New Japan Pro-Wrestling is kicking off 2020 with their biggest event of the new year, Wrestle Kingdom 14. For the first time ever, Wrestle Kingdom will be a two-day event, with shows in the Tokyo Dome on January 4th and 5th. This event will be available to watch on their live streaming service, NJPW World, as well as Fite TV. Both platforms enable a choice between English or Japanese language commentary.
Pre-show start times are the following. The main show starts one hour after the listed time. Note that the dark match will start at the listed time, but it will not be live streamed, so the live stream will begin after the first match ends.
- Pacific USA: January 3rd, 11PM
- Eastern USA: January 4th, 2AM
- UK: January 4th, 7AM
- Japan: January 4th, 4PM
- East Australia: January 4th, 6PM
Wrestle Kingdom 14 Day 1 Card
(Dark Match) STARDOM Women’s Wrestling Exhibition Match: Mayu Iwatani & Arisa Hoshiki def. Hana Kimura & Giulia
This match was not aired on NJPW World or televised, due to television airing conflicts. Mayu Iwatani pinned Hana Kimura after a dragon suplex and a moonsault.
Pre-Show Eight Man Tag Team Match: Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma, Yota Tsuji & Yuya Uemura vs. Toa Henare, Clark Connors, Karl Fredericks & Alex Coughlin
This was the first broadcasted match of the WK14 pre-show. The young lions from both teams looked motivated to perform in front of the Wrestle Kingdom crowd, and were working stiffly, especially Yota Tsuji against Toa Henare. The match was fairly brief but worked at a fast clip and the crowd was loud for it. Toa Henare pinned Yota Tsuji with the Toa Bottom. (7:36)
Pre-Show Tag Team Match: TenKoji (Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan) def. Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi
It was interesting to see these once-main eventers now working a pre-show match, but probably preferable to having them still main event given their varying states of physical condition. Kojima went for his signature top rope elbow drop but Nakanishi threw him to the mat. Nakanishi put him in a torture rack, but Kojima got out of it and hit a lariat for the pinfall victory. (5:47)
Jushin Thunder Liger Retirement Match I: Naoki Sano, Shinjiro Otani, Tatsuhito Takaiwa & Ryusuke Taguchi def. Jushin Thunder Liger, Tatsumi Fujinami, The Great Sasuke & Tiger Mask IV
Kero Tanaka, the NJPW ring announcer from the 1990s, was here to announce the entrants for this match. Norio Honaga, one of Liger’s rivals from that same period, was the special guest referee as well. Most of the men in the match were clearly in the twilight years of their athletic ability, but they tried their best to pull off the spots they were remembered for decades ago, such as Sano’s dive through the ropes, Otani’s facewash, and Fujinami’s dragon screws and dragon sleeper. It was a very heartfelt match, despite the age showing, or perhaps because of the age showing, as it exemplified the effort these men were putting in for Liger’s sake. Ryusuke Taguchi pinned Liger with the Dodon. Afterwards, Liger’s team hoisted him up and celebrated as his music played. Jushin Thunder Liger’s last ever match is tomorrow. (8:52)
Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr., Taichi & El Desperado) def. Los Ingobernables de Japon (SANADA, EVIL, Shingo Takagi & BUSHI)
Notably, the Suzuki-gun team entered to Zack Sabre Jr.’s music, even though Minoru Suzuki is usually considered the faction leader. Zack defends his Revolution Pro British Heavyweight Championship against SANADA tomorrow, and the match was centered around those two. The other wrestlers will be participating in the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship gauntlet match tomorrow, with the exception of Minoru Suzuki, who does not have a match tomorrow. Hard-hitting exchanges between Shingo and Taichi were the arguable highlight for this match. Shingo was exceptional at playing to the Dome audience, despite it being only his second time wrestling for an audience of this size. Zack Sabre Jr. locked a Jim Breaks Armbar on BUSHI to get the submission victory.
CHAOS (Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano & YOSHI-HASHI) def. Bullet Club (KENTA, Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi)
KENTA is defending the NEVER Openweight Championship against Hirooki Goto, while the rest of the participants are participating in the NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championship gauntlet match. Highlights of this match were Toru Yano trying to outpower Bad Luck Fale, whose “Ready for War” t-shirt may be unsavory considering current events, and Goto easily overpowering KENTA, but using Bullet Club’s help to even the odds, and Ishii suplexing Fale. Goto hit the Ushigoroshi and GTR to pin Yujiro for the win, but will he win tomorrow?
IWGP Tag Team Championship Match: FinJuice (Juice Robinson & David Finlay) def. Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) (c)
Juice and Finlay bravely stood outside the ring and tried to attack the Guerrillas of Destiny before the match began, but it backfired on them, leaving Juice laying after taking a painful-looking back body drop on the ramp. From there, G.o.D. dominated the early going, befitting of the fifth most dominant IWGP Tag Team Champions of all time, but they may have played with their food a bit too much. They hit the Magic Killer on Finlay but he kicked out of it, only to hit another for Juice to break up the pin, and receive a Magic Killer of his own for his trouble. G.o.D set up the top rope power bomb, but Finlay reversed it. Juice hit a punch to knock out Jado on the ring apron, enabling David Finlay to hit the Acid Drop on Tama Tonga. Juice Robinson and David Finlay are the new IWGP Tag Team Champions! G.o.D.’s reign ended at 312 days and 7 successful defenses.
