Wrestle Kingdom is regarded as one of the biggest nights on the professional wrestling calendar. Traditionally, the event is held on January 4th inside the iconic Tokyo Dome, however in 2020, for the first time in Wrestle Kingdom history the show will be taking place over two nights, the 4th and 5th. The two night extravaganza is not the only historic first that will be occurring over the weekend, as New Japan’s first ever ‘double’ Champion will be crowned. NJPW are billing the mini 3 bout ‘tournament’ as the ‘Double Gold Dash,’ that will see Kazuchika Okada, Kota Ibushi, Jay White and Tetsuya Naito attempt to become the first ever IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Champion concurrently. You can check out the Takeaways and Results for January 4th here, which includes the results of the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Title bouts.
Painmaker vs Ace
AEW Champion Chris Jericho will also be facing NJPW Ace Hiroshi Tanahashi with some with big implications on tonight’s card. This match reaches far beyond the realms of New Japan, with Tanahashi stating that he wanted a bout for the AEW Championship if he were to defeat the ‘Painmaker’ at Wrestle Kingdom.
- Jyushin Thunder Liger Retirement Match II – Hiromu Takahashi & Ryu Lee b. Jyushin Thunder Liger & Naoki Sano
- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Match – Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH) b. Bullet Club (Taiji Ishimori & El Phantasmo) (NEW CHAMPIONS)
- Rev Pro British Heavyweight Championship Match – Zack Sabre Jr (c) b. SANADA
- IWGP US Heavyweight Championship Match – Jon Moxley (c) b. Juice Robinson
- NEVER Openweight Championship Match – Hirooki Goto b. KENTA (NEW CHAMPION)
- Jay White b. Kota Ibushi
- Chris Jericho b. Hiroshi Tanahashi
- IWGP Heavyweight Championship & IWGP Intercontinental Double Championship Match – Kazuchika Okada vs. Tetsuya Naito
Here are our 5 Takeaways from NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 14 Night 2:
Jyushin Thunder Liger Battles For The Last Time
Legendary Japanese performer Jyushin ‘Thunder’ Liger officially retired during Wrestle Kingdom Night 2. Liger took the pinfall loss to Hiromu Takahashi in his final ever bout. It was a fitting sendoff for the masked performer, having the current IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion send him into retirement. As previously mentioned Liger was the first man to ever defend the Juniors title at a Tokyo Dome show. The emotion in the building was palpable, with Takahashi looking emotional during Liger’s entrance as he looked up the ramp.
NJPWWorld Suffered Major Outages
Just minutes after Liger lost his bout and ended his career the NJPWWorld app also seemed to retire. Many users noted that the English feed of Wrestle Kingdom died just moments after Liger’s retirement bout, with many unable to get back into the stream for nearly an hour. For me the stream went down seconds after the bell rang for the match and I did not get a feed until after the IWGP Juniors tag match. The feed was extremely choppy when it did finally return. The likely culprit for the outage is a higher level of live viewer for the show. Night 2 started two hours earlier than Night 1, giving fans in the likes of the United States a chance to watch the broadcast at a somewhat reasonable time.
Minoru Suzuki Attacks Jon Moxley
Jon Moxley took part in his second match of the weekend against Juice Robinson. Moxley had successfully regained his IWGP United States Championship from Lance Archer in a Texas DeathMatch on Night 1. Following the bout Suzuki-gun leader Minoru Suzuki appeared and attacked the reigning IWGP United States Champion, signalling that he intended to challenge for the belt. For fans of hard-hitting, brutal pro wrestling this is an absolute dream match. With Moxley now seemingly set to appear for New Japan at least one more time we will be getting this slugfest.
Chris Jericho Wore The AEW Championship on a New Japan Broadcast
The bout between Chris Jericho and Hiroshi Tanahashi was made all the more intriguing earlier this week. Tanahashi stated that if he defeated Jericho that he would ‘open the forbidden door’ and demand a shot at the AEW Championship. The challenge was acknowledged by NJPW as part of the promotion for the match. Jericho then wore the AEW gold in his entrance for the match, giving fans at least a glimmer of hope that Tanahashi might win the match and that the title challenge would go ahead. The ‘Painmaker’ would go on to defeat Tanahashi and quell any ideas of such a title match, however with NJPW openly discussing how Jericho was the Champion in the ‘rival’ promotion it does appear to leave the door (slightly) open for a partnership in future?
Tetsuya Naito Wins It All, Then Gets Attacked by KENTA
Naito finally did it. After years of never quite making it to the Wrestle Kingdom main event, then making it and losing, the ‘Tranquilo’ one has won it all. Tetsuya Naito defeated Kazuchika Okada in an enthralling bout to become the first ever concurrent IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Champion, yet minutes after the bout ended the new Champion was blindsided and attacked by KENTA. The former WWE Superstar had lost his NEVER Openweight belt earlier in the night to Hirooki Goto; so he seemed determined to not allow Naito to have his moment in the spotlight. Naito vs KENTA seems like it could be a good programme to head into the New Beginning shows in February.