From the Dolphins Arena in Nagoya, Aichi, blocks C and D of the G1 Climax tournament are thrust back into the tenth day of action.
Would an extra few days of rest be enough for the ailing stars of the C and D blocks to heal up in preparation for today’s action? Main evented by Hiroshi Tanahashi and Hirooki Goto, both 2-2, and featuring the only 4-0 member of either block, Jeff Cobb, the action looks to be hot in Nagoya.
The Road Ends for Some, Just Getting Started for Others
G1 Climax 2023 Block C Match – David Finlay (3-1) vs. HENARE (1-3)
The night opened with a C block match between HENARE and David Finlay. HENARE started aggressively, trying to wear down Finlay, but the Rebel retaliated with his own brand of aggressiveness, laying into the head of HENARE with frantic fist strikes. With the trauma still evident, thanks to kinesiotape and cupping bruises, Finlay moved on to target the weakened neck and back of HENARE, bouncing him off the ring barricades, delivering knees to the spine and locking in submissions.
As the match progressed, Finlay went for the kill, starting by launching HENARE head first into the ringpost from a shoulder mounted position. After getting the Face of Fury back in the ring, Finlay delivered a Blue Thunder for a nearfall. HENARE fought back as rigorously as he was able, delivering a CM Punk style running knee in the corner and hitting Rampage but he was unable to hit Streets of Rage and Finlay turned the move into Oblivion, which was enough to keep HENARE down for three.
G1 Climax 2023 Block D Match – Toru Yano (0-4) vs. Jeff Cobb (4-0)
In perhaps the most disparate contest of the tournament so far, the undefeated Jeff Cobb took on the winless Toru Yano, next. Before the match, the official tried to check Toru Yano for weapons but Yano refused to have the midsection checked. As the match began, Cobb exposed the paraphernalia under the shirt of Yano to be beer and candy, and Cobb helped himself to a can of beer.
Ultimately, Cobb should not have distracted himself and after he went for a Standing Moonsault with a mouthful of beer, Yano Toru got his knees up. Yano would capitalise, squirting hand sanitiser in the eyes of Jeff Cobb and cradling him up to pull off the upset and leave no members of either C or D block undefeated.
G1 Climax 2023 Block C Match – Eddie Kingston (2-2) vs. Mikey Nicholls (0-4)
The next contest saw Mikey Nicholls look for his first win against Eddie Kingston, himself 2-2 so far in G1 33. Nicholls took the early advantage, surprising Kingston at ringside with a dive to the outside. He tried to slowly wear down Kingston with good wrestling but the Mad King evened things up with good manoeuvres of his own.
Nicholls secured a nearfall after a Sliding Lariat and Kingston began to favour his neck and shoulder again, as he had done in the last contest. There was a point in the match, though, where Kingston had enough of Mikey Nicholls suggestion that he “ain’t shit” and a Spinning Back Fist put an end to Nicholls tournament, dropping him to 0-5.
G1 Climax 2023 Block D Match – Tetsuya Naito (2-2) vs. Alex Coughlin (1-3)
Would Alex Coughlin dare to attack Tetsuya Naito during his entrance to kick off this contest between the two? Perhaps realising that this tactic hadn’t necessarily worked for the Bullet Club War Dog in his debut G1 Climax, Coughlin elected to wait for Naito to be ready, on this occasion. As the bell rang, Coughlin charged at Naito but the Ungovernable One decided that discretion was the better part of valour and slid out of the ring to prolong the opening sequence. Eventually, though, Coughlin caught up to Naito and used the ringside barricades to maul his veteran opponent before getting him back in the ring to continue to attack. Coughlin tried to wear down Naito but the experience factor got the better of him and Naito was able to pick up the win with Destino.
FUN FACT: Tetsuya Naito has spent more than a day of his life competing in the G1 Climax tournament, clocking in at over 29 hours of ring time to date.
G1 Climax 2023 Block C Match – Tomohiro Ishii (1-3) vs. EVIL (3-1)
In the next contest, Tomohiro Ishii and EVIL squared off. Still hoping to turn around his tournament, Ishii went on the offensive early but EVIL was able to take over the match by launching the Stone Pitbull into the barricade and timekeepers area. Steel chairs came into play, further damaging Ishiii before the match went back into the ring for a back and forth slugfest.
With the official knocked down, Dick Togo got involved, choking Ishii and aiding EVIL in delivery of the Magic Killer. This would only net a two count, as the referee was roused, and Ishii locked in a submission. Ishii would release the submission when Dick Togo got on the apron with a chair but the distraction backfired for the House of Torture pair when Ishii punched the chair into the face of EVIL, opening a small cut on his head.
Rallying back, EVIL hit Darkness Falls for another two count and looked to end things with Everything is Evil but the Stone Pitbull reversed it and hit “Everything is Ishii” instead. EVIL was soon able to deliver his climax manoeuvre, though, following a low blow kick from Dick Togo, behind the referee’s back. This took EVIL to 4-1 and eliminated Tomohiro Ishii from playoff contention.
G1 Climax 2023 Block D Match – Zack Sabre Jr. (3-1) vs. Shane Haste (2-2)
Shane Haste looked to continue his streak of upsets in the next contest as he took on his TMDK stablemate, the NJPW World Television Champion, Zack Sabre Jr. Kosei Fujita elected to follow the match from a neutral corner as things got underway. The pair engaged in some pure wrestling competition to begin the contest but soon the chops came out and the fight spilled to ringside. Shane Haste decided against engaging in shady tactics, though, and instead took Sabre back into the ring for a submission.
Haste began to wear down the quad and hamstring of Sabre in preparation for further submission attempts but Sabre fought his way back – his target area of choice, the neck and shoulders. Starting on their knees, but agreeing to continue on their feet, the pair sent clouds of swear vapour into the rafters of Dolphins Arena with back and forth chops to each other’s chest. The pair continued to pass back and forth strikes and submissions until Zack Sabre locked Haste in an armlock pin to collect another two points in the tournament.
G1 Climax 2023 Block C Match – Shingo Takagi (2-2) vs. Tama Tonga (3-1)
Perhaps the most important match of the night in terms of future advancement prospects, Tama Tonga took on Shingo Takagi in the semi main event of night ten. The pair exchanged holds in the early going, each feeling out their opponents. Tama Tonga took the advantage for the first time after delivering a Gun Stun as Takagi stood on the apron, dropping Shingo on to his neck on the top rope. Takagi rallied back, though, and took Tama Tonga down with a big Superplex from the top turnbuckle.
Continuing a very even contest, Shingo Takagi locked in a submission move but Tama was able to escape by reaching the ropes. Tama Tonga locked in a Sharpshooter but, likewise, Takagi was able to escape that doom. The pair exchanged forearm strikes in the middle of the ring until Tonga delivered a rolling Death Valley Driver and following up with a beautiful Supreme Flow for a nearfall. Shingo Takaki collected a nearfall of his own following a High Angle Powerbomb.
As the clock wound towards a time limit draw, Takagi collected yet another nearfall with a Pop Up Powerbomb. With ten seconds left, Takagi rolled into a pin but time ran out on The Dragon and the match ended in a tie.
G1 Climax 2023 Block D Match – Hiroshi Tanahashi (2-2) vs. Hirooki Goto (2-2)
In an interesting choice for main event, Hiroshi Tanahashi squared off with Hirooki Goto. A collar and elbow tie up began the match before Goto went on the offensive, thwarted early by Tanahashi’s swift elbows to his taped, injured ribs. Goto also began to favour his knee, as the match progressed, but desperate to keep his G1 hopes alive he fought through the pain.
Tanahashi hit Slingblade, got a nearfall after a German Suplex and went for High Fly Flow, but missed. Hirooki Goto did his best to fight back into the match but collapsed under the weight of Tanahashi and couldn’t execute. Tanahashi took to the ropes again and delivered High Fly Flow to put Goto out of his misery.
See You Tuesday
The rest continues for the A and B blocks as they won’t resume competition until Tuesday. Join us here at JEZSports.com for continued coverage from G1 33!
Several competitors have now been eliminated from playoff contention. Who’s your favourite to advance from the C and D blocks? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!