It is the most wonderful time of the year as New Japan Pro Wrestling presents NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 16 Night Two. It is time for Night Two of Wrestle Kingdom! To read our preview of Night One click here.
The biggest show of the New Japan Pro Wrestling year, Wrestle Kingdom, is back on its traditional January 4th and 5th dates. But this year we are in for something different. We don’t just have two nights of Wrestle Kingdom. We have a third night as well! And it is going to be New Japan vs. Pro Wrestling Noah on January 8th. That could be nearly twelve hours of New Japan action over three nights. Who needs sleep in 2022 right?
The second night of Wrestle Kingdom 16 is a truly huge card that has been built well over the past few months. The main card will have eight matches, five titles on the line and a historic tag team match. After the tough year that was 2021, it will be great to see New Japan get 2022 off to a great two nights of action. Here is the preview of Wrestle Kingdom 16 Night Two. Thank you to John Hill, our STARDOM expert, for his preview of the historic STARDOM tag team match.
NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 16 Night Two
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship:
Tiger Mask & Robbie Eagles vs. Ryusuke Taguchi & Rocky Romero vs. Taiji Ishimori & El Phantasmo
The main card starts on Night Two with a big IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team match. Tiger Mask & Robbie Eagles won the title on October 29, 2021 and will be defending the title for the very first time at Wrestle Kingdom 16. They certainly picked some dangerous opponents.
The former champions Taiji Ishimori & El Phantasmo attacked the current champions on December 15th. The Bullet Club likely would have taken out Tiger Mask if it wasn’t for help from Ryusuke Taguchi. In return, Taguchi asked for a match against the tag champions. Can Eagles & Tiger Mask possibly survive the veteran team of Taguchi & Romero? Throw in the dangerous Bullet Club tag team and the Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions face long odds indeed.
Mayu Iwatani & Starlight Kid vs. Tam Nakano & Saya Kamitani (STARDOM Special)
John: The Special STARDOM match will be the third STARDOM attraction match in Wrestle Kingdom history. This match differs from previous STARDOM offerings in that it will play out on the main card rather than as a dark match.
The participants were chosen as part of a draw, where a single representative from each of STARDOM’s five factions (Odeo Tai, Queens Quest, STARS, Cosmic Angels, and Donna Del Mondo) drew straws to determine which team they would belong to, and who would be eliminated from the match. The draw came down to Odeo Tai’s Starlight Kid and STARS’ Mayu Iwatani in the blue corner versus Queen’s Quest representative Saya Kamitani and Cosmic Angels’ Tam Nakano.
The story of the rivalry between all four women is long and winding. Starlight Kid was forced out of STARS when she lost an elimination tag team match in June 2021, but she has managed to flourish within the villainous stable. Mayu Iwatani challenged opponent Tam Nakano for the Wonder title also in autumn.
Nakano faces a difficult challenge as on the December 29th event “STARDOM Dream Queendom”, Nakano actually lost that very Wonder of Stardom title to her partner Saya Kamitani. The title change is bound to cause friction between partners at Wrestle Kingdom, but will the allure of the spotlight give them the incentive to work together?
What is certain is that this tag match is set to steal the show, as all performers are at the top of STARDOM’s roster.
Chase Owens vs. Cima vs. Minoru Suzuki vs. Toru Yano
For the Provisional KOPW 2022 Trophy
The always enjoyable battle royal will kick off Wrestle Kingdom Night One. The final four will compete for the new KOPW trophy on Night Two. Who will be in the match? It seems that Toru Yano, the KOPW Trophy holder of 2020 and 2021 will be a part of this Four Way Match. Will Yano’s reign continue or will a new champion finally emerge on January 5th? If it is anything like previous KOPW matches it will be a lot of fun.
NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship:
EVIL, Yurijo Takahashi and SHO (c) vs. Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI and YOH
The NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship is known for its constant title changes. That was what made it so shocking when CHAOS (Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI, Tomohiro Ishii held the 6-Man title for an unprecedented 454 days. It ended at Power Struggle against the Bullet Club team.
