With ongoing uncertainty about the status of one championship in NJPW, the promotion has announced it is being replaced at Wrestle Kingdom.
The IWGP United States Championship was introduced in July 2017 as the Japanese promotion’s popularity took off overseas with the rise and rise of Bullet Club headed by The Elite. Kenny Omega was the first holder of that championship and put it on the line for his famed Wrestle Kingdom 12 match in 2018 against Chris Jericho.
Will Ospreay ended Omega’s second run with the title at Forbidden Door in June 2023 and the Essex boy decided to pay homage to his homeland as he rechristened the gold as the IWGP United Kingdom Championship.
David Finlay destroyed those titles at Power Struggle in November after Jon Moxley had issued a challenge to Ospreay for Wrestle Kingdom 18.
NJPW New Title To Be Decided At Wrestle Kingdom
Now a match between all three of those men will be held in the Tokyo Dome and the winner will be crowned the inaugural IWGP Global Heavyweight Champion.
NJPW addressed the new title in a press release attributed to company chairman Naoki Sugabayashi:
The IWGP US Heavyweight Championship came into being in July 2017 to mark NJPW’s first major event in the United States of America in Long Beach. After its introduction, it became the symbol of NJPW competition in the USA.
In the years that followed, the title would be defended in Japan, becoming familiar to Japanese fans as well. However, with the introduction of the IWGP UK Championship this summer, there was confusion among fans as to the status of the title.
With that in mind, this new championship combines and adds to the US and UK Championship roles, and will be called the IWGP Global Heavyweight Championship. As has already been discussed in a recent business strategy presentation, NJPW is working to ensure that 2024 sees our presence grow not just in the UK and the US, but throughout all of Europe, the rest of Asia and Oceania.
With a mindfulness on the international space, there was discussion of renewing the defunct IWGP Intercontinental Championship, but as we see an entirely new level of international involvement, the IWGP Global Heavyweight name was decided to be the most fitting. We hope fans look forward to seeing the brand new title and the matches contested for it.
As a result, January 4’s three way at Wrestle Kingdom between Will Ospreay, Jon Moxley and David Finlay will officially determine the first IWGP Global Heavyweight Champion. Thank you.
Will Ospreay has already signed with AEW meaning his full-time NJPW commitments will be coming to an end but as Jon Moxley has shown, working with both companies is possible so it is anyone’s guess who will walk away from Wrestle Kingdom with the new title.