NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 16 Day 2 Results
Who left the Tokyo Dome as IWGP World Heavyweight Champion?
Following day one of Wrestle Kingdom 16 on January 4, New Japan Pro-Wrestling returned to the Tokyo Dome for day two of their biggest event of the year. The show featured multiple world title matches, including a No DQ Match between KENTA and Hiroshi Tanahashi and a main event pitting Kazuchika Okada against his former friend Will Ospreay to determine who the 'real' IWGP World Heavyweight Champion was.
Check out the results from the January 5 Wrestle Kingdom 16 show below:
Tomoaki Honma, Yuji Nagata & Togi Makabe def. Gedo, Jado & Bad Luck Fale – Pre-Show
Following the events of day one of Wrestle Kingdom 16, NJPW added three pre-show matches to the January 5 show.
The event opened with a standard six-man tag team match between Tomoaki Honma, Togi Makabe and Yuji Nagata against Bullet Club's Gedo, Jado and Bad Luck Fale.
In somewhat of a surprise, Honma was the one who picked up the win for his team following an Avalanche Kokeshi to Gedo to earn his, Nagata and Makabe's first victories of 2022.
Master Wato & TenCozy def. El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & TAKA Michinoku – Pre-Show
The second pre-show match of the day looked set to be just another bout to fill time on paper but it seemingly set up the next challenger for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.
Master Wato made his case for a future title shot before the match even began, which was immediately laughed off by El Desperado. This led to a brawl between both men and they would continue to interact throughout the contest.
Their bubbling tension then played into the finish as Master Wato hit a Sunset Flip Powerbomb on Despe and applied a new submission, forcing the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion to tap out.
Master Wato then signalled he wanted a title shot following the match, which would seemingly take place at NJPW's next major show.
Shingo Takagi, Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI def. DOUKI & Dangerous Tekkers – Pre-Show
After Los Ingobernables de Japon and Suzuki-gun experienced disappointment on January 4, with all six men losing their respective matches, the two factions fought to end the Tokyo Dome leg of Wrestle Kingdom 16 on a high note.
It was LIJ who ended the day with a win following some tandem offence between Shingo Takagi and Hiromu Takahashi which the former IWGP World Heavyweight Champion followed up with a Pumping Bomber and Last Of The Dragon to DOUKI for the victory.
Robbie Eagles & Tiger Mask (c) def. Ryusuke Taguchi & Rocky Romero and Taiji Ishimori & El Phantasmo – IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship
In a match that was set up at the Best of Super Juniors 28/World Tag League 2021 Finals, Robbie Eagles and Tiger Mask defended the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship against The Mega Coaches of Ryusuke Taguchi and Rocky Romero, and Bullet Club's Cutest Tag Team of El Phantasmo and Taiji Ishimori.
The suspected loaded boot of El Phantasmo dominated much of the contest in between plenty of high-flying offence and ELP used his right foot to deck Robbie Eagles with a Thrust Kick before he stomped on Rocky Romero and Ryusuke Taguchi's hands, causing them to scream in pain.
Phantasmo then later tried to win the match with his suspected loaded boot as he decked Tiger Mask with Thunderkiss before he went for Sudden Death. Robbie Eagles blocked the finisher, though, and tossed ELP's boot into Taiji Ishimori, knocking The Bone Soldier from the ring.
The babyfaces then ganged up on Phantasmo and pinned ELP down to remove his boot. Finally, after a year, a hunk of metal was discovered in Phantasmo's right boot and, as a result, the referee disqualified Bullet Club's Cutest Tag Team from the match, with Phantasmo being carried backstage by three young lions as he struggled to get back in the ring.
This left Tiger Mask and Robbie Eagles to continue the match with The Mega Coaches and it was the champions who retained after The Sniper Of The Skies applied the Ron Miller Special to Rocky Romero, giving the former Black Tiger little choice but to tap out.
Saya Kamitani & Tam Nakano def. Starlight Kid & Mayu Iwatani
As revealed by English-language Commentator Chris Charlton, a women's match was featured on a main NJPW Tokyo Dome card for the first time in 20 years as Stardom's Saya Kamitani and Tam Nakano faced off against Starlight Kid and Mayu Iwatani.
All four women belong to different factions but they were forced to work together after drawing straws in December to determine the match. They were able to work together effectively and they wrestled an entertaining match which featured Quebradas and Starlight Kid hitting a Crossbody to Saya Kamitani after leaping off Mayu Iwatani's shoulders.
Starlight Kid couldn't pick up the win, though, and Kamitani later hit the Star Crusher to Kid at the third attempt before she followed up with the Phoenix Splash for the victory.
Minoru Suzuki def. Toru Yano, CIMA & Chase Owens – KOPW 2022 Trophy
After Toru Yano was crowned the KOPW Champion in 2020 and 2021, The Sublime Master Thief looked to hold the trophy again after earning a spot in today's Four-Way with Minoru Suzuki, CIMA and Chase Owens in the January 4 New Japan Ranbo.
While all four men enjoyed time on top in the contest, it was Minoru Suzuki who picked up the win following a Rear-Naked Choke and Gotch-Style Piledriver to Toru Yano.
The win didn't placate Suzuki's rage, though, and he continued to attack Toru Yano after the match but The Sublime Master Thief handcuffed the 53-year-old to the top rope, giving him enough time to escape to the back.
Of course, this only made Suzuki more angry and he proceeded to beat up the young lion who freed him before he angrily headed to the locker room, kicking the barricades as he went.
Either way, The King Of Pro-Wrestling is the King Of Pro-Wrestling 2022 Provisional Champion.
