In the early hours of Wednesday, the legendary Tokyo Dome hosted Wrestle Kingdom 17, a significant event for wrestling fans in the United States. This event was not only one of Japan’s biggest wrestling spectacles of the year but also noteworthy because it showcased talent from AEW, WWE, Stardom, and Pro Wrestling NOAH.
Wrestle Kingdom 17 can be considered one of the most substantial crossover events to date. However, it’s important to note that the primary focus remained on the NJPW stars and championships. While it featured participants from other wrestling companies, it was not promoted or booked as a Forbidden Door-like event.
In the opening contest, Ryoehi Oiwa squared off against Boltin Oleg in a three-minute exhibition. The match featured intense chain grappling exchanges, with Oleg executing a double leg takedown, while Oiwa responded with a single leg takedown. The bout showcased impressive hand-to-hand combat, including Oleg grabbing Oiwa’s left leg and executing two fireman’s carry takeovers. Both wrestlers engaged in a standing switch exchange and waist lock takedowns, leading to a quick standoff in the center of the ring.
Oiwa gained the upper hand by applying a wrist lock and executing a fireman’s carry takeover, followed by applying The Cross-Arm-Breaker. However, Oleg managed to break the hold by reaching the bottom rope. Oiwa stomped on Oleg’s chest, applied a side headlock, and after being whipped across the ring, dropped Oleg with a shoulder tackle. Oleg countered with a hip toss and a bodyslam for a two-count as the time limit expired.
Match Result: Time-Limit Draw
In the second match, the 2023 New Japan Rambo took place, featuring a large roster of participants, including SHO, Hikuleo, EVIL, Tomohiro Ishii, The Great O-Khan, Douki, Rocky Romero, KENTA, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Aaron Henare, Ryusuke Taguchi, Jeff Cobb, Shane Haste, Mikey Nicholls, Yujiro Takahashi, Toru Yano, El Phantasmo, Taichi, and Shingo Takagi.
The eliminations unfolded as follows:
1.) EVIL was eliminated by Sho. 2.) Tomohiro Ishii was eliminated by Aaron Henare & The Great O-Khan. 3.) Douki was eliminated by The Great O-Khan. 4.) Yoshinobu Kanemaru was eliminated by Hikuleo. 5.) Rocky Romero was eliminated by Shane Haste. 6.) Ryusuke Taguchi was eliminated by TMDK (Tag Team of Mikey Nicholls and Shane Haste). 7.) Hikuleo was eliminated by The Great O-Khan. 8.) Jeff Cobb was eliminated by TMDK. 9.) Shane Haste was eliminated by Mikey Nicholls. 10.) Mikey Nicholls was eliminated by The Great O-Khan and Aaron Henare. 11.) Aaron Henare was eliminated by El Phantasmo. 12.) Taichi was eliminated by Shingo Takagi, El Phantasmo, KENTA, Sho, and Yujiro Takahashi. 13.) Yujiro Takahashi was eliminated by Shingo Takagi. 14.) KENTA was eliminated by Shingo Takagi. 15.) El Phantasmo was eliminated by Sho.
Winners: Shingo Takagi, The Great O-Khan, SHO, and Toru Yano
The third match featured a six-man tag team contest in the Antonio Inoki Memorial Match, with Yuji Nagata, Satoshi Kojima, and Togi Makabe facing off against Tatsumi Fujinami, Minoru Suzuki, and Tiger Mask.
The action unfolded as follows:
Winner: Yuji Nagata, Satoshi Kojima, and Togi Makabe via Pinfall
In the opening title bout, TJ Perkins and Francesco Akira defended their IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship against the challenging team of Lio Rush and YOH.
The match featured high-flying action and teamwork from both teams, including somersault planchas, springboard maneuvers, and hard-hitting strikes. In the end, TJ Perkins and Francesco Akira retained their titles after Perkins countered YOH’s finishing move, the Direct Drive, with an inside cradle for the victory.
Winners: Still IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions, TJ Perkins & Francesco Akira via Pinfall
In the second match, Kairi defended her IWGP Women’s Championship against Tam Nakano in a hard-fought battle.
The match saw a back-and-forth exchange of strikes, submissions, and high-impact moves. Kairi ultimately secured the victory after hitting Nakano with her finishing move, the Insane Elbow.
After the match, Mercedes Moné made a surprise appearance and attacked Kairi, setting up a future championship match.
