Tetsuya Naito's journey to the top of the NJPW mountain as the first double IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental champion is now halfway done.
Entering Wrestle Kingdom 14, Naito was the only wrestler to not hold a belt or the G1 Climax briefcase in the four-man tournament between Naito, Jay White, Kazuchika Okada and Kota Ibushi. But after defeating White on night one, he will enter night two as the new Intercontinental champion.
Naito gets caught and @JayWhiteNZ sends him crashing to the floor! #njwk14— TDE Wrestling (@tde_wrestling) January 4, 2020
How much does @s_d_naito have left in the tank? Enough to drop Jay with Gloría! #njwk14— TDE Wrestling (@tde_wrestling) January 4, 2020
.@s_d_naito musters the energy to land DESTINO! #njwk14— TDE Wrestling (@tde_wrestling) January 4, 2020
With the win, Naito becomes a five-time IWGP Intercontinental champion, tied with Shinsuke Nakamura for most all-time. Naito is also second all-time in combined days as Intercontinental Champion at nearly 500 days.
ONE. STEP. CLOSER! #NaitoTwoBelts is @s_d_naito's destiny! #njwk14— TDE Wrestling (@tde_wrestling) January 4, 2020
It is the second straight year Naito won the Intercontinental title at Wrestle Kingdom with Naito defeating Chris Jericho at last year's show. Now, Naito will have a chance to redeem himself after his Wrestle Kingdom 12 loss to Okada for the Heavyweight title and face the winner of Okada's match against Ibushi for Okada's Heavyweight title. The winner of that match will face Naito in a winner-take-all match for both belts on night two of Wrestle Kingdom 14.
For full coverage of Wrestle Kingdom 14's first night, click here for Fightful's live coverage. A reminder that Fightful will provide live coverage of night two and will have a post-show podcast.