The IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship has been relinquished by Hiromu Takahashi, cutting his fourth reign short at just 51 days.
On the most recent Road To Castle Attack show at Korakuen Hall, Takahashi opened the show and announced that, ‘for the sake of the junior heavyweight division’, he was relinquishing his championship. He then asked LIJ stablemate BUSHI to take his place in the scheduled match against El Phantasmo.
It was revealed earlier this week that Takahashi had suffered a left pectoral injury. Tragically, after missing 530 days due to injury from 2018-2019, the “Ticking Time Bomb” is now expected to be out of action for six months. Despite the setback, Takahashi reiterated his desire to main event a Wrestle Kingdom:
‘My dream is to hold the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship, win the Heavyweight Championship and wrestle in the main event at the Tokyo Dome in prime time. That’s what made me get into professional wrestling.’
Should he recover in the anticipated timeframe, Takahashi’s dream could still come true as early as Wrestle Kingdom 16.
The future of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship is still unclear. Though Takahashi seems to want BUSHI to hold the championship in his stead, certain juniors have other plans. El Desperado, after winning the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship with Suzuki-Gun partner Yoshinobu Kanemaru, emerged to stake his claim to the vacant championship. In that match, Desperado pinned number one contender El Phantasmo. Therefore, he reasoned that ‘however you look at this whole thing, I’m next, not BUSHI.’
Before the three contenders began trading blows, El Desperado suggested a three-way for the championship at Castle Attack. Alternatively, he said he should face the winner between BUSHI and ELP at the upcoming Anniversary show. NJPW have yet to announce the fate of the championship.