Former Cold Darkness teammate of Evil won twice won World Tag League and the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship with the new IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental ‘Double Champion.’
Others have also wondered why Sanada has often seem detached from LIJ. Now is the time for Sanada to step up and join the chase for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
Sanada’s IWGP Heavyweight Narrative
Sanada has slowly been elevated up the New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) rankings through his 2019 run during the New Japan Cup and his G1 Climax 29 victory against former five-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada.
His Cold Darkness tag team with Evil also helped cement him as a viable draw on the NJPW roster, yet for him to become a permanent fixture in the marquee main event picture, Sanada will have to square off against Evil during the impending Bullet Club v LIJ feud that launched with Evil turning on the faction earlier this month.
How Does Sanada Fit Into The New Landscape?
Unless Sanada fights his way through G1 Climax 30 to earn a right to challenge for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, it’s unlikely he will immediately jump the likes of Jay White and Kazuchika Okada for a championship opportunity.
Sanada’s best chance to elevate himself may be to challenge solely for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship as a way to avenge his recent New Japan Cup loss to Evil. That scenario can happen if Evil retains the ‘Double Championship’ against IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion and LIJ member, Hiromu Takahashi at Sengoku Lord on July 25th.
With how Sanada has been positioned over the past two years, this new landscape will likely see him elevated higher up the card.