1/5 NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 16 report: Radican’s results and analysis of Kenta vs. Tanahsahi, Okada vs. Ospreay main event

By Sean Radican, PWTorch columnist (Twitter: @SR_Torch)


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

NJPW WRESTLE KINGDOM 16: NIGHT 2 REPORT
JAN. 5, 2022
TOKYO, JAPAN
THE TOKYO DOME
AIRED LIVE ON NJPW WORLD AND FITE TV

Announcers: Kevin Kelly and Chris Charlton (remote)

(a) TOMOAKI HONMA & YUJI NAGATA & TOGI MAKABE vs. BULLET CLUB (BAD LUCK FALE & GEDO & JADO

Gedo was wearing a Jay White jacket during the ring entrance. Kevin Kelly said White was still a big part of NJPW despite not being on the show. This was a drag even though it was short. Honma pinned Gedo after a second turnbuckle Kokeshi.

WINNERS: Tomoaki Honma & Yuji Nagata & Togi Makabe at 6:39. (*)

(b) MASTER WATO & SATOSHI KOJIMA & HIROYOSHI TENZAN vs. SUZUKI-GUN (IWGP JR. HVT. CHAMPION EL DESPERADO & YOSHINOBU KANEMARU & TAKA MICHINOKU)

Wato indicated he wanted a shot at Desperado and the title before the match. The action was fine here. The big surprise was the finish, as Wato tapped out Desperado with a new submission.

WINNERS: Master Wato & Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan at 9:23. (**)

(Radican’s Analysis: I thought the whole point of the big Desperado win on night 1 over Takahashi was to establish him as being on equal footing with him as leaders of the division, so this was a baffling booking decision.)

(c) L.I.J. SHINGO TAKAGI & BUSHI & HIROMU TAKAHSHI) vs. SUZUKI-GUN (DOUKI & ZACK SABRE JR. & TAICHI)

This was the best match of the three dark matches. The action was breezy and everyone worked hard. Douki hit a big dive to the floor at one point to wipe out a pile of men. Takagi being in the dark match after working the main event of night 1 was a bit of a surprise. It wasn’t a surprise that he pinned Douki with Last of the Dragon for the win.

WINNERS: Shingo Takagi & Bushi & Hiromu Takahashi at 10:27. (***)

El Phantasmo came out for the jr. tag title match wearing a jacket. He turned around and it had an electronic scroll that read, “Robbie Eagles sucks LOL.” Tremendous. Taiji Ishimori had a cool mask that lit up.

(1) IWGP JR. HVT. TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS FLYING TIGERS (TIGER MASK & ROBBIE EAGLES) vs. MEGA COACHES (ROCKY ROMERO & RYUSUKE TAGUCHI) vs. BULLET CLUB (EL PHANTASMO & TAIJI ISHIMORI)

Phantasmo dropped Tiger Mask right away. The action was frantic during the early going. ELP hit a kick to Eagles’s mid-section and Kelly said the boot must be loaded. Rocky hit a springboard doomsday device that barely connected on Ishimori at one point and he bumped anyway. The action continued at a rapid pace and ELP hit Thunder Kiss 86 on Tiger Mask for a near fall. ELP went for a kick with his loaded boot to Tiger Mask, but Eagles caught it and sent it into Ishimori. ELP ended up alone in the ring and the Mega Coaches and Flying Tiger took his boots off. Eagles found a piece of metal in ELP’s boot. The ref DQ’d Ishimori and ELP and they were eliminated from the mask. ELP was carried out in a dramatic fashion. It came down to Eagles and Romero in the ring a short time later. Eagles got a near fall with a nice pinning combination. He then submitted Romero with the Ron Miller Special.

WINNERS: Robbie Eagles & Tiger Mask at 12:20. (**½)

(Radican’s Analysis: The Mega Coaches winning would have been a cool moment, but I’m fine with Tiger Mask and Eagles continuing as the champions. ELP’s boot being exposed was a nice reveal on a show of this magnitude.)

The upcoming match is the first time in 20 years that women have been on the main card in the Tokyo Dome.

