Night 1 of NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 16 featured Kazuchika Okada successfully defeating Shingo Takagi for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship in an early contender for match of the year in 2022. Night 2 features Okada’s first title defense against Will Ospreay, the man who claimed he never lost the title, and is the real world champion.
The preshow featured three matches that were announced after the events of the previous night, seeing a few of the stories from the night before furthered in the openers here.
Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Gedo, & Jado) vs. Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honman, & Yuji Nagata
Bullet Club immediately started the match attacking the other 3 men, getting the heat for the first few minutes with basic offence from Bad Luck Fale until Yuji Nagata got an armbar on Fale. Nagata tagged out to Honma, who had some trouble with the cheating of the other 3 men. Honma was able to hit two headbutts on Gedo, and then a third that ended the match.
Result: Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma, & Yuji Nagata
Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima, & Master Wato vs. Suzuki-gun (El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, TAKA Michinoku
Master Wato wanted to start the match against El Desperado, and he attacked him immediately after Desperado refused. Wato hit some hard kicks on Desperado, and sent him into the red corner before Tenzan tagged in. Tenzan does some Mongolian Chops, which he is not supposed to do after losing to Great-O-Khan, but in a rather amusing way, the announcers said he delivers the angle of the move differently, so it’s not a Mongolian Chop, but a Big Egg Bomb and the name changes depending on the venue they are in. That is funny.
All 6 men ended brawling on the outside of the ring, ending with Tenzan getting double teamed in the corner by Kanemaru and Michinoku. Tenzan hit a Mountain Bomb on Kanemaru and a spinning heel kick on Michinoku before tagging out to Kojima. Kojima hit machine gun chops on Michinoku and Kanemaru until Michinoku hit a big boot, but Kojima hit a double tackle on both Kanemaru and Michinoku.
Wato tagged in after Kojima got hit with an enziguri. Wato and Desperado exchanged strikes until Desperado hit a spinebuster on Wato and Guitarra de Angel, but it was broken up. Tenzan and Kojima hit the 3D letting Wato go for a Spiral Tap, but Desperado avoided it. Wato flipped over Desperado out of a powerbomb into a submission that trapped both arms of Desperado, and he secured the submission!
Result: Master Wato, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, and Satoshi Kojima
Master Wato getting the win here over the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion was a big deal here, as Wato made it clear he wanted a title shot. Perfect way to immediately legitimize Wato as a contender, as he was highlighted the most in this match, taking most of offence against Desperado. The announcers noted that Wato was training with Kota Ibushi lately, and it looks like it paid off.
Suzuki-gun (Taichi, Zack Sabre Jr., & DOUKI) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Hiromu Takahashi, BUSHI, & Shingo Takagi)
BUSHI began the match with DOUKI with BUSHI showing some good lucha to open the match. Hiromu Takahashi asked to fight Sabre, who was on fire in the early part of the match, keeping up with Takahashi’s pace and countering every big move. This is a singles match I would love to see, but since Takahashi is a junior, we don’t get to see it too often outside of tag matches. I don’t think it’s an accident we are seeing it here, however.
Sabre finally slowed down Takahashi with some submissions before tagging back out to DOUKI. They got the heat on Takahashi for the next few minutes. Takahashi blocked a kick from Taichi and hit a dragon screw before tagging out to Takagi, who went right after Taichi. Sabre tried to look a Guillotine choke on Takagi, but he immediately turned it into a suplex. Takagi indicated that he wasn’t going to let last night’s loss to Okada shake him in the backstage promos last night as he was going to rebuild and be champion again, and he wasn’t kidding.
Taichi hit an axe bomber to drop Takag before tagging out to DOUKI. DOUKI sent Takagi to the floor and then hit a dive on all 3 of his opponents. DOUKI hit daybreak on Shingo, but Shingo kicked out. Shingo hit a DDT and a sliding lariat on DOUKI and a Noshigami before hitting Last of the Dragon on him for the pinfall.
Good little tag match here that showed that Shingo Takagi was not going to be left behind despite losing the previous night to Okada. Hiromu Takahashi’s interactions with Zack Sabre Jr. left me wanting more as well.
