The final countdown is on with the semifinals of G1 Climax 33 taking place in Ryogoku Kokugikan.
Following some shocking losses in yesterday’s quarterfinal match, we’re right back to semifinal action today. Would there be another big upset during today’s action? Would EVIL prevail once again? Will Tetsuya Naito stay tranquillo against Will Ospreay? Let’s get into it.
Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Master Wato vs. HAYATA & Kaito Kiyomiya
Desperate to salvage something from his G1 excursion, Kaito Kiyomiya brought some backup for today in the form of the GHC Jr. Heavyweight Champion, HAYATA. This NOAH pair teamed to take on Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Master Wato. Kiyomiya pinned Tenzan after a long battle with him. Hiroyoshi Tenzan held up both Kiyomiya and HAYATA’s hands after the match, in a show of respect.
Shota Umino & Tomoaki Honma vs. Strong Style (Minoru Suzuki & Ren Narita)
Destined to spend the formative years of their young careers with their noses aggressively pressed together, Shota Umino and Ren Narita were once again on opposite sides as they teamed with Tomoaki Honma and Minoru Suzuki, respectively in tag team action. With Murder Grandpa mentor, Minoru watching Narita’s every move very closely, he tapped out Tomoaki Honma to pick up the win.
CHAOS (Hirooki Goto, Toru Yano, YOH & YOSHI-HASHI) & Togi Makabe vs. BULLET CLUB (Alex Coughlin, Chase Owens, David Finlay, Gabe Kidd & KENTA)
Despite the name, it was Bullet Club that brought the chaos in the next match as Alex Coughlin, Chase Owens, David Finlay, Gabe Kidd and KENTA teamed to take on Toru Yano, YOH and the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions, Bishamon. Oh, and Togi Makabe was there, too. CHAOS may have wished he wasn’t after David Finlay led by example and picked up the win over Makabe using Into Oblivion.
Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, Shingo Takagi & Yota Tsuji) vs. United Empire (Great-O-Khan, HENARE & Jeff Cobb)
Making their way to the ring to the sights and sounds of a brand new team entrance, the United Empire team of Great-O-Khan, HENARE & Jeff Cobb took on LIJ’s BUSHI, Shingo Takagi and Yota Tsuji.
This match featured a good battle between Jeff Cobb and Yota Tsuji, as the latter continued to make his way in NJPW. It was perhaps the unity of the United Empire that was most on show, working very well as a team and using the strengths of each member to great effect. After a decent back and forth battle between HENARE and BUSHI, the Face of Fury was able to pick up the win with a Dragon Sleeper type submission.
Eddie Kingston, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Ryusuke Taguchi & Tomohiro Ishii vs. TMDK (Kosei Fujita, Mikey Nicholls, Shane Haste & Zack Sabre Jr.)
The smorgasbord team of Eddie Kingston, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Ryusuke Taguchi and Tomohiro Ishii took on a stacked TMDK contingent of Kosei Fujita, Mikey Nicholls, Shane Haste & Zack Sabre Jr. Kosei Fujita continued to impress with close nearfalls over top opponents, despite still being a Young Lion, but after initially surviving an onslaught from Eddie Kingston, the Mad King was able to defeat him with the Spinning Back Fist.
After the match, HENARE rushed the ring and left Eddie Kingston laying, perhaps setting up for a future NJPW Strong Openweight Title match between the two of them.
Guerrillas Of Destiny (Hikuleo, Jado, Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) & El Phantasmo vs. Just 5 Guys (DOUKI, SANADA, Taichi, TAKA Michinoku & Yoshinobu Kanemaru)
Not quite a formal member of Guerrillas Of Destiny yet, El Phantasmo teamed with the group to take on a complete Just 5 Guys group. After a competitive contest, Hikuleo took down Taka Michinoku and dropped Jado on top of him to pick up the win for GoD. After the match was over, Bullet Club War Dogs came to ringside to taunt GoD, especially potential NEVER Openweight Championship contenders, Tama Tonga and Hikuleo.
