1/5 NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING WRESTLE KINGDOM 16 NIGHT TWO RESULTS: Okada or Takagi vs. Ospreay, Tanahashi vs. Kenta, more

By Kelly Wells, PWTorch Contributor


SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING WRESTLE KINGDOM 16 NIGHT TWO RESULTS
JANUARY 5, 2022
LIVE FROM TOKYO, JAPAN IN THE TOKYO DOME

(Sean Radican will be along later today with a detailed report as well)

PRE-SHOW MATCHES

(a) TOMOAKI HONMA, YUJI NAGATA & TOGI MAKABE def. BAD LUCK FALE, GEDO & JADO at 6:39 (*)

(Honma got the extremely rare pinfall victory over Gedo when he hit a diving Kokeshi)

(b) MASTER WATO, SATOSHI KOJIMA & HIROYOSHI TENZAN def. EL DESPERADO, TAKA MICHINOKU & YOSHINOBU KANEMARU at 9:23 (**1/4)

(Wato motioned that he wanted a shot at Desperado’s championship before the match started, and he ended up getting the win on Desperado with a new submission hold)

(c) SHINGO TAKAGI, BUSHI & HIROMU TAKAHASHI def. ZACK SABRE JR., TAICHI & DOUKI at 10:27 (**)

(No surprise as Takagi scored the pin on Douki after his main event loss last night)

[WRESTLE KINGDOM 16]

(1) ROBBIE EAGLES & TIGER MASK (c) def. RYUSUKE TAGUCHI & ROCKY ROMERO and TAIJI ISHIMORI & EL PHANTASMO at 12:10 – Triple threat match for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Championship

There were some rough spots early on in the match as all six men were routinely involved. It cleaned up midway through and there were some fun segments with Phantasmo getting ganged up on by the faces. (**)

(Wells’s Analysis: I’m surprised by the retention here. Fun to see Tiger Mask continue to get a late-career renaissance)

(2) TAM NAKANO & SAYA KAMITANI def. MAYU IWATANI & STARLIGHT KID at 9:13 – Stardom showcase tag match

This was incredibly energetic all the way through with fun reversals and spots. The women worked their tails off to increase visibility for the brand. (***1/4)

(Wells’s Analysis: Great that this match got a spot on the main show)

(3) MINORU SUZUKI def. CHASE OWENS & CIMA & TORU YANO at 6:08 – 4-way match for King of Pro Wrestling provisional championship 2022

Suzuki won the brief match after brutalizing Yano first with a sleeper, and then his Gotch-style piledriver. After the match, Yano handcuffed Suzuki to the top rope, likely to position him as the next contender for the championship he usually holds. (*1/2)

(Wells’s Analysis: A minimum of nonsense, surprisingly, as the KOPW trophy takes a break from comedy and gets put on a badass)

(4) EVIL, YUJIRO TAKAHASHI & SHO (c) def. HIROOKI GOTO, YOSHI-HASHI & YOH at 9:37 – NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Championship

Sho got his win back on Yoh. Refreshingly, the match was shenanigans-free for eight minutes before Dick Togo got involved. Champs retained in 9:37. (**1/2)

(Wells’s Analysis: Not surprised here either as I expected Yoh to win one night, and Sho the other.)

-A number of wrestlers from Pro Wrestling NOAH entered and ended up having a war of words with Shingo Takagi & Los Ingobernables de Japon ahead of night three in a few days.

-Intermission.

(5) SANADA def. THE GREAT O-KHAN at 13:21.

The match was very slow early on, but the two found a higher gear later on and worked in some decent reversals. Sanada won with a flash pin, likely opening him up to be one of the first challengers to the championship in the new year. (***1/4)

(Wells’s Analysis: Both guys are still in search of better footing, but this worked well enough)

(6) TETSUYA NAITO def. JEFF COBB at 15:57.

The two had a good, hard-hitting match as expected. Cobb’s out is that he dominated a good percentage of the match before Naito pulled off the win. (***3/4)

(Wells’s Analysis: Match of the night…for now. Cobb is matching up so well with literally every type of opponent right now)

(7) HIROSHI TANAHASHI def. KENTA (c) in a No DQ match for the IWGP United States Championship at 22:38.

The two had a decent brawl heading into several table spots. As usual, the New Japan tables didn’t play along and added time to the match. They did a spot where Tana pushed Kenta over while he was on an enormous ladder, but Kenta dropped quickly and broke his nose on a trash can and there was a significant amount of blood. Tana finished with a High Fly Flow through a table. (***)

(Wells’s Analysis: Tanahashi doesn’t really do garbage matches, and looks a little out of place in one. The match was okay but often looked too dangerous for the combatants involved)

(8) KAZUCHIKA OKADA (c) def. WILL OSPREAY at 32:51 – IWGP World Championship match

An excellently worked, mistake-free match where both guys got all their best spots in and can’t be confined to a couple of lines. Okada reestablishes himself at the top of the card. (****3/4)

(Wells’s Analysis: A match very worthy of the main event of Wrestle Kingdom. Okada is atop the company again for the first time in a couple of years and some of the matches available to him will feel fresh, even though some are not (Sanada comes to mind). After a year or two of bizarre booking, NJPW is centering itself with some trusted main eventers.)

Tetsuya Naito came out after the result and declared himself the next challenger. These two will go at the 50th Anniversary Show.


FINAL THOUGHTS: Of course, the second night with the bulk of the singles matches was able to beat night one in overall quality. The more things change, the more they stay the same as we head toward an Okada-Naito feud with two extremely established stars on top of the card. It’s ten minutes to six in the morning where I am, so I’ll bid you adieu and catch you next time. Cheers!

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