Yuji Nagata challenged GHC Heavyweight Champion Jun Akiyama in the main event on January 4 2002
Just as it had on January 4 2001, the IWGP Heavyweight Championship lay vacant on the day of Wrestling World 2002. Champion Kazuyuki Fujita had injured his Achilles tendon and had to vacate the title, making for the first January 4 Tokyo Dome card in the ten year history of the event with no IWGP Heavyweight Championship match scheduled.
That left the onus on New Japan’s best to show their superiority against outside forces, and the main event of the evening saw Yuji Nagata wrestle Jun Akiyama, the GHC Heavyweight Champion of Pro Wrestling NOAH. A few months earlier, Nagata and Akiyama had teamed up in a cross-promotional exhibition tag match in the Tokyo Dome; after Akiyama and Nagata defeated Keiji Muto and Hiroshi Hase of All Japan, Akiyama suggested that Nagata could step up and challenge any time.
The result on January 4 2002 was a spectacular clash of two accomplished amateur wrestlers turned two of the toughest pros of their era.