One point of contention over the last week amongst New Japan Pro Wrestling fans has been the merging of the IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental Championships. Now, the move has been made official.
New Japan had announced that Kota Ibushi’s defense of the two titles at the 49th Anniversary show would be the final one before the belts were combined. With Ibushi successfully defeating El Desperado, he was then crowned the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion.
Here is an excerpt from the official coverage of the event from njpw1972.com:
“As Ibushi officially became enshrined as the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, he would implore Hiroshi Tanahashi at ringside to watch as he made good on his promise to broaden the world of professional wrestling with a new vision of the IWGP, of NJPW and of professional wrestling at large. While controversy no doubt still remains, there remained no doubt tonight of a fantastic performance by both competitors.”
Kota Ibushi became the IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental Champion on January 4, 2021 by defeating Tetsuya Naito in the main event of Wrestle Kingdom 15.
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