Wrestle Kingdom is THE biggest wrestling event of the year in Japan and it happens this Thursday (8AM in the UK). Chris Jericho is back in New Japan Pro Wrestling after 20 years (this match will also mark his first match outside of WWE since 1999) and he chose to target one of the best wrestlers on this planet today, and a fellow Canadian, current IWGP United States Champion Kenny Omega. The “Alpha vs. Omega” match has created a huge buzz on social media since last November.

But Wrestle Kingdom is a 10-match event and the card is impressive. Rainmaker Okada, the same way he did at Wrestle Kingdom 11 last year against Omega, will put his title on the line against Tetsuya Naito, NJPW G1 Climax Tournament winner. Okada has been the IWGP Heavyweight Champion since June 19, 2016. Naito took the belt away from him in 2016, will he be the one who’s going to end the 560+ days of the longest-reigning Champion ever?

Also, Cody will compete against Kota Ibushi in a match that was supposed to be for the ROH Heavyweight Championship, until Cody lost the belt to Dalton Castle at ROH’s Final Battle 2 weeks ago. Wrestle Kingdom 12 will also feature the first-ever 4-Way match for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship, where Marty Scurll defends the title against Hiromu Takahashi, Kushida and Will Ospreay.

Here is the full card of Wrestle Kingdom 12:

* Pre Show:  New Japan Rumble (Wrestle Kingdom annual Battle Royal)

* IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Match: Roppongi 3K (Sho and Yoh) (c) vs. The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson)

NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship Gauntlet Match: Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa) (c) vs. Chaos (Beretta, Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano) vs. Michael Elgin and War Machine (Hanson and Raymond Rowe) vs. Suzuki-Gun (Taichi, Takashi Iizuka and Zack Sabre Jr.) vs. Taguchi Japan (Juice Robinson, Ryusuke Taguchi and Togi Makabe)

* Singles Match: Cody (w/ Brandi Rhodes) vs. Kota Ibushi

IWGP Tag Team Championship Match: Killer Elite Squad (Davey Boy Smith Jr. and Lance Archer) (c) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Evil and Sanada)

NEVER Openweight Championship Loser haircut and no seconds Deathmatch: Minoru Suzuki (c) vs. Hirooki Goto

* IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship Four-Way Match: Marty Scurll (c) vs. Hiromu Takahashi vs. Kushida vs. Will Ospreay

* IWGP Intercontinental Championship Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs. Jay White

IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship No Disqualification Match: Kenny Omega (c) vs. Chris Jericho

IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match: “Rainmaker” Kazuchika Okada (c) vs. Tetsuya Naito

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8UTPLUYXgQ]

(many more videos available on NJPW in English YouTube Channel here)

By Steph Franchomme

News, Reviews, Social Media Editor, Impact Wrestling Reviewer, Interviewer Well, call me The Boss... And French...