The New Year will be historic for New Japan!
The events of 2019 come to a head in a massive wrestling weekend! What history does just the first night hold for NJPW?
NOTE: NJPW no longer wants to feed AXS TV now that it is with Anthem and Impact Wrestling. But never fear, I will cover NJPW in the spirit of AXS in providing the most important matches of the show.
- 8 Man Tag: Ryusuke Taguchi, Tatsuhito Takaiwa, Shinjiro Otani & Naoki Sano w/Kuniaki Kobayashi VS Great Sasuke, Tatsumi Fujinami, Tiger Mask IV & Jushin Thunder Liger w/El Samurai; win.
- IWGP United States Championship Texas Deathmatch: Lance Archer VS Jon Moxley; Moxley wins, becomes the new IWGP United States Champion, and will face Juice Robinson on Night 2.
- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Will Ospreay VS Hiromu Takahashi; Takahashi wins and becomes the new IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion.
- IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Jay White VS Tetsuya Naito; Naito wins, becomes the new IWGP Intercontinental Champion, and advances to Night 2’s Winner Takes All match.
- IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada VS Kota Ibushi; Okada wins, retains the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, and advances to Night 2’s Winner Takes All match.
PLAY BY PLAY
8 Man Tag: Ryusuke Taguchi, Tatsuhito Takaiwa, Shinjiro Otani & Naoki Sano w/Kuniaki Kobayashi VS Great Sasuke, Tatsumi Fujinami, Tiger Mask IV & Jushin Thunder Liger w/El Samurai!
The legendary career of Jushin Thunder Liger is coming to a close, so NJPW is going all out for his final Wrestle Kingdom! So many classic names in one match, what happens in this historic farewell?
The teams sort out, but Liger is calling out his old rival, Sano. Fans are already fired up with the bell as Liger and Sano circle. They tie up, Liger waistlocks but Sano switches. Liger trips and gets a leg lock to then flip Sano over for the low surfboard. Liger stands and pulls on Sano’s arms but Sano pops out. Liger headlocks but Sano powers out, only for Liger to run him over. Things speed up and Sano hurdles to then dropkick Liger out! Sano builds speed and DIVES! Direct hit sends Liger into railing! Sano slowly rises back up and gets back in the ring. Liger returns but Sano tags out, Otani goes after Liger while Takaiwa blows up the Liger corner! Otani gets the fans rallying up for the original boot wash! Otani scrapes Liger’s face over and over then runs to BOOT! Fans want one more and Otani runs to give them one! It gets El Samurai in the face, too!
Fans want a third, but Liger gets up to SHOTEI! But Otani tanks it! He leans into the palm strikes, but Liger gets it on the fifth! Tag otu to Tiger Mask but Otani tags to Takaiwa. Takaiwa ties up with Tiger, puts him on the ropes and CHOPS! But Tiger kicks! To Takaiwa CHOPS! Tiger still kicks! CHOP for kick, but Takaiwa gets a string of chops going. Tiger mule kicks then runs, into a fireman’s carry and DEATH VALLEY DRIVER! Takaiwa drags Tiger up to tag in Taguchi. Taguchi stomps and snapmares Tiger to give hip attacks! The Funky Weapon drops down on Tiger’s stomach, covers, TWO! Fans cheer as Taguchi tags out to Sano and he clubs Tiger. Sano and Tiger trade shots, Sano’s sobat rocks Tiger Mask. Snapmare and tag to Otani, Otani drags Tiger up for a scoop slam! Then a whip to the corner, and a boot!
Otani shoves Tiger down then tags Takaiwa. Takaiwa drags Tiger up to CHOP and whip, and hit a corner clothesline! Another scoop slam and Takaiwa fires the fans up for his signature. Takaiwa climbs and leaps, MACHO ELBOW! Cover, TWO! Takaiwa drags Tiger up but Tiger resists the suplex to knee. Takaiwa ducks the kick and runs, but into Tiger’s underhooks! TIGER DRIVER! But Tiger is too tired to cover! Both men crawl, hot tag to Fujinami! The Dragon runs in but into Taguchi’s kick. He catches it for the Dragon Screw! Dragon Screw for Otani! Fujinami whips Takaiwa and catches him into a sleeper, then the DRAGON SLEEPER! Sano clubs Fujinami and Fujinami lets Takaiwa go, to throw hands on Sano!
Tag to Great Sasuke, and he drags Takaiwa up. Snapmare and Sasuke calls for his own move. Sasuke climbs up top and aims at Takaiwa, SWANTAON BOMB flops! Takaiwa tags Sano and Sano climbs up top. Sano leaps but Sasuke gets clear of the stomps! Sano back kicks Sasuke quick, then waistlcoks. Sasuke fights out and gives counter punches. Sasuke mule kicks and hurries up top. Sano goes after Sasuke and the two are up top together. Sano SUPERPLEXES Sasuke down! Both men crawl to their corners, hot tags to Liger and Taguchi! The Funky Weapon gets an atomic drop! And a SHOTEI! Liger puts Taguchi up top and then climbs up, SUPER STEINER! Cover but everyone runs in!
Things spill out to the outside, Tiger Mask LEAPS onto Otani! Sano drags Fujinami out while Sasuke FLIES! Liger runs into the Funky Weapon hip attack! Taguchi chicken wings but Liger drops down to deny Dodon! Victory roll, TWO!! Enziguri from Taguchi but Liger fires up, only to run into a second! Taguchi fires himself up, “YAO~!” BUM-A-YE! Cover, TWO!! Liger lives! Tokyo Dome is thunderous but the chicken wings return, DODON BUSTER!! Cover, Taguchi and team win!!
Winners: Taguchi, Takaiwa, Otani & Sano, Taguchi pinning
Liger’s teammates were kept outside, they could not help him escape defeat. Liger’s penultimate match in the Tokyo Dome is not a happy ending, but he doesn’t look sad. Liger stands up, and bows to Taguchi! Taguchi returns the bow, and Liger goes down the line of his great rivals and opponents. They all show him the utmost respect, even his greatest rival in Sano. Liger also bows and shakes hands with his teammates, and everyone celebrates this moment. Liger’s career may be ending, but his legacy will never die!
IWGP United States Championship Texas Deathmatch: Lance Archer VS Jon Moxley!
