Welcome to our WrestlingINC.com Live NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 16 Night One Viewing Party. The show comes live from the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan as NJPW kick off their 50th anniversary year. Please share coverage of tonight’s Viewing Party on social media and chime in with your thoughts in the Comments section below. Make sure to click the REFRESH button to continue to get the most current up-to-date coverage.
Tonight’s announced card:
– Pre-Show: New Japan Ranbo to determine the four participants for the Provisional KOPW 2022 Trophy on Night Two
– Yoh vs. Sho (with Dick Togo)
– Hiroshi Tanahashi and The Mega Coaches (Ryusuke Taguchi & Rocky Romero) vs. Bullet Club (KENTA, Taiji Ishimori & El Phantasmo)
– Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, Sanada & Bushi) vs. United Empire (Will Ospreay, Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb)
– Katsuyori Shibata vs. TBA contested under Catch wrestling rules
– Tomohiro Ishii (c) vs. Evil (with Dick Togo) for the NEVER Openweight Championship
– Dangerous Tekkers (Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr.) (c) (with Miho Abe) vs. Chaos (Hirooki Goto & Yoshi-Hashi) for the IWGP Tag Team Championship
– El Desperado (c) vs. Hiromu Takahashi for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
– Shingo Takagi (c) vs. Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship
— 村田晴郎 (@MTharuo) January 4, 2022
The NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 16 Night One Pre-Show
– Chase Owens, Toru Yano, CIMA, and Minoru Suzuki advance to the Provisional KOPW 2022 Trophy match on Night Two in the New Japan Ranbo. The other participants were Aaron Henare, Kosei Fujita, Yuto Nakashima, Ryohei Oiwa, Master Wato, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima, Taka Michinoku, Tomoaki Honma, Douki, Yuji Nagata, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Togi Makabe, Bad Luck Fale, and Tatsumi Fujinami.
NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 16 Night One
– Chris Charlton and Kevin Kelly are our commentators for the event via video link. Kevin Kelly is broadcasting live via the United States, whilst Chris Charlton is broadcasting from an undisclosed location in Tokyo.
– The opening video package features a special message from Antonio Inoki, who provides an update on his health and his plans to celebrate 50 years of NJPW in March.
Yoh vs. Sho w/ Dick Togo
The match immediately begins with Yoh sending Sho outside of the ring and flying over the top rope to take him out. Their battle then heads up the entrance ramp. Sho manages to gain the advantage and slams Yoh on the entrance ramp, before using Dick Togo as a weapon slamming him on top. Kevin Kelly mentions it is not often that we get a rival feud kicking off a Wrestle Kingdom card.
Back in the ring, Sho is in control and has Yoh in the corner, as Yoh counters a kick to the chest in the middle of the ring. Yoh strikes Sho on the mat with left and right punches and then stomping him as the NJPW fans in attendance clap. Yoh delivers a stunning drop kick to maintain his control in the match and gets a near fall using the bridge pin.
Sho manages to deliver a spear after pulling the referee in the way of Yoh’s offense. Sho strikes Yoh in the corner and repays Yoh with stomps to the chest in the middle of the ring. Sho then hits a powerbomb, followed by a piledriver, but only scores a two fall. Sho attempts his finisher, but Yoh rolls out into a submission hold applying pressure to the legs. Dick Togo gets on the apron and Sho taps out but the referee is distracted. Sho then hits a German suplex on Yoh.
Sho then locks in his own submission hold, the Snakebite, as Yoh looked to have passed out, but he finds some energy to find the ropes. Togo is back on the apron, quietly handing a weapon to Sho. Yoh avoids, as Sho is sent crashing into Dick Togo on the apron. Yoh then rolls Sho up for the pinfall.
Winner: Yoh via pinfall
Sho attacks Yoh in the ring after the match, but Yoh manages to fight back and watches on as Dick Togo and Sho limp out of the Tokyo Dome.