After running down the main card, night 2 of NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 16 began.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: The Flying Tigers (Robbie Eagles (CHAOS) & Tiger Mask) (c) vs. Bullet Club (Taiji Ishimori & El Phantasmo) vs. The Mega Coaches (Ryusuke Taguchi & Rockey Romero (CHAOS))
El Phantasmo immediately took out Tiger Mask with a boot, which may or may not have been loaded, and The Mega Coaches immediately took out Bullet Club sending them to the floor before taking on Robbie Eagles. Ealges jumped over Ishimori and hit a springboard dive to the floor on the Mega Coaches, but then took a loaded boot to the stomach of Eagles.
Bullet Club got the heat on Eagles for a little bit, but as they went for a double team on Eagles, Rocky Romero tried for a springboard into the ring to take Ishimori off the shoulders, but ELP stomped on Romero’s foot with the loaded boot. ELP tried to walk the ropes with Taguchi’s hands being held, but Eagles leaped to the top rope and hit a super hurricanrana before hitting a Homicide style suicide dive on Ishimori.
Tiger Mask cut ELP off from a dive and took him off the top rope. Tiger Mask hit tilt-a-whirl backbreakers on everyone. Eagles locked a reverse figure four on Romero, but Phantasmo cut him off. Eagles took stereo hip attacks from the Mega Coaches and then got hit with the Black Hole Vacation for a 2-count.
Romero hit a hurricanrana on both Bullet Club members, but Ishimori and ELP cut him off with a gut buster. Ishimori hit a knee then ELP spun him around with a torture rack neckbreaker and Ishimori hit the UFO (Unidentified Flying Opponent) to the floor. ELP hit the Thunderkiss 86 on Tiger Mask, but only got a 2-count.
ELP found himself alone in the ring after alone after he accidentally hit his own tag team partner with the Sudden Death, and then all 4 opponents grabbed ELP and ripped off his boot, exposing the metal plate he was storing in the sole of the boot. The referee immediately disqualified Bullet Club and sent them to the back, turning this into a 2 on 2 tag match. This is logical booking, as triple threats should have DQs and if one person gets DQ’d, they’re eliminated. It makes perfect sense, and is how these matches should have always been contested.
The Flying Tigers and Mega Coaches continued their match, with Eagles gaining the victory by locking on the Ron Miller Special on Rocky Romero for the submission. The Mega Coaches couldn’t win the match, but they still have a chance to be the 69th IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Champs as the champions retained here.
Excellent opening tag match here that saw all 3 teams get a showcase, and a satisfying ending to the story of ELP cheating for most of the year. This was great!
STARDOM Showcase Match: Starlight Kid (Oedo Tai) & Mayu Iwatani (STARS) vs. Tam Nakano (Cosmic Angels) & Saya Kamitani (Queen’s Quest)
Starlight Kid started the match with Saya Kamitani, with Kid getting several dropkicks and then tagging out to Iwatani. Starlight Kid showed surprising synergy with Iwatani here, hitting a double moonsault on Kamitani. Iwatani has not lost a match to any of the other 3 women in this match, you can expect that she would be a target for Nakano and Kamitani.
Nakano and Iwatani squared off with hard forearms, ending with Iwatani hitting a dropkick to the face of Nakano. Iwatani hit a Crucifix Bomb on Nakano for a 2-count, but Nakano kicked out and then hit a spin kick. Iwatani hit a sling blade to drop Nakano and then both women tagged out.
Kid and Kamitami picked up the pace again, with Kamitami hitting a dropkick on Kid. Kamitami missed a springboard and Iwatani hit an arm drag on both women before Starlight Kid hit a dive on the floor to both of them. Kid hit a spinning splash on Kamitami for a 2-count. Kid stood on the shoulders of Iwatani, who was on the middle rope, and hit a splash on Kamitami for a 2-count.
