After almost a month of matches featuring 32 men, New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s G1 Climax 33 tournament wrapped up today (Aug. 12) in Tokyo’s Ryogoku Sumo Hall with a battle between two of the biggest stars of the company’s modern era.
The single record between those two men — Kazuchika Okada and Tetsuya Naito — is now tied at seven wins a piece after Naito defeated Okada to win his third G1. The victory earns him a match for the IWGP World Heavyweight title at Wrestle Kingdom 18 in the Tokyo Dome on Jan. 4, 2024. It also hands Okada his first ever G1 finals loss in five trips.
Naito pinned Okada at the end of a 30+ minute war. It took three of his Destino finishers (after Okada kicked out of the first and countered another, Naito hit two more to be sure his rival stayed down).
The G1 winner traditionally defends his spot on the Tokyo Dome card at least once before Wrestle Kingdom, and it looks like Naito’s defense will come against Jeff Cobb. Cobb stepped to Naito backstage, pointing out he defeated him during the the round robin Block stage of the tournament.
Provided Naito wins that, and the IWGP World Heavyweight title stays with its current holder, it sets up a clash with his former Los Ingobernables de Japon teammate SANADA, who left LIJ for the Just Five Guys stable shortly before winning the belt.