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NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 16- Night 2
by Doc Allen
January 5, 2022
Live from the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan. Our English hosts are Kevin Kelly and Chris Charlton.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship:
Flying Tiger © (Robbie Eagles and Tiger Mask) vs. Mega Coaches (Rocky Romero and Ryusuke Taguchi) vs. Bullet Club (El Phantasmo and Taiji Ishimori)
El Phantasmo takes out Tiger Mask before the bell, but Mega Coaches don't let them take control with double hip attacks. Mega Coaches swarm Eagles with tandem offense, including a catapult into a rear end. Eagles leaps over Phantasmo to dive onto Mega Coaches. The commentators are convinced that Phantasmo has a loaded boot, as he seems to tweak his ankle. Bullet Club take over with silly leaping back rakes on Eagles. Taguchi tries to help, but Phantasmo stomps his fingers with the allegedly loaded boot. Phantasmo does a tightrope strut while controlling Taguchi's wrist, but Eagles interrupts with a springboard rana! The fans applaud a diving sequence. Tiger Mask returns to hit Phantasmo with an avalanche tiger suplex! Tiger Driver by Tiger Mask, but Ishimori breaks the pin. Tiger Mask runs wild with tilt-a-whirl backbreakers. Ishimori breaks up the Ron Miller special. Flying Tiger try to clear the ring, but Mega Coaches hit Eagles with stereo hip attacks, and a Black Hole Vacation. Bullet Club break the pin, so Romero hits a double rana. Ishimori hits Romero with a double knee buster. Phantasmo flies halfway across the ring for a Thunder Kiss '86, but TIGER MASK KICKS OUT! Phantasmo soon finds himself alone with Flying Tiger and Mega Coaches, and gets held down to remove his boot. Eagles finds a hunk of metal in Phantasmo's boot, the ref disqualifies Bullet Club only. Phantasmo throws a tantrum and has to be carried out by the ring crew. The match continues as a standard 2 on 2 bout. Tiger Mask takes Taguchi down with a tope. Eagles and Romero trade pinning predicaments until Eagles applies the Ron Miller special for the submission at 12:15. Super fun opener, with well executed high flying offense, and a cathartic comeuppance for Bullet Club, ***¼.
Winners and still IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions: Flying Tiger
Saya Kamitani and Tam Nakano vs. Mayu Iwatani and Starlight Kid
This is a special STARDOM showcase, each woman drew straws to represent their respective factions. Kamitani and Kid start with a high speed exchange. Iwatani and Kid work together for stereo 619s. Kamitani hits a spin heel kick and tags in Nakano, who crab crawls into a rollup on Iwatani. Nakano and Iwatani trade fierce forearms until Iwatani blasts a kick to the head. Iwatani's crucifix bomb gets 2. Nakano answers with a sling blade. Starlight Kid tags in and gets caught by Kamitani's dropkick. Iwatani helps with a double arm drag. Everyone gathers to catch Starlight Kid's Asai moonsault. Kid hits a big frog splash for 2. Starlight Kid perches on Iwatani's shoulders for a high crossbody! Kid's Texas Cloverleaf is broken up. Nakano hits a top rope crossbody to outside. Kamitani hits a springboard crossbody, Mayu breaks the pin. Kid and Kamitani trade many nearfalls until Kamitani hits a school boy suplex for a great 2 count. Iwatani's superkick helps Kid roll up Kamitani for 2. Iwatani hits Nakano with a German, Nakano stands right up for a Tiger Suplex! Kamitani hits Kid with Starcrusher and then a Phoenix Splash for the win at 9:15. Spectacular spot-filled sprint, without a second to spare, ***½.
Winners: Saya Kamitani and Tam Nakano
NJPW King of Pro Wrestling:
CIMA (with Strong Hearts) vs. Chase Owens vs. Minoru Suzuki vs. Toru Yano
Yano is the perennial winner of this trophy and gets triple teamed at the bell. Suzuki slaps Owens off his feet. CIMA and Suzuki gleefully light each other up with slaps. Yano and Owens trip Suzuki, so CIMA dives onto everyone. Owens repays CIMA with a knee to the face. Yano removes some buckle padding while Owens takes his best shot at Suzuki. Suzuki straightens Owens' hair before knocking him down. Yano interrupts, CIMA knocks him into the exposed buckles and hits a deathlock/suplex combo. CIMA refuses to let go out Yano while Suzuki blasts his chest. Yano is still stuck in the deathlock while everyone else put each other into sleeper holds. Yano survives with a rope break but eats Owens' V-Trigger. CIMA hits Owens with an air raid crash and flying Meteora! Suzuki puts CIMA into a choke, but Yano low blows them both! Suzuki angrily piledrives Yano for the win at 6:15! Very entertaining palette cleanser from all the super serious action, **½.
