The IWGP World Heavyweight Championship will be on the line in the main event of night two of NJPW Wrestling Dontaku.
Will Ospreay will defend the IWGP World title against Shingo Takagi. This will be Ospreay's first title defense since defeating Kota Ibushi for the Championship at Sakura Genesis.
The two have met three times in singles competition before. Ospreay holds a 2-1 edge over Shingo with his wins coming in the 2019 Best of the Super Juniors final and this year's New Japan Cup final. Shingo's victory came in the 2020 G1 Climax tournament.
Tonight's scheduled IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship match with El Desperado defending against YOH was pulled from the card as a precautionary measure. Contact tracing has also forced the change of two other matches on the card.
A previously scheduled 10-man tag has been split into two new matches: Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Master Wato vs. Yujiro Takahashi & Taiji Ishimori, plus Hiroshi Tanahashi, Toru Yano & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Jay White, EVIL & Dick Togo.
The Los Ingobernables de Japon vs. United Empire series will continue with Tetsuya Naito, SANADA & BUSHI vs. Great-O-Khan, Jeff Cobb & Aaron Henare in a trios match.
For the seventeenth time since April 4 and in their tenth broadcast meeting in that timeframe, Taichi, Zack Sabre Jr. & DOUKI will face Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & Jado in a trios match.
Our live coverage begins at 2 a.m. Eastern time.
The show began with the announcement of the changes to tonight's card.
Taichi, Zack Sabre Jr. & DOUKI defeated Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & Jado (10:00)
This is the tenth time this exact match has been broadcast in the last month. I don't know what more can be said about the match. I don't ever want to see it again.
Unfortunately, Taichi and Sabre are G.O.D.'s next challengers for the IWGP Heavyweight Tag titles by virtue of Sabre's win yesterday, so I expect to see it many more times.
This was the DOUKI show early. He hit an Asai moonsault on both members of G.O.D. before being cut off. Jado worked him over. Tama worked him over. Loa worked him over.
The match broke down. Everyone brawled. Sabre got a hot tag and used Hurrah! to submit Jado.
Sabre and Taichi cut promos on G.O.D. after the match, as this feud must continue.
Yujiro Takahashi & Taiji Ishimori defeated Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Master Wato (10:24)
This was a solid little tag match.
Tenzan and Yujiro began with some brawling. Tenzan tagged in Wato and Wato was promptly cut off. Yujiro and Ishimori used quick tags as they worked on Wato. Wato came back with a flying mid kick to Ishimori.
Yujiro and Tenzan got tags. Tenzan's hot tag was actually pretty crisp. His effort is always there, but his body is not always willing. He hit a brainbuster and a mountain bomb. He used an Anaconda Vice, but Ishimori made the save for Yujiro.
Wato and Ishimori got tags. Wato peppered Ishimori with kicks. Ishimori blocked a powerbomb and hit a handspring kick. Yujiro and Ishimori hit a tandem neckbreaker for a near fall. Tenzan saved.
As Yujiro and Tenzan brawled to the floor, Ishimori hit Wato with a Bloody Cross for the pin.
Great-O-Khan, Jeff Cobb & Aaron Henare defeated Tetsuya Naito, SANADA & BUSHI (14:54)
This was good as well. With the exception of one off night, all the televised tagmatches between LIJ and United Empire have been good on this tour.
Naito had trouble getting his entrance gear off. It's always a rib when Naito is introduced last and is wearing his entrance suit. It takes him forever to get everything off.
LIJ overcame a jumpstart and controlled Henare for the first several minutes of the match. Naito and SANADA hit some tandem offense. Naito was eventually cut off and worked over.
Cobb used a delayed vertical suplex while doing squats with Naito, which was beyond impressive. Cobb hit a standing moonsault for a two count. O-Khan tagged in to continue working Naito over. Naito hit a swing DDT and tagged out.
SANADA got a hot tag and ran wild. Henare tagged in and got hit with an atomic drop and put in the paradise lock. Henare came back with a Samoan drop. They traded elbow strikes. Cobb tagged in. SANADA took him over with a rana, then tagged BUSHI.
