NJPW “Battle in the Valley” results (1/13): Vetter’s review of Kazuchika Okada vs. Will Ospreay, Shingo Takagi vs. Jon Moxley, Eddie Kingston vs. Gabe Kidd for the Continental Crown Championship


By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)

New Japan Pro Wrestling “Battle in the Valley”
January 13, 2024 in San Jose, California at San Jose Civic
Streamed live on Triller TV

Walker Stewart and Veda Scott provided commentary. The lighting is just okay; it could be brighter from the hard camera. The lights are low over the crowd, but it’s a sellout. I believe it’s about 3,000.

1. Shota Umino, Jacob Fatu, and Fred Rosser defeated Tom Lawlor and “West Coast Wrecking Crew” Jorel Nelson and Royce Isaacs at 8:58. Lawlor and long-time rival Rosser opened. The WCWC worked over Rosser, with Isaacs hitting an impressive deadlift German Suplex for a nearfall at 3:00. Lawlor tagged himself in, which angered Jorel! Walker Stewart talked about how the heels weren’t on the same page. Fatu tagged in and hit a pop-up Samoan Drop, then a dive through the ropes, then a Fosbury Flop to the floor at 5:00. In the ring, Fatu nailed a Swanton Bomb, then a handspring-back-moonsault for a nearfall.

Shota tagged in for the first time and he hit an Exploder Suplex, a dropkick, and a fisherman’s suplex for a nearfall. Jorel hit a team powerbomb on Shota for a nearfall at 7:30. Shota set up for Death Rider but Jorel blocked it. They traded forearm strikes. Shota nailed a pop-up European Uppercut, a Hidden Blade, then the Death Rider/double-arm DDT for the pin. Good opener. Nelson and Isaacs continued to argue with Lawlor, as Tom shook Rosseer’s hand, which upset his teammates.

* Shota Umino shook hands with fans at ringside when a masked man attacked him. He came over the ropes and removed his mask. It’s JACK PERRY! Perry hit a double-arm DDT. “No stranger to controversy is Jack Perry, but what is he doing here in New Japan Pro Wrestling?” Walker Stewart said. Perry pulled out papers from his pocket. It was his “AEW contract,” and he ripped it up. Perry’s hair is still quite long, but he’s grown his beard out, too. So, is Perry really done with AEW?

2. Mascara Dorada and Volador Jr. defeated Rocky Romero and Soberano Jr. at 11:08.  Romero wore his MLW Title belt. Again, this Mascara is NOT Gran Metalik; this masked man is younger and he’s impressive. Romero and Volador opened but Rocky tagged out before locking up. Dorado hit a top-rope crossbody block on Soberano Jr. at 2:00. Soberano Jr. stretched Dorada. Dorada hit some huracaranas. Volador entered and hit some dropkicks; he and Dorada hit dives to the floor at 5:00, and the crowd chanted “lucha libre!” In the ring, Rocky hit his Forever Clotheslines.

Volador hit a Lungblower on Rocky for a nearfall. Rocky hit a Trash Compactor piledriver along his back. Soberano Jr. hit a top-rope corkscrew press. Dorado set Soberano Jr. up for an Electric Chair, but he flipped him to the mat for a nearfall at 9:30. Dorada hit a corkscrew plancha to the floor. In the ring, Volador Jr. hit a Canadian Destroyer to pin Romero. Good lucha action.

3. David Finlay Jr. defeated TJP at 13:31. TJP is dressed normally, but he still has red eyes. Stewart said this is a first-ever singles matches. TJP attacked to open, and they brawled up the entrance ramp. TJP slammed Finlay’s shoullder into the ring post. In the ring, Finlay hit some Irish Whips and took control. Finlay hit a backbreaker over his knee for a nearfall at 4:00. TJP snapped Finlay’s arm backward. He hit a top-rope splash to the floor on Finlay, and the crowd chanted “TJP!” In the ring, TJP hit a splash on Finlay’s back as David was draped over the top rope at 7:00. TJP hit a tornado DDT and his Facewash kicks in the corner.

TJP hit a springboard DDT for a nearfall at 9:00. Finlay hit a swinging side slam and they were both down. Finlay hit a backbreaker over his knee for a nearfall. He hit another one, then a Dominator faceplant for a believable nearfall at 11:00. Finlay grabbed his shillelagh but the ref confiscated it. TJP sprayed red mist in Finlay’s face! TJP hit a kneestrike for a nearfall, then the Mamba Splash for another nearfall. TJP applied a mid-ring Octopus stretch. Finlay dropped TJP face-first on the top turnbuckle and hit a superkick, then a piledriver for a nearfall. Finlay held TJP upside down and hit a kneestrike to TJP’s chest as he dropped him, to score the pin. That’s a new finishing move for him. A really good match.

