NJPW WrestleKingdom 13 Review

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Results + Star Ratings:

  • Taguchi Japan wins the Never Openweight 6-Man Gauntlet to become #1 Contenders for the titles @27:12 **1/2
  • Will Ospreay defeats Kota Ibushi to win the Never Openweight Championship@18:13 ****3/4
  • Los Ignoberables de Japon defeat Desperado and Kanemaru and Roppongi 3k to win the IWGP Jr Tag Titles @6:49 ***
  • Zack Sabre Jr defeats Tomohiro Ishii to win the RevPro British Heavyweight Championships @11:37 ****
  • Evil and Sanada defeat The Young Bucks and Guerillas of Destiny to win the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Championships @10:14 ***1/2
  • Juice Robinson defeats Cody to win the IWGP US Championship @9:04 **
  • Taiji Ishimori defeats Kushida to win the IWGP Jr Heavyweight Championship @11:16 ***1/2
  • Tetsuya Naito defeats Chris Jericho to win the IWGP Intercontinental Championship @22:33 ****3/4
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi defeats Kenny Omega to win the IWGP Heavyweight Title *****

NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Titles #1 Contenders Gauntlet (Bullet Club: Marty Scurrl, Hangman Page, Yujiro Takahashi vs Yuji Nagata, Jeff Cobb, and Dave Finlay vs. Chaos: Trent Baretta, Chuck Taylor, and Hirooki Goto vs. Suzuki Gun: Minoru Suzuki and Killer Elite Squad vs. Taguchi Japan: Rysuke Taguchi, Togi Makabe, and Toru Yano) :

  • Bullet Club and Nagata, Cobb, and Finlay start the match.
  • Nagata and Scurrl begin the match for those 2 teams. 
  • Nagata locks Scurrl in an Indian Deathlock but Marty grabs the ropes.
  • All 3 members of Bullet Club take out Cobb and bring him to the outisde, Scurrl hits the apron superkick as Page follows it up with the Shooting Star Press.
  • Buckshot Lariat by Page to Cobb gets the first near fall. 
  • Finlay and Yujiro strike off, Yujiro caps off the sequence with a Fisherman Buster near fall save by Nagata. 
  • Chase Owens sweeps the leg ringside of Finlay but Page accidentally takes him out, with Page distracted Finlay rolls up Yujiro to eliminate the Bullet Club. 
  • Chaos is the 3rd team. 
  • Chaos and Nagata, Cobb, and Finlay brawl the start the second match.
  • Plancha Dive by Baretta is caught by Cobb but Trent fights out as Chuckie T hits a Tope Con Hiro over Trent to take out Cobb and Finlay, Baretta hits a beautiful springboard moonsault to also take out Cobb and Finlay.
  • Spinning UshiGoroshi by Goto to Nagata for a near fall. 
  • Best Friends seem to be on the same page unlike they were in World Tag League. 
  • Nagata hits an overhead suplex on Trent to open up tags, Goto and Cobb tag in. 
  • Jeff Cobb hits Goto with an amazing Deep Six/Standing Moonsault combo, near fall.
  • Double Lariat Battle by Goto and Cobb, Goto gets a final lariat in to win the sequence. 
  • Double Saito Suplex by Cobb to Baretta and Taylor, incredible strength. 
  • Stiff knee strike followed by a piledriver by Taylor to Finlay, near fall save by Nagata. 
  • Taylor misses a moonsault, Finlay rolls him up to eliminate Chaos. 
  • Suzuki-Gun is the 4th team. 
  • Nagata and Suzuki strike off calling back former WrestleKingdom matches between the two. 
  • Olympic Slam followed by a Standing Moonsault that misses by Cobb and Davey Boy capitalizes by hitting a stiff Saito Suplex.
  • Finlay gets a near fall roll up on Archer but Archer calls in Davey and they hit a Killer Bomb to eliminate Nagata, Cobb, and Finlay.
  • Taguchi Japan is the 5th team. 
  • Taguchi is successful on hitting a hip attack on Suzuki and is able to tag in Togi Makabe. Makabe delivers a hot tag but Suzuki stops it. 
  • PK by Suzuki for a near fall on Makabe. 
  • Suzuki and Makabe strike off and it hits hard but Makabe gets Suzuki down with a rebound lariat and opens tags. Toru Yano and Davey Boy come in. 
  • Hart Attack by Killer Elite Squad for a near fall on Yano.
  • Last Chapter by Killer Elite Squad for another near fall on Yano. 
  • KneeDrop Backbreaker by KES to Yano but Taguchi makes the save. 
  • Taguchi hits a hip attack twice on Suzuki to save Makabe from the Gotch Piledriver.
  • Yano fights out of a Killer Bomb and goes for a low blow but Taguchi attacks Killer Elite Squad first, Makabe distracts KES as Yano gets a low blow in followed by a roll up for the win by Taguchi Japan. 

