A request that this article title be changed to KOPW (professional wrestling championship) is under discussion. Please do not move this article until the discussion is closed.
KOPW
Details
PromotionNew Japan Pro-Wrestling
Date establishedJuly 28, 2020
Current champion(s)Toru Yano
Date wonSeptember 4, 2021

KOPW is a championship created and promoted by the Japanese professional wrestling promotion New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW).

KOPW follows a non-traditional formula: it has no title belt, and only one wrestler per year is recognized as champion. A "provisional champion" is first determined; during the year, the provisional champion must defend his provisional title. The provision champion at the end of the year is officially recognized at the year's KOPW and wins the KOPW Trophy. Furthermore, in contrast with NJPW's heavy focus on traditional matches, the title matches are exclusively focused on non-regular stipulations. Each of the wrestlers involved in a title match proposes a stipulation, and fans vote to select which is followed.

The title was created by professional wrestler Kazuchika Okada, who introduced it during a press conference on July 28, 2020. The first provisional KOPW was determined on August 29, 2020, with Toru Yano becoming the provisional champion. He eventually became the inaugural champion on December 23, 2020.

Concept

The title is inactive at the beginning of a new year. At some later point, a provisional champion is determined, who is not recognized by NJPW as an actual champion. During the rest of the year, the provisional champion must defend the title against contenders; if he fails, a new provisional champion is crowned, and must similarly defend the title against new contenders. At some point close to the end of the year, a final title match takes place; the winner of the match becomes recognized as that year's KOPW, and is awarded the KOPW Trophy.[1]

While NJPW has historically focused heavily on traditional matches (either classic singles or tag team matches without special stipulations), KOPW matches will focus exclusively on non-regular stipulations such as matches with more than two individual competitors at the same time, two out of three falls matches, ladder matches, or steel cage matches. Each of the matches' participants can propose a stipulation, and the fans vote to select which stipulation the match will follow.[2][3][4]

Despite its unique concept, KOPW is recognized as an actual championship (rather than a tournament or other non-conventional accolade) by NJPW. The name of the title changes based on the year, with the 2020 version of the title being named KOPW 2020.[2] It is "reset" every year, and the process is repeated until a new champion is crowned.[2]

History

Creation

At Sengoku Lord in Nagoya on July 25, 2020, professional wrestler Kazuchika Okada teased "a controversial announcement."[1] On July 28, during a press conference in Tokyo, NJPW chairman Naoki Sugabayashi announced the creation of a new title following an idea by Okada; Okada then proceeded to introduce the title and its concept, also announcing KOPW 2021 for the following year.[2][3][4] Comparing it to other NJPW titles, Okada claimed that KOPW "exists on the edge of New Japan."[2]

KOPW 2020

In the same conference he introduced the title, Okada announced that from August 26 onwards during the Summer Struggle tour, eight men will compete in four first-round singles matches. The four winners then competed in a four-way match to determine the inaugural provisional KOPW 2020 on August 29 at the Meiji Jingu Stadium in Tokyo, during the Summer Struggle in Jingu event.

On August 6, 2020, Okada himself and Yujiro Takahashi were announced as the first two entrants in the tournament.[5] Eventually, the eight match-ups were announced: Okada vs. Takahashi, Toru Yano vs. Bushi, El Desperado vs. Satoshi Kojima, and Sanada vs. Sho. Fans voted for the stipulations online on the social networking service Twitter; the polls closed on August 24, with over 170,000 fan votes cast. As Sanada and Sho had both picked submission match as their wanted stipulation, no vote was needed for their match.[6]

In the first round, El Desperado defeated Kojima by disqualification in a No finisher match, Yano defeated Bushi in a Two-count Pinfalls match, Sanada defeated Sho in their Submission match, and finally Okada defeated Takahashi, who had teamed up with Jado & Gedo, in a 1 vs 3 handicap match.[7]

At Summer Struggle in Jingu, Yano won the four-way match by pinning Okada to become the inaugural provisional champion.[8]

Reigns

As of January 5, 2022.

