Mayu Iwatani hoping to be involved at NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 18, wants to defend IWGP Women’s Title more

Photo Courtesy: New Japan Pro-Wrestling

Iwatani is looking to do more with the championship. 

On January 4th, New Japan Pro-Wrestling is presenting Wrestle Kingdom 18 from the Tokyo Dome. Prior to that show, STARDOM is running their own event from Tokyo Dome City Hall

The reigning IWGP Women’s Champion Mayu Iwatani is scheduled to be in an eight-person tag at the STARDOM show, but she wants to compete at the Tokyo Dome as well. She told KAKUTOLOG that a title match inside the Tokyo Dome is still on her agenda. 

She does not think it’s a mistake that the IWGP Women’s Champion has not been announced for Wrestle Kingdom. She feels the situation is wrong. Iwatani brought up that she has an IWGP belt and its the biggest stage for NJPW and that belt is not going to be highlighted. Mayu thinks the possibility of it happening is almost zero, but she hopes to be involved.

(A title match in the Dome) is still my goal… No, I don’t think it’s a mistake (that there’s not an announcement for the IWGP Women’s Title at Wrestle Kingdom 18). The current situation is probably wrong… you have the IWGP belt, and you are on the big stage where everyone can see you, on January 4th, and you don’t have the title on the line. This is wrong.

There were a lot of people who were expecting that from me… I think the possibility is almost zero, but I hope to be involved in some way.

She went on to say that she wants to show something different with the IWGP Women’s Title. Mayu feels there’s no distinction between her belt and the NJPW STRONG Women’s Championship. She added that there are too few IWGP Women’s Title defenses and she wants to do more. 

Yes (I want to show something different as IWGP Women’s Champion), because there is no clear distinction between IWGP and STRONG. I feel that I have to create my own path as a champion… But there are really too few title matches… I would like to do more.

Since winning the title from Mercedes Moné in April, Iwatani has defended the belt twice. She is about to return to in-ring competition after being sidelined due to a dislocated pinky. To read more on that, click here

As of this writing, here’s the updated Wrestle Kingdom 18 card: 

  • IWGP World Heavyweight Championship: SANADA (c) vs. Tetsuya Naito
  • Bryan Danielson vs. Kazuchika Okada
  • IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: BULLET CLUB War Dogs (Clark Connors & Drilla Moloney) (c) vs. Catch 2/2 (Francesco Akira & TJP)
  • IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Hiromu Takahashi (c) vs. El Desperado
  • IWGP Global Heavyweight Championship: Will Ospreay vs. Jon Moxley vs. David Finlay (w/ Gedo)
  • NEVER Openweight Championship: Shingo Takagi (c) vs. Tama Tonga
  • IWGP & NJPW STRONG Openweight Tag Team Championships: Bishamon (Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI) (c) vs. Hikuleo & El Phantasmo (c)
  • NJPW World Television Championship: Zack Sabre Jr. (c) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
About Andrew Thompson 8595 Articles
A Washington D.C. native and graduate of Norfolk State University, Andrew Thompson has been covering wrestling since 2017.