The Murderhawk Monster says #EverybodyDies, but he doesn’t know the Death Rider well, does he? The Maniac only lost this title on a technicality, will he reclaim it through brutality?
Before the match even starts, MOX prepares for war by taking chairs out from under the ring and throwing them into the ring! As for Archer, he’s dressed to kill, from his spiked jacket to spiked helmet, and brings #EBD branded trash can lids! And as always, Archer warms himself up by beating down poor Young Lions around ringside! The introductions are made, but Moxley won’t even give the ref time to raise the belt before he attacks! The bell rings and this deadly battle begins!
Moxley throws hands then runs but Archer crossbodies?! Archer stomps Moxley then ROCKS him with that right! And another! Archer whips Moxley but Moxley holds ropes. Moxley sends Archer out and builds speed to DIVE! Direct hit takes Archer out to the ramp! Fans are thunderous for the elite Purveyor of Violence as he brings Archer up for forearms. They go around ringside and Moxley dumps Archer over the rails. They fight in No Man’s Land and Moxley whips Archer into the second layer of railing! And back the other way! Moxley brings Archer around and back to ringside to put him in. Moxley checks under the ring and brings out a kendo stick! Moxley taps the railing with it before going up top. Moxley leaps over Archer’s chair shot, but Archer throws the chair into his face!
Moxley is down, the referee checks on him, but Archer SMACKS Moxley while he’s down! And SMACKS him again! And then uses his can lid to SMACK away on Moxley’s head! Archer cusses out the fans booing him, and then SMACKS away on Moxley more! Archer grabs the kendo stick to SMACK even harder! And then he grinds it into Moxley’s throat! Moxley gasps and sputters but Archer SMACKS him again! Archer keeps swinging and hitting Moxley, and then tells him to give up. Moxley refuses and gets himself to ropes. Archer puts Moxley in a corner and chokes him with the kendo stick, to then jab and SMACK Moxley’s chest. The welts are forming already, and Archer takes Moxley by the hand in a knuckle lock. Archer clubs away with his forearm before climbing up top.
Archer wants to go Old School, but Moxley throws him off balance and SMACKS him back with that kendo stick! And again! And again! And again! The stick is breaking but Moxley doesn’t stop until it’s split! Moxley only lets up to go fetch one of Archer’s trash can lids, but Archer choke grips. Moxley elbows free and runs, Archer runs perpendicular, but Moxley SMACKS him on the run! Moxley sets up some chairs and uses the trash can lid for a bridge. Moxley snap suplexes Archer across all that steel! Then runs to KNEE Archer down! But Moxley isn’t done, he watches Archer flounder out of the ring and around the way before using a slingshot. But Archer catches the pescado for an APRON CHOKE SLAM! And then Archer hits a Young Lion just because! Archer drags this poor soul over and CHOKE SLAMS him onto Moxley!! Archer is making weapons out of the LA Dojo trainees!
Archer leaves Moxley behind to build speed and FLY out onto everyone!! Tokyo is thunderous for that insanity! Archer takes his time as a standing count begins on Moxley. Moxley is up at 7 but Archer SMACKS him with a chair. Archer sits that chair up, then another. What is left of the kendo stick is used to SMACK Moxley, and then Archer completes a chair square. But Moxley is up and waistlocks! Archer resists, spins around, but Moxley fireman’s carries! Archer powers out but runs into a boot. Moxley hops up but Archer ROCKS him with a right! Crucifix lift, FULL METAL BLACK OUT!! Moxley writhes in pain as the standing count begins again, and Archer taunts him. The count is at 8 but Moxley stands! Archer grabs him with his claw and dribbles him on a chair!
The Everybody Dies Claw is clamped on, but Moxley reaches up to headscissor and bring Archer down! Armbar! Archer endures, powers his way up and clamps on the claws around Moxley’s throat! Archer drags Moxley up for an OVERHEAD SUPLEX! Archer runs corner to corner but into Moxley’s lariat! It doesn’t do it, Archer choke grips and lifts but Moxley slips out to Dirty Deeds! The standing count begins on Archer and it hits 8, but Archer sits up! Archer stands at 9, but Moxley says it’s time to end this! Underhooks, lift, but no Death Rider or even a Paradigm Shift. Moxley throws big knees then runs, but into the DERAILER! Archer sends Moxley flying into a corner! Moxley leans against the ropes but Archer drags him up and over to chairs. Choke Slam ON the chair! Moxley writhes but Archer keeps his eyes on him during the standing count.
Moxley spasms around 5 and rises at 7, only to flop back down. He springs up at 9.5! And then flips off Archer! So Archer BOOTS him down! Archer produces a plastic shopping back and uses it to SMOTHER Moxley!! Moxley flails as the Full Plastic EBD Claw is wrapped on tight! Moxley fades, the referee checks. The arm drops once! The arm drops twice! But Moxley revives on the third time! Archer rains down furious forearms! Archer goes looking for something under the ring, slapping the trash can lid on railing in frustration. He finds a TABLE! And then another! Archer brings both tables around and sets them up very close to the ring. Moxley crawls over and Archer drags him out onto the apron. Archer DIGS the spiked helmet’s, well, SPIKES into Moxley’s forehead!! Archer then puts Moxley up top and has the crucifix!
Moxley fights for dear life and escapes another Black Out. He gets in the ring but runs into the choke grip! Moxley denies the choke slam and brawls with Archer on the apron. Moxley kicks low, underhooks, DEATH RIDER THROUGH THE TABLES!! Oh the humanity!! A standing count starts on both men, and it reaches 5. Moxley rises from the wreckage and gets into the ring! Archer flops over, bleeding from the arms, and cannot stand! MOXLEY WINS!
Winner: Jon Moxley, by pinfall; NEW IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion
The Maniac didn’t die hard this night, and he’s once again champion! But before leaving, Moxley grabs a mic to address the crowd.
“I’m gonna keep this simple. I am a gambler. I came to Tokyo to either leave with nothing, or leave with everything! JUICE ROBINSON! Tomorrow night, right here at the Tokyo Dome, we settle the score. Once and for all!” Mic drop and message sent! Either Moxley stands tall or this belt goes back to Juice! What will we see on the historic second night of Wrestle Kingdom?
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Will Ospreay VS Hiromu Takahashi!
