Now, THAT is what Wrestle Kingdom is supposed to be. After a mostly disappointing night one, the NJPW lion came roaring back on night two with a phenomenal event spotlighted by an astounding match between Jeff Cobb and NJPW’s Macho Man in Tetsuya Naito, an absolutely brutal No DQ match between Kenta and Hiroshi Tanahashi that would have had ECW bending the knee and a phenomenal IWGP World Heavyweight Championship match between newly-crowned champion Kazuchika Okada and challenger Will Ospreay. A bout that was one of the best in Wrestle Kingdom and pro-wrestling history.
As fans know, Ospreay and Okada used to be as close as brothers in the Chaos faction until Ospreay decided that Okada was holding him back.
Dressed in suits the Great-O-Khan and Henare stood on other side of The United Empire’s leader as he rose from the floor. Okada came out dressed as he did last night paying homage to Antonio Inoki with his attire but was showing the damage from the championship match with Shingo Takagi including a black eye. Okada entered the ring not even looking in Ospreay’s direction.
“I am the the REAL world champion!” declared Ospreay before the introductions to get Okada’s attention.
Ospreay and Okada start the match with a lot of mat wrestling. Okada is slowing Ospreay down and not allowing him to take to the skies. Ospreay springs back up from a shoulder tackle smiling in Okada’s face. A back drop sends Ospreay almost through the roof of the Tokyo Dome. Ospreay cannot get out of the blocks as he suffers a neckbreaker at the hands of Okada.
Ospreay regains the advantage by chopping Okada off the top rope and spiking him with a DDT. A flying forearm smash has Okada heading to the floor. Ospreay takes his time reaching a fallen Okada.
“You are a fake champion! You are full of s–t!” Ospreay yells in Okada’s face and he hits him with a forearm smash.
Ospreay kicks Okada in the back. Okada sits on the mat taking them blow by blow and demanding more. A sky-high flapjack by Okada drives all the air out of Ospreay’s body. As things speed up, Okada drops Ospreay with a clothesline, a back elbow and a DDT. A battle on the apron ends with Okada shotgun drop kicking Ospreay off the apron. Ospreay hit his head on the steel post as he falls backwards and down.
Ospreay takes a boot to the face and goes over the ringside barricade. Okada takes a run leaping over the guardrail at Ospreay like he did to Shingo last night. Ospreay anticipates the move with a flying drop kick to Okada’s knee.
Ospreay slings Okada into lighting rigging then begins climbing it. As the crowd gasps, he leaps backwards off of it, moonsaulting onto Okada below.
Back in the ring Ospreay hits Okada in the back of the head with a flying forearm off the top rope. Okada catches Ospreay as he leaps over the ropes at him. Okada Tombstone Piledrives Ospreay onto the arena floor.
Okada locks in the Money Clip. Ospreay backs Okada into the corner. Okada releases his grip so he can blast Ospreay with another shotgun drop kick.
In a great set of moves, which goes to why these two are the best in the world, Okada throws Ospreay off the ropes. Ospreay holds onto the ropes avoiding Okada’s drop kick. Ospreay goes for a splash. Okada puts his knees up to block him. Okada throws Ospreay off again. Ospreay catches Okada while in the air for a Liger Bomb and a two count. Ospreay lays Okada over the ropes and splatters him with shooting star press on the ropes and then on the mat.
Ospreay misses a Hidden Blade, turns Okada’s Tombstone Piledriver into one of his own. Ospreay mocks The Rainmaker so Okada drops Ospreay with a Storm Breaker to get even.
Okada finally puts Ospreay away a Landslide and a Rainmaker.
Wrestle Kingdom continues on Saturday night with a Noah versus NJPW event which is only available on Abema pay-per-view.
Wrestle Kingdom 16 Night Two Results
Yuji Nagata, Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma versus Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Gedo and Jado)
Many of those who were in the Rambo last night are getting their Wrestle Kingdom moment with matches that were added to today’s card. Nagata escapes the Grenade putting Fale in his submission. Gedo breaks up the hold. Makabe knocks the brass knuckles out of Gedo’s hand. They go flying into the front row. Honma pins Gedo with a grounded Kokeshi and then one from the second rope. Honma gets a pinfall win!
Winners: Yuji Nagata, Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma at 6 minutes and 42 seconds.
