NJPW G1 Climax 33 D Block | Preview

It is the most wonderful time of the year as we preview NJPW G1 Climax 33 D Block. The G1 Climax is arguably the most prestigious pro wrestling tournament in the world.  The 33rd edition of the G1 remains in its traditional summer schedule.

This particular tournament continues the unique format from last year, with four blocks of wrestlers. This G1 also has the largest field, 32 competitors, in the G1’s long and amazing history. We even have competitors from Pro Wrestling Noah and All Elite Wrestling in this year’s tournament. We have the makes of a truly memorable G1 Climax tournament.

The G1 Climax tournament will have four eight-wrestler blocks competing in a very grueling round-robin tournament. The winners and runner-ups of the four Blocks will compete in the quarterfinals on August 10th, the semifinals on August 12th, and the finals on August 13th. Let us take a closer look at the veteran-filled D Block field, which starts on July 16th. 

NJPW G1 Climax 33 D Block :

[Photo: NJPW1972]

Hiroshi Tanahashi

Hiroshi Tanahashi is entering his record 22nd G1 Climax tournament. While he has the most matches in G1 history as well, that also means that a lot of tournament mileage is on the 46-year-old veteran’s body. Can the three-time G1 winner turn back the clock one more time?

Tanahashi has focused more on tag team action in 2023. He has had some mixed success in singles action. He has defeated the likes of Daniel Garcia, Swerve Strickland, and KENTA. But he is coming off a recent heartbreaking loss to MJF at Forbidden Door. Which Tanahashi will show up in the G1?

[Photo: NJPW1972]

Hirooki Goto

In 2008, Hirooki Goto won the G1 in his first-ever attempt. In what is now his 16th G1 Climax, he is looking to regain that past glory. Can the 44-year-old Goto recapture the magic fifteen years later?

Goto is coming in with some mixed results. He and YOSHI-HASHi lost the NJPW Strong Openweight Tag Team titles. But they retained the IWGP Tag Team titles. Can Goto use his tag team success in 2023 to make it out of the deep D Block? It will be fun to find out.

[Photo: NJPW1972]

NJPW G1 Climax 33 D Block
Toru Yano

Toru Yano will not win the G1 in his 18th appearance. That much seems to be very clear. However, that doesn’t really seem to be Yano’s goal in the tournament. He seems to enjoy playing the spoiler.

In the previous three G1s, he has beaten JONAH, Tomohiro Ishii, Tanga Loa, KENTA, SANADA, Hiroshi Tanahashi, and EVIL. Yano loves to play mind games with his opponents. Who will be upset by him in the G1 this year?

[Photo: NJPW1972]

Tetsuya Naito

Naito is in an interesting position heading into his 14th G1 Climax. In 2020, he was on the top of the world, winning the IWGP World Championship Heavyweight Champion in the Tokyo Dome. Since that night, it has been nothing but disappointments, close calls, and injuries for the leader of Los Ingobernables de Japon. Can he start to turn it around at the G1?

One of the biggest matches in the tournament will be against one of Naito’s biggest rivals, Hiroshi Tanahashi. Naito defeated Tanahashi ten years ago to win his first G1. Can magic strike again in 2023?

[Photo: NJPW1972]

NJPW G1 Climax 33 D Block
Zack Sabre Jr.

As the first and only NJPW World TV Champion, Zack Sabre Jr. is well prepared for his 7th G1 tournament. This year’s G1 has a twenty-minute time limit for the Block matches. Sabre Jr. has defended the TV Championship in a 15-minute time limit the entire year. He knows how to prepare for time limits in his pro wrestling.

He has some additional motivation in D Block. Last year, he could have made the semifinals with a victory in his final Block match. Instead, he lost to Naito in 1:55. Sabre Jr. will certainly be ready to make Naito submit in Hiroshima.

[Photo: NJPW1972]

Shane Haste

The tag team specialist will be making his G1 debut in 2023. But the 37 year old veteran is quite the striker and seems poised to pull off some upsets in the loaded D Block. Will one of the experienced G1 competitors look past him?

He will get to start his tournament off with a chance to gain some early momentum. His opening match will be against another G1 rookie, Alex Coughlin. If he can pull off that early victory, can it propel him to success in D Block?

[Photo: NJPW1972]

NJPW G1 Climax 33 D Block
Jeff Cobb

Jeff Cobb finished 8-1 in his G1 debut in 2021. He only lost in the final B Block match to Okada, denying him a spot in the G1 finals that year. He was excited to improve his performance in 2022 but finished with only three wins.

Which Cobb will show up in 2023? He certainly has a lot of rivals like Sabre Jr. Naito and Tanahashi in this group. Can he reclaim that 2021 magic?

[Photo: NJPW1972]

NJPW G1 Climax 33 D Block
Alex Coughlin

Alex Coughlin is the second rookie in this talented D Block field. He didn’t have a lot of success in the LA Dojo during the Pandemic. He seems to have used that frustration as he shockingly joined the Bullet Club War Dogs at NJPW Dominion in early June. He and Gabriel Kidd won the NJPW Strong Openweight Tag Team titles at the Independence Day shows as well.

Can he carry that momentum into the G1?  He gets a match against another D Block rookie Shane Haste on the very first night. Can Coughlin’s newfound motivation propel him to good heights in 2023?


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