IWGP US Heavyweight Championship Texas Deathmatch: Jon Moxley def. Lance Archer (c)
Jon Moxley came out wearing jeans, as is customary for a match with a hardcore stipulation, whereas Archer was wearing a leather jumpsuit and brandishing spray-painted trash can lids. Lots of weapons were used in this match, including a gnarly shot to Archer’s head with said trash can lid, and a suplex through chairs. Archer dived over the top rope and chokeslammed a young lion onto Moxley. A reverse crucifix powerbomb onto four chairs put Moxley down for a count of 8, but Moxley managed to trap Archer with an armbar. Archer put the EBD Claw on Moxley with a plastic bag on his hand, but Moxley was not defeated yet. Lance Archer set up two tables outside the ring, but he paid for it, as Moxley hit a Death Rider from the apron, putting them both through the two tables. Moxley was able to recover before the count of ten, but Archer could not. Jon Moxley wins back the IWGP US Heavyweight Championship that he never lost in a match to begin with. After the match, he said that he would settle the score with Juice Robinson. (14:26)
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship Match: Hiromu Takahashi def. Will Ospreay (c)
Both men in this match put a lot of effort into their entrance outfits, with Ospreay having a white tiger’s head on his shoulder and Hiromu resembling a peacock more than a wrestler. As the match began, it looked like Ospreay was a step ahead of Hiromu at every turn, blocking his moves and stuffing his attempt at the apron sunset flip powerbomb. Ospreay made an effort to focus his offense on Hiromu’s head and neck, with this being his first major match since breaking his neck in July 2018. Arguably the highlight of this match was Ospreay going for the Sasuke Special and missing it, only to have Hiromu throw him through the ropes, after which he finally hit the move in one fluid motion. Ospreay hit the Oscutter for a near fall, and went for the hidden blade once again but missed, then being felled by a pop-up powerbomb. Hiromu hit another Canadian destroyer, but Ospreay blocked the Time Bomb. Ospreay finally hit the hidden blade, but Hiromu blocked the Stormbreaker to hit another Canadian destroyer, followed by the Time Bomb, but Ospreay kicked out of it. Hiromu hit a sliding forearm followed by a move that I can’t describe to finally get the victory. Hiromu Takahashi becomes the new IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion.
IWGP Intercontinental Championship Match: Tetsuya Naito def. Jay White (c)
As Jay White bailed from the ring to start the match, Naito left as well to grab Gedo by his beard, which the audience enjoyed. Nevertheless, Gedo was there to hold onto Naito for brief moments, enabling White to take advantage. White was incredibly smug in this match, showboating and gloating to the crowd when he wasn’t working over Naito’s knees or his neck. Naito was able to outsmart Jay at times to take control back, and the crowd was almost entirely with him. Naito was able to reverse White’s offense at times, but his damaged knee slowed him down at times, which White capitalized on. White locked in the same leglock that submitted Tanahashi to win him the IWGP Heavyweight Championship last February, but Naito made it to the ropes, garnering a thunderous ovation. Naito managed a rolling kick into a pop-up spinebuster to make a labored but effective comeback. Naito spat in his face and then hit a top rope Frankensteiner, followed by the Gloria for a near fall. Gedo tried to hit Naito with a chair, but Naito stopped him with a kick to the groin, but left an opening for White to hit him with a chair. White followed up with sleeper suplexes, but Naito hit a flash Destino that he was too tired to capitalize on, followed by a reverse rana and another running Destino. White went for the Blade Runner, but Naito blocked it and hit a final Destino for the pinfall victory. Tetsuya Naito wins the IWGP Intercontinental Championship for the fifth time, an accolade only matched by Shinsuke Nakamura. (33:54)
IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match: Kazuchika Okada (c) def. Kota Ibushi
Kota Ibushi’s entrance music was slightly remixed, but Okada’s entrance was so over-the-top it has to be seen to be understood, but it included a white, glow-in-the-dark robe. Underestimating Ibushi, Okada attempted his first Rainmaker mere minutes into the match, but Ibushi dodged it easily. Ibushi never really seemed to intimidate Okada, who invited him to hit Okada harder. Okada locked in the Red Ink submission but Ibushi got his hand on the bottom rope to break the hold. Okada signaled the Rainmaker coming with his trademark pose, but Ibushi flattened him with a dudebuster and a double footstomp on his chest, followed by a triangle moonsault outside the ring and a missile dropkick off the ropes. Okada landed uppercuts and slaps on Ibushi, but Ibushi stood still and retaliated, even standing up after a front dropkick. Ibushi laid into a fallen Okada with strikes as the crowd began to boo him. Ibushi tried to throw Okada into the ring post from the apron, but Okada countered and hit an apron tombstone piledriver. Ibushi laid outside the ring until nearly getting counted out, only for Okada to pounce on him as he finally entered the ring. Ibushi countered with an incredible lariat and blocked Okada’s Rainmaker with another huge lariat of his own. Ibushi hit the Kamigoye but Okada barely kicked out of it, and gave him a dropkick when Ibushi attempted another. Okada attempted a missle dropkick, but Ibushi countered it into a sitout powerbomb. Ibushi went for a phoenix splash, but missed, leaving Okada the opening to hit the Rainmaker, which Ibushi kicked out of. Okada kept the pressure on and hit another piledriver followed by the Rainmaker for the win. Kazuchika Okada retains the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. (39:16)
After the match, Tetsuya Naito entered the ring to confront Okada. They posed with their respective championships, and Naito left peacefully, as Okada cut a go-home promo to end Day 1 of Wrestle Kingdom 14.