The first IWGP Women's Champion will be crowned at today's NJPW X STARDOM Historic X-Over event.
KAIRI takes on Mayu Iwatani in the main event in the finals of a tournament to crown the first-ever IWGP Women's Champion.
In the semi-main, Will Ospreay defends the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship against "Roughneck" Shota Umino.
In what is billed as The Great Muta's final NJPW match, he will team with Kazuchika Okada and Toru Yano against United Empire's Great-O-Khan, Jeff Cobb, and Aaron Henare.
It will be LIJ vs. United Empire in a 10-man tag, as LIJ's Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi, SANADA, Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI take on United Empire's Kyle Fletcher, Mark Davis, TJP, Francesco Akira, and Gideon Grey.
In a mixed tag bout, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Utami Hayashishita face Hirooki Goto and Maika.
In an eight-person mixed tag, Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Tam Nakano, and Natsupoi take on El Desperado, DOUKI, Starlight Kid, and Momo Watanabe.
In another mixed tag, "Filthy" Tom Lawlor and Syuri face Zack Sabre Jr. and Giulia.
Lady C, AZM, and Saya Kamitani will face Mai Sakurai, Thekla, and Himeka in trios action.
An eight-man tag kicks off the main card, with Tomohiro Ishii, YOSHI-HASHI, YOH, and Lio Rush facing EVIL, Yujiro Takahashi, Dick Togo, and SHO.
On the pre-show, a 15-woman STARDOM Ranbo will take place.
The pre-show kicks off with an eight-man tag featuring the debut of new Young Lion Oskar Leube. Leube teams with Yuto Nakashima, Ryohei Oiwa, and Kosei Fujita against Kevin Knight, Gabriel Kidd, Alex Coughlin, and Clark Connors.
Our live coverage begins at 2 a.m. Eastern time.
Gabriel Kidd, Alex Coughlin, Kevin Knight, and Clark Connors (LA Dojo) defeated Oskar Leube, Yuto Nakashima, Ryohei Oiwa, and Kosei Fujita (Noge Dojo)
This was a fun way to start the night.
The trainees from New Japan's competing dojos opened the show with a multi-man tag.
This match was filled with back-and-forth striking and standard offensive sequences. The LA Dojo representatives used their experience advantage to find an early lead which they held onto for quite some time. Coughlin and Kidd closed the match with a double muscle buster to Lebue.
After securing the win, the LA representatives beat down their Noge colleagues.
Mirai won Stardom Ranbo
This was a ranbo/rumble match with random entries happening periodically. Wrestlers can be eliminated by pinfall, submission, or by being tossed over the top rope.
Mirai and Future of Stardom champion Ami Sohrei, both from God's Eye, opened the match. Next, Saya Iida entered the match. Iida, representing Stars, took the fight to the God's Eye representatives, standing on solid ground, even while being outnumbered.
Natsuko Toura and Hanan entered next. Toura eliminated Iida with a pin. Next to enter was Hanan's sister Hina, followed by her other sister Rina. Hazuki then joined the match and immediately gained control with help from her star's faction mate, Hanan. Koguma and Momo Kogoh, also of Stars, hit the ring next, helping to further the Stars' lead.
Waka Tsukiyama, Saki Kashima, and Ruaka all entered the match as the Stars' lead began to wane. Miyu Amasaki joined the fray as eliminations started to become frequent. Next came Super Strong Stardom Machine; Saya Iida is in for another try.
Kashima scored a ton of eliminations, all in quick succession, to establish a final three consisting of Machine, Kashima, and Mirai. With an assist from Machine, Mirai eliminated Kashima. Mirai closed the bout with the most exciting sequence in the entire ranbo, winning via pinfall.
Lio Rush, Tomohiro Ishii, YOH & YOSHI-HASHI (CHAOS) defeated Dick Togo, EVIL, SHO & Yujiro Takahashi (House of Torture)
This match opened with a brawl. HoT used the fog to cheat and establish an early lead. The rest of the match was HoT cheating, short-lived CHAOS rallies, and more brawls. During their last rally, Rush and YOH hit Togo with a double-team move and won the match for their team.
