Tag Archives: New Japan Pro Wrestling

NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 14 Cards Revealed

New Japan Pro Wrestling has announced the cards for both nights of Wrestle Kingdom 14 on January 4 and January 5 at the Tokyo Dome. This will be the first time New Japan has held its marque event over two evenings.

The main event matches on night one will see Kazuchika Okada defend the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against 2019 G1 Climax winner Kota Ibushi and Tetsuya Naito challenges Jay White for the IWGP Intercontinental Title. The winners will face each other in a double title match on night two.

Wrestle Kingdom will also host the final two matches of Jushin “Thunder” Liger’s career. On night two, the legendary jr. heavyweight will team with Naoki Sano and square off against Ryu Lee and Hiromu Takahashi in a tag team match. Liger and Sano were past rivals, while Lee and Takahashi are contemporary rivals.

Hiroshi Tanahashi will take on AEW World Championship Chris Jericho on night two; however, there will be no mention of AEW on New Japan’s part. It’s good to see Tanahashi only wrestling once since his body is banged up. Keep him special while he’s still able to work at a high level.

It’s a shame that Tomohiro Ishii doesn’t have a more high-profile match in the Dome. He had a stellar G1 tournament and continues to put on great matches. It will also be interesting to see how Hiromu Takahashi performs in his first match back from a broken neck he suffered sixteen months ago.

Lance Archer defends the IWGP U.S. Title against former champion Jon Moxley in a Texas Death Match. Moxley was stripped of the title on October 14th due to travel issues, and Archer beat Juice Robinson on the same day to capture the vacant championship. Robinson will meet the winner in a title match on night two.

Wrestle Kingdom 14 will air live on New Japan World at 3:00 am est on 1/4/20 and 1:00 am est on 1/5/20.

 

Here are the full cards for night 1 & night 2

January 4:

-Kazuchika Okada vs. Kota Ibushi for the IWGP Heavyweight title

-Jay White vs. Tetsuya Naito for the IWGP Intercontinental title

-Will Ospreay vs. Hiromu Takahashi for the IWGP Jr. title

-Lance Archer vs. Jon Moxley in a Texas deathmatch for the IWGP United States title

-Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa vs. David Finlay & Juice Robinson for the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team titles

-Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano and YOSHI-HASHI vs. KENTA,, Bad Luck Fale, Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens

-SANADA, EVIL, Shingo Takagi, and BUSHI vs. Zack Sabre Jr., Minoru Suzuki, Taichi & El Desperado

-Jushin Thunder Liger, Tatsumi Fujinami, The Great Sasuke & Tiger Mask vs. Naoki Sano, Shinjiro Otani, Tatsuhito Takaiwa and Ryusuke Taguchi

January 5:

-Double title match for IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental titles

-Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Chris Jericho

-The two non-champions following the Intercontinental and Heavyweight title matches on January 4 will meet in a special singles match

-KENTA vs. Hirooki Goto for the NEVER Openweight title

-Zack Sabre Jr. vs. SANADA for the British Openweight title

-Juice Robinson will face the IWGP United States champion

-Jushin Thunder Liger & Naoki Sano vs. Ryu Lee & Hiromu Takahashi

-El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori vs. SHO & YOH for the IWGP Jr. Tag Team titles

Favorite Matches #1: Shinsuke Nakamura vs Kota Ibushi

For twenty-three years, Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin from the 1996 Survivor Series was my favorite wrestling match of all-time. That all changed on January 4, 2015, at 5:30 A.M. EST as the IWGP Intercoientlal Title was defended in the co-main event of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s preeminent show, Wrestle Kingdom 9.

I’ve been a casual fan of New Japan since the mid-’90s. Through internet tape trading, I would often see the promotion’s marquee matches weeks or even months after they occurred. Five years ago, New Japan was in the midst of a resurgence that got fans excited. The company’s streaming service debuted within that time and American fans had the opportunity to watch Wrestle Kingdom, for the first time, live.

I had seen Nakamura wrestle for the first time at a 2011 New Japan show in NYC. I was thoroughly impressed with his in-ring style but I was unfamiliar with his character. Wrestle Kingdom served as my introduction to Kota Ibushi and knew absolutely nothing about him going into the match. The show was already great and I assumed that Nakamura in the second to last match against anyone had to be good.

