NJPW Summer Shakeup Press Conference
New Japan Pro-Wrestling held a major press conference on Tuesday, announcing new matches, new regulations, and a new championship. The press conference started with the announcement that the cards for Nights 3 & 4 of the Summer Struggle tour had been posted, and the announcement of two huge title matches at Summer Struggle in Jingu.
Two Title Matches Set For Summer Struggle In Jingu
EVIL will defend his IWGP Double Heavyweight Championship against Tetsuya Naito on August 29th. The Dominion rematch will headline NJPW’s return to Jingu Stadium. It will not be the only title match to see Bullet Club face off against Los Ingobernables de Japon.
Taiji Ishimori has been trash talking IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Hiromu Takahashi for a bit of time, and after submitting Takahashi over the weekend, Ishimori has earned a title shot against the champ. The match will be Hiromu’s second defense since winning the title in January.
Kazuchika Okada Announces KOPW 2020 Championship
A third title match will take place on August 29th. A four-way match will take place to crown the first KOPW 2020 Champion. The new title was announced by Kazuchika Okada, who recently expressed frustration with the IWGP Title scene. The championship that The Rainmaker introduced on Tuesday is not like any other championship belt in NJPW, firstly because it won’t be represented by a belt.
The belt-less title will be defended in a special way. All the competitors in a title match will pick a stipulation, and the fans will vote on which stipulation they want to see. The KOPW 2020 winner will defend the title until the end of the year, at which time they will be presented with a KOPW 2020 trophy, as the process begins anew in 2021.
With the title existing outside of the IWGP governing body, and having such unique rules, Okada described the title as “existing on the edges of NJPW.”
Title Reigns Remain Intact Post-Pandemic
With months of inactivity from NJPW, due to the recent outbreak of Coronavirus, fans have been wondering what is the situation with titles that haven’t been defended in some time. Under normal circumstances, any title that is not defended within 6 months is vacated. NJPW officials announced on Tuesday that they would not be counting any of the pandemic hiatus against any reigning champions.
This is good news for IWGP United States Champion Jon Moxley, who has not defended his title since February 9th, and has no announced title defenses between now and the original August 9th deadline. August 9th also would’ve been the deadline for IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Hiromu Takahashi, who is set to defend his title on August 29th in Jingu.