Just when the Aerial Assassin thought he’d cleared out the division, the Ticking Time Bomb came back in time for the New Year! Will Hiromu make NJPW even more, more, MORE fun than before? Or will Ospreay conquer his reckless rival?
Hiromu is a colorful peacock while Ospreay has become a white tiger. The introductions are made as Ospreay draws his sword. Hiromu is not afraid of the blade, and the belt is raised. This epic rematch of rivals begins!
Hiromu rushes Ospreay but Ospreay knows that trick and gets clear. But Ospreay hears all the Hiromu fans and can’t help but chuckle. The two circle and tie up. Ospreay waistlocks, slams, floats all over and has the facelock. Ospreay floats around more and even gives Hiromu a slap on the back. Ospreay lounges on the top rope while Hiromu gets to his feet. Hiromu rushes in, avoids the boot and enziguri but Ospreay runs past him. Ospreay comes back to shoulder bump, Hiromu rebounds into Ospreay’s boot. Hiromu throws a forearm so Ospreay returns it, and we have a brawl! They go back and forth, no hesitation or sign of slowing. Hiromu gets the edge and ducks the back hand to keep going. Things speed up but Hiromu hops over Ospreay to whip. Ospreay reverses, hurdles Hiromu but Hiromu avoids the monkey flip.
Ospreay avoids the dropkick, Hiromu ducks the Penalty Kick and avoids the moonsault. Both men deflect kicks and back hands, Ospreay handsprings into a waistlock but standing switches. Hiromu breaks free and manages to duck the heel kick, and he ROCKS Ospreay with a right! Ospreay CHOPS back! Ospreay runs, Hiromu follows and huricanranas Ospreay down! Ospreay bails out to the apron, Hiromu runs and sunset flips! Ospreay holds on and throws hands, then goes to turn the bomb into a huricanrana. But Hiromu blocks that to APRON BOMB Ospreay instead! Ospreay crawls away but Hiromu aims from the apron, to JOHN WOO! The dropkick blasts Ospreay into railing! Hiromu drags Ospreay up and puts him in the ring. Hiromu stalks Ospreay as fans rally up. Hiromu stands Ospreay up to CHOP!
Ospreay leans on ropes but Hiromu is on him again, with another CHOP. Hiromu toys with Ospreay but Ospreay fires a foraerm back! And another! Hiromu rakes the eyes! The ref reprimands but Hiromu suplexes. Ospreay blocks and suplexes back! Hiromu slips out and waistlocks but Ospreay elbows him away. Ospreay runs into a boot and then Hiromu hops up, draping headscissor hold! The ref reprimands Hiromu and counts, but Hiromu lets go at 4. Hiromu heads up top but to fake Ospreay out. Hiromu forearms Ospreay away, but Ospreay avoids the shoulder to DOUBLE STOMP him down! Hiromu is stuck, Ospreay drags him back up, DRAPING DDT! Cover, TWO!! Hiromu survives but Ospreay scowls as he stands up tall. Hiromu bails out of the ring but Ospreay pursues.
Ospreay rams Hiromu into the blue railing, and pulls on Hiromu’s hair to bend him back against them! The ref reprimands and counts, Ospreay lets up at 3. Ospreay brings Hiromu up but Hiromu chops! But Ospreay doesn’t flinch, he eggs Hiromu on! Hiromu chops again but Ospreay gives him a neckbreaker! Ospreay brings Hiromu back up and puts him in the ring, then covers. ONE, and Ospreay drags Hiromu up to snapmare and kick Hiromu hard in the back. Then he rolls Hiromu for a Koji Klutch! Hiromu endures and kicks around, reaching with his legs. Ospreay cranks harder, but Hiromu gets the ropebreak with a foot! Ospreay lets go but keeps his focus as he stands back up. Ospreay walks around then drags Hiromu up, Hiromu CHOPS! Ospreay felt that one, and then Hiromu CHOPS again. Ospreay gets mad but gets another CHOP!
Ospreay back kicks then runs, but into Hiromu’s wheelbarrow and COMPLETE SHOT! Ospreay goes reeling from the impact and fans fire up for Hiromu. Ospreay gets to a corner, Hiromu runs in and corner splashes! Then snapmare to basement dropkick! Hiromu keeps going, FALCON ARROW! Cover, TWO!! Ospreay gets free of that deep fold but Hiromu isn’t upset. Hiromu brings Ospreay up to CHOP and CHOP and whip. Ospreay holds ropes but Hiromu pulls hair and CHOPS him again. Hiromu whips then reels Ospreay in for a forearm. He puts Ospreay on the ropes and kicks it to jam Ospreay, then runs. Ospreay dodges, handsprings and enziguris! Both men are down and fans rally up again. Hiromu bails out but Ospreay builds speed, SASUKE SPECIAL! But Hiromu gets clear to waistlock and German Suplex!
But Ospreay lands on his feet! Ospreay runs back at Hiromu but Hiromu THROWS him! Ospreay ends up in the ring and keeps running!? Ospreay SASUKE SPECIALS and HITS! Fans are fired up again! Ospreay gets up and brings Hiromu over. They get back in the ring and Ospreay aims from the corner. Springboard, Pip Pip Cheerio flying forearm! Cover, TWO! Ospreay keeps his cool as he goes to a corner and aims again. Ospreay spins but Hiromu dodges the Robinson Special to hit another JOHN WOO! Ospreay ends up in the other corner and Hiromu has fans rallying up behind him. Hiromu runs in, big corner clothesline then a whip corner to corner. Hiromu runs in but blocks Ospreay’s boot. Ospreay ax kicks and roundhouses! Then top rope 619!
Hiromu ends up on the apron, Ospreay springboards and STOMPS Hiromu down! The Aerial Assassin strikes again and he puts Hiromu back in the drop zone. Ospreay climbs up as Hiromu stirs. Ospreay watches Hiromu rise, and missile dropkicks him in the back! Cover, TWO!! Hiromu still lives but Ospreay vows to end it. Ospreay sits Hiromu up and pulls the elbow pad. Ospreay runs out but Hiromu falls over. The referee checks on Hiromu, as that neck is still a concern. Ospreay waits as Hiromu stirs. Fans rally up to give the Time Bomb power. Ospreay gives toying kicks, and then meaner kicks to Hiromu’s head. Hiromu crawls to a corner but Ospreay kicks him in the ribs. Ospreay gives more toying kicks then drags Hiromu up. Ospreay shovels Hiromu onto the top and tucks him in, CHEEKY NANDOS!