BUSHI hit a tope suicida to Cobb. He followed with a DDT for a two count. Cobb fought off a Codebreaker. Everyone hopped in to hit a big move as they worked to the finish.
BUSHI teased an MX, but Cobb caught him coming off the ropes. BUSHI fought out of a spin cycle attempt and used a victory roll for a near fall.
Cobb powered up and hit a dropkick and a vicious knee strike to mock Kota Ibushi, then hit Tour of the Islands to pin BUSHI.
***** Intermission *****
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Toru Yano & Ryusuke Taguchi defeated Jay White, EVIL & Dick Togo (12:14)
This had a little bit of everything. Lots of good work from Tanahashi. Lots of comedy. Lots of Bullet Club shenanigans.
Tanahashi and White began. Both were so great at subtly selling the damage they did to each other's legs in yesterday's main event.
Taguchi tagged in and it was comedy time. All six guys did a great comedy spot. Five guys took a bump off a single Taguchi hip attack. Taguchi went for Everything is EVIL on EVIL, but EVIL blocked and cut him off. Taguchi was worked over.
Tana and White got tags. Both tried for a Texas cloverleaf, but neither could get it. White hit a Blade Buster, then tagged Togo. Togo used a jackknife cradle for two.
Tana hit a crossbody off the second to Togo and tagged Yano. Yano exposed a buckle and produced a hood. Togo put the hood on Yano and rolled him up for two. EVIL and Togo hit Yano with sentons. Togo covered for another two.
EVIL took the referee. Togo choked Yano. Tanahashi jumped in and put the hood on Togo. Yano hit a double low blow on Togo and EVIL and pinned Togo.
IWGP World Heavyweight Championship match: Will Ospreay defeated Shingo Takagi to retain the title (44:53)
The last two nights have shown that even with all the issues currently facing NJPW, the repetitive undercard, the apathy and the uninspired booking, the main events still produce the best pro wrestling in the world. This was an epic.
They teased locking up, then decided to strike with each other. Ospreay kipped up off a double sledge to the chest. Shingo missed a senton. Ospreay grabbed a side headlock and took Shingo over. Shingo used a head scissors escape. Both backed away to collect themselves before the next volley.
A test of strength ended with Shingo hitting a backdrop. Shingo went after Ospreay's back, stretching him. Shingo hit a tackle and a senton, then grabbed a front chancery. Shingo ate a kick, then clotheslined Ospreay to the floor.
On the outside, Ospreay whipped Shingo into the barricade. Shingo avoided a back suplex on the railing and hit a drop toe hold into the fence. Shingo posted Ospreay and dropped him face-first onto the apron.
O-Khan, Cobb and Henare came to ringside. A momentary distraction from them allowed Ospreay to get the upper hand on Shingo. Ospreay cleared the timekeeper's table and tried to drag it over to Shingo, but Shingo produced a table from under the ring and knocked Ospreay's table away.
Shingo set up both tables on the floor. He teased a death valley driver off the apron, but Ospreay blocked. Ospreay teased a kick off the apron, but Shingo avoided the tables. Ospreay brought Shingo back inside with a brainbuster, then hit pip pip cheerio. The tables remained a Chekhov's gun on the outside.
Ospreay torqued on Shingo's left arm with a cross armbreaker. Shingo rolled outside. Ospreay went out after him and used the barricade and the post to continue attacking the left arm. Back in, Ospreay kicked at the arm, then used an armlock.
Shingo tried to turn an arm wringer into a sleeper hold, but Ospreay broke the hold by backing Shingo into the corner. Ospreay hit some Kawada kicks. Shingo no-sold them and fired up. Shingo hit a jab and a DDT.
Shingo hit a tackle and a brainbuster. Ospreay avoided noshigami. They traded chops in the corner. Ospreay tied Shingo to the tree of woe for a series of kicks. Ospreay hit a bloody sunday for a near fall.
