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Shinsuke Nakamura Is No Longer Your IWGP Intercontinental Champion



If you needed any more confirmation that this New Japan Exodus is for real... it's for real.

According to a report on the official NJPW website (which we had to go to secondary sources to confirm), Shinsuke Nakamura is confirmed to be leaving the company. What's more, he's been stripped of the IWGP Intercontinental Championship, even though new Bullet Club leader-apparent Kenny Omega challenged him to a title match.


This pretty much all but confirms the rumors of Nakamura heading to the States. His last show with NJPW will be the Road to New Beginning show on January 30 at Korakuen Hall. He will be in a six-man tag match with CHAOS stablemates Kazuchika Okada and Tomohiro Ishii versus the team of Hiroshi Tanahashi, Katsuyori Shibata, and Hirooki Goto. Meanwhile, Kenny Omega will be facing a yet to be announced opponent for the vacant IWGP Intercontinental Championship at the New Beginning in Niigata on February 14.

This is an unusual creative decision for NJPW. The stripping makes sense if Nakamura would not be appearing on any more NJPW shows, but since he's still scheduled for a show, why wouldn't he drop the title properly to Omega? The only other good reason we can think of is that they're looking for a bigger match, but there's no bigger match than versus Nakamura... unless they're thinking of a match-up between Omega and Tanahashi. We'd ideally not like to think there's some politicking going on, considering that even though NJPW doesn't make the right choice, it's never really done any unusual and abrupt booking decisions lately.

What do you think? Who do you want to see as the new IWGP Intercontinental Champion? Tell us who your bet is in the comments!

Photo from Pro Wrestling Authority. Additional source: @STRIGGA

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