[Archive - 2020] Where To For King Switch?

Updated: Jun 3

I may be completely fangirling, but Jay White has won me over to feel his loss, his pain, his struggle to dethrone the GOD of Wrestling Kota Ibushi in an epic 48 minute main event at Wrestle Kingdom 15 Night 2.

Kota Ibushi challenged and defeated Tetsuya Naito during Wrestle Kingdom 15 Night 1 to become the second to hold double championships in the history of New Japan Pro Wrestling. Kota Ibushi holds both the IWGP Intercontinental Championship and IWGP World Heavyweight Championship Titles.

Jay White proved all the naysayers wrong with each milestone he achieved while being with NJPW, going from CHAOS to Bullet Club. Jay White main evented and sold out Madison Square Garden during 2018 when NJPW and Ring of Honor had cross-promotion.

Jay White became the IWGP United States Champion — toppling The Cleaner Kenny Omega at The New Beginning in Sapporo on January 28, 2018 — and defended it against worthy opponents for 160 days.

Jay White moved onto the IWGP Intercontinental Championship — defeating Tetsuya Naito on September 22, 2019 at Destruction at Kobe — and defending it against worthy opponents for 104 days.

Jay White then won the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship — defeating Hiroshi Tanahashi at The New Beginning in Osaka on February 11, 2019 — defending it against worthy opponents for 54 days.

Together, it all equals 318 days of Switchblade as champion and in the process of his career, Jay conquered his destino when competing against Hiroshi Tanahashi and defeating him. Another accolade to feed Switchblade. Obviously, NJPW was always enthusiastic about Jay White even when he accepted to become a Young Lion and build his way up from there.

But the short reign as IWGP World Heavyweight Champion stings a bit knowing the incredible storytelling Jay White can produce and possibly bring the best out of his Japanese brethren despite any language barriers.

While NJPW have translators, and at times words can get miss translated, the singularity that ties all the wrestlers is mixing wrestling and storytelling inside the ring. While Jay White can be foul mouthed in the ring with his opponents — like we heard him say multiple times “Fuck You” to Kota Ibushi while throwing him rib first into the guardrail and ring arpon so the core strength of Ibushi can become weak during the match — the language of wrestling wasn’t lost during that entire match. Jay White countered all of Ibushi’s known moves. Ibushi managed to use the off chance of slight openings in Jay White’s strategy to gain some momentum. Ibushi managed that, but again, Jay White stopped any of Ibushi's offense. If this was a chess game, Ibushi would have lost by now; but there’s no quit in either man and Ibushi dug into his darker, demon side to remind Jay White that a champion shouldn’t mock their opponent just because the other has a chip on their shoulder.

Ibushi is the light, the golden star as per his moniker; and Jay White is the sly trickster who makes you believe everything but if and when he smells weakness that weaves through the air, he’s savagely attacking.

And so for 48 minutes, a contest of wit, strength, and heart ended with Kota Ibushi retaining his double championships. Jay then starts hitting Ibushi’s hand, thinking the match is still going, but as officials pull him away, Jay sees the championships in his grasp. Jay claws at the double championships, and officials see this only to drag the championships out of Jay’s reach, it can be heard Jay saying No! multiple times.

Great way to pull at my heartstrings. As I reviewed this main event in full on my podcast: Squared Circle Podcast, I even say that I was looking forward to Jay White winning the match based on the story being told in the ring, not because I wanted Ibushi to immediately drop the double championships. Storytelling is a very important part in pro wrestling. There’s no debate about that. Jay White’s ability to elevate not only himself but also Ibushi makes him such a valuable asset to any company he wishes to sign with going forward. That’s right, during his post match interview with the NJPW press, Jamie told the world his raw feelings about not accomplishing his destino to become double champion, all the sacrifices he’s made in the 8 years of pro wrestling, moving from New Zealand to the UK to the States to Japan to dedicate himself to the love that is pro wrestling and if there’s still meaning in doing all the work if it’s not going to at least elicit empathy or sympathy in a beautifully flawed 9 minute epilogue of himself.

I connected well with his epilogue because I understood it from start to finish. I love the wrestling business; it’ll always be my first love. While I didn’t go to wrestling school, I had amazing adventures with my client JD Alpha video taping his matches and training sessions, made wrestling friends in the business that I’ll always put over, met my wrestling idols through live events, cons; talked with The Elite, Cody, and many others, and being hired by World Wrestling Entertainment; off and on in-ring training, then starting my podcast with 3 interviews with weekly wrestling show reviews, and continuing to write about wrestling. I’m proud of everything I’ve done, and I’m only getting started just like Jamie/Jay White after he has a bit of a reset. At times I wonder if I’m good enough with my podcast, my writing, and my wrestling knowledge. And at times I wonder if I’m good enough to get hired again by a wrestling company. For anyone to take a chance on me. The Jamie promo reminds you that it’s ok to be vulnerable because while we all have a persona to maintain, sometimes it needs to be shed due to the burden being carried so others can realize that you’re still human with human emotions and interactions.

Contractually, Jay White had one more appearance at New Year Dash, and after he’s done. So where shall he go? I speculate All Elite Wrestling. Everyone else speculates WWE or an angle to stay in NJPW.

If Jay White did all this just to resign with NJPW, I would think they would offer him something lucrative. (According to reports, Jay White signed a seven year deal in 2018.) However, let’s look at a simple fact: now that Ibushi is double champion and Kenny Omega is AEW World Champion, no way will NJPW have Ibushi to drop it to Jay White. If Jay White’s 54 day reign as only IWGP World Heavyweight Championship is any consultation on how NJPW thought of him, that should answer a lot of concerns. That IWGP World Heavyweight Championship reign could’ve jump-started a true ‘New Era