Shingo hit a backdrop out of a Stormbreaker attempt. Shingo caught a kick and turned it into a dragon screw. Ospreay reversed a suplex into a stunner, then hit a 619. Ospreay used La Mistica to set up a wristlock. Shingo forced a rope break.
Ospreay hit a rolling elbow. Shingo blocked an Oscutter attempt. Ospreay hit a stunner and tried a standing moonsault, but Shingo got his knees up. Shingo hit noshigami into a double down at the 20 minute call.
Shingo hit a wheelbarrow German for a two count. Shingo caught a kick and tossed Ospreay through the air for a flip bump. Ospreay avoided a sliding lariat. Shingo avoided a handspring kick. Shingo blocked a Stormbreaker. Ospreay hit a handspring kick. Shingo no-sold and hit the sliding lariat.
Ospreay blocked a corner clothesline and hit a cheeky nando's kick. Ospreay teased a top rope Stormbreaker. Shingo blocked a sunset bomb out of the corner. Ospreay hit a Pele kick and a top rope Spanish fly for a two count at 25 minutes.
Ospreay draped Shingo over the ropes and hit a shooting star press. He followed with a standard shooting star press for a near fall. Ospreay started selling his back after landing. Ospreay placed Shingo on the tables. He teased a 450 off the post, but Shingo cut him off.
They fought on the apron. Ospreay teased a Stormbreaker off the apron. Shingo teased noshigami off the apron. Ospreay went for an Oscutter, but Shingo blocked and hit Made in Japan off the apron through the tables.
Ospreay barely beat the count back in at 19. Shingo hit a sliding jab and Made in Japan for a near fall at the 30 minute call. Ospreay's back was cut up from the table spot.
Ospreay collapsed as Shingo tried to set up a pumping bomber. Ospreay collapsed as Shingo tried to whip him into the corner. Shingo hit a corner clothesline. He teased a second rope Last of the Dragon. Ospreay elbowed his way free. Ospreay missed on a frankensteiner.
Shingo dove off the second rope into an Oscutter. Ospreay hit a second Oscutter and got a near fall. They traded elbow strikes. Ospreay hit the Chelsea Grin. Ospreay missed with a Hidden Blade. Shingo blocked a Super Oscutter and hit a GTR.
Shingo hit a lariat. Ospreay blocked a pumping bomber. Ospreay went for an Oscutter, but Shingo caught him in a cutter for a great near fall.
Ospreay blocked a Last of the Dragon and hit a rolling elbow, then hit a hook kick. They traded poison ranas. Ospreay popped up and hit Hidden Blade. Ospreay covered, but Shingo's right arm was under the bottom rope, so Red Shoes stopped the count at two.
Ospreay went for a Stormbreaker, but his back gave out. Ospreay hit some short kicks at the 40 minute call. Shingo hulked up and hit a series of forearms. Ospreay ducked a pumping bomber. Ospreay hit a pop-up DVD, but Ospreay no-sold it.
Shingo hit a lariat. Ospreay hit a high kick and a Spanish fly. Shingo escpaed a Stormbreaker attempt. Ospreay hit a jumping knee strike. They traded strikes, then traded headbutts. Shingo hit a big headbutt to the side of the neck.
Ospreay hit the Chelsea Grin and a Rainmaker. He followed with Hidden Blade and a Stormbreaker for the pin.
Ospreay cut a promo. He thanked Shingo for being his first stepping stone. He said that the company has leaned on him for far too long. He said with card subject to change, the people get their ticket's worth just by seeing him. He said the building sold out with just one match announced -- his match.
He said everyone was expecting his demise. He said Okada and the world are probably disappointed with the man he's become, but he doesn't care. He said all he cares about is United Empire and being the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion.
Ospreay said he rights the wrong and will beat Okada in the main event of Wrestle Grand Slam in Tokyo Dome.
O-Khan translated Ospreay's promo, then did the United Empire roll call to close the show as confetti fell.