May was set to be a massive month for New Japan Pro Wrestling, with two big stadium events planned as part of their Wrestle Grand Slam tour. These plans were shut down due to an outbreak of COVID-19 in their locker room, and then champion Will Ospreay was forced to vacate the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship due to injury. Things got properly back on track at Dominion, where Shingo Takagi defeated Kazuchika Okada to claim the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. Now he looks forward to his first defense on the biggest stage NJPW has to offer.
Shingo Takagi Set To Defend IWGP Heavyweight Championship Against Kota Ibushi
On July 21st, we will see the first Wrestle Grand Slam event. It will take place in the Tokyo Dome, which marks the first time NJPW has run the venue outside of January since 2005. The main event will see Shingo Takagi defend the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship against the inaugural champion, Kota Ibushi. Ibushi got a big win over Jeff Cobb at Dominion, and was called out by Shingo following the main event.
This is a big time match for NJPW, having only happened once during the 2020 G1 Climax, a match which Shingo won. It’s also notable as neither Ibushi or Shingo are products of the NJPW dojo, with Shingo making his name in Dragon Gate, and Ibushi in DDT. These are two outsiders to the company, and they’re set to main event the biggest stage NJPW has to offer for the top title.
Two More Wrestle Grand Slam Events Set For September
Aside from the July 21st event, there are two more events with the Wrestle Grand Slam branding now on the NJPW calendar for September. A two night event in MetLife Dome will occur over September 4th & 5th will carry name as well, and the timing is interesting. We don’t know when NJPW will run the G1 Climax this year, but these events could be either at the start or end of that tour.
Having the finals of the G1 Climax in a major stadium would lend to the big match environment, and it’s also very easy to stack a card with the first night of G1 Climax action. NJPW were unable to rebook a show for Yokohama Stadium due to scheduling conflicts, and ticket holders for the previously scheduled May event will get full refunds.
Will Shingo Takagi still be champion in September? Let us know what you think in the comment section down below.
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