* Tom Lawlor joined commentary, and he’s disappointed he has lost again. “Things haven’t been going my way, quite frankly, for the past year,” Lawlor said. Veda speculated that Team Filthy could be disbanding.

4. Hikuleo and El Phantasmo defeated “The Bullet Club War Dogs” Alex Coughlin and Clark Connors to retain the NJ Strong Tag Titles at 12:07. Coughin and Connors were Young Lions together but really haven’t been teaming in the past year. Clark is still listed as a junior (under 100 kg/220 pounds) but he sure doesn’t seem that much smaller than Alex. The BCWD both wore black jeans, and they attacked before the bell. Hikuleo hit a DDT on Alex. Clark and ELP brawled on the floor. In the ring, Clark grounded Hikuleo and worked over his left knee. Hikuleo finally hit a double clothesline, and he made the hot tag at 5:30. ELP hit a top-rope crossbody block onto both heels. ELP hit his Lionsault on Alex, then a tornado DDT on the floor on Connors.

In the ring, ELP hit a modified Death Valley Driver. Coughlin hit a German Suplex on Hikuleo, then a modified Death Valley Driver on Phantasmo. Connors nailed a spear on Hikuleo at 9:00. The heels hit the Hit and Run/hi-lo strikes on Hikuleo for a nearfall. They hit team forearm strikes, then a team suplex move for a nearfall. Connors nailed the second-rope spear as Coughlin held Hikuleo upside-down for a nearfall. Hikuleo hit a powerslam on Coughlin, then a chokeslam. Phantasmo hit the springboard frogsplash on Alex, and Hikuleo made the cover for the pin. Good match.

5. Giulia defeated Trish Adora (w/Carlie Bravo and Shawn Dean) to retain the NJ Strong Women’s Title at 12:59. Nice video package to introduce this match. Walker talked about how Giulia has disbanded her faction in Stardom. She has such a presence as she walked to the ring. They shook hands and Adora has a height and overall size advantage, and Lawlor pointed that out. Standing switches to open. Giulia applied a mid-ring Octopus Stretch, but Adora reversed the pressure. Adora nailed a backbreaker over her knee at 5:00, then a second one. Adora hit a snap suplex for a nearfall. They got up and traded forearm strikes.

Giulia hit a second-rope missile dropkick for a nearfall at 8:00. They traded German Suplexes. Giulia hit a back suplex. Adora hit a senton and they were both down. Adora hit a Bubba Bomb and applied a Cattle Mutilation, but Giulia reached the ropes at 10:00. Adora nailed a running Bulldog Powerslam onto the thin mat on the floor! Giulia whipped Adora into the guardrail, then she hit a snap suplex onto the thin mat. Giulia hit a top-rope double-underhook superplex, but Adora popped up at one. Giulia hit a kneestrike for a nearfall. Adora hit a Mafia Kick. Giulia hit a Northern Lights driver for the pin. That was really, really good, but the winner was never in doubt.

* On a video screen, Mustafa Ali is bringing his 2024 campaign to New Japan. (He’s not here; I believe he has a match in Texas.) He is challenging Hiromu Takahashi at the Windy City Riot in Chicago on April 12. (I already bought my tickets!)

* Matt Riddle has a mystery tag partner. I have speculated on Twitter/X it would be Jeff Cobb, as they have history as a tag team.

6. Matt Riddle and Jeff Cobb defeated “The Mighty Don’t Kneel” Bad Dude Tito and Zack Sabre Jr. at 11:45. TMDK came out first. A nice pop for Riddle. They blew the surprise by putting Jeff Cobb’s name on the screen while the camera focused on Riddle; hey I was actually right for once! Riddle and Sabre opened with quick mat reversals. Riddle showed his core strength by flipping Zack around in his arms. Tito and Cobb entered at 2:00 and the crowd chanted “beef!” and they immediately traded forearm strikes. Cobb hit a dropkick that popped the crowd. Riddle hit an assisted corkscrew senton. Tito hit a slingshot senton on Riddle at 4:00. Sabre stomped on Riddle’s bare foot, earning a “you sick f—!” chant.