So, why do I love this match? Well, for starters, Nakamura came to the ring dressed as a combination of Freddie Mercury and the Statue of Liberty. The attire was Nakamura’s flamboyant way of proclaiming himself the King of Strong Style. The story going in was simple. Ibushi was a newly minted heavyweight coming up from the junior heavyweight division. He assaulted Nakamura two months earlier and challenged him to a title match.

Ibushi got into Nakamura’s head early, mocking him at every turn. Nakamura missed the Bom A Ye knee and received a dropkick in the back. Ibushi hit Nakamura with some of his own signature moves including the good vibrations kick in the corner. Nakamura regained control and pumbled Ibushi with every type of knee strike imaginable. Nakamura slapped Ibush a few times and followed up with a backstabber.

Ibushi landed on his feet from a Nakamura suplex, delivered a hurricanrana and followed up with a moonsault off the top rope and to the floor on Nakamura. Back in the ring, one roundhouse kick from Ibushi appeared to knock Nakamura out cold. I jolted out of my seat at that moment because I truly believed Ibushi hit him too hard and the match was going to be called early. Nope, I was wrong. It was a testament to how well Nakamura sold it.

What I thought was the move of the match came when Ibushi jumped up for a leapfrog, Nakamura slid underneath and Ibushi connected with a double foot stomp to the chest. It looked like something out of The Matrix. The real move of the match came when Ibushi climbed to the top rope, grabbed Nakamura, who was standing on the apron and threw him with a German suplex into the ring.

At that point, I was sold. This was officially my new favorite wrestling match of all time.

The finish came when Nakamura blocked a Phoenix plex attempt from Ibushi and delivered the following onslaught of moves. Head-butts, elbows, Bom A Ye knee to the back, a backstabber, a falcon arrow, and finished it off with a vintage Bom A Ye for the 1-2-3.

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kota Ibushi was a transformative experience for me as a wrestling fan. I went from a casual viewer to a full-on die-hard fan of anything carrying the red and yellow lion mark New Japan. Both wrestlers produced a twenty-minute masterpiece of personified action and excitement.

Honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to properly articulate how much I love this match. I’ll always remember where I was the night Nakamura and Ibushi blew the roof off of the Tokyo Dome.

 

My Favorite Matches

Kenny Omega vs. Okada III – G-1 Climax B Block Finals 2017

Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels – WrestleMania 25

Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin – Survivor Series 1996

Kurt Agle vs. Chris Benoit – Royal Rumble 2003

Bret Hart vs. Undertaker – One Night Only 1997

Ricky Steamboat vs. Macho Man Randy Savage – WrestleMania 3

Mr. Perfect vs. Bret Hart – Summer Slam 1991 

British Bulldog vs. Owen Hart – Monday Night Raw 3/5/97

Bret Hart vs. British Bulldog – Simmer Slam 1992

Favorite Matches: Honorable Mentions

Over the last couple of years, I’ve been on a quest to pen love letters to my ten favorite wrestling matches. Nine of them have already been written with one more to go. Professional wrestling, like any form of entertainment, is subjective. What I like is going to be different from what someone else enjoys, and that’s ok. That is part of the reason why I wrote about each of these matches. To celebrate, not delineate, or force my opinion upon anyone. As my good buddy Dave once told me, “Hey, you like what you like.”

Before reveal post reveal my favorite match of all-time, I’m going to dedicate this post to some of the matches that go in my honorable mentions category. Anyone of these matches could have taken a spot in my top ten. Some of them did when I started this journey. Some of the matches will speak for themselves, while others will require more explanation.

Without further ado…

Magnum TA vs. Tully Blanchard: I Quit Steel Cage Match – Starrcade 1985: A lot of wrestling matches today resemble a dance more than a fight. Magnum and Tully exuded utter hatred for one another that may never be duplicated. Every punch and kick was thrown with the sheer intention to make the other man say the words “I Quit.” Magnum finally won the U.S. Championship after months of Tully escaping by the skin of his teeth. Side Note: This match inadvertently exhibits how wrestlers today can’t throw a punch.

 

Ric Flair vs. Ted DiBiase – Mid South Wrestling 11/6/85: An angry Dick Murdock came out before the match, saying he was the rightful contender. DiBiase told his old mentor that he was yesterday’s news and received a brainbuster suplex on the concrete floor for his troubles. Blood, blood everywhere. DiBiase somehow got to his feet and competed in the match. Everyone was on the edge of their seat, wondering if a heel DiBiase could pull off the miracle of miracles to win the world championship. All around phenomenal storytelling.

