NJPW G1 CLIMAX 33 – NIGHT 18 RESULTS (8/12): Lansdell’s results & analysis of semi-final round matches

By Chris Lansdell, PWTorch Contirbutor

G1 Climax 33 blocks revealed


AUGUST 12, 2023

Announcers: Kevin Kelly and Chris Charlton

For today’s undercard matches I’ll only mention any noteworthy moments and spots, saving the details for the two big matches at the end. Let’s do this!


Hayata is the GHC Junior Heavyweight champion. Tenzan is looking a lot slimmer than usual. Kevin Kelly points out that the NOAH duo are booked for the opening match, “hardly against a murderers’ row tag team” which is not the most diplomatic of comments. Kiyomiya pins Tenzan with the Shining Wizard.

WINNERS: Hayata & Kaito Kiyomiya via pinfall at 10:07 (*1/2)

(Lansdell’s Analysis:The NOAH team gave Tenzan and Wato a lot, especially Tenzan. The commentators were not shy about mentioning that, and the potential embarrassment for NOAH if Tenzan pinned Kiyomiya. A pretty plain and uneventful opener)

(2) TOMOAKI HONMA & SHOTA UMINO vs. STRONG STYLE (Ren Narita & Minoru Suzuki)

Despite the questionable booking of A block, Umino has that It Factor. His entrance through the crowd seems to be very over. For what it’s worth, Honma does not come through the crowd. We are denied the chance to see if Kaze Ni Nare is more over, as Strong Style enters to Narita’s theme. Umino and Narita had an entertaining time limit draw in the round robin, and they continued where they left off here with some good chemistry between them. Narita picks up the win with an Octopus Hold on Honma.

WINNERS: Ren Narita & Minoru Suzuki via submission at 10:18 (**)

(Lansdell’s Analysis: I liked this one. Umino looked particularly good, wrestling crisply and with a lot of energy. Ultimately though it was mostly there. Narita and Umino could well have one of those enduring rivals that defines this new generation of hopeful stars.)

(3) YOH & TORU YANO & TOGI MAKABE & HIROOKI GOTO & YOSHI HASHI vs. BULLET CLUB (David Finlay & Gabe Kidd & Alex Coughlin & Chase Owens & Kenta)

Lots of bodies in this one. I have to say that David Finlay’s stock has risen a lot in this tournament, and I have been very impressed by Kidd and Coughlin. Bullet Club jump their opponents to start. Chase Owens stomps on Yano’s friend the corner pad, which Yano of course had removed just before. Kidd removes Yoh’s shirt and elbow drops the shirt as Chase Owens decides to join Kevin and Chris on commentary. Finlay, after taking a beating from the entire opposing team, pulls out the win with Into Oblivion on Makabe.

WINNERS: Bullet Club via pinfall in 10:48 (*1/2)

(Lansdell’s Analysis: Everyone got their stuff in and that’s about all there was to it. I do enjoy these little comedy moments in the middle of the card as a palate cleanser, as long as they are brief and not too contrived.)

(4) LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (BUSHI, Shingo Takagi & Yota Tsuji) vs. UNITED EMPIRE (HENARE, Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb)

Fancy new entrance video for United Empire. LIJ of course come out to their own themes. One thing I noticed here is that Tsuji and Shingo would make one heck of an intimidating tag team, though I am not sure we’ll see it. Tsuji mocks O-Khan’s sitting spot, only he does it in the middle of the ring. This annoys O-Khan so he later sits on a chair…across Tsuji’s chest. Fair enough. Gimmick infringement is a serious crime, folks. After some very stiff exchanges involving Shingo, Cobb, Tsuji, and Henare, Bushi taps out to the Ultima.

WINNER: United Empire via submission at 10:28 (**1/4)

(Lansdell’s Analysis: What set this above the other undercard matches was the stiffness of the exchanges. I would greatly enjoy seeing Cobb and Shingo, and of course we know Henare and Shingo work magic together.)

So Bullet Club and United Empire came out on top, will we see EVIL and Ospreay follow suit later on?

(5) RYUSUKE TAGUCHI & EDDIE KINGSTON & TOMOHIRO ISHII & HIROSHI TANAHASHI vs. TMDK (Kosei Fujita & Shane Haste & Mikey Nicholls & Zack Sabre Jr.)

Oh bless his heart, Eddie Kingston is standing in the ring looking around with a big old goofy grin on his face. You love to see it. Taguchi tries to call a play for the teamwork corner attacks but Ishii completely no-sells it and just stands there in the corner watching. Ichiban Sweet Boy Fujita had a real shine in this one, getting some very close near falls on Kingston and hitting a dragon screw on Tanahashi.To the utter surprise of everyone, he ends up eating an uraken and the pin.

