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Tanahashi replacing Ibushi in NJPW Wrestle Grand Slam main event

Due to illness, Kota Ibushi is out of the NJPW Wrestle Grand Slam main event.

NJPW announced tonight that Hiroshi Tanahashi is replacing Ibushi in the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship match at Wrestle Grand Slam. Tanahashi will challenge Shingo Takagi for the title.

Tanahashi defeated KENTA in the main event of Summer Struggle in Nagoya this morning. After the match, Tanahashi spoke to the crowd and said he was ready to replace Ibushi at Wrestle Grand Slam if needed.

"As previously reported, Kota Ibushi has been diagnosed with aspiration pneumonia, and as a result has missed the Summer Struggle tour. After careful monitoring of his recovery, Ibushi is unfortunately unable to compete at Wrestle Grand Slam where he was scheduled to face Shingo Takagi for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship," NJPW announced.

"We apologise to fans who were looking forward to seeing Ibushi wrestle. We appreciate your understanding, and hope you join us in wishing Ibushi the best in his recovery."

Tanahashi defeated Takagi when they faced off in the main event of The New Beginning in Nagoya this January.

Takagi won the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship by defeating Kazuchika Okada at Dominion last month. The title was vacant going into that match after Will Ospreay had to relinquish it due to injury.

This will be Takagi's first title defense since becoming IWGP World Heavyweight Champion.

Wrestle Grand Slam is taking place at the Tokyo Dome and will begin on New Japan World at 3 a.m. Eastern time overnight tonight. Here's the updated card for the show:

  • IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Shingo Takagi defends against Hiroshi Tanahashi
  • IWGP Tag Team Champions Tetsuya Naito & SANADA defend against Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi
  • Kazuchika Okada vs. Jeff Cobb
  • IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion El Desperado defends against Robbie Eagles
  • IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions Taiji Ishimori & El Phantasmo defend against Rocky Romero & Ryusuke Taguchi
  • New Japan Ranbo for the provisional KOPW 2021 trophy