Sabre hit some European Uppercuts as TMDK worked over Riddle. Cobb made the hot tag and he hit a back suplex on Sabre for a nearfall at 6:00. Cobb missed a standing moonsault; Sabre immediately snapped Cobb’s neck between his ankles. Cobb went for Tour of the Islands, but Sabre turned it into a Crucifix Driver. Nice! Sabre hit a tornado DDT at 8:00 but he clutched at his lower back. Riddle and Tito tagged in. Tito hit a German Suplex for a nearfall. Stewart noted Riddle just won his MLW debut. Tito hit a Blue Thunder Bomb on Riddle for a nearfall at 10:00. Riddle hit a top-rope moonsault press move on Tito. Riddle and Sabre traded chops. Sabre applied an anklelock. Cobb flipped Sabre in the air and Riddle hit a kneestrike on Zack’s head! Tito hit an Exploder Suplex on Cobb. Riddle hit his Gotch-style piledriver to pin Tito. That was fast and fun.

7. Eddie Kingston vs. Gabe Kidd went to a double count-out at 14:55; Kingston retained the Continental Crown. Kidd and Coughlin competed a night earlier in snowy Chicago so I’m glad they were able to make it. Kidd attacked Kingston as Eddie tried to enter the ring, and they brawled on the entrance ramp. Stewart said the match hasn’t started yet, but they brawled around ringside. (I start my stopwatch at first contact or the bell, whichever is first.) Kidd hit a German Suplex onto the thin mat at 2:00, and he shoved Eddie face-first into the ring post. They got in and the bell rang at 3:30 to officially begin the match. They traded chops. Eddied pulled down the straps of his singlet, getting a pop, and they traded more chops. Kingston hit a T-Bone Suplex at 6:30 and they were both down. Eddie hit a hard clothesline into the corner, then his rapid-fire chops.

Kidd nailed a brainbuster for a nearfall. Kingston hit a half-nelson suplex and a spinning back fist for a nearfall at 9:30. Kidd hit a Saito Suplex, then a Tombstone Piledriver for a nearfall. They were on all fours and traded headbutts, then slaps to the face, then more headbutts. They got up and traded more chops. Kidd spit at Eddie and the crowd chanted “you f—ed up!” at him as Eddie peppered him with punches. Eddie hit a spinning back fist, but Kidd rolled to the floor at 13:00. Eddie went to the floor and they traded more chops. Eddie suplexed him onto the floor and he went to climb back into the ring. Kidd grabbed the mic and said, “Is that all you got, you f– bitch?” Eddie attacked him and the ref counted them both out. Again, official time is closer to 11:30.

* Alex Coughlin and Clark Connors ran to the ring and helped beat up Eddie. Gabe hit a piledriver on Eddie onto a title belt and he posed with the belt and was loudly booed.

8. Jon Moxley defeated Shingo Takagi in a no-DQ match at 26:14. Moxley came out first to his generic guitar solo music he uses in NJPW. Shingo wore blue jeans and a white T-shirt; I like that — it shows he’s here for a street fight, not a ‘wrestling match.’ They immediately traded forearm strikes. They rolled to the floor and Shingo had two kendo sticks so he tossed one to Moxley, and they dueled with them. Moxley shoved a kendo stick into Shingo’s mouth. Moxley hit Shingo over the head with a garbage can lid. He wrapped a chain around his fist and punched Shingo. They got in the ring, where Shingo hit a snap suplex at 3:00 and he grounded Moxley on the mat. He hit a senton.

They brawled right back to the floor and Shingo was bleeding from the forehead, and Moxley punched at the cut. In the ring, Moxley put a trash can over Shingo’s head and he hit the can with a kendo stick, which I don’t think hurts one bit. Moxley broke the kendo stick and he jabbed the shards into Shingo’s forehead, earning a “you sick f—!” chant. Moxley hit a piledriver for a nearfall at 7:30. He hit a sliding clothesline but Shingo popped up. Shingo hit a short-arm clothesline. Takagi hit a suplex. Moxley bit at the open cut a 10:30. Jon set up for a dive to the floor, but Shingo hit him with the trash can lid in the face. So, Moxley is now bleeding, too.

Shingo nailed a top-rope superplex, and we got a “this is awesome!” chant. Shingo began hitting Jon with elbow strikes to the side of the head. They traded headbutts. Moxley hit a German Suplex; Shingo hit a back suplex. Moxley hit a Death Rider, but Shingo popped up, hit a diving forearm, and they were both down at 14:00. They each went to the floor, got chairs from under the ring, and tossed them in. They dueled with chairs. Shingo got the chain and he hit a Pumping Bomber clothesline with it wrapped around his fst. Moxley wrapped the chain around Shingo’s neck and he hanged him with it at 17:30.