 

Sting vs. Diamond Dallas Page – WCW Monday Nitro 3/23/98: This was an unadvertised babyface vs. babyface affair as U.S. Champion DDP challenged Sting for the world title. I felt so lucky to see this match at the time. It was a clean match with no shenanigans or outside interference where both wrestlers fought tooth and nail. Sting won with the Scorpion Death drop, helped DDP to his feet afterward, and shook his hand out of respect. DDP lost but showed everyone he was world championship material.

Kenny Omega vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi: 1/4/19: Sometimes, I get so excited about something, the finished product is doomed before it can begin because it can never live up to my impossible expectations. Omega vs. Tanahashi is the match I wanted more than any other from the moment I became a fan of the current form of New Japan Pro Wrestling. Despite the pre-match drama of Omega’s eventual departure from the company, both wrestlers put on a stellar performance. If you played a drinking game of how many times my jaw dropped during this match, your liver would tap out.

 

Macho King Randy Savage vs. Ultimate Warrior – WrestleMania VII: This career match between two titans of the squared circle personified professional wrestling. Great action and high stakes drama were executed to its fullest. Warrior vanquished the Macho King. Moments later, the Macho Man was reborn as he reunited with the lovely Miss Elizabeth. Tears galore were shed as wrestling’s it couple paraded around the ring. I can’t believe this match didn’t make my top ten.

 

Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Triple H:  3 Stages of Hell – No Way Out 2001: A two out of three falls match where each fall had a different stipulation. The first fall was a regular match. The second fall was a no disqualification match. The third was a steel cage match. This was the big blow-off where Austin would finally get revenge against Triple H for having him run down by a car one year earlier. Austin made his big return, won the Royal Rumble, and was set to main event WrestleMania 17 against The Rock. The action, storytelling, ring psychology, and selling were all on point. It was all topped by a shocking finish where Triple H pinned the rattlesnake.

 

Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Eddie Guerrero – Halloween Havoc 1997: Many call this the greatest match in WCW history. Mysterio put his mask on the line to get a shot at the WCW Cruiserweight title. They took high flying wrestling to the next level and had a great story going into the match. Eddie was a bastard of a heel, and Rey exuded the heart of a warrior. There was no doubt after this one that Eddie and Rey were two of the best in the business. Another match that could have easily made my top ten.

 

Dynamite Kid vs. Tiger Mask: New Japan Pro Wrestling 8/5/82 – Tokyo, Japan: Between April 1981 – April 1983, Tom Billington and Satoru Sayama revolutionized the wrestling business with seven innovative matches. The emotion and athleticism these two put on display was uncanny and still holds up today. The fifth match is considered their best outing and won the Wrestling Observer Match of the Year. However, you can’t go wrong with any of their bouts.

 

Hulk Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior – WrestleMania VI: This was the wrestling equivalent of Superman versus Batman. An epic dream match where no one knew who was going to win. Warrior won in a touch passing moment to capture the world and intercontinental titles. It doesn’t hold up too well today as to match quality. However, at the time, it was great.

 

Maverick Wild vs. Doug Williams: NECW – Somerville, MA 6/22/01: This match occurred on an independent show promoted by New England Championship Wrestling (NECW). I attended the event as a networking opportunity when I was breaking into the business. Maverick Wild was considered the best wrestler in New England while British grappler Doug Williams had earned the same reputation across the pond. They wrestled a superb fifteen-minute draw that got better and better with each bump on the canvas. The wrestling, ring psychology, and intensity on display represented everything I wanted to be as a professional wrestler. This match will stay with me forever.

 

My Favorite Matches

Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels – WrestleMania 25

Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin – Survivor Series 1996

Kurt Agle vs. Chris Benoit – Royal Rumble 2003

Bret Hart vs. Undertaker – One Night Only 1997

Ricky Steamboat vs. Macho Man Randy Savage – WrestleMania 3

Mr. Perfect vs. Bret Hart – Summer Slam 1991 

British Bulldog vs. Owen Hart – Monday Night Raw 3/5/97

Bret Hart vs. British Bulldog – Simmer Slam 1992

New Japan Pro Wrestling of America Announced

PRO

New Japan Pro Wrestling announced yesterday a new U.S. based subsidiary called  New Japan Pro Wrestling of America. The company will be based in California and begin operations in November. CEO Takami Ohbari presented the three phases of their expansion plan.

