Three times now, we’ve seen Will Ospreay meet The Dragon himself, Shingo Takagi. Twice he’s won, in the finals of the Best Of The Super Juniors 2019, and New Japan Cup 2021. Shingo got a win in the 2019 G1 Climax, and looks to even the record with his biggest win ever in NJPW. A win here tonight gets him the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship, and a first class ticket to the Tokyo Dome main event with Kazuchika Okada. Can he take down Will Ospreay, or will the dragon be slayed once again?
Ospreay vs. Shingo Is Always A Big Match
There was an instant ‘big match feel’ as they locked up in the middle of the ring, equally matched in power. Shingo got a headlock on Ospreay, before sending him off the ropes and getting him with a shoulder tackle. Ospreay stood tall, until a double handed chop sent him down. He’d pop up and hit a boot on Shingo, before a fast paced exchange ended in a stalemate.
They’d engage in a test of strength, with Ospreay winning out and gaining wrist control. This wouldn’t go far, as Shingo sent him off the ropes and into the air off a back body drop. A knee to the stomach and a running shoulder tackle dropped Ospreay for a leaping senton, getting Shingo a one count. Ospreay was sent hard over the top rope with a lariat, and Shingo followed him outside of the ring.
A drop toehold to the barricade was followed by Ospreay being choked on the barricade, and then being dropped face first onto the apron. Ospreay fought back and threw Shingo into the barricade, before grabbing his title and giving it a kiss… and cleaning the table out from underneath. Shingo also grabbed a table, and threw it at Shingo. He’d set them both up at ringside, and a table in wrestling always gets used for something.
Ospreay tried to send Shingo through them before nearly being suplexed over the top rope, instead sending Shingo into the ring with a suplex and hitting the Springboard Forearm. A backbreaker got a one count, before Ospreay looked to apply an armbar, but instead just snapped the arm of Shingo back. On the outside of the ring, he’d wrap the arm around the barricade for more damage.
Shingo Gets Fired Up
Shingo was placed up onto the apron, and Ospreay ripped down on his arm with a twisting armbreaker. Back in the ring, he kept this attack coming with another arm breaker, and a well placed kick. Shingo tried to fight back but was sent face first into the corner. This was just serving to annoy Shingo, who was getting fired up.
Some Kawada style step kicks from Ospreay were countered, and a hard chop was absorbed. Shingo would take Ospreay out, and plant him on his face with a DDT. A scoop slam dropped Ospreay in the middle of the ring, and that was quickly followed up with a brainbuster for a two count. Noshigami was set up, but Ospreay blocked and was thrown into the corner. Jabs and chops came from Shingo, and Ospreay was ready to give them right back.
Shingo rushed Ospreay into the opposite corner, before ending up in the Tree of Woe as Ospreay mocked and slapped him. A hard kick finally dropped Shingo, but Ospreay wasted little time hitting a Bloody Sunday. He’d try to set up Stormbreaker, but Shingo blocked with a back body drop. Shingo countered a kick into a Dragon Screw, and after White vs. Tanahashi, we know how much that move can hurt.
Ospreay would counter a suplex into a stunner before looking for a double wrist lock, a move he learned in his wars with KUSHIDA. Shingo was able to break free, and took a hard rolling elbow before Ospreay called for the Oscutter. He was caught on the ropes and almost slammed into the mat, but landed on his feet. Shingo blocked a standing moonsault, and dropped Ospreay face first with Noshigami. A wheelbarrow suplex launched Ospreay, but only got a two count.
Tables Are Meant To Be Broken
Shingo would block a kick from Ospreay and just send him flying into the air, Ospreay doing a reverse 450 Splash before landing hard on his back. Ospreay countered a Pumping Bomber attempt into a powerbomb position, but Shingo blocked. The handspring kick sent Shingo off the ropes, before he crashed into Ospreay with a sliding lariat. Ospreay would catch Shingo with a Shibata style jumping big boot, before the Cheeky Nandos kick landed.
Keeping Shingo in place, Ospreay would look for a sunset flip bomb, but Shingo blocked. A Pele Kick caught Shingo on the top rope, and Ospreay would nail a top rope Spanish Fly. Shingo was hung up on the top rope, before Ospreay came off the top rope with a Shooting Star Press to his back. Right back to the top, Ospreay came down with another Shooting Star Press, impressing Liger on commentary until Shingo kicked out at two.
Shingo was rolled out of the ring and only the tables at ringside, and Ospreay would call for the 450 Splash. He was stopped and put on the shoulders of Shingo, but slipped out. A scorpion kick would be followed by an attempt at the OsCutter, before being dropped through the tables with Made in Japan.
Ospreay was bleeding from the back, and barely made the twenty count. Met with a sliding elbow and another Made In Japan in the ring, he somehow kicked out at two. Thirty minutes deep, and both men still had fight in them. Shingo would nail Ospreay in the corner with another lariat, and things were looking grim for the champion.
Will Ospreay & Shingo Takagi Fight Until The Very End
He’d be lifted to the top rope on the shoulders of Shingo, who intended to drive him down into the mat. Ospreay almost countered into a Frankenstiner, but Shingo held on and went for a flying nothing into the OsCutter. A second OsCutter in the middle of the ring would follow, but Shingo kicked out at two. Chelsea Grin would nail Shingo, before Ospreay went for and missed Hidden Blade.
Shingo countered the Super OsCutter and hit the GTR, a huge lariat saw Ospreay flip through and land on his feet. He’d spring off the ropes, but Shingo nailed an OsCutter before the Pumping Bomber! Last of The Dragon was all Shingo had left, but Ospreay blocked with a crucifix pin for a two count. He’d try again, but take a reverse frankensteiner. Shingo came right back with one of his own, but Ospreay hit the Hidden Blade. Ospreay fought to set up Stormbreaker, but might have not had enough left to get Shingo up.
Shingo would take some forearm strikes from Ospreay, and come back with a flurry of his own before a pop up Death Valley Driver. Pumping Bomber was countered into the standing Spanish Fly, and he’d get Shingo with a jumping knee strike. Both men struggled to their feet and butted heads, before slapping each other silly.
Ospreay got some good forearm strikes in, but couldn’t take Shingo down at this point. Shingo stunned him with a headbutt, and had wrist control. He’d set up Last of The Dragon but Ospreay countered out and hit Chelsea Grin, before nailing a Rainmaker! One more Hidden Blade, and The Stormbreaker would finally end this match.
The only flaw this match had came in it’s nearly 45 minute runtime. They truly threw everything at each other, even using each other’s or rivals’ signature moves. These two have perfect chemistry, and won’t be the last time they meet. Ospreay is proving he belongs at the top of New Japan one match at a time, and so is Shingo. Match Rating: 4.75/5 (**** 3/4)
Can Ospreay remain champion when he meets Okada in the Tokyo Dome? Let us know what you think in the comment section down below.
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