In a crucial main event on the ninth day of action in the 2023 G1 Climax tournament, Will Ospreay will be looking to put his name at the top of the field against reigning winner, Kazuchika Okada.
What a main event this should be, but that’s not all! Young pup Ren Narita will try his luck against the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, SANADA, and El Phantasmo will try to exact some revenge on KENTA.
Closing Out Three Days in Tokyo
G1 Climax 2023 Block A Match – Chase Owens (2-2) vs. Shota Umino (1-1-2)
The opening contest of night 9, the last in a series of three nights in Tokyo, saw Bullet Club’s Chase Owens take on Shota Umino. Owens tried to get the jump on Umino as he passed the ring during his entrance but the young “Shooter” was wise to it and instead took to opportunity to cause some damage to the already hurt hand of Owens. While entering the ring briefly, at least long enough to ring the bell, the match went back to ringside again where Owens delivered a devastating Death Valley Driver to the floor.
The Crown Jewel kept on Umino, once back in the ring, wearing his young opponent down with headlocks and sleeper holds. Complaining about slow counts from the referee, Owens let the match get away from him and Shota Umino fought his way back with the Trident Reverse DDT before no-selling the slaps and strikes of Owens. Owens went for the Package Piledriver but it was quickly avoided by Umino, who hit the Death Rider and picked up the first two points of the day.
G1 Climax 2023 Block B Match – Taichi (2-2) vs. YOSHI-HASHI (2-2)
Taichi and YOSHI-HASHI, both 2-2 in the tournament thus far, squared off in our second contest of the night, next. The match began with back and forth forearm strikes and boots before descending into a battle of chops. With the work done and welts clearly evident on the chests of both men, Taichi turned his attention to the midsection of YOSHI-HASHI, wearing him down with swift kicks to the stomach and targeted submissions such as the Abdominal Stretch.
As YOSHI-HASHI fought off the attacks of Taichi, he his a Canadian Destroyer and followed up with a Lariat for the closest nearfall of the match so far. HASHI followed this up with Kumagoroshi but was only able to get two here, as well. Taichi hit Black Mephisto but was unable to bring himself over to pin. Despite a kick from YOSHI-HASHI, Taichi was able to hit it again and, this time, make the cover to pick up a hard fought win.
G1 Climax 2023 Block A Match – Gabe Kidd (2-2) vs. Kaito Kiyomiya (2-1-1)
An intriguing matchup, next, with Kaito Kiyomiya taking on Gabe Kidd. Would young Kiyomiya be able to overcome the extra curricular antics of Kidd to keep things in the ring? He would not in the early going as Gabe Kidd struck during the entrance, once again, and the fight began amongst the fans. Kiyomiya was able to avoid Kidd’s cannonball attempt and send the Bullet Club War Dog crashing through the chairs. As the pair fought back to ringside, Kidd took firm control with a steel chair, jamming it in the ribs before swinging for the fences and clattering it over the top of the skull of Kaito Kiyomiya.
Gabe Kidd maintained full control of this match for the majority, mocking both Kiyomiya and Pro Wrestling NOAH. Kidd went for the pin after a Side Suplex but at two and three quarters, he lifted Kiyomiya’s head from the mat to break the pin. After being sent out of the ring and narrowly avoiding the countout, Kaito Kiyomiya began to rally back and got a nearfall of his own with a German Suplex. Kiyomiya looked for the Tiger Suplex but Gabe Kidd grabbed at the face of the official to avoid it and used this distraction to mule kick the NOAH star between his legs.
Between this disrespect and having Gabe Kidd spit in his face, this incensed Kaito Kiyomiya and he took the fight back to ringside to launch his own War Dogs like assault. The crowd were not happy that the squeaky clean Kiyomiya resorted to these tactics but he was happy to do what he needed to bring the fight to Kidd.
The official returned to the ring to begin the count and the pair were counted out while they fought amongst the people. The fight didn’t end after the bell as Kiyomiya refused to take any more of Gabe Kidd’s bullshit. The two men were finally separated but I don’t think this is over…
Shoutout to Chris Charlton for getting the word ‘bellend’ into his commentary here tonight. Probably the first time a lot of Americans have heard that word.
G1 Climax 2023 Block B Match – Tanga Loa (1-3) vs. Great-O-Khan (1-3)
Trying to restore some semblance of calm to the Ota City General Gymnasium, Tanga Loa and Great-O-Khan fought next in, perhaps, their final opportunity to turn their ailing G1 tournaments around. The start of the contest was evenly fought but Great-O-Khan was able to take control of the match by targeting the injured knee of Loa. Tanga Loa fought through various submissions to stay in the match but couldn’t escape the fact that his knee was holding him back.
Every time Tanga Loa launched some form of offense, all Great-O-Khan would need to do is kick the knee out from under him. This did not deter Loa, though, and the Guerrilla of Destiny stayed alive long enough to surprise Khan and deliver the Reverse Piledriver outta nowhere for the win.