Winners: Taguchi Japan #1 Contenders @27:12!

Rating: **1/2, This was a really long gauntlet match with weird winners that took up a lot of unneeded time but at the same time the New Japan Rumble that normally takes up this time on a Wrestlekingdom card is normally worse with a weirded winner so this is an upgrade. The 2nd match between Cobb, Finlay, and Nagata vs Chaos was pretty good too so this was fine enough. The Suzuki-Gun and Taguchi Japan shenanigans are getting beyond old now. 

0_Ospreay

Kota Ibushi(c) vs. Will Ospreay for the Never Openweight Championship:

  • An obviously fast start as Ospreay Monkey Flips Ibushi out of the ring and follows it with a taunt which Ibushi almost hits the Kamegoye to but Ospreay escapes. Ibushi and Ospreay stare down. 
  • Ibushi dropkicks Ospreay to ringside, Ibushi goes for the Golden Triangle Moonsault but Ospreay capitalizes with a mid-kick to Kota in mid-flight. Ospreay goes back in-ring to hit a Space Flying Tiger Drop wiping out Ibushi ringside. 
  • Ospreay has idolized Ibushi since he was 15, now I’m idolizing Ospreay when I’m 15. Hmm.
  • Ospreay starts to slow down the pace as he goes to work on the back of Ibushi. 
  • Strikefest from Ibushi and Ospreay, Ibushi hits a snaprana to get Ospreay to ringside. Ibushi hits an insane springboard corkscrew moonsault to Ospreay ringside. 
  • Springboard missile dropkick by Ibushi followed up with a rolling German Suplex for the first near fall on Ospreay. 
  • Roll up by Ospreay for a near fall but Ibushi catches Ospreay with a stiff buzzsaw kick when he gets back up. Ospreay gets Ibushi down after a handspring enzugiri. 
  • Cheeky Nandos Kick by Ospreay in the corner for a near fall. 
  • Strikefest fires both up, Ibushi gets with a stiff chop knocking him down. 
  • Ospreay gets out of the Last Ride Powerbomb attempt by Ibushi as the 2 tradeoff powerbomb attempts and strikes at a breakneck speed and Ospreay end the sequence with an impressive standing Spanish Fly. Amazing sequence!
  • Stiff Wrap Around Kick by Ospreay catches Ibushi, Will goes for the Stormbreaker but Ibushi counters it with a huricanrana into a rollup for a near fall. Ibushi goes for a Lawn Dart but Ospreay counters that with a German Suplex. Stiff running knees by Ibushi slam Ospreay down. Another great sequence.
  • Great Last Ride Powerbomb by Ibushi gets a great near fall on Ospreay. 
  • Ibushi goes to the top rope but Ospreay clips the leg and Ibushi falls down and gets trapped in the Tree of Woe, Ospreay sits down and slaps at Ibushi but Ibushi strikes back and the two strike off in the Tree of Woe until Ospreay viciously stomps at the head of Ibushi. Ospreay gets Ibushi out of the tree of woe but Ibushi hits his head against the top of the apron. Both fight on the top rope, Ibushi hits a great jumping double stomp to Ospreay draped on the top rope. Another smart and innovative sequence. 
  • Deadlift German Suplex by Ibushi from the apron but Ospreay flips through and lands on his feet. Amazing! Oscutter attempt but Ibushi catches Ospreay and hits a Straightjacket German Suplex for a near fall. Ibushi maintains wrist control and goes for the Kamegoye but Ospreay dodges. 
  • Stiff Lariat by Ospreay knocks down Ibushi.
  • Another Stormbreaker attempt fails for Ospreay, Ibushi flips into a Jumping Tombstone for a great near fall.
  • Another stiff wraparound kick by Ospreay catches Ibushi, Ospreay hits the Beheader which absolutely knocks the hell out of Ibushi. The referee tries to remove Ospreay from attacking more but Ospreay hits the Stormbreaker for the win. 

