Jay White shocked the pro wrestling world when he defeated Kota Ibushi at NJPW’s Power Struggle event on Saturday, November 7. The win gave White the right to face Tetsuya Naito for the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Championships. That match is set to take place at Wrestle Kingdom 15 on January 5.
While many fans believed it was possible that New Japan could go with Jay White for this spot, the truth is that Kota Ibushi was the odds-on favorite to main event the big show in January. But The Switchblade’s win on November 7 has once again established him as a power broker in the company and set him on the main event path once again.
This is a role that White has enjoyed before. From the moment he turned on Kazuchika Okada at Destruction in 2018, Jay White has been Public Enemy No.1. He immediately rose to the top of the company and became the IWGP champion in February of 2019. Fans hated him for his betrayal of Okada, as well as his ascension as the new leader of The Bullet Club. But he was only just getting started.
The Switchblade became a thorn in the side of every babyface in the company. He was always at the forefront, always smiling, always plotting and always scheming. He took The Bullet Club from the glamorized version it became under Kenny Omega and returned it back to the faction’s roots.
Watch Jay White’s interview after Power Struggle!
Jay White’s Bullet Club was not fan friendly. It wasn’t commercial and it wasn’t trying to get over with the audience. Jay reminded fans of just how vicious the group could be and with him as the leader, overall control went to The Bullet Club as a collective. The Bullet Club still had its fans of course, but those fans came out of respect for the talent involved.
Jay stood out as arguably the most talented of the group. Every time he stepped into the ring, he made a case for being the best in the company. He was no longer viewed as just a devious heel who took charge of The Bullet Club. He also became a featured star who could deliver Match of the Year performances against anyone on the roster.
Jay White kept The Bullet Club at the top and he did so through hard work. Jay had a chip on his shoulder and he had something to prove, much like Prince Devitt during the group’s early days. He was determined to wreak havoc and rule he company, while keeping The Bullet Club on the same page along the way. He definitely achieved those goals and much more.
Relive EVIL joining The Bullet Club!
But the talent roster of New Japan is massive and at any given time, the top championships are held by some of the best in the world. Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Naito and Ibushi are all prominently featured in the upper echelon of the company. Will Ospreay, Sanada, Zack Sabre Jr, Shingo Takagi and Jeff Cobb are all considered to be the future of New Japan. Veterans like Hirooki Goto, Minoru Suzuki and Tomohiro Ishii continue to be main event draws on any given night. Then there’s EVIL.
EVIL was guilty of betrayal as well when he turned on Naito and Los Ingobernables. He joined The Bullet Club and became the apparent leader in Jay’s Covid-era absence. For several months, it was unknown if EVIL was indeed the new man in charge or if he would play second man to The Switchblade.
Once Jay returned, it was clear that he was still the top dog of the group. But now that White is on his way to Wrestle Kingdom, what will become of the situation with EVIL? The fact is that Gedo orchestrated the initial betrayal of Okada and it could be that he will do the same thing again, this time to Jay White. Is it possible that Jay will turn face at some point in the near future?
Watch Jay’s promo on Naito!
New Japan is committed to EVIL’s heel run and that has been proven over the course of the past few months. He continues to be booked in high profile main events on one big show after another and just when it seems he’s down for the count, he comes back in the end. Although his overall record since joining The Bullet Club is 19-23, he’s very much a player in the company.
A confrontation between EVIL and Jay White could be on the horizon and if that happens, then the main event of Wrestle Kingdom could change once again. Fans could see Naito versus EVIL one-on-one for the fifth time since July 11. If that happens, then Jay White would be on the outside looking in. But will that happen?
Jay White is an asset to NJPW. He’s as good in the ring as he is on the mic and right now, he’s the best heel in the company. If he continues on as the man with the contracts, he will take the main stage against Tetsuya Naito on January 5. It’s a spot that he’s earned and it’s one he can most definitely handle. The Switchblade is one of the best in New Japan and he will prove that once again, like he always does.
Tom Clark is a Senior Pro Wrestling Analyst and Featured Columnist for Wrestling Rumors. His podcast, Tom Clark’s Main Event, is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Spotify, YouTube and live every Friday at 12pm EST on Wrestling Rumors Facebook Live