Winner: Still IWGP Women’s Champion, Kairi via Pinfall
In the third match, FTR (Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood) defended their IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship against Hirooki Goto and Yoshi Hashi, known as Bishamon.
The contest showcased tag team excellence, with both teams displaying their tag team maneuvers and resilience. In a surprising turn of events, Goto and Hashi managed to secure the victory, becoming the new IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions.
Winners: New IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions, Hirooki Goto & Yoshi Hashi via Pinfall
In the fourth match, Zack Sabre Jr and Ren Narita competed for the inaugural NJPW World Television Championship.
The bout featured a technical wrestling showcase, with both wrestlers countering each other’s holds and executing various submission moves. Ultimately, Zack Sabre Jr emerged victorious, becoming the first-ever NJPW World Television Champion by making Narita tap out to The Cross-Arm-Breaker.
Winner: New NJPW World Television Champion, Zack Sabre Jr via Submission
In the fifth match, Karl Anderson defended his NEVER Openweight Championship against Tama Tonga, accompanied by Jado.
The match began with a heated brawl outside the ring, where Anderson executed a Fisherman’s Buster on the steel barricade. The action continued with a series of strikes, counters, and high-impact moves. In the end, Tama Tonga secured the victory, becoming the new NEVER Openweight Champion by hitting Anderson with The GunStun.
Winner: New NEVER Openweight Champion, Tama Tonga via Pinfall
Sixth Match: In a 6-Man Tag Team Match, Keiji Muto, Hiroshi Tanahashi, and Shota Umino take on Tetsuya Naito, Sanada, and Bushi. This marks Muto’s final match in New Japan.
Keiji Muto and Sanada kick things off, with Sanada targeting Muto’s left knee. Sanada delivers two standing dropkicks, but Muto counters an Irish whip with a SpringBoard Dropkick. Muto follows it up with a BackBreaker and then The Muto MoonSault for a near fall. Sanada regains control and whips Muto across the ring, but Muto counters a clothesline with a dropkick to Sanada’s left knee. Muto then drops Sanada with The Shining Wizard and another BackBreaker. Tanahashi urges Muto not to dive from the top turnbuckle. Sanada punches Muto in the back, and Muto responds with a chest kick, followed by a Running Elbow Drop. Tanahashi enters the ring with a leaping elbow drop and clears the ring. He executes a SpringBoard Crossbody Block and plays the air guitar. Sanada strikes back with a forearm smash, but Tanahashi counters with his combination offense. Bushi kicks Tanahashi in the back.
Naito targets Tanahashi’s left knee, and Sanada continues the assault with a basement dropkick. Chaos ensues in the Tokyo Dome as Sanada stomps on Tanahashi’s chest. He tags in Bushi, who stomps on Tanahashi’s back and chest, delivering a NeckBreaker for a two count. Bushi performs another stomp and tags in Naito. Naito strikes Tanahashi with forearm shivers, sending him to the corner, and follows up with a Corner Dropkick. Naito sweeps Tanahashi’s legs and performs a Combination Cabron. Naito taunts Muto, and Tanahashi responds with forearm strikes. Naito kicks Tanahashi in the gut, but Tanahashi reverses a short-arm reversal. Tanahashi dodges The Step Up Enzuigiri and executes a Dragon Screw Leg Whip. Tanahashi tags in Umino, who performs a Missile Dropkick. Umino kicks Sanada in the gut and delivers a deep arm-drag.
Umino ducks a clothesline from Sanada and hits a Hurricanrana. He also lands a corkscrew elbow strike and a running elbow smash to Naito, following it with a Bridging Fisherman’s Suplex for a two count. Umino applies The STF, while Muto drops Sanada with a Dragon Screw Leg Whip and applies The Figure Four Leg Lock. Tanahashi traps Bushi in The Texas Cloverleaf. Naito grabs the bottom rope, forcing the break. Naito blocks The Uranage Slam, and Umino kicks him in the gut. Naito reverses Umino’s Irish whip, but Umino responds with a back elbow smash. Naito retaliates with an Inverted Atomic Drop, clubbing elbow smashes, and a Twisting NeckBreaker. Naito tags in Bushi, who hits The Missile Dropkick. Bushi stomps on Umino’s back, and Umino ducks a clothesline from Bushi, countering with a Rolling NeckBreaker. Sanada dropkicks Umino, but Muto drops Sanada with a Dragon Screw Leg Whip. Tanahashi traps Bushi in The Texas Cloverleaf. Naito reaches the bottom rope, forcing the break. Umino kicks Naito in the gut, and Naito reverses Umino’s Irish whip. Naito executes a back elbow smash, and Umino responds with a Running Bulldog, pinning Naito for the win.
