‘Switchblade’ Jay White captured his first NEVER Openweight Championship at Wrestling Dontaku before teasing a match with Kenny Omega!
Wrestling Dontaku Night One featured a battle between two of New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s top stars over the NEVER Openweight Championship. Reigning champion Hiroshi Tanahashi entered the match having held the title for 93 days. Despite his gold-filled trophy cabinet, it was a title that ‘The Ace’ had never held.
However, The New Beginning in Nagoya saw that change as Tanahashi defeated Shingo Takagi to win the championship. Interestingly, his reign has been ended by someone also winning their first NEVER Openweight Championship.
After his loss to Kota Ibushi at Wrestle Kingdom 15: Night One, Jay White had seen little success. He exited the New Japan Cup early after a shock loss to David Finlay. Clearly determined to change this, White set his sights on becoming the first ‘Quadruple Crown’ holder. This would make him the first man to hold the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, IWGP Intercontinental Championship, IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship and NEVER Openweight Championship.
Though it took over 39 minutes, White managed his unique personal goal on the first attempt. Tanahashi was pinned after a Bladerunner, giving the ‘Switchblade’ another taste of New Japan gold. The now former champion did, however, make White tap out to his Texas Cloverleaf submission. White survived thanks to the referee being distracted by Gedo at ringside.
On ‘Bullet Club Day’, eight years since the immensely popular faction’s formation, the Bullet Club leader reigned supreme. Almost poetically, it was Hiroshi Tanahashi that was attacked by Prince Devitt and his new Bullet Club as the group formed.
Rather than running away from challengers, Jay White issued a challenge of his own after the match. But it may be the match teased through a subtle jab that will have fans talking more.
The direct challenge was to a man he knows very well: David Finlay. Citing his loss in the New Japan Cup, White challenged his former New Japan Dojo training partner in an effort to avenge the loss. The implied challenge, however, was to another man experiencing great singles success.
Potentially setting up a dream match, Jay White seemed to throw down the gauntlet for Kenny Omega by boldly arguing that he is true belt collector in wrestling:
‘The first ever NEVER, Intercontinental US and Heavyweight Champion! I am the REAL belt collector, and if you dispute that, you know where to find me.’
Omega has been on a title-winning tear recently, picking up his third world championship recently. After defeating Rich Swann at IMPACT Rebellion, Omega now holds the AEW World Championship, AAA Mega Championship and the IMPACT World Championship.
The history between White and Omega, though brief, shows a fierce rivalry. Despite his current success clearly outweighing that of the younger man, Omega has fallen victim to the ‘Switchblade’ in the past. Jay White was the man to end Omega’s IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship reign. He also succeeded Omega as the leader of the Bullet Club and defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi to win his first IWGP Heavyweight Championship. The man Tanahashi defeated to win that title? Kenny Omega.
Should the ‘Battle of the belt collectors’ come to pass, there will be no shortage of animosity between them.
Wrestling Dontaku Night Two will air live on the 4th of May. The stacked card features two huge singles matches: First, El Desperado will defend his IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship against the recently returned YOH. The titanic main event of the evening will see IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Will Ospreay face off once more against Shingo Takagi. Takagi has currently only won one of the three matches between himself as ‘The Aerial Assassin’.
You can watch both nights of Wrestling Dontaku on njpwworld.