Kota Ibushi has defended the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Championship for the final time in both the titles’ respective history. The Golden Star kick-started New Japan Pro Wrestling‘s 50th year with another successful title defense, this time over El Desperado.
At the NJPW 49th Anniversary Show, Kota Ibushi and El Desperado once again faced each other in a rematch from 2014. The two men initially faced each other while being part of the Junior Heavyweight division, but in the past seven years, Ibushi has made the transition from Jr. Heavyweight to Heavyweight.
Following El Desperado’s first-ever singles title win in NJPW, the Suzuki Gun star challenged Ibushi in a traditional IWGP Jr. Heavyweight vs. IWGP Heavyweight match. However, Desperado raised the stakes of the match by asking Ibushi to put both his titles on the line.
After a grueling battle against one another, only four days after Kota Ibushi’s successful IWGP Intercontinental Championship defense over Tetsuya Naito, the double champion also managed to put away Desperado. The masked maniac of Suzuki Gun was unable to add two more belts to his collection, as he fell victim to the Kamigoye.
The win also means that this was the final time the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Championships were being defended, as they are now being unified.
NJPW recently granted Kota Ibushi his wish of unifying both the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Championships
After NJPW Castle Attack, New Japan management officially announced that Kota Ibushi would be granted the opportunity to unify both the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Championships.
With Tetsuya Naito failing to win the IWGP Intercontinental Championship in the last singular defense in the title’s history, NJPW confirmed that the IC Title would be unified with the Heavyweight Title to form the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship.
The first IWGP World Heavyweight Championship match will take place at the Sakura Genesis show and a newly designed title is expected to be revealed within the space of a few weeks.