Hours before they met in ring at the Copper Box at NJPW Royal Quest, Kazuchika Okada and Minoru Suzuki had a preview of their IWGP Heavyweight Championship bout at RevPro’s Summer Sizzler event in York Hall in London. Before the evening’s matches took place, a contract signing saw each man give their final pre-match statements.
Minoru Suzuki has made somewhat of a second home in York Hall and RevPro in the last two years, with reigns as RPW Heavyweight and Tag Team Champion. As expected, York Hall exploded in song with ‘Kaze Ni Nare!’ when Suzuki made his entrance, but the RevPro faithful were also supportive of Okada, chanting for the Rainmaker, before taking a neutral, if distinctly passionate approach when both were in ring, chanting ‘New Japan!’ loud and strong.
‘Hm? Doing well, UK fans? Tomorrow, that’s the day I become IWGP Champion in the Copper Box. Just you watch.’ (Suzuki’s comments were translated to a huge chant from the crowd).
Okada was met with some boos before he started his address, but these were drowned out by ‘Okada’ chants, before ‘Suzuki’ chants rose up again.
‘Hello York Hall! Tomorrow, the IWGP Heavyweight Championship will be on the line in the Copper Box. At the Budokan, Suzuki said to hand the belt over to him. Well, that’s not going to happen, first of all, but if Suzuki really wants the belt, he needs to try and take it by force. I’m not planning on giving this belt up, so tomorrow, we’re going to have a true, New Japan title match in the UK. I’m going to defend my title and then I’m going to go home as champion.’ (Okada’s comments were met with a huge reaction and ‘Okada’ chants on translation).
Suzuki, Okada and Chairman Naoki Sugabayashi proceeded to sign the match contract for Royal Quest. When posing for photographs, Suzuki gave an intimidating scowl. Sensing that matters may turn physical, Young Lions Ren Narita and Shota Umino attempted to hold back Suzuki, and were joined by the LA Dojo members who moved to placate Okada. An incensed Suzuki would level the Young Lions before leaving Okada in ring to hold up the title belt to approval from the crowd.