Winner and new King of Pro Wrestling: Minoru Suzuki
Suzuki hates Yano so much that he keeps stomping at him with the trophy in hand. Suzuki goes for a choke, but Yano handcuffs him to the ropes, just to escape with his life intact.
NEVER Openweight Six Man Championship:
House of Torture © (EVIL, SHO, and Yujiro Takahashi, with Dick Togo) vs. CHAOS (Hirooki Goto, YOH, and YOSHI-HASHI)
Match begins with a brawl all over the place. Goto and EVIL are in the ring, where Goto hits a back heel kick and bulldog. YOH pursues SHO and hits a plancha. EVIL rakes Goto's eyes and whips him into an exposed buckle, giving control to HoT. YOSHI-HASHI gets the hot tag and runs wild with punches, chops, and a neckbreaker onto EVIL. YOSHI drapes Yujiro for a dropkick for 2. Yujiro comes back with an Olympic Slam, but YOSHI pops up for a lariat. SHO and YOH make tags and rekindle their rivalry with a high speed exchange. EVIL trips YOH, allowing HoT to triple team him in the buckles. SHO powerbombs YOH, but CHAOS break the pin. CHAOS trap SHO for a Ushigoroshi/thrust kick combo. YOH drops SHO onto his knee, but EVIL sneaks up for a low blow. YOH takes a wrench to the face and and SHO pins him at 9:47. Decent, lively time filler. This HoT act feels exceptionally stale, **¼.
Winners and still NEVER Openweight Six Man Champions: House of Torture
Keiji Mutoh leads the Pro Wrestling NOAH locker room to the ring. They'll be going to war with New Japan on Wrestle Kingdom Night 3 later this week. They feel that NOAH is the new top promotion in Japan and maybe they can help New Japan fill some empty seats. Shingo comes out and retorts that NOAH has nothing to offer New Japan, and they'll prove the difference between them at Night 3. LiJ consider taking on the entire NOAH locker room by themselves but smarten up and wait for later.
Great-O-Khan vs. SANADA
The crowd claps while they feel each other out. Dropkick by SANADA sends O-Khan outside. SANADA misses a moonsault and O-Khan clotheslines him over the ropes. O-Khan hits a variation of The Stroke for 2. SANADA throws some weak forearms, and O-Khan answers with cartoonish looking Mongolian Chops. SANADA's dropkick to the knee is more like it. SANADA hits an awkward atomic drop and follows with a plancha. O-Khan answers with a suplex, but SANADA rolls away from the cover. O-Khan considers a plancha, hesitates, and then hits it but falls into the barricade! Back to the ring, O-Khan hits a reverse power slam and tries to pin him in a throne-like position. SANADA kicks out, can't get Skull End, and O-Khan grabs a mean Sheep Killer. SANADA escapes, O-Khan blocks Skull End, reverses the O'Connor roll. O-Khan reapplies the Sheep Killer. SANADA counters into a Tiger Suplex for 2. O-Khan blocks the moonsault! They slug it out until O-Khan punches the throat for a good nearfall. O-Khan goes high risk again with a moonsault, but SANADA answers with a bridge pin to win out of nowhere at 13:21. This started iffy, but became pretty compelling once it got going, especially with O-Khan leaving his comfort zone to take flight, ***.
Jeff Cobb vs. Tetsuya Naito
Cobb grows impatient with Naito casually removing his entrance attire and charges before the bell. Naito weathers the storm and hits a dropkick to the knee. Naito relentlessly attacks the knee in the ropes and throws the ref aside. Another dropkick to the knee sets up a baseball slide dropkick for Naito. Cobb repeatedly slams Naito into the ring post and then completes a running vertical suplex onto the floor. Cobb doesn't really sell his knee damage while picking apart Naito's back. Naito attacks the knee again for an opening to hit a flurry of desperate offense. Naito teases a slingshot dropkick, but just kicks at the knee instead. Naito applies a deathlock, Cobb gets the ropes. Cobb answers with a dead lift overhead belly to belly suplex. Back suplex by Cobb, who is deliberately moving slower due to his bad knee. Tornado DDT by Naito, but he's too worn for a cover. He wills himself for a dropkick to the knee and a bulldog from the top rope. Cobb blocks Destino, takes another dropkick to the knee. Cobb reverses a Frankensteiner into an avalanche powerbomb! Cobb's late cover gets 2. Cobb's knee buckles under Tour of the Islands, and Naito locks on a calf slicer. Cobb escapes with a sick gut wrench German suplex. Cobb absorbs an enziguri and blasts a lariat. Naito reverses Tour of the Islands into Gloria, and then Destino to win at 15:38! Great psychology on display with Cobb gradually selling his knee injury more and more as it went on, and the injury prevented him from not only hitting his finisher, but allowed Naito to win when he otherwise looked outmatched, ****.