Kid locked a Texas Cloverleaf on Kamitami but Nakano broke it up and then hit a cross body off the top rope to the floor on Kid and Iwatani. Kamitami hit a springboard crossbody and then a fisherman’s suplex for a 2 on Kid. Kamitami went for the Star Crusher, but Kid escaped and then exchanged pinfall attempts ending with Kamitami hitting a School Boy suplex for a 2-count. Mayu Iwatani superkicked Kamitami to break up Star Crusher before hitting a German suplex on Kamitami, but Nakano hit a Tiger Suplex on Iwatami. Kamitami hit Star Crusher on Kid, and then a Phoenix Splash for the pinfall on Starlight Kid.
Result: Saya Kamitani & Tam Nakano
Excellent tag match here from all 4 women. Seeing the different factions work together was an interesting part of the match, and it furthers Kamitami moving up the card, and with Kid losing the fall, the STARDOM High Speed Championship has to be at stake down the line. This also furthered Mayu Iwatani’s feud with Tam Nakano. Great match, and historic, as it aired on NJPW World for everyone to see. STARDOM is clearly being positioned to be the #2 promotion in Japan behind NJPW, and easily the #1 women’s promotion in the world, and this will hopefully put more eyes on the product.
King of Pro Wrestling 2022 Provisional Championship: Toru Yano (CHAOS) vs. Minoru Suzuki (Suzuki-gun) vs. CIMA (Strong Hearts) w/ El Lindaman & T-Hawk vs. Chase Owens (Bullet Club)
Yano was immediately attacked by the other 3 men in the match, and after sending him to the floor, Owens tried to face off with Suzuki, so Suzuki slapped him and sent him to the floor. Suzuki and CIMA faced off and exchanged some chops and strikes. Suzuki went for the rear naked choke and PK on CIMA, but Yano and Owens pulled him out and CIMA hit a suicide dive on all 3 men.
Owens hit a running knee on CIMA. Chase Owens looked proud and then turned around and Suzuki was right behind him, which made him scream and fall over. Suzuki then elbowed him to death. Yano exposed the turnbuckle and slammed Suzuki into it. CIMA did an Indian Deathlock on Yano and CIMA hit a DDT on Owens.
CIMA held the hold while Suzuki dropped CIMA three times with strikes, wrenching the hold in and Yano, which was hilarious as Yano screamed about CIMA falling over begging him not to. Suzuki locked CIMA in a rear naked choke and Stevens did a sleeper on Suzuki, but Yano dragged all 3 men to the ropes.
CIMA hit the Air Raid Crash on Owens for a 2-count. Yano low blowed CIMA and Suzuki and rolled up Suzuki, but Suzuki kicked out and then dropkicked the head off Yano before hitting the Gotch Style Piledriver on Yano for the pinfall victory.
Result: Minoru Suzuki
After the match, Suzuki continued his assault on Yano, but Yano pulled handcuffs from his trunks and then handcuffed Suzuki to the top rope before running away. You have to imagine they’re going to have a rematch soon, as Yano wants his trophy back. It’s also appropriate that Suzuki won the King of Pro Wrestling trophy because he is the King of Pro Wrestling. A young lion helped remove the handcuffs from Suzuki, and Suzuki killed him with an elbow once free. It appears that no one is safe, especially Toru Yano.
NEVER Openweight Six-Man Championship: CHAOS (Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI, & YOH) vs. House of Torture (EVIL, SHO, & Dick Togo) w/ Yujiro Takahashi (Bullet Club)
CHAOS took it right to Bullet Club here, with Goto going right after EVIL. After some of their usual shenanigans, Goto was able to hit a lariat on Takahashi and a Saito Suplex on EVIL before tagging out to YOSHI-HASHI. Takahashi bit the hand of YOSHI-HASHI to break free from him, and hit a kick to his head. Takahashi hit an Olympic slam on YOSHI-HASHI, but YOSHI-HASHI hit a huge lariat to drop him and tagged out to YOH.
YOH and SHO faced off again, exchanging strikes. Dick Togo tried to choke YOH while the referee wasn’t looking, but Ishii pulled Togo from the ring and started beating on him. Goto hit a Ushigoroshi on SHO. YOH hit a DMV on SHO, but EVIL hit a low blow on YOH when the ref’s back was turned and SHO nailed YOH with a wrench to score the pinfall.
