#AndNEW: New Champions Crowned at NOAH HIGHER GROUND 2022

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At Pro Wrestling NOAH’s HIGHER GROUND 2022, two title matches would take place with the GHC National Championship and GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship defended. One of them was a guaranteed new champion, due to a title being vacated, while the other was a rematch from Kenoh’s previous reign as champion. Here’s what to know following the NOAH HIGHER GROUND 2022 event.

Title Changes at NOAH HIGHER GROUND 2022

Yuya Susumu and Seiki Yoshioka Capture the GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship

For the past few weeks, NOAH has been hinting at a title match between STINGER faction mates. However, a few days before the event. Yoshinari Ogawa tested positive for COVID-19, among many other NOAH wrestlers who tested positive for the virus. Because of this, the GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship held by Yoshinari Ogawa and HAYATA were vacated and new champions would be crowned at HIGHER GROUND 2022. This match saw Atsushi Kotoge and Hajime Ohara going against Yuya Susumu and Seiki Yoshioka.

After an almost 8-minute match, Susumu and Yoshioka captured the GHC Junior Heavyweight tag team titles for the second time in their tag team career. Thus, the titles were brought back into STINGER. There are currently no scheduled challengers for the new champions.

Masakatsu Funaki Captures the GHC National Championship

In the main event of the evening, Kenoh defended the GHC National Championship against Masakatsu Funaki. This was a rematch from Kenoh’s previous reign as champion, which Kenoh did win. The main difference in this match was that Masakatsu Funaki had even more experience in NOAH than before. That experience would be showcased when Masakatsu Funaki defeated Kenoh to capture the GHC National Championship.

One of the most surprising parts of this match, however, was that this was a 4-minute match that ended via a sleeper hold. With this loss, Kenoh’s 2nd reign ended at three title defenses. Furthermore, this bout became the shortest GHC National Championship match in the title’s history. There are currently no scheduled challengers for the new champion. After the match, Kongo underwent a drastic change.

Aftermath – Masakatsu Funaki Joins Kongo at HIGHER GROUND 2022

Since returning to Pro Wrestling NOAH, Masakatsu Funaki has been part of the M’s Alliance faction, run by Naomichi Marufuji. After Funaki captured the GHC National Championship, he was offered a position in Kongo. Funaki quit M’s Alliance, joining Kongo. It was during this segment that Funaki would show interest in tag-teaming with Kenoh potentially for a GHC Heavyweight Tag Team Championship match down the line. Nothing, however, is confirmed.

In an interview after the match, Kongo welcomed Funaki into the faction. Behind the new champion, however, Katsuhiko Nakajima seems angered with the new member of the faction. This may lead to dissension down the line in the Kongo stable. This marked the end of HIGHER GROUND 2022 and shows NOAH is becoming more unpredictable by the event.

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, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. You can watch Pro Wrestling NOAH as well as DDT, TJPW, and more on Wrestle Universe and ABEMA.