Ahead of the upcoming NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 17 event, New Japan Pro Wrestling have unveiled a new championship.
The King of Pro Wrestling Trophy was first established in 2020 by Kazuchika Okada, the title sees the champion defend the honour throughout the year in fan voted stipulations.
Now, NJPW has announced that the trophy has been retired, and an actual championship will replace it.
First established in 2020 by Kazuchika Okada, the KOPW title has seen its holders defend their status through the year before the new calendar sees a new champion contested for. From Toru Yano in 2020 and 2021, to Shingo Takagi in 2022, its holders have seen fans vote on stipulations never before seen in NJPW, and often never anywhere else either!
Yet the trophy that represents the KOPW holder status has not always been treated with prestige an respect! From spray paintings to utter demolition and DIY recreation, it’s fair to say that the KOPW holder was in need of something longer lasting. From 2023, the holder will have the KOPW Championship belt!
A New Japan Ranbo on January 4 will determine who qualifies to be the first holder of this new belt. Who will emerge as its first holder, and what happens to KOPW in 2023?
Former IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Shingo Takagi was crowned the 2022 King of Pro Wrestling, last defending the trophy in a Last Man Standing Lumberjack match against Taichi at the JTO 50th Anniversary event.
You can see the announcement video, as well as the championship, below:
⇒https://t.co/CcdQ1XrpWA#njwk17 #NJPW #njpwworld pic.twitter.com/dHnuSYAeFG
— njpwworld (@njpwworld) December 22, 2022
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