Earlier today, newly signed New Japan Pro Wrestling aquisition AJ Styles defeated Kazuchika Okada to become the new IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, the first American to win the prize since Brock Lesnar in 2005.
AJ's win has a major effect on at least one match for the upcoming "War of the Worlds" event on May 17th, which will be a collaborative iPPV between Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling. "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin was set to face Okada for the title – a match he earned by defeating Kevin Steen at Supercard of Honor 8 – but will now challenge AJ Styles instead. As of now, Okada's future at the 5/17 show is unknown. He is still scheduled to compete on May 10th at the ROH-NJPW "Global Wars" event in Toronto, ON Canada.
Since the title switch earlier today, several readers have asked whether New Japan decided to put the title on AJ to better promote the upcoming joint shows, as the former TNA star is a more recognizable talent in North America. While this certainly could have been the case, and makes sense from a marketing perspective, Dave Metlzer of the Wrestling Observer told me otherwise.
Wrestlezone will have exclusive interviews with many of the wrestlers performing at "Global Wars" and "War of the Worlds" in the coming weeks including ROH World Champion Adam Cole.