Match Point is an ongoing series at Last Word on Pro Wrestling, where we look at intriguing matchups in indie wrestling and beyond. They may be dream matches, first-time matchups, or hotly anticipated rematches. Today, we take a look at the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship match at NOAH THE NEW YEAR 2022 as champion HAYATA takes on challenger Yoshinari Ogawa.
The GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship has been synonymous with HAYATA since June of 2021. His championship reign has lasted for six months, with 7 title defenses to his record. HAYATA established himself as one of the most successful GHC Junior Heavyweight Champions in the past few years. However, this championship success wouldn’t have happened without one man: Yoshinari Ogawa. Let’s take a look at the history between HAYATA and Yoshinari Ogawa leading to their upcoming match at NOAH THE NEW YEAR.
📢 Pro Wrestling NOAH returns to the Nippon Budokan THIS SATURDAY!
🛎 16.00 🇯🇵
🎙 English commentary
🔘 Match 6/10
— Pro Wrestling NOAH (@noahglobal) December 29, 2021
HAYATA vs. Yoshinari Ogawa, NOAH THE NEW YEAR 2022
In The Beginning
When HAYATA won the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship in 2019, it was considered a shock to many. HAYATA experienced a successful run as champion, having three separate title defenses. In this period, HAYATA was gradually ascending the ranks of the junior division against its top stars at the time, most notably YO-HEY. But it wasn’t until the start of the new year that HAYATA would face off against Yoshinari Ogawa in the first event of 2020.
Yoshinari Ogawa, who was a veteran at this point, hasn’t held the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship before in his career. When Ogawa ended up defeating HAYATA, it would be an even bigger upset. While the reign of Yoshinari Ogawa was short-lived, it was after this reign that things got intriguing in both of their careers. While Ogawa would lose his championship in April, in May, things would drastically change in the factions in Pro Wrestling NOAH; HAYATA would turn on his teammates in RATELS to join the STINGER faction.
At the start of this version of STINGER, things would drastically change. Most notably, HAYATA and Yoshinari Ogawa would become one of the top junior teams of Pro Wrestling NOAH. They became GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions three times and are the current champions. They were heavily involved in the tag scene, with two of their reigns combined for almost a year of action. After losing their tag titles in May of 2021, HAYATA became involved in the GHC junior heavyweight scene once more.
HAYATA’s Reign of Dominance
HAYATA defeated Atsushi Kotoge to win the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship in June of 2021. This reign would start a theme of defeating many different people from his past, most notably former members of the STINGER faction. HAYATA would start climbing the ladder of defeating greats, defeating NOAH’s best while taking out the baggage of his past. Soon thereafter, Ogawa and HAYATA won the GHC Junior Heavyweight tag team titles for the third time. Ogawa would attack HAYATA, setting his claim to the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship at the Budokan Show.
STINGER’s Reign of Tyranny
For HAYATA, Yoshinari Ogawa marks another path of unfinished business and a potential spot at leadership in STINGER. This is true even if HAYATA has to defeat a person who was solely responsible for his rise in NOAH in 2020 and even 2021. Meanwhile, for Ogawa, it marks a turning point. If he defeats HAYATA, there is a weakness in his faction and Ogawa wants to tough it out. It could also be viewed as a major turning point in STINGER history, with HAYATA officially defeating the leader of the faction. He could finally usurp the throne of STINGER and maybe Ogawa can sense that.
In the few weeks since this match has been announced, HAYATA and Yoshinari Ogawa faced off in tag team action. HAYATA actually defeated Ogawa in under a minute in one of the previous events. In other matches, HAYATA has stayed on top, except for one tag match. Going into this title match, it seems like HAYATA is going in very strong, knowing they have YO-HEY and Kotaro Suzuki waiting for both of them in the near future.
HAYATA vs. Yoshinari Ogawa – In Closing
HAYATA is on the verge of history-making in Pro Wrestling NOAH. If he retains his championship, he will be even closer to breaking the defense record. Said record is held by Taiji Ishimori at 10 title defenses. Considering the consistency of HAYATA’s title matches, it could come even sooner rather than later.
This upcoming match marks HAYATA’s eight title defense. If HAYATA retains, he will be the #2 in the defense record. With that current holder being both Kotaro Suzuki and Daisuke Harada respectfully. If Yoshinari Ogawa wins it, it will mark his second reign as GHC Junior Heavyweight Champion. HAYATA has dominated Pro Wrestling NOAH’s junior scene since June, but Ogawa might just be a start to his problems.
HAYATA will participate in NOAH’s upcoming N Innovation Tournament. However, one shouldn’t count Ogawa out; he was famous in 2021 for major upsets, including his series against Kaito Kiyomiya. Ogawa even defeated HAYATA originally in 2020. Will HAYATA’s reign of dominance continue, or will Ogawa gain the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship for a second time? We will find out the answer to that at NOAH THE NEW YEAR 2022 on January 1, 2022.
Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world. You can watch Pro Wrestling NOAH as well as DDT, TJPW, and more on Wrestle Universe.