Tetsuya Naito Defeats Kazuchika Okada To Win NJPW G1 Climax 33

Tetsuya Naito entered rarified air on Sunday, not only besting his longtime rival Kazuchika Okada, but doing so in the finals of the 33rd G1 Climax tournament, making him only the fifth man to win three G1 Climax tournaments since the tournament's inception in 1991.


Naito didn't have an easy road to the finals, facing the massive Tongan upstart Hikuleo in the quarter-finals, then facing Will Ospreay in a battering, bruising near-30-minute contest that had Naito seeing stars despite his victory. The weekend concluded with the 35-minute bout with Okada, which saw "The Rainmaker" hoping to make history and become the 33-year-old tournament's first 4-time winner.

Naito joins Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Masahiro Chono as the fifth man to win three G1 Climax tournaments, and was presented with his trophy and ceremonial flag by Chono.

As it stands, Naito is set to face IWGP World Heavyweight Champion SANADA on January 4th at Wrestle Kingdom 18. The match will mark Naito's first chance to get his hands on SANADA since the Los Ingobernables de Japon turncoat betrayed his faction and joined Just 5 Guys in the quarter-finals of this year's New Japan Cup. With his new group by his side, SANADA went on to win the IWGP World Title at Sakura Genesis.


SANADA doesn't have an easy road to January 4th, as he's already been called out by his other former-LIJ compatriot EVIL, who attacked SANADA during Sunday's G1 Climax Finals, handcuffing SANADA to the ropes while stealing his IWGP World Heavyweight Championship Belt.