New Japan Pro Wrestling’s biggest show of the year Wrestle Kingdom has been and gone. What happened, what was good and most importantly who won? That’s what I’m here to tell you.
NEVER Openweight Championship: (C) Kota Ibushi vs Will Ospreay
This wasn’t the match people were expecting. There were flips sure but these two went out there to hit each other as hard as possible. A fast paced match that delivered a really hot opener and made Ospreay into a star
Winner: Will Ospreay Rating: 8 out of 10
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: LIJ (BUSHI & Shingo Takagi) vs Suzuki Gun (Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado) vs Roppongi 3K (Sho & Yoh)
Knowing how hot the last match would be these teams knew they couldn’t deliver a solid, old school tag team match. What we got was constant action as all three teams were trying to get the win. Sho and Shingo got the chance to tease more of their eventual singles feud as LIJ got the win.
Winners: BUSHI and Shingo Takagi Rating: 6 out of 10
RevPro British Heavyweight Championship: (C) Tomohiro Ishii vs Zack Sabre Junior
This wasn’t the stiff strong style matches that Ishii usually delivers. Zack’s style counteracts Ishii’s very well and we got some fun counters with the occasional stiff shot. I think my expectations of this one hurt the match but the two styles meshed to deliver an interesting match.
Winner: Zack Sabre Junior Rating: 7 out of 10
IWGP Tag Team Championships: (C) Guerillas Of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) vs LIJ (EVIL & SANADA) vs Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson)
GoD were very odd in this match, insisting that they were the good guys and not cheating at all. This let the match flow a lot better as the Bucks were the glue that held everything together as LIJ and GoD got to hot their best spots. LIJ got the definitive win to continue LIJ’s good day today.
Winners: EVIL & SANADA Rating: 6 out of 10
IWGP US Champion: (C) Cody vs Juice Robinson
Cody still seems injured which led to this being sloppy. Robinson gets the finish to his story after being run over by Cody at Wrestle Kingdom two years ago. Not very good but not horrendous
Winner: Juice Robinson Rating: 3 out of 10
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: (C)KUSHIDA vs Taiji Ishimori
Another match that I expected more from. Ishimori seems to start out slow in most of his matches and KUSHIDA was happy to work that pace. Another definitive finish as Ishimori just beats KUSHIDA without too many false finishes or much flash.
Winner: Taiji Ishimori Rating: 6 out of 10
Kazuchika Okada vs Jay White
The old Okada was BACK. Hair is back to normal, trunks are back, entrance theme is back and he was ready to finally beat Jay White. Except that didn’t happen. Jay White continues to be Okada’s bogey team. Despite the look, Okada still isn’t back to the Rain Maker as the old Okada wouldn’t have fallen for that late counter that White won the match with.
Winner: Jay White Rating: 7 out of 10
IWGP Intercontinental Championship: (C) Chris Jericho vs Tetsuya Naito
Naito left Tranquillo at the door as he matched Jericho’s aggression and desire to hurt his opponent. There was a mutual respect in how much these two hated one another. Jericho was made to look very good by Naito but in the end let Naito get the defining win in the feud. LIJ walked in to WK after a directionless year but walk out covered in gold.
Winner: Tetsuya Naito Rating: 8 out of 10
IWGP Heavyweight Championship: (C) Kenny Omega vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
The war between old and new. East vs West as the Ace Tanahashi took on The Cleaner Kenny Omega. This was done in the typical New Japan main event style as they built from the beginning into the bomb throwing. Tanahashi was put through a lot but fought through all his injuries and the wear and tear to have his one final WK main event victory.
Winner: Hiroshi Tanahashi Rating: 9 out of 10
Every single title changed hands on this night of change in New Japan. LIJ took over, The Elite may have said goodbye and Jay White became a megastar. Not as good as it could have been admittedly but a good show nevertheless.