The long road to the quarterfinals culminates for A Block with a night of competition in Osaka.
Leaving the multi block action behind, A block kicks off four nights of individual competition that will set the quarterfinals for G1 33. We also have support matches for the first time in this tournament with a number of tag and six man tag matches in Osaka.
United Empire (Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb) vs. Just 5 Guys (DOUKI & Taichi)
The opening contest saw Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb of United Empire take on DOUKI & Taichi, representing Just 5 Guys. This match was an opportunity for Great-O-Khan to take out his frustrations for a less than stellar G1 tournament, tapping DOUKI out and refusing to release him after the bell. The English commentary team commented on how sad Khan looked on his way out. Maybe a change is coming for him.
CHAOS (Hirooki Goto, YOH & YOSHI-HASHI) vs. BULLET CLUB (David Finlay, Gedo & KENTA)
Next up, the CHAOS team of (Hirooki Goto, YOH & YOSHI-HASHI) took on Bullet Club – David Finlay, Gedo & KENTA. This exhibition was basically a lesson in “How to Bullet Club” from the trio, with Gedo getting involved from outside the ring as well as inside it. Hirooki Goto was isolated for most of the match, weakening him further for his final match of the tournament on Wednesday. Goto is still alive in the tournament, he would advance to the playoffs with a win and losses for Hiroshi Tanahashi and Jeff Cobb. As the match progressed, the Bishamon pair were able to rally with a double team of Gedo, and YOH came in to finish the job and pick up the win.
Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito) vs. House Of Torture (EVIL, SHO & Yujiro Takahashi)
While EVIL has had a decent showing in this year’s G1, there has been a lot said throughout about how the rest of House of Torture is holding him back. They had a chance to quiet their doubters in the next match, as they took on BUSHI, Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito of Los Ingobernables de Japon. LIJ provided their usual level of team dynamics within the match but EVIL got the job done himself and picked up the win over BUSHI.
EVIL and Shingo Takagi go into a ‘win and you’re in’ situation in the main event of Tuesday’s show.
El Phantasmo & Togi Makabe vs. United Empire (HENARE & Will Ospreay)
In the next match, the unaffiliated team of El Phantasmo & Togi Makabe squared off with United Empire’s HENARE & Will Ospreay. This match was a preview of tomorrow’s B block meeting between El P and Ospreay. Ospreay advances with a win but Phantasmo would need some tiebreaker help, in addition to a win. With some heavy assistance from HENARE, who’s been mathematically eliminated, Will Ospreay picked up some momentum going into their match with a fairly easy win.
Guerrillas Of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) & Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii) & Hiroshi Tanahashi
For the first time in 16 months, the sibling team of Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa teamed up, allying with Hiroyoshi Tenzan to take on the NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Champions, Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii and Hiroshi Tanahashi. In G1 competition, Tanga Loa and Tomohiro Ishii are eliminated, Okada is through to the quarterfinals and Tama Tonga needs a win over HENARE on August 8th, as well a stumble by either David Finlay or Eddie Kingston. Tanahashi needs a lot of help, too; a win for himself, Goto and Cobb advances The Ace. To a chorus of boos, the Six Man Champs exploited the veteran, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, to get themselves a win.
A Block Final Matches
G1 Climax 2023 Block A Match – Gabe Kidd (2-3-1) vs. Yota Tsuji (2-2-2)
Kicking off the main G1 action for the day, Gabe Kidd took on Yota Tsuji. Kidd jumped Tsuji on the ramp but Tsuji anticipated this and had sent a lookalike, potentially a twin brother, in his stead to make his entrance and it was he that Gabe Kidd attacked before the match began.
After the real Yota Tsuji stood up, the fight began for real at ringside. Once the fight got into the ring, the pair took turns to chop each other across the chest before descending into elbow strikes across the chin, back and forth.
As time progressed, the back and forth nature of the match continued with each man getting in a flurry of offense, gaining a few nearfalls before the other man took back to momentum and repeated the process. After the pair went back to slapping each other, Tsuji was able to take Kidd down and followed up with the Spear to pick up the win. Tsuji finishes the tournament 3-3-1, still alive mathematically but needing tie between Shota Umino and Hikuleo as well as a Kiyomiya loss or draw. Seems unlikely. With the loss, Kidd is out.
G1 Climax 2023 Block A Match – Kaito Kiyomiya (2-2-2) vs. Ren Narita (1-3-2)
Hoping to keep his tournament alive, Kaito Kiyomiya took on Ren Narita, next. The pair engaged in strikes in the early going of the match before Kiyomiya took control by focussing on the knee of Narita. The young New Japan star tried to shake off the pain as he locked his NOAH counterpart in the Abdominal Stretch that got him a win over Chase Owens but Kaito reach the ropes to break the hold.
Kiyomiya went back to the leg and locked in a Figure Four Leg Lock but Narita refused to quit and made his way to the ropes, too. Kaito Kiyomiya followed up with a modified Tiger Driver for a nearfall but Narita shocked him with a Northern Lights Suplex to pick up the win and eliminated Kiyomiya from G1 Climax 33.
G1 Climax 2023 Block A Match – SANADA (6-0) vs. Chase Owens (2-4)
SANADA is definitely through, Chase Owens is definitely not. However, Owens has had this date circled on his calendar since the beginning of the tournament, looking to defeat the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion and earn himself a title shot. The incentive for SANADA is obvious – finish A Block undefeated.
After a brief back and forth between the pair, Chase Owens called for the handshake. A reluctant SANADA obliged but was taken down by the underhanded tactics of the Crown Jewel of Bullet Club. Owens achieved another ambition, managing to trap SANADA in the Paradise Lock. He got very excited and ran around the ring celebrating.
Outside the ring, Owens removed the floor padding and was able to DDT SANADA on to the concrete. Owens held control of the match for some time as a result of this and nearly defeated the champ after hitting him with his knee brace. Realising he was in a little trouble, though, SANADA stopped messing around and shocked Owens with Dead Fall to maintain his unbeaten record in this year’s tournament.
G1 Climax 2023 Block A Match – Shota Umino (2-2-2) vs. Hikuleo (3-3)
The main event saw Shota Umino face Hikuleo. Based on the events of the night so far, this match was win and your in. A win for Shota Umino would put him on 7 points, enough to go second, likewise a Hikuleo win would give him a comfortable second place with 8 points.
The pair felt each other out in the early going but Shota Umino seemed focussed on delivering a Bodyslam to his larger opponent. After eventually getting his WrestleMania III moment, to far less fanfare, Umino was able to focus on wearing Hikuleo down. He locked an S.T.F. on the Guerrilla of Destiny but Hikuleo reached the ropes. Umino kept up the offense on Hikuleo, doing his best to keep the big man grounded but he wasn’t able to do so and fell victim to a Powerbomb. Hikuleo went for the Chokeslam but Umino escaped. After a mighty battle on the top turnbuckle, Umino was able to Superplex Hikuleo and followed up with Ignition for a nearfall. Umino fought out of the Chokeslam twice more before eventually succumbing to the move and Hikuleo pinned Shota Umino to book his place in the quarterfinals.
Back Tomorrow for B Block
Also supported by a series of tag matches, the attention turns to B block tomorrow and is main evented by El Phantasmo and Will Ospreay. Join us then for continued coverage of G1 Climax on JEZ Sports.
Do all signs still point to a SANADA G1 victory? Let us know what you think in the comment section below!