“Switchblade” Jay White has become the IWGP Intercontinental champion. The Fale Dojo graduate recently defeated Tetsuya Naito for the championship in the main event at New Japan Pro Wrestling’s ‘Destruction in Kobe’ pay-per-view. With the addition of the Intercontinental title, White, the 26-year-old Aucklander has gained the distinct honour of being a New Japan ‘triple crown’ winner having previously won the IWGP United States Title in January 2018, and the prestigious IWGP Heavyweight Championship this past February.
‘Destruction in Kobe’ featured a stellar lineup of NJPW wrestlers, This included a contingent from Fale Dojo which comprised of Jay White and Fale Dojo founder and Head Trainer, ‘Rogue General’ Bad Luck Fale, as well as Toa Henara, ‘Young Lion Cup’ participant Michael Richards, and English speaking colour commentator, Gino Gambino.
The tension between Bullet Club leader, Jay White and Tetsuya Naito, leader of the rival group Los Ingobernables de Japon, had been building since their encounter in the semi-finals of the G1 Climax in August when White defeated Naito to advance through to the finals. In September during the ‘Road to Destruction’ tour, White pursued and gained psychological leverage when he stole the IC belt from Naito while opposing each other in a tag team match.
Although Naito entered the Kobe World Memorial Hall as the defending champion, the mind games that the notorious ‘Switchblade’ had mastered allowed him to appear defiant as he oppressively trash-talked the popular Naito. White’s behaviour insinuated that he was the champion, and Naito was the challenger.
Jay White’s quest for the Intercontinental Championship was successful much to the anger of the crowd, some of whom left the arena as the new titleholder gave his victory speech.
“Where are you going?” Jay White asked, mocking the fans that retreated from the World Memorial Hall. “Did you think that Naito was going to win?”
“I told you in the beginning, I will beat Naito! Look at all you dip*****, leaving because you thought your hero was going to triumph!”
The champ continued to scold the audience. “Finally this belt has a real home, a real prestigious man to carry it around.”
“This belt is now with the man who single-handedly sold-out Madison Square Garden,” White stated, reminding the crowd of his spectacular achievements and his future goals. “This belt is with the last rock and roller, and this belt is with the man that will soon be the first dual IWGP Intercontinental and Heavyweight Champion!”
It wasn’t too long ago when Jay White was regarded as a ‘foreigner’, in one context that White was a foreigner (gaijin) to the New Japan Pro Wrestling landscape and in a different context a foreigner to the western mainstream. Hailing from Auckland, New Zealand, a country which was once a thriving NWA territory in the 20th century, became disconnected from the rest of the wrestling world when most of the NWA territories went out of business. This began to change when the Fale Dojo was established in 2016. But before the Dojo facility was situated in South Auckland, its teachings and influence constructed by founder Toks ‘Bad Luck’ Fale were instilled in several founding students in NZ and Japan, one of whom was Jay White. New Zealand is once again on wrestling’s global map due to the Dojo’s rapid and reputable presence. The idea of Jay White’s rise to dominance was considered foreign to many fans at first as they never encountered a charismatic leading man that wasn’t American, Canadian or British, especially one that would be the first New Zealander to win the IWGP Heavyweight Title. Jay White would also become the leader of pro wrestling’s most notorious group the Bullet Club, succeeding previous leaders Prince Devitt, AJ Styles and Kenny Omega. Nevertheless, Jay White the New Zealander and Fale Dojo graduate has changed the narrative.