New Japan Pro Wrestling holds their biggest show of the year on January 4th, Wrestlekingdom, at the Tokyo Dome. This year will see Wrestlekingdom 13 as Hiroshi Tanahashi, the winner of the G1 Climax 28, will challenge the IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Kenny Omega and so much more.
Wrestlekingdom 13, like previous Wrestlekingdoms, will be held on January 4th and will see 4 hours of top matches from the top Japanese Wrestling promotion, held in the largest and most famous venue in Tokyo, the Tokyo Dome.
This coming Wrestlekingdom will be available on njpwworld and Fite TV live. For the first time ever, AXS TV will air Wrestlekingdom 13 on the same day but only in part. The first 2 hours will start on AXS TV at 8pm EST on January 4th and will continue on January 11th with the second 2 hours.
What time does the show start for you?
- Japan: 5:00pm
- USA (East coast): 3:00am
- USA (West coast): 12:00am
- UK: 8:00am
- Perth, Australia: 4:00pm
The line up is as follows:
No 1 Contenders match for Never Openweight 6-Man Tag Championships – Five Team Gauntlet Match
- This match will replace the classic New Japan Rumble that has become a stable of the pre-show, where you would normally see some retired wrestlers return for one or two spots or non-contracted wrestlers like Cheeseburger. The winning team of this 5 team, 15 person Gauntlet match will face the Never Openweight 6-Man Tag Champions on the “New Year Dash” show on January 5th. The teams are as follows; Taguchi, Yano & Makabe vs David Finlay, Jeff Cobb & Yuji Nagata vs Chuckie T, Beretta & Hirooki Goto vs Davey Boy Smith Jr, Lance Archer & Minoru Suzuki vs Marty Scurll, Yujiro Takahashi & Hangman Page.
IWGP Never Openweight Championship Match – Kota Ibushi (c) vs Will Ospreay
- This is a dream match that has been waiting to happen for a while, this has been the plan in New Japan for a few months at least but was originally suppose to be Will Ospreay defending against Kota until Ospreay got injured on a show in England.
IWGP Jr Heavyweight Tag Championship Match – Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado (c) vs SHO & YOH vs BUSHI & Shingo Takagi
- This is the second time in two years that Roppongi 3K will be in the Jr Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Match at Wrestlekingdom, last year SHO and YOH lost the championships to the Young Bucks, who are now heavyweights. I feel it’s probably time that Kanemaru and El Desperado lost the belts and Roppongi 3K would be a very good team to take them after last year’s loss but they have Shingo Takagi and BUSHI to contend with and that could be too much for Roppongi 3K. My favourite to win this match is Los Ingobernables De Japon, Shingo Takagi and BUSHI.
British Heavyweight Championship Match – Tomohiro Ishii (c) vs Zack Sabre Jr
- This match is very intriguing from a British wrestling fan’s perspective as Suzuki-gun was recently welcomed by the fans of Revolution Pro Wrestling, my home promotion. Suzuki won the British Heavyweight Tag Championships when Suzuki and Zack Sabre Jr beat Trent Seven and Tyler Bate. Tomohiro Ishii has been fighting for this championship since he faced Zack Sabre Jr in New Orleans on June 24th, 2018 and has predominantly faced Suzuki-gun members but has also been tested against men such as WALTER and Keith Lee.
IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Match – Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa (c) vs SANADA & EVIL vs Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson
- This match was made when the champions, Tama & Tanga were beaten in the final of the recent Tag League tournament. At the end of the match, The Young Bucks, who were not in the tournament, came to the ring and inserted themselves into the mix. A bit of a odd way to set up a triple threat championship match, but that’s the story, and the Bucks are liked a lot too.
IWGP US Heavyweight Championship Match – Cody (c) vs Juice Robinson
- This feels like it’s finally Juice’s time to get that big win on a big stage. Juice has been shining on the mic as of late and has really shown some good character, which has got over quite a bit with the local fans in Japan. I feel Juice getting a big win over an established star like Cody will be the key to getting Juice to the next level.
IWGP Jr Heavyweight Championship Match – KUSHIDA (c) vs Taiji Ishimori
- Ishimori has only been in NJPW for less that one year, thus hasn’t had much opportunity to shine the way fans of his know he can, this will be the biggest spotlight Ishimori has had to-date in New Japan. KUSHIDA is great and extremely over with the fans of New Japan as a babyface, and we know Ishimori can blow the roof off given half the chance, but this match really reminds me how much I miss Hiromu Takahashi. Hiromu was the most charismatic Jr Heavyweight, and thrown in the mix here could have made this another unmissable match. That aside, these two will have something special in mind but I’m assuming that Taiji Ishimori will walk out with the belt.
Kazuchika Okada vs Switchblade Jay White
- This is advertised as a “Special Singles Match” on njpwworld as nothing is on the line, but I expect this too live up to the “Special” name as Okada had the majority of the best matches in New Japan the past few years. After that snake Gedo turned his back on Kazuchika Okada to join Jay White, and the BC/OGs, Okada has had his eyes on the Switchblade for revenge. This match is interesting as it’s the first match Okada has had at Wrestlekingdom that isn’t a main event in a few years. I expect Okada to win but I wouldn’t be suprised if Jay White won as New Japan seem to have big plans for him.
IWGP IntercontinentalChampionship Match – Chris Jericho(c) vs Tetsuya Naito
- Jericho has been running wild on New Japan and has been making his own rules since the day he showed up, I don’t expect anything different here. The last time these two fought, Jericho gave Naito a bloody eye, among more injuries in a brawling fight, where Jericho won the IC championship. At one point, Naito hated the intercontinental championship as he felt it took his spotlight, years ago in the Tokyo Dome when his main event was taken away by a fan vote. That year, the Intercontinental Championship headlined as the Heavyweight Championship was second from the top.
IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match – Kenny Omega (c) vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
- These two have been back and forth at each other in promos, backstage reaction segments and press conferences. The story of these two is they have fundamentally different views on what pro wrestling should be, and don’t mind projecting their thoughts and opinions. Kenny wants to “Change the world” with his wrestling, while Tanahashi strongly dislikes the style of wrestling Kenny uses. Tanahashi won the G1 Climax tournament in 2018 which has led to him facing Kenny Omega for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at the biggest show of the year. The only other time Kenny and Tanahashi have faced, was for the intercontinental championship, which Kenny won with a lot of help from Bullet Club. Very intriguing, as this match could lead to the rest of the year as one guy takes the reigns of NJPW as the top champ.