Winner: Tetsuya Naito
IWGP United States Championship (No Disqualifications):
KENTA © vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
KENTA tests Tanahashi's virtues by turning his back, and then spinning around for a kendo stick duel. Tanahashi outduels KENTA and lights him up with repeated shots, but KENTA swings the U.S. title at him. KENTA destroys a kendo stick over Tanahashi. KENTA brings in a chair and trash can to keep Tanahashi down. KENTA follows with a hard Irish whip into a ladder. Tanahashi dropkicks the knee and KENTA lands face first on a trash can. Tanahashi targets the face with repeated weapon shots, including a guitar. KENTA smashes his briefcase over Tanahashi and drapes him on a table. Tanahashi pops up and wins a top rope fight. Tanahashi fills the ring with chairs and hits a Sling Blade onto the stack. Tanahashi misses the HiFi Flow and lands onto the chairs! KENTA buries Tanahashi under a pile of chairs for a shotgun dropkick. Tanahashi blocks GTS and hits a neckbreaker onto some chairs. Tanahashi places KENTA onto a table with a chair, but KENTA escapes for a chairshot. KENTA nails an avalanche Falcon Arrow through the table! Instead of making a cover, KENTA fetches a new table and a large ladder. KENTA has a hard time screwing the ladder together and I'm staring at the stopwatch. About an hour later, KENTA climbs to the top, but Tanahashi shakes him down for a miserable bump through a can! KENTA likely has a broken nose and is gushing blood! Tanahashi climbs to the top for a HiFi Flow through a table!! That mercifully ends the match at 22:43! Those were some scary stunt bumps at the end. This was a great hardcore brawl, save for the several minutes spent preparing the large ladder, and it told a rich narrative about Tanahashi having to adjust to using weapons for victory, ***¾.
Winner and NEW IWGP U.S. Champion: Hiroshi Tanahashi
IWGP World Heavyweight Championship:
Kazuchika Okada © vs. Will Ospreay
They start with some unfriendly chain wrestling. Shoulder tackle by Okada, but Ospreay kips up. Okada hits a big boot, Ospreay stomps his foot but runs into a back body drop. Deliberate neckbreaker by Okada gets 1. Ospreay answers with a DDT through the ropes for 2. Ospreay talks a ton of trash. Okada dares him to kick him harder, so he does. Spinning sidewalk slam by Ospreay earns some applause. Okada hits a desperation flapjack for a breather. Okada builds steam and hits a DDT for 2. Ospreay misses a flipping attack and eats a reverse neckbreaker. Ospreay blocks a Tombstone, but his back gives out on a suplex attempt. They brawl on the apron until Okada hits a shotgun dropkick into the ring post! Okada goes for the crossbody over the rails, but Ospreay meets him with a superkick to the knee! Ospreay climbs high up a lighting rig for a sensational moonsault to the floor! Back to the ring, Ospreay hits a leaping forearm and sitout powerbomb for 2. Okada reverses a Sasuke special into a Tombstone Piledriver on the floor! Okada slowly sets up a missile dropkick for 2. Ospreay breaks free from the Money Clip but Okada hits another shotgun dropkick. Rainmaker pose, but Ospreay blocks, Okada counters a standing SSP, Ospreay fires back with a sick sitout powerbomb for a great nearfall. Ospreay hits a draping SSP, followed by a normal SSP, but OKADA KICKS OUT! Oscutter, but Okada kicks out again. Okada ducks the Hidden Blade, but Ospreay reverses the Tombstone! Ospreay mocks the Rainmaker pose, tries a Rainmaker, but Okada reverses into a stolen Stormbreaker for 2! Dropkick by Okada, but Ospreay answers with a sudden Spanish Fly! Super Oscutter but Okada kicks out yet again. Okada reverses Stormbreaker into a Tombstone, they trade frantic counters, Okada hits a short Rainmaker! Another Rainmaker, but OSPREAY KICKS OUT! Okada goes back to the Money Clip, Ospreay escapes for his own Rainmaker. They trade tired slaps and forearms as they stumble up. Okada wins the exchange and controls the wrist for a pair of Rainmakers. Ospreay surprises with a popup forearm and then the Hidden Blade, but OKADA KICKS OUT! They trade kicks and counters, Ospreay serves a vicious headbutt. Ospreay runs into a dropkick and Okada nails the Tombstone and Rainmaker to win at 32:52! Terrific match that delivers just about everything you would want from a Wrestle Kingdom main event. They did kind of throw out whatever narrative they were building in the first half with body work to just trade (excellent) false finishes throughout the second half, but it got over with the fans who were applauding and making as much noise as they could given the COVID rules. Rounds out to ****©.
Winner and still IWGP World Heavyweight Champion: Kazuchika Okada
Final Thoughts: I think I liked Night 2 a little more than Night 1. This show provided more variety than usual and breezed by considering the length. New Japan may have seen better days, but they put forth a good foot with these Wrestle Kingdom shows and I recommend that you check them out.
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