New Japan Pro Wrestling has announced that Hirooki Goto will defend the NEVER Openweight Championship against Kota Ibushi at the World Tag League Finals. This will be the first title defence since Goto won the title from Taichi.
This match comes as a bit of a shock as it was believed that Ibushi vs. Goto would be featured at Wrestle Kingdom 13. Now, whoever wins this title match will likely defend the championship at New Japan Pro Wrestling‘s pinnacle event.
Hirooki Goto won the NEVER Openweight Championship from Taichi at Power Struggle. Goto and Taichi have traded the title back and forth over the course of the summer with Goto coming out on top in the end. Taichi was originally scheduled to defend the title against Will Ospreay at Power Struggle before Ospreay announced he would be unable to perform due to a rib injury.
The original plans were reported to be Ospreay winning the title from Taichi and defending it against Ibushi at Wrestle Kingdom 13. Once it was announced that Ospreay would not be able to compete it was believed that those plans were completely scrapped. A future Ospreay vs. Ibushi match was still a possibility but that match was believed to have been replaced by Hirooki Goto vs. Kota Ibushi for January 4th.
If Kota Ibushi is able to defeat Goto for the NEVER Openweight Championship it is possible to believe that his first title defence will be against Will Ospreay at the Tokyo Dome. The World Tag League Finals will take place on December 9th at the Iwate Industrial Cultural Center.
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