Result: House of Torture
This was merely there. The work was fine, but this stuff with Dick Togo is getting overdone badly. Thankfully, it’s constrained to one match. EVIL seemed to challenge YOSHI-HASHI and Goto to a tag title match, promising a rematch if they agreed, which is setting up a future match.
Keiji Mutoh’s music hit and the entire Pro Wrestling NOAH roster entered through the audience to enter the ring! NOAH has invaded NJPW on NJPW Wrestle Kingdom Night 2! The entire roster, including warring factions, have put aside their differences to unite against NJPW. KENOH promised that Pro Wrestling NOAH was the top promotion in NJPW, and they are going to take that spot from NJPW on January 8th. KENOH mocked the empty seats in the venue due to COVID, saying NOAH was here to save NJPW.
Shingo Takagi and LIJ came down to the ring, minus Naito as he was preparing for his match, and KENOH pointed out Takagi lost his title last night. Takagi said there was nothing to gain for NJPW without reward or risk, as they were going to show that NJPW was the true number 1 company. Takagi sized up KENOH, but thought better against their numbers and left. KENOH said he came to pick a fight and they just walked away, but on January 8th, they were going to take care of Shingo and NJPW.
This was a great angle, and KENOH closed the angle by saying that there was no way NJPW can compete with the quality of NOAH, and they are going to change the landscape of pro wrestling by becoming the top promotion in Japan. Mutoh then took a selfie with the entire roster, which amused me to no end. This is looking like the stakes of the card is heating up, with NOAH being very motivated to outdo NJPW.
A video aired announcing NJPW’s dates for most of the year, with a huge announcement that on May 1st, NJPW would be doing another name for Wrestling Dontaku at the Fukuoka Dome, which is huge.
Great-O-Khan (United Empire) w/ Aaron Henare vs. SANADA (LIJ)
O-Khan hit suplexes and some basic offence on SANADA to open the match. Both men exchanged Mongolian chops, but SANADA dropkicked the knee and was able to drop O-Khan to the mat. SANADA hit an atomic drop attacking the knee of O-Khan. SANADA hit a dive to the floor, to the loud clapping from the audience. SANADA broke a submission by yanking on O-Khan’s hair, but O-Khan went for Sheep Killer again, but SANADA countered into Skull End.
O-Khan hit a popup flatliner on SANADA, which caused him to roll to the floor. O-Khan indicated he wanted to try a dive, but Henare told him not to, and SANADA dared him to do it anyway, and O-Khan actually did it and nailed SANADA to applause from the audience for it.
O-Khan and SANADA went for multiple finishes, with O-Khan just missing Eliminator every single time before locking on Sheep Killer again. SANADA slipped out of a powerslam and then hit a Tiger Suplex for a 2-count. SANADA hit a moonsault on the knees of O-Khan, the area SANADA had been working on the most. Both men exchanged forearms and strikes.
O-Khan hit a big right hand to SANADA for the 2-count. O-Khan then signaled for a moonsault, and hit a moonsault off the middle rope before going for the Eliminator, but SANADA was able to counter into a European Clutch pinfall for the victory!
Good match from both men here. O-Khan has been growing on me over the last year, showing that once he settled into the gimmick, he was expanding his in-ring ability. O-Khan was furious at losing, and stared daggers at SANADA, walking away from the ring in disgust. SANADA looked great in this one, as he usually does.
Tetsuya Naito (LIJ) vs. Jeff Cobb (United Empire)
Naito entered with his Persona 5 inspired entrance again, which again made me geek out.
Jeff Cobb immediately attacked Naito with forearms, but Naito responded with dropkicking the knee and then continuously stomping the knee to try and take Cobb off his base. Cobb went for a suplex to the floor, but Naito dropkicked him to the knee again, and then hit a baseball slide instead of his usual Tranquilo pose.
Cobb pulled Naito into a stalling vertical suplex, smashing him into the ring post twice and suplexing him on the floor. That was brutal. Naito’s selling was exceptional here, as he struggled to get back into the ring. The crowd couldn’t chant Naito’s name, but clapped to the beat of his name to cheer him on, which was actually really cool.
