Kazuchika Okada Closing In On IWGP Heavyweight Title Record

Just when it seems like IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada has done everything in his time as champion, think again.

Since Okada recently retained his title against Evil at the King of Pro Wrestling show, Okada is now within striking distance to break the record for the longest single reign for an IWGP champion. Okada, in his fourth reign as the IWGP Heavyweight titleholder, has held the title for nearly 480 days as of October 10. That means in less than two weeks, Okada will break the record held by Shinya Hashimoto, who won the title in 1996 and held it for 489 days.

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As for the record for longest combined reigns, Okada still has a ways to go. While Okada is second all-time in combined title reigns, Okada's longtime rival Hiroshi Tanahashi is still the all-time leader in that category at 1,358 days (versus Okada's nearly 1,280 days as champion).

With Okada's recent title defense, Okada also moves into second all-time with 21 combined title defenses while Tanahashi is first with 28 combined title defenses. The next major New Japan event is Power Struggle, which happens on November 5, but there is no guarantee Okada even is defending the title at Power Struggle. The IWGP Heavyweight title has not been defended at Power Struggle since the 2013 edition of the show, when Okada defeated Karl Anderson in the main event. 

Okada won the IWGP title last year at the Dominion show from June 19, 2016 when Okada defeated Tetsuya Naito. It looks like the two are on a collision course to meet once more with the title on the line at Wrestle Kingdom 12 on January 4, 2018. Naito won the 2017 G1 Climax, which entitles him to an IWGP Heavyweight title match at the following year's Wrestle Kingdom event.

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