-Phase One: Discovering new wrestlers in markets outside Japan and developing talent through the LA Dojo.

-Phase Two: Run events in the US, including at Madison Square Garden and Dallas this year, both independently and with the assistance of other promotions.

-Phase Three: Establish a company within the US, and be ingrained in the everyday fabric when it comes to fans’ wrestling consciousness.

Phases one and two are already completed, and phase three is set as NJPW of America will be putting on twenty-seven live events across eighteen states in 2020. Arenas with twenty-five hundred seat capacity will be the targeted cites for the shows.

This is interesting considering WWE recently tried to purchase two wrestling promotions in Japan to create NXT Japan. Pro Wrestling NOAH and women’s promotion Stardom ultimately turned down their respective offers.

New Japan has made some promotional errors in the U.S., which can be chalked up to a difference in business culture. The opening night of the G1 Climax in Dallas only drew five thousand people. It should have drawn more; however, New Japan promoted the show like they usually do in Japan when they announced the card a few days before the show.

That kind of promotion won’t work with a U.S audience because we’re used to getting the lineup at least a month before the event. People need time to decide if they want to spend their money on event tickets, travel plans, and hotel accommodations.

New Japan also announced they’re staying on AXS TV for the foreseeable future. However, AXS is now owned by Anthem, the parent company of Impact Wrestling (Formerly TNA). Impact’s weekly television show debuts on AXS this evening. Odd are Impact will be the station’s priority, not New Japan.

While some feel New Japan is starting off its American expansion too slow, I think it’s just right. Slow and steady wins the race. NJPW of America needs time to adjust to the American way of promotion and marketing.

WWE is the industry leader. Their lackluster storytelling, however, has led to decreasing ratings, which has ultimately led to the emergence of All Elite Wrestling. Wrestling fans want quality matches and storytelling, and other companies are moving in to fill the void.

Arguably, New Japan has the best in-ring product in the game today. It will take more than suitable matches to get over in the U.S. on a mainstream level. I think New Japan realizes this and doesn’t mind moving slowly with its expansion while ensuring the product doesn’t take a single dip in the quality.

New Japan Invades Lowell

I finally got to enjoy the birthday present from my lovely wife when New Japan Pro Wrestling held the first show of their three event tour at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium in Lowell, MA.

Eight matches were on the line up as an all-star six-man tag team match served as the main event. The show was structured as an intimate house show setting as opposed to a significant event.

There was nothing newsworthy that came out of the event, but it was still fun. Winning the lottery via an amazing parking spot in front of the building was first sign that the night was going to be alright.

Upon, entering the realm of ‘Fight Spirit Unleashed,’ I got to meet two wrestlers who weren’t advertised for a meet and greet. Hirooki Goto and one of my favorites, Tomohiro Ishii were in the foyer. I was lucky enough to be one of the first people in line, which never happens.

Next up, was the merchandise table for authentic New Japan goods that are normally only available in Japan. The line was super long, however, it moved rather quickly. I purchased some of the popular muffler towels… and let’s just say I’ve never spent so much money on linen in my life.

Match Highlights:

-The Rock & Roll Express/Chase Owens & Jado might have had the best match of the night. The audience was super into it and seeing Ricky Morton pull off a hurricanrana in 2019 was absolutely nuts! It was a great piece of nostalgia

-Lance Archer was over like a rockstar and beat the hell out of poor Ren Narita.

-Jay White is genuinely the top heel in New Japan Pro Wrestling. Heck, he might be the top heel in the entire industry. No matter how you slice it, the audience loves to hate him.

-Guerillas of Destiny (GoD)/Roppongi also deserved consideration for match of the night and probably garnered the loudest reaction. GoD was super over with the crowd during their entrance.

While there were some minor miscommunications between the wrestlers in the ring, the audience couldn’t tell. The last five minutes of the match had everyone on the edge of their seat.

YOH kept creatively rolling up Tonga with each pinfall attempt being more exciting than the last. Tonga went for the Gun Stun and YOH caught him for a backslide teasing a remarkable near fall.

