NJPW has officially revealed the new IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. At the latest NJPW: Road To Sakura Genesis show, Kota Ibushi officially relinquished both the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Championships and was handed the new title.
Officially branded as the first-ever IWGP World Heavyweight Champion in New Japan Pro Wrestling history, Kota Ibushi will defend the title on April 4th at Sakura Genesis. For his first title defense, Ibushi will face his arch-rival Will Ospreay.
Here is the new IWGP World Heavyweight Championship that seems to be reminiscent of the old school IWGP design:
At Wrestle Kingdom 15, Kota Ibushi won both the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Titles. After winning the belts, Ibushi would defend them against Jay White on Night 2 of Wrestle Kingdom.
The Golden Star then followed up with a successful defense of both belts against SANADA. And then defeated the latter's fellow Los Ingobernables de Japon stablemate Tetsuya Naito in a match that was only contested for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship.
At NJPW's 49th Anniversary Show, Ibushi defended the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Championships for the final time by beating El Desperado. The Suzuki Gun member was the final Superstar in history who had the chance to split the two belts apart but failed to do so.
The IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Championships have had a rich history in NJPW
The IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Championships have been regarded as two of the most prestigious belts in New Japan Pro Wrestling history. The IWGP Heavyweight Title has always been treated as the primary belt in the company, with the likes of Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Tetsuya Naito being some of the most notable names to have won the belt.
Meanwhile, gajin Superstars such as AJ Styles, Brock Lesnar, Jay White, and Kenny Omega have had successful runs with the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
As for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship, the second primary belt in NJPW was previously held by the likes of Shinsuke Nakamura, Tetsuya Naito, La Sombra (Andrade), Chris Jericho, and the inaugural champion MVP.