NJPW New Beginning in Osaka promises to be an explosive event as Kazuchika Okada puts the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship on the line while Jay White clashes with Hikuleo to determine who will be forced to leave Japan.
Takagi challenged Okada at Wrestle Kingdom 17 straight after The Rainmaker regained the World Heavyweight Title from Jay White in a hard-fought bout. Okada didn’t accept the challenge straight away, however, preferring to revel in his win.
The Dragon confronted Okada again on January 22nd, offering to put his KOPW Provisional Championship on the line if granted the match. However, Okada turned down the proposal, saying he believes the World Heavyweight Title should only be defended in a straight Singles Match with none of the gimmicks the KOPW Title is known for. Okada then accepted Takagi as the challenger but with only the top title on the line.
On the night, Takagi dominated Okada for large portions of the match. The turning point for The Rainmaker seemed to come when the action moved to the outside and he hit a brutal Tombstone on Takagi. However, Takagi rallied and won a trade-off of stiff strikes before hitting Made in Japan for a two-count. Okada was able to weather everything Takagi brought to the table, even kicking out of Last Of The Dragon and eventually was able to slay The Dragon with a Cobra Flowsion and Rainmaker Clothesline to retain the title.
Following the match, Okada named his next challenger as Hiroshi Tanahashi. The Ace got in the ring and accepted the match for Battle In The Valley in San Jose, California.
Meanwhile, the man who lost the Wrestle Kingdom main event, Jay White, set his sights on former Bullet Club member Hikuleo, blaming his betrayal in 2022 for his loss on New Japan’s grandest stage. This led to him deciding he wants to get the Young Gun out of his life by banishing him from Japan.
However, it was not to be, as in one of the biggest shocks in recent history, Hikuleo overcame the former IWGP World Heavyweight Champion with a Two Sweet followed by a massive Chokeslam to send him packing from Japan. On the way out, White showed respect to his longtime rival Hiroshi Tanahashi with a fist bump before leaving via the main ramp.
Hikuleo’s brother Tama Tonga then kept Guerillas of Destiny on the winning path when he successfully defended the NEVER Openweight Championship against El Phantasmo despite ELP throwing everything he had at the champion.
Elsewhere on the card, Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado, and Ren Narita defeated House of Torture’s EVIL, SHO, and Yujiro Takahashi to capture the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championships. The trio then put the New Japan roster on notice and declared they would now be known as Strong Style.
Special singles matches saw Hiroshi Tanahashi take the lead in his rivalry with KENTA, while Taiji Ishimori finally got a win over Master Wato, who had become an unexpected thorn in his side in recent months.
NJPW New Beginning in Osaka results
- United Empire (Great-O-Khan & Aaron Henare) defeats Oskar Leube & Toru Yano
- Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi, SANADA & BUSHI) defeats Shota Umino, Toaki Honma, Tiger Mask & Ryusuke Taguchi
- Taiji Ishimori defeats Master Wato
- Hiroshi Tanahashi defeats KENTA
- NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championships: Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado & Ren Narita defeat House of Torture (EVIL, SHO & Yujiro Takahashi)(c) – TITLE CHANGE!
- Loser Leaves Japan: Hikuleo defeats Jay White
- NEVER Openweight Championship: Tama Tonga (c) defeats El Phantasmo
- IWGP World Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada (c) defeats Shingo Takagi