Note that this list follows the title's history, including provisional champions; however, only the person winning the final title defense of the year is actually recognized as champion.

Colors

Provisional champion
Official champion
Key
No. Overall reign number
Reign Reign number for the specific champion
Days Number of days held
Defenses Number of successful defenses
+ Current reign is changing daily
No. Champion Championship change Reign statistics Notes Ref.
Date Event Location Reign Days Defenses
Toru Yano August 29, 2020 Summer Struggle in Jingu Tokyo, Japan 1 116 2 Defeated Kazuchika Okada, El Desperado and Sanada in a four-way match which acted as the final of an eight-man tournament to become the first provisional 2020 champion. [2][3][4]
1 Toru Yano December 23, 2020 Road to Tokyo Dome Tokyo, Japan I Defeated Bad Luck Fale in a Bodyslam or No Corner Pads match to become the official 2020 champion. [9]
Toru Yano January 5, 2021 Wrestle Kingdom 15 in Tokyo Dome Tokyo, Japan 2 201 2 Defeated Chase Owens, Bad Luck Fale and Bushi in a four-way match to become the first provisional 2021 champion.
Chase Owens July 25, 2021 Wrestle Grand Slam in Tokyo Dome Tokyo, Japan 1 41 0 This was a 22-man New Japan Ranbo with handcuffs. [10]
Toru Yano September 4, 2021 Wrestle Grand Slam in MetLife Dome Tokorozawa, Japan 3 123+ 1 This was a No disqualification "I quit" match. [11]
2 Toru Yano December 24, 2021 Road to Tokyo Dome Tokyo, Japan II Defeated Yoshinobu Kanemaru in a End of Year Party Rules match to become the official 2021 champion. [12]

Combined reigns

As of January 5, 2022.

Note that this includes both provisional and official champions.

Indicates the current interim champion
Rank Wrestler No. of
titles
No. of
interim reigns
Combined
defenses
Combined
days
1 Toru Yano 2 3 5 440+
2 Chase Owens 0 1 0 41

References

  1. ^ a b "Unique new title announced by NJPW's Kazuchika Okada; fans to vote for match stipulations". sportskeeda. July 28, 2020. Retrieved August 9, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "SUMMER STRUGGLE in JINGU press conference". New Japan Pro-Wrestling. July 28, 2020. Retrieved August 9, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c "KOPW 2020 title announced in special press conference". New Japan Pro-Wrestling. July 28, 2020. Retrieved August 9, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c Elizabeth, Claire (July 28, 2020). "KOPW 2020 Championship tournament, title matches begin filling Summer Struggle in Jingu card out". Cageside Seats. Retrieved August 9, 2020.
  5. ^ "New Japan KOPW Title Tournament Entrants Revealed". EWrestling. August 6, 2020. Retrieved August 9, 2020.
  6. ^ "KOPW 2020 polls close; matches decided!". NJPW. August 24, 2020. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  7. ^ "New Japan Pro Wrestling Summer Struggle results: KOPW 2020 first round matches, and more!". CageSeats. August 26, 2020. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  8. ^ "NJPW Summer Struggle In Jingu Live Results: Evil vs. Tetsuya Naito". Wrestling Observer Online. August 29, 2020. Retrieved September 3, 2020.
  9. ^ "Toru Yano Official KOPW2020 Winner". New Japan Pro-Wrestling. December 23, 2020. Retrieved December 23, 2020.
  10. ^ Renner, Ethan (July 25, 2021). "NJPW WRESTLE GRAND SLAM IN TOKYO DOME LIVE RESULTS: IWGP TITLE MATCH". f4wonline.com. Retrieved July 25, 2021.
  11. ^ "2021.09.04 WRESTLE GRAND SLAM In MetLife Dome". New Japan Pro-Wrestling. Retrieved September 4, 2021.
  12. ^ "Road to Tokyo Dome Resulst". New Japan Pro-Wrestling. December 24, 2021. Retrieved December 24, 2021.