(2) MAYU IWATANI & STARLIGHT KID vs. TAM NAKANO & SAYA KAMITANI

KId and Iwatani worked well together during the early going. The announcers said they were doing it for the good of the team. Kamitani fired back and tagged in Nakano. Charlton mentioned that Iwatani had a big target on her back since neither of her opponents have ever beaten her. The crowd was really into the action at times clapping and stomping after the exchanges between Iwatani and Nakano. The fans fired up as Kid wiped out Nakano and Kamitani with a dive to the floor. Kelly mentioned the ref and the ring announcer were from Stardom. He also mentioned Stardom was second to NJPW in attendance in 2021. Kid locked in a Texas Cloverleaf on Kamitani. Nakano eventually fended off Iwatani and broke up the submission. Nakana wiped out Iwatani and a pile of other attendants with a dive to the floor. Kamitani hit a schoolboy suplex with a bridge on Starlight Kid for a near fall and the fans fired up. Kamitani hit the Star Crusher on Starlight Kid on her third try in the match. She then came off the top with a phoenix splash for the win. WOW!

WINNERS: Tam Nakano & Saya Kamitami in 9:00. (***½)

(Radican’s Analysis: The crowd was just totally into this from start to finish. The action was great and the announcers did a phenomenal job of explaining the dynamics between all four women.)

(3) CIMA (w/EL LINDAMAN & T-HAWK) vs. CHASE OWENS vs. TORU YANO vs. MINORU SUZUKI – KOPW Provisional Champion 2022 match

Suzuki invited Owens to forearm him, but it didn’t do any damage. Suzuki arranged Owens’s hair before decking him with a forearm. They did a four-way submission spot, but Yano got to the ropes. CIMA hit a Meteora off the top on Owens, but Suzuki grabbed a choke. Yano ran in and hit a low blow on Suzuki and rolled him up for a near fall. A short time later Suzuki caught Yano with a dropkick and then choked him out. He hit the Gotch Style Piledriver for the win a short time later.

WINNER: Minoru Suzuki in 8:00 to become the first KOPW 2022 Provisional Champion. (**½)

(Radican’s Analysis: This was fine for what it was.)

After the match, Suzuki tried to choke Yano, but Yano grabbed a pair of handcuffs out and cuffed him to the top rope. Yano managed to escape the choke. Suzuki was freed and he was very angry. He went after several Young Lions and ringside attendants.

(4) NEVER OPENWEIGHT SIX MAN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS HOUSE OF TORTURE (NEVER OPENWEIGHT CHAMPION EVIL & YUJIRO TAKAHSHI & SHO w/DICK TOGO) vs. CHAOS (HIROOKI GOTO & YOH & YOSHI-HASHI)

Tomohiro Ishii came down to ringside to even the odds on the outside. The House of Torture continued their usual cheating. Kevin Kelly said nobody would boo Chaos for sinking to the level of House of Torture. Sho ran into the ring with a wrench and the ref held him back. Togo got into the ring and choked Sho with the wire. Ishii managed to make the save. Takahashi distracted the ref and Evil hit a low blow on Yoh. Sho hit him with the wrench and made the cover for the win. Brutal.

WINNERS: Evil & Sho & Yujiro Takahashi in 10:00 to retain the NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championship. (½*)

(Radican’s Analysis: I didn’t dislike this as much as Evil vs. Ishii on the previous night, but it was still brutal to get through the constant interference and ref distractions.)

After the match, House of Torture put the boots to Yoh, but the rest of Chaos quickly cleared the ring. Ishii yelled at Evil, who held up the NEVER Openweight title. That’s a match I’m dying to see again. Hashi and Goto seemed to indicate they wanted another shot at the Six Man Tag Titles in exchange for a shot at their hvt. tag belts. Oh joy! So many endless possibilities with Chaos and House of Torture it’s like a never ending kick to the groin with this stuff at this point.

Music played and Charlton said we’ve heard it before, but not for a long time. Keiji Mutoh led a group of wrestlers from NOAH down to the ring. They all got into the ring. Kaito Kiyomiya spoke. Kenoh then spoke and called out all the empty seats in the venue. He said NOAH is out to help NJPW. Shingo Takagi came down to ringside with Bushi and Hiromu Takahashi. Kenoh mentioned he lost his title last night. Shingo put over NJPW and did a head count before realizing he was outnumbered. Kenoh said they came to pick a fight, what are you going to do? L.I.J. left and Kenoh said on Jan. 8 they would take care of them. He said NJPW can’t compete with NOAH’s pro wrestling quality. He said the landscape would change on Jan. 8. He said NOAH will become the top promotion in this country. He then shook hands with his rival Kiyomiya.

