When the card for Sakura Genesis was first announced, one of the card’s stand-out parts was in the match between members of Los Ingobernables de Japon and The Empire. While the LIJ team was going to be represented by Naito, SANADA, and Shingo, their opponent’s choice was less clear. Alongside Jeff Cobb and Great O-Khan was the letter ‘X.’ As a New Japan fan, that single letter stands for a new faction member.
The United Empire brings a mysterious member 'X' to the match.
Find out who the 'X' is!
— NJPW Global (@njpwglobal) April 4, 2021
After the announcement, rumors were flying on who this new member could be. Names ranged from those outside New Japan to the likes of Shota Umino and Karl Fredericks. However, as Great O-Khan came to the ring and revealed the new member, things started to make sense.
The Empire Introduces Their New Member Aaron Henare
The newest member of The Empire was Toa Henare, now named Aaron Henare. Whilst many were initially shocked, it seemed inevitable. After a disappointing New Japan Cup, fans started to see a new side to Henare. He was no longer the positive and passionate wrestler fans loved. Henare was more subdued and had more doubt than ever before.
As the match started, it was clear that this decision was not made overnight. Henare seemed to be a totally different person from his personality and in-ring style on top of the new ring gear.
It seemed to work as Henare picked up a win against SANADA in the biggest moment of his New Japan career is probably. With a new attitude, this could be exactly what Henare needed to break away from his still evident Young Lion status and climb to the top of the company where he belongs.
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