We’re about a week removed from the unfortunate end of G1 Climax 31, which Kazuchika Okada won via referee stoppage when Kota Ibushi was unable to continue due to injury.
It shook up what is usually a straight-forward process for New Japan, where the tournament winner will defend his title shot contract once en route to challenging for the company’s top belt in the Tokyo Dome at January’s Wrestle Kingdom. Okada wants to run it back with Ibushi as soon as possible, and even requested a prize other than the usual right-to-challenge briefcase because of that.
Earlier this week, The Rainmaker showed up at a Road To Power Struggle event in with what’s referred to as v4 IWGP Heavyweight championship, which was retired earlier this year after it was unified with the also-retired IWGP Intercontinental title to introduce the unpopular IWGP World Heavyweight belt.
.@rainmakerXokada "G1 CLIMAX 31 WINNER "— njpwworld (@njpwworld) October 24, 2021
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The v4 belt is supposed to represent a promise to give Ibushi a rematch. New Japan revealed the Golden Star’s diagnosis today (Oct. 26), and it doesn’t give us a definitive answer about if that match could happen before Okada challenges the IWGP World Heavyweight king (currently Shingo Takagi) at Wrestle Kingdom.
On October 21’s G1 final, Kota Ibushi suffered an injury in the ring that led to the match being stopped. After treatment from ringside medical staff, he was taken for a thorough evaluation.
The evaluation revealed a right anterior dislocation of the shoulder, and joint lip damage. Recovery is expected to take two months.
There’s typically not an event between next month’s Power Struggle - where Okada will defend the G1 title shot against Tama Tonga - and January, so Ibushi getting cleared in mid-to-late December won’t allow for a finals rematch. But Wrestle Kingdom 16 is a three-night affair in 2022, so the rematch could potentially happen on Jan. 4 with the winner facing Shingo (or his Power Struggle challenger Zack Sabre Jr.) on the 5th, or when it moves to Yokohama Arena on the 8th.
Join us in wishing Ibushi a full recovery, and let us know if you’re excited for the road to Wrestle Kingdom.