Wrestle Kingdom 17 Set A New Record For First-Time Viewers

NJPW's Wrestle Kingdom 17 was a spectacular event that delivered great action from beginning to end. The show also saw the return of fan cheering for the first time in the Tokyo Dome since the pandemic began. 

NJPW revealed that the event garnered a live audience of 26,085 fans. But the most eye-popping statistic came from their NJPW World streaming service, which gained a record-setting 92,409 new users on the platform. 30% of those users for the English feed came from overseas, who stayed up late to watch the event.

There were various reasons why Wrestle Kingdom 17 was able to draw in numerous viewers from all over the world. First, the show would honor NJPW's founder and wrestling legend, Antonio Inoki, who passed away in 2022. The first-ever IWGP Women's Champion, KAIRI, had her first title defense against Tam Nakano. The event was headlined by two main events — the heated rivalry between Will Ospreay and Kenny Omega, which led to their match for the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship intrigued many fans, while Jay White defended his IWGP World Heavyweight Championship against Kazuchika Okada.

But many viewers likely tuned in due to the highly-anticipated return of Mercedes Moné, the former Sasha Banks in WWE. The wrestling world was in a frenzy when it was reported that Moné was set to appear at Wrestle Kingdom 17. Then it was revealed that she negotiated an exit from WWE, which added more fuel to the fire of her deal with NJPW. The rumors were true as Moné made her surprise appearance following the IWGP Women's Championship match, attacking Sane and challenging her for the title at NJPW Battle In The Valley in February.