NJPW World TV Title Tournament Finals Set For Wrestle Kingdom 17

After tournament matches spanning the entire NJPW Battle Autumn Tour, the finals of the NJPW World Television Championship Tournament is now set for Wrestle Kingdom 17 on January 4 inside the Tokyo Dome.


On Battle Autumn 2022 Night 16, two semifinal matches took place inside Osaka Edion Arena. First, "Son of Strong Style" Ren Narita continued his post-excursion winning streak by defeating former IWGP United States Champion SANADA to move on to the tournament finals. Narita scored the victory with just 30 seconds remaining in the 15-minute time limit. Narita, a former Young Lion and Katsuyori Shibata protégé, defeated CHAOS stalwarts Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano on his way to the semifinals, where he knocked off SANADA with his signature Narita Special #4.

While SANADA and Narita had a technically intense match, Zack Sabre Jr. met EVIL in a drastically different bout. To combat the influence of EVIL's House of Torture stablemates, ZSJ enlisted Young Lions Kosei Fujita and Ryohei Oiwa to combat sneak attacks and distractions from the Bullet Club subsidiary. The plan was ultimately successful, as Sabre defeated EVIL with a Cobra Twist pinning combination to move on to the tournament finals.


Narita versus Sabre is a somewhat poetic matchup, as they were the first two men to battle Shibata after his return from injury last year. The finals of the tournament will guarantee a first-time singles champion in the company, as neither Narita nor ZSJ has ever won a New Japan-sanctioned singles title. However, Sabre is far more experienced than Narita and could prove to be too much for the "Son of Strong Style" to handle at Wrestle Kingdom 17.