Wrestle Kingdom 17 Star Ratings Reveals – Ospreay vs Omega, Okada vs White & More!

Hamish Woodward

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NJPW presented Wrestle Kingdom 17 on January 4th, 2023. It was broadcast live from the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan and featured some of the biggest matches in wrestling history. Being the equivilent of Wrestlemania in Japan, it featured all the top stars and legends from the history of NJPW and paid tribute to the late, great Antonio Inoki, founder of New Japan who passed away earlier this year.

This page will detail Dave Meltzer’s Star Ratings for Wrestle Kingdom 17, looking at every match on the card. We will also detail the Cagematch rating for the event as well as provide our own star ratings for each match on the card.

Cagematch is a website which aggregates fans opinions on wrestling match. Fans can log on and rank the matches on a scale of zero to ten, which then calculates an average score for the matches. Great matches can expect a 9+ rating while the worst matches may not even be worth giving a rating to at all.

Only matches over 5 minutes may be rated on the website. This means fantastic, yet shorter matches like KENTA vs Ricky Marvin will not be given a rating but that does not mean they are bad bouts. The highest rated match on the site is the Kazuchika Okada vs Kitsuyori Shibata match was NJPW Sakura Genesis 2017. However, Dave Meltzer rates the best match ever to be the fourth encounter between Okada and Kenny Omega, awarding it an incredible seven stars.

See below to read the star ratings for Wrestle Kingdom 17 – let us know what you thought of the show and what you would rate the incredible (and not so incredible) matches on the show.

Wrestle Kingdom 17 Star Ratings

Kazuchika Okada vs Jay White (c) – IWGP World Heavyweight Championship

The main event of the show saw G1 Climax winner Kazuchika Okada try to win his 7th world championship in NJPW by taking on the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion – Jay White. The Kiwi wrestler defeated Okada for the title earlier this year and held on to it throughout 2022 despite a litany of challenges.

The New Zealand born star went in to the match with a 4-1 record over Okada and seemed the favourite to win about, although you can never rule out The Rainmaker in the Tokyo Dome – especially in his 8th main event match at Wrestle Kingdom.

  • Dave Meltzer Star Rating – 4.5
  • Cagematch Rating – 8.37
  • Atletifo Rating – 4

Kenny Omega vs Will Ospreay (c) – IWGP United States Championship

Despite not having the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship on the line in this match, Kenny Omega vs Will Ospreay was still the most anticipated match on the card. Ospreay is quickly becoming one of the best wrestlers of all time at the age of just 29, earning a record number of star ratings in his career even surpassing Omega himself.

It has been 4 years since Kenny Omega left NJPW to help form his own promotion – All Elite Wrestling – and the fans in the Tokyo Dome could not have been more excited to see the Best Bout Machine returning to their shores for another match. The pre-match press conferences provided some extra fire for the match but it wasn’t until the duo stepped into the ring that fans truly saw what Will Ospreay and Kenny Omega were truly capable of.

The match itself was incredible. Brutal strikes and fantastic counters saw a fast-paced match between two all-time greats march into “Match of the Year” contention just four days in. Kenny Omega picked up the win after paying tribute to Kota Ibushi with a Kamigoye before launching a bloodied Ospreay into the match with a One-Winged Angel. He won the IWGP United States Championship for the second time, indicating he will be staying in NJPW for some time now.

  • Dave Meltzer Star Rating – 6.25
  • Cagematch Rating – 9.80 (Highest Rated Match Ever)
  • Atletifo Rating – 6 Stars

Taiji Ishimori (c) vs Hiromu Takahashi vs El Desperado vs Master Wato – IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship

The IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship was on the line when Taiji Ishimori defended against Master Wato, Hiromu Takahashi and El Desperado in a four way match. After winning the title in June last year, he held it throughout many challengers and booked his ticket to defend the belt in the Tokyo Dome in 2023.

He faced three top-class challengers each as hungry as each other to win the coveted Championship. Hiromu Takahashi won the bout by pinning Master Wato for his fifth reign with the championship.

