Jay White vs. Tetsuya Naito Headlines NJPW Destruction In Kobe; Blue Justice 9 Celebrates Nagata

New Japan Pro Wrestling announced that Jay White will challenge Tetsuya Naito for the IWGP Intercontinental Title at Destruction in Kobe on Sept. 22. 

From NJPW:

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A huge championship match has been signed for DESTRUCTION in KOBE on Sunday, September 22, as Switchblade Jay White will face champion Tetsuya Naito, it has been announced. 

Naito and White met one on one on the last day of block action in G1 Climax 29. In controversial form, with Gedo playing an assisting role, White defeated Naito, and advanced to the finals of the tournament. While White would lose in the G1 finals to Kota Ibushi, he would remain steadfast in the belief that Naito was his ‘destino’. 

In Long Beach on August 25, White would take to the microphone and declare that he and he alone deserved to be Intercontinental Champion, and would go on to become the first ever double Intercontinental and IWGP Heavyweight Champion in the Tokyo Dome at Wrestle Kingdom 14. Naito has long declared double gold to be his ambition, and Kota Ibushi stated after winning the G1 Climax that he too had designs on the unprecedented feat. 

For White, the first step is seizing the title from Naito. Jay White’s one and only Intercontinental Championship match was at Wrestle Kingdom 12, when he took on Hiroshi Tanahashi on return from excursion. White fell short, but quickly shot to stardom afterward. 

Naito will be making the first defence of his fourth reign as IWGP Intercontinental Champion, but hasn’t been entirely successful of late with the belt, with his last two reigns as champion ending at one and zero defences respectively. Naito will be hungry for revenge, and eager to keep his Tokyo Dome dreams strongly alive. 

Also announced is the annual Blue Justice 9 event on Sept. 8, which will celebrate 35 years of Yuji Nagata. Nagata will compete in a ten-man tag team match, teaming with Manabu Nakanishi, Satoshi Kojima, Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Jushin Thunder Liger to battle The Bullet Club.

Blue Justice has become a regular fixture on the NJPW calendar every autumn, as Yuji Nagata returns to his home town of Togane in Chiba for an annual celebration. In the past, Nagata has used the occasion to celebrate his 25 year pro career and 50th birthday; this year he celebrates another milestone, as the event will mark 35 years of a life in wrestling. 

In 1984, while yet to start his professional journey, Nagata made his first steps in wrestling, as he joined his high school wrestling club and took to the mats for the first time. In university, he would be a two time All Japanese in Greco Roman wrestling, before entering New Japan in 1992. 

Nagata’s Wrestling Life: 35th Anniversary match sees Nagata team up with long time friend Manabu Nakanishi, Satoshi Kojima, Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Jyushin Thunder Liger to take on five competitors from BULLET CLUB. Jado, Yujiro Takahashi, Tanga Loa, Tama Tonga and Bad Luck Fale form tough opposition for the Nagata led team.

Fale and Nagata in particular have a long history together. During Fale’s own time in the New Japan Dojo, Nagata took the future BULLET CLUB member under his wing, and Fale would be part of Nagata’s Seigigun (Justice Army). Later in 2017, Nagata would wrestle his last ever G1 Climax match against Fale, his losing effort being one of the most emotional moments of the tournament. 

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