New Japan News

NJPW Reportedly Unifies IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Championships

NJPW IWGP Championship Unified

According to a report from PWInsider, Naoki Sugabayashi -Chairman of NJPW- has today confirmed to Tokyo Sports the unification of the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Championship with the new unified IWGP World Heavyweight Championship set to be defended for the first time against the winner of the 2021 New Japan Cup.

NJPW is set to host a major press conference as 6am BST/1am ET with PWInsider reporting the unification is possibly set to be revealed during the event, along side match announcements for the upcoming New Japan Anniversary event on March 4th – which also features the inaugural IWGP World Heavyweight Champion – Kota Ibushi taking on the current IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion El Desperado.

Current IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kota Ibushi captured the legendary Championship in January earlier this year, defeating LIJ leader Tetsuya Naito during the main event of WrestleKingdom Night 1.

Following his historic victory in January, Kota Ibushi immediately stated his desire to unify the both the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Championships, stating:

“The IWGP Intercontinental Championship is the greatest belt there is. The IWGP Heavyweight Championship is the strongest belt there is. I want to unify these titles. I want it to be both the greatest and the strongest. Nobody has challenged for just one of these titles. Then what does a double championship mean? I want to unify them. Then I will make my ultimate dreams come true.”

Ibushi would further reiterate this desire in late January claiming:

“I do have one thing I want to say. I said this after the match on the fifth, but I want to put it out there again. I want to take these two belts and unify them. This isn’t something I take lightly. I have a big connection with this Intercontinental belt. And the Heavyweight Championship is the top prize in NJPW. But that said, I still want to make these two things into one. Last year, these belts were defended together, right? One belt didn’t change hands without the other. So if we take these two and make them one belt, that makes you the strongest and the best, all in one. Maybe not everyone can see it right now, but there’s no doubt in my mind, it’d make for something awesome. I have a big plan for this. So I’ll say it again, on the record. I want these two belts to be one.”

Although it is possible the unification will be announced during the upcoming press conference, PWInsider were unable to confirm this and therefore it is possible the announcement may come at a later date.

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