.@njpwShowT "Snake Bite"
— njpwworld (@njpwworld) January 4, 2022
Hiroshi Tanahashi and The Mega Coaches (Ryusuke Taguchi & Rocky Romero) vs. Bullet Club (KENTA, Taiji Ishimori & El Phantasmo)
El Phantasmo and Rocky Romero get that tag team match started. They both show off their athleticism, avoiding each other’s moves. Romero then hits Phantasmo with a punch and sends him into the corner. Taguchi is then tagged into the match as Chris Charlton mentions he sometimes loads his backside up for extra power. Romero and Taguchi are in the ring and go from corner to corner taking out El Phantasmo and Ishimori.
The referee then loses control of the match for a moment, as the contest spills onto the outside. Back in the ring, El Phantasmo is now legal, as he and Ishimori have Taguchi trapped in the corner and deliver a double stomp to his lower region. Phantasmo once again shows off his impressive athleticism and has Taguchi’s number. Taguchi is then isolated in the Bullet Club’s corner, as KENTA is tagged in.
KENTA attempts to pin Taguchi but only scores a two count. KENTA sends Taguchi into the corner, but Taguchi counters and manages to tag in Tanahashi. Tanahashi is full of energy as he looks to take out all of the Bullet Club members in this match. The referee is now down and KENTA delivers a DDT in the ring before grabbing his kendo stick striking Tanahashi. The Mega Coaches manage to assist Tanahashi, as Tanahashi then repeatedly strikes KENTA with the kendo stick. The referee returns but Tanahashi pushes him away and he’s immediately disqualified.
Winners: KENTA, El Phantasmo, and Taiji Ishimori via DQ
KENTA will defend the IWGP United States Championship against Tanahashi tomorrow night in a No Disqualification match.
Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, Sanada & Bushi) vs. United Empire (Will Ospreay, Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb)
Great-O-Khan and Joff Cobb immediately attack Los Ingobernables de Japon as Will Ospreay watches on his corner. Cobb takes down Naito in the ring with a shoulder charge. Cobb takes Naito on the outside and smashes him into the barricade. He sends him back in the ring and attempts a pinfall but Naito kicks out. Cobb then tags in Great-O-Khan. Great-O-Khan then delivers some Mongolian chops to Naito as United Empire is in control. Will Ospreay is then tagged into the match.
Ospreay immediately tags himself out claiming he has a big match tomorrow in the main event and wants to save his energy. In the ring, Cobb continues the assault on Tetsuya Naito, but Naito manages to counter to send Cobb to the mat. Sanada and Bushi enter the ring to help Naito take down Jeff Cobb. Sanada and Great-O-Khan are then tagged in. Sanada is sent to the outside as Great-O-Khan thinks about flying over the top rope but doubts himself. Back in the ring, Great-O-Khan takes control and is looking impressive here tonight.
Sanada then finds a way to take Great-O-Khan down as he heads to the corner and tags in Bushi. Bushi delivers a DDT and scores a two-count. Will Ospreay is once again tagged in looks to deliver the Storm Breaker but Naito enters the ring and stops him in his tracks. Great-O-Khan then takes out Sanada and Bushi. Bushi counters the Storm Breaker, but Ospreay then hits a pop-up powerbomb and scores a two-count. Ospreay then hits an elbow to the back of Bushi’s head and picks up the victory for his team.
Winners: Will Ospreay, Jeff Cobb & Great-O-Khan via pinfall
After the match, the United Empire takes to the microphone and Great-O-Khan states that all the peasants in the Tokyo Dome need to bow down. He says that tomorrow night they will show the power of the United Empire.
.@WillOspreay "Hidden Blade"
— njpwworld (@njpwworld) January 4, 2022
Katsuyori Shibata vs. Ren Narita
Ren Narita is revealed as Katsuyori Shibata’s opponent, a student of the LA Dojo. Shibata grabs the microphone before the match and states it’ll be regular wrestling rules. Shibata takes down Ren Narita and works some amateur offense on the mat. Chris Charlton talks about the history of wrestlers heading to Wigan, UK to learn their craft and pays homage to Karl Gotch, in reference to Shibata’s style.