Winner: Will Ospreay New Champion @18:13!

Rating: *****, Not only was this probably one of the greatest Jr. Style matches I have ever seen, these two innovated like crazy and Ospreay shows a vicious side which is great character development. They also hit each other so hard and their styles mixed so freaking well. I hope Ibushi is okay, he got stretchered out after an insane Beheader by Ospreay. The match left a shocked vibe not only because of Ibushi’s injury but the fact that these guys did what they did in the opener of Wrestlekingdom. A MOTY contender gets delivered in the 2nd match I’ve seen this year. That’s hopefully an indicator of how this year is gonna go. This is one of the most entertaining matches I’ve ever seen and these guys are legitimately not human. The rest of the show has something insane to follow. 

0_Tag-match-another

Desperado and Kanemaru (c) vs. Roppongi 3K vs. Los Ignorables de Japon for the IWGP Jr Tag Team Championships:

  • Roppongi 3k stay standing tall after an initial brawl and hit stereo Tope Con Hiros taking out Takagi and Bushi.
  • A rematch of the Final of the Super Junior Tag League. 
  • Instantly in the dead spot after an insane opener. 
  • Shingo Takagi and Sho strike off, Takagi is a heavyweight for sure but is labeled as a Junior to start his career in NJPW. 
  • Sho does a great German suplex to Takagi and Kanemaru simultaneously.
  • Kneedrop Backbreaker by 3k to Takagi gets the first near fall.
  • Double Superkicks by 3k to Suzuki Gun as they spit out whiskey. 
  • 3 Pumping Bombers by Takagi to Sho gets a great near fall.
  • Bushi hits a suicide dive sending Yoh into the barricade. 
  • Last of the Dragon by Takagi to Yoh closing the match.

Winners: LIJ New Champions @6:49!

Rating: ***, This was a fine short match that had a bit of a dead spot from the 5-star opener but it was good to see Kanemaru and Desperado get the titles taken off of them and put of Bushi and Takagi who are both very talented. I’m disappointed that Takagi is in the Junior Tag Division right now as he could genuinely be the next Tanahashi if booked right. 

0_Sabre-JrTomohiro Ishii (c) vs. Zack Sabre Jr. for the RevPro British Heavyweight Championship:

  • Very good exposure for RevPro having their title defended on the 2nd biggest company in the world’s biggest show. 
  • A fast start to the match until ZSJ grabs Ishii into a Cross Armbreaker, Ishii grabs the ropes. 
  • ZSJ keeps Ishii down with mid-kicks until he grabs the arm to work the Cross Armbreaker again but Ishii grabs the ropes again. 
  • ZSJ starts to hit Ishii with cocky kicks which is ill-advised, ZSJ hits a Northern Lights Suplex and then transitions into an Ankle Lock Ishii fights into an Ankle Lock of his own, ZSJ hits an enzugiri to escape. 
  • Stiff chops by Ishii in the corner, ZSJ starts to fire up but Ishii catches him with an overhead suplex to escape the Guillotine Choke. 
  • Great Holding Superplex by Ishii but ZSJ pops back up to intensely torque the arm. Smart move by ZSJ. 
  • The 2 speed up and go at each other in a move attempt sequence until ZSJ locks in the Octopus Lock, ZSJ transitions into a great Sunset Flip to get a near fall.
  • Stiff Penalty Kick by ZSJ keeps Ishii down. Ishii gets up as ZSJ strikes him with mid-kicks, Ishii hits a stiff chop to knock down Sabre. Powerbomb by Ishii into a near fall. 
  • Running Lariat, impact weakened by the work ZSJ has done on the arm, by Ishii for a near fall.
  • Victory Roll Up by ZSJ for a great near fall. Ishii catches ZSJ with a sliding lariat then attempt the Vertical Brainbuster but ZSJ locks in a Guillotine Choke, Ishii fights out but ZSJ locks in another Octopus Lock, ZSJ brings Ishii to the ground and locks both arms in the Octopus Lock to submit Ishii.