Match Rating: 6 / 10
Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima and Master Wato versus Suzuki Gun (El Desperado, Taka Michinoku and Yoshinobu Kanemaru)
Master Wato gets into Desperado’s face before the bell even rings. Wato takes it to the champion stomping him down in a corner. One gets the feeling Wato wants to challenge Desperado for his title. The match breaks down with everyone brawling on the floor. Wato and Desperado battle in the ring as everyone is tied up on the floor. Desperado taps out to Wato’s new submission move. Wato stands over Desperado demanding a championship match.
Winners: Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima and Master Wato at 9 minutes and 36 seconds.
Match Rating: 6 / 10
Suzuki-gun (Taichi, Zach Sabre Jr., Douki) versus Los Ingobernables de Japon (Bushi, Hiromu Takahashi and Shingo Takagi)
From the main event last night to one of the opening matches tonight for Shingo. Shingo gets a massive response from the crowd for his effort last night. Douki leaps off the top of a steel post on everyone below. Bushi jumps through the ropes knocking Taichi up the rampway. Shingo pins Douki in the ring with Last of the Dragon.
Winners: Los Ingobernables de Japon (Bushi, Hiromu Takahashi and Shingo Takagi) at 10 minutes and 26 seconds.
Match Rating: 7 / 10
Bullet Club (El Phantasmo, Taiji Ishimori) versus The Mega Coaches (Ryusuke Taguchi and Rocky Romero) versus Robbie Eagles and Tiger Mask (c) – IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Match
On the back of El Phantasmo’s light-up jacket the message “Robbie Eagles Sucks” is scrolling. To compliment Tiger Mask, Eagles is wearing an eagle mask to the ring as well as a Flying Tigers jacket. Phantasmo gives Tiger Mask a Sudden Death kick to the stomach before the match even begins. Mask rolls to the floor clutching his gut as the bell rings. Eagles gets the worst of things as he is set upon by everyone. Rocky slingshots Eagles into Taguchi’s butt in a corner. Eagles leaps off the top rope onto the Mega Coaches on the floor. Eagles takes a Sudden Death kick to the stomach. He goes down hard. Bullet Club double team him. Phantasmo stomps on Taguchi’s hand, arm with that loaded boot. Tiger Mask gets back into things five minutes into the match. Coaches have Eagles pinned but Phantasmo makes the save to keep his team’s hopes alive.
Phantasmo executes a Thunder Kiss splash on Tiger Mask who is almost laying in the opposite corner. Crraaaazy! Eagles blocks Phantasmo’s Thunder Kick meant for Tiger Mask directing it into Ishimori instead. The Bone Soldier goes flying through the ropes to the floor. Everyone surrounds Phantasmo who begs for their mercy. After dispensing some justice they hold Phantasmo down and take his boot off to see if it is loaded. Eagles pulls out a piece of metal showing it to the crowd. The official makes the decision to disqualify Ishimori and Phantasmo from the match. Young Lions carry a kicking and screaming Phantasmo from the ringside area. Tiger Mask wipes out Taguchi on the floor leaving Eagles and Romero to settle things. Romero taps out to the Ron Miller Special. A perfect win considering it is the Year of the Tiger in Japan.
Winners: …and still IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions, Robbie Eagles and Tiger Mask at 12 minutes and 10 seconds.
Match Rating: 7.5 / 10
Tam Nakano and Saya Kamitani versus Mayu Iwatani and Starlight Kid
It is fantastic to see Stardom represented at Wrestle Kingdom. No, Triple H. The greatest women’s wrestling in the world is in Stardom. What would be even cooler is if Stardom on NJPW shows were common place to draw in more fans to the amazing promotion. Each wrestler in this match is from a separate Stardom faction. Starlight Kid (my pick for the most improved wrestler of 2021 in our Slam Awards) shows what Stardom is all about with Saya as soon as the bell rings as they tear things up. Kid and Mayu team up to blast Saya with a double 619. Mayu and Tam smash each other in the face in a back and forth until Mayu clocks Tam with a kick to the head. Kid does a springboard moonsault onto everyone on the floor.
In a spectacular move, Mayu sits on the top rope and Kid climbs onto her shoulders. Mayu stands up and Kid dives off her shoulders onto Saya. Saya ends up pinning Kid with a Star Crusher and her tribute to Kota Ibushi, a Phoenix Splash from the top rope.