Ren Narita attempts his own mat-based offense but Shibata applies a figure-four leglock. Narita then brings some aggression into the match and has Shibata in the corner. At one point, even knocked the referee down. Narita then delivers a number of kicks in the middle of the ring but Shibata counters with an inside trip takedown. Shibata then sets up for the dropkick in the corner and delivers it which receives big applause from the NJPW fans.
Narita counters Shibata’s armbar attempts into a Boston crab, as Shibata finds himself in trouble. He eventually gets the rope break, but Narita pulls him back and works on the left leg. Shibata then gets himself back into the contest and kicks Narita out of the ring through the middle rope. Back in the ring, Shibata delivers a stretch in the middle of the ring, but Narita gets to the rope. Shibata has hold of Narita’s wrist and begins to deliver chops and kicks to his chest.
Narita attempts a fightback hitting a number of left and right kicks. Shibata responds with his own kick which was too strong for Narita. Shibata then slaps Narita, into the headlock and then hits the ropes to deliver a kick to the chest and scores the pinfall.
Winner: Katsuyori Shibata via pinfall
Katsuyori Shibata "PK!!!!!"
— njpwworld (@njpwworld) January 4, 2022
A video package airs to confirm New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s return to AXS TV.
There is a brief break in the action.
Tomohiro Ishii (c) vs. Evil (with Dick Togo) for the NEVER Openweight Championship
The match starts as EVIL sends Ishii to the outside as he grabs some steal chairs. EVIL then sends Ishii into the barricade. EVIL then attaches a chair to Ishii’s head and then smashes another chair against it. The referee checks on Ishii as he slowly heads back into the ring. EVIL immediately sends Ishii into the corner, in which the corner pad had been removed.
EVIL begins to get frustrated as he attempts a number of pinfalls, only for Ishii to kick out each time. EVIL kicks Ishii in the head as a way to tell him to get up and Ishii does so finding an enormous amount of energy to take down the former IWGP World Heavyweight Champion. Ishii then delivers a back suplex to EVIL. The referee is pushed down accidentally by EVIL, as he and Ishii fall into the ropes where Dick Togo is waiting with a chair and hits Ishii in the back.
EVIL took control for a moment, but Ishii responds with a devastating clothesline. He then lifts EVIL up to the top rope and as he looks to deliver a superplex. Ishii then hoists EVIL high, leaving him in the air for a moment, and drops backward to hit the superplex. EVIL then once again uses the referee, who eventually gets hits by Ishii as EVIL pushed him into the champion. Dick Togo hits the ring and Yujiro also appears to attack Ishii.
Ishii is able to counter and sends Yujiro into Dick Togo who gets sent of the ring. He then sends Yujiro out of the ring as the referee remains down and out. Sho then enters the ring and delivers a suplex to Ishii. Yoh then enters from the crowd, attacks Sho, and dives over the top onto Dick Togo and Yujiro. Ishii and EVIL remain down inside the ring as a new referee heads down to the ring. Ishii then builds some momentum, as Dick Togo tries to enter the ring but is stopped by Yoh.
The champion hits a clothesline to EVIL, but EVIL kicks out of the attempted pinfall. Ishii lifts EVIL up in the middle of the ring, but Yujiro enters and delivers a low blow to Ishii as the referee is distracted. EVIL then hits Ishii with the NEVER Openweight Championship then delivers his Everything is Evil finisher to win the championship.
Winner: The NEW NEVER Openweight Champion, EVIL
Tomohiro Ishii "Avalanche Brainbuster"
— njpwworld (@njpwworld) January 4, 2022
Dangerous Tekkers (Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr.) (c) (with Miho Abe) vs. Chaos (Hirooki Goto & Yoshi-Hashi) for the IWGP Tag Team Championship
Zack Sabre Jr. and Yoshi-Hashi kick off the match, but the contest immediately turns into a brawl. A fast start gives Dangerous Tekkers the advantage as they thwart the double team. Back in the ring, Sabre Jr. has Yoshi-Hashi in a headlock. Yoshi-Hashi then turns the tables and uses some mat-based offense to take out Taichi who was tagged in. Sabre Jr. tags back in to once again locking Yoshi-Hashi again in a headlock, as Sabre Jr. is eventually taken down by Goto, who was tagged in.
