Taichi Trumps Takagi Triad

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Taichi dethrones KOPW holder in Kagoshima

The main event of Satsuma no Kuni on April 29 saw the KOPW 2023 title defended in a Takagi Style Triad match between Taichi and Shingo Takagi, the match being won when a wrestler claimed any three of pinfall, submission, countout, KO or stoppage.

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A lively crowd in Kagoshima seemed evenly split between both men at the bell, with action off to a fast start. Rapid collisions saw Takagi bowled to the floor and set the early tone, and the even crowd was chanting for Taichi as he and Shingo exchanged heavy chops. Shingo would get quick, going for a backslide pinfall, but only got two, and Taichi would regain control of the match, slowing the pace and taking his foe to the floor.

There was a near double countout on the outside as the fight continued, but both champion and challenger got in the ring at 19. there Shingo took over with a snug fist to the jaw, but Taichi fired right back with a hook kick; Taichi would keep the upper hand despite Shingo’s flurries, and had a Tsuruta like Cobra Twist applied that sent Takagi to the ropes and then the floor. There the match escalated as both threatened dangerous head drops on the outside, but it would be Taichi that scored, a DDT on the concrete seeing Red Shoes Unno’s 20 count applied.

Takagi just beat the count, and worked fast, catching Taichi unawares with a ground cobra for three. Up 1-0, Shigno finally had the momentum that he was struggling to gain from the jump, and wrestled confidently as he scored Noshigami to get the referee to a six count before navigating a Takagi style STF. With Taichi having to escape to the apron, Takagi looked to capitalise in the dangerous spot, and did so with a Death Valley Bomb onto the ring frame; in a reversal of fates from minutes earlier, Taichi just got into the ring at 19 and then upset Shingo with a Taichi Style Gedo Clutch to even the match at one apiece.

Momentum back in the hands of the challenger, Taichi landed heavy chest kicks, egged on by Shingo who called his foe in and got fired up by the pain. After a dangerous backdrop from Taichi, a double count from the referee saw both men reset and then charge in with double lariats; a high kick to the face and then a Taichi style Last Ride would see Shingo have to answer the ten; though the Dragon stood at eight, a Black Mephisto put him down for ten.

Taichi was now 2-1 up at the 20 minute mark, and went for the kill on a still dazed Shingo with Seitei Jujiro. The champion just barely made the ropes, and when Taichi looked for another Black Mephisto to perhaps draw a stoppage, a counter saw Takagi score with Made In Japan and a sliding lariat. Unable to follow up, the Dragon instead stood along with his opponent, and clashed lariats before a Takagi Driver ’98 an emphatic Pumping Bomber and then Last of the Dragon kept Taichi down for ten to level the scores.

Shingo kept the advantage at the rest, hoisting Taichi to the top rope and looking for a superplex, before transitioning into Stay Dream. As Takagi hurled elbows to a defenceless Taichi, referee Red Shoes Unno had a close eye on a stoppage with the match passing 30 minutes; a rear naked choke with hooks had Taichi with nowhere to go, but TAKA Michinoku stopped Yoshinobu Kanemaru from throwing in the towel for his friend. With his last bit of oxygen and strength, Taichi made the ropes and spilled to the floor, but Shingo wouldn’t let Taichi be counted out, bringing his enemy back inside, only to look for Last of the Dragon again.

Neither man had the strength for the move, and the attempt collapsed, but Taichi would fire up enough to hit a Dangerous backdrop and then the Yokozuna Elbow. The move and its recoil sent both men tumbling to the floor, and the referee applied the 20 count; though Taichi made it inside at 18, Takagi found the ring at 19.9, the match continuing just as it seemed the KOPW title was lost.

The match now passing the 35 minute mark, champion and challenger had little left on their strikes, but closing speed on a double headbutt had both reeling. Receiving a bolt of adrenaline, Taichi rocked Shingo with a thrust kick; unable to win via pinfall, he instead locked in Seitei Jujiro, which still wasn’t enough as the challenger’s grip gave way. Shingo was all but unresponsive as he pinballed into two jumping high kicks; he lariated away a third, but Taichi still completed the hat trick and locked in the Seitei once again to now finally draw a referee stoppage.


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