Winners: Tam Nakano and Saya Kamitani at 9 minutes and 14 seconds.
Match Rating: 7.5 / 10
Cima versus Minoru Suzuki versus Toru Yano versus Chase Owens – KPOW Match
All of Strong Hearts come down to the ring with Cima. As Yano enters the ring, everyone attacks him stomping him into the mat. Yano rolls out to the floor. Suzuki drops Owens with one shot to the face. Cima and Suzuki get into a chop battle. Owens and Yano grab Suzuki and pull him to the floor. Cima leaps through the ropes splashing everyone. Yano tears down a turnbuckle pad while Suzuki and Owens square off in the middle of the ring. One shot from Suzuki knocks Chase down once again. Cima puts Yano into a leg lock and suplexes Owens at the same time. With Yano in the leg lock, Cima demands that Suzuki try and knock him down too. Every time Cima falls he snaps Yano’s leg in that submission move. Funny stuff that. Cima has Owens pinned but Suzuki puts him in a sleeper hold. Yano sneaks into the mix giving Suzuki and Cima a double punch to the “lower abdomen”. He rolls up Suzuki. Suzuki kicks out. Suzuki pins Yano with the Gotch Style Piledriver as the crowd gasps and claps in approval. Suzuki stomps and kicks Yano, slapping a sleeper hold on him. Yano pulls out a set of handcuffs securing Suzuki to the top rope so he can escape his wrath.
Winner: …and new Provisional KOPW Champion…Minoru Suzuki at 5 minutes and 49 seconds.
Match Rating: 6 / 10
Bullet Club’s House of Torture (Evil, Yujiro Takahashi and Sho) (c) versus Chaos (Hirooki Goto, Yoshi-Hashi and Yoh) – NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship Match
Ishii is at ringside hoping to keep Dick Togo in check. When Sho and Yoh face off again Evil trips up Yoh. Sho powerbombs Yoh for a two count. Sho retrieves his wrench. The official stops him from using it but Topo sneaks into the ring choking Yoh. Ishii pulls Togo out of the ring so he lets go of Yoh. Yujiro distracts the official. Evil punches Yoh in the “lower abdomen”, Sho nails him with the wrench and Sho pins him. House of Torture stomp the crap out of Yoh before Chaos chases them off. Ishii warns Evil that their feud isn’t over just yet.
Winners: …and still NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Champions, Bullet Club’s House of Torture (Evil, Yujiro Takahashi and Sho) at 9 minutes and 40 seconds.
Match Rating: 7 / 10
Almost the entire locker room from Pro Wrestling Noah comes down to the ring. The message to NJPW is this will be a war at night three of Wrestle Kingdom Saturday night.
The Great-O-Khan versus Sanada
A great match of technical skill. Sanada has Khan on the defensive with his mat wrestling. Henare is at ringside providing support for his United Empire buddy. A drop kick sends Khan to the floor. Khan dodges a leap by Sanada who slides back into the ring taunting Sanada. Commentator Chris Charlton comments that Khan attacks the face and you cannot “train” your face. Funny that. Sanada blocks Khan’s Mongolian Chops to his dismay. Sanada splashes Khan on the floor. Khan does the same thing to Sanada minutes later. Khan has Sanada lined up for the Eliminator. Sanada rolls through to pin him.
Winner: Sanada at 13 minutes and 25 seconds.
Match Rating: 7.5 / 10
Jeff Cobb versus Tetsuya Naito
Naito removes his suit tossing his shirt at Cobb. Cobb picks it up, folds it nicely and places it on the apron. The commentators say that Cobb isn’t frustrated by Naito’s “tranquillo” ways because he is from Hawaii and they invented the term. As soon as Naito has his entrance attire off Cobb charges across the ring lowering the boom on Naito. Cobb bellows as Naito drop kicks his injured knee. Naito stomps and stomps and stomps on it despite the official’s pleas. Naito throws the official aside. Naito drops kicks Cobb’s leg out from under him. Cobb falls off the apron whacking his head on it. Cobb picks up Naito on the floor like a small child.
In the suplex position Cobb slams Naito again and again into the steel post and gives him a running vertical suplex on the floor. Just brutal and awesome all at the same time.