Sabre Jr. hits a shot to the knee of Goto, but Goto responds with a clothesline. Sabre Jr. hits two uppercuts and then manages to lock in a crucifix. Goto is grounded, as Taichi also has Yoshi-Hashi in a hold in the ring. Sabre Jr. continues his hold on the mat, but Goto manages to get to the rope. Chaos hit a double team. Goto manages to roll up Sabre Jr. but he kicks out, as Sabre Jr. responds with his own cover but Goto kicks out.
Both men are down in the ring as they both lock for the tag. Yoshi-Hashi and Taichi are tagged in as they exchange blows and chops. Taichi sends Yoshi-Hashi down as Taichi hits a superkick, but Yoshi-Hashi responds with his own superkick. Sabre Jr. enters but is taken down, as Yoshi-Hashi capitalizes. Yoshi-Hashi and Goto hit the double team on Taichi for the win, but Sabre Jr. interferes to break up the count. They once again attempt another double team on Taichi, but Taichi responds with his own cover, but Yoshi-Hashi kicks out.
Sabre Jr. then enters as Chaos hits another double team, but Taichi is the legal man. Taichi takes down both Yoshi-Hashi and Goto. Yoshi-Hashi counters Taichi with a Canadian destroyer, as Chaos performs another double-team move and picks up the win.
Winners: The NEW IWGP Tag Team Champions, Hirooki Goto & Yoshi-Hashi
— njpwworld (@njpwworld) January 4, 2022
El Desperado (c) vs. Hiromu Takahashi for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
Both men immediately collide and trade punches as the NJPW fans clap each punch. They then trade chops to the chest and the NJPW fans continue to clap each chop. Pain then sets in for both men, but then the pace of the match picks up as they hit the ropes and deliver a number of elbows. Neither wrestler is able to get an advantage as they continue to counter each other’s moves and work a fast-paced contest.
Hiromu is sent out of the ring and El Desperado performs a flip over the top onto the challenger, as Hiromu delivers a sunset powerbomb onto the floor just moments later. Both men catch their breath on the outside as the referee counts to twenty, and gets to nineteen before both wrestlers re-enter the ring. They again trade punches, as they go back to square one. Hiromu gets the upper hand, but El Desperado counters with a Spinebuster and scores a two-count pinfall. Desperado performs a splash from the top but again can only get a two-count from the pin.
They return to the center of the ring as they exchange blows, as Himoru hits the pop-up powerbomb following El Desperado hitting the ropes. Hiromu hits a Dynamite Plunger but El Desperado kicks out of his pinfall attempt. They again counter each other’s maneuvers. El Desperado then locks in a submission stretching Hiromu’s left knee. Hiromu escapes and knocks the champion down. Hiromu then drops a Victory Royal but El Desperado kicks out of the pin attempt.
El Desperado then uses a frantic counter to backslide Hiromu into a pin, but the challenger kicks out. Desperado plants Hiromu to the mat and locks in for the pin, but Hiromu escapes at the last millisecond. El Desperado is now in control and strikes a punch to Hiromu’s face as he comes off the ropes and he falls to the canvas. Somehow, Hiromu counters more offense and gets his own near fall on El Desperado. El Desperado then delivers two Pinche Locos to retain his championship.
Winner: Still IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, El Desperado
.@TIMEBOMB1105 "Sunset Flip Powerbomb"
— njpwworld (@njpwworld) January 4, 2022
Shingo Takagi (c) vs. Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship
Takagi takes control in the opening moments using a standing armbar on Kazuchika Okada. Okada then takes Takagic down, but the champion immediately hits back locking in Okada again. Okada then locks Takagi in a headlock as they feel each other out. The NJPW fans show their respect as they clap for both men. They then test each other’s strength, as Okada attempts a number of shoulder tackles on Takagi.