Ospreay keeps Hiromu up there to Electric Chair carry him. And then he goes up the corner?! Hiromu fights free and CHOPS Ospreay! Hiromu climbs all the up and jumps to wheelbarrow, but Ospreay blocks the rest! Ospreay clubs Hiromu’s back over and over, then hauls him up for a waistlock! Back to the Electric Chair but Hiromu keeps fighting back. SUPER VICTORY BOMB! Cover, TWO!! Ospreay survives and Hiromu is losing his cool. But Hiromu drags Ospreay up, fireman’s carry, pop up, DYNAMITE PLUNGER! Cover, TWO!! Ospreay survives again but Hiromu keeps his focus. Hiromu drags Ospreay up, another fireman’s carry but Ospreay slips out and shoves Hiromu into a corner. Hiromu turns around into the dropkick-flip and enziguri! Hiromu flounders and Ospreay takes aim, ROBINSON SPECIAL! Direct hit with the spin kick but Ospreay keeps going. Springboard, NO Oscutter!
Hiromu fireman’s carries but Ospreay slips out. Hiromu forearms but Ospreay holds on to reel Hiromu in for a pump handle, half nelson and MADE IN JAPAN! Ospreay borrows a move from Shingo Takagi! Cover, TWO!? Ospreay doesn’t take time to ask why, he heads up top fast! SHOOTING STAR onto Hiromu’s back! Cover, TWO!! Hiromu survives but Ospreay doesn’t slow down! Tokyo is thunderous as Ospreay springboards, OSCUTTER!! Cover, TWO!?! Now Ospreay is shocked! Ospreay shakes his head and grits his teeth as Tokyo reaches a fever pitch. Ospreay aims from the corner as Hiromu stirs. Ospreay HOOK KICKS and then tightens the elbow pad! Hiromu slowly rises again, but ducks the Hidden Blade! POP-UP POWERBOMB!! Both men are down but Tokyo Dome is as fired up as ever! Hiromu stirs but the standing count begins.
Fans rally and Hiromu gets up at 6. Ospreay follows at 7, both men are up at 8! They still crawl after each other, and Ospreay throws a forearm. Hiromu gives it back! Hiromu eggs Ospreay on and Ospreay hits again. Hiromu returns the forearm but Ospreay throws another. The two stand and Hiromu throws another big forearm! Ospreay gives Hiromu one, so Hiromu gives it back. They go back and forth, back and forth, slowing down as they stagger. Hiromu throws a flurry, Ospreay ROUNDHOUSES! Ospreay whips, Hiromu reverses, handspring into a GERMAN SUPLEX! Both men are down again but Hiromu is up first. Hiromu fires himself up and runs, but Ospreay slips through the lariat to powerbomb, only for Hiromu to slip through and DESTROYER! Cover, TWO?!? Ospreay survives and no one can believe it!
Hiromu has a wild look in his eyes again as he brings Ospreay up into a fireman’s carry. Corner Death Valley! Hiromu drags Ospreay up, fireman’s carry and a spin, but Ospreay kicks free! Hiromu SUPERKICKS, and SUPERKICKS! Ospreay is on his knees but Hiromu fireman’s carries. Ospreay slips out, HOOK KICK! Underhoooks, Canadian rack but Hiromu slips out, only to run into a SPANISH FLY! Cover, TWO!! Hiromu survives but Ospreay wants the kill shot! Hiromu rises, Ospreay aims, HIDDEN BLADE!! But Ospreay doesn’t cover, he underhooks and drags Hiromu up! Canadian rack, but Hiromu pops through to hit ANOTHER DESTROYER! Cover, TWO?!?! Ospreay survives again and Tokyo is electric!
Hiromu drags himself up with the ropes and shouts at Ospreay! Hiromu runs to LARIAT!! But he’s not done, fireman’s carry to TIME BOMB!! Cover, TWO!?!? This cannot be! Hiroum is beside himself, but he drags Ospreay up again. Hiromu runs, runs and LARIATS! Then a scoop, tucking Ospreay in, INVERTED AIR RAID!! Cover, Hiromu wins!!
Winner: Hiromu Takahashi, by pinfall; NEW IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion
Whatever the name of Hiromu’s new move, it’s a winner and so is he! Hiromu has this title back, will he have even more, more, MORE fun defending it?
IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Jay White VS Tetsuya Naito!
We’re so close to history, everyone can almost taste it. The Switchblade wants to hijack the Destiny of Los Ingobernables de Japon’s charismatic leader! But will he be able to take the next step? Or will Naito be just too Tranquilo?
The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and Naito takes his time taking off his fancy entrance gear. Once he’s ready, this first step in the #DoubleGoldDash begins!
Fans are naturally on Naito’s side but White double guns. Naito is not impressed. And of course, White bails out per his usual strategy of delaying and taunting. Naito ignores it all. White returns and circles with Naito, but White bails out again. Fans boo but White laughs. White struts about but Naito goes after Gedo! Naito has Gedo’s beard and taunts White now. White isn’t sure what to do, so he gets in the ring. Naito gets in, too, whips White and arm-drags him around! Shotgun boot knocks White down and White bails out, but Naito builds up speed! To fake White out and Tranquilo! White catches his breath and checks on Gedo while Naito waits in the ring. White wants a time-out but Naito holds the ropes open for him. White sees Naito is playing around but does take the offer. White tries to boot Naito but gets caught, and then Naito sweeps the legs!
Naito drags White out to the apron and hits a draping neckbreaker! Fans fire up but Gedo comes over. Naito backs Gedo down and Gedo wants Naito to keep his cool. Naito goes back to White and drags him up, to whip him into railing! White is draped over but Naito drags him up by hair and brings him around the way to put back in the ring. Fans cheer the sportsmanship, then Naito stomps White around. Naito drags White up and throws a BIG forearm! Naito stomps away on White, then brings him up for a cravat. White throws body shots but Naito cranks harder. White gets the ropebreak and Red Shoes counts. Naito lets go and kicks White back down. Naito whips, White reverses but Naito grabs ropes. Naito elbows White away but Gedo grabs at Naito’s feet! Red Shoes reprimands but White attacks!
