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Two New Japan titles change hands, one is vacated at Hyper Battle

New Japan of America has its next big show in a week, but the main brand had an event today (April 9) Ryogoku with Hyper Battle.

The main event saw IWGP World Heavyweight champion Kazuchika Okada successfully defend against 2022 New Japan Cup winner Zack Sabre Jr. It was a predictably good match, with Okada surviving ZSJ’s determined attempts to assert his technical dominance, then putting the challenger down with his own mastery of puroresu.

It was only one of six title matches on the card. Two of those belts changed hands, and another that wasn’t booked for Hyper Battle was vacated.

First, the provisional King of Pro Wrestling trophy is now with Taichi. He beat Toru Yano by forcing him out of the ring in no-rope, ringout match. Stipulations for the KOPW title are suggested by wrestlers and voted on by fans. The award is provisional until the end of the year, when whoever holds the trophy is crowned King. Yano has won the title in each of the two years it’s existed.

After his win, Taichi called out Shingo Takagi.

We also got news about the IWGP United States title, although we don’t yet know who the next champion will be after SANADA vacated due to the fractured orbital bone he suffered in the New Japan Cup tournament. SANADA offered the belt to the man he beat for it, Hiroshi Tanahashi. But before we got a decision, the man who broke SANADA’s face, Will Ospreay, showed up to demand it be given to him. Tanahashi then appeared to challenge Ospreay to a match for the vacant title. The One True Ace vs. the Aerial Assassin seems likely to happen at May 1’s Wrestling Dontaku show.

Ospreay’s United Empire faction wasn’t done making waves on the night. He showed some video of Renee Paquette praising him on her podcast, pouring gasoline on the fire for his match next Saturday (April 16) at Windy City Riot against Paquette’s husband Jon Moxley. On the subject of buring, the Brit’s been talking about introducing a new to torch the Super Junior division he left behind. At Hyper Battle he brought out Francesco Akira, formerly of All-Japan. The 22 year old Italian immediately stepped to the reigning IWGP Junior Heavyweight champion, El Desperado.

And Jeff Cobb won his first New Japan gold when he & real-life hero The Great O-Khan took the IWGP Heavyweight Tag titles from Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI. Cobb pinned YOSHI-HASHI after Tour of the Islands.

Here’s the complete results from Hyper Battle:

- Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Jado def. Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens, Gedo & Yujiro Takahashi

- Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito def. Aaron Henare & Will Ospreay

- Master Wato & Ryusuke Taguchi (c) def. El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori to retain the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team championship

- Taichi def. Toru Yano (c) in a No-Rope, Ringout Match to win the provisional King Of Pro-Wrestling trophy

- EVIL (c) def. Hiromu Takahashi to retain the NEVER Openweight title

- Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb def. Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI (c) to win the IWGP Tag Team championship

- El Desperado (c) def. SHO to retain the IWGP Junior Heavyweight title

- Kazuchika Okada (c) def. Zack Sabre Jr to retain the IWGP World Heavyweight title

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