Okada takes some control and gets the champion down on the canvas for a cover, but he immediately kicks out on the one count. Okada gets Takagi in a headlock and then delivers a dropkick to the head as the champion is sat near the ropes. Shingo Takagi turns things around and both men fight on the outside. Takagi drops Okada onto the edge of the ring as he picks up some steam.
Okada hits back and delivers a DDT onto the floor below, but Takagi responds lifting Okada up for a suplex. Takagi then drives Okada into the ring apron before sending the challenger back into the ring. Takagi then drills Okada and traps him in a body scissors submission. The champion continues to work on Okada, dropping some elbow drops on the mat. Okada, back on his feet, hits a few punches to Takagi and then manages to hit the ropes and knock the champion down.
Outside of the ring, Okada dives over the first barricade onto the champion to the gasp of the NJPW fans in attendance. He sends the champion back in the ring, but Takagi manages to kick out of the pinfall attempt. Okada tries to wear the champion down further with a submission hold, but Takagi responds with some chops and a DDT. Takagi is now in control and looks to shift to a higher gear. He delivers a wheelbarrow German suplex to Okada.
Okada eventually counters the champion and locks him in submission before delivering a tombstone piledriver, then back into his Money Clip submission. Okada heads to the top rope and hits an elbow drop as Okada is ready to finish off the match. Takagi doesn’t allow it and delivers a thunderous clothesline. Takagi imitates Okada, and the challenger responds with a number of punches with some aggression. Okada then hits a dropkick but responds instantly with another thunderous clothesline.
Over twenty minutes into this match, both wrestlers are on the outside. Okada hits the champion’s head onto the ring post. They then head up the entrance ramp. Takagi then delivers a Death Valley Driver to Okada on the ramp, countering a piledriver. The champion begins to crawl back into the ring as the referee counts. Okada returns to the ring in time on the count of nineteen. Takagi then hits a superplex to Okada followed by a lariat.
Okada manages to get himself fired up, but Takagi counters by driving Okada into the mat, twice, but only gets a two-count when attempting the pinfall. Takagi can sense the victory, but Okada hits a lariat to the champion’s head. Both men are now on their knees as they trade punches, as they rise to their feet. Okada is struggling with his vision following a number of blows to his left eye. Takagi has Okada on the top rope over his shoulder and looks out to the floor, but Okada counters with a DDT.
Okada is now sensing the end is near, but again, a counter stops him in his tracks as Takagi knocks him down to the mat. Takagi then lifts Okada up, but Okada reverses, Takagi then reverses into a dragon suplex, as Okada hits a dropkick. Okada then hits a Rainmaker to win the championship.
Winner: The NEW IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, Kazuchika Okada
Kazuchika Okada will defend the IWGP Heavyweight Championship tomorrow night against Will Ospreay.
Will Ospreay comes out to ringside after the match to announce Okada as the interim IWGP Heavyweight Champion. Ospreay says that tomorrow he’s not only getting sweet revenge, but he will also walk out as the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion. Ospreay says that Okada can go away and be an actor because New Japan Pro-Wrestling will be safe in Will Ospreay’s hands. Okada then responds by calling Ospreay a fake champion. Ospreay gets irate and walks out.
Okada wishes everyone a Happy New Year but says the new year doesn’t begin until Wrestle Kingdom. He says that Takagi is the real deal and that was a real deal of a fight he just had. He then leads the NJPW fans into a round of applause for the world championships that have represented New Japan Pro-Wrestling. He say the 50-year anniversary celebrations have only just begun and that NJPW is the best promotion in the world. Okada says we will see more of the best matches with Kazuchika Okada on top. He talks about the pandemic and says the wrestlers will always bounce back as long as the fans are there to support them. He wants to have a jam-packed house for January 4th next year. Okada says he will make it rain on the 50th anniversary of New Japan Pro-Wrestling.
Have a news tip or correction? Send it to [email protected]