Back in the ring, Cobb just presses Naito over his head slamming him down hard to the canvass. Cobb carries Naito on his shoulders slamming him into turnbuckle after turnbuckle.
Naito takes control as he focuses his attack on Cobb’s knee and his legs. A deathlock has Cobb screaming in agony desperate to reach the ropes and end the pain. Cobb starts bleeding from his mouth and nose.
Cobb catches Naito as he prepares to hit Destino throwing him off. Cobb counters Naito on the top rope powerbombing him to the mat.
Cobb’s knee gives way as he attempts a Tour of the Islands. Naito rolls him into a Calf Crusher. Cobb breaks the hold with hammer fists and suplexes Naito over. Naito pins Cobb with a Destino. An absolutely incredible match.
Winner: Tetsuya Naito
Match Rating: 8.5 / 10
Kenta (c) versus Hiroshi Tanahashi – No Disqualification – IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship Match
Before he enters the ring Kenta pulls two kendo sticks out from under the ring. He slides one to The Ace and they do battle swinging at each other. Kenta’s stick breaks. Tanahashi keeps on swinging and hitting him. Kenta rolls to the floor. Tanahashi follows caning Kenta some more. Kenta stops the onslaught with hitting the Ace in the face with the US belt. It is Kenta’s turn to strike back with the kendo stick in and outside the ring. Kenta pulls out trash cans, steel chairs and the Wrestle Kingdom briefcase from under the ring.
Kenta smashes a steel chair over Tanahashi’s back and a trash can lid over his head. Kenta sets up a ladder in a corner whipping Tanahashi into it. Kenta runs at The Ace with a trash can. Tanahashi drop kicks Kenta’s legs out from under him. Kenta stumbles hitting himself in the face with the can.
Charlton makes the point that Terry Funk was older when he was in many death matches against Cactus Jack and others across Japan for IWA.
The Ace puts a trash can over Kenta head and smashes it with a steel chair. The Ace finds a guitar under the ring. He cracks Kenta over the head with it. The Ace slides out of the ring setting up a table on the floor. Kenta hits The Ace in the head with the briefcase stunning him. Kenta lays Tanahashi on the table and climbs to the top rope. The Ace cuts him off at the pass. Tanahashi throws seven steel chairs into the ring. The Ace nails Kenta with a slingblade on the steel chairs. He manages to roll out of the way though as Tanahashi tries for a High Fly Flow from the top rope. The Ace lands on all the steel chairs.
Kenta buries The Ace in a corner under steel chairs. Kenta crushes him with a running shotgun drop kick. Tanahashi reverses an attempted GTS with a Twist and Shout on the steel chairs. The Ace brings the table into the ring. He dumps Kenta on top of the table with a steel chair on his chest. Kenta leaps up throwing the chair into Tanahashi’s head catching The Ace on the top rope. Kenta gives The Ace a Falcon Arrow through the table.
The Ace appears to be unconscious. Kenta retrieves a massive ladder from under the ring. Kenta sets the ladder up in a corner locking it in place but takes a long, long time doing do. Kenta lines up a table under the ladder drapes The Ace on the table. As Kenta is ready to leap off the ladder The Ace shakes the ladder. Kenta falls landing on a trash can.
The fall cuts Kenta’s forehead or nose open. The Ace then lays Kenta out on the table. The crowd gasps as The Ace lands a High Fly Flow from near the top of the ladder driving Kenta through the table. With some effort The Ace pins Kenta to win the title back.
Winner: …and new IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion, Hiroshi Tanahashi at 22 minutes and 45 seconds.
Match Rating: 9 / 10
Kazuchika Okada (c) versus Will Ospreay – IWGP World Heavyweight Championship Match
Winner: …and IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, Kazuchika Okada at 35 minutes and 44 seconds.
Match Rating: 10 / 10
Wrestle Kingdom 16 Night Two
NJPW bounces back from last night giving fans those Wrestle Kingdom quality matches and moments. This card truly had it all from a killer hardcore match to a main event that was a true classic in every sense of the world. Ospreay and Okada proved why they are at the very top of the industry today. As a NJPW fan you couldn’t ask for more except for maybe an appearance by “Tokyo Latina” Pieter. Maybe next time.