Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2023/04/08/sanada-wins-iwgp-world-heavyweight-championship-at-sakura-genesis/
SANADA has won his first world championship title after defeating Kazuchika Okada in the main event of Sakura Genesis.
The 35-year-old finally reached the pinnacle of New Japan Pro Wrestling after hitting his new Deadfall finisher and pinning Okada.
After being passed over as Keiji Muto’s final opponent, he stated that a change was needed, and began his path to the title by earning a championship match with victory in the New Japan Cup.
After his quarter-final defeat of Tetsuya Naito, SANADA took to the mic to announce that he was leaving his Los Ingobernables de Japon faction and joining DOUKI, Taka Michinoku and Yoshinobu Kanemaru to form ‘Just Five Guys’.
A couple of days later, he debuted a new look, appearing clean-shaven and with his trademark shaggy bleached hair trimmed neatly and back to its natural black color.
The victory marks an end to Okada’s shortest reign as the top champion in NJPW at 95 days.