AZM, Lady C & Saya Kamitani (Queen's Quest) defeated Himeka, Mai Sakurai & Thekla (Donna del Mondo)
QQ was the first team to establish control as the team worked to isolate Thekla. Himeka reversed momentum temporarily in DDM's favor after receiving a tag, but control of the match would be in flux for some time.
As the match passed the five-minute, the match broke down into a brawl. After clearing the ring, Kamitani climbed to the top rope and hit Sakurai with a 450, which she followed with a pin to win the match.
Giulia & Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Syuri & Tom Lawlor
This was a fun, well-wrestled, intense match. I loved everything about it.
Lawlor and ZSJ came to blows before the opening bell as Giulia and Syuri traded strikes on the outside. Inside the ropes, the men fought for control for the mat, eventually rolling to the outside, still fighting for ground control. To break up the struggle, Syuri slammed Giulia into ZSJ, establishing an early lead for their team.
Syuri and Lawlor hit a tandem running knee from the top of the ramp to the bottom, furthering their initial lead. Back in the ring, ZSJ and Lawlor grappled to a standstill before a double tag left Syuri and Giulia alone in the ring. The women traded heavy strikes, prompting Lawlor to pull them apart. Syuri wasn't a fan of this, so she worked with Giulia to subdue her own partner.
Giulia and Syuri continued with heavy back-and-forth offense, eventually forcing another tag. The men traded momentum in-ring for quite some time with sporadic appearances from the women (who were fighting on the outside. To close the match, Lawlor locked in a rear-naked choke; ZSJ rolled through the choke, turning it into a pin to win the match.
Natsupoi, Tam Nakano, Taichi & Yoshinobu Kanemaru defeated Momo Watanabe, Starlight Kid, DOUKI, & El Desperado
This was another entertaining mixed tag.
Natsupoi and SLK opened this match before Desperado broke the gender segregation rule and forced Kanemaru into the ring. DOUKI pulled Kanemaru to the floor, where all of Oedo Tai beat him down. Back in the ring, Kanemaru was able to create some separation, buying himself a tag to Nakano.
The match broke down from this point. Once things began to calm down, Nakano and Watanabe were alone in the ring; they proved to be on equal footing, forcing a double tag. Taichi and DOUKI tagged in, going back and forth. The match broke down again after Desperado tried to attack Natsupoi. In the chaos, Kanemaru and Natsupoi had a double mist spot while Taichi and Nakano hit a double drop kick. To close the match, Taichi hit DOUKI with Black Mafisto and pinned him.
Hiroshi Tanahashi & Utami Hayashishita defeated Hirooki Goto & Maika
Another great match. This one pushed the mixed-tag ruleset as much as possible with a lot of intergender wrestling. Everyone in the bout was fantastic.
The match opened with both women striking the men from the apron in an act of protest against the mixed tag rules. With help from Tanahashi, Utami gained the first lead of the match. After tagging in, Goto reversed the momentum, establishing control over Tanahashi. Tanahashi answered with a dragonscrew and slingblade to reset the match.
The women tagged back in and continued to escalate the offense. Maika landed a colossal lariat and slam, forcing a breakup from Tanahashi. Maika landed some forearms on Tanahashi, but Tanahashi landed a strike of his own, dropping her. Goto hit the ring to even the odds, but a slingblade from Utami dropped him. Tanahashi tried to follow up, but Maika caught him with a suplex, leaving only the women standing. To bring the match to an end, Utami hit a highjack bomb and pinned Maika.
After the match's end, Tanahashi and Utami played tandem air guitars atop the ramp.
Francesco Akira, Gideon Grey, Kyle Fletcher, Mark Davis & TJP (United Empire) defeated BUSHI, Hiromu Takahashi, SANADA, Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito (Los Ingobernables de Japon)
I am trying to understand why this match happened.
Grey tried opening the match against Shingo, but that, unsurprisingly, went poorly. After he failed to take out Shingo, every member of LIJ took turns bullying UE's "money mark".
UE had a turnaround after Grey tagged out. The match continued from here with fairly typical ebbs and flows with really nothing memorable about it. The end of the match came when Aussie Open hit Coriolis on BUSHI.
Kazuchika Okada, Toru Yano, & Great Muta defeated Aaron Henare, Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb (United Empire)
This was a 2022 Muta match, alright.
