NJPW superstar Kota Ibushi released his first comments as the new IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental champion to the NJPW press, where Ibushi once again pushed for the two titles to be unified into one ahead of his New Beginning showdown against SANADA.
Ibushi begins by recalling his back to back wars at last week's WrestleKingdom 15 extravaganza.
‘I am the new IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Champion. Looking back on January 4 & 5, I have nothing but gratitude for all the fans that watched us on NJPW World or who came to the venue. I believe it was only myself and Hiromu in the junior heavyweights who wrestled both nights.
I wrestled for about 80 minutes all told, but since then I haven’t really done anything. I have a little bit of trouble with my foot, but apart from that I’ve finally been able to take a break. After the match on the fifth, SANADA came out to challenge me, and I’m more than happy to accept that ‘gift’. That match is official, now, right? I’m looking forward to it. He has all the tools, and I can’t wait to face him. I do have one thing I want to say. I said this after the match on the fifth, but I want to put it out there again. I want to take these two belts and unify them. This isn’t something I take lightly. I have a big connection with this Intercontinental belt. And the Heavyweight Championship is the top prize in NJPW. But that said, I still want to make these two things into one. Last year, these belts were defended together, right? One belt didn’t change hands without the other. So if we take these two and make them one belt, that makes you the strongest and the best, all in one. Maybe not everyone can see it right now, but there’s no doubt in my mind, it’d make for something awesome. I have a big plan for this. So I’ll say it again, on the record. I want these two belts to be one.
He later adds that splitting the titles up would be somewhat confusing to fans, which is why he believes a brand new championship design would benefit the company the most.
If possible, I think that would be the best way. In the end, nobody challenged for just one title and not the other. I’m saying this even understanding the importance and the significance here. Maybe some people won’t be happy about it, but in the end, nobody went for just one title. Splitting the two back up would be confusing, so I think it’s really better to just have one. Maybe it might be different, a new design, perhaps, but that’s what I want to do here.