The second night of Wrestle Kingdom 17 will feature inter-promotional warfare as NJPW once again goes head-to-head with Pro Wrestling NOAH in Yokohama Arena.
It was NOAH’s Kongo faction who laid down the gauntlet when they made a surprise appearance backstage at the Tokyo Dome on the first night of Wrestle Kingdom 17. The groups leader, Kenoh, led his troops to interrupt Los Ingobernables de Japon.
Last year, LIJ defeated Kongo in a huge ten-Man Tag Team Match which the NOAH team hasn’t forgotten. This year, the teams will face off again, but this time in a best-of-five series of singles matches culminating in Kenoh finally getting his hands on LIJ leader Tetsuya Naito.
The opening bout of the main show featured a mix of talent on each side as the GHC Tag Team Champions – NJPW’s Satoshi Kojima and NOAH’s Takashi Sugiura – joined NJPW’s Toru Yano and Hiroshi Tanahashi to clash with Bullet Club’s El Phantasmo, Gedo, and KENTA along with KENTA’s old NOAH partner Naomichi Marufuji. Prior to the match, Bullet Club attempted to formally recruit Marufuji, but he refused the offer of a Too Sweet. This turned out to be a feature of the match as Marufuji disapproved of Bullet Club’s underhanded tactics throughout. Late in the match, Marufuji seemed to be reconsidering his opposition to the group when Yano came in with his own dirty tricks, hitting Gedo with a low blow and a roll-up for the victory.
The only other singles match on the card saw former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion El Desperado get his wish to take on NOAH’s multi-time GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Champion Yo-Hey. While the pair seemed evenly matched in the early stage od the bout, Desperado quickly began focussing on Yo-Hey’s legs. This proved to be decisive once Desperado locked in Numero Dos. With nowhere to escape to, Yo-Hey had no choice but to submit.
Elsewhere on the card, the new IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada teamed with the veteran Toge Makabe to face one of his opponents from the main event of last year’s Wrestle Kingdom 16 Night 3, GHC Heavyweight Champion Kaito Kiyomiya and Yoshikii Inamura. The bout broke down into a vicious fight between Kiyomiya and Okada on the outside, things became so chaotic that the referee threw out the match. Kiyumiya then challenged Okada to face him in a singles match and Okada tried to launch another assault, but the pair were finally pulled apart.
In the first match of the Kongo v LIJ Best-Of-Five series, Tadasuke defeated BUSHI by roll-up after BUSHI seemingly blinded him with the Green Mist. BUSHI kicked out a split-second after the three-count and continued to assault Tadasuke.
Match two saw Hajime Ohara dominate new IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Hiromu Takahashi for much of the bout. However, after Takahashi escaped a submission hold, he was able to pull off Time Bomb II to get the win and even the score.
Up next, two men who know each other well in SANADA and Manabu Soya went to war. The pair gave each other as good as they got with neither being able to take the upper hand. A strike battle late in the match led to Soya hitting a Death Valley Bomb for two, SANADA then rallied to try for Skull End but Soya powered out and dropped him to the mat. He hit a Wild Bomber but SANADA jumped out at one, however, a second sealed the victory.
Coming into the semi-main event with Kongo at 2-1, Katsuhiko Nakajima looked supremely confident against LIJ’s Shingo Takagi. Underestimating the KOPW Provisional Champion proved to be a mistake though, as he came out from under Nakajima to hit several big moves including a huge Superplex.
The pair then got into a lengthy striking contest to the delight of the vocal crowd, raining kicks, elbows, and lariats on each other. Shingo then tried to land Pumping Bomber but was met with a kick to the side of the head. Nakajima then dropped Shingo with a Vertical Spike Brainbuster but only got a two-count. Takagi came back with Made In Japan and followed up with Pumping Bomber for two. He immediately landed a running Uppercut and Last of the Dragon to bring LIJ back to 2-2.
The main event saw a clash of styles as the generally all-business Kongo Leader Kenoh took on the more unruly El Ingobernables Tetsuya Naito. Kenoh was able to stay on top for much of the match, even taking the time to taunt his opponent at times. However, Naito refused to stay down, responding to every sequence Kenoh came up with. After Kenoh made a failed attempt at Ring of Fire, Naito came back with strikes to the nick, trying to set up for Destino, but Kenoh responded with his own strikes and, as the time limit approached, tried for a Falcon Arrow but Naito countered into a short Destino and Valencia. He then hit a full Destino for the victory.
The win meant that not only did LIJ win the Best-Of-Five series with 3-2, but NJPW beat Pro Wrestling NOAH 5-4.
Following the match, Tetsuya Naito raised a fist to salute Kenoh, but Kenoh rolled out of the ring, refusing to respond.
Keiji Muto then took to the ring, issuing a shock challenge to Natio to be his final opponent on February 21st in the Tokyo Dome. Naito was all too happy to accept the challenge, promising to clear his schedule for the event.
Wrestle Kingdom 17 Night 2 Results
Pre-show: Kosei Fujita & Ryohei Oiwa defeat Taishi Ozawa & Yasutaka Yano
Pre-show: Masa Kitamiya & Daiki Inaba defeat Tomohiro Ishii & Oskar Leube
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Toru Yano, Satoshi Kojima & Takashi Sugiura defeat Naomichi Marufuji & Bullet Club (KENTA, El Phantasmo & Gedo)
El Desperado defeats Yo-Hey
AMAKUSA, Junta Miyawaki & Alejandro defeat Tiger Mask, Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato
Kazuchika Okada & Togi Makabe vs. Kaito Kiyomiya & Yoshiki Inamura – Double DQ
Kongo vs. LIJ Best of five series: Tadasuke defeats BUSHI
Kongo vs. LIJ Best of five series: IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Hiromu Takahashi defeats Hajime Ohara
Kongo vs. LIJ Best of five series: Manabu Soya defeats SANADA
Kongo vs. LIJ Best of five series: KOPW 2023 Provisional Champion Shingo Takagi defeats Katsuhiko Nakajima
Kongo vs. LIJ Best of five series: Tetsuya Naito defeats Kenoh