Winner: Keiji Muto, Hiroshi Tanahashi, and Shota Umino via Pinfall
Hiromu Takahashi dropkicks El Desperado after the bell rings and follows it up with a corner clothesline. He combines a dropkick and Belly to Back Suplex on Taiji Ishimori. Meanwhile, El Desperado executes an elbow and backhand combination on Master Wato, followed by a double Irish whip and double shoulder tackle. Ishimori throws haymakers at El Desperado and secures an inside cradle for a two count. El Desperado rolls up Wato for another two count and chops him. The sequence results in a standoff in the center of the ring. A double Irish whip is delivered to Wato, and El Desperado knocks him down with an elbow. He scores the elbow knockdown on Ishimori and connects with a half hatch suplex into the blue turnbuckle pad. Ishimori regroups outside the ring as a palm strike exchange takes place. Wato ducks a clothesline from Desperado, who runs into Takahashi. Wato shoves Desperado into Takahashi and follows up with a double bulldog. Wato delivers forearm shivers, a mid-kick, and a two-count. Desperado denies the RPP and forces a counterfest.
Wato applies a waistlock, and Ishimori delivers three sharp elbow strikes. Wato lands the Recientemente for a two count. Desperado denies the RPP, and Ishimori sends him into Wato. Wato dodges the Handspring Back Elbow, and Ishimori’s execution of it is blocked. Wato applies a waistlock and Ishimori delivers three sharp elbow strikes. Wato goes for The Recientemente, but Takahashi counters with a deep arm-drag. Takahashi ducks under an Ishimori clothesline and delivers a headscissors takeover. Ishimori is pulled out of the ring, and Wato executes a somersault plancha. Takahashi follows it with a diving senton bomb and rolls Wato back into the ring. He delivers a Running Death Valley Driver into a turnbuckle pad and Ishimori retaliates with a pump kick. Desperado delivers a shoulder tackle, and Ishimori scores a jumping knee strike. Desperado counters an Irish whip from Ishimori with a SpineBuster and Wato drops him with The Zig Zag. Desperado goes for The Pinche Loco, but Wato counters with a superkick and the Roundhouse Kick.
Desperado blocks The Recientemente, and Wato counters with a SuperKick. He then lands The Bridging German Suplex for a two count. Wato goes for The Recientemente II, but Takahashi counters with a deep arm-drag. Takahashi plants Wato with The Time Bomb II to win the match and become the new IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion.
Winner: New IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, Hiromu Takahashi via Pinfall
Will Ospreay, accompanied by The United Empire, defended his title against Kenny Omega, who had the support of Don Callis at ringside. Don Callis took a seat at the commentary desk to provide insight for this pivotal matchup. From the opening bell, Omega showcased his agility by evading Ospreay’s Running Boot attempt. Ospreay responded by locking in a front face lock, initiating a Collar and Elbow Tie Up. Omega countered with a wrist lock and cheekily slapped Ospreay across the face.
Ospreay didn’t back down, executing a waist lock takedown and a series of haymakers. The intense action led to a shoving contest and a heated Palm Strike Exchange. Omega retaliated with a vicious kick to Ospreay’s face and then slipped over his opponent’s back, setting up a Headscissors Takeover by Ospreay.
Ospreay continued his assault with a Slingshot Pescado, targeting Omega outside the ring. He hammered down two more haymakers before whipping Omega into the unforgiving steel barricade. With Omega reeling, Ospreay rolled him back into the ring.
Omega, determined to regain control, blocked Ospreay’s Pip Pip Cheerio attempt and unleashed a series of clubbing blows to Ospreay’s back. A Rolling Senton followed by a MoonSault earned Omega a close two-count.
The match escalated as Omega kicked Ospreay in the face, punched him in the back, and then whipped him across the ring for a Hip Toss. Ospreay, however, countered with a Cobra Twist. Omega broke free with a Hip Toss of his own, but Ospreay countered with a Stundog Millionaire, leaving both competitors exhausted.
Ospreay displayed his striking prowess with forearm shivers, but Omega answered with a Handspring Roundhouse Kick. Ospreay landed the Pip Pip Cheerio for a near fall, attempting a PowerBomb that Omega thwarted. Their epic encounter continued with a Chop Exchange, a Tiger Wall Flip Kick, and a Step Up Enzuigiri.
