Main evented by Tomohiro Ishii and Tama Tonga, the fourth day of action in the G1 Climax tournament got underway in Sendai.
Another day, another round of matches in the 2023 G1 Climax tournament from New Japan Pro Wrestling. Day 4’s slate of competition comes from the Sendai Xebio Arena in Miyagi and features competitors from blocks C and D.
Hijinx and Heavy Hitting Highlight Day 4
G1 Climax 2023 Block D Match – Toru Yano (0-1) vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (1-0)
Opening up Wednesday’s action in Miyagi was supposed to be Toru Yano and Zack Sabre Jr. but things got rather confusing at the start of this matchup when TMDK young lion, Kosei Fujita, came to the ring dressed as Sabre Jr. With Fujita looking like he would be wrestling in Sabre’s place, Yano threw another young lion into the ring and made his way up the ramp to leave. This is where Zack Sabre Jr. struck, choking out Yano on the stage and heading to the ring to tape the turnbuckle pads to the turnbuckles, to prevent Toru Yano removing them.
With this mission accomplished, Sabre went to collect Yano and bring him to the ring but Yano turned the tables and hogtied Sabre with his own tape. Fighting against a 20 count, Sabre just barely made his way to the ring to break the count. Once free of the tape, Zack Sabre Jr. made quick work of Yano and walked out with another two points in the tournament.
G1 Climax 2023 Block C Match – Mikey Nicholls (0-1) vs. David Finlay (1-0)
In the next matchup, Mikey Nicholls took on Bullet Club leader, David Finlay. In the early going, Finlay tried to shock Nicholls with his quickness but the TMDK member used his own sudden offense to take down Finlay, after holding him for a while in a Vertical Suplex. Finlay quickly took over the match, however, after violently tossing Nicholls into the ring barricades, The Rebel followed up by launching his opponent into the ringpost.
Despite a few flurries of offense from Nicholls, who tried to use his strength to regain momentum, Finlay continued to dominate as the match progressed. Nicholls did manage to deliver the Sliding Lariat but Finlay kicked out of the pinfall attempt and retaliated with Into Oblivion to put away the match. Surprisingly, Gedo kept his nose out of this one; his intervention wasn’t really necessary, though.
G1 Climax 2023 Block D Match – Jeff Cobb (1-0) vs. Alex Coughlin (0-1)
Our next match saw Jeff Cobb take on Alex Coughlin. After failing to bully his way through his opening bout, it would be intriguing to see how Coughlin would attempt to handle the bigger, stronger, veteran presence of Cobb. The pair engaged in a test of strength to begin the contest and, as expected, Cobb got the better of it. This took Coughlin to ringside where we was busted by the referee trying to get his STRONG Tag Team title belt. Coughlin instead opted to throw the official, followed by young lion, Boltin Oleg, at Cobb, which allowed Coughlin to strike and take control of the match.
Back in the ring, Coughlin displayed his own strength by delivering a Gutwrench Suplex to Cobb and, later, a huge Body Press and overhead Belly to Belly Suplex. Cobb kept himself in the match despite the continued displays of dominance by Coughlin and was able to surprise the Bullet Club War Dog with Tour of the Islands to pick up a hard fought win.
G1 Climax 2023 Block C Match – Eddie Kingston (1-0) vs. EVIL (1-0)
In the day’s only battle of 1-0 competitors, Eddie Kingston collided with EVIL in the next match. Kingston brought a Kendo Stick to the ring with him but he was prevented from using it by the referee, who promptly confiscated the weapon. The early contest spread into the crowd where EVIL threw Kingston into some chairs and choked him with a spectator’s umbrella. Back in the ring, EVIL continued to wear away at Eddie Kingston, chopping at the chest of the Mad King and blinding him with rakes to the eyes.
Despite showing pain in his lower back, Kingston fought back into the match with a running splash against the turnbuckles and a series of machine gun chops to EVIL. A brief distraction from Dick Togo was thwarted but EVIL was able to launch Kingston through the ring barricades and into the timekeepers table, sending the poor timekeeper for a ride.
With the referee also knocked down, Dick Togo entered the ring to choke Kingston and EVIL tried to capitalise with the Kendo Stick that Kingston brought to the ring. This backfired on the King of Darkness and Kingston was afforded the opportunity to use the weapon that he introduced to the match, opening up on both EVIL and Dick Togo.
When referee, Kenta Sato, revived, he was once against used as part of EVIL’s offense, unintentionally taking part in EVIL delivering a Magic Killer to Kingston. Dick Togo took the opportunity to get involved again, striking Kingston in the forehead with his own Kendo Stick. Eddie made a beeline for Togo, turning his back on EVIL, who delivered a low blow and followed up his shenanigans with Everything is Evil to pick up his second win of the tournament.
