Preview: NJPW — Battle In The Valley (2/18/23)

KAIRI vs Mercedes Mone | NJPW Battle In The Valley

In what might be the most highly anticipated New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) event in the United States since the G1 Supercard at Madison Square Garden in 2019, Battle In The Valley is ready to set the pro wrestling world ablaze. Not only will it feature a legendary matchup between generational rivals Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi, but it will also include Mercedes Moné‘s first match since leaving WWE as she challenges KAIRI for the IWGP Women’s Championship. This is as big as it gets.

Here’s a look at how to watch NJPW Battle In The Valley, the full card, and what you should expect from the Double Main Event!

NJPW Battle In The Valley: Where To Watch

Battle In The Valley is available to purchase on FITE TV for $19.99 with English Commentary. It’s also available on NJPW World for $22.70 with Japanese Commentary.

NJPW Battle In The Valley: Full Card

— JR Kratos vs. Alex Coughlin
— Bobby Fish vs. David Finlay
— Rocky Romero, Josh Alexander, Mascara Dorada & Adrian Quest vs. Volador Jr., KUSHIDA, The DKC & Kevin Knight
STRONG Openweight Championship: Fred Rosser (c) vs. KENTA
STRONG Openweight Tag Team Championship: Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin) (c) vs. West Coast Wrecking Crew (Jorel Nelson & Royce Isaccs)
— Eddie Kingston vs. Jay White in a Loser Leaves NJPW Match
— Homicide vs. Tom Lawlor in a Filthy Rules Fight
NJPW World TV Championship: Zack Sabre Jr. (c) vs. Clark Connors
IWGP Women’s Championship: KAIRI (c) vs. Mercedes Moné
IWGP World Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada (c) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi

NJPW Battle In The Valley: Double Main Event Previews

IWGP Women’s Championship: Can Mercedes Moné Prove The Doubters Wrong?

KAIRI vs. Mercedes Moné | NJPW Battle In The Valley
All Photos Credit: NJPW

It’s Moné time. Finally.

For the first time since a May 5, 2022 house show for WWE, Mercedes Moné will be in action. And not only will she be in action, but her first match since leaving WWE will see her challenge KAIRI for the IWGP Women’s Championship. That’s about as big as it can get but now she has to deliver — something she’s quite used to. Doubt can creep into the minds of anyone who thinks Moné has bitten off more than she can chew with comments like this being “the best match” in history and that she’s going to change the game but unlike other people who claim these things, Moné has the track record to back it up. And with her stepping into the ring with someone like KAIRI, who she has a history with, it feels like she can live up to her hype and then some.

Now enough about Moné living up to her own words and look towards the match itself. KAIRI defeated Mayu Iwatani to become the first-ever IWGP Women’s Champion at Historic X-Over and then successfully defended the belt against Tam Nakano at Wrestle Kingdom. It was there that her moment inside the Tokyo Dome was upstaged by the debut of “The CEO.” She’s not going to forget that. What we’ve seen from KAIRI since her return to STARDOM has been nothing but hard-hitting greatness. She will be looking to prove something just as much as Moné will and that’s what makes this match all the more exciting.

Two of the best in the world. The first part of the Double Main Event. The world watching to see what Mercedes Moné will do in her first match in nearly a year. She’s proven people wrong before and she’s going to do her best to do it again at Battle In The Valley. And the IWGP Women’s Championship will be on the line.

This is what pro wrestling is all about. Do not miss it!

Prediction: Mercedes Moné

IWGP World Heavyweight Championship: A Legendary Matchup in a First-Time Scenario

Okada vs. Tanahashi | NJPW Battle In The Valley

NJPW’s most legendary rivalry adds another chapter in the second part of the Double Main Event as Kazuchika Okada defends the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship against Hiroshi Tanahashi. The reason that this match is not only significant but a first-time scenario is that despite these two competing against each other countless times and so many classics, this is the first time they’ll compete one-on-one with the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. The V4 of the IWGP Heavyweight Championship was defined by their rivalry, but the newest version of NJPW’s top prize remains all new ground.

As we’ve seen with Okada with his win over Jay White for the belt at Wrestle Kingdom and his first defense against Shingo Takagi, he’s at the very top of his game and maybe the best since his record-setting reign with the IWGP Heavyweight Championship back in 2018. That’s how good he’s been. There’s no doubt he will have that in him Saturday night… but can “The Ace” turn back the clock to get the best of “The Rainmaker” one more time?

That’s what will decide how great this match is and where it goes. Tanahashi, 46, is closer to the end of his career than the beginning. His best days are surely behind him but what is not behind him is his ability to compete with the best of the best. And the challenge of facing Okada one more time with the top prize on the line will certainly bring NJPW’s ace back to the highest level all over again.

This isn’t likely to be their final head-to-head but it very well could be with the top title in NJPW being on the line so make sure to take it all in!

Prediction: Kazuchika Okada

More from LWOS Pro Wrestling

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