Wrestle Kingdom Day 1 promised to be a massive show for New Japan Pro Wrestling with a number of titles on the line on a card filled with big matches. By the end of the show the IWGP World Heavyweight, IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team, and NEVER Openweight Championships were in the hands of new titleholders.
Three Championships Change Hands on Wrestle Kingdom 16 Day 1
EVIL Wins NEVER Openweight Championship
In the first blow of the brewing faction war between CHAOS and the House of Torture, EVIL ended Tomohiro Ishii’s sixth reign as NEVER Champion on his first defense.
Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI Win IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship
The duo of Goto and YOSHI-HASHI now hold the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Titles. This win marks the first time Goto has held these titles since 2015 and is just the second title win of YOSHI-HASHI’s career. YOSHI-HASHI getting his feel-good moment on Wrestle Kingdom 16 Day 1 after 13 years in the ring is a well-earned accolade for the man who has been nothing short of excellent in the NEVER Openweight Six-Man picture.
Kazuchika Okada Wins IWGP World Heavyweight Championship
Kazuchika Okada is once again standing atop the mountain in NJPW after defeating Shingo Takagi for the title. Okada suffered a number of high-profile losses that had people questioning his spot in the company, with this win he has avenged one of these major losses. On Night two of the WK festivities, Okada aims to get another win back, this time against “real world champion” Will Ospreay. Okada faces a tough task if he aims to enter the NJPW/NOAH event as IWGP World Heavyweight Champion but if anyone can do it, it’s The Rainmaker. This win also marks the first time Okada has held the new IWGP World Heavyweight Championship, but is his sixth world title win in New Japan.
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