Jay White vs. Tama Tonga for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship headlines NJPW Declaration of Power today in Ryogoku.
White will make what could be his final title defense of 2022 against his former Bullet Club stablemate Tama Tonga.
In the semi-main event, Kazuchika Okada will face JONAH in a rematch from the G1 Climax 32 tournament. JONAH gave Okada his only tournament loss this past summer, as Okada and JONAH finished first and second in the A Block.
The full card for tonight:
- IWGP World Heavyweight Championship: Jay White (c) vs. Tama Tonga
- Kazuchika Okada vs. JONAH
- Provisional KOPW 2022 Who's Your Daddy match: Shingo Takagi vs. El Phantasmo
- Taiji Ishimori vs. Master Wato
- Tetsuya Naito, SANADA, Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI vs. Will Ospreay, Aaron Henare, TJP & Francesco Akira
- Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI vs. The Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb
- Hiroshi Tanahashi, Hikuleo & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. EVIL, Yujiro Takahashi & SHO
- Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi vs. Shane Haste & Bad Dude Tito
- David Finlay, Robbie Eagles & Ren Narita vs. El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & DOUKI
Our live coverage begins at 4 a.m. Eastern time.
The show opened with the New Japan roster walking out to the ring to honor the life of Antonio Inoki. An excellent video package was played featuring Inoki's career highlights.
An in-ring speech followed, celebrating Inoki's achievements in pro wrestling and combat sports more broadly. The upcoming WrestleKingdom 17 show, January 4th, 2023, will be held in memory and honor of Antonio Inoki. The speech ended with a promise to match forward, continuing on the path Inoki started.
Seiji Sakaguchi entered the ring with a picture of Inoki to accompany the ten-bell salute.
This was a beautiful tribute to one of the most important men of pro wrestling.
David Finlay, Robbie Eagles, & Ren Narita defeated El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, & DOUKI
Ren "The Son of Strong Style" Narita is a can't-miss superstar in the making. Hot off of his bloody win over Juice Robinson, he won tonight's match as the sole legal man for his team, so it seems like New Japan agrees. So it's hard not to be excited about New Japan's future.
Narita started his return from excursion with a striking battle against Desperado. Narita gained an early lead, but the match broke down as the heel squad pulled Narita to the floor. If not exactly orderly, structure returned to the bout as Desperado, Kanemaru, and DOUKI worked to isolate Narita from his partners.
Eagles and Finlay eventually hit the ring to save Narita from the heel onslaught, leaving him alone in the ring with DOUKI. Narita scored a near fall after a pair of suplexes. DOUKI fought back momentarily, but Narita caught him with an explosive belly-to-belly suplex to bring this match to a close.
After the match, Narita grabbed a microphone and cut a quick promo. He hopes to be the focal point of New Japan.
Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi (Dangerous Tekkers) defeated Shane Haste & Bad Dude Tito (TMDK)
This was a good match.
Tito and Taichi opened the match with a quick scuffle before passing the batons to their partners. Haste tried his hand at out grappling ZSJ but failed to find success. Once Tito tagged in, he overwhelmed ZSJ with potent offense, establishing control for TMDK.
ZSJ escaped to Taichi, who temporarily took out both members of TMDK. A rally from Tito forced ZSJ back into the match. Tito maintained his momentum, landing a suplex that caused a Taichi breakup. This distraction bought ZSJ enough time to transition into an arm bar. Tito fought through the submission, connecting with a powerbomb in the corner. ZSJ lept from the corner with a guillotine. ZSJ dropped the choke, instead opting for a bridging clutch pin to close the match.
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Hikuleo, & Ryusuke Taguchi defeated EVIL, Yujiro Takahashi, & SHO (House of Torture)
You know what, this wasn't horrible. Hikuleo looked pretty good in this.
Yujiro tried offering Hikuleo a "too sweet" as the match started. After he rejected the gesture, HoT jumped him. Hikuleo took out his former faction mates before tagging out to Tanahashi.
Tanahashi lost the momentum Hikuleo gained after HoT worked together to isolate him. Taguchi was on the receiving end of the Tanahashi hot tag, but he, too, failed to achieve anything substantial. SHO landed a wrench shot and attempted the black arrow, but Hikuleo made the save. Hikuleo killed SHO with a choke slam and dragged Taguchi over SHO to secure the win for his team.
The Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb defeated Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI
This match opened with a brawl, leaving Cobb and O-Khan with a strong lead over YH. After an extended control period, a hot tag to Goto started to turn things around for his team. This rally eventually led to a match reset.
YH and Goto tried for Shoto, but YH opted for a dragonscrew after meeting resistance. YH locked in a kneebar, forcing O-Khan to make the save. After fighting off O-Khan, YH landed a headbutt and tried for a rollup for a near fall.
O-Khan fought back into the match, locking Goto into the sheep killer. Cobb followed this with a tour of the islands to YH, leading to the pin. O-Khan and Cobb established number-one contendership for the IWGP Tag Team championship with this win.
After the match, Cobb asked the commentary team, "where in the world is FTR?".
Tetsuya Naito, SANADA, Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI (Los Ingobernables de Japon) defeated Will Ospreay, Aaron Henare, TJP & Francesco Akira (United Empire)
Ospreay and Naito opened the match with a back-and-forth where neither man gained the upper hand. The pair then tagged in Henare and SANADA, respectively; LIJ gained the upper hand in this exchange with help from BUSHI and Hiromu.
The match broke down as TJP and Akira tried to even the odds. Once the order was restored, UE had control in the ring over BUSHI. This control segment was cut short as the match broke down again once both teams hit the ring.
The chaotic sequence ended with Akira attempting to unmask BUSHI. BUSHI was saved by a masked mystery junior who took out all of UE. BUSHI hit MX and pinned Akira after the masked guy rolled to the floor.
Naito and Ospreay had a scuffle over the US belt, setting up their November 5th title match. Once UE left, the masked man took a microphone and joined LIJ in the ring. He grunted and pulled off his mask, revealing another mask. Titán is Ingobernable.
NJPW World Television Championship
New Japan announced a new belt with a 15-minute time limit focused on high-speed, younger wrestlers. The belt exists in part to offer title matches for towns that typically don't get significant championship bouts. The first champion will be crowned in a tournament that concludes at WrestleKingdom 17 on January 4th, 2023.
Master Wato defeated Taiji Ishimori
Wato opened the match by rushing down Ishimori. Ishimori forced Wato to the floor to buy a pause. On the floor, Ishimori took advantage, using his environment to slow the match while beating Wato down.
Back in the ring, Ishimori maintained this pace, keeping Wato grounded.
Wato eventually launched a rally that ended suddenly after he missed the RPP. Ishimori slammed Wato into the ring post, hit a shoulder breaker, and secured the bone lock. Wato blocked the bloody cross, but Ishimori transitioned into Hermosillo position. Wato had the answer, turning the driver into a Recientemente for a huge upset win.
Wato tried to cut a promo after beating the Junior Champion, but Hiromu hit the ring, taking his microphone. Before Hiromu could say anything, El Desperado hit the ring, taking the microphone from him. After a back-and-forth, the champion Ishimori grabbed the microphone and invited the 4-way title match.
Provisional KOPW 2022 Who's Your Daddy match: Shingo Takagi (c) defeated El Phantasmo
This was a regular match, but the loser had to declare the winner is their "daddy". It was played mostly straight, even with the stipulation.
Shingo gained a lead early, but instead of furthering his control with typical wrestling moves, Shingo opted to spank ELP. ELP gained an advantage himself with a pair of dives to the outside. Back in the ring, ELP continued to connect with dives, furthering his lead.
As Shingo started to rally, ELP cut him off by twisting his nipple; Shingo answered with a sudden DVD and used this opening to establish control. ELP managed to stay in the match by winning out in a strike exchange followed by a UFO. ELP then pulled Shingo to the top rope for a Frankensteiner and Thunderkiss '86. ELP dropped Shingo with CR2 for a near fall.
Now desperate, ELP set Shingo up for CR3. Shingo avoided the move, transitioning into Made in Japan for a near fall of his own. The pair then turned to trading forearms, an exchange that Shingo won with a high kick. Shingo hit a piledriver for another near fall. Shingo transitioned into an octopus hold, and after an extended period, ELP submitted.
After the match, and after some hesitation, ELP held up his end of the stipulation, declaring, "Shingo is my daddy". Shingo also dressed ELP in a shirt that read "Shingo is my daddy" with a pacifier.