Winner: Zack Sabre Jr New Champion @11:37!

Rating: ****, This was a very good technical match with some great selling by Ishii. ZSJ did his normal great technical shtick making a smaller skinny dude look like he’s incredibly unstoppable. Ishii had some great fire in this match like he always does and the strikes hit pretty hard. The match was also great exposure for RevPro and what product they put on because I’d pay to see more matches like this one. 

0_Tag-match

Guerillas of Destiny (c) vs. Evil and Sanada vs. The Young Bucks for the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Championships:

  • A controversial match because many felt that The Young Bucks were an unneeded addition.
  • Nick Jackson and Tama Tonga start the match. 
  • Tama Tonga convinces Evil he’s a good guy but Evil tags in and pulls him out of the ring unglueing the match. 
  • Evil bodyslams Matt Jackson on the stage attacking the formerly injured back, Evil follows it up with a Running Lariat.
  • Tanga Loa hits a Frog Splash on Evil but the Young Bucks stop Tama Tonga from doing so.
  • Neckbreaker/Swanton combo by the Bucks on Evil, Matt throws Sanada ringside and The Bucks hit a float over neckbreaker combo on Evil for a near fall. 
  • Sharpshooter by Matt on Evil, Nick hits a great springboard corkscrew to the outside taking out Sanada. Tanga Loa stops his brother from breaking rules to break the hold.
  • Sanada locks in a Paradise Lock on both of the Young Bucks but Tama Tonga comes in to interrupt, Sanada sends Tanga ringside and hits 4 plancha dives to all of the Young Bucks and Guerillas, great dive sequence.
  • Sanada has Matt in the Skull End but Nick hits a blockbuster to have his brother escape the hold. Good tandem sequence from all men, Matt ends the sequence with a spear to Tanga Loa.
  • Chain Superplex in the corner led by Tama Tonga, Nick Jackson hits a 450 Splash to Sanada but can’t capitalize due to the impact. Good sequence. 
  • Jado and Bad Luck Fale come in but get taken out by the Young Bucks and Evil. 
  • Step-up Avalanche Huricanrana by Nick to Loa, Double Superkicks to a mid-air Sanada. Gun Stun catches Matt Jackson mid-air off the Meltzer Driver. Magic Killer by Evil and Sanada to Matt followed by a moonsault by Sanada ending the match. 

Winners: Evil and Sanada New Champions @10:14!

Ratings: ***1/2, A pretty solid 3-way tag match that was better than the Jr. Tag Title match but never kicked into another gear. This was wrestled at a solid pace and had some good sequences and big spots but wasn’t super impressive and lacked urgency and drama. In-ring wise this was pretty good but it didn’t add much more than that.

0_CodyCody(c) vs. Juice Robinson for the IWGP US Championship:

  • Cody tries to hit Juice with the title early on but Juice dodges. 
  • Juicebox by Robinson takes Cody down early, Juice gets on the top rope but Brandi comes in to protect Cody from a diving attack. Brandi dares Juice to hit her but Juice won’t.
  • Cody comes into the match with a knee injury. 
  • Cody goes for a Cross Rhodes off the apron but Juice fights into a Pulp Friction attempt on the apron but Cody throws Juice into the post. Hard Landing for Robinson. 
  • Cody wears the Jacksonville Jaguars colors because the owner bought All Elite Wrestling.
  • Cody distracts the referee Tiger Hattori while Brandi attacks Juice Robinson. Tiger ejects Brandi from ringside. 
  • Cross Rhodes by Cody gets a great near fall. 
  • Vertebreaker by Cody attempt but Juice fights out into a failed Pulp Friction attempt. 
  • Juice hits a Cross Rhodes for a near fall. 
  • Cody hits a rough Pulp Friction that doesn’t get all of the impact but still gets a good near fall on Juice. 
  • Cody hits Juice with his weight belt but Juice fires up, both trade Juice’s signature jabs until Juice hits a ton of them but Cody catches him with a superkick. Juice catches Cody in mid-air with a stiff left hand. Juice hits another hard-hitting punch to take out Cody. 
  • Juice hits a Pulp Friction but decides to hit another one and is successful, Juice takes his time to go for the pin but gets it. 