A commercial aired running down the big dates for NJPW through June. They’re running the Fukuoka Dome for Wrestling Dontaku. Kevin Kelly said he will be heading to Japan on Sunday to broadcast all of the upcoming events live.

(5) THE GREAT-O-KHAN (w/AARON HENARE) vs. SANADA

Sanada missed his slingshot dive to the floor. He got back into the ring after landing on his feet, but O-Khan clotheslined him over the top back to the floor. Sanada eventually caught O-Khan with a dropkick to the knee to regain the upper hand and the fans applauded. After playing a game of chicken O-Khan hit a slingshot splash to the floor. He also tried to catch Sanada with his own backwards bridging pinning combination for a near fall a short time later. O-Khan countered the Skull End and went for the Eliminator, but Sanada countered it. They continued to trade counters and O-Khan got the Sheep Killer. Sanada fired back and hit a Tiger Suplex with a bridge for a near fall. He went up top for the Muta Moonsault, but O-Khan got his knees up.

They traded blows in the middle of the ring. O-Khan hit a thrust to the throat. A short time later he hit a straight right to Sanada’s chin, but he kicked out at the last second. O-Khan hit a Muta Moonsault off the second rope and went for the Eliminator, but Sanada countered it and got the O’Connor Roll for the win.

WINNER: Sanada in 14:00. (***½)

(Radican’s Analysis: This was really good with O-Khan seeming to stay a step of Sanada’s usual pattern of offense. He even hit Sanada with several of his own signature maneuvers. Sanada pulled out a pinning combination late to get the surprise win.)

JEFF COBB vs. TETSUYA NAITO

Cobb charged at Naito as soon as he took his pants off. Cobb had teased that he was willing to be patient while Naito slowly took off his entrance gear. Naito fired back and kicked away at Cobb’s leg. The ref tried to stop him, but Naito shoved him down to the mat. Cobb lifted up Naito on the outside and ran him into the ringpost out of the suplex. He then hit a big suplex on the floor and the fans applauded. Cobb limped as he ran the ropes and Naito hit a dropkick to the knee. Naito hit his corner combination, but he hit a dropkick to the knee instead of the head. Naito then hit a running dropkick in the corner and posed for the crowd. Cobb avoided a dropkick to his knee and he lifted Naito off the mat and right into a belly to belly suplex. Cobb was bleeding from the mouth at this point.

Naito avoided a Tour of the Islands attempt and hit a Tornado DDT. Cobb fired back and went for Tour of the Islands, but his knee gave out. Naito immediately grabbed a Calf Slicer. The announcers hammered home that Naito needed this win to get to the main event of Wrestle Kingdom 17. A short time later they traded blows in the middle of the ring until Cobb turned Naito inside out with a big clothesline. Cobb went for Tour of the Islands again, but his knee gave out. Naito hit Valencia. He then hit Destino for the win.

WINNER: Tetsuya Naito in 15:30. (***1/2)

(Radican’s Analysis; This was a good match and Cobb did a heck of a job selling his leg here. It felt like another chapter of the story was missing, as Cobb was gutting through all the damage Naito did to his leg when Naito suddenly beat him after countering a Tour of the Islands attempt. That being said, the story they told was fine given how often Naito had gone after Cobb’s leg in recent weeks.)

Hiroshi Tanahashi was out first for the semi-main event. Kenta was out next dressed in white. Kelly mentioned Kenta chased Moxley for two years for the U.S. title. He said once Tanahashi won the title, Kenta did not change his pursuit. Kenta got to ringside and he slid one kendo stick to Tanahashi.

(7) IWGP U.S. HVT. CHAMPION KENTA vs. HIROSHI TANAHSHI – No DQ match

Kenta tried to surprise Tanahashi, but Tanahashi was ready and they went at it with the kendo sticks. Kenta lost his kendo stick and Tanahashi went to town on Kenta’s back. They went to the floor and Tanahashi hit several more kendo stick shots, but Kenta hit him with the U.S. title. The announcers talked about how the U.S. Championship had a history of violent matches. They also ran down the history between Tanahashi and Kenta. Kenta introduced a ton of plunder into the ring. He whipped Tanahashi into a ladder in the corner. Tanahashi fired back and hit a dropkick, which sent Kenta face-first into a trash can. Tanahashi went under the ring and got a guitar. The fans fired up and he nailed Kenta with a guitar shot to the head and Kenta collapsed to the mat. The guitar didn’t exactly break apart very much. Tanahashi went for the Cloverleaf Hold, but Kenta nailed him with his old IWGP U.S. Hvt. Championship right to challenge briefcase. He followed Kenta held up the briefcase on his knee and drove it into Tanahashi’s head a short time later.