  • Dave Meltzer Star Rating – 4.5
  • Cagematch Rating – 8.19
  • Atletifo Rating – 4

Keiji Muto, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Shota Umino vs Los Ingobernables De Japon (Tetsuya Naito, SANADA & BUSHI) – Keiji Muto’s Last NJPW Match:

Celebrating the legendary career of one of the greatest Japanese wrestlers to ever step inside a NJPW ring, Keiji Muto said farewell to the fans at Wrestle Kingdom with a wonderful performance in a classic match to round off his incredible run with the company.

The former IWGP Heavyweight Champion teamed with fellow legend Hiroshi Tanahashi and future star Shota Umino to take on the dastardly Los Ingobernables De Japon – the trio of Tetsuya Naito, Sanada and Bushi. The match was structured to give Mutoh the send off he deserved from his forty year career and everyone can agree it did just that.

Sanada pinned Shota Umino in an emotional bout to put an end to Mutoh’s NJPW career.

  • Dave Meltzer Star Rating – 3.25
  • Cagematch Rating– 5.89
  • Atletifo Rating – 2

Karl Anderson(c) vs Tama Tonga – NEVER Openweight Championship

While the result was never truly in doubt, the details surrounding Karl Anderson’s match at the Tokyo Dome are extraordinary. He was NEVER Openweight Champion when he signed for the WWE in 2022, back in the company after an untimely release due to COVID in 2020.

Due to the WWE’s policy of never letting wrestlers fight outside the promotion, he run as champion seemed to have ended. Nevertheless, he defended the title against Hikuleo on December 14 in Sendai, booking his place at Wrestle Kingdom 17 with a result that nobody expected. Anderson dropped the belt to Tama in a decent match to put his NJPW run to an end and go back to WWE with a loss on his record.

  • Dave Meltzer Star Rating – 2.75
  • Cagematch Rating – 5.73
  • Atletifo Rating – 2

Ren Narita vs Zack Sabre Jr. – IWGP World Television Championship

The first ever IWGP World Television Championship was crowned at Wrestle Kingdom 17 as Zack Sabre Jr battled Ren Narita in a technical masterclass match. Sabre Jr had a great year in 2022, winning the New Japan Cup and coming so close to beating Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship but ultimately coming up just short.

Ren Narita has been talking a lot about passing of the torch, with the young star considering himself a “Son of Strong Style”. With his match against Katsuyori Shibata shocking the world last year, he had the crowd behind him in this tournament final match who were desperate to see him knock off his English opponent in his quest to become a champion in NJPW.

Sadly for them, Zack Sabre Jr would win the match and become the debut champion. With his stable Suzuki-Gun now disbanded, Sabre Jr joined The Mighty Don’t Knee (TMDK) after the match to start a new chapter in his career.

  • Dave Meltzer Star Rating – 4
  • Cagematch Rating – 7.86
  • Atletifo Rating – 3

FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler) vs Bishamon (Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI)IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships

One of the “Forbidden Door” matches on the card sees one of AEW’s top tag teams wrestling at the Tokyo Dome for the first time ever. The duo of Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler, professionally known as FTR, unsuccessfully defended their IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team titles in a fantastic bout against Hirooki Goto and Yoshi-Hashi. The match went a little over ten minutes and ended FTR’s reign with two defences, with rumours of them joining WWE intensifiying.

  • Dave Meltzer Star Rating – 3.75
  • Cagematch Rating – 7.55
  • Atletifo Rating – 3

KAIRI vs Tam Nakano – IWGP Women’s Championship

In a short match with some decent action, KAIRI defended her IWGP Women’s Championship against the challenger Tam Nakano, The match was much shorter than fans would have liked, being around only five minutes (which wasn’t unexpected given how NJPW has been a male-only company for its existence), but it was the post-match that made it memorable.

After the bout, former WWE star Sasha Banks interrupted and attacked KAIRI. She got on the microphone and challenged her to a match for the belt in February, also revealing her new name as Mercedes Mone.

  • Dave Meltzer Star Rating – 3.25
  • Cagematch Rating – 5.88
  • Atletifo Rating – 1 (too short)

Catch 2/2 (Francesco Akira & TJP) vs CHAOS (Lio Rush & YOH) – IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships

  • Dave Meltzer Star Rating – 3.75
  • Cagematch Rating – 7.15
  • Atletifo Rating – 2

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