kazuchika okada
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Kazuchika Okada: The IWGP World Title Might Be ‘Cursed’, But I Can ‘Shine That New One Up’

New Japan Pro-Wrestling has been in the midst of a transitional period. IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Will Ospreay’s injury forced him to vacate the title, and the promotion continues to deal with the various ways COVID-19 affects the industry. Many fans are hoping that Kazuchika Okada will win the championship to restore some semblance of normalcy to the main event scene.

In an interview with NJPW World, Okada explained why he thought the decision to create a new world championship was a “mistake” in the first place. He emphasized how this change erases the long history that made its predecessor such a legendary title.

“I knew that it was a mistake from the beginning, a long lineage of champions completely erased,” said Okada. “[Kota] Ibushi becomes the champion, now this is my first time challenging. The whole thing doesn’t sit right with me. With Ibushi becoming the first IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, I didn’t buy it, and neither did others. Not just wrestlers, but the fans, too.”

Okada then expressed his belief that the new IWGP World Heavyweight Championship is cursed because the prestigious lineage of the previous title is out for revenge.

“The belt has had a rough start, huh?” said Okada. “The first champion lost in his first defense, then the champion had to vacate. Perhaps some bad karma? The spirit of the old title putting a curse on the new one. That’s the will of the previous title lineage. I call it the ‘IWGP Curse.’ However, I’m sure the curse will recognize my own efforts, so I can shine that new one up.”

If Okada wins the title, he stated that he wants the victory to start a new chapter in his career. He then argued that fans wouldn’t be so critical of the NJPW’s world title scene if he held the gold.

“I don’t think people should yearn for what I’ve already given them,” said Okada. “I’m not looking to repeat what I’ve already done. I won’t rely on my last accomplishments. If people want a return to Okada, I see that as discontent with the way things are. And that if I was still leading the way, we wouldn’t have this feeling.”

Okada will face Shingo Takagi for the vacant IWGP World Heavyweight Champion at NJPW Dominion on June 7.

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