White clubs away then puts Naito in a corner for forearms and stomps! White argues with Red Shoes but brings Naito up to CHOP. White wrenches and whips but Naito reverses. Naito runs in but is put on the apron. Naito hits back but agani Gedo is after him! White hotshots Naito down as fans boo! Red Shoes gets out to argue with Gedo but White YANKS Naito into the post! There go the huevos. Gedo has a chair and he SMACKS the bad leg! Naito falls to the floor and White grins as he takes his time fetching him. White mocks Naito’s pain and stomps him down. White clears space and brings Naito up to whip into railing! White double guns and brushes himself off before going back for Naito. White laces Naito’s leg through the railing! White pulls on it and says, “Smile for the people!”
Red Shoes reprimands but White lets up to refresh the ring count. White drags Naito back up and into the ring. Naito crawls to the corner but White runs in for a big European Uppercut! And then a SAIDO! Naito bails out of the ring and White wants Naito to stand. Red Shoes doesn’t advise this but White builds speed to mock Tranquilo! It’s a Too Sweet version. Fans boo but White RAMS Naito into the apron! And then White puts Naito back in to cover, but Red Shoes won’t count after that bending of the rules. White stomps Naito out of annoyance, and goes after the bad leg. Grounded Dragon Screw! Naito writhes but White is on him again with a standing figure four. White turns Naito over for a standing deathlock, and mocks the LIJ poses before putting on the Muda Lock!
Naito endures as White bridges and cranks, and even makes Naito smile with fish hook fingers! Naito endures and Red Shoes reprimands, Naito gets the ropebreak! White lets go at 4 and releases the legs. White slaps Naito around but Naito SLAPS him! White CHOPS Naito and CHOPS again! White whips Naito corner to corner but Naito boots him back. Naito boots again then hops up, leaps to huricanrana! Fans rally while Naito gets his bad leg moving. White stands but Naito throws haymakers and kicks. Naito whips and elbows White down to then basement dropkick! And neckbreaker! Cover, TWO! Naito keeps focus as he drags White back up. White hits back with forearms but Naito fakes White out! Naito kicks low, SPITS on White then whips him to a corner. Naito runs in, rocket kick to sweep, Combinacion… Naito waits for White to drop his guard, CABRON!
Fans fire up and Naito drags White to his feet. Dragon sleeper to a backbreaker, and a leg based half nelson. White endures as Naito slaps him in the head and squeezes tight. White moves around and reaches with his own legs, and manages to get the ropebreak! Naito lets go and gets back to his feet. White flounders up, Naito reels him in, waistlock but no suplex. White gets to ropes and holds on tight as Naito pulls on him. Naito honors the ropebreak, but runs back in. Naito blocks the boot but White counters the clothesline into a DDT! It spikes Naito right into the mat! White sits up and grins again as Naito clutches his neck. White gets up, drags Naito back to his feet, and fireman’s carries. Naito fights but the DVDDT hits! Cover, TWO!
White grows annoyed with Naito as he brings him around. Naito denies the leg lock but White stomps him down again. White drags Naito up but Naito resists the lift. Naito elbows but White throws him down by his hair! White drags Naito back up, suplexes but Naito slips out. The bad leg jams and Naito hobbles, but he still blocks the kick. Naito elbows the knee then whips White, but White reverses and catches the forearms! White waistlocks but Naito elbows free, so White CHOPS him back. White whips, catches the forearm again, but Naito elbows out of the urenage. Naito keeps elbowing White down, but keeps wrist control the whole time. Fans build anticipation as Naito keeps elbowing White. White dodges one last elbow to whip Naito but Naito finally hits those flying forearms!
Naito waistlocks but White elbows out. Naito swings on White but gets caught into the Complete Shot! White waistlocks and dead lifts Naito for the German Suplex! But both men are down as White can’t bridge. Fans rally and Gedo coaches White as the two men stir. White pushes Naito to a corner and hoists him up top. White CHOPS Naito before climbing up to join him. White has Naito up on the very top, but Naito fights back! Naito clubs White off and adjusts, but White returns. Naito boots White then dodges him, and blocks boots to turn White around, draping backbreaker! Now Naito puts White up top and climbs to join him, but White slips out to trip Naito up! Naito hits buckles on the way down! Both men are down again as fans rally up.
White runs in at Naito and blocks a boot to put that leg on the ropes. White goes after the bad leg with stomps, then a knee jammer! Naito clutches his knee while stuck between ropes. White grabs the bad leg and slaps Naito before hitting a DRAGON SCREW! Naito flops to the mat and White says Red Shoes should check on him. Red Shoes does check on Naito but Naito is okay to continue. White whips Naito but Naito falls down. White and Gedo mock Naito’s bad legs, and White gives toying kicks. Naito throws forearms! White kicks the knee then whips Naito again, and again Naito falls over! White acts shocked and upset while Gedo says they should just end this here. White brings Naito up, Naito reverses the whip, but the bad leg prevents a good tornado. White shoves Naito and grabs him again, BIG Urenage! Cover, TWO!! Naito stays in this and fans are still behind him!
White toys with Naito more but Naito elbows him away. White dodges an elbow to SAIDO Naito over and out! Naito crashes and burns on the apron and to the floor! White goes out to bring Naito back up and put him in the ring. White drags Naito up, fisherman but no Kiwi Krusher as Naito fights out. White fires off strikes and reels Naito back in. Another fisherman but Naito fights out again. The bad leg stops Naito from doing anything else, White suplexes for the Anarchy Neckbreaker! White drags Naito up and fisherman, KIWI KRUSHER! Cover, TWO!! Naito still lives and Gedo is shocked! White is frustrated as he drags Naito back up. White has a sleeper but Naito fights out, only for White to chop block the leg! Another grounded Dragon Screw! And then the inverted figure four, a modified TTO, “Tanahashi Tapped Out!”
Naito endures as White cranks on the legs! Naito crawls, claws and reaches but Naito pulls on the legs harder! Naito starts to fade and Red Shoes checks on him. Naito powers back up but flops back down as White moves him around. Naito crawls again, flails and claws for any ground he can gain, and gets the ROPEBREAK! Fans cheer the heart of Naito, but White reluctantly lets go at 4. White drags Naito but Naito holds tight to the rope. White clubs Naito but Naito refuses to let go right away. White gets Naito away and wants another leg lock but Naito SPITS in his face! White grabs the leg again but Naito boots him away! The two stand, Naito rolling kicks White down! Naito hobbles up, drags White up and whips, but White reverses. Naito reverses back, White waistlocks but Naito switches. White elbows and dodges, but runs into a SPINE BUSTER! Both men are down and Tokyo rallies!
