The word got out this morning that New Japam Pro Wrestling will be using a new title belt for their world champion Kota Ibushi. The 4th generation IWGP belt as it is being called. They debuted it last night and HOLY COW is it a nice looking title belt!
I have been a fan of NJPW going back to the early 1990s and reading about it in the magazines of the day. Pro Wrestling Illustrated, The Wrestler, Sports Review Wrestling, they usually had stories about what was going on there with pictures and descriptions of wrestlers like Antonio Inoki, Shinya Hashimoto, Masa Saito, and anybody else that wrestled under that banner. I remember first reading about Jushin “Thunder” Liger, Big Van Vader, and reading of the exploits of Tiger Mask (the second one anyway)
But part of that was the belt the champion wore around his waist, The IWGP champion. I later read about how that came about. A big moment for me at the time was when I saw the WCW/Japan supershow for the first time. I had read about it and the match with Ric Flair taking on Tatsumi Fujinami with both guys putting their belts on the line and thinking it was probably a cool match. I rented out the videotape and it was! I found out that this version of the tape was not the whole card but it was better than nothing. There was a video of a lot of my favorite Japanese names and I was watching it. I still have that show on a burned DVD. I also have the complete version of the show on another DVD too.
I have heard what happened with the previous version of the title and how Brock Lesnar took the belts for himself. NJPW had to make another version of the belt and that was the one they had been using until recently. Don’t know all the details but from what I hear he was never a good fit with NJPW anyway.
But looking at this new belt. I love it. It is designed to look much different and can’t be mistaken for anyone’s else world title. It looks like something someone would hold high over their head after a hell of a match that went on for over an hour and beat each other nearly senseless to be able to hold. Kota Ibushi has done that before and I am expecting to do it again.
Make the 4th Generation belt proud and make it YOUR belt Kota Ibushi!
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