In the aftermath of the momentous Wrestle Kingdom 17, NJPW New Year Dash on January 5th will feature a mystery card where anything can happen!
The show kicked off with six-man action as House of Torture’s EVIL, Yujiro Takahashi, and Dick Togo took on Ren Narita, Tiger Mask, and Tomoaki Honma. After the HoT trio took the victory, they continued to assault Narita. However, The Son of Strong Style was rescued from his predicament by the former Suzuki-Gun duo of El Desperado and Minoru Suzuki himself, much to the confusion of Narita.
Next up, more former members of Suzuki-Gun appeared as Taichi, Douki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru and TAKA Michinoku came to the ring and declared they would deliver big changes to NJPW. They took on the United Empire in the form of IWGP Jr. Tag Team Champions TJP and Francesco Akira and a crestfallen former IWGP United States Champion, Will Ospreay. The fast-paced bout ended with Douki getting the pin on Akira, putting he and Kanemaru in a prime position to challenge for the Jr Tag Titles.
The third bout saw TMDK’s new Frontman, the first NJPW World TV Champion Zack Sabre Jr. leading Shane Haste and Mikey Nicholls against the new IWGP Tag Team Champions Bishamon – Hirooki Goto and YOSHI-HASHI – and Tomohiro Ishii. TMDK got 2023 off to a strong start as Haste was able to pin YOSHI-HASHI. Haste and Nicholls then made their intentions to challenge for tag team gold clear. In an unusual move, ZSJ then claimed one of the Young Lions – Kosei Fujita – as his own ‘Young Boy’, giving him a TMDK t-shirt.
In Eight-Man Tag action, Los Ingobernables De Japon’s Tetsuya Naito, SANADA, BUSHI, and the new IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Hiromu Takahashi clashed with YOH, Ryusuke Taguchi, Togi Makabe and Shota Umino, who entered through the crowd like his mentor Jon Moxley. While the match started off as a bit of fun, things got serious quickly as Umino continued to target Naito and YOH clashed with Takahashi, eventually pinning him to position himself as the first challenger to the Junior Title.
Bullet Club were the next group to make their presence felt as an unstable Jay White led his troops to the ring before trying to attack English Commentator Chris Charlton for “smiling” under his facemask. The group took on Hiroshi Tanahashi, Master Wato, the new NEVER Openweight Champion Tama Tonga, and the man White has decided to blame for losing the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship, Hikuleo.
While White was unable to exact revenge on Hikuleo during the match, following a DQ finish he brutally assaulted the giant with a steel chair. Afterwards, White challenged Hikuleo to a ‘Loser Leaves Japan’ match and dropped him with a Bladerunner.
The only match confirmed ahead of the show saw the final participants from the Wrestle Kingdom New Japan Rambo facing off in a Fourway Match to determine the first Provisional KOPW Champion of 2023. Outlasting everyone else in the elimination battle royal this year were the 2022 KOPW Champion Shingo Takagi, The Great-O-Khan, Toru Yano, and SHO.
SHO was accompanied by the rest of his House of Torture allies, but midway through the match, the other three participants took the group out of the equation. The end of the bout was a chaotic affair between Yano, Takagi, and Great-O-Khan. Just when it looked like O-Khan had Yano beat, Takagi took him out and hit Last Of The Dragon for the victory to become the Provisional KOPW 2023 Champion.
United Empire’s Jeff Cobb and Aaron Henare came to the ring for the main event against mystery opponents. First, the new United States Champion Kenny Omega came to the ring, he was followed by his partner, the new IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada, a first-time pairing!
The all-star pairing quickly found out they couldn’t take Cobb and Henare lightly as the Imperial Unit dominated first Omega and then Okada early on. Not to be left out, Henare brought his all in the ring against Okada. However, everything clicked for Omega and Okada eventually and a V-Trigger/Rainmaker combo led to a full Rainmaker from Okada for the pinfall victory.
After the match, Kenny Omega left the ring to the World Heavyweight Champion to close the show. Okada thanked Omega for partnering with him, but before he could say much else, Shingo Takagi interrupted him to once again challenge for the title. This time, The Rainmaker accepted the proposal and told Takagi to name the time and place.
Past, present and future were highlighted in the #wk17 kickoff matches, highlighted by Shingo Takagi, Great-O-Khan, Toru Yano and SHO advancing to #njdash and the #kopw2023 four way!https://t.co/ZqyhuFsbOR
— NJPW Global (@njpwglobal) January 4, 2023
NJPW New Year Dash 2023 Results
- Bullet Club House of Torture (EVIL, Yujiro Takahashi & Dick Togo) defeats Ren Narita, Tomoaki Honma & Tiger Mask
- Taichi, Douki, and Yoshinobu Kanemaru w/TAKA Michinoku defeat United Empire (Will Ospreay, TJP & Francesco Akira)
- TMDK (Zack Sabre Jr., Shane Haste & Mikey Nicholls) defeats CHAOS (Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI & Tomohiro Ishii)
- Shota Umino, YOH, Togi Makabe & Ryusuke Taguchi defeat Los Ingobernables De Japon (Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi, SANADA & BUSHI)
- Guerillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Hikuleo), Hiroshi Tanahashi & Master Wato defeat Bullet Club (Jay White, KENTA, Taiji Ishimori & El Phantasmo) by DQ
- Provisional KOPW 2023 Championship: Shingo Takagi defeats Great-O-Khan, Toru Yano, and SHO
- IWGP United States Champion Kenny Omega and IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada defeat United Empire (Jeff Cobb & Aaron Henare)