NJPW: Watch out for White-Okada, Wrestle Kingdom 13
Slowly but surely Wrestle Kingdom 13 continues to shape up, despite a few defences for both champion and challenger on the road.
However, the dream of seeing Ishii become the IWGP World Champion fell through last night at Destruction in Hiroshima. Tomohiro Ishii is a stellar competitor and his time will hopefully come one day. Kenny Omega looks forward to facing Ibushi next, hopefully not too soon though the Wrestle Kingdom road is long.
Meanwhile, Hiroshi Tanahashi gets one step closer to another Wrestle Kingdom main event if he can defeat perennial rival Kazuchika Okada for his G1 Climax Briefcase. It seems inevitable he will if the six-man tag match last night has anything to say about it.
Hiroshi Tanahashi along with Tomoaki Honma and Togi Makabe took on the CHAOS unit of Kazuchika Okada, YOSHI-HASHI and Jay White. The x-factor on all of this is a man who defeated both Okada and Tanahashi in the G1 Climax; Jay White.
White has slowly been trying to drive a wedge within CHAOS; it helps that Okada since losing the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship has been on a bit of a confidence slump. It caused him to let go of the trusted Gedo as his manager and built tension between him and YOSHI-HASHI.
In the six-man tag match, White got Okada so riled up with his offensive tactics that eventually a distracted Okada hit his own partner YOSHI-HASHI, losing the match for their team. Okada versus Tanahashi got a whole lot interesting.
There's no doubt White will have his eyes on the match and maybe more. What is more interesting is how this is likely a build towards a CHAOS civil war following in Bullet Club's steps between the renegade Switchblade and the downtrodden Rainmaker.
In his first two matches at Wrestle Kingdom Jay White would then have taken on two of the biggest stars in NJPW today and icons of the promotion. This puts White in an unprecedented position that many fans still question.
Yet if one were to watch the, normally bog standard undercard six-man match, they'd see why White is the next big thing in New Japan. His character work is off the charts, from a start-stop method he has clearly picked his spots when to rattle the cage and when to play nice. He knows when to truly unleash CHAOS.
A chaos that has truly been missing from the A-List New Japan faction since it's become a management favourite. Sure these men are tough and carry forward the strong style mandate that came into being with the faction, birthed by the King of Strong Style Shinsuke Nakamura.
But Jay White spits on this ideal while still capturing what made CHAOS so lethal in its early days; a taste for the sneaky and the vicious. He's both the perfect cheating heel as he is the ruthless one. Okada better watch out.
For the first time in four years, Okada will walk into the Wrestle Kingdom, not in the main event. For the first time in five years, he'll walk in without his world title. Even though an opportunity remains with a match against Hiroshi Tanahashi, you can rest assured it ain't happening.
The road to Wrestle Kingdom 13 leads to Jay White for the Rainmaker. The biggest mistake he ever made was bringing Jay White into the fold. It is this grand arrogance that blinded him from the snake in the garden trying to cut the weed that is Kenny Omega.
It's the very thing that cost him the title and the main event spot he felt he owned for half a decade. Yet this is the Rainmaker we're talking about; he's a record world champion in New Japan. He is the Ace of New Japan, no matter how many times Tanahashi rises to the occasion.
Wrestle Kingdom 13 leads to vindication for the Rainmaker and an opportunity for him to finally regain the holy grain. Wrestle Kingdom 13 also promises Jay White immortality and the idea to prove he is the chaotic future of New Japan.
We'll all see it live, the redemption of the Rainmaker or the superiority of the Switchblade.
Whatever happens in between this is the match to come, the story told and the sensation that will bring down the house at the Tokyo Dome.