Naito stirs and gets to his feet. Naito brings White up and hammerlocks, but White fight out of Gloria. White elbows Naito in the head over and over until he’s down on the mat, and even then he keeps throwing elbows. White drags Naito up, but Naito throws big forearms! Naito elbows White but Gedo gets in the ring! Red Shoes reprimands him, Naito spits at Gedo, but White swings on Naito. Naito dodges and enziguris, and manages the tornado DDT! Naito drags White back up and onto the top rope. Naito climbs up and spits on him more! SUPER STEINER! Fans fire up as Naito drags White back up. Hammerlock and GLORIA! Cover, TWO!! White survives but Naito isn’t frustrated. Naito drags White back up, wrenches and tilt-o-whirls but White drops down to avoid Destino. White grins, but gets a basement dropkick!
Naito wrenches, but White’s mule kick gets him in the knee. White whips Naito into Red Shoes! Red Shoes goes down and Gedo has a chair! But Naito kicks Gedo low! White LOW BLOWS Naito! White has Naito in the sleeper hold, but Naito standing switches to hit the Dragon Suplex first! Gedo gets back in but Naito kicks him first. And then gives Gedo a low blow kick! Turnabout’s fair play! But White SMACKS Naito with the chair! Naito wobbles and White hits a SLEEPER SUPLEX! White shouts for Red Shoes so this can end! White has Naito, but Naito fights off Blade Runner! White pulls Naito’s hair and spits in his face, SLEEPER SUPLEX! But Naito is right up, DESTINO OUTTA NOWHERE! Both men are down but Tokyo is thunderous! Naito rises slowly as he feeds on the energy of the crowd.
Naito drags White up, wrenches, but White reels him in! Naito slips out to SLAP White! And then suplex but White slips out, to gut wrench! Fireman’s carry and pop-up, POISON-RANA from Naito! Naito runs in, tilt-o-whirl, DESTINO! Cover, TWO!? White still lives?! But Naito fires up now, and he goes back to White! Naito drags White up, tries again, but White blocks! White spins Naito around, but Naito slips out to BRAIN BUSTER! Naito drags White up again, wrenches, tilt-o-whirl, DESTINO AGAIN!! Cover, Naito wins!!
Winner: Tetsuya Naito, by pinfall; NEW IWGP Intercontinental Champion
Naito’s destiny is drawing every closer! He has the Intercontinental Championship back and will head to Night 2! Who will Naito meet in a match of truly epic proportions?!
IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada VS Kota Ibushi!
The other half of Night 2’s historic match will be decided here! The Rainmaker rose back from despair in 2019 while the Golden Star has made NJPW his home. We’ve all been waiting for this moment since Ibushi won the G1 Climax, but which way will wrestling history go?
The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and these two modern legends face off on the doorstep of history!
Fans are already fired up for both men as they cheer and duel. Ibushi and Okada circle but keep their distance. They keep circling, approach and tie up. They are deadlocked until Okada gets around for a waistlock. Ibushi wrenches out to a wristlock, but Okada rolls and wrenches back. Ibushi rolls and trips Okada to trap a leg. Okada and Ibushi struggle for control, and Okada gets a leg over. Ibushi pushes the leg back but Okada gets a half nelson. Okada makes it a modified cradle cover, TWO and Ibushi cranks on Okada’s leg. Okada gets a chinlock and uses that to get free. Ibushi slips out to hammerlock Okada back. Okada gets up and the two go around. Okada works on an escape but Ibushi stays in his blind spot. Okada spins to reverse the hammerlock but Ibushi drop toeholds to get on Okada’s back.
Ibushi headlocks, gets the takeover but Okada headscissors. Ibushi pops out and the two back off, and the fans cheer the evenly matched match. Okada and Ibushi reset and circle again. They tie up with a knuckle lock and then another, but separate. They go again, Ibushi lunges in to get the waistlock. Okada stays low and manages to throw Ibushi over. Ibushi can’t get the headscissors counter so he fights his way up. Okada cranks harder on the headlock but Ibushi endures. Ibushi powers out but Okada runs him over, only for Ibushi to kip right back up! The two stare down and Okada throws a forearm. Ibushi returns it right back and a brawl begins! Okada slips around Ibushi, wristlock ripcords but Ibushi dodges! Ibushi fires off the strike fest and a ROUNDHOUSE! Standing moonsault! Cover, TWO! Fans cheer this exchange while Ibushi gets back up.
Ibushi chinlocks Okada and grinds him down, but Okada endures. Ibushi turns Okada over for a partial camel clutch and pulls back. Okada endures more, crawls towards ropes, but Ibushi cranks back harder! Ibushi traps the arm reaching, but Okada has the other, and he gets the ropebreak! Ibushi lets go of the hold but he stomps Okada down. Ibushi drags Okada back up but Okada throws forearms on him. Ibushi shrugs them off and KICKS Okada in the chest! Okada falls to his knees from not being able to breathe! Ibushi whips Okada, Okada dodges and dodges to hit the high-speed elbow! Okada turns the tables as he stands over Ibushi. Okada drags Ibushi up to whip him corner to corner. Okada hits the back elbow and DDT, cover, TWO!
Ibushi bails out but Okada pursues. Okada drags Ibushi up and rams him into railing! Ibushi writhes but Okada drags him up to drape over the railing. Okada hits a draping DDT to the floor! Ibushi is down and Okada leaves him be as he takes a walk around the ring. Red Shoes checks on Ibushi but he’s okay to continue. Okada finishes his lap to put Ibushi in the ring. Cover, ONE, but Okada keeps his cool. Ibushi, however, starts firing up. Ibushi throws a forearm to egg Okada on. Okada dares Ibushi to do that again so Ibushi does. Okada still wants more so Ibushi gives more! The provocation continues so Ibushi throws a BIG forearm! Okada kicks low and hits another DDT! Okada drags Ibushi up into a chinlock and clamps on tight.
