As everyone knows the world of New Japan changed drastically since the start of the new year especially since the former "Ace" of New Japan is back on top of the mountain. With the renascence of Hiroshi Tanahashi and the departure of Kenny Omega it is interesting to think about how the picture of the big belt has changed since the turn of the calendar. With Cody, Kenny, and the Bucks gone the picture is wide open and can really be filled by a host of different people and this is where we will look at those possibilities. Now in my opinion there is one person who would likely fall into the top contender spot based on his win at Wrestle Kingdom and rising status in New Japan.
In my opinion "Switchblade" Jay White has to be considered a top contender for the IWGP Heavyweight championship. Over the last twelve months I don't think anyone has really shown through as someone that NJPW will be looking as a stable person to build around other than White. Last year they helped build his credibility during the G1 Climax with wins over current champion Tanahashi & former champion Okada. However, I do think that White still needs a little bit of time before he finds his footing as a main event talent, but I do think he has what it takes.
Overall I'm not sure if he will be the top contender for the gold as NJPW might want to hold off on giving this match away so early in Tanahashi's reign, but I do believe at some point we will see the legend face the up and comer. In my opinion the WWE needs to take a lesson from New Japan in how to build a new main event level talent as Jay White's push has been fantastic & his 2018 is proof of that. I think his potential is shining at this point and it will make for a very interesting 2019 not just for the "Switchblade" but for Bullet Club as a whole.
The biggest event of the New Japan calendar is coming up on us really quick it is now two days away. For wrestling fans the upcoming Wrestle Kingdom event is the first major event of the new year is here and almost ready to get going. After taking a look at the card for the event it is a very solid event for the show and is on par with every other card from this event. At this point New Japan has a reputation to uphold for what fans expect from this event every year and with this being the event that sets the stage for 2019 it will be interesting to see how it goes.
Before this years Wrestle Kingdom event I thought it'd be fitting to put our focus on the main event for this year. With that being said our main event this year will see current IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega face former "Ace" of New Japan Hiroshi Tanahashi. In the last few Tanahashi has taken more of the veteran role or the role of someone who will watch on the side & jump in when needed. But now the former "Ace" has the chance to move to the top of the mountain once again and with all the questions surrounding the The Elite it might be the perfect time for a new champion in New Japan.