to the surprise attack that kicked things off. ***)

Did you know that PWTorch VIP membership gives you access to an ad-free version of this website (mobile and desktop versions), an unmatched 35 year library of insider wrestling content in newsletter article and podcast formats, dozens of new VIP-exclusive podcasts throughout the month (that are easily compatible with Apple Podcasts App, Apple Car Play, and many other popular podcast apps), and more benefits. Check out details and sign up HERE.

(7) TAICHI (0 pts) vs. WILL OSPREAY (0 pts) – B Block match

The two exchanged strikes early with Ospreay eventually being forced to the outside. Outside the ring the two jockeyed for control with Ospreay winning out. They went out into the crowd where Ospreay tossed Taichi into the seats and hit a DDT on the floor. Taichi beat the count. Ospreay forced Taichi outside again and hit a draping cutter from the apron. Ospreay went full heel, berating Taichi for not fighting for his hometown audience. It was one hundred percent Ospreay until a desperate kick from Taichi caught Ospreay in the ear. Kevin Kelly called the damage a likely perforated eardrum as Ospreay sold having bouts of vertigo. Without any equilibrium Ospreay was unable to mount any offence, buying time for Taichi to recover. Kawada kicks (Taichi’s mentor) fired up Taichi who took down Ospreay. Taichi took off the pants. Taichi survived an Os Cutter and a (not so) Hidden Blade. Taichi cut off a Super Os Cutter attempt with a Super Dangerous Suplex. A furious back and forth ended with Taichi hitting Black Mephisto for the win.

WINNER: Taichi at 17:45

(Javier’s Analysis: Taichi was the obvious crowd favorite, so the plan here was to beat up Taichi to set up the comeback win. Ospreay’s “concussed” sell job took away from my enjoyment of the match though. ***)

(8) SANADA (0 pts) vs. HIKULEO (0 pts) – A Block match

It was a fast start with an aggressive Hikuleo who controlled early on until Sanada hit a plancha to the outside. Sanada played to the crowd. The two took turns on the attack as the match swung back and forth. Neither gained a definitive advantage for any significant length of time. Hikuleo went for Godsend, but Sanada countered with Deadfall for the pin.

WINNER: Sanada at 10:56

(Javier’s Analysis: This was a really underwhelming main event. The jury is still out on Sanada as champion and I’m still waiting for Hikuleo to impress me. **)

Sanada called his Just Five Guys faction mate Taichi to come out, since he won the semi-main event, giving the hometown boy Taichi a chance to send the crowd home happy. Chris Charlton sang the Just Five Guys song with made up lyrics as Sanada and Taichi walked out.

FINAL THOUGHTS (6.37): I’m not sure what was up with that main event. When I saw Hikuleo taking on Sanada I thought Hikuleo was in for a big showing, especially after being the one to exile Jay White but there wasn’t much to see here. There was only one match really worth recommending, Ren Narita vs. Shota Umino and a large part of that recommendation is because the match might be of historical significance sometime in the future. An okay show but I expect more than okay from the G1 opener. They are going to be telling a longer story this G1 of the new generation vs. the old guard so I’m expecting things to pick up as more of that narrative is established.

Subscribe to Wade Keller’s free podcasts by searching “Wade Keller” in your podcast app. They include a weekly flagship episode (blue-logo show) and the post-shows after Raw, Dynamite, Smackdown, and Rampage (red logo show) with a mix of best-of episodes too!

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply