The month of August kicks off with Day 11 of the G1 Climax tournament with the stars of A and B block looking for final points as the group stages begin to close out.
After dropping his first match of the tournament last week, Kazuchika Okada will look to rebuild his momentum with a win over KENTA, who himself needs the two points if he’s any hope of playoffs. SANADA will also defend his undefeated record against the wily, Gabe Kidd.
The Hard Fight for the Playoffs Continues
G1 Climax 2023 Block A Match – Kaito Kiyomiya (2-1-2) vs. Hikuleo (2-3)
Kicking off the action in Takamatsu was the young pairing of Kaito Kiyomiya and Hikuleo. Kiyomiya started the match by trying to take his larger opponent off his feet but this attempt quicky bore no fruit and the match took to ringside. Hikuleo lifted Kaito on his shoulder, dropped him chest first on a barricade and took the action back into the ring.
“Don’t drop him! We won’t get our deposit back from NOAH…”Kevin Kelly
Kaito Kiyomiya again tried to wear down Hikuleo and, this time, he was more successful, breaking down the left leg of the Guerrilla of Destiny with kicks and submissions. Locked in a Figure Four Leg Lock, Hikuleo desperately pawed at Kiyomiya before getting to the ropes to break the hold. Hikuleo fought back with a Running Powerslam but two attempts at the Chokeslam were thwarted by Kaito. It was third time lucky for Hikuleo, though, as he was eventually able to deliver the Chokeslam to pick up the win and keep himself alive in the playoff standings.
G1 Climax 2023 Block B Match – YOSHI-HASHI (2-3) vs. Great-O-Khan (1-4)
Despite one of these men being eliminated from playoff contention, and the other close, there would still be tie-breaking implications for others as Great-O-Khan took on YOSHI-HASHI in a B block match. The match started as a mat based affair with Khan using techniques from his various disciplines to wear down his opponent. After Great-O-Khan nonchalantly made the cover for a two count, YOSHI-HASHI began to fight back into the match. The IWGP Tag Team Champion hung Khan over the ropes and delivered a running dropkick before following up with a Blockbuster to get his first nearfall of the match.
Great-O-Khan tried to put YOSHI-HASHI away with the Tenzan Tombstone Driver but HASHI rallied on. taking him down with a Dragon Suplex, Sitout Powerbomb, and a Kumagoroshi. Again, though, only a two count was achieved on each pinfall attempt. Great-O-Khan returned to what brought him success at the beginning of the match and locked YOSHI-HASHI in a submission, once again. He applied The Claw to the face of HASHI and transitioned into a Chokeslam using The Claw to pick up the win and officially eliminate the Bishamon member.
G1 Climax 2023 Block A Match – Chase Owens (2-3) vs. Ren Narita (0-3-2)
With both men in desperate need of a win, Ren Narita went one on one with Chase Owens. Narita went for submissions early but Owens went to the ropes to break the hold. Owens verbally berated and slapped Narita, drawing the ire of the youngster before throwing Owens into the metal barricades at ringside. After Narita kicked the ringpost, instead of Owens’ head, the Crown Jewel turned the contest in his favour and took Narita back into the ring for a nearfall.
Owens continued to try and wind up Ren Narita as the match progressed and each time it prompted him to rally back against the Bullet Club veteran. Chase looked for the Package Piledriver on a couple of occasions but Ren Narita surprised him by locking in the Cobra Twist and forcing Chase Owens to tap out.
G1 Climax 2023 Block B Match – Taichi (3-2) vs. El Phantasmo (2-3)
Next up, Taichi went up against El P. Phantasmo tried to speak to the crowd using the microphone Taichi brings to the ring but he soon discovered what we all already knew… it doesn’t actually work. After the handshake, the bell rang and the pair exchanged strikes to begin the match. After the fight spilled to ringside, El Phantasmo tried to get some kudos from the crowd but all this did was give Taichi time to recover and the Just 5 Guys member thwarted his Springboard Elbow attempt, on the way back into the ring.
Taichi twice went for the kill with a Superkick that El P blocked which began a series of attempted big moves back and forth. Taichi locked Phantasmo in the Taichi Clutch for two and El P put on his own version for his own two count. The back and forth continued until El Phantasmo went back to the Clutch and picked up the win. With the loss, Taichi will be looking for losses from Okada and Ospreay later in the night to keep his hopes alive.
G1 Climax 2023 Block A Match – SANADA (5-0) vs. Gabe Kidd (2-2-1)
Kidd posed in the middle of the ring with the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship before disrespectfully discarding it to ringside. He went back to the outside and threw SANADA into the chairs vacated by the crowd. Kidd dragged the world champ back to the ring where he received a two count. SANADA took the time to recover before going on his own offensive, returning the misdeeds of Kidd with a Piledriver on to the concrete floor.
Back in the ring, SANADA hit a TKO for a nearfall and climbed to the top turnbuckle. The pair fought on the ropes until Kidd captured SANADA in a chokehold that left him hanging. He followed this up with a low blow and a Tombstone Piledriver and very nearly got a three count over the champion.
Before too long, SANADA once again returned the favour, striking below the belt of Gabe Kidd. While Kidd complained to the referee that he had manhandled all match, SANADA followed up with a Shining Wizard and the Dead Fall to maintain a perfect 6-0 record in G1 33.
G1 Climax 2023 Block B Match – Tanga Loa (2-3) vs. Will Ospreay (4-1)
With serious playoff implications across B block on the line, Tanga Loa took on Will Ospreay in the next match. As the contest got underway, Will Ospreay found himself on the ring apron. Tanga Loa offered to be sporting and let Ospreay back into the ring but comedically blocked the Briton from coming in cleanly. This began a back and forth series of strikes between the two, followed by Loa gaining the momentum by dropping Ospreay back first onto the ring apron. Loa got a nearfall with a Jackhammer and did a good job of absorbing the elbow strikes of Ospreay to keep control of the match.
Will Ospreay managed to fight his way back into the match using kicks to the face and went for Stormbreaker but Tanga Loa escaped it on the first attempt. Despite Loa’s continued offense, Ospreay hit the Oscutter for a nearfall and looked to follow it up with the Twisting Moonsault but Loa, once again, avoided the kill shot.
Back at ringside, Tanga Loa held Ospreay on the barricade and implored the crowd to vacate their seats so that he could launch the IWGP U.S. Champion into them. The Guerrilla of Destiny followed this up with a Spear amongst the seats and the countout began. Tanga Loa returned to ringside but never got in the ring. As the count reached 18, Loa Speared Ospreay on the floor and climbed back into the ring to just barely beat the count. Will Ospreay was counted out and picked up his second loss in the G1 Climax tournament.
G1 Climax 2023 Block A Match – Shota Umino (2-1-2) vs. Yota Tsuji (1-2-2)
Our semi main event of the night saw two of the Reiwa Three Musketeers vie for two points as Shota Umino took on Yota Tsuji. Would they only collect a point each on a time limit draw as the other matches involving the three have?
Umino started the match off quickly with a Shotgun Dropkick to the chest of Tsuji and the contest quickly descended into a strike fest. The pair went back and forth for the majority of the first ten minutes with neither man able to gain any kind of prolonged momentum in the match. Beyond the ten minute mark, the intensity increased. Yota Tsuji delivered a Kerb Stomp and Shota Umino locked in the S.T.F. but neither man could use this climatic holds to put themselves in the win column.
The match descended into a brawl as the pair frantically looked to end the match and it looked as though this match too would go to a time limit draw. However, Yota Tsuji was able to hit a big Spear and pin Shota Umino to bring the record of the pair to 2-2-2 a piece.
G1 Climax 2023 Block B Match – KENTA (2-3) vs. Kazuchika Okada (4-1)
High stakes for KENTA in the main event: lose the match and be eliminated. For his opponent, Kazuchika Okada, a win would put him at the top of the group, following losses by Taichi and Will Ospreay earlier in the night. As the match began, KENTA wasted as much time as possible, refusing to get back in the ring and face Okada. The former IWGP Heavyweight Champion grew frustrated at this but managed to catch KENTA in the corner. The devious Bullet Club member once again used the threat of leaving the ring as a technique to take control and he tackled Okada against the ring apron as he tried to come out and catch him again.
Once the pair were, finally, fighting in the ring, KENTA continued his assault with stiff kicks to the head, chest and back of Okada. Despite fighting back in brief intervals, KENTA continued to hold control of the bout with continued kicks. KENTA delivered the Coup de Grâce and get a nearfall but Okada fought his way out of Go 2 Sleep, delivering a neckbreaker to give himself a brief reprieve. Okada locked in the money clip but KENTA used this as an opportunity to crush the referee against the turnbuckle. With Red Shoes Unno down, KENTA opened up on Okada with a Kendo Stick, and tried to use his DEFY Championship as a weapon, but Okada took him down with a dropkick.
With the official now recovered, Okada hit a Tombstone Piledriver but couldn’t get the pin. KENTA delivered a Rainmaker style ripcord Busaiku Knee but he, too, could not capitalise. After further back and forth, Okada was able to nail his own ripcord manoeuvre, The Rainmaker, and pick up the win to go 5-1.
Blocks C and D will compete in their last combined day of action tomorrow before each group gets their own exclusive days to close out the group stage of the tournament. Join us tomorrow for results from this night as well as continued coverage throughout the playoffs and beyond!
With only one match remaining for each member of A and B block in the G1, who will advance to the playoffs? Let us know what you think in the comment section below!