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Three-way IWGP Heavyweight Championship match set for NJPW King of Pro-Wrestling

NJPW World

The main event at New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Fighting Spirit Unleashed today (for full results check here) was a tour de force tag team match between Chaos (in this case the team of Kazuchika Okada and Tomohiro Ishii) and the Golden Lovers, but it was the post-match that was most interesting.

As part of his usual post-main event victory remarks, Kenny Omega hit on a subject he’s discussed a lot lately, his promise to Kota Ibushi about the circumstances of any potential IWGP Heavyweight Championship match between the two of them. He proposed it happen next Monday (Oct. 8) at King of Pro-Wrestling in Ryogoku Sumo Hall, but before Ibushi could answer, Cody Rhodes took the mic with a proposition of his own.

Much like Ben Affleck’s Holden McNeil at the the end of Chasing Amy, his idea was both genius and a bit out of left field. Citing his repaired relationship with Omega and his... let’s call it “work in progress” relationship with the Golden Star, he suggested a way to keep the Ibushi/Omega rematch special that’s almost unprecedented in IWGP history... a three-way match, adding himself to the mix, of course.

It’s a bold call, but both Omega and Ibushi were into it, and while the IWGP committee hasn’t yet confirmed that it’s the match for King of Pro-Wrestling, there is actually precedent for this. The IWGP Heavyweight Championship has been defended in a three-way match at least twice before, once in New Japan proper in 2005, with Brock Lesnar winning the title from Kazuyuki Fujita in a match that also included Masahiro Chono, and also at the inaugural Ring of Honor / New Japan War of the Worlds show back in 2014. At that event, AJ Styles successfully defended the title against former champion Kazuchika Okada and Michael Elgin.

For my thinking it’s kind of a brilliant call, especially in New Japan where straight singles matches without stipulations or variance dominate the landscape so thoroughly. It won’t be as good as the Ibushi/Omega rematch, of course, but what would be? And given all three men’s penchant for storytelling, it should be as compelling a main event as you’re likely to get.

There you have it, folks

Only the second-ever three-way in IWGP Heavyweight Championship history. Excited to see it, Cagesiders, or would you rather have just had the Omega vs. Ibushi singles, promise be damned?

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