Tuesday, March 30 saw the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship revealed to a worldwide audience for the very first time. With a design that evokes every step of IWGP history, the new richest prize will be on the line Sunday at Sakura Genesis, as Kota Ibushi defends against New Japan Cup winner Will Ospreay.
The reveal ceremony saw each individual aspect of the new championship’s design explained. The key tenets behind the design are reflecting the history of both the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Championship, as well as taking flight in the world on the wings of Fighting Spirit.
The history of the four generations of the IWGP Heavyweight Championship is acknowledged through its centre plate. The upper part of the belt had a radial design which recalls the original circular IWGP Heavyweight design, while the upper profile of the belt carries the second generation IWGP ‘crown’ motif.
On the plate itself, we see a pair of wings which represent those on the third generation title belt, while the central Lion Mark brings to mind that on the fourth-generation Heavyweight belt. Meanwhile, the title’s side plates evoke the IWGP Intercontinental Championship design.
Going into more detail on the centre plate we see the concept of flight into the world at large. The Lion Mark in the upper centre represents the sun above the Earth below. Flames emanating from the sun are those of the Fighting Spirit, which is also represented by a sword piercing the world below from top to bottom. Five gems around the central globe represent the continents, as well as NJPW’s five decades of history. Each gem is set in a fang-like position, bringing to mind a lion gripping the world in its teeth, while wings emanating from the globe represent taking flight into the world.
Below is the card for the upcoming event;
IWGP WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
Kota Ibushi (c) vs. Will Ospreay
IWGP JR. HEAVYWEIGHT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru (c) vs. SHO and YOH
DOUKI, Zack Sabre Jr., and Taichi vs. Jado, Tango Loa, and Tama Tonga
YOSHI-HASHI, Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto, Toru Yano, and Kazuchika Okada vs. Dick Togo, Taiji Ishimori, Yurijo Takahashi, KENTA, and EVIL
Shingo Takagi, SANADA, and Tetsuya Naito vs. Jeff Cobb, Great-O-Khan, and a mystery partner
Satoshi Kojima and Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Bad Luck Fale and Jay White