NJPW issued the following:
Reign of the Dragon: Takagi crowned new IWGP World Heavyweight Champion
Shingo victorious in Osaka thriller
After a dazzling main event at Dominion in Osaka Jo Hall on June 7, the third IWGP World Heavyweight Champion was crowned, Shingo Takagi defeating Kazuchika Okada with the Last of the Dragon in 36 minutes flat to capture the vacant title.
Both men searched for an opening on the mat in the early going, with Okada escaping early holds and finding some success with a hammerlock and then a side headlock on his fellow challenger, before a tackle brought him down. As the pace quickened, a stand off brought applause at the five minute mark, but with no clear advantage for either man.
Takagi would challenge Okada to strike first, and he did so with heavy elbows and a right boot that planted Shingo on the canvas, before a neckbreaker got just a one count. Okada continued to build up steam, but a senton from the Rainmaker proved to be a critical mistake. Knees from the Dragon buried themselves into the lower back, and Takagi kept up the momentum, shoving Okada into the apron and then delivering a suplex on the floor.
Back inside the ring, Takagi kept up the pressure not just on the back, but the midsection of Okada, depriving the former IWGP Heavyweight Champion of his wind with knees buried into the midriff and a vicious suplex, followed by a body scissors. A senton from Shingo and the air was further forced out of the Rainmaker’s lungs; Okada responded with a boot and wanted a Tombstone, but the core strength wasn’t present and a power slam was the result.
A bearhug continued to wear Okada down, but the Rainmaker managed to find space enough to accelerate and deliver a fast back elbow that put Takagi to the canvas. Hard elbows and a DDT followed, and although Okada couldn’t get a reverse neckbreaker thanks to his weakened back, a signature dropkick would send Shingo Tumbling off the top turnbuckle, and a DDT rang the Dragon’s head off the floor.
Putting his opponent back inside, Okada went for the Money Clip for the first time in the match, Takagi quickly making the ropes and then scoring with the Ryukon lariat when Okada missed a top rope elbow attempt. Noshigami followed for Takagi, and then a wheelbarrow German suplex that sent Okada ragdolling into the blue corner.
Momentum building for Shingo, Takagi used a Argentine backbreaker and then buried his knees into the gut of his opponent. As Okada struggled in the corner, a Tenryu combination found the mark for Takagi, but the Rainmaker fired back with a shotgun dropkick, and caught a sliding lariat attempt into the Money Clip, getting the hold again after a corkscrew Tombstone.
In the same situation that saw him lose his G1 Climax match with Okada in Osaka in 2020, Takagi this time did all he could to get free, eventually just barely making the ropes and then flopping to the floor. Yet when Okada went out to join his opponent, disaster struck; a Tombstone attempt on the floor was stopped, and instead Made In Japan connected on the thin padding ringside. Okada would beat the referee’s 20 count, but only to fall victim to a lariat in the corner and then Stay Dream for two.
Shingo closed in on victory, connecting with a sliding lariat and trying for Last of the Dragon, only to find Okada fighting out. Frustrated, Shingo would paintbrush Okada with left and right elbows, but a Pumping Bomber attempt was met with a dropkick and then a Tombstone. Yet when Okada went to deal the Rainmaker, he was instead crushed with one of Takagi’s own.
With both men’s will to win not yet extinguished, Okada and Takagi exchanged vicious forearm shots, the Rainmaker hitting harder, but getting baited into a pop up DVD. Okada landed a short straight clothesline and held on for a second, before going for the Rainmaker again, and again being met with one of Takagi’s own. Pumping Bomber landed for Shingo, getting two before a snap Dragon suplex, a running elbow to the side of the head, and then Last of the Dragon for an emphatic and historic victory.
Post match, Takagi called Kota Ibushi to ringside, acknowledging this was one of many things left undone for Takagi as his IWGP World heavyweight Championship journey is just beginning. Irt’s certainly set to be a wild and exciting ride.