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NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 17: Live Scores, Omega Sephiroth, Sasha Banks Arrives & More

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New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Wrestle Kingdom has made a name for itself over the past two decades for bringing some of the best pro wrestling on the planet to the Tokyo Dome every year. It’s a January 4 tradition – and this year’s card is once again filled with the promotion’s top talent.

The death of NJPW founder Antonio Inoki, who launched the promotion in the early 70s, weighs heavily on this year’s event. A largely uneventful six-man tag team match was played in his honor between some of NJPW’s oldest hands on the pre-show.

As with Wrestle Kingdom 14, 15 and 16, the event will take place over two nights, but things are a little different this year. Rather than having the second night 24 hours after the premiere, the Wrestle Kingdom 17 sequel will take place on January 21 at Yokohama Arena. Matches for this card are yet to be determined, but you can bet there will be a few rivalries fired up on night one.

The showpiece bouts will see the return of AEW’s Kenny Omega in a match against Will Ospreay for the IWGP United States Championship before Jay White takes on perennial main event Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship to close the show.

Here’s when and how to watch Wrestle Kingdom 17, plus the full card, live results, and some stray thoughts about what happened.

When does Wrestle Kingdom 17 start?

The event kicks off at 3:20 p.m. Japan Standard Time on January 4, making it a very late (or very early) start for residents in the United States.

  • US West Coast: 10:20 p.m. PT, Jan. 3
  • US East Coast: 1:20 a.m. ET, January 4
  • UK: 06:20 GMT
  • Australia: 5:20 p.m. AEST

Officially, the bell rings at 5 p.m. JST to kick off the evening, so you’ve got a few extra hours up your sleeve if you’re not interested in early games or the pre-show.

How to stream Wrestle Kingdom 17 live

The easiest and most convenient way to watch is to sign up for NJPW World, NJPW’s streaming service. This gives you access to commentary in both Japanese and English. Registration costs 999 Japanese yen, or about 7.60 USD. You can watch live or on demand, so if you’re in the US and need to get some sleep…hit it the next day.

If so and you don’t want spoilers…don’t read on.

Wrestle Kingdom 17 Match Card and Results

The winners are indicated in bold.

First part:

  • Ryohei Oiwa vs. Boltin Oleg (Exhibition) — ended in a draw within the time limit.
  • KOPW 2023 Right to Challenge Rumble — Great-O-Khan, Sho, Toru Yano and Shingo Takagi were the final four. They will face off at the New Year Dash!! on January 5 for the KOPW Championship.
  • Yuji Nagata, Satoshi and Togi Nakabe against Tatsumi Fujinami, Minoru Suzuki and Tiger Mask (Antonio Inoki Memorial Match).

Main show:

  • Take 2/2 (TJP and Francesco Akira) (C) against CHAOS (Lio Rush and Yoh) for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship.
  • KAARI (C) against Tam Nakano for the IWGP Women’s Championship.
  • FTR (Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler) (C) vs. Bishamon (Hirooki Goto and Yoshi-Hashi) for the IWGP Tag Team Championship.
  • Zack Saber Jr. against Ren Narita (first ever NJPW World Television Championship match).
  • Karl Anderson (C) against Tama Tonga for NEVER Openweight Championship.
  • Keiji Muto, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Shota Umino against Los Ingobernables de Japon.
  • Four-way match featuring Taiji Ishimori (C) vs. Hiromu Takahaski vs. El Desperado vs. Master Wato for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship – Takahashi pins Master Wato.
  • Will Ospreay (C) vs. Kenny Omega for the IWGP US Heavyweight Championship.
  • Jay White (C) vs. Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship.

Wrestle Kingdom 17 Wandering Thoughts and Observations

  • Well, the rumors were true. Former WWE Superstar Sasha Banks was set to make her Tokyo Dome debut this year as NJPW continues to grow its women’s division, and she did – as Mercedes Moné. She entered exactly when most predicted – just after Kairi retained the IWGP Women’s Championship. She announced that the two would face off at Battle in the Valley on February 18.
  • Bishamon’s win is the first title change of the night, but don’t expect it to be the last!
  • Zack Saber Jr., a native Briton, called out British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak as he entered, shouting “pay the nurses assholes, pay the nurses a living wage”.
  • I thought we might see a more significant appearance from Katsuyori Shibata, who last wrestled at NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom 16. He was a commentator for the NJPW World Television Championship match.
  • Zack Saber Jr. joined the TMDK stable after winning his World Television Championship, which was his first singles title in NJPW.
  • Karl Anderson came out wearing an OC shirt, a WWE creation.
  • The Anderson/Tonga game was really, really good but it ended with a pretty horrible miss from Anderson (I think?). Tonga tried the Gun Stun and Anderson seemed to reject it…Messy.
  • Tetsuya Naito exudes true Donnie Darko energy with his bunny mask. It’s also very reminiscent of WWE’s Fiend, but I don’t want to cast a stone.
  • Keiji Muto’s final NJPW match really got the crowd moving for the first time on the night. Huge pop when Tanahashi told Muto do not to attempt his moonsault.
  • Absolutely loved that Naito and Bushi from Los Ingobernables de Japon just wore the match t-shirts the whole time. Unbelievable.
  • What did Hiromu Takahashi wear in the ring in the eternal Dark-Souls-Boss-Battle?
  • During the Four Way, the commentary team announced that something happened backstage, potentially between Tetsuya Naito and Shota Umino. Gino Gambino asked “What did Kenny do now?” referencing AEW’s recent issues with CM Punk. It was a clear job and turned out to be NOAH’s Kongo took on Los Ingobernables de Japon with a nice catch for the YouTube channel.
  • Kevin Kelly basically dropped an F-bomb after Master Wato dropped a pin… he sort of pulled out of the curse on the final syllable.
  • Omega’s comeback was pretty amazing. He goes full Sephiroth in his entry, using the One Winged Angel theme and Nibelheim burning mode. Wild stuff topped only from Ospreay entrance.
  • Kenny Omega wins the belt from Will Ospreay after putting Ospreay through absolute hell. An incredible match that will score high on the Meltzer charts. Rematch please.

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