New Japan Pro Wrestling will reveal the IWGP World Heavyweight championship belt prior to the new title’s first defense at Sakura Genesis.
The company announced this morning that the new championship will be revealed at Korakuen Hall on March 30 during the Road to Sakura Genesis event. The championship will be defended by Kota Ibushi for the first time at Sakura Genesis on April 4, when he faces Will Ospreay.
It was announced earlier this month that the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental titles would be merged into a new championship, the IWGP World Heavyweight championship. Ibushi’s win over Desperado at the 49th Anniversary show on March 4 marked the final defense of both titles.
This effectively ends the lineage of both titles. The IWGP Heavyweight title dates back to 1987, when Antonio Inoki won the championship in a tournament final, defeating Masa Saito. The Intercontinental title was established in 2011 when MVP defeated Toru Yano in a eight-man tournament final in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.