Kota Ibushi's NJPW Wrestle Grand Slam Replacement Announced

The Golden Star has been replaced with New Japan's Ace for today's Wrestle Grand Slam event.

Hiroshi Tanahashi

With NJPW's Wrestle Grand Slam event having just kicked off as of this writing, New Japan Pro Wrestling has announced that Hiroshi Tanahashi will be replacing Kota Ibushi in the show's main event.

Previously, Ibushi was due to challenge IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Shingo Takagi at today's Tokyo Dome show. Instead, the Golden Star has been replaced by New Japan's Ace in that main event spot - with Tanahashi now getting a shot at Shingo's prize.

It was revealed last week that Ibushi has been diagnosed with aspiration pneumonia, which threw into doubt his status for Grand Slam. Kota's absence from recent NJPW shows was initially reported as being due to a bad reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine, although New Japan updated on Ibushi's status last week.


As for Hiroshi Tanahashi, he had publicly talked about how he would step up and replace Kota Ibushi against Shingo Takagi if needed - and now the eight-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion gets the chance to headline the Tokyo Dome for the 11th time.

The last time that Tanahasi and Takagi faced off was at 30 January's New Beginning show, with the Ace picking up the win to become the NEVER Openweight Champion. While Tanahashi has since lost that title to Jay White, Shingo went on to defeat Kazuchika Okada to become IWGP World Heavyweight Champion last month after Will Ospreay was forced to vacate that belt.

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