G1 Climax 2023 Block A Match – Hikuleo (1-3) vs. Yota Tsuji (1-2-1)
It was a battle of big men next as Hikuleo and Yota Tsuji collided for the potential of two points. As the bell rang, the crowd battled with chants for both men. After an initial battle in the ring, Tsuji sent Hikuleo to ringside where he tried to take down the Guerrilla of Destiny with a Suicide Dive. This move failed but Tsuji was able to launch Hikuleo into the ring barricade and damage his neck.
Back in the ring, Yota Tsuji kept the attack going on the neck of his larger opponent but also sought to take Hikuleo’s legs out from underneath him. The pair went back and forth, passing the baton of momentum between them, but as Hikuleo called for a Chokeslam, Tsuji was able to resume the assault to the neck with a running knee to the chin. Yota was able to get Hikuleo up for the Falcon Arrow but this only netted him a two count. A Kerb Stomp later, Tsuji looked for the Spear but it was met with a swift boot to the face from Hikuleo who was finally able to deliver a Chokeslam that would keep Yota Tsuji down for the 1-2-3.
G1 Climax 2023 Block B Match – KENTA (2-2) vs. El Phantasmo (1-3)
The next match, in addition to being for points in G1, was supremely personal, as former Bullet Club teammates El Phantasmo and KENTA squared off. The match didn’t get started officially as the battle immediately took to the outside. The pair fought through the audience and El P found himself busted open after being dropped onto the benches, high in the crowd. As KENTA continued to beat down Phantasmo, he retrieved a Kendo Stick and continued to beat down the man that he betrayed on the way back to the ring. At ringside, El P was finally able to get back into the fight as he wrestled the stick away from KENTA and bent it over the head of the DEFY Champion with a vicious strike.
El Phantasmo took KENTA to the top of the timekeepers table and was poised to put him through it. However, KENTA retaliated with a low blow and DDTd El P onto the indestructible table.
KENTA took Phantasmo to the ring, the bell finally rang, and he went for Go 2 Sleep. Bringing to an end the shortest match in this year’s G1, El Phantasmo cradled up KENTA to get the three count and pick up a shock second win in the tournament.
G1 Climax 2023 Block A Match – SANADA (4-0) vs. Ren Narita (0-2-2)
Outwardly upset with his record in the G1 so far, Ren Narita looked to deliver, perhaps, the biggest upset of the tournament to date with a win over the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, SANADA. The match began as a mat based affair with the younger, Narita, demonstrating his technical ability on the World Champ. Narita continued to ground his opponent with sleeper holds and submissions, amongst brief flurries of offense from the champion, but SANADA got back into the match with a huge springboard Dropkick and followed up with the TKO for a nearfall.
As the match continued, SANADA looked for Dead Fall but Ren Narita continued to apply submission moves to the champion to try and wear him down. Narita’s efforts weakened the knee of SANADA and prevented him from delivering some of his offense but he was eventually able to end things with Dead Fall
G1 Climax 2023 Block B Match – Kazuchika Okada (4-0) vs. Will Ospreay (3-1)
In our main event, we have a match that could easily headline a Wrestle Kingdom or other major event, with two of the best in the world squaring off: Kazuchika Okada vs. Will Ospreay. Much like the last contest, this match started with a collar and elbow tie up and some technical competition. However, when Okada refused the clean break against the ropes, Ospreay sent The Rainmaker out of the ring and followed up with a Plancha to take the reigning G1 winner to the ground.
With a lot being made about the twenty minute time limit, Ospreay and Okada went back and forth in the middle of the ring, wearing down the time minute by minute. Each man went for their finishes, not wishing the time to expire on them, but Okada blocked the Oscutter with a dropkick and Ospreay avoided The Rainmaker as the ten minute call was made.
After both men were almost counted out of the match, Will Ospreay hit the Oscutter and went for the Twisting Moonsault but Okada moved aside and locked in the Money Clip in the middle of the ring. Ospreay was able to escape the hold and briefly left the ring. When he returned, the surprised Okada with a Spanish Fly and picked up a nearfall. Ospreay hit Hidden Blade, Okada hit Landslide, neither man was able to capitalise. However, Will Ospreay took advantage of the weakened state of Okada and was able to deliver Stormbreaker and hand Kazuchika Okada his first loss in G1 since August 7th, 2022.
A Break Before the Business End
Following this night of competition, G1 Climax 33 takes a little break. We return to action on Sunday, July 30th, with continued competition from C and D blocks. In what seems like a strange choice of main event, Hiroshi Tanahashi takes on Hirooki Goto. The card also features David Finlay vs. HENARE, Tetsuya Naito vs. Alex Coughlin, and Tomohiro Ishii vs. EVIL. Come back to JEZSports.com this weekend for continued coverage of G1!
SANADA has clinched. Will Ospreay has shocked the reigning winner. Who will take it all? Let us know what you think in the comment section below!