This is my review of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s biggest show of 2020, Wrestle Kingdom 14. This show is available on njpwworld and Fite TV. This is night 1 of 2 that takes place on January 4th and 5th.
Our Engkish language commentary team is Kevin Kelly, Gino Gambino, Rocky Romero and Chris Charlton.
Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma, Yuya Uemura & Yota Tsuji vs Alex Coughlin, Karl Fredericks, Clark Conners & Toa Henare
- This is your classic opening 8-man-tag match for NJPW. They warm the crowd up with good, crisp wrestling. Toa Henare pins Tsuji with a Toa-bottom, a version of The Rock’s Rock Bottom. Winners: Toa Henare, Alex Coughlin, Karl Fredericks and Clark Conners in 7:36.
Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi vs Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan
- Tenzan and Kojima jump Nagata and Nakanishi before the bell. Tenzan and Kojima start their attack on Nakanishi suplexed both men, with them landing on their heads. All four of these men are absolute legends in NJPW but this was almost sad to see most things not quite come off as they should, a few head bumps and slower than usual offence. Kojima pinned Nakanishi to win. Winners: Kojima and Tenzan in 5:45.
Jyushin Thunder Liger, Tatsumi Fujinami, The Great Sasuke & Tiger Mask w/ El Samurai vs Naoki Sano, Shinjiro Otani, Tatsuhito Takaiwa & Ryusuke Taguchi w/ Kuniaki Kobayashi
- Liger kicks his match off with Sano and somehow Sano pulls off a drop-down, leapfrog and dropkick. Some of these men look like they struggle walking but pull off some good wrestling. The fans are very much into the match, and Liger. This was a good match with the finish I expected. Ryusuke Taguchi picks Liger up and drops Liger face first as Taguchi sits down. Taguchi pins Jyushin Thunder Liger in his second to last match. Liger has had an amazing career and I am lucky to have seen some of it. Thank you Liger. Winners: Ryusuke Taguchi, Tatsuhito Takaiwa, Otani and Sano in 8:52.
SANADA, EVIL, BUSHI & Shingo Takagi vs Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, El Desperado & Zack Sabre Jr
- Suzuki-gun get the jump start on LIJ to start the match. Suzuki and EVIL are the first legal men in the match and it doesn’t take Minoru Suzuki long to grab a chair at ringside. Suzuki-gun get the heat early on EVIL. Shingo tags in and runs wild on Taichi and Suzuki-gun. Taichi fights back and in an exchange of big strikes, they end in a double down and both tag. Zack submits BUSHI when ZSJ wraps BUSHI’s arms behind his back with his legs. BUSHI submits verbally but Zack holds on until SANADA saves him. SANADA faces ZSJ on January 5th, the next night, in the Tokyo Dome, on njpwworld. Winners: Suzuki-gun in 8:39.
YOSHI-HASHI, Toru Yano, Tomohiro Ishii & Hirooki Goto vs KENTA, Chase Owens, Yujiro Takahashi & Bad Luck Fale
- Bullet Club comes out with two rugby players who played for the Japanese national rugby team in last year’s(2019) rugby world cup, Pieter. The match starts with Yano telling his team that he will start, he regrets this decision when he sees Bad Luck Fale. Quickly Yano tags YOSHI-HASHI and Fale tags Yujiro. Bullet Club get the heat early on YOSHI-HASHI. They build to a spot where Ishii suplexs Fale and the crowd go nuts. Goto hits GTR on Yujiro Takahashi for the win. Good match but short for the talent in the match. Winners: Goto, Ishii, YOSHI-HASHI and Yano in 8:17.
IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Match – Gorillas of Destiny(c) vs David Finlay & Juice Robinson
- Juice and Finlay meet G.O.D on the ramp as they fight. Finlay is thrown of the ramp while G.O.D take on Juice 2-on-1. Back in the ring G.O.D work over Juice as Finlay makes his way to the corner. David Finlay tags in and G.O.D go straight for the injured shoulder of Finlay. Despite the injury, Juice throws himself at Tanga Loa to hit a spear and tags Juice. Deep in the match Tama hits something as he throws his body off the top and onto Finlay’s face. Not quite a splash, not quite an elbow, but both. Finlay reverses a super powerbomb, then stops a Gun Stun and rolls up Tama. Tama kicks out and Jado hits Finlay with a kendo stick and Tama rolls up Finlay but Finlay kicks out. David Finlay pins Tama Tonga with a sliced bread after a left hand from Juice. We have new champions, Fin-Juice. Winners: Juice Robinson and David Finlay in 13:38.
IWGP US Championship Match – Texas Death Match – Jon Moxley vs Lance Archer(c)
- Moxley fills the ring with chairs, then Archer comes out with a helmet with spikes. There are no pin falls, no submissions and no DQs in this match. Just a ten count. This intense battle started hard and fast as these men beat each other with kendo sticks, chairs and trash can lids. They brawl by ringside and into the crowd. Archer tries to walk the ropes but slips, showing signs of nervousness on this big stage. Moxley takes a slam through about six chairs in the ring but gets up at eight. Archer chokeslams Moxley on a chair. Archer sets up two tables at ringside. Archer uses the spikes on the helmet to stab the head of Moxley. Archer attempts a slam off the ropes to the tables but Moxley reverses it. Moxley hits a double arm DDT on Archer off the apron and through both tables. Archer is bleeding bad and cannot answer the ten count. What a fight. Winner Jon Moxley in 14:27.
IWGP Jr Heavyweight Championship Match – Will Ospreay(c) vs Hiromu Takahashi
- Both men have good entrances with Takahashi wearing an awesome coat with huge feathers and powerful colours. Will wears a white fluffy coat and is presented with a Katana, the sword of the Samurai. Early in the match Will lands a double stomp to the back of Hiromu’s neck, immediately followed by a draping DDT. Will targets the surgically repaired neck of Takahashi as he bends Takahashi round the barrier in front of Kevin Kelly. Takahashi fights back and but in an exchange on the top rope, Hiromu comes up bleeding from the nose. This match builds throughout as Hiromu takes Will’s best shots and fights back with his own. Will hits an Oscutter but Hiromu kicks out. Hiromu takes a sickening Hidden Blade but reverses the Stormbreaker. Takahashi hits a Time Bomb but Ospreay kicks out. This incredible match ends when Hiromu Takahashi lifts Will Ospreay upside down almost like a reverse DDT and drops Will down onto his head. The returning Hiromu Takahashi pins and defeats Will Ospreay to win the Championship. Winner: Hiromu Takahashi in 24:33.
IWGP Intercontinental Championship Match – Tetsuya Naito vs Switchblade Jay White(c)
- The winner of this match will go on to face the winner of the Heavyweight championship match to become the first ever double champion in NJPW tomorrow. Fans chant Naito and Jay rolls out of the ring. Jay gets back in but rolls out again. Naito rