"The Ace of the Universe" is a moniker of NJPW stalwart Hiroshi Tanahashi because he has proven himself to be the standard-bearer and one of the all-time greats. At NJPW New Beginning in Nagoya, Tanahashi added another amazing performance to the litany in his illustrious career.
In a phenomenal war-of-attrition, Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Shingo Takagi for the NEVER Openweight Championship in the main event of today's event.
After over 35 minutes of back and forth action with outstanding psychology and storytelling, Tanahashi hit the High Fly Flow to claim this title for the first time. This furthers NJPW's attempt to elevate the NEVER Openweight strap.
Through a magnificent effort by Shingo Takagi both tonight and throughout the post-lockdown era of NJPW, the NEVER title has seen its prestige rise due to a long line of enthralling bouts over the gold.
Shingo put on bangers with Minoru Suzuki and SHO, as well as a spectacular slugfest with Jeff Cobb at NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 15. His performances have put the spotlight on the title perfectly.
Putting the NEVER Openweight Title on Hiroshi Tanahashi continues this rise of importance for the belt. Tanahashi is undeniably one of the greatest wrestlers to ever perform for NJPW and still a top star at 44 years old.
This puts a stop to the downward slide of "The Ace" down the card that started in 2020, but it may lead to him again putting over future stars based on the post-match events.
Great-O-Khan attacks Hiroshi Tanahashi following the NJPW New Beginning in Nagoya main event
Following the thrilling instant classic between Hiroshi Tanahashi and Shingo Takagi, "The Ace of the Universe" finally celebrated a major win.
He played air guitar with the NEVER Openweight title for the first time, but the concert and celebration were short-lived when Great-O-Khan showed up.
The Empire have been on a tear since going 0-3 at the two-night NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 15 events. Will Ospreay pulled out a huge victory over Satoshi Kojima in a blistering No Disqualification encounter. Great-O-Khan also defeated Hiroyoshi Tenzan to win the rights to the Mongolian Chop.
O-Khan followed up this career resume-building victory by attacking the new NEVER Openweight Champion from behind. He laid out Hiroshi Tanahashi with the Dominator and firmly set his sights on his gold.
This seems like an opportunity to really build the new star by using "The Ace" as a transitional champion. It remains to be seen when the two men will meet in a Tokyo Dome rematch.
What do you think of the new NEVER Openweight Champion? What was your thoughts on Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Shingo Takagi at NJPW New Beginning in Nagoya? Let us know in the comments section below!