With reports indicating his New Japan contract is expiring and rumors swirling about which U.S.-based company would sign him when it does, Jay White had a “Loser Leaves Japan” stipulation on his match with Hikuleo at The New Beginning in Osaka today (Feb. 11).
In storyline, this was White looking to right himself after dropping the IWGP Heavyweight title to Kazuchika Okada at Wrestle Kingdom last month. The Switchblade wanted to make an example of his ex-Bullet Club mate Hikuleo. In reality, well... we still don’t know for sure, but...
Hikuleo pinned White in Osaka, and this sure felt like the coda to a NJPW run that included two IWGP World Heavyweight & two IWGP Intercontinental championships — New Japan’s most prestigious singles titles — among numerous other accolades for the 30 year old from New Zealand.
Prior to chokeslamming White, Hikuleo accepted a “Too Sweet” from his former Bullet Club tag partner.
And as he was leaving the arena floor, he and Hiroshi Tanahashi — the NJPW icon who played a huge part in establishing White as a main eventer when he arrived in Japan in the late 2010s.
Others on the roster are saying goodbye, too. In their way...
Believe it or not.— ᵂⁱˡˡ ᴼˢᵖʳᵉᵃʸ • ウィル・オスプレイ (@WillOspreay) February 11, 2023
I’ll miss you calling me an idiot on a regular basis.
We are similar & yet so different.
Was a pleasure beating the piss outta you and seeing how much you developed into who you are now
I hope my suit fits well wherever you go dickhead.@JayWhiteNZ pic.twitter.com/IVZoESI5Hq
White is booked for at least one more New Japan match, on next Saturday’s Battle in the Valley card in San Jose, California. He’s scheduled to face Eddie Kingston there, which some will probably interpret as a sign he’s AEW bound. But Dragon Lee wrestled some AEW talents right before he signed with WWE, so don’t get too locked into any one interpretation.
Let us know what you think. Here are all the results from The New Beginning in Osaka:
• Aaron Henare & Great O-Khan def. Oskar Leube & Toru Yano by pinfall (Henare on Leube following Rampage)
• Hiromu Takahashi, BUSHI, Tetsuya Naito & SANADA def Ryusuke Taguchi, Shota Umino, Tiger Mask & Tomoaki Honma by pinfall (Takahashi on Taguchi following Time Bomb II)
• Taiji Ishimori def. Master Wato by pinfall with Bloody Cross
• Hiroshi Tanahashi def. KENTA via pinfall with High Fly Glow
• Ren Narita, Minoru Suzuki & El Desperado def. Yujiro Takahashi, SHO & EVIL via triple submission to become the NEW NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team champions
• Hikuleo def. Jay White via pinfall after a chokeslam
• Tama Tonga def. El Phantasmo via pinfall after a Jay Driller to retain the NEVER Openweight title
• Kazuchika Okada def. Shingo Takagi via pinfall after a Rainmaker to retain the IWGP World Heavyweight championship