Jay White’s current storyline is Kazuchika Okada 2.0. Plain and simple.
Young Lion returns from excursion to take the world by storm and shocks everyone by beating the top guys. Hiroshi Tanahashi doesn’t take him fully seriously and finds himself beltless as a result. As it is written it shall be.
But what if I told you that looks TOO obvious. While New Japan is all about the bread crumb trail this is the equivalent of leaving whole loaves to follow. If I’ve learned anything it is that sometimes Gedo doesn’t make it that straight forward. Do we honestly think Gedo is going to paint by number Jay’s ascendancy to the mountain top?
Tanahashi is on the downside of his career, but unlike the aging stars that have come before him h,e is the man credited with saving the promotion. The Ace in every sense of the word. Others like Nagata and Tenzan were put out to the “dad” pasture by the point Tanahashi is currently in his career. But The Ace deserves better and that’s what he’s getting. We have not been witnessing a redemption arc. We have been witness to the last grasp at greatness that is nearly at its end. A Make-A-Wish run for a man that has given himself completely to New Japan, body and soul.
History was made at Wrestle Kingdom 13 when Tanahashi became the first man to successfully convert the G1 briefcase to win the IWGP Heavyweight title. A feel good moment for almost all watching, redemption for the loss at Dontaku. I submit this may have always been the plan. Did we honestly think we’d be left with the image of a beaten Tanahashi crying on the interview room floor as our last one of him as one of the Top Four?
Who else would Gedo give the honor of converting a G1 briefcase to but Tanahashi? And who else could be the man to take the loss than Kenny Omega? Okada is now considered the Ace. You can’t have him doing the honors. The Tokyo Dome would most assuredly burn to the ground if Tetsuya Naito was the man. Giving Tanahashi his dream is why Golden Lovers fans had to have theirs of a proper heavyweight tag title run deferred. It is why Naito fans were left with mouths agape at Wrestle Kingdom 12 and sobbing in Budokan. It is why Omega stared daggers at Tanahashi over the body of Kota Ibushi the next night.
To steal a line from one of Cody’s t-shirt designs, “Daddy Eats First”.
Tanahashi lost his record for consecutive defenses but now he has a chance to regain his record for combined days holding the title if he makes it to Dominion. Tanahashi has also stated he wants to headline Madison Square Garden. While the building is already sold out it makes life much easier if he’s the champ. This is why I think he makes it to Dominion. A trade off, if you will, for having to sob on the floor. A trail of broken dreams and tears to satisfy one man.
Jay White will hold the IWGP Heavyweight title aloft one day. I have no doubt. All good things though come to those who wait but White is going to have to wait a little while longer.