Night two of Wrestle Kingdom 16 will be headlined by an IWGP World Heavyweight Championship match.
In the main event, new Champion Kazuchika Okada defends the IWGP title against Will Ospreay. Okada defeated Shingo Takagi in the main event of yesterday's show to win the title. Ospreay vacated the title in May 2021 citing an injury, but never lost the belt in the ring.
In the semi-main, KENTA defends the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship against Hiroshi Tanahashi in a no-DQ match. Tanahashi was disqualified in a tag match against KENTA on yesterday's show.
Here is today's full lineup:
- IWGP World Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada (c) vs. Will Ospreay
- No DQ match for the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship: KENTA (c) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
- Tetsuya Naito vs. Jeff Cobb
- SANADA vs. Great-O-Khan
- NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Championship: EVIL, Yujiro Takahashi & SHO (c) vs. Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI & YOH
- Provisional KOPW 2022: Toru Yano vs. CIMA vs. Minoru Suzuki vs. Chase Owens
- STARDOM special: Mayu Iwatani & Starlight Kid vs. Tam Nakano & Saya Kamitani
- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: Robbie Eagles & Tiger Mask (c) vs. Taiji Ishimori & El Phantasmo vs. Ryusuke Taguchi & Rocky Romero
- Pre-show match: Shingo Takagi, Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI vs. Taichi, Zack Sabre Jr. & DOUKI
- Pre-show match: Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima & Master Wato vs. El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & TAKA Michinoku
- Pre-show match: Togi Makabe, Yuji Nagata & Tomoaki Honma vs. Bad Luck Fale, Gedo & Jado
Our live coverage begins with the pre-show at 2 a.m. Eastern time.
Yuji Nagata, Tomoaki Honma & Togi Makabe defeated Bad Luck Fale, Jado & Gedo (Bullet Club)
This match opened with a brawl that left Bullet Club in control. Makabe was isolated but eventually tagged in Nagata. Nagata gained control but couldn’t maintain it due to the number advantage exploited by Bullet Club. The same thing played out with Honma, but he managed to turn things around. Honma landed a pair of Kokeshi on Jado, leading to the pinfall.
This was a preshow filler match. There’s not much to say about it.
Master Wato, Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan defeated El Desperado, TAKA Michinoku & Yoshinobu Kanemaru (Suzuki-Gun)
This match started with a brawl that left Wato and Desperado alone in the ring. Tenzan tagged in, working to single out the junior champion; Suzuki-Gun did not let this happen. The match broke down with a brawl forming on the outside. After the order was restored, Suzuki-Gun was in total control.
Kojima was able to break Suzuki-Gun’s grip on the match with a barrage of chops. A Kojima lariat was stuffed, leading to a double tag that left Desperado and Wato alone again. Desperado had a pin on Wato, but it was broken up Wato had a pin on Desperado, but it was broken up.
Wato rolled from Desperado’s shoulders into a pin. Desperado tried rolling through but was caught in a submission, some kind of hold targeting the neck. Desperado tapped to Wato in short order. Master Wato submitted the IWGP Junior Champion.
This match from the beginning was set up for Wato vs Desperado in singles for the belt; the finish confirms this.
BUSHI, Hiromu Takahashi & Shingo Takagi (Los Ingobernables De Japon) defeated DOUKI, Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi (Suzuki-Gun)
BUSHI and DOUKI opened the match, but Hiromu and ZSJ tagged in early. ZSJ successfully took Hiromu to the ground before tagging out to DOUKI and DOUKI to Taichi. Hiromu was desperate for a tag, which finally came after a dragonscrew. Shingo was rushed, but he fought off both Tekkers in a strong sequence.
DOUKI sent Shingo to the outside, where all the competitors grouped up. DOUKI landed a big dive to take out everyone, only for Shingo to retake control back inside the ring immediately. Shingo warded off ZSJ, and BUSHI landed a dive on Taichi, leaving DOUKI alone with Shigo and Hiromu. The pair beat down DOUKI before Shingo landed Last of the Dragon and pinning DOUKI for the win.