Tanahashi had set up a ladder on the floor earlier in the match. Kenta set up Tanahashi on the table and went up top, but Tanahashit got up and cut him off. They battled up top and Tanahashi sent Kenta down to the mat. Tanahashi went under the ring and tossed several chairs into the ring. They announcers talked about Kenta hitting a powerbomb on Tanahashi onto a stack of chairs on the Road to Tokyo Dome. Tanahashi tried to hit a German onto the stack of chairs, but Kenta escaped. Tanahashi then hit a Slingblade into the chairs and both men were down. Tanahashi went up top for a High Fly Flow, but Kenta got out of the way and he crashed into the chairs.

Tanahashi countered a GTS attempt and hit a Twist and Shout. He hit another Twist and Shout into the stack of chairs a short time later. Tanahashi lifted the table on the floor and struggled to toss it over the top rope. He put Kenta on the table and hit him with a chair. He placed the chair over his stomach. Kenta got up and tossed the chair into Tanahashi’s head. They battled up top and Kenta nailed him with a falcon arrow through the table. WOW! Kenta didn’t cover Tanahashi. He went under the ring and looked for another table. He found a table and slid it into the ring. Kenta got a big ladder and set it up in the ring as well. Kenta cursed as he tried to put the ladder together and secure it. He set up Tanahashi on the table and climbed up to the top of the ladder. Tanahashi got up and began shaking the ladder. He tossed KEnta off and he took a brutal fall and appeared to hit the trash can on his way down. Kenta’s left eye was split open. Tanahashi shouted and began climbing the ladder. He got close to the top and hit the High Fly Flow through the table. Kenta’s eye was really bleeding at this point. Tanahashi eventually made the cover for the win. What a match!

WINNER: Hiroshi Tanahashi to become the new IWGP U.S. Hvt. Champion in 24:00. (****1/2)

(Radican’s Analysis: This was a brutal match pretty much from start to finish. They really took a lot of risks and beat the crap out of each other. Kenta’s fall off the ladder looked brutal and took me out of the match, as his eye appeared to connect with the trash can on the mat. Some of the spots took a really long time to set up, but other than that, this was really good.)

Will Ospreay came out accompanied by The Great-O-Khan and Aaron Henare. His tron said he’s the real IWGP World Hvt. Champion. A list of names he had beaten while wrestling outside of Japan this year was shown as well. Ospreay and his buddies made the ring announcer announce him as the IWGP World Hvt. Champion.

(8) IWGP WORLD HVT. CHAMPION KAZUCHIKA OKADA vs. WILL OSPREAY (w/THE GREAT-O-KHAN & AARON HENARE) 

Charlton talked about how this all started seven years ago when Ospreay had a standout match against Okada in Rev Pro in England. He detailed how Ospreay turned on Okada and formed The United Empire. The opening bell rang and the fans applauded. Ospreay took control early and took the fight to Okada on the floor. Kelly mentioned Ospreay does not have a singles win at Wrestle Kingdom yet. Ospreay jawed with the fans and said he’s the real world champion. Okada finally fired back with a flapjack and both men were down. He caught Ospreay with a neck breaker a short time later for a two count. They ended up going at it on the apron and Okada nailed Ospreay with a shotgun dropkick. They ended up on the floor and Ospreay climbed a lighting rig and hit Okada with a big moonsault. That was nuts. Okada blocked the Chelsea Grin, but Okada hit a tiger wall kick. Okada went to the floor and Ospreay went for a Sasuke Special, but Okada caught him and hit a tombstone!