WINNERS: Ryusuke Taguchi & Eddie Kingston & Tomohiro Ishii & Hiroshi Tanahashi in 11:40 (*1/2)

(Lansdell’s Analysis: Aside from everyone’s favourite young lion showing out, there was not much to recommend this one. I continue to enjoy the relationship between Fujita and TMDK.)

Post-match, Kingston tries to make peace between Tanahashi and Ishii which is entirely unsuccessful as Ishii just walks to the back. What is more successful is the blindside from Henare, laying out Kingston with Streets of Rage while Kingston’s “friends” (two of them, mind you) bail to the floor after a single shot from the very angry Henare. I guess that explains why Ishii had to be shown walking to the back

(6) JUST FIVE GUYS (Taka Michinoku & Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Taichi & Sanada) vs. JADO & EL PHANTASMO & HIKULEO & TAMA TONGA & TANGA LOA

In a fun little moment during ELP’s entrance, he fist bumps Abe who sells it like a sharp right hand. ELP then gives Abe his sunglasses. Chris Charlton goes OFF on Sanada before the bell, getting heated because he thinks Sanada told his stablemates to stay in the back for the quarterfinal against Evil, thus costing him the match when the inevitable interference occurred. Amen, brother. Tanga Loa looks a step off tonight. On the bright side we did get to see Taka hit the Michinoku Driver…for a two count. After a big chokeslam to Taka from Hikuleo, a semi-conscious Jado is rolled on top of him for the win.

WINNERS: Guerillas of Destiny & El Phantasmo via pinfall at 11:40 (**)

(Lansdell’s Analysis: Fun little scramble with a finisher sequence at the end. Tanga Loa really did not seem to be on his game tonight, none of his strikes looked good. Otherwise this was just here.)

Finlay’s Bullet Club are ringside while GoD and ELP celebrate. They exchange threats and spit on each other but that’s all we get. Foreshadowing!

(7) KAZUCHIKA OKADA vs. EVIL (w/ Dick Togo) – G1 Climax 33 Semi-Final Round match

Evil is now referring to himself as Mr G1. I really hope that is NOT foreshadowing. Okada proves he has no capacity to learn from the mistakes of others and comes out alone.

Evil jumps Okada before he can even take off that beautiful ring jacket. The bell rings and Evil gets a one count right away. Okada tries to fire up but Evil goes to the eyes. They go to the floor and Okada is whipped into the barricade twice, knocking over the timekeeper of course. Evil chokes Okada with the microphone cord and tells him (over the mic) to give up now. Marty Asami (not Red Shoes, surprisingly) starts the count. Okada rolls in at 5 and immediately eats a scoop slam for a quick 2.Evil taunts Okada who fires up and throws Evil to the floor, but Evil comes back with a knee lift and another whip to the barricade. Evil chokes Okada with a chair to the throat, then gets back in the ring. The ref counts again, Okada is back in at 12. Evil immediately throws him out the other side where Richard Takeout, I mean Dick Togo jabs him in the ribs with the chair. Evil gets three consecutive two-counts as Abe calls out the five minute mark.

Evil taunts Okada again with boots to the head, and again Okada fires up with some stiff forearms. Again Evil goes to the eyes but Okada hits the high boot and both men are down. Running back elbow from Okada, another one in the corner and a DDT gets a two. To the outside again and this time Okada whips Evil to the barricade and gets a crisp DDT on the floor. That’s been one of his go-to moves this tournament and Kevin Kelly points that out. Back inside, Okada goes for the tombstone but Evil once again finds Okada’s eyes to break it up. Okada avoids a charging Evil, perches Evil on the top rope, then dropkicks him to the floor. That is a thing of beauty. Okada goes to the floor, Togo tries to get involved but Okada levels him with a forearm. Hallelujah. Back inside, Okada gets a scoop slam and goes to the top. Evil ducks under the elbow, Okada lands on his feet and charges but Evil sidesteps and pulls the referee into the path of Okada. With the ref down Okada wisely clamps on the Money Clip but…ugh. You knew it was coming, and SHO and Yujiro run in with the beatdown at the 10 minute mark.

