Exclusive Interview with Tetsuya Naito: Unveiling His Darkest Secrets!

G1 Climax 33 winner speaks

Tetsuya Naito’s third G1 victory in Ryogoku Sumo Hall was an emotional journey in itself, but for El Ingobernable, but one step rather than the culmination. Now closer to his goal of the main event in the Tokyo Dome at Wrestle Kingdom 18, now an awful lot is on the line January 4, 2024.

–So first of all, congratulations on your third G1 Climax victory!

Naito: Thank you.

–Full disclosure, we’re doing this right after the G1 Climax press conference. You talked about being so sleepy during the presser- how are you feeling now?

Naito: You’re running on fumes and adrenaline at the end there, and as soon as it was all done (at the final) yesterday, that all shut off. I’ll be honest, I really wanna go home right now (laughs).

–Just a little longer, if you please. We all saw Hiromu Takahashi and Shingo Takagi both post pictures of you being laid out on the floor of the locker room backstage.

Naito: I legit shut my eyes and then the next thing I knew, I woke up and everyone was gone. I don’t know when that picture was taken.

–So they took that shot and then left?

Naito: Right. BUSHI and Tsuji both left as well. The next thing I knew everyone was gone.

–And then you drove (Tokyo Sports reporter) Okamoto home as well?

Naito: Right? The nerve of that guy to have me be his taxi driver. Well, he did buy me takoyaki on the way back.

–It was a long tournament. In the end, it was two back to back main events for you, but you said in your blog that you never dropped out of G1 mode.

Naito: For the whole month, it was eat, sleep G1, all the way.

–You did manage to go and see three Hiroshima Carp games…

Naito: That was a chance for me to recharge and get energy from the team. The Carp power me, I bring that to the matches, and then I pass that on to the fans with any luck, heh.


Naito: Right? It’s a pretty good system. I need something to give to the people, and once I do that I need to get a little more to give again.

–In your post match comments at the G1 quarter finals in Funabashi, you touched on how important having the G1 back in midsummer in Ryogoku was to you.

Naito: It was awesome to be back there. I’ve seen my share of finals there as a fan, and I think there’s such a strong connection between that building and the G1 final. It all came together, so I knew I just had to be in that spot in the final.

–There’s something about the G1 final in Ryogoku that’s even more special in midsummer than in April or October.

Naito: You’re right. It’s hard to put your finger on but there is something different about it. And this year it was red hot for both nights. Often times you have them hot for the finals but the other days there have been a little quieter, but this year they were up for the whole weekend.

–It showed just how important that vocal crowd presence is to a tournament like this.


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