Winner: Juice Robinson @9:04!

Rating: **, As a huge fan of both men this match severely disappoints me. I knew Cody was going to lose because of AEW but this match really wasn’t much of anything. The first half was taken up by Brandi interference then at about 6 minutes they were trading finishers like they were out of ideas. They traded finishers for about 3 minutes until Juice hit the 2 Pulp Frictions for the win. Cody can normally take match drama into another gear and make the best out of his opponent and this really should’ve been an underdog Juice versus a dominant cocky Cody which took the best out of both but that really didn’t happen. Big disappointment. 

0_Kushida-c-Vs-Taiji-IshimoriKushida (c) vs. Taiji Ishimori for the IWGP Jr Heavyweight Championship:

  • Kushida comes out with a big head and as a little kid but then Rysuke Taguchi comes out as Doc Brown and changes time and Kushida comes out of an explosion of pyro as himself, great Back to the Future entrance. 
  • Another fast start no surprise.
  • Crossface by Ishimori is locked in early, Taiji holds it in for a while but Kushida grabs the ropes. 
  • Springboard Standing Senton by Ishimori takes down Kushida.
  • Ishimori has firm control of the match around the 5-minute mark.
  • Amazing sliding German Suplex by Ishimori to Kushida draped on the middle rope, 450 by Ishimori misses as Kushida locks Taiji in a Cross Armbreaker, Kushida transitions into a Triangle but Ishimori powers it up. Kushida goes back for the arm but Ishimori escapes and does a Tilt-A-Whirl into a Crossface but Kushida instantly escapes. 
  • Ishimori prevents the triangle with his strength and goes for a Tombstone Kneebuster but Kushida holds on and places Ishimori’s legs on the referee to set him up for a stiff kick to the arm. 
  • Kushida tries for the Back to the Future Bomb but Ishimori holds on and hits the Tombstone Kneebuster for a great near fall. 
  • Kushida locks in the hoverboard lock but can’t get all of it, Kushida rolls into the center of the ring and torques the hold in, Ishimori rolls through and hits a high momentum Death Valley Driver.
  • Running double knees by Ishimori to Kushida in the corner.
  • Kushida rolls into a Back to the Future Bomb but can’t hit the 2nd one. Kushida hits a big right hand but Ishimori comes back with a Standing Double Stomp. Ishimori hits the Bloody Cross to win the match. 

Winner: Taiji Ishimori New Champion @11:16!

Rating: ***1/2, With Ospreay into the Heavyweights and Hiromu Takahashi, injured it’s great to have a young champion like Ishimori. The match was pretty good and hit decently hard but it never reached that upper gear and is nothing compared to Ospreay vs. Ibushi earlier on which pretty much was a glorified Jr match. Kushida probably is getting a semi-sendoff soon as he might go to the E. The submission work in this match was really good and Ishimori is unbelievably athletic and showed it again. I’m excited to see where he goes with the title. 

1_Okada-White

Kazuchika Okada Vs. Jay White:

  • This is a HUGE match and represents the future of NJPW. New Japan is in a new era and this is one of that new era’s first big matches. With many foreigners leaving to AEW or WWE it’s time for Jay White to take over big time. A lot of pressure is on him tonight. 
  • The Rainmaker entrance has returned as Okada is no longer broken. 
  • Kazuchika Okada has also returned to the trunks. 
  • A new position for Okada being in a special singles match that isn’t the main event. 
  • Gedo is ringside for Jay White. 
  • Jay White starts the match dominant by using cheap tactics.
  • White jams Okada’s back into the apron then into the barricade. 
  • Saito suplex by Jay White gets the first near fall.
  • Kazuchika Okada fires up by hitting a clothesline as the match begins full momentum, the crowd is very much behind Okada. 
  • Okada hits a great dropkick to White on the top rope knocking him to ringside. 
  • Okada boots White over the barricade, Gedo goes to attack Okada but gets sent over the barricade too. Okada does his amazing crossbody suicide dive over the barricade to take out White and Gedo to a huge pop. 
  • Huge diving elbow drop by Okada, Kazuchika does the Rainmaker pose as the camera does the great zoom out thing, White takes down Okada with an STO/German Suplex combo.
  • Stiff Uranage by Jay White for a near fall.
  • Blade Runner attempt by White fails as Okada strikes his way out but White meets him with a stiff lariat to knock him down.
  • Gedo distracts the referee as White goes to hit him with a chair, Okada knocks White into Gedo knocking him off the apron. Okada hits his signature dropkick and goes for the Rainmaker but White takes him down with a Dragon Suplex. 
  • Kiwi Crusher by White for a great near fall. 
  • Blade Runner fails again for White as Okada escapes and hits the Tombstone Piledriver and both get laid out. 
  • Okada misses a dropkick but White fails the Blade Runner attempt allowing Okada to roll White away from him and hit the dropkick. 
  • Tombstone fails for Okada but White tries to transition into the Blade Runner and fails. Okada hits a spinning Rainmaker. 
  • Another Rainmaker attempt goes into the Blade Runner for the shock win for Jay White.

Winner: Jay White @14:09!

Rating: ****3/4, This is a huge match for NJPW. Jay White has taken over and has beat Kazuchika Okada. It might be the end of the era of Okada and whatever is next in his career will be special but it’s time for the new generation. New Japan is in good hands. However, the match itself was also really good. The clash of big match wrestling styles and Okada’s typical dramatic style was in peak form here. The match ended sooner than it should’ve and had it gone longer and added a couple more spots this would’ve been a legitimate early MOTY contender. The story told was incredible though. This match makes me excited for the future of New Japan and delivers another great big Okada match. 

1_Jericho-Naito

Chris Jericho (c) vs. Tetsuya Naito for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship NO DQ:

  • Naito attacks Jericho from behind as these guys brawl before the match.
  • Hard piledriver on the stage by Naito sends Jericho to a stiff fall. 
  • Naito removes the turnbuckle pad and attacks Jericho with it.
  • Naito clotheslines Jericho to ringside and goes to suicide dive but Jericho catches him with a kendo stick shot to the head. 
  • Diving Kendo Stick shot by Jericho begins dominance. 
  • Great Triangle Dropkick by Jericho takes Naito off the apron.
  • Vertical Suplex ringside by Jericho. Jericho brings Naito into the crowd and jams him repeatedly into the barricade. Jericho climbs the announce table and delivers a hard DDT to Naito spiking him on the top of his head. Very hard landing for Naito yikes.
  • Jericho rings the bell and acts like he won after the intense table spot but then decides to go back to attacking Naito.
  • Diving Crossbody by Jericho gets a near fall on Naito. 
  • Jericho has been very dominant so far. 
  • Lionsault by Jericho for another near fall.
  • Naito springs off the ropes with a forearm to take down Jericho and try to come back in the match.
  • Slingshot dropkick by Naito caught by Jericho and entered in the Walls of Jericho,  Naito rolls out to escape. 
  • Codebreaker attempt fails as Naito throws him off, Naito follows it up with the Tornado DDT.
  • Gloria by Tetsuya Naito for a near fall. 
  • Destino by Naito fails as Jericho gets Tetsuya in the Walls of Jericho again, Jericho rolls Naito into the middle of the ring and torques in the hold again, Naito grabs a kendo stick and whacks Jericho down to escape the hold. 
  • Naito attacks Jericho with a kendo stick getting in a few hard strikes, Naito misses one shot and Jericho hits a Codebreaker which gets an amazing near fall. 
  • Jericho goes to ringside and grabs 8 chairs and puts them in the ring. 
  • Naito reverses Jericho’s powerbomb with a DDT onto the pile of chairs. 
  • Codebreaker by Naito for another great near fall. 
  • Jericho throws a chair at Naito on the middle rope, Jericho tries to superplex Naito onto a chair but Naito escapes and hits a German Suplex onto the chairs. 
  • Jericho shoves Red Shoes and hits a low blow and hits a codebreaker on Naito which gets like a near fall of the year level kickout. 
  • Jericho goes to grab the title and charges at Naito with it, Naito sends Jericho into the exposed turnbuckle and hits the Destino for another near fall of the year contender.
  • Naito eyes the belt and grabs it, Naito hits Jericho with the title belt and hits Destino for the win. 