Moxley hit a top-rope elbow drop onto Shingo, who was lying on a table on the floor, and that popped the crowd. In the ring, Moxley got a table, and he wiped his bloody forehead on it. Shingo sprayed green mist into Moxley’s eyes! Moxley hit a second-rope Death Valley Driver through a table set up in the ring at 22:00. Shingo hit Moxley with table shards, then a Pumping Bomber clothesline for a nearfall. They traded forearms. Moxley nailed a stunner at 24:00, then a Stomp to the head, then a Death Rider double-arm DDT for a believable nearfall. “What on God’s green earth is it going to take?” Stewart asked. This crowd was LOUD. Moxley hit the elbow strikes to the side of the head, and he locked in a rear-naked choke. Moxley hit a head-capture suplex but Shingo kicked out at one. Moxley nailed a Death Rider onto an open chair for the pin. Tremendous, hard-hitting brawl.

* Moxley got on the mic and said, “Naito!” and the crowd popped. He then said, “The time has come.” Short and to the point.

9. Kazuchika Okada defeated Will Ospreay at 28:33. The bell sounded and they glared at each other while the fans chanted “this is awesome!” before they locked  up at 1:00. An intense lockup and standing switches. Ospreay hit a huracarana. He clotheslined Okada to the floor. He missed a plancha to the floor, and Okada immediately hit a DDT onto the thin mat at ringside at 5:00. They traded forearm strikes at ringside. In the ring, Okada took control. Ospreay hit a suplex at 8:30, then his handspring-back-spin kick. He nailed the plancha to the floor. In the ring, Ospreay hit a springboard flying forearm for a nearfall and some Kawada Kicks.

Okada hit a flapjack faceplant and they were both down at 11:30. Okada hit a neckbreaker over his knee and he applied a Money Clip sleeper on the mat. Ospreay hit an enzuigiri. Okada went for a German Suplex but Ospreay rotated and landed on his feet. Ospreay hit a running Shooting Star Press; Okada hit a flush dropkick at 13:30. Ospreay hit the heel-hook kick to the face, then the Oscutter for a nearfall and we got a “this is awesome!” chant. Ospreay missed a Phoenix Splash and Okada immediately hit a Shotgun Dropkick. Okada hit a Tombstone Piledriver onto the thin mat at rngside at 15:30. In the ring, Okada hit a top-rope elbow drop and he set up for the Rainmaker, but Ospreay blocked it.

Ospreay went for an Oscutter but it was blocked. Okada went for a Rainmaker but Ospreay turned it into a mid-ring Spanish Fly! Nice! Ospreay nailed a Styles Clash for a believable nearfall at 19:00. Okada hit a dropkick, then he hit a Stormbreaker (Ospreay’s move!) for a nearfall. Ospreay nailed the Rainmaker for a believable nearfall, and Okada was shocked. Okada gave the crowd a middle finger and he got booed! Ospreay went for a dropkick but Ospreay caught his legs and hit a sit-out powerbomb at 22:30. They traded forearm strikes while on their knees. They got to their feet and traded more forearms with the fans cheering for Ospreay’s blows and booing Okada’s strikes. The 25:00 call is right-on.

Ospreay nailed a flying forearm and he mockingly made the Rainmaker pose, but he hit a dropkick. Ospreay nailed the Rainmaker for a nearfall! (I love when they use each other’s finishers.) Ospreay nailed the Stormbreaker for a believable nearfall at 26:30; Veda said Ospreay has beaten Okada twice with that move. Ospreay set up for a Hidden Blade but Okada hit a dropkick. Okada hit some short-arm clotheslines, then a Rainmaker for the clean pin. Every bit as fantastic as expected, and with Ospreay leaving New Japan, this was the right outcome, too.

*  They hugged. The four members of Bullet Club War Dogs in attendance ran into the ring and beat them up. TJP and Cobb ran in to make the save, as did Eddie Kingston! TJP sprayed more mist, I think into Connors’ eyes. The crowd chanted “thank you Ospreay!” He got on the mic and said “you can thank me after I wipe the blood of the Bullet Club in a steel cage.” He told Eddie “I owe you one.” Ospreay continued speaking, saying “It’s been a really fun eight years.” He said NJPW allowed him to be young and make mistakes and grow. He said “Okada is literally the best wrestler ever.” He reiterated it is his last singles match in New Japan. The crowd chanted “you deserve it!” at him. He reiterated that we still have a steel cage match on Feb. 11. He warned that it would be violent.

Final Thoughts: So much to like here. Both main events were electric but were completely different styles. For me, Ospreay-Okada was best match but I wouldn’t be surprised if some fans prefer Moxley-Shingo. I wouldn’t have expected going in, but I’ll go with Adora-Giulia for third and TJP-Finlay for honorable mention. Kingston-Kidd was really good too, but I really think Eddie needed a clean win there. Not a bad match here. While I will pat myself on the back for predicting Cobb as a mystery opponent, it really was an obvious pick. Not a bad match here, and the crowd had to be pleased with what they saw.


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