New Japan does a great job of augmenting the prestige of their championships by having one title match per show on every tour. This makes the titles and the match mean more, which was evident here.

-The main event was more spectacle than anything else. It was a sight to behold having who many consider the top four wrestlers not only in the promotion but in the world in the same match. Three of them were on the same team.

None of the wrestlers hit their signature maneuvers, which was kind of surprising. It was even more surprising when Tanahashi pinned Naito out of nowhere with a reverse cradle.

This match wasn’t anything special and it didn’t need to be. It was about having all of New Japan’s big guns in the ring at the same time.

Tanahashi, Ibushi & Okada

Final Thoughts:

The maiden voyage of ‘Fighting Spirit Unleashed’ had a little something for everyone. It wasn’t a blow away event. However, it was a house show where all of the matches were well worked. New Japan didn’t need to go all-out crazy for this show. It was a pleasure seeing the best wrestlers in the world apply their craft. The first five matches were finished in 57 minutes. Nothing felt rushed and it gave more time for the two featured matches to shine. This feat is an independent wrestling promoter’s dream. Overall, New Japan adds another fun chapter to the wrestling history of the Lowell Memorial Auditorium.

 

Match Results:

-Karl Fredericks made Alex Coughlin with a modified half crab.

-Lance Archer pinned Ren Narita with the EBD Claw (Everybody Dies).

-Juice Robinson & Mikey Nicholls defeated Clark Connors & TJP

-Chase Owens & Jado defeated The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson) when Owens pinned Gibson with a package piledriver.

-Tomohiro Ishii & Amazing Red defeated BUSHI & Shingo Takagi when Ishii hit BUSHI with a brainbuster for the win.

-Hirooki Goto, Rocky Romero & YOSHI-HASHI defeated Jay White, KENTA & Gedo, when YOSHI-HASHI made Gedo submit with a Butterfly Lock.

IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: Guerillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) defeated Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH) to retain the titles when Tama Tonga hit the Gun Stun.

-Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kota Ibushi defeated Tetsuya Naito, SANADA & EVIL when Tanahashi pinned Naito after reversing a cradle pin attempt.

NJPW G1 Climax 29 Review

G1 Climax 29 Final | August 12, 2019, | Nippon Budokan Tokyo, Japan | New Japan World

“The Golden Star” Kota Ibushi pinned Jay White on Monday to win the grueling month-long G1 Climax tournament. Ibushi beat Okada to win the A Block while Jay White defeated Naito to secure the B Block, setting up the final match in Tokyo. White blindsided Ibushi the night before and reinjured his ankle.

The match drew a lot of heat form the Budokan crowd as White targeted Ibushi’s ankle at every turn. The finish came when White went for the Blade Runner, and Ibushi dug down deep to deliver a Kamigoye, followed by a flying knee and two more Kamigoye strikes for the win.

In one of the best angles of the year, KENTA turned on his tag team partners and joined the Bullet Club. What was even more shocking was the physicality of Katsuyori Shibata as he jumped into the ring and cleaned house. It was terrific, and a little scary consider Shibata retired from wrestling several years ago due to an injury that resulted in bleeding of the brain.

Shibata was ultimately subdued by the Bullet Club’s strength in numbers. KENTA delivered a PK kick on Shibata and proceeded to sit on top of him in Shibata’s signature pose. KENTA threw up the too sweet sign, confirming his affiliation with Bullet Club. Shibata left the ring under his own power, which was a drama-filled moment in itself. I’m curious to see where it all leads. It was a compelling moment.

The dream team of IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi fell to Suzuki-gun ringleaders Rev Pro British Heavyweight Champion Zack Saber Jr. and Minoru Suzuki. The finish came when Suzuki choked out Okada and hit the Gotch Piledriver for the win.

Suzuki cut a promo after the match and bragged that Okada lost to a guy that wasn’t allowed in the G1. Suzuki told Okada to hand over the IWGP belt to him. Simple storytelling built to its finest. I wondered why Suzuki was not in the tournament, now, we have our answer.

Final Thoughts: When it is all said and done, G1 Climax 29 will go down as one of best there has ever been. There were a lot of great matches and moments that kept me coming back for more. Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi continued their string of legendary matches on opening night in Dallas. Kazuchika Okada vs. Will Ospreay in Tokyo was probably the best match of the tournament. The all-out brawl in Korakuen Hall between Jon Moxley and Tomohiro Ishii was my favorite match of the tournament.