Okada hit a missile dropkick and applied the Money Clip. Ospreay drove him into the corner, but Okada fired up and hit a running shotgun dropkick and both men were down. Okada went up top and dropped an elbow. Ospreay countered the Rainmaker and hit a kick to Okada’s head. Okada fired back and went for his signature dropkick, but Ospreay turned it into a sit out powerbomb for a near fall. Ospreay draped Okada over the top rope and hit a SSP. He hit another SSP in the middle of the ring, but Okada kicked out. Ospreay set Okada up and hit the Chelsea Grin. He then went for a Hidden Blade, but Okada ducked. Okada countered a tombstone attempt and hti one of his own. He then hit the Rainmaker pose over Okada. Okada ducked a Rainmaker attempt and spun Ospreay around before lifting him up into the Stormbreaker for a near fall! WOW! Okada set Ospreay up and hit a dropkick. He went for a Rainmaker, but Ospreay turned it into a one man Spanish fly. That was crazy! Ospreay hit a super Os-Cutter. He went for a Stormbreaker, but Okada turned it into a tombstone. They traded counters and Okada hit a big lariat. He then hit a flush Rainmaker for a near fall.

Okada went back to the Money Clip for the first time since earlier in the match. Ospreay got out of the MC and they traded counters until Ospreay hit a Rainmaker and both men were down again as the fans clapped. The fans clapped as both men slowly traded forearms from their knees. They got up and Okada decked Ospreay with a series of big bombs. Okada set up Ospreay and hit a big Rainmaker. He held onto his wrist and hit a second Rainmaker. Okada let out a scream and went for another Rainmaker, but Ospreay hit a pop-up forearm and a Hidden Blade for a near fall. Ospreay let out of scream and hit a series of Kawada kicks. Okada countered Ospreay and got his signature pinning combination for a near fall. Ospreay caught Okada with a hook kick and went for a Stormbreaker, but Okada slipped out and connected with a Rainmaker. Ospreay didn’t go down and he surprised Okada with a knee to the head. Ospreay charged at Okada, who surprised him with a dropkick. Opsreay no sold it and walked right into a landslide tombstone. Okada then hit a Rainmaker for the win.

WINNER: Kazuchika Okada to become the new IWGP World Hvt. Champion in 31:00. (****½)

(Radican’s Analysis: This was a tremendous main event. It took a little while to get going, but they built up to some amazing near falls and counter sequences down the stretch with both men hitting each other’s finishers. The fighting spirit spots were great as well and the final one ended up hurting Ospreay, as he walked right into an avalanche tombstone.)

Okada was presented with the IWGP World Hvt. Champion. Ospreay was shown being helped to the back by Henare and O-Khan. Kelly said on any other night with any other opponent, Ospreay would have won, but the Rainmaker is back.

Okada got on the mic and called out Ospreay. He said in Japanese that he’s the real champion, but he said Ospreay is the real deal and he respects that. He said it is settled, Kazuchika Okada is the IWGP World Hvt. Champion. He said yesterday it was Takagi. Today it was Ospreay. He said they were appropriate athletes and had fitting fights for the fifty year anniversary. He said he was the right champion to have eyes on during the fiftieth anniversary year. The crowd made some noise and Naito came down to the ring. He tipped his cap at Okada. Both men smiled at each other and the fans clapped.

He said today you beat Ospreay. He said there’s no doubt Okada is the toughest in NJPW. He said that’s why I want to feel what Okada is like. I want to know what it’s like to fight you. He said he needs to be the next challenger for the IWGP World Hvt. Champion. Okada said I think we can call it done. He said it seems appropriate for the fiftieth anniversary year. Naito offered Okada a fist bump pose and tipped his cap before lifting. Kelly said he remembers Naito beating Okada and Okada crawling away with the promise they would meet again.

Okada promised as the year continues and he is IWGP World Hvt. Champion, the MOTYC would come every night. He thanked the fans for their support of Wrestle Kingdom on Jan. 4 and Jan. 5. He said the fans can not yell or cheer, but the fans still bring their power and strength. He said the fiftieth anniversary celebrations have just started and there’s more to come. He said he is waiting for Inoki to come see him in a NJPW ring. He asked Inoki to get better and stand in this ring to really put a fitting mark on these fiftieth anniversary celebrations. He said he wants to wrestle with cheers and chants. The fans fired up with claps and got louder and louder. Okada appeared to get emotional. He said they will all fight with everything they can as long as the fans are there to support us. Okada said he will carry the company into the next 50 years and continue to make it rain. That was a hell of an emotional promo to end the show.

Email Sean at pwtorchsean@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @SR_Torch

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*