Double suplex by the interlopers, who hold Okada in a headstand position with his legs spread. Togo comes off the top with a fist to the groinal region. Ouch. Evil brings the ref back in with him but can only get a 2. Darkness Falls by Evil! 1…2…no! Evil says it’s over and Everything…is…Money Clip! Evil backs him into a corner to break. Evil charges into a pair of feet but then distracts the ref for the goons to interfere. Okada fights them off one at a time, hits an Orton-style backbreaker then locks in Money Clip again. Togo is up on the apron, the ref is again distracted and Sho hits Okada from behind knocking him into the ref. Togo is in with the garotte. He chokes Okada who is able to fight off both Sho and Yujiro with big boots. He breaks out of the garotte, hits three picture-perfect dropkicks to dispose of House of Torture, but Evil holds the ropes to avoid the dropkick and literally throws the ref into Okada. Rainmaker nut punch by Evil! OK, that was funny. He hits a big lariat for a very close two. Everything…is…countered into a German! Okada maintains the waistlock and tries a Rainmaker, but Evil collapses to avoid it. Evil pushes the ref AGAIN and tries a low blow but Okada counters into a Michinoku Driver! Rainma…no! Everything is…no! Each man blocks a clothesline…Everything…is…Evil! 1…2…NO!!!! Nobody kicks out of that, except Okada! He tries for a second, Okada blocks and tries for the neckbreaker over the knee. Evil slips out and tries for the rollup, Okada sits down! 1…2…still no! Lariat from Evil countered into an Everything is Okada! Cobra Flowsion! Rainmaker!!! 1…2…3! Praise be!

WINNER: Kazuchika Okada via pinfall in 18:10 (**½)

(Lansdell’s Analysis: That might be the lowest rating I’ve ever given an Okada match, but I am just so tired of the shenanigans in Evil’s matches. Not just the interference, but the number of blatant attacks on the referee that go unpunished and the refusal of Evil’s opponents to bring out some protection. Without that nonsense it was a good match, but you have to take the nonsense into account. This does not tell us much for the main event, as either man would be incredible against Okada. My money is on Naito.)

(8) WILL OSPREAY (w/ United Empire) vs. TETSUYA NAITO – G1 Climax 33 Semi-Final Round match

Naito is out first as we learn that he has never beaten Ospreay. He seems very focused tonight. Ospreay is even more energetic than normal. Dueling chants as Naito slowly disrobes, and this place is electric. Red Shoes is our referee and here…we…go!

Arm wringer exchanges to start into a side headlock for Ospreay. A series of chain reversals by both men leads to Ospreay getting to the ropes for a clean break…ish. Ospreay fires off the ropes with forearms, but Naito comes back with a headscissors. Ospreay jumps back up and goes for Stormbreaker, Naito escapes, then immediately has to duck a Hidden Blade. Naito goes to the floor to regroup. Back inside, Naito takes control with a kick to the gut but is pegged back by a pair of loud, stiff chops from Ospreay. A third chop sends Naito off the top rope to the floor. Ospreay lines up Naito and hits a gorgeous slingshot plancha to the floor. Both men are taking their time tonight, this might go a while. On the floor Naito reverses a whip but Ospreay casually hurdles the barricade and comes back with a springboard forearm off the barricade. Wow. Ospreay throws Naito inside and covers for one. Knees to the spine by Ospreay, a very loud chop in the corner, and a backbreaker gets a 2 count. Ospreay applies a rear chinlock, Naito escapes with elbows and Ospreay locks in an abdominal stretch. Naito with the traditional hip toss escape, Ospreay retaliates with a big boot but Naito reverses the Irish whip and hits a hip toss on to the knee! That’s innovative. Arm drag, back elbow, and low dropkick to the back of the head by Naito. Whip to the corner, combinación cabrón from Naito. He has the moments of sudden impact that he weaves into his methodical approach. We are ten minutes in.

Naito goes to the hip toss neckbreaker again and gets a two. Naito applies a butterfly hold with the legs, Ospreay makes it to the ropes. Naito tries for Gloria, Ospreay fights it off and hits the rebound handstand kick to regain the upper hand. He measures Naito for a Phenomenal forearm and gets 2. A clothesline sends Naito to the floor, and Ospreay goes to the top…intercepted by Naito on the top rope. They slug it out on the apron, Naito gets the upper hand and goes for a neckbreaker but Ospreay escapes and hits a big chop before going for the Os-cutter on the apron. Again Naito intercepts and hits a draping neckbreaker on the apron! That’s the hardest part of the ring! For fun, Naito repeats the exercise from the apron to the floor this time. We are at the fifteen minute mark as Red Shoes starts to count Ospreay out.

