Last Monday, Tsubasa Kuragaki ascended the Oz Openweight Championship by defeating AKINO in the main event at Korakuen Hall. The 19-year veteran stood tall with the promotion’s flagship championship as the current titleholder’s 537-day reign ended in her eighth title defense following a Hammer Wing from the challenger. Nearly one year to the day she wrestled her final match as a competitor on the JWP roster, Kuragaki snagged her fourth singles title in her career, her second title since becoming a freelancer(currently Artist of STARDOM Champion), becoming the fifteenth Oz Academy Openweight Champion.
However, Kuragaki’s first title defense been announced for Oz Academy‘s upcoming show at Shinjuku FACE. At “Face Off,” Kuragaki will be defending the Openweight Championship against the soon-to-be retired Tomoka Nakagawa. Back on March 30th, Oz Academy kicked off a tournament to nominate the next challenger to the Openweight Championship, involving Hiroyo Matsumoto, Nakagawa, Hikaru Shida, Sakura Hirota, Kagetsu and Kuragaki, the winner would go onto face AKINO for the title as part of the June 4th show. Nakagawa fended off Shida Hirota and bested Kuragaki in the finals on May 11th, her unsuccessful attempt at the title handed AKINO her seventh defense.
Despite her loss, AKINO has set a record-breaking eighteen-month run as champion, becoming the longest reigning and the most successful titleholder in the promotion’s history with back-to-back wins over opponents like Mio Shirai, Sonoko Kato, Ayako Hamada and Leon. For Nakagawa, the title shot comes a month and two days ahead of her impending retirement from professional wrestling. Aside from holding the defunct SMASH Divas Championship in November of 2011, it’s possible that Nakagawa could end her career on a high note with another singles title run.
Also announced for the show, the ongoing feud between Aja Kong and Shida continues, as Kong will be teaming up with Mari Apache against Shida and Kagetsu. Ahead of the match, Shida will be defending the Regina di WAVE Championship and the Revolution Championship Wrestling Women’s Championship against Apache at Shinkiba 1st RING on October 29th for WAVE’s “Virgin Code.” Following their debuts at SHIMMER this past weekend which you can read about here and here, Mayumi Ozaki, Kaori Yoneyama and AKINO will be in tag team action as well-Ozaki, and Miyako Matsumoto will be taking on Kaho Kobayashi and Dynamite Kansai as AKINO, Syuri and Yoneyama will be taking on Yumi Ohka, Kyoko Kimura and Mio Shirai. There will also be a singles match between Sakura Hirota and Manami Toyota.