Battle in the Valley, New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s show in San Jose, California next Saturday (Feb. 18), is already sold out. That happened with only one match — Mercedes Mone’ challenging KAIRI for the IWGP Women’s championship — announced for the card, and everything that’s been added since is pretty exciting.
That included an IWGP World Heavyweight title defense. And after today’s The New Beginning in Osaka show, we know that will be the first singles match in more than a year between legendary rivals Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi.
Tanahashi defeated KENTA early in the show. Then he joined commentary and, after Okada successfully defended his belt against Shingo Takagi in the main event, accepted a challenge for from the man who succeeded him as New Japan’s “Ace”.
両者の意地が爆発！大熱狂のIWGP世界ヘビー戦は、オカダが鷹木をレインメーカーで粉砕!!— 新日本プロレスリング株式会社 (@njpw1972) February 11, 2023
⇒https://t.co/2u9lXxUkwY#njnbg #njpw pic.twitter.com/DCwcVytFAI
It’s been five years since Okada and Tanahashi have fought for New Japan’s top prize, and only the second time they’ve gone one-on-one in the United States (the first being their 2019 G1 Climax clash in Dallas).
Here’s the updated card for Battle in the Valley, which you can stream on Fite:
• KAIRI (c) vs. Mercedes Mone for the IWGP Women’s championship
• Kazuchika Okada (c) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi for the IWGP World Heavyweight title
• Fred Rosser (c) vs. KENTA for the NJPW Strong Openweight championship
• Motor City Machine Guns (c) vs. World Class Wrecking Crew for the NJPW Strong Tag Team titles
• Zack Sabre Jr. (c) vs. Clark Connors for the NJPW World Television championship
• Eddie Kingston vs. Jay White
• Tom Lawlor vs. Homicide in a ‘Filthy Rules’ Match
• Mascara Dorada, Josh Alexander, Adrian Quest & Rocky Romero vs. KUSHIDA, Kevin Knight, Volador Jr. & The DKC