Injury helped set New Japan up for a two part main event of the Tokyo Dome portion of Wrestle Kingdom 16. On Night Two, Will Ospreay — who was forced to vacate the IWGP World Heavyweight title last May — would get the whoever emerged from Night One’s battle between reigning champ Shingo Takagi and G1 Climax winner Kazuchika Okada.
It was a rematch of Takagi and Okada’s battle for the vacant championship at Dominion 6.7. A lot of fans were thrilled when NJPW crowned the former Dragon Gate star back in June. Those same fans may be disappointed the company went back to their homegrown Ace today (Jan. 4).
Some are probably also disappointed Okada is keeping the divisive IWGP World Heavyweight belt, rather than bring back the “v4” strap he’s been carrying to symbolize his G1 win. But after taking everything Shingo could dish out...
... and winning a 35 minute match with a Michinoku Driver and his signature Rainmaker finish...
... the new champ bowed to the old title and had the new one placed around his waist.
The Rainmaker adds his first IWGP World Heavyweight championship to a resume that already includes five runs with the IWGP Heavyweight one that was combined with the IWGP Intercontinental title to create New Japan’s current top prize. We’ll see how long he holds onto it. Ospreay confronted Okada to close Night One, setting the stage for Jan. 5’s main event.
Okada’s win was one of three title changes so far at Wrestle Kingdom 16. Check out the full results here.