Sakura Genesis is one of the biggest events on the NJPW calendar and this year has proven to be no different. Not only did Mercedes Mone wrestle her first match in Japan since her NJPW debut but we had two huge title changes in the closing stretch of the card. Let’s dive into the news from Sakura Genesis.
SANADA Wins IWGP World Heavyweight Championship
After SANADA laid out Kazuchika Okada on the ard wood floor of Korakuen Hall, could he be standing tall as IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Saturday night?
— NJPW Global (@njpwglobal) April 7, 2023
SANADA Does It
SANADA has ascended to the top of the mountain in NJPW and captured the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. SANADA vs Okada is a rivalry that NJPW has always promoted as a top of the card affair but it seemed like SANADA would never be able to get the win when it counted. That all changed at Sakura Genesis as his character transformation was complete with a win over Okada.
Read More: SANADA Leaves LIJ, Joins Just 4 Guys
The former LIJ man moved to Just 5 Guys, won the New Japan Cup, and debuted a new look to clearly show the change from his old self. This was enough to get the job done as he has now won the top prize in New Japan. It would appear that a first challenger has emerged as Hiromu Takahashi eyed up the title, although he has some barriers to get through first.
Aussie Open Win IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship
The United Empire gained some new titles in the form of the heavyweight tag belts. Mark Davis and Kyle Fletcher have long honed their craft on the independent scene where they won numerous tag titles. They can now claim to be titleholders in New Japan and could feature prominently on Forbidden Door given the wealth of teams in AEW.
Mercedes Mone Retains
The IWGP Women’s Championship was on the line in a match between Hazuki, AZM and Mercedes Mone. The action-packed three way ended with Mone’s hand raised high before Mayu Iwatani confronted the champion. Iwatani had previously stated her intentions to challenge the winner of the match so the interaction made it official that the two will meet on April 23 at Stardom’s biggest show ever in Yokohama Arena.
Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. You can rewatch all 2022 NJPW events and plenty more tremendous wrestling content from New Japan Pro-Wrestling on NJPWWorld.com; The King of Sports Streaming.