Ibushi endures and even talks trash while he’s in the hold, so Okada bends Ibushi against his knee. Ibushi gets up and throws elbows to get free. Ibushi throws forearms again, but Okada catches the kick! Okada elbows the knee but runs into a dropkick! Fans cheer while both men are down. Ibushi sits up first and grits his teeth as he stands up. Okada gets up and Ibushi fires off fast forearms! Ibushi whips, Okada reverses but Ibushi enziguris on the run! Fans fire up with Ibushi while Okada gets to a corner. Ibushi whips Okada but Okada reverses. Okada runs in but Ibushi goes up and over, then catches Okada for a spinning powerslam! MOONSAULT! Cover, TWO! Both men are down again as Ibushi catches his breath. Ibushi is seething as he drags Okada up to whip again. Okada hits buckles hard and falls to the mat, but Ibushi won’t let up.
Ibushi waistlocks but Okada resists so Ibushi clubs him on the back. Ibushi runs in but Okada puts him on the top rope to dropkick off! Ibushi tumbles down to the floor and Okada takes this time to catch his breath. Okada then goes out to fetch Ibushi, clearing out some space. Okada whips Ibushi into the railing! And then BOOTS him over them! Signature Okada formula, and he rallies the fans up as he gets space. Okada runs and FLIES to crossbody Ibushi down! Tokyo fires up with Okada! Okada hobbles over to Ibushi and drags him back to ringside. They go back in the ring, which fans cheer, and Okada hooks Ibushi’s legs. Okada turns Ibushi over with the deathlock, and clamps on a crossface! Okada revives the Red Ink!
Ibushi endures and talks trash again so Okada cranks him back harder! Ibushi crawls forward but Okada cranks him away from the ropes. Ibushi powers his way back, and gets the ropebreak! Okada lets go right away, almost as tired as Ibushi. Okada brings Ibushi up and scoops him for a slam! Standard Okada, he heads for the top rope. Okada leaps, MACHO ELBOW! And also standard Okada, Rainmaker Pose! Okada drags Ibushi up and reels him into the wristlock. Ripcord, but Ibushi ducks to PELE! But Okada catches it and drags Ibushi up into Tombstone position! Ibushi flips it and tucks Okada in! BASTARD DRIVER!! But Ibushi is too exhausted to cover! Red Shoes checks on both men but both men are still good to continue.
Fans rally up and both men stir. Ibushi and Okada head for opposite corners, but then Ibushi shouts at Okada. Ibushi runs but gets a boot! Okada runs but into the DOUBLE STOMPS! Ibushi might’ve just crushed Okada! Okada slumps out of the ring and Ibushi takes aim. Ibushi runs to a corner, GOLDEN TRIANGLE! Fans are fired up with Ibushi now! Ibushi drags Okada up and into the ring, then heads to a corner. Ibushi demands Okada stand, and then he springboard missile dropkicks him back down! Okada ends up in the opposite corner, Ibushi runs in but is poppsed up for the Alabama! Ibushi fights out and lifts Okada, LAST RIDE!! Cover, TWO!! Okada survives and Ibushi can’t believe it! Fans rally still as Ibushi pays tribute to the King of Strong Style! Ibushi aims, “YAO~!” But Okada dropkicks Ibushi down! Okada flounders as he drags Ibushi up to the gut wrench, TOMBSTONE!
Okada fires up and brings Ibushi up again. Wristlock but Ibushi gets to the ropes! Red Shoes counts, Okada honors the break but he clubs Ibushi on the back. Ibushi holds the ropes but Okada clubs him more. Okada ROCKS Ibushi with a EuroUpper! Fans rally and duel as Okada catches his breath. Okada drags Ibushi back up, and throws another EuroUpper! But Ibushi has flipped the switch! Okada throws another EuroUpper but Ibushi just shrugs it off. And again! Okada throws a forearm but Ibushi just shrugs it off. Ibushi SLAPS Okada with the palm strike! Okada shotgun dropkicks Ibushi down! But Ibushi is right back up!?
Ibushi wipes his nose and Okada is frustrated. Okada walks into another palm strike! Ibushi body shots then DECKS Okada with a right! Red Shoes reprimands Ibushi for the closed fist, but Ibushi doesn’t even care. Ibushi kicks Okada while he’s down over and over, toying with him. Ibushi just CLOCKS Okada with another right! Ibushi has become a Golden Terminator! Red Shoes reprimands Ibushi as he keeps going after Okada with savage strikes! Okada can barely cover up, and some fans turn on Ibushi! Red Shoes tries to pull Ibushi away but Ibushi stays put, giving Okada more stinging kicks. Ibushi lets up finally, but the look in his eyes still say he wants to hurt Okada. Ibushi goes back and drags Okada up from the apron. Ibushi dead lifts Okada up higher, but Okada fights Ibushi off!
Okada drags Ibushi over and back into the gut wrench, but Ibushi powers it back to his favor! Ibushi aims but Okada slips free of the long dart! Okada boots then gut wrenches, APRON TOMBSTONE!! Ibushi hits the floor in a lump while Okada is exhausted on the apron. A ring count begins and Ibushi doesn’t respond even as it passes 10 out of 20. The count reaches 15, but only now does Ibushi stir! Ibushi realizes it’s at 16 an then 17 and forces himself up. 18, 19… Ibushi is in! But Okada is on him, Alabama to AIR RAID CRASH! Cover, TWO!?! Okada doesn’t take a moment to be shocked, DEATH VALLEY BOMB!! Cover, TWO!! Ibushi survives Heavy Rain but is still in a bad way. Okada drags Ibushi back up and into a waistlock. HARD GERMAN SUPLEX! Ibushi is folded but Okada isn’t done with him.
Okada shifts to a wristlock, but Ibushi fights out! Okada spins but it’s Ibushi who LARIATS! Ibushi and Okada slowly rise as Tokyo reaches a fever pitch again. Ibushi kicks and kicks Okada so that he’s back on the apron. Ibushi drags Okada up again, waistlocks again, and dead lifts for the SUPER GERMAN SUPLEX!! Cover, TWO!! No one can believe that Okada survived that! Ibushi wobbles to his feet but he still focuses on Okada. Ibushi scoops Okada and aims for a corner, but Okada slips out to gut wrench again! JUMPING TOMBSTONE! Okada keeps himself fired up as he drags Ibushi back into the wristlock. Ripcord, IBUSHI STEALS THE RAINMAKER!! Ibushi rises as Tokyo is electric again. Ibushi buzzsaws Okada then hits a BOMAYE!! Cover, ONE!?! WHAT!? So BOMAYE FROM BEHIND! Cover, TWO?!?