Cobb hit a gorilla press on Naito and then hit Naito with chops in the corner. Cobb hit a dropkick to the chest of Naito, which made him scream out in pain. Cobb no sold several forearms from Naito, and then Cobb dropped him with a shoulder tackle. Cobb went for another vertical suplex, but Naito slipped out and hit a running kick to the face and both men hit the mat.
Naito sent Cobb to the ropes, hit an elbow, and then dropkicked the knee of Cobb again, continuing to work him over. Naito went for the triangle dropkick, but changed it up and dropkicked the knee again. Cobb managed to hit a big back suplex on Naito, but did not run like he usually did with it because of his knee.
While Naito was down, it was clear Cobb was feeling the damage to the knee, and Naito was able to hit a dropkick to the knee again. Naito went for Destino, but Cobb blocked it, but Naito slipped out and hit yet another dropkick to Cobb’s knee. Naito put Cobb on the top rope and climbed up for a Frakensteiner. Cobb countered and powerbombed Naito from the middle rope.
Cobb went for Tour of the Islands, but he couldn’t do it because of the work over the knee, and Naito countered into his own version of the Calf Killer that he learned form AJ Styles. Cobb hit a German suplex on one knee, then a lariat on Naito before going for Tour of the Islands again, but Naito countered into Valencia and then called for Destino. Naito nailed it and got the pinfall. Great match.
Result: Tetsuya Naito
This was a great match between these two, with Naito working over the knee of Cobb continuously and it proving to be his kryptonite. Cobb never recovered and was unable to hit many of his power moves and suplexes, meaning that the strategy of chopping the tree down worked for this one. In the shows leading up to this one, Naito kept working over the knee, meaning his gameplan was to weaken the knee leading into NJPW Wrestle Kingdom, and it worked perfectly here. Fantastic storytelling from both men in this match. Excellent stuff. Naito started 2022 off well, looking to head into next year’s Tokyo Dome with a title or title shot.
IWGP US Heavyweight Championship: KENTA (c) (Bullet Club) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
Tanahashi and KENTA started the match, exchanging kendo stick shot attempts. KENTA ended up getting a hold of it and doing damage to Tanahashi with it. KENTA then threw a chair and trash can lids into the ring, and his old NJPW New Japan Cup USA 2020 briefcase that be broke over Tanahashi’s head.
KENTA hit Tanahashi with a chair and then a serving tray. KENTA then brought a ladder into the ring. The announcers noted that KENTA and Tanahashi both have opponents in mind for the US title, with Jon Moxley, Lance Archer, and KENTA’s special opponent in mind. There are two options for KENTA – CM Punk and Shibata. KENTA has a grudge with both, so it would be interesting to see if that happened.
Tanahashi pulled a table out from under the ring and set it up on the outside of the ring. Tanahashi hit a dragon screw in the ropes on KENTA, sending him to the mat. Tanahashi nailed KENTA with a trash can lid. Tanahashi hit KENTA with a garbage can and then put the can over KENTA’s head before smashing the can with a chair to send KENTA flying across the ring. Tanahashi pulled a guitar around the ring, looking to play an acoustic instead of his usual air guitar. Tanahashi broke the guitar over KENTA’s head, leaving him laying on the mat. KENTA used the briefcase to get out of a Texas Cloverleaf from Tanahashi before hitting Tanahashi with it again and throwing Tanahashi towards the table on the floor.
KENTA put Tanahashi on the table and tried for a flying double stomp off the top rope through the table, but Tanahashi cut him off. Tanahashi went for a suplex off the ropes to the floor, but KENTA fought him off. Tanahashi nailed a palm strike that sent KENTA back into the ring, saving the table for now. Tanahashi stacked some chairs into a pile in the ring and went to German suplex KENTA onto but KENTA blocked it.
Tanahashi hit a sling blade instead, dropping KENTA, and then went for the High Fly Flow, but KENTA moved and Tanahashi crashed into the chairs, which looked brutal. KENTA stacked chairs on Tanahashi in the corner before going for the stalling dropkick that he took from Shibata, sending a clear message to his former friend.
