Kota Ibushi: Winning The IWGP Heavyweight & Intercontinental Titles On January 4 "Felt A Little Anticlimactic"

He would have preferred to face Jay White on January 4

Kota Ibushi's journey to become god finally culminated on January 4, 2021, when he defeated Tetsuya Naito to become the IWGP Heavyweight & IWGP Intercontinental Double Champion. 

The Golden Star had failed to capture the Heavyweight Title one year earlier at Wrestle Kingdom 14, but he managed to win G1 Climax 30 and Tetsuya Naito granted him a title match for January 4 even though he lost the briefcase on the road to the Tokyo Dome. 

Despite having won the gold, though, Ibushi had to defend the belts the very next night against the man who pinned him for the briefcase Jay White. Both men fought back and forth in a classic and Ibushi ultimately came out on top in the longest match in Tokyo Dome history. 

The former Double Champion reflected on winning the titles during a recent interview with New Japan Pro-Wrestling's website and he admitted his win on January 4 "felt a little anticlimactic" knowing he would have to wrestle again the next night. 

"I've said it before, but I think looking back, I still would have preferred to face Jay White on January 4 and then Naito on night two. I think that would have cemented me as a champion better," Ibushi said.

"As it was, even though I'd beaten Jay on the fifth, it didn't feel like a culmination. Finally winning those titles on January 4 felt a little anticlimactic, because I knew I had the next day as well."

Following Wrestle Kingdom 15, Ibushi campaigned to unify the IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental Titles and his wish was granted in March with the creation of the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. He then lost the new title in his first defence against Will Ospreay at Sakura Genesis.

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Aidan Gibbons

Written by Aidan Gibbons

Cultaholic's resident newshound.