#NewJapanWeek: Jay White Is New Japan’s Next Big Star

It’s not very often where a wrestler that was once a Young Lion just two years prior, loses the biggest match of his career then skyrockets his career from there. Every young athlete must face the best in New Japan Pro Wrestling in order to get better and test their newfound skills against the veterans that make the company what it is today. “Switchblade” Jay White went down in defeat one year ago at Wrestle Kingdom 12 to “The Ace”, Hiroshi Tanahashi via the  High Fly Flow, at the biggest show of the year for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship, but it’s White’s progress that has helped Jay White get another big match at the show of shows, Wrestle Kingdom 13, from NJPW one year later.

Photo: NJPW

The United Kingdom was a great proving ground for Jay White in 2017, White was on an excursion from NJPW to find himself as an in-ring talent and overall persona. Not only did Jay Briscoe, Travis Banks and many more feel the aggression of White but Ring Of Honor Wrestling (ROH) made White a household name by having him go undefeated for over six months. Once January of 2018 rolled around, the “Switchblade” gimmick had been presented by NJPW but not yet established. The first few months of the year was the NJPW faithful witnessing the rise of a new main eventer when it just looked like growing pains at face value. Kazuchika Okada, front and center of the CHAOS faction, was lured like a fish in a pond by White and so was the rest of the faction by the plans of Jay White.

Photo: ROH

Gedo, Okada’s manager since Okada first started his reign atop NJPW as the IWGP Heavyweight Champion, turned his back on Okada and joined Jay White in the pursuit of finding a new golden boy to latch onto. It was a very smart move by Gedo but it was the most unpopular decision Gedo could have made, making himself the manager of the young and hungry talented Heavyweight and future champion much like Gedo did with Okada years ago. Kenny Omega may be considered “The Best Bout Machine” in NJPW but even Omega was pinned by Jay White when the IWGP United States Championship was on the line at  New Beginning In Sapporo. It was a breakout victory for White, eating V-Trigger knee strikes and laughing right in Omega’s face before winning the IWGP United States Championship with the Blade Runner. White would lose that title to Juice Robinson but White showed he can carry a top title and hang with the best of them.

It was a spectacular G1 Climax 28 tournament debut for White in 2018 and it all started with a pinfall victory over Kazuchika Okada, perhaps the pinnacle of modern-day NJPW main eventers. Sho and Yoh of Roppongi 3K have almost split apart because of White’s masterful mind games until the rising Kiwi star left CHAOS for the Bullet Club faction. Tama Tonga, Bullet Club original from the start, has announced that the 26-year old protégé is the leader of the new Bullet Club with The Guerillas Of Destiny, Bad Luck Fale, Taiji Ishimori, Gedo and Robbie Eagles. A new member is coming soon as a defection from CHAOS to Bullet Club as teased by White but it remains to be seen just which CHAOS member will make the shocking allegiance with Bullet Club.

Photo: NJPW

The Blade Runner has become a very effective new tool in White’s arsenal and it’s the preferred match finish for “Switchblade” but it’s Jay White’s overall presence that has changed altogether for the better. Going back to the old cheating ways of Bullet Club by winning matches against Okada and Tanahashi with a steel chair. Throwing the top athletes in NJPW on the floor with vicious Saito Suplexes. Even the promo ability of the Kiwi has exponentially improved with his menacing tone and confidence shining through with every word during backstage post-shows. Kazuchika Okada will probably defeat Jay White at Wrestle Kingdom 13 but that’s not the end of this rivalry, it’s merely the beginning. Okada is looking at redemption for himself against Gedo and White but it’s “Switchblade” that has his eyes on the future and it might just be his for the taking. White may become the youngest IWGP Heavyweight Champion in history

Photo: NJPW