KENTA went for Go to Sleep, but Tanahashi floated out and hit Twist and Shout before rolling through and hitting a second one onto the pile of chairs. Tanahashi put the table into the ring and set it up. Tanahashi put KENTA on the table and then put a chair on KENTA before calling for the High Fly Flow. KENTA got off the table and hit Tanahashi with the chair, breaking up Tanahashi’s plans.
KENTA tried to suplex KENTA through the table, and hit a falcon arrow off the top rope through it, sending Tanahashi crashing to the mat. KENTA looked around the ring for a table, pulling one out from under the ring, sliding the table into the ring. KENTA pulled a huge ladder out from under the ring, which got an audible gasp from the audience.
KENTA had to assemble parts of the ladder, and complained loudly about it, which drew laughter from the audience. KENTA setup up the ladder and put Tanahashi on the second table before going for the double stomp again, but Tanahashi cut him off and sent KENTA crashing to the mat, face first into a garbage can, which busted KENTA open hardway, as it looks like he might have cut his eyebrow. Tanahashi then hit a High Fly Flow off the ladder though the table to win the title!
Result: Hiroshi Tanahashi
This was another excellent match, with KENTA and Tanahashi taking a beating. The crowd completely forgot themselves and gasped at the ladder spots and cheered when Tanahashi hit the High Fly Flow of the apron. Tanahashi is the new United States champion for NJPW, which means we might be seeing him show up in AEW and NJPW Strong sooner rather than later. Fantastic match.
IWGP World Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada (c) (CHAOS) vs. Will Ospreay (United Empire) w/ Great-O-Khan & Aaron Henare
Ospreay came out with his own Champion’s Roll Call, showing his defenses as he claimed to be the real world champion. Okada didn’t come out with the same fanfare, as he didn’t need to brag about being the real world champion because he was. Ospreay continued the insist the match was for his championship before the bell rung.
Okada and Ospreay locked up, with Okada using a more grounded style to slow Ospreay down. Ospreay was able to keep with Okada, and sent him to the floor, chopping Okada hard, in a chop that echoed through the Tokyo Dome. Ospreay took Okada over to the timekeeper table and choked him on the guard rail screaming that he was the real world champ.
Ospreay worked over the back of Okada with a sidewalk slam, but ate a flapjack soon thereafter. Okada hit some back elbows and had the control at that point for a little bit. Ospreay hit a handspring but fell right into a reverse neckbreaker from Okada. Okada and Ospreay exchanged forearms on the apron to the claps from the crowd.
Okada hit a shotgun dropkick on the apron to the knee of Ospreay, sending him crashing face first to the floor. Okada went for his flying crossbody over the guardrail, but Ospreay superkicked Okada’s knee as he flew over, crashing right to the floor. Ospreay climbed a lighting rig to dive onto Okada, and hit a moonsault off the rig to the floor! That was crazy!
Ospreay hit a hard forearm to the back of Okada’s neck and then hit a sitout powerbomb for a 2-count back in the ring. Okada’s neck and knee have been attacked viciously here, and it’s relevant because Okada has had neck injuries the last year. Ospreay hit an enziguri on Okada and then hit a Sasuke Special on Okada, but Okada caught him and tombstoned Ospreay on the floor!
Okada hit a huge missile dropkick on Ospreay for a 2-count. Okada locked on the money clip, and Okada asked the ref to ask him, but Ospreay refused. Okada hit another shotgun dropkick and then a bodyslam and a flying elbow. Okada called for the Rainmaker, but Ospreay countered into a wheelbarrow, but Okada went for a German suplex and Ospreay landed on his feet. After an attempt at a standing shooting star press, Okada got his knees up and threw Ospreay to the ropes trying to hit his dropkick, but Ospreay countered into a Liger Bomb that popped the crowd for a 2-count.
Ospreay put Okada on the top rope and hit a shooting star as Okada was drapped across it. Opsreay hit a second shooting star press for a 2-count. Ospreay nailed the OsCutter, but Okada kicked out again. Ospreay went for the Hidden Blade, but Okada ducked and went for the tombstone, but Ospreay turned it around and hit a tombstone of his own.