Ibushi won’t stop, he ROUNDHOUSES Okada down! Ibushi has both wrists, KAMIGOYE!! Cover, TWO!?!? Okada survives and again we’re in disbelief! But Ibushi won’t let up, he has the wrists again. KAMI- Okada dropkicks!! Both men are down but Tokyo Dome stays at that fever pitch! Red Shoes checks on both men but they’re both somehow okay to continue. Okada sits up first but Ibushi follows closely behind. The two sit up and Okada throws a forearm. Ibushi responds with one of his own. Okada gives Ibushi another, so Ibushi gives Okada another, too. The fans duel and rally more as Okada gives another forearm. Ibushi gives another of his own, and the two rise. Okada throws a fourth forearm but so does Ibushi. We have another brawl of forearms back and forth!
Okada fires off a series but Ibushi palm strikes and fires off a strike fest! BUZZSAW! Ibushi shows no mercy as he gives another! Okada sits up to get a STIFF back kick! And then Ibushi falls over! So much energy has been expended and yet these two still have something left to give! Ibushi stalks up behind Okada and drags him up to the top rope. Ibushi climbs up to join Okada, but Okada holds on for dear life! Ibushi underhooks the arms but Okada fights with everything he has. Okada throws forearms and sends Ibushi down! Okada adjusts, leaps, but into a SIT-OUT POWERBOMB!! Cover, TWO!!?? WHAT?! Ibushi drags Okada into the drop zone and heads up top! PHOENIX SPLASH FLOPS! Okada drags Ibushi up, DISCUS RAINMAKER!
But Okada isn’t done, he wants the original! Wristlock ripcord, RAINMAKER!! Cover, TWO!?!? Okada’s turn to be utterly shocked! Ibushi somehow survives but Okada grabs for his wrist again. Okada shakes his head, he won’t let Ibushi get this. POINT-BLANK RAINMAKER! But that’s not enough for Okada. Okada drags Ibushi up, THIRD RAINMAKER! Okada hits the pose, and again drags Ibushi up. Okada wristlocks, ripcords, but Ibushi ducks to ROUNDHOUSE! Okada flounders, into a V-TRIGGER!! Kenny Omega, are you watching?! But Okada counters Kamigoye into a TOMBSTONE! Wristlock, RAINMAKER!! Cover, OKADA WINS!!
Winner: Kazuchika Okada, by pinfall; still IWGP Heavyweight Champion
INCREDIBLE! Okada conquers the Golden Star! Okada has made history before as IWGP Heavyweight Champion, but now he will have the most historic opportunity of them all! Can Okada become the first-ever dual Heavyweight and Intercontinental Champion? Or is there no stopping Destino?
As for Ibushi, Okada does applaud his incredible resilience and effort. But things now shift to the fact that Naito has returned! Naito swings his Intercontinental Championship, the belt he holds both disdain and desire for. But Naito joins Okada in the ring to eye the belt everyone desires as it sits around Okada’s waist. Naito sets the Intercontinental Championship down to grab a mic. Naito asks Okada if he remembers what he said to Naito two years ago, after their own Wrestle Kingdom main event match. “Well, it looks like I’m back in that spot on more time.” Naito continues to say that he will become the first ever dual champion, because that is his goal and his destiny, “cabron!”
Okada looks down at the Intercontinental Championship and then at Naito. Okada lets Naito take his belt back, and Naito compares the two. Fans cheer, knowing how amazing this match will be just by looking at these two here. Okada holds up the Heavyweight Championship, but Naito poses with his Intercontinental Championship. Naito leaves the ring and surely preparations will begin. Who will hold both belts when all is said and down?
But now Okada takes his turn with the mic to address the Tokyo Dome crowd. “TOKYO DOME~! Thank you to the many people that have turned out here tonight.” To Ibushi, Okada thanks him for the fight of his life! And as for tomorrow night’s main event, Okada VS Naito, “Two years ago, what did I say? You wanna come in here and have that call?” Okada doesn’t give a DAMN what Naito wants, Okada is the STRONGEST IWGP Heavyweight Champion of ALL TIME! Okada adds that this wasn’t “to the rafters” event, but he still thanks everyone who came to see the best wrestling in the world! Okada promises that they’ll see the very best of NJPW and the very best of Okada, because once again, for Night 2, Okada will MAKE IT RAIN! But will Okada reign as a double champion? Or does Destino take away everything Okada’s worked for in one match?
I know I didn’t watch the entire event of about 4-and-a-half hours, but just taking the five matches I did from the night, I can’t believe Wrestle Kingdom 14 Night 1 could be anything other than amazing! The Intercontinental and Heavyweight Championship matches were obvious choices, but I felt going with the higher praised matches from Andrew Balaz’s review here would make for a great bit of action. The match with Liger and all the NJPW icons was a natural choice for the history being made. I suppose it makes a lot of sense that Liger doesn’t win here, and tomorrow night having THE final match for the living legend, it will be a huge honor for either Dragon Lee or Hiromu Takahashi to get a win off him.
The Texas Deathmatch, which was really more a Last Man Standing Match, was mostly because it had Moxley in it, and Moxley is a hot commodity right now. It makes a lot of sense for Moxley to win the title back when he didn’t lose it in a match but because of circumstances out of his control, aka the bad weather. The match itself was pretty good for a Last Man Standing match, as well as for a hardcore Moxley match. Ospreay VS Hiromu was amazing, and it’s so great that Hiromu wins back the belt he had to give up because of injury. Then both the White VS Naito and Okada VS Ibushi matches were great, with the latter being amazing. I could sense Naito was winning, but Okada VS Ibushi felt like it could’ve gone either way, and for great story in either case. But for one, it probably would be too soon for Ibushi to be Heavyweight Champion, and perhaps too soon for another Naito VS Ibushi match after how scary their previous one went.
Plus, with it being Okada VS Naito, it is just as hard to say who will make history as the double champion. Both are fan favorites, NJPW definitely has a lot of faith in both of them, this could very well be a coin toss. In the end, I just know it’ll live up to all the hype and excitement of such a moment.
My Score: 9.4