A Second Chance For Switchblade
It’s not unfair to say that Jay White’s Wrestle Kingdom match with Hiroshi Tanahashi was something of a disappointment. Returning from excursion in Ring of Honor and across the U.S. and U.K. independent scenes with rave reviews, White was expected to go to the next level with a career-defining showing against the legendary champion. Instead, the match was a slow-burner that never kicked into gear. An instantly forgettable match on a card full of gems.
Unlike WWE, who probably would have dropped White to the midcard and left him to rot, New Japan kept faith in ‘Switchblade’, giving him a memorable angle with Bullet Club at New Year’s Dash. In short, Omega offered White a place in the globally conquering faction, and White went so far as to parade around in the faction’s t-shirt before shockingly laying out the IWGP United States champ with his Bladerunner finisher.
With that act, White established himself as a renegade with no regard for the reputations or statuses of those her was targeting. He may have tried and failed against Tanahashi, but in Omega he has a new opponent with a new title to go after. Few wrestlers in the company’s history have been afforded so many title shots in such a small space of time without having first amassed a catalog of wins to their name.
Later, at a press conference, White continued to surprise, accepting a place in the CHAOS faction. He then immediately declaring that while he had agreed to fight alongside the group, he was only there to benefit his own career and that one day he would come after Okada and the IWGP World Heavyweight title. Quite the cerebral move from the upstart.
In Omega, White has an opponent perhaps more suitable to get the best out of him than Tanahashi. White proved time and again in ROH that he has all of the tools necessary to become a major star in the industry. He is still rough around the edges, but at 25-years old he has plenty of time to learn on the job. Hopefully, for his sake, he aces those lessons, starting with the Omega match. New Japan brass – and indeed, the world – will be watching very closely.
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