I am not sure why it's on this card, but this is Muta's last match in a New Japan ring. It seems that he will wrestle as Keiji Mutoh in a New Japan ring again; this isn't the man's final appearance, just this alias.
Muta tried spraying O-Khan immediately following the opening bell, but O-Khan avoided the mist. The match spilled to the floor, where Muta choked O-Khan with his hair. Once the match re-entered the ring, it broke down.
After a chaotic exchange, Muta hit all of his opponents with leg whips before attempting a shining wizard on O-Khan. After O-Khan blocked the move, Okada and Henare tagged in and had an almost normal sequence (other than some Yanoisms).
UE took control of the match after clearing the ring of CHAOS. O-Khan tried to mist Muta, but missed, blinding Cobb instead. Muta then responded with mist of his own, dropping O-Khan with a face full of red mist. Henare tried to save the match for his team, but a dropkick and a rainmaker from Okada brought this match to an end.
IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship: Will Ospreay (c) defeated Shota Umino
This match opened with a highspeed exchange before slowing down with some strikes and methodical pacing. As the match wore on, Umino slowly gained more offensive ground.
Ospreay cut Umino's advance off with a dive to the floor. He then took his time connecting with strikes, controlling the pace. Umino had a short-lived rally, but a sudden powerbomb left Ospreay ahead.
Umino managed to pull Ospreay, but failed to capitalize. Ospreay hit another powerbomb and an OsCutter for a near fall. After the kick out, Ospreay connected with shots to the back of Umino's head. A pair of superkicks and another clubbing blow set Umino up for a hidden blade, but he ducked Ospreay's finish. Umino began a rally but couldn't connect with the death rider. After the failure to finish, Ospreay landed a hidden blade to a standing Umino, followed by a Stormbreaker to win the match.
After the match, Kenny Omega appeared on the screen. He cut a scathing promo against Ospreay, blaming him for New Japan's failings. Omega then challenged Ospreay for WrestleKingdom and promised to save the company once again.
Ospreay answered the video with a brief promo. He said while Omega left, Ospreay stayed, even when times were bad. Ospreay accepted the match for January 4th.
IWGP Women's Championship: KAIRI defeated Mayu Iwatani
What a fantastic way to introduce this belt. This was a dramatic war with incredible themes running throughout.
The match opened with a sequence that sent KAIRI to the floor. Mayu followed her opening with a tope to the ground, followed by a dropkick from the top rope. Mayu continued to establish control by working over the arm of KAIRI.
The match soon found its way outside of the ring. On the entrance ramp, KAIRI landed a running knee to take the lead. Back in the ring, KAIRI landed a leaping forearm from the top rope before taking the match to the mat. After returning to a standing position, a pair of strikes dropped them both again.
Now on even footing, KAIRI and Mayu began to trade strikes. Mayu gained a bit of an upper hand, but KAIRI interrupted her springboard rana attempt. After a struggle, Mayu hit a rana on the top, which she followed with a picture-perfect splash from the top.
Mayu tried for a moonsault but missed. KAIRI followed up with a violent shove into the corner. KAIRI locked in the anchor, but Mayu's arm work from earlier in the match forced the hold to break. KAIRI tried to follow up by climbing to the top rope, from where she lept to the floor, taking out Mayu in the process. KAIRI then unloaded with heavy strikes while Mayu held on for dear life.
After surviving KAIRI's relentless attack, Mayu landed a tombstone and a dragon suplex; KAIRI kicked out and landed a cutlass in response. KAIRI landed a pair of elbow drops that looked to be the finish; Mayu kicked out. Mayu caught KAIRI with a crucifix bomb, but, again, KAIRI kicked out. Mayu landed another dragon suplex -- another kick out. Somehow, Mayu landed another dragon suplex, but this time, KAIRI was in the ropes. After surviving Mayu's best, KAIRI Mayu's best, KAIRI scaled to the top rope and delivered another elbow, this time, to win the match and become the first IWGP Women's champion.
After being awarded the belt, KAIRI cut a passionate show-ending promo. She opened the door for a title challenge on January 4, and Tam Nakano walked to the ring to accept. To sign off, KAIRI invoked Inoki, using his signature "Ichi, Ni, San, Da!" to close the show.