Kazuchika Okada vs. EVIL
EVIL jumped Okada as he posed on the turnbuckles and immediately began the assault in and out of the ring. After choking The Rainmaker with a microphone cord, Okada narrowly beat the 20 count and got back in to the ring to have to beat a pinfall attempt. Okada fired up and went for EVIL outside the ring but the cheap tactics and Dick Togo interference prevailed again and Okada was tortured with a steel chair.
Kazuchika Okada managed to rally back and dropkicked EVIL off the top turnbuckle to the outside. He took out Dick Togo with a forearm to the face but, on returning to the ring, the official was taken down, allowing the House of Torture to descend and beat down Okada. The referee revived to deliver a two count for EVIL, followed by a second after Darkness Falls. Okada continued to survive as Everything is Evil was attempted and locked EVIL in the Money Clip.
Once again the referee was knocked down and Togo used the garotte to choke Okada. After receiving his second low blow of the match, EVIL hit a Running Lariat but the slow count of the recovering referee only got him a two count. Okada reversed Everything is Evil again, taking EVIL over with a German Suplex. EVIL played possum to try and hit a third low blow but Okada was ready for it. On the third or fourth attempt, EVIL delivered Everything is Evil but Okada kicked out at two.
Kazuchika Okada began to rally and delivered his own version of Everything is Evil and was finally able to hit The Rainmaker and continue on his journey towards a third straight G1 Climax victory.
Tetsuya Naito vs. Will Ospreay
Who will join Okada in the final? Would it be a repeat of last year with Will Ospreay or would Tetsuya Naito live his destiny by advancing to the finals? We wouldn’t have to wait long to find out as the second semifinal match got underway between Ospreay and Okada.
The match started off as ‘tranquillo’ as Naito dictated, retreating to the ropes regularly and encouraging traditional tests of strength and collar and elbow tie ups. Ospreay didn’t quite share Naito’s chill, though, and chopped him aggressively before taking the battle to ringside. Ospreay delivered a Phenomenal Forearm from the ring barricades before taking his opponent back into the ring to continue to wear him down.
Tetsuya Naito fought back and began to target the neck of Ospreay. Will wasn’t wearing kinesiotape on the area as he had done during points of this tournament but the pain was still evident across the face of the Briton. As the fight went out of the ring again, Naito was able to deliver a Neckbreaker on the ring apron and follow up with another from the apron down to the floor. The United Empire cornermen tried to rouse their man as the official made the 20 count and Ospreay made it back in at 19.
Naito continued to wear away at the neck, trapping Ospreay in a submission in the middle of the ring. Unable to make him tap, Naito took Ospreay to the top rope for a Super Poison Rana but Ospreay landed on his feet and began his own flurry of offense. He delivered a Shooting Star Press to a prone, rope hanging Naito but missed his first Oscutter attempt. He was able to hit a Hidden Blade but it didn’t look like he got all of it and Ospreay could only get a two count.
The momentum swung back again, with Naito delivering a Spike DDT and a Tornado DDT. The Ungovernable One hit Valencia for a two count and rose to the top turnbuckle for a Twisting Moonsault but Ospreay avoided doom, got all of Hidden Blade but could not go for the cover. The pair went back and forth with strikes but it was clear Ospreay didn’t have all of his strength behind his forearms and so Naito continued to lay his shots into the neck of the IWGP United States Champion.
From out of nowhere, Ospreay hit a Superkick. Red Shoes Unno, concerned for Naito’s safety pulled Ospreay from his mounted position and began a 10 count. Naito rose to his feet enough to fall victim to another Hidden Blade, but kicked out at two. Will Ospreay hit the Oscutter but Naito kicked out. Next came the Stardust Press but Naito kicked out. Then, came the turn, Tetsuya Naito twice countered Stormbreaker and hit Destino but Ospreay kicked out. Naito put everything into one more Destino and was able to finally pin Ospreay to claw his way into the final of G1 Climax 33.
How do we top that?
Tomorrow is finals day and the G1 Climax tournament will culminate in the final match between Kazuchika Okada vs. Tetsuya Naito. The threepeat is on for Okada but Naito is on record as running out of time to win another G1 before riding off into the sunset. It’s going to be hard to call but we’ll be here to take you through the outcome on JEZ Sports. You don’t want to miss it!
Who’s taking it all? Naito? Okada? You gotta tet us know what you think in the comment section below!