Winner: Tetsuya Naito New Champion @22:53!

Rating: *****, This was a shock to me that this match was as good as it was. Jericho wrestled like he did in the 2000s and Naito like always delivered a dramatic and athletic performance. This match had some insane near falls and really went down to the wire. It was also one of the best brawls in wrestling since Jimmy Havoc vs. Will Ospreay in August of 2018. This really was a full package match: it had a solid story with the two absolutely despising each other, it had some great brawling moments, some great spots, good length, good in-ring work from both men, and the amazing near falls. I would go as far to say that this match is better than Omega vs. Jericho from WrestleKingdom last year and it’s one of Jericho’s all-time best matches. 

omegatana

Kenny Omega(c) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship:

  • This is without a shadow of a doubt the biggest NJPW match of all time. It’s the foreign talent versus the natives, it’s the greatest of the modern era versus the greatest of all time, it’s a gigantic match-up and the main event of the biggest New Japan show in history.
  • Whether Omega goes to AEW or WWE it’s not certain but Tanahashi will forever stay in NJPW.
  • Tanahashi slaps Omega and Kenny fires up starting momentum in the match.
  • Omega goes for the One-Winged Angel early but Tana escapes into the Tana Twist Hold, Omega hip tosses out but Tana gets a roll up for the first near fall.
  • Stiff slaps from both men are hitting both hard as Kenny tries to escape from an Indian Deathlock, Omega grabs the ropes. 
  • Omega begins to dominate the match as he works the previously injured back of Tanahashi. 
  • Saito Suplex on the apron by Omega. 
  • Thudding chop by Omega hits ringside, Omega whips Tana into the barricade but Tana catches running Omega with a dropkick. Omega drives Tana’s back into the apron. Omega bodyslams Tana into the announce table where Tana lands hard on the edge of the table. 
  • Amazing Springboard moonsault off the barricade into the crowd by Omega. 
  • Omega looks like an erratic heel and it’s amazing. 
  • Omega sets up a table ringside. 
  • Stiff chops by Omega in-ring, Tana fires up and hits a running forearm. 
  • Dragon Screw Leg Whip by Tanahashi allows Hiroshi to get some space. 
  • Shotgun Dropkick/Bodyslam/Somersault senton combo by Tanahashi.
  • Slingblade by Tana shut down with a chop by Omega, Kitaro Crusher by Omega takes out Tana. Tana rolls ringside. 
  • The rise of the Terminator is called for by Omega but Tana comes in and shuts him down by hitting a dropkick. Omega hits a snaprana that sends Tana to ringside. The rise of the Terminator is successful as Omega drops Tana ringside. Omega takes a hard landing on the stage but Tana also slams hard. 
  • Omega hits a stiff missile dropkick to the back of Tanahashi in the ring. Omega follows it up with a SnapDragon Suplex but Tana fires up, Omega hits another one but Tana again is back up. Omega hits the first V-Trigger.
  • You Can’t Escape by Omega but Omega tweaks his knee, Tana hits an intense Dragon Screw Leg Whip further attacking the leg of Omega.
  • Texas Cloverleaf by Tanahashi goes for the knee of Omega, Tana torques it in but Omega rolls onto his back. Tana picks up Omega and hits the Styles Clash which is an amazing tribute to AJ. Tana goes for the Hi-Fly Flo but Omega gets his knees up. 
  • Omega goes for a V-Trigger in the corner but Tana dodges as Omega sends himself flying into the corner. Dragon Screw Leg Whip over the middle rope by Tanahashi again goes for the knee of Omega. 
  • Amazing slingblade on the apron by Tanahashi. 
  • Tana sets Omega up on the table set-up ringside, Tanahashi goes for the Hi-Fly Flo through the table but Omega dodges and Tana crashes and burns through the table onto the floor. Omega decides to help Tana back in-ring instead of taking the countout. 
  • Omega drapes Tana over the middle rope and Omega hits a brutal double stomp while diving off the top rope. Brutal powerbomb by Omega for a near fall, Omega deadlifts and hits another powerbomb for another near fall, Omega hits yet another powerbomb for a great near fall.
  • Omega goes for a V-Trigger but Tana catches him running with a slingblade. 
  • Strikefest Tana gets Omega weakened but Omega gets him on the ground and knees him in the ribs. Omega hits a deadlift German suplex but Tana shrugs it off and gets himself back up. Omega hits a slingblade of his own to get Tana down. 
  • Hi-Fly Flo hits for Omega but Tana kicks out at one which is amazing and gets back up. Omega hits him with a stiff V-Trigger but Tana stays up. Omega and Tana stare at each other and start to strike off until Omega hits a V-Trigger to rock Tana. 
  • Reverserana by Omega jams Tana on his head. Omega hits a V-Trigger to Tana on the ropes. Tana fires up but Omega attempts the One Winged Angel, Tana hits a reverserana of his own to escape the One-Winged Angel.
  • Dragon Suplex Bridge by Tana, near fall. 
  • Tana climbs to the top rope and hits a Hi Fly Flo to a standing Omega, Tana hits another Hi Fly Flo for an amazing near fall. 
  • Omega hits a V-Trigger to Tana on the top rope, Omega hits an amazing Dragon Suplex off the top rope, Tana doesn’t take too hard of a fall on his neck because he over-rotated a bit which is good because we need an alive Tanahashi. 
  • V-Trigger into a One-Winged Angel attempt but Tana counters out and follows it up with a slingblade. 
  • Hi Fly Flo by Tana for the win. 

