We’re going to the semi-main event of Big Japan’s last show at the Yokohama Bunka, featuring one of our favourites…

Quick Result
Daichi Hashimoto pinned Shigehiro Irie in 19:10 to retain the Big Japan Strong Heavyweight Championship (***½)

Big Japan Strong Heavyweight Championship: Shigehiro Irie vs. Daichi Hashimoto (c)
This was Hashimoto’s sixth defence of the title he won back in November 2019 – and for those unfamiliar, it’s basically “the wrestling title”, as opposed to Big Japan’s death match championship.

Irie’s got his OWE Openweight title that he’s held for almost as long as Hashimoto has his, but of course that’s not on the line here. The pair go head-to-head, with Irie swiping at Hashimoto before they locked up and went into the ropes for a fairly quick break. Hashimoto throws a cheeky kick, then went to work on Irie’s wrist. A side headlock’s fought out of by Irie, who worked in with one of his own… of course, he’s pushed away, but he charges down Hashimoto, before missing with a back senton.

More shoulder tackles follow, as Irie won out, before he began to unload on Hashimoto with some elbow strikes. A slam leaves Daichi down for a rebound splash off the ropes, getting an early two-count, before more elbows bounced the champion off the ropes. A low bridge from Hashimoto sends Irie outside as a PK on the apron waited for him, before Hashimoto teased going into the crowd… instead throwing Irie back inside.

Except Irie came right back out with a tope, before he sized up Hashimoto for a powerbomb on the floor… but Hashimoto breaks it up, before the pair rolled in and out of the ring to break the ref’s count. The mind games led Hashimoto to go back outside as the pair brawl around the crowd, before a brainbuster from the floor spiked Irie on the apron. Back inside, Hashimoto follows up with a leaping knee into the corner before he grounded Irie with a cravat… but he gets to the ropes quickly to force a break. Kicks knock Irie down for a two-count, but Irie strikes back with elbows as the pair go back-and-forth. Hashimoto changes it up with some kicks, but he can’t avoid a brainbuster as Irie stopped that momentum in a heartbeat.

A splash in the corner follows before Irie slammed Hashimoto for the Teddy Bear sit-down splash, getting another two-count, before a Black Hole Slam kept the pressure up. Irie heads up top, but his big splash lands in Hashimoto’s knees as the champion followed up with a kick and a Falcon Arrow… it did the deal, but only gets a two-count! A PK’s next for another two-count, but Irie’s right back with a cobra clutch. Hashimoto backs into the corner, but Irie reapplies it, only for it to be broken up as Hashimoto threw him off. A spinning heel kick came to nought as Irie catches him in another clutch, throwing some elbows too as he looked to force a submission… but Hashimoto’s able to get to the ropes to force a break.

Irie pulls Hashimoto back up and resumes the elbows, knocking him back into the corner. They head up top, with Irie switching around for a Samoan drop off the middle rope… following up with a cannonball for a near-fall, before he flung away his elbow pad in search of a Beast Bomber. Hashimoto kicks it away and returns with a bridging German suplex that nearly wins it, before Hashimoto hit the ropes for a Shining Wizard to the back of Irie’s head. A Beast Bomber offers a quick response, but Hashimoto responds with an implant DDT to spike Irie once more, as the pair begin to fight up from their knees, trading elbows and body blows.

A headbutt from Irie stuns Hashimoto… before as second knocked him into the ropes as a flip cannonball awaited for the champion. The Beast Bomber’s next for a near-fall, but Hashimoto ducks a second, then chains together a release German suplex, a Shining Wizard and an Implant DDT in quick succession for the win. This was a pretty good match with a lot of hard hits, but even for someone coming in cold, with little knowledge of Big Japan, it never really felt like a title change was on the cards. ***½