Ospreay called for his own Rainmaker, but Okada ducked and then hit Ospreay with a Storm Breaker for a 2-count! Okada went for the Rainmaker, but Ospreay elbowed out and Oakda nailed him with a dropkick to the back of the head and then a regular one before going for the Rainmaker again, but Ospreay countered into a Spanish Fly and both men were down.
Ospreay had wrist control of Okada and hit a short arm lariat again. Okada ate a second short arm lariat as Ospreay went for a double jump OsCutter, but Okada kicked out again. Ospreay went for the Storm Breaker, but Okada turned it around into a spinning tombstone piledriver. Okada went for the Rainmaker, Ospreay countered into Storm Breaker, Okada, floated over and hit a short arm clothesline and then a Rainmaker for a 2-count!
Okada had been the ring for over an hour when combined with Night 1’s match with Shingo Takagi, and he was selling it like he was dead tired. Okada locked Ospreay in the money clip, but Ospreay fought to his feet. Okada sent him over his back, which caused Ospreay to flip backwards and try to hit a kick, but Okada ducked, and Ospreay countered a Rainmaker with a Rainmaker of his own.
Ospreay and Okada exchanged strikes on their knees and the crowd clapped with every single blow. They both got to their feet and started hitting harder and faster with the forearms. Okada won the battle with ones that caused Ospreay to faceplant to the mat, as Okada delivered each blow with more and more force. Okada rolled him through into another Rainmaker, then a second short arm Rainmaker.
Okada picked him up for one final Rainmaker, but Ospreay countered with a popup forearm and then the Hidden Blade for a 2-count. Ospreay called for Storm Breaker, but Okada fought out. Ospreay hit Okada with the Kawada kicks and got a pinning combination for a 2-count. Ospreay hit a hook kick and Ospreay went for Storm Breaker, but Okada flipped out of it into a Rainmaker that Ospreay stayed standing for!
Ospreay hit a V-Trigger and then went for the Hidden Blade again, but Okada nailed his dropkick, picked Ospreay up and hit the full Rainmaker and finally scored the pinfall over Ospreay!
Result: Kazuchika Okada
Excellent main event from Ospreay and Okada here, with amazing back and forth action. The finishing sequence was fantastic. Last night’s match with Okada and Takagi was better, but only just. Okada reigned again as champion, as Kevin Kelly brought up the name of Kenny Omega after the V-Trigger, noting that it felt strange to see it without Omega being there. That certainly seemed to hint at something.
Okada grabbed a mic saying that while he was the real champion, Ospreay was the real deal. Okada said Takagi and Ospreay were the appropriate champions to face in NJPW’s 50th year, and the crowd made some noise as Tetsuya Naito came out to come face to face with Okada. It looks like Naito wants to challenge the champion.
Naito said he knew what it was like to feel like Okada and what it was like to challenge Okada, so he was challenging for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. The crowd applauded it and Okada accepted the challenge, saying that it only seemed right for the two rivals to face off. The crowd applauded as the match was made.
Okada promised that he was going to deliver a match of the year in every single one of his title defences, and it’s only beginning. He said that while the crowd couldn’t yell and cheer, he still felt their power and strength as they clapped. Okada then said the 50th Anniversary celebrations have only just begun and there was a lot more to come. Okada then asked if Inoki could join NJPW for the 50th Anniversary celebrations, because he wanted to see healthy and as a part of the celebrations! Wow!
Okada then said he wanted cheering to be back soon, because he wanted to hear the voices of the fans again. He teared up saying that he was going to do all he can, and that as long as the fans were there to support him, he would keep going. Okada said he came this far, and he’s going to carry NJPW in the next 50 years and make it rain! Amazing babyface promo here from Okada.
Show Rating: ****
This show was far better than night 1, overall. Every match delivered in its own way (minus the House of Torture, which was thankfully restricted to one match). Ospreay more than hung with Okada here, and Kazuchika Okada has fully reclaimed his throne as the true IWGP World Heavyweight Champion.
NJPW has their best drawing wrestler in the #1 spot yet again, and with the TV deal on AXS, it seems like NJPW is prepared to get hot again in the United States, while continuing to grow their audience in Japan. Fantastic show tonight.