Winner: Hiroshi Tanahashi @39:12!

Rating: *****, Yep yet another 5-star match and I may have been too positive on the other 2 tonight but this was definitely 5 stars and maybe more. The biggest match in NJPW history killed and both men delivered probably their best career performances. Omega as an erratic foreign heel and Tanahashi being the hometown babyface hero. While this isn’t as good as Omega vs. Okada 4 it’s definitely better than the rest of them in my opinion. This was a huge match and it fulfilled like crazy in both story and in-ring work. I’m gonna have to see something groundbreakingly incredible to have this knocked off from Match of the Year and that means a lot when we’re only 4 days into the year. This was the longest Tokyo Dome Main Event and it felt short. Tana and Omega are 2 of the world’s greatest wrestlers. With Omega gone from NJPW most likely after this, Tana is the flag bearer into the new era of New Japan Pro. 

Show Grade: A+

Last Word: This very well might be the best Pro Wrestling show of all time. It came in a transition period for New Japan too as All Elite Wrestling is opening up and the foreigners versus natives argument were at an all-time high. However, New Japan stayed loyal to itself here which it had every chance to not but it was amazing to see how it went back to its roots and restored. Tanahashi as champion signifies that stronger than anything else on the show. While the show had some less than incredible matches it had 3 5-star matches and while I may have been a little too positive because New Japan had a lot on their plate going into this show and pulled off one of the best shows of all time and that’s god damn impressive. Ibushi vs. Ospreay is one of the best in-ring matches I’ve ever seen, Jericho vs. Naito was a mixing pot of entertainment, brutality, and good ‘ole wrasslin’ and the main event is one of the greatest pro wrestling matches in a historical and emotional standpoint. This was insane and had every ability in the world to be a bad show but it wasn’t and New Japan looks like it’s in good hands with the new management and Tanahashi and Jay White taking the company into the next era. 

MOTN: Kenny Omega vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi

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