Lance Archer stepped up his game throughout the tournament while Jon Moxley took the whole thing by storm. Will Ospreay gets my vote for tournament MVP and the in-ring work Hiroshi Tanahashi never ceases to amaze me. Will Ospreay delivering a shooting star press into a Zack Saber Jr. triangle choke was a breathtaking finish. Tachi vs. Ishii during the B Block finals was my favorite match of the weekend. That includes White vs. Ibushi, which as sensational.

Kota Ibushi became the first wrestler to win Best of the Super Juniors, the New Japan Cup, and the G1 Climax. Three unique tournaments in two different weight divisions puts Ibushi in a class all by himself. The artistry on display by Ibushi was on another level. His G1 win guarantees him an IWGP Heavyweight Title Match at Wrestle Kingdom on January 4th in the Tokyo Dome.

This truly feels like its Ibushi’s year. However, two years ago, it also felt like Tetsuya Naito’s year, and he was unsuccessful in his Tokyo Dome bid. It’s hard to doubt the booking of New Japan since they rarely get it wrong. However, with the top-level wrestling landscape changing so drastically with the emergence of AEW, ROH’s decline at the box office and WWE moving to FOX, everyone needs more stars. Ibushi is primed and ready to be the golden star of the lion’s den.

ROH/New Japan Fan Festival Announced

Ring of Honor Wrestling and New Japan Pro Wrestling will G1 Supercard Festival of Honor on Friday, April 5th, 2019 at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The fan festival will occur the day before the sold out G1 Supercard of Honor wrestling event at MSG the following night.

The Festival of Honor will begin at 10:00 AM EST and ends at 6:00 PM. Tickets go on sale for HonorClub members on Wednesday, February 13th, 2019 and for the General Public on Friday, February 15th, 2019.

Admission for the G1 Supercard Festival of Honor is just $39 when you purchase before March 20th. which includes access to all festival entertainment, the official G1 Supercard press conference, and a special gift bag with a FREE G1 Supercard hat and lanyard ($30 value).

After March 20th, tickets will be $44 and on April 5th, they will be $49. Tickets will be sold separately for the special meet and greet/autograph sessions throughout the day.

There will be exclusive meet and greet autograph sessions with ROH and New Japan stars, live Q&A sessions, official press conference, live entertainment, interactivities and more.

It was smart for ROH and NJPW to do some sort of fan fest in conjunction with the show they are putting on at MSG. The entire wrestling industry will be in town for WrestleMania weekend. WWE has scheduled their fan Axxcess event and WrestleCon will have over 200 wrestlers and five live shows at their convention.

While no card has been announced for the MSG show on 4/6, New Japan’s big three, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada, and Tetsuya Naito were announced right before tickets went on sale in August. I would like to meet Okada, again. Last time we crossed paths, it was before he became the Rainmaker. It’s kind of a funny story that I’ll share soon.

I have to meet Hiroshi Tanahashi. Call me a mark, I don’t care. He’s truly one of the all-time greats the industry has ever produced. This might be the only chance to snag a picture with him. I’m truly in awe of his work whenever he steps inside the ring.

My wife and I are going to the MSG show. As much as I want to run around the big apple and partake in all of the wrestling related activities, it’s only fair I carve out a sliver of time for my better half.

Wrestle Kingdom 13 Results & Thoughts

-Wrestle Kingdom 13 Results – 1/4/19 – Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan

PRE-SHOW: Most Violent Players (Togi Makabe & Toru Yano) & Ryusuke Taguchi won a gauntlet match to become #1 contenders to the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship.

-Will Ospreay pinned Kota Ibushi by pinfall with Storm Breaker to win the NEVER Openweight Championship. Ibushi was taken out on a stretcher out after the match. I’m not sure if this was a work or a shoot.

-Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI & Shingo Takagi) defeated Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH) and Suzuki-gun (El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship when Takagi hit SHO with Last of the Dragon.

-Zack Sabre, Jr. submitted Tomohiro Ishii to become the new RPW British Heavyweight Champion.

-Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL & SANADA) defeated Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) and The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson) to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship when SANADA hit Matt Jackson with a moonsault for the pin.