After the humiliation, ELP asked "Papa" Shingo for a hug. Shingo obliged. ELP broke the hug with a low blow before landing a double-foot stomp to obliterate the KOPW championship trophy.
Kazuchika Okada defeated JONAH
This was a fantastic match.
JONAH used impressive shows of strength early to set the stage. JONAH forced Okada to change his game plan, opting for a plancha, taking the match to the outside. On the floor, JONAH used his power again, slamming Okada into the barricade and connecting with a powerbomb into the ring post to establish significant control. Back in the ring, JONAH continued his methodical beatdown.
Okada eventually landed a DDT to begin a rally. Okada connected with a dropkick to the knee, signifying the beginning of his path to victory. Okada continued attacking the legs to great success, gaining a lead for the first time. Okada only failed once he tried for a bodyslam, buying JONAH enough time to connect with a spear, re-establishing his control.
JONAH tried for a top rope shoulder block, but Okada caught him with a dropkick. Okada landed a chop block and turned to the money clip to force JONAH into the ropes. Okada finally landed the bodyslam, which he followed with an elbow drop.
Okada tried for a rainmaker, but JONAH ducked, transitioning into a colossal suplex. Okada barely kicked out of the follow-up lariat. Okada tried for a rainmaker again, but again, JONAH reversed, this time into a black forest bomb. JONAH looked to close with a torpedo, but Okada's leg work bought him enough time on the ascent to escape JONAH on the descent.
Okada ducked JONAH's lariat and landed a suplex of his own, starting an intense back-and-forth closing sequence. After landing two dropkicks, another bodyslam, and a rainmaker, Okada became the first man to pin JONAH in NJPW.
IWGP World Heavyweight Championship: Jay White (c) defeated Tama Tonga
White started the match by establishing distance between himself and his challanger. A slap from Tama ended White's early game. Tama tried gaining something of a lead, but an exploder over the top rope to the floor from White left the champion in a strong position. On the outside, White slammed Tama into the barricade, choked Tama with a camera cable, and smothered Tama with the apron.
Back in the ring, White continued to pick apart Tama. The slow pace eventually allowed Tama to connect with some offense, but White attacked the eyes to keep the match under his control.
A Tangan Twist reset the match, buying both men a breather. White tried to escape to the floor, but Tama pursed him, connecting with a second Tangan Twist on the outside. Back in the ring, Tama tried for a supreme flow, but White extended his knees, blocking the move and knocking the wind from Tama in what is becoming a theme of this match.
After stopping Tama in his tracks, White continued grinding down Tama with wear-down submissions and targeted blows. Tama eventually connected with a DDT, which he followed with another supreme flow attempt; this time, he landed.
Tama tried for a gun stun, but White blocked Tama's finish. White tried for a rollup, but the official caught White's feet on the ropes. White backed the referee into the corner, trying to intimidate him. With his back turned, White was prone for a gun stun, but White blocked again, crashing into the referee. With the referee down, White landed a low blow and tried for a chair shot. Tama avoided the chair shot and landed a low blow of his own. As the referee came to, Tama considered using the chair himself but chose to remain on the righteous path. Tama handed the official the chair, buying White an opportunity for blade runner. Tama escaped White's finish, turning it into a pin, but the referee was busy discarding the weapon and missed the cover.
White and Tama traded chops in the center of the ring after the near ending. White connected with a German and a sleeper suplex to set up another blade runner attempt. Tama reversed again but, again, failed to hit the gun stun. White tried for another blade runner, but Tama slipped free once more and landed a bloody Sunday for a near fall. White stuffed two more gun stuns, the second opening Tama up for a barrage of White elbows. White hit a Regalplex and a bloody Sunday to set up his own gun stun; Tama answered, finally landing the gun stun. White kicked out.
A fast sequence of finisher attempts began as the inevitable end drew near. After avoiding another gun stun and a second rope gun stun, White hit Tama with a blade runner to win the match and retain his belt.
After the match, White cut a promo. White spent a lot of time praising Tama before transitioning into a self-congratulatory speech.
Okada met White in the ring to further build their upcoming match at WrestleKingdom.
This was one of the best New Japan shows of the year. The product felt fresh as the build to WrestleKingdom begins. For the first time in a long time, I'm looking forward to what New Japan has in store.