By the end of Wrestle Kingdom 16, three belts will become one in NJPW.
Will Ospreay is the "real" IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, having never lost the title but being forced to vacate it in May 2021 due to a neck injury. Shingo Takagi would win the vacant IWGP World Heavyweight Title. After winning the G1 Climax tournament, Kazuchika Okada brought back the IWGP Heavyweight Title instead of using the usual G1 briefcase.
That move by Okada did nothing but upset Ospreay.
"Somebody high up needs to get fired in this company," said Ospreay in an interview with NJPW. "Okada bringing out the heavyweight championship really pissed me off. It was like he was trying to press a reset button on NJPW. Pandering to all those whining fans saying ‘we like the old belt’. The old belt doesn’t exist anymore, get over it. Seeing him come out with that belt, and Shingo with his, I thought this has gotten out of hand. Fans are too confused. It’s time to set the record straight, and if you want the job done right, you do it yourself."
Shingo and Okada are set to collide at night one of Wrestle Kingdom 16 on January 4. The winner will meet Ospreay on night two on January 5.
Ospreay said about facing the winner, "It’ll be an advantage. Look, we know how both guys wrestle. Okada is about taking punishment, and he’s very good at doing that. His pain threshold is tremendous. And Shingo is ferocious in the ring, he goes and goes. I’m in a six man tag, and I’ve already spoken to Jeff (Cobb) and (Great) O-Khan. We’ve agreed it’s best for me to stay on the apron as much as possible, to only come in when I’m needed. Now for them, they’ll have the excuse that they’re hurt, they wrestled the night before, but that’s the game we play."
Fightful will have live coverage of both nights of Wrestle Kingdom 16 on January 4 and 5.
You can view results from past NJPW events at Fightful's results section.