Back in Korakuen Hall for the second day in a row, G1 Climax 33 enters its eighth night of action with matches featuring the stars of C and D blocks.
Tokyo plays host to another night of competition in the summer classic, main evented by the yet to be defeated duo of Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Jeff Cobb. Barring a tie, only one competitor will remain lossless after tonight.
As a promotional tool, NJPW World offered the first two matches of the night for free on
Xwitter X but the post has since been deleted. Go pay the subscription, I guess…
Important Wins Delivered on Day 8
G1 Climax 2023 Block C Match – EVIL (2-1) vs. HENARE (1-2)
Nor a kanji or lowercase character in sight as the eighth day of G1 got underway between EVIL and HENARE. As HENARE made his way to the ring, he was jumped on the entrance way by Dick Togo and a steel chair. EVIL went to several covers, attempting to capitalise on the cheap shot, but HENARE repeatedly kicked out. Frustrated by this, EVIL took HENARE into the crowd to try and weaken him further but this backfired on the King of Darkness and he found himself bounced off a metal sign amongst the audience.
The match returned to the ring, briefly, but soon the fight spilled to the other side of Korakuen Hall, where HENARE was choked by Dick Togo before taking back control, once again, and bouncing EVIL off the barricades on his way back to the ring. HENARE looked for Rampage to finish things off but EVIL dodged the move and sent him head first into the turnbuckles. The Face of Fury began to favour his neck as EVIL looked for, and delivered, the Darkness Falls for a nearfall.
HENARE fought his way back into the match for a time but as has been the case throughout the tournament, Dick Togo was the difference in this match. With the referee distracted, Togo jammed the pointed end of the chair into the neck of HENARE. As the referee broke free of EVIL’s misdirection, HENARE punched the seat out of the chair and the weapon was confiscated. From here, EVIL capitalised, hit a low blow on HENARE and delivered Everything is Evil to take his G1 2023 record to 3-1.
G1 Climax 2023 Block D Match – Hirooki Goto (2-1) vs. Alex Coughlin (0-3)
Next up, Alex Coughlin looked to finally get in the win column in his match with the bandage wrapped IWGP Tag Team Champion, Hirooki Goto. While Coughlin has a habit of attacking during the entrance, he at least, today, waited until Goto was in the ring before delivering his first cheap shot of the match. Coughlin continued, in his traditional style, to drag Hirooki around ringside and bounce him about the environment, before the action finally went back to the ring.
Goto continued to be worn down by Coughlin as time rolled on in the match and Goto struggled to overcome the onslaught because of his heavily taped ribs. Alex Coughlin quickly delivered the Brainbuster to Hirooki Goto, picked up his first win, and potentially secured his War Dogs team another shot at the Tag Team titles.
G1 Climax 2023 Block C Match – Shingo Takagi (1-2) vs. Mikey Nicholls (0-3)
Hoping to salvage their disappointing tournaments to date, Shingo Takagi and Mikey Nicholls squared off, next. Nicholls started the match off hot, declaring himself the “Dragon Slayer” as he bounced Takagi around the ringside area. Once in the ring, Nicholls tried to keep the momentum he’d built with a Delayed Suplex but Takagi soon got himself back in the match and declared to the camera that it was time. Unfortunately for him, it was time for Mikey Nicholls to trap him on the top turnbuckle and deliver a huge Superplex to The Dragon.
Nicholls collected a few nearfalls before the pair returned to the middle of the ring to exchange Lariats, elbow strikes and chops back and forth. In what was a rather strange finish, the pair collided at speed in the middle of the ring and Takagi fell on top of Nicholls for a three count.
G1 Climax 2023 Block D Match – Hiroshi Tanahashi (1-2) vs. Toru Yano (0-3)
Another pair both in need of a win was Hiroshi Tanahashi and Toru Yano, who faced off in the next contest. Yano tried to surprise Tanahashi with a school boy rollup but The Ace kicked out and encouraged Toru to get serious.
Somewhat serious, they got, and locked up in the middle of the ring before exchanging strikes back and forth. Toru Yano continued to apply the hijinks throughout the contest but Tanahashi, the wily veteran, was wise to most of it, avoiding low blows, chairshots and turnbuckle whips. With the ‘fun’ out of the way, Tanahashi took to the top turnbuckle to deliver High Fly Flow and pick up a much needed two points.
G1 Climax 2023 Block C Match – Eddie Kingston (2-1) vs. Tomohiro Ishii (0-3)
In a rematch of their meetings at Capital Collision and AEW All Out last year, Eddie Kingston fought Tomohiro Ishii in the next match. It didn’t take long for this hard hitting pair to return to the hallmark of their previous contests, opening up each other’s chests with vicious Knife Edge Chops. Ishii got the better of the exchange and went to work on the weakened lower back of the Mad King. Kingston continued to fight through the pain as the pair exchanged chops again. Ishii, his chest turning a shade of purple, was taken down to the mat by one, deep, final strike across the pectoral region and Kingston soon got a nearfall after a Back Suplex.