United Empire is encouraging Ospreay on the floor, he barely gets in at 19. Gloria by Naito! 1…2…no! Koji Clutch applied by Naito! Haven’t seen this one in a while. Naito calls it the Puma Blanca, it’s not something I have seen from him before. Ospreay again makes it to the ropes. Naito puts Ospreay on the top rope and follows him up, Ospreay fights him off but Naito tries again, backwards this time. Poison rana…Ospreay lands on his feet! Naito charges and both men collide, Ospreay charges to the corner but eats feet. Naito goes for Esperanza but Ospreay catches him, dumps him on the top rope and leaves him hanging there. Ospreay to the top…Shooting! Star! Press! Liger Bomb! 1…2…no! Dazzling sequence from Ospreay. That SSP to an opponent draped over the ropes will never fail to amaze me. Ospreay measures Hidden Blade but Naito kicks out the knee. Ospreay ducks an enziguiri and goes for the Os-cutter…Naito sidesteps and rolls through for a jackknife cover and a two. Running forearm by Ospreay! Still only a two count at the twenty minute call.

Ospreay tries for Stormbreaker but Naito blocks it, Ospreay tries again but Naito reverses and absolutely plants Ospreay with a counter DDT. Beautiful. Ospreay hits a chop but it has nothing like the power of the earlier ones. Naito ducks the next one, and hits enziguiri into a tornado DDT. Valencia! 1…2…no! Scoop slam, Naito to the top…Stardust press misses! Hidden Blade!!!! But Ospreay has nothing left and cannot cover! Both men are down and crawl over to each other, butting heads like stags. From their knees they exchange shots with everything they have left. The crowd is building beautifully, this is masterful work from both men. They get to their feet still exchanging forearms, and exchange that Ospreay is winning before Naito gets wrist control and hits a series of back elbows at 25 minutes.

More elbows from Naito, still holding the wrist. Both men are spent. Naito goes to the well one too many times and Ospreay counters with a headbutt, a kick, a Kawada kick, a chop and the hook kick. A second hook kick connects, and a third sends Naito to the mat. Ospreay mounts Naito and lays in a stiff shot, but Red Shoes breaks it up and starts a standing count! Wow, I cannot remember seeing this! Red Shoes gets to 9 before Naito pushes him away! Hidden Blade! 1…2…no! Naito barely escapes. Os-cutter! 1…2…even closer! Scoop slam by Ospreay, he goes to the top, skytwister splash! 1…2…good grief! Naito kicks out again! Ospreay is shocked too. He signals for the end and goes for Stormbreaker…COUNTERED with a Frankensteiner!!! 1…2…no! Ospreay hits a superkick, then lines up Naito for a Hidden Blade. Naito ducks but collapses from exhaustion before he can get on offense. Ospreay pulls him up and hits a ripcord elbow. Stormbreaker COUNTERED TO DESTINO! Ospreay counters a second Destino attempt with a backbreaker, but in turn Naito counters that with another Destino! 1…2…still no! Have mercy this is a match.Destino number three! 1…2…3!!! Naito has done it!

WINNER: Tetsuya Naito via pinfall in 29:55 (*****)

(Lansdell’s Analysis: Wow. Here, have the full boat. For me a five star match is not necessarily perfect, but it’s top tier and I cannot find any one thing that would bring it down. That’s the case here. This was an incredible match with a plethora of false finishes, smooth wrestling, counters, storyline, psychology…I do not know how this could have been better. That is a five star match for me. You need to go watch this match.)

Overall thoughts: This was a one-match card, but what a match it was. To be fair Okada and Evil was not bad, but I just cannot overlook the clustermess. Ospreay can add another Match of the Year candidate to his already impressive resumé, and Naito has his chance to main event WrestleKingdom against his protégé. The undercard is immensely skippable, but…wow. I am still in awe of that finishing sequence. An engaged and motivated Naito is truly a gift.

You can contact me at lansdellicious@gmail.com or on Twitter @lansdellicious . Join us tomorrow as Sean Radican covers the final. Thanks for joining us!

CATCH UP ON THE PREVIOUS REPORT: NJPW G1 CLIMAX 33 – NIGHT 17 RESULTS (8/10): Wells’s results & analysis of all four quarterfinal matches


OR CHECK OUT PROWRESTLING.NET’S REPORT FOR ANOTHER VIEWPOINT: NJPW “G1 Climax 33 Night 18” results (8/12): Vetter’s review of Tetsuya Naito vs. Will Ospreay, and Kazuchika Okada vs. Evil in semifinal matches

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