NJPW star and former IWGP world heavyweight champion Shingo Takagi defeated Taichi in this morning’s NJPW Golden Fight Series main event, where the match was contested under 30-count rules, which means a competitor has to pin their opponent to the match for a combined 30-seconds. Takagi won 30-29. This makes him the first KOPW holder aside from Toru Yano since the trophy was introduced a couple years ago.
NJPW has since issued a recap of the match, which you can check out below.
The main event of the Golden Fight Series on April 25 in Hiroshima saw the first KOPW 2022 match in the main event, and the first such match to take place without Toru Yano in the mix. Instead Shingo Takagi and Taichi would face off in a 30 Count Rules match, wherein the winner had to get a cumulative count of 30 on their opponent to be victorious.
Rapid pins from both men early would see 0, 1 and 2 counts bringing the total to 3-3, before Taichi tasted a senton and then bailed out of the ring. Back inside, both competitors brought a very different pace, and closed fist jabs from Takagi would be met with a hook kick for a further two from Taichi, bringing the core to 5-3. Taichi kept up the pace on the floor as he brought Shingo into the guardrail and ringpost, before blasting his challenger with another hook kick, a 7-3 lead seeming commanding over Takagi.
Taichi maintained the advantage, and scored another two to move to nine; a quick rollup for Takagi would close Taichi’s lead to four counts, but the Dragon was still down 9-5 until a Ryukon Small Package brought that gap down to two at the ten minute mark. A DDT and sliding lariat opened the door to Noshigami, and Shingo tied the match up at 9-9, but Taichi would escape Made In Japan, and hit a gamengiri, a two putting him back in front at 11-9.
Another two gave the trophy holder a four count advantage once again off a jumping high kick, and a sharp elbow at point blank range scored, but the Yokozuna did not; a Made In Japan counter giving Shingo two and moving the score to 13-11. Still though, the challenger could not even up the scores and at fifteen minutes deep, only Taichi was at the halfway point, leading 15-11.
Going big, Takagi scored with a superplex, but still only got two, leaving him trailing by a two count more. Taichi would escape from a Last of the Dragon attempt, and met Pumping Bomber attempts with an Ax Bomber of his own; a Black Mephisto soon followed, and though the cover was a weak one, a six count ensued to give Taichi a huge 23-13 lead.
In danger, Shingo went for a series of falls, a Shingo style Taichi style Gedo clutch getting three before a ground cobra for three and then Last of the Dragon for four. The combined ten meant the score was 23-23, and both were testing one another’s wills before Taichi got five from his own Taichi style Gedo Clutch. Only needing two to Shingo’s required seven, but Shingo rocked Taichi for a Pumping Bomber to get one.
Taichi got another one from an Ax Bomber, putting him at 29-24; Takagi hit Pumping Bomber and then a barrage of elbows and a headbutt befoer another Last of the Dragon got six to give Shingo the victory.