G1 Climax 2023 Block D Match – Hiroshi Tanahashi (0-1) vs. Shane Haste (1-0)
After an unfortunate loss on day 2, Hiroshi Tanahashi looked to pick up his first win of G1 33 against Shane Haste, next. After some back and forth Hammerlocks early, Haste took control of the match by surprising Tanahashi on the ropes, pulling his base out from underneath him and sending him crashing to the mat below. The Aussie tapped into his more vicious side and stayed on the veteran, three time G1 winner, striking Hiroshi in the head with kicks and dropping him out of the ring with a backbreaker.
Haste continued to deliver some fairly cheap and nasty shots to Tanahashi but this served to fire up the veteran who clambered his way back into the match bit by bit, continuing to absorb the offense launched towards him.
Tanahashi went for the Slingblade but Haste had an answer for it, avoiding the strike and putting his opponent down once again with a Back Suplex. When Tanahashi was able to hit the Slingblade, he secured a nearfall but climbed the ropes to try and finish the job. Haste met Hiroshi on the ropes, delaying his doom for a moment, but Tanahashi was able to send Haste crashing back to the middle of the ring and deliver High Fly Flow for victory.
G1 Climax 2023 Block C Match – Shingo Takagi (0-1) vs. HENARE (0-1)
Sporting kinesiotape to protect his neck after being dropped on his head on day 2, HENARE sought his first win against Shingo Takagi in the next match. Takagi, also seeking his first win of the tournament, invited his larger opponent to deliver his best kick to his back before the pair tried to take each other off their feet with powerful shoulder blocks. HENARE succeeded in taking down Takagi but the veteran Ingobernables member started to target the neck of his opponent with a DDT.
HENARE fought back, using his strength and power, but the neck continued to be an issue for the Face of Fury. Takagi looked for a submission win with the Mankiri but HENARE reached the hopes. He followed up with a Full Nelson on the mat but HENARE escaped that move too. HENARE delivered a massive Hammerhead headbutt, leading to delivery of the Streets of Rage, but pain in the neck prevented him from capitalising. Shingo Takagi delivered the Pumping Bomber and seemed ready to gain victory but HENARE kicked out at the last possible moment.
With two minutes remaining, the pair went for it all, laying in the hardest strikes on each other. The Kiwi went for broke, delivering a series of Hammerheads to Takagi before dropping him, once again, with a second Streets of Rage to secure a very important victory in G1 Climax.
G1 Climax 2023 Block D Match – Hirooki Goto (1-0) vs. Tetsuya Naito (0-1)
Back to back Los Ingobernables in these two matches. Next up, Tetsuya Naito sought victory of the 1-0 IWGP Tag Team Champion, Hirooki Goto. Perhaps one of the most overlooked men in this tournament, Goto tried to put the match away quickly, chasing Naito around the outside to get him back in the ring, but Goto suffered as a result of his impatience, dropped on his head and neck on the floor and narrowly avoiding a 20 count.
The pair worked methodically, back and forth, gradually wearing down each other in hopes of one final victory strike, but it would be Goto that would build momentum towards a finish, getting a nearfall with an Ushigoroshi. With only three minutes left in the match, Naito desperately, but coolly, tried to get the upper hand and was able to force home Destino and pin Hirooki Goto to go 1-1 in the tournament.
G1 Climax 2023 Block C Match – Tomohiro Ishii (0-1) vs. Tama Tonga (0-1)
The main event saw Tomohiro Ishii take on Tama Tonga. Both of these men dropped their opening matches in the tournament but wouldn’t let that put them off giving their all in this one. The match opened every bit as hard hitting as you’d expect from these men but also had a good pace to it, with Tonga and Ishii delivering quick shoulder tackles and whips across the ring.
The first 5 minutes passed rather quickly and after a period of hard hitting, the quickness was on display again and the pair hit the ropes repeatedly and avoided each others offense. Ishii attempted to ground Tama Tonga by delivering a Superplex but Tonga sprung back into action with a textbook Dropkick. On the way down from this move, Tonga landed on the face of Ishii but the Stone Pitbull persevered.
Halfway through the time limit, Tama Tonga prepared for the Gun Stun but Ishii quickly put an end to that conversation with a fast shoulder tackle. Tonga tried to surprise Ishii with speed of his own but Ishii swatted away the second Gun Stun attempt. Supreme Flow and a Death Rider did no better for Tama Tonga as he could only get two counts from these manoeuvres. Apparently determined to see a Gun Sun in this match, Ishii avoided the Jay Driller and delivered a Gun Stun of his own. When Tama Tonga was finally able to deliver the Gun Stun himself, he followed it up with the Jay Driller to pick up the win. After the match, Tonga collected a microphone, thanked Tomohiro Ishii and promised to the crowd that this would be his best G1 ever.
Back to Action on Friday
The competitors have a well deserved day of rest tomorrow but will return to action on Friday, July 21st, from Nagaoka. The main event will be a rematch from NJPW Dominion 6.4 In Osaka-Jo Hall when IWGP World Heavyweight Champion SANADA takes on Yota Tsuji. Watch at NJPWWorld.com and come back to JEZ Sports for the full results on Friday.
What match are you looking forward to on Friday? Let us know what you think in the comment section below!