Shingo Takagi Retains IWGP World Heavyweight Title At NJPW Wrestle Grand Slam In Tokyo Dome

Takagi remains champion

Shingo Takagi is still IWGP World Heavyweight Champion. 

The Dragon was originally scheduled to defend his title against Kota Ibushi at Wrestle Grand Slam in Tokyo Dome, but Ibushi was diagnosed with aspiration pneumonia earlier this week and was unable to compete. As a result, Hiroshi Tanahashi took The Golden Star's place and challenged Takagi for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship in the main event. 

Tanahashi dominated the opening 20 minutes of the contest, targeting Shingo's knees, but Takagi eventually battled back and made the remainder of the match a more even bout.

Tanahashi looked to have the match won late on as he decked the champion with an Aces High, a Kamigoye and a High Fly Flow but Takagi managed to get his shoulder up. Shingo then fought back with a Last Of The Dragon and a Super Last Of The Dragon from the top turnbuckle for an extremely close near fall. Tanahashi tried to fight back following the devastating move with defiant slaps, but Shingo brushed them off and connected with a third Last Of The Dragon to put Tanahashi away. 

The match went 37 minutes and 26 seconds, slightly longer than Tanahashi and Takagi's classic from New Beginning in Nagoya earlier this year.

Following the match, Shingo gave his customary post-match promo, but the lights in the Tokyo Dome suddenly went out and EVIL and Dick Togo appeared on the titantron. Despite having only won one major match in 2021, EVIL revealed he will be the next challenger for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. The lights then came back on with EVIL stood behind the champion and The King Of Darkness laid out Shingo with Everything Is EVIL to end the show. 

Outside of the main event, three championships changed hands on the show. Chase Owens emerged victorious from the New Japan Ranbo with Handcuffs on the pre-show to capture the Provisional KOPW 2021 Trophy. Robbie Eagles then defeated El Desperado for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship on the main card and another title change took place when Dangerous Tekkers overcame Tetsuya Naito and SANADA to regain the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship.

In the other two matches on the main card, Kazuchika Okada defeated Jeff Cobb with a roll-up and El Phantasmo and Taiji Ishimori retained the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Title against Rocky Romero and Ryusuke Taguchi. 

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Aidan Gibbons

Written by Aidan Gibbons

Cultaholic's resident newshound.