The headline match of the Power Struggle feature event at Edion Arena Osaka #1 saw “Golden Star” Kota Ibushi defend his right to challenge IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental ‘Double Champion’ Tetsuya Naito at Wrestle Kingdom 15 against “Switchblade” Jay White.
The match came about due to Switchblade defeating Ibushi during G1 Climax 30, which he would go on to win. Since the onset of the Wrestle Kingdom challenge opportunity for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship was introduced in 2012, the G1 Climax winner had never lost the briefcase holding the contract.
Switchblade had won the previous two singles matches against Ibushi in 2020, also defeating him during Wrestle Kingdom 14 Night 2 on January 5th. Despite Switchblade attempting to play mind games early, which has become a staple of his gameplan in singles matches, it didn’t get him the immediate advantage over Ibushi.
The “Golden Star” kept Switchblade on the back foot through most of the match, yet Bullet Club member and White’s manager Gedo got involved several times in an attempt to throw Ibushi off.
Switchblade would finally grow into the match and begin giving Ibushi problems after Gedo was able to slow Ibushi by a step. Switchblade would shock the Osaka crowd at the 18 minutes and 47 seconds match with a Backslide for the fall.
The victory for Switchblade means he now has the right to challenge ‘Double Champion’ Tetsuya Naito at Wrestle Kingdom 15, and that Ibushi was left out of the title picture for the time being.
Ibushi was the first back to back G1 Climax winner since former four-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroyoshi Tenzan was able to do so in G1 Climax 13 (2003) and G1 Climax 14 (2004).
Jay White’s victory shows that while he may be boisterous, he often seems to keep his word when he sets his mind to something.