At Wrestle Kingdom 16, CHAOS will get another shot at the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship. Goto and YOSHI-HASHI have a shot at double gold over the two nights in the Tokyo Dome. If you throw in the heated rivalry between SHO and YOH, then you have a recipe for a chaotic title match.
NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 16
SANADA vs. Great-O-Khan
Leading into the final day of the World Tag League Final, Great-O-Khan mocked SANADA repeatedly for letting his tag team partner Tetsuya Naito do most of the work in World Tag League. This accusation didn’t sit well with SANADA. It will lead to a huge singles match on Night Two of Wrestle Kingdom.
SANADA and Great-O-Khan are looking for a major breakthrough in their singles careers. Both have had big matches but not a lot of singles glory. Will one get that great start to 2022 on January 5th?
Jeff Cobb vs. Tetsuya Naito
On December 15, Naito and Jeff Cobb faced off as part of a huge tag team match. On that night, Naito shocked Cobb by pinning him clean in the middle of the ring. Cobb would attack Naito backstage and issued the challenge for Wrestle Kingdom 16.
Naito defeated Cobb in their only previous singles match. Jeff Cobb has generally been a dominant force in New Japan Pro Wrestling. Can he overcome his newest rival on the biggest stage possible? Naito will have to be on his game to stop the motivated Cobb.
NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 16
IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship:
KENTA (c) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (No DQ Match)
It is so rare to see a No Disqualification match at Wrestle Kingdom but the feud between KENTA and Hiroshi Tanahashi seems worthy of that unique stipulation. It has been a bitter rivalry recently for the IWGP United States United States Heavyweight Championship. The next chapter will occur at Wrestle Kingdom 16 on January 5th.
Tanahashi won the United States title for the very first time in August of 2021 at NJPW Resurgence in Los Angeles. He had plans of defending the title in the United States and Japan as much as possible. But KENTA has other plans for the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship.
KENTA had wanted to hold the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship ever since winning a contract for a title match back in August of 2020 at the New Japan Cup USA. He finally won that title by defeating Hiroshi Tanahashi at NJPW Power Struggle in November. Sure, KENTA cheated to secure the victory but the title was finally his after so many months.
Tanahashi was desperate for a rematch at Wrestle Kingdom. He even allowed KENTA to pick the stipulation. We will get the No Disqualification match on Night Two of Wrestle Kingdom. It will likely be the most brutal on the entire card and a potential show stealer on January 5th.
NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 16
IWGP World Heavyweight Championship:
Kazuchika Okada (c) vs. Will Ospreay
At Wrestle Kingdom, Will Ospreay is looking to reclaim what he never truly lost in the first place. At Sakura Genesis 2021, Will Ospreay won the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship for the very first time over Kota Ibushi. It should have been the start of a great title reign for the supremely talented Ospreay after finally winning the big one. But 2021 had other plans. Ospreay suffered a neck injury and had to relinquish the title without ever truly losing it.
At the recent Battle in the Valley show, Ospreay returned and proclaimed himself the “true world heavyweight champion”. He certainly has a claim to the title. This idea didn’t sit very well with Shingo Takagi or Kazuchika Okada. They agreed the winner of their World Heavyweight title match on January 4th would face Ospreay for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship on Night Two of Wrestle Kingdom.
Both Okada and Takagi have unfinished business with Ospreay. Ospreay will be looking for revenge against Okada after losing a huge match to “The Rainmaker” at Wrestle Kingdom 15. Shingo Takagi will also be looking for revenge against Ospreay. He lost to Ospreay at New Japan Cup Final and Wrestling Dontaku in epic matches last year. The personal stakes are high in the epic main event on Night Two. Who is ready for this great match to wrap up two wonderful nights in the Tokyo Dome?