-Juice Robinson pinned Cody w/ Brandi Rhodes after hitting two Pulp Frictions to win his second IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship.

-Taiji Ishimori beat KUSHIDA with Bloody Cross to become the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion.

-“Switchblade” Jay White w/ Gedo pinned Kazuchika Okada after coming back from a spinning Rain Maker and delivered a Blade Runner

-Tetsuya Naito defeated Chris Jericho in a No Disqualification Match to win the IWGP Intercontinental Championship

-Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Kenny Omega with High Fly Flow to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship for a record eighth time.

Jay White

-Thoughts:

Wrestle Kingdom delivered on all fronts and capped off by a main event for the ages. Every match told a different story that was intriguing and didn’t involve wrestlers peeing their pants of being thrown in a commode.

Sabre, Jr. vs. Ishii was the submission master trying to ground the heavy-handed striker while Ibushi vs. Ospreay saw two all-around specialists trying to out-athlete each other. The tag team title matches of both divisions exhibited all-out action, and Juice Robinson got a much-needed win over Cody after losing a lot of the steam he gained last summer.

Jay White beating Okada clean in the middle of the ring was shocking and the way it came about was brilliant. Okada not only put on his best performance since Dominion in June, but he returned as the RAINMAKER. Tights instead of pants, extravagant robes instead of a t-shirt and his trademark blonde hair instead of red.

Usually, when a wrestler returns to form, they never lose their first match back. Okada was super over in the Tokyo Dome, and he lost as clean as a sheet. “Switchblade” failed to have that star-making match last year against Tanahashi. However, he more than held up his end this year.

Jay White has arrived!

Tetsuya Naito and Chris Jericho’s No Disqualification Match was a fun brawl that highlighted how multi-talented these two wrestlers are.

Kenny Omega and Hiroshi Tanahashi exuded the sheer will to win more than any match I’ve seen in the last ten years. Skill, pedigree, and conflicting ideologies created a story that was unique on its own merits, yet so familiar.

Tanahashi is a modern traditionalist while Omega spearheads the new wave of vastly athletic wrestling that is sweeping the industry. Both styles were on display in the Tokyo Dome by two master class professional wrestlers. Forty minutes of…Bottom line, there is no amount of me telling you how excellent this match was that will prepare you for how awesome this match is.

-What’s Next?

Wrestle Kingdom 13 was not only a great show but a highly newsworthy one as well. Not only did every single title in the promotion change hands, but all of the wrestlers who are rumored to be leaving New Japan lost.

Cody, Brandi Rhodes, Hangman Page, and The Young Bucks have officially signed with All Elite Wrestling.

KUSHIDA is rumored to be WWE bound.

Kota Ibushi’s future destination is a mystery.

Chris Jericho’s next stop is unknown but faintly rumored to be going with All Elite Wrestling

Kenny Omega…ANYTHING can happen with him at this point.

 

New Japan Pro Wrestling will be just fine no matter who stays or who leaves. They drastically hit the reset button, made a new star and are well on their way to making more.

Wrestling Show of the Year 2017

Another year in professional wrestling has come and gone. As we look forward to the squared circle magic in 2018, 2017 had several stellar events.

New Japan Pro Wrestling delivered the goods in spades while WWE churned out some fun moments. ROH and the independent scene are on fire like never before as a new era of wrestling is coming around.

All lists of this nature are subjective. My rankings don’t mean any more or less than anyone else’s rankings. These are my picks for the top five wrestling events of 2017.

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G1 Climax Breeds Stellar Matches, Bumps & Bruises

New Japan Pro Wrestling put on three absolutely amazing matches last weekend as a part of the G-1 Climax semi finals and finals. Tetsuya Naito defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi to win the block A and Kenny Omega defeated Kazuchika Okada to win block B, setting up a Naito/Omega final.

Naito/Tanahashi was a great match that was overshadowed by a stellar third Okada/Omega encounter. Omega was in a must win situation and had to do it in less than thirty minutes. Okada, however, could advance to the finals with a win or a draw due to a one point differential in his favor.

Okada went into the match with an injured neck he suffered in previous tournament bouts. Omega targeted the injury right from the onset and was relentless in his attack. Okada fought him off with everything he had but with a little over three minutes left in the match, Omega hit the One Winged Angel for the pin.

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