EVIL, Yujiro Takahashi & SHO (c) def. YOH, Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI – NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship
Following criticism of EVIL yesterday for his failure to have a good match with Tomohiro Ishii, House Of Torture had a chance to redeem themselves as they defended the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship against former champions Hirooki Goto and YOSHI-HASHI, as well as SHO's former Roppongi 3K teammate and now rival YOH.
As is typical with House Of Torture matches, interference from Dick Togo featured throughout although Tomohiro Ishii was on hand to even the odds for much of the contest.
There was nothing The Stone Pitbull could do down the stretch, though, as Yujiro Takahashi distracted the official which allowed EVIL to pass a wrench to SHO, which he used to deck his former Roppongi 3K teammate YOH before covering him for the pinfall win.
The feud between House Of Torture and Chaos looks set to continue too as EVIL and Yujiro Takahashi jawed with Hirooki Goto and YOSHI-HASHI after the match, signalling a match for the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Title could be on the horizon, as well as a rematch for the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship. Tomohiro Ishii also appeared to be unimpressed with EVIL and he shouted at The King Of Darkness about a rematch for the NEVER Openweight Championship.
Pro Wrestling NOAH invade the Tokyo Dome
Ahead of day three of Wrestle Kingdom 16 at Yokohama Arena on January 8, the Pro Wrestling NOAH roster made their way to the ring during the intermission to Keiji Mutoh's music, with the Musketeer making his first appearance in the Tokyo Dome since Wrestle Kingdom 8.
Kaito Kiyomiya spoke briefly but much of the talking was done by KONGOH's Kenoh, who insulted the NJPW fans in attendance and took aim at the empty seats in the Tokyo Dome before claiming NOAH were out to take the top spot in Japanese wrestling from NJPW.
This brought out Los Ingobernables de Japon's Shingo Takagi, Hiromu Takahashi and BUSHI before the faction's match against KONGOH at NJPW vs. NOAH on Saturday.
Shingo noted NJPW would show the difference between them and NOAH on January 8 and he teased entering the ring for a fight but LIJ were outnumbered 20 to 3 so they headed back to the locker room while Kenoh continued to shout insults.
SANADA def. Great-O-Khan
In a match set up back at the Best Of Super Juniors 28/World Tag League 2021 Finals, SANADA and Great-O-Khan faced off in the first of two Los Ingobernables de Japon vs. United Empire clashes.
Great-O-Khan continued to use much of his trademark offence but he took moves out of SANADA's playbook with a Pescado to the floor after much build-up.
Both men then continued to fight back and forth and Great-O-Khan even hit a Moonsault and looked to follow up with the Eliminator. SANADA managed to counter into the Japanese Clutch, though, to score the 1-2-3 from out of nowhere.
Tetsuya Naito def. Jeff Cobb
In a match many tipped would determine the next number one contender for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship, Tetsuya Naito went one on one with Jeff Cobb in the second of two LIJ vs. United Empire matches.
While Jeff Cobb would dominate the opening minutes of the match as he battered Tetsuya Naito, El Ingobernable fought back, repeatedly targeting Cobb's knee which hobbled the former NEVER Openweight Champion.
Submissions, including a Calf Crusher, continued to wear down Cobb but The Hawaiian Hulk fired back, countering a Frankensteiner with a Powerbomb from the top rope.
It wasn't enough to score the pinfall, though, and Cobb later went for Tour Of The Islands but Naito reversed into Valentia and hit his Destino Finisher for the victory.
Hiroshi Tanahashi def. KENTA (c) – No DQ Match for the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship
The feud between KENTA and Hiroshi Tanahashi seemingly came to an end at Wrestle Kingdom as both men faced off once again for the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship, this time in a No DQ Match.
The stipulation was wholly unfamiliar to Hiroshi Tanahashi but The Ace was unafraid to use weapons and both champion KENTA and the challenger battered each other with a stack of chairs, kendo sticks, a guitar, a trash can and even KENTA's old IWGP United States Heavyweight Title Right to Challenge Briefcase.
None of it was good enough to win the match but KENTA appeared to have victory in his grasp after he put Tanahashi through a table with a Falcon Arrow from the top rope.
The champion didn't make the cover, though, and he instead lay Tanahashi across another table before he scaled a giant ladder.
This proved to be KENTA's downfall, however, as Tanahashi recovered and pushed the Bullet Club man from the ladder, sending KENTA crashing face-first into a trash can below, leaving the former GHC Heavyweight Champion a bloody mess.
With KENTA indisposed, Tanahashi then took advantage and connected with a High Fly Flow from the top of the ladder through a table for the win to begin his second reign as IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion.
Kazuchika Okada (c) def. Will Ospreay – IWGP World Heavyweight Championship
Following his win over Shingo Takagi on January 4, Kazuchika Okada defended the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship on day two of Wrestle Kingdom 16 to determine who the 'real' champion was.
Ospreay did everything he could to defeat his former 'big brother', hitting Okada with a Moonsault from a steel beam, a Sit-Out Powerbomb, a Shooting Star Press, the Chelsea Grin, both an OsCutter and a Super OsCutter, and a Hidden Blade, but none of it was enough to keep Okada down for the three count.
Ospreay even used Okada's moves against him, connecting with a Tombstone Piledriver and a Rainmaker but Okada still managed to kick out and fire back with a Rainmaker of his own.
Both men continued to try and put each other away after 35 minutes and Ospreay went for a second Hidden Blade, but Okada countered into his Sit-Out Tombstone Piledriver before he decked his former friend with a second Rainmaker to score the 1-2-3.
Following the match, Okada recognised Ospreay was 'the real deal' but The Rainmaker will have to move on quickly as his next challenger revealed themselves in Tetsuya Naito, who headed to the ring following his win over Jeff Cobb earlier in the night.
Okada quickly accepted Naito's challenge and El Ingobernable left the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion to close out the Tokyo Dome leg of Wrestle Kingdom 16.