Ishii rallied back into the match and collected a nearfall of his own after a javelin style headbutt to Kingston. Unable to get the win after another strike, Ishii grew visibly frustrated. This allowed Kingston to retaliate with Spinning Back Chops but the Stone Pitbull refused to stay down and came back with a Vertical Drop Brainbuster to pick up his first win of G1 33.
G1 Climax 2023 Block D Match – Tetsuya Naito (2-1) vs. Shane Haste (1-2)
The night rolled on with an intriguing matchup between two unorthodox individuals, Shane Haste and Tetsuya Naito. Before the bell, Naito desired to try on the orange hat of Shane Haste and he got his wish, trying it on before sending it into the crowd. Haste was, understandably, irked by this and, as the match officially began, returned the favour, wearing Naito’s Los Ingobernables baseball cap whilst delivering his initial offense before sending that cap home with a fan, as well.
Despite being touted as a tag team specialist, Haste held his own in this match against the former three time IWGP Heavyweight Champion and a former six-time IWGP Intercontinental Champion. The veteran, Tetsuya Naito, gradually wore down his opponent throughout the match, doing just enough to weaken Haste, bit by bit, and set up for a final flurry of offense towards the end. This flurry began with a Tornado DDT, sprung from the middle rope and was expected to culminate with Destino but Haste kicked out at the very last moment.
It was then that Shane Haste shocked the world, upsetting Naito out of nowhere with Bomb Valley Death. Wow.
G1 Climax 2023 Block C Match – Tama Tonga (2-1) vs. David Finlay (3-0)
Another big rematch of rivalry past took place, next, as Tama Tonga took on the man who took his NEVER Openweight Championship, David Finlay. Tama Tonga wasted no time getting the match going, meeting Finlay in the entrance way and taking the fight into the crowd.
After fighting on the steps for a time, Finlay was able to launch Tonga off the raised area. Tama Tonga landed awkwardly and Finlay went to work on the leg of his rival. David Finlay also took the time to yank a chair out from underneath a woman sat in the crowd… for some reason. It wasn’t pretty; thank gawd this isn’t ‘Merica.
Now fighting in the ring, Tama Tonga did his best to shake off the pain and potential injury in his knee but, conversely, David Finlay did his best to ensure he felt every breath of it. After Tama went for the Superfly Splash, Finlay got his knees up and rolled him into a Sharpshooter. Were it not for the ensuing rope break, Tonga may have been forced to submit there and then.
The pair went back and forth with move and countermove, neither able to gain the advantage for any prolonged period. Finlay got a nearfall following the Dominator and soon followed up with a Spear. This could have been the end but Finlay got cocky and went for another move instead of the pin. Tama Tonga rolled Finlay through into a rollup and surprised the Bullet Club leader with a three count and another upset in this tournament.
After the match, Finlay continued his attack on Tama Tonga, attacking him in the corner and hitting him square between the eyes with his Shillelagh. It didn’t matter, though, the damage was done and there are no undefeated wrestlers left in C Block.
G1 Climax 2023 Block D Match – Zack Sabre Jr. (3-0) vs. Jeff Cobb (3-0)
Only one man can walk out undefeated from this one (well, unless they tie… I hate ties…) as Zack Sabre Jr. and Jeff Cobb go one-on-one. The match began on the mat with Zack Sabre trying to ground his much larger foe in the early going. When this proved ineffective, Sabre instead opted to try and take down Cobb with a couple of shoulder blocks but the big man no sold them and acted like a fly was buzzing around him.
United Empire’s Cobb took the match outside the ring and used the ring barricades to punctuate his already hard hitting offense. Once returned to the ring, Zack Sabre Jr. found himself tossed around just as aggressively, taking the full force of Jeff Cobb’s throws into the corner turnbuckles.
As the match rolled on, things really seemed dire for Sabre as he fell victim to Spin Cycle but, as Cobb looked for Tour of the Islands, Sabre wormed out of it and locked in a submission on the mat. Jeff Cobb was able to reach the ropes and the fight continued.
With five minutes remaining, Sabre hit the PK but Jeff Cobb wasn’t phased by it. He aeroplaned Sabre through the air from a Fireman’s Carry position before following up with Tour of the Islands to pick up the win and remain the lone undefeated member of D Block.
Let’s Do It Again Tomorrow!
One more day in Tokyo to come as A and B block resume. Every win and loss has a profound effect on the overall tournament now as we start to see clear frontrunners emerge. Who amongst those with losing records can sneak into the playoffs by going on a late run? Join us again tomorrow for more coverage from the G1 Climax Tournament.
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