At last night’s NJPW New Beginning in Hiroshima Kota Ibushi defeated SANADA to retain the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental championship, marking his second successful defense since winning the double gold at January’s WrestleKingdom 15.
Afterwards Ibushi was confronted by his long-time rival Tetsuya Naito, who issued a future challenge to Ibushi, but only for the I.C. title, as he believes his loss at WrestleKingdom takes him out of the running for the double-gold opportunity. NJPW would release a statement on the confrontations afterwards, which you can read below.
Ibushi had little time to celebrate his victory before Tetsuya Naito headed to the ring. Asserting himself as Ibushi’s next challenger, Naito acknowledged that his loss on January 4 made him ill suited to challenge for the double gold. Rather, Naito stated ‘I ant to challenge not for two, but for one. I want the Intercontinental Championship’. Naito made it clear that he is against Ibushi’s plans to unify, and now appears to be moving to seize the title that has for better and worse shaped the last six years of his career. Could Naito be the Intercontinental Championship’s next holder? Or could Ibushi be its last?