This was a match for all of last night’s big losers, acting as their first step to regaining traction in their respective divisions. The match itself was nothing special, but its purpose was not to blow anyone away, but to set up the LIJ team for a rebound heading into their inter-promotional bout against Kongoh in a few days.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championships: Robbie Eagles & Tiger Mask (Flying Tiger) (c) defeated Ryusuke Taguchi & Rocky Romero (Mega Coaches) & El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori (Bullet Club’s Cutest Tag Team) to retain the titles
ELP dropped TM before the match could start. This allowed the Mega Coaches to take control with a series of hip attacks. Eagles landed a dive to take out both Mega Coaches, but a kick from ELP’s potentially loaded boot gave Bullet Club with the reigns.
Bullet Club kept the lead for a while as ELP used his boot to keep anyone else away. Eagles interrupted a distracted ELP, triggering a sequence of dives.TM, now alone with ELP, landed a Tiger Driver for a near fall. Flying Tiger was in control.
The Mega Coaches hit the ring, landing hip attacks that forced a Bullet Club breakup. Bullet Club cleared the ring. ELP landed a UFO and an impressive splash for a near fall on TM. Eagles made the save, driving ELP’s boot into the face of Ishimori. After Ishimori was flattened, all four of ELP’s opponents cornered him and removed his boot; in it, a piece of metal. After some deliberation, ELP and Ishimori were disqualified, but the match continued with the other teams.
Flying Tiger and Mega Coaches went back and forth, trading quick pins. Eagles locked Rocky in the Ron Miller special and tapped him out. Flying Tiger retains over Bullet Club and Mega Coaches.
Tam Nakano & Saya Kamitani defeated Mayu Iwatani & Starlight Kid
This is a big deal for Stardom and joshi wrestling in general. Queen’s Quest, Cosmic Angles, Stars, and Oedo Tai were represented in this match.
SLK, the Highspeed Champion, opened against white belt holder Kamitani. Despite their tense relationship, SLK and Mayu worked together to gain a quick lead. Tam tagged in and took the lead from Mayu,
Tam and Mayu went back and forth, leading to a double tag. Kamitani was getting the better of SLK, which forced Mayu to make a save. Mayu took out both Kamitani and Tam. SLK landed a dive to the outside to take out both her opponents. A top rope dive followed in the ring, leaving SLK with a near fall. Another near fall came after SLK lept from Mayu’s shoulders on the second rope.
SLK locked Kamitani in a cloverleaf that Tam broke up. Tam followed up by landing a dive that took out Mayu and the Cosmic Angles/Oedo Tai faction mates surrounding the ring. Inside, Kamitani tried for a star crusher, but SLK escaped, initiating a sequence of quick pin attempts. A schoolboy suplex left Kamitani with an additional near fall over SLK.
Mayu landed a thrust kick triggering a four-way sequence. A tiger suplex from Tam allowed Kamitani to land a star crusher and phoenix splash on SLK, leading to the win for her team.
I loved this so much.
KOPW 2022: Minoru Suzuki defeated Toru Yano, Chase Owens, and CIMA
T-Hawk and El Lindaman of STRONGHEARTS accompanied CIMA dressed in GLEAT gear.
The match started with Owens, CIMA, and Suzuki singling out Yano. Then CIMA and Suzuki did the same for Owens. CIMA and Suzuki traded blows before Owens and Yano pulled Suzuki to the outside; this prompted CIMA to hit a dive, taking out all of his opponents.
Yano whipped Suzuki into an exposed buckle, CIMA returned the favour. CIMA then tied Yano up in an Indian deathlock while continuing to fight Owens and Suzuki. After Yano was freed, Owens hit him with a C Trigger. CIMA hit Owens with a Meteora. Suzuki tried choking out CIMA, but Yano involved himself again. Unfortunately for Yano, Suzuki hit him with a Gotch piledriver that led to the finish. Suzuki is the KOPW 2022 champion.
After the match, Suzuki beat down Yano. Yano survived the attack by handcuffing Suzuki to the top rope. Suzuki left the ring with the handcuffs hanging from his wrist.
This was a fun. Everything with CIMA and Suzuki was great, while Owens and Yano effectively played their part.
NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championships: EVIL, Yujiro Takahashi & SHO (HOUSE OF TORTURE) (c) defeated Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI & YOH (CHAOS) to retain the titles
This match opened with a brawl. Goto and EVIL started in the ring, but HoT worked to gain an advantage with underhanded tactics. Goto was isolated and beat down. EVIL missed a lariat that finally freed Goto up to tag in YH.
YH took out EVIL and Yujiro to gain some footing for CHAOS. SHO and YOH tagged in, leading to a fun sequence that lasted until EVIL pulled YOH’s feet from under him. All of HoT hit the ring to focus YOH. SHO distracted the referee prompting Dick Togo to choke YOH with a wire. Tomohiro Ishii got Togo off of YOH’s back, allowing YOH to turn his attention to SHO again.
Just as YOH had victory in sight, HoT distracted the referee again, and SHO hit YOH with a wrench and pinned him.
This was a weak match, no way around it.
NOAH Invades Wrestle Kingdom
Keji Mutoh led the NOAH roster to the ring. There was a NOAH show tonight that ran against the kickoff, so this was a surprise. Kaito Kiyomiya cut a short promo before Kenoh took the microphone. Enter LIJ. Kenoh called out Shingo for losing his belt last night, prompting Shingo to take a microphone for himself. Both men bolstered their home promotions.
Shingo counted the sea of NOAH roster members before deciding the numbers were probably too much. After Shingo left, Kenoh declared NOAH would overtake New Japan to become Japan’s number one promotion.
Kiyomiya and Kenoh, two very unlikely allies, shook hands and led the NOAH roster out of the Tokyo Dome.
SANADA defeated Great-O-Khan
The opening grappling ended up on the outside. O-Khan took control which lasted until a dropkick to the knee interrupted O-Khan’s offence. SANADA landed a dive to the outside before attempting to lock O-Khan in the paradise lock. O-Khan escaped, landing a big throw that forced SANADA to the outside. O-Khan set up for a dive but had second thoughts. SANADA effectively dared O-Khan to do so; O-Khan lept, landing an outside dive.
SANADA and O-Khan went back and forth without landing anything substantial. Neither man could gain the upper hand. Eventually, a punch to the jaw of SANADA yielded a near fall for O-Khan. O-Khan landed a nice moonsault only for SANADA to immediately fold O-Khan into an O’Connor roll. SANADA won with the quick pin.
This was a monotonous watch this late into the show.
Tetsuya Naito defeated Jeff Cobb
Cobb started the match by rushing Naito into a corner. Naito fought out of the corner, targeting Cobb’s knee in the process. Things spilt to the outside, and Naito’s focus remained on Cobb’s knee. Regardless of his opponent’s focus, Cobb overpowered Naito on the outside, leading to a vertical suplex to the floor.
After the suplex, Cobb turned his attention to the back of Naito. After throwing him and slamming him into the turnbuckles, Cobb tried for another suplex, but Naito answered with a single leg dropkick; this opened Cobb up for more work to the knee. Naito secured an Indian deathlock that forced Cobb into the ropes. A DDT to a bloody Cobb allowed Naito to continue his offence. Cobb stuffed Destino, but Naito responded quick, landing a dropkick to the knee.
Naito set Cobb up for a top rope frakensteiner, but Cobb reversed, landing a giant powerbomb from the top. Cobb tried for tour of the islands but couldn’t due to Naito’s knee work. Naito locked in another deathlock that forced Cobb to strike his way free. Cobb and Naito traded heavy blows with a lariat from Cobb, leaving him in strong standing, but again, Cobb couldn’t land tour of the islands due to his knee. Naito capitalised, landing Destino and pinning Cobb to close this fantastic match.
This was a focused, powerful match that built on all of Cobb and Naito’s interactions from the tour leading up to Wrestle Kingdom. Good stuff.
IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship No DQ: Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated KENTA (c) to win the title
The match opened with a kendo stick fight. Tanahashi gained the upper hand in exchange, but it was short-lived as KENTA struck Tanahashi with the US belt. KENTA attacked Tanahashi with the ‘Right to Challange Briefcase’, the belt, a trashcan, a chair, a ladder, and a kendo stick. Tanahashi stopped the onslaught with a picture-perfect dropkick that sent KENTA crashing into the can. Tanahashi then took his turn at beating KENTA with every previous weapon and a guitar.
