New Japan Pro-Wrestling star Jay White has been riding high so far during the 32nd edition of the G1 Climax. The IWGP World Heavyweight Champion is undefeated through four matches, putting him at the top of Group B with eight points and a likely birth in the semi-finals. But White’s run now may be in some jeopardy due to a potentially serious health risk.
In a statement released on their website Tuesday morning, New Japan made a shocking announcement regarding White’s status for two upcoming G1 events.
"Jay White, who was scheduled to wrestle in Hiroshima Sun Plaza Hall this evening, has been affected by heat stroke-like symptoms and as a result will be removed from August 9 and 10 cards due to an abundance of caution. As an additional precautionary measure, White has undertaken COVID antigen testing, which has returned negative. We apologize to fans who were looking forward to seeing White wrestle, and appreciate your understanding."
The promotion also announced changes to upcoming matches featuring White. A scheduled eight-man tag featuring White teaming with Bullet Club members Bad Luck Fale, Gedo, and Juice Robinson against Hiroshi Tanahashi, Hirooki Goto, Kazuchika Okada, and Toru Yano for August 9 was cut down to a six-man tag, with Yano removed, while Gedo will replace White in another six-man tag tomorrow on August 10.
It’s not entirely clear when White fell ill or how he contracted "heat stroke-like symptoms." White hasn’t commented on his health status, with his most recent tweet on Monday indicating that nothing was wrong. The Bullet Club leader had been wrestling up till two days ago, competing in six-man tag team action on August 7. His most recent G1 match was the day before on August 6, when he defeated The Great O’Khan.
As of this writing, White is still listed on the cards for upcoming G1 events in Tokyo on August 13, Nagano on August 14, and Tokyo again on August 16. White’s final two Block B matches are scheduled for the 13th and the 16th, against Taichi and Tama Tonga respectively.
Given past G1 precedent regarding injury or illness, if White is unable to compete on either show, he will be forced to forfeit both matches and put his status in the semi-finals in jeopardy. The G1 Climax semi-final and finals will take place on August 17 and 18, both from the historic Nippon Budokan Hall in Tokyo.