It’s almost time for one of the most exciting pro wrestling PPV events in recent years. New Japan’s biggest show of the year. Get your streamers ready.
Let’s start with the “Pre Show”.
It seems that any promotion is vulnerable to some type of pre show match. In NJPW it will be the New Japan Rumble for the 4th year in a row. This looks to be a continue staple for Wrestle Kingdom. Featuring a mixture of those who didn’t make the card, legends, & just like any good Rumble, a few surprises. The pre show match for Wrestle Kingdom 12 is designed to get fans riled up for the big show. Expect a mix of up in comers, nostalgia, and surprise contestants. *note* of writing the contestants have yet to be announced.
1st match. The IWPG Jr. Tag Team Championship, 60 minute time limit.
The first official match of Wrestle kingdom kicks off with the 54th IWPG Jr. Tag Team champions Roppongi 3K, of Chaos. They will defend their title against none other than the Bullet Club’s Young Bucks. This match has spectacular written all over it.
The Young Bucks is arguably the highest tag team draw in the indie circuit. Roppongi 3K is part of the Chaos stable. In which I best describe to the Western audience, NJPW’s fan favorite anti-heroes. Any wrestling fan from Japan to USA should be intrigued in seeing this match.
2nd Match. The NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Gauntlet Championship. 60 Minute time limit.
After the sure to be breath-taking opening match. NJPW will follow-up with this match. The 14th champions Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, & Bad Luck Fale from the Bullet Club vs Beratta, Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano from Chaos vs War Machine & Michael Elgin vs Taichi, Takashi Iizuka, Zack Sabre Jr of Suzuki-gun vs Juice Robinson, RyusukemTaguchi, Togi Makabe of Taguchi Japan. What a line-up! This match could surprise a lot of people or alienate them. This match should be fantastic.
3rd match. Special single match. 60 minute time limit.
Kota Ibushi vs Cody… (we all still say Cody Rhodes). This match will no longer be for the Ring Of Honor Championship. Cody lost it against Dalton Castle in Final Battle. This match will still feature two great wrestlers. Will this match be a show stealer? No. Will it be a great match between two great wrestlers? Yes.
4th match. IWGP Tag Team Championship Match. 60 minute time limit.
The 78th champions Davey Boy Smith Jr & Lance Archer of Suzuki Gun vs SANDA & The “King Of Darkness” EVIL of Los Ingobernables de Japon. I’m really trying on to find a “breather match” on this card. NJPW is having none of that talk.
5th match. NEVER OPENWEIGHT Championship. Hair vs hair match. Suzuki- Gun and CHAOS barred from ringside. 60 minute time limit.
16th champion Minoru Suzuki vs Hirooki Goto. Finally, I found my breather match. Gimmick matches usually do not go over well. No matter what promotion. Having Goto cut his Legendary locks will be a shocker. However, probably will not happen.
6th match. IWGP Jr Heavyweight Championship. 4-Way match. 60 minute time limit.
The 79th champion Marty Scrull vs Will Osprey vs KUSHIDA vs Hiromu Takahashi. Now the crowd has had a breather. This should be the time for NJPW to turn it up for the main events. No better way to do so, but to have these four face off in a match.
7th match. IWGP Intercontinental Championship. 60 minute time limit.
16th champion Hiroshi Tanahshi vs Jay White. One my personal ‘must see’ matches on the card. The legendary Tanahshi vs the New Zealander Jay White. Some fans wanted a Tanashi vs Omega match. I, myself prefer this “Legend vs Up & coming talent” match. If you are new to NJPW, Tanahshi’s accolades are incredible. Seven-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion, two-time IWGP Tag Team Champion, three-time NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag team Champion, and is currently on his second IWGP Intercontinental Championship reign. Jay White, now known as Switchblade is one the best young pro wrestlers right now. From rising in the ranks from his first stint in NJPW, to his oversees excursion in ROH. Jay White has always found a way in to the big matches. This is going to be a great match, with an intriguing finish.
8th match. IWPG United States Heavyweight Championship. No DQ match. 60 minute time limit.
Here we go. The one match that Western audiences know about. Kenny “6-star” Omega vs Chris “Ayatollah of rock and rolla” Jericho. This is a match that I thought I would not ever see, much less on NJPW biggest show of the year. This match will have the best chance of reaching Western audiences. I wager this match alone has sold PPV streams in the USA. More and more fans are hearing about Kenny Omega and how he puts on 6-star matches. Y2J is legendary in the USA himself. From his early WCW days, to his rocket in to stardom in the WWE. Will this match be another “Dave Meltzer 6-star match”? I’m not sure. Will this be a great match, worthy of the price of admission? Damn right it is.
Main Event. IWPG Heavyweight Championship. 60 minute time limit.
It has now come. The main event of Wrestle Kingdom 12. 65th IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchicka Okada vs G1 Climax 27 Champion Tetsuya Naito. What to say about this match, but it’s going to be brilliant! In one corner we have Okada. Who is in his 4th reign as IWGP Heavyweight Champion. Okada is on an IWGP record-breaking streak of 552+ consecutive days as Champion. Naito has won numerous titles and tournaments. From IWGP Tag Team Championships, NJPW premier singles tournament, New Japan Cup, to the G1 Climax. In which he the current champion.
Okada and Naito have had their turn as heels in their careers. Okada is a face now Naito is the crowd favorite anti-hero. I feel like this has a “Stone Cold vs Rock” feel to it. This feud has almost a decade long build to it. If there is any match on this card that might make the “6-Star” ranking. This will be it & maybe a contender for match of the year.
Starting the new year off with New Japan’s biggest show.
Wrestle Kingdom is becoming more and more popular with Western audiences. New Japan knows this. They are constantly upping their booking for their biggest show of the year. The blend of foreign stars and their homegrown talent is something that other promotions wished they had. Wrestle Kingdom 12 looks to continue that trend. Even though this PPV is the first of the new year. It might be one of the best ones of 2018.
What matches are you looking forward to the most? Omega vs Jericho? Okada vs Naito? Let us know! I’m personally looking forward to all of them.
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