After breaking the guitar of KENTA’s head, Tanahashi grabbed a table. KENTA saved himself from defeat by smashing the briefcase over Tanahashi’s head. KENTA propped Tanashi on the table and climbed to the top rope; Tanahashi rose to meet KENTA, saving the pair from sure disaster. Tanahashi filled the ring with chairs; a sling blade sent both men crashing into the pile.
With KENTA sill laying on the mound of seats, Tanahashi went for high fly flow, but KENTA moved out of the way, sending Tanahashi crashing into the metal. KENTA piled the same chairs onto Tanahashi in the corner before landing a dropkick.
KENTA tried for the GTS, but Tanahashi countered with a swinging neckbreaker into the chairs. Tanahashi set up the table in the ring and hoisted KENTA onto it. KENTA sprung up, meeting Tanahashi on the top rope. What followed was a ridiculous falcon arrow from the top through a table that should’ve killed Tanahashi.
KENTA went to the outside and grabbed another table and a colossal ladder. It took KENTA some time to set up the fifteenish-foot ladder, but that only added to the suspense. KENTA climbed to the top, but Tanahashi pushed down the ladder, sending KENTA face-first into a trash can. Tanashi then propped KENTA on the table and scaled the ladder himself. Tanahashi lept from the top, delivering high fly flow through the table. Tanahashi pinned a blood-drenched KENTA to close this insane match.
IWGP World Heavyweight Championship- Kazuchika Okada defeated Will Ospreay to retain the title
Chain wrestling opened the match, but things picked up as Okada gained control. Ospreay ended this early lead by catching Okada on the top rope, converting the opportunity into a DDT and extensive follow-up sequence on the outside. Ospreay’s control ended after an Okada flapjack. Okada took his time while leading, landing more significant moves than Ospreay.
Ospreay escaped from a piledriver attempt and pulled Okada to the ring apron. The pair fought on the apron before a dropkick from Okada sent Ospreay crashing to the floor. Okada attempted a dive over the barricade, but Ospreay caught him with a kick. Osprey then climbed and flipped from a metal truss used for lighting to take out Okada. Ospreay drug Okada to the ring, hit him with a powerbomb, and attempted a pin; Okada kicked out.
Ospreay attempted a Sasuke special, but Okada caught him, turning the move into a piledriver. Back in the ring, a dropkick resulted in a near fall for Okada. Okada tried for the rainmaker; Osprey avoided it. Okada tried for a dropkick; Ospreayturned it into a powerbomb and a near fall. An OsCutter resulted in another near fall. Ospreay landed a piledriver of his own before attempting a rainmaker. Okada’s response? A storm breaker to Ospreay.
Ospreay reversed a rainmaker into a Spanish fly. Ospreay then grabbed the wrist and started laying in lariats before landing a super OsCutter for another near fall. Ospreay tried for a storm breaker; Okada reversed into a piledriver. After a brief sequence of finish attempts and reversals, Okada landed a rainmaker for a two count. Okada followed up by locking in the money clip.
Ospreay escaped the money clip and landed a rainmaker of his own, resulting in a late match reset. After a strike exchange ended with a woozy Ospreay, Okada landed two lariats. Ospreay avoided the rainmaker, landing a hidden blade in response; Okada kicked out again. Ospreay dropped Okada with a headbutt, but Okada responded with a dropkick. Okada hit a landslide followed by a rainmaker to close the main event of Wrestle Kingdom.
This match was what you would expect going in. If you enjoyed their match from last year’s WK, you’d probably enjoy this. Likewise, if you enjoy big match Okada or big match Ospreay, you’d probably enjoy this.
Okada tried to close the show with a promo, but before he could, Tetsuya Naito walked out and challenged him for the belt. Okada entertained the idea, so expect this match in the future. After Naito left, Okada thanked the crowd and wished for Antonio Inoki’s health to improve. With a tear in his eye, Okada claimed he would carry New Japan for the next fifty years to close the show.