A week after his father's death at Helmut Zemo's hands, T'Challa then returned to his home country to be formally crowned king. First, however, he decided to retrieve his former lover Nakia, a Wakandan spy, from her current mission with the help of Okoye. Upon arriving at Wakanda's capital, T'Challa was greeted by his mother and little sister, who held great expectations for him as the new heir. By tradition, T'Challa needed to accept the challenge of any of the warriors chosen by the other four tribes of Wakanda for the title of King.
At Warrior Falls, the Shaman Zuri presented T'Challa to representatives of the Golden Tribe, the Merchant Tribe, the Border Tribe, the River Tribe, and the Mining Tribe. T'Challa was given a substance to drink which neutralized the effects of the Heart-Shaped Herb and with it, the powers of the Black Panther.
Zuri then offered the various tribes to have a chance to put forth a warrior to challenge T'Challa for the throne. Considered to be a mere formality, each of the tribes declined. Zuri further offered the royal family a chance to challenge T'Challa as well. T'Challa's sister Shuri shocked the crowd by raising her hand: however, she merely complained about how uncomfortable her corset was and urged everyone to wrap up the ceremony.
The ceremony was interrupted immediately thereafter, however, by the arrival of chanting members of the Jabari Tribe, including their leader, M'Baku. M'Baku denounced the previous reign for allowing the nations' technological advancements to be overseen by Shuri, whom M'Baku described as "a child who scoffs at tradition." He further condemned the nation being handed over to T'Challa, whom M'Baku blasted for supposedly failing to keep his own father safe. M'Baku challenged T'Challa for the throne, which T'Challa accepted.
Surrounded by the Jabari and the Dora Milaje, T'Challa and M'Baku donned ceremonial panther and gorilla masks and wielded spears and shields. M'Baku initially appeared to have the upper hand, first knocking T'Challa off his feet and causing him to lose his mask and weapons, then catching him in a bear hug and head butting him several times. Despite this, and even after being stabbed in the chest with M'Baku's spear, T'Challa managed to knock M'Baku down and pin him at the edge of the falls with his legs.
Not wanting to kill M'Baku, T'Challa urged him to yield, though M'Baku initially protested that he would rather die. As the crowd chanted T'Challa's name, T'Challa reminded M'Baku that his people needed him, at which point M'Baku finally relented.
T'Challa was officially crowned King of Wakanda and was taken to a ritual to consume the Heart-Shaped Herb in order to regain the powers of the Black Panther and meet his father in the Ancestral Plane.