Omega retaliated with a SuperKick and narrowly avoided the OsCutter. He then surprised everyone by producing a table from under the ring. Omega drove the table into Ospreay’s back, creating chaos at ringside. Ospreay didn’t back down, delivering a BrainBuster on the broken table and following up with a Sky Twister Press.
Back in the ring, Ospreay connected with a Flying Forearm, but Omega blocked the OsCutter. Omega unleashed a V-Trigger and followed up with a Reverse Hurricanrana and the Aoi Shoudou for another near fall.
Ospreay showcased incredible resilience, blocking Omega’s Snap Dragon Suplex and delivering sharp elbow strikes. Omega responded with a knife-edge chop and placed Ospreay on the top turnbuckle. However, Ospreay countered the Avalanche Dragon Suplex with the Robinson Special.
The battle raged on, with Ospreay and Omega trading Cheeky Nando’s Kicks, blistering chops, and SuperKicks. Ospreay attempted the Storm Breaker, but Omega thwarted it and unleashed a series of V-Triggers, ultimately hitting the One Winged Angel for the victory.
The result: Kenny Omega emerged as the new IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion, securing the championship via pinfall after an epic contest.
Rocky Romero joined the commentary team to provide insights for this monumental championship bout. From the onset, White engaged in mind games with Okada, leading to a Collar and Elbow Tie Up. White backed Okada into the ropes, and Red Shoes called for a clean break. White patted Okada on the chest, but the tension escalated with a strong lockup. Okada turned White over against the ropes, prompting White to slap Okada across the face.
White followed up with kicks to Okada’s gut and clubbing blows to his back. He slammed Okada’s head onto a turnbuckle pad and continued stomping on Okada’s chest. White delivered a knife-edge chop, kneeing Okada’s midsection in the process.
Okada mounted a comeback, reversing White’s Irish whip and hitting a Big Boot. A forearm smash and a NeckBreaker further established Okada’s dominance. Gedo briefly intervened, luring Okada outside the ring. However, Okada fought back, delivering toe kicks and a Double DDT on the ramp.
Back in the ring, Okada displayed his resilience with a Shotgun Dropkick and locked in the Money Clip submission. White countered with heavy bodyshots and continued his assault with a Half Hatch Suplex into the blue turnbuckle pad. White flexed his muscles and toyed with Okada.
White fish-hooked Okada, landed a gut punch, and followed up with a forearm across Okada’s back. A Snap Saito Suplex added to Okada’s woes. White relentlessly stomped Okada’s midsection while displaying his physical prowess.
The pace remained fast and furious, with White driving Okada ribs-first into the top rope and delivering the Half Hatch Suplex into the blue turnbuckle pad. White continued his attack with Too Sweet Chops and a Toe Kick Exchange.
Okada rallied with a Back Body Drop, evading White’s clotheslines and hitting a Flapjack. White side-stepped Okada into a turnbuckle pad and then targeted his shoulder with clubbing shoulder blocks, shoving Red Shoes in the process.
Okada retaliated by placing White on the top turnbuckle and dropkicking him to the floor. Gedo attempted interference again, but Okada countered with toe kicks. Okada executed a Double DDT on the ramp, leaving White stunned.
Back in the ring, Okada unleashed a Shotgun Dropkick, followed by the Money Clip submission. White wriggled free and planted Okada with The BladeBuster, but Okada kicked out at two.
White buried his knee into Okada’s midsection and scored a series of near falls. White then attempted the Blade Runner, but Okada countered with a German Suplex, demonstrating his determination.
Okada delivered a Backslide Rain Maker, a short-arm clothesline, and a Spinning Tombstone PileDriver. White resisted the Rain Maker and countered with the Blade Runner for a close two-count.
Okada roared back with clubbing blows to White’s chest, denying the Blade Runner once more. He executed the Step Up Enzuigiri and unleashed the Spinning Rain Maker.
Okada resumed the Money Clip submission, but White regrouped on the outside, where Gedo intervened again. Okada retaliated with a forearm smash to Gedo’s face, followed by a SomerSault Senton to the outside.
Back in the ring, Okada bodyslammed White and hit a Flying Elbow Drop. He signaled for the Rain Maker, dodging White’s attempts to counter. Okada ultimately secured the victory with the Rain Maker, claiming the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship.
Following the match, Shingo Takagi issued a challenge to Okada for a future title match, setting the stage for more thrilling battles in the IWGP.
The result: Kazuchika Okada emerged as the new IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, securing the championship via pinfall after a hard-fought contest against Jay White.