Insight Into How Far Out NJPW Booked Wrestle Kingdom 17

The "Road to Wrestle Kingdom 17" might be a handful of weeks away but it's already been paved.

According to Fightful Select, NJPW officials have had plans for January's Wrestle Kingdom set since August, with talent reportedly having been told about plans throughout the summer. New Japan Pro-Wrestling had interest from top names in the wrestling industry, who were told that NJPW wasn't sure if they could work the unnamed talent into the already codified plans. According to one source, this has been standard procedure for NJPW, with exceptions being made during the tumultuous pandemic restrictions and of course for injury.

As of publication, there are 71 days until Wrestle Kingdom 17. As it stands, there are already two matches confirmed for the event. IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Jay White will defend his title against G1 Climax 32 winner Kazuchika Okada, and IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Taiji Ishimori will defend against Hiromu Takahashi, El Desperado, and Master Wato in a four-way match. Also set for the journey to Wrestle Kingdom is NJPW's tournament to crown the first-ever NJPW World Television Championship.

NJPW has been running a tournament since October 14th for the unique title, which is supposed to emphasize "high speed" with each match capped at 15min, and a coin flip determining winners after the time limit expires. David Finlay, Zack Sabre Jr., EVIL, YOSHI-HASHI, KENTA, and SANADA have all advanced to the quarter-finals, with the last two quarterfinalists being determined on October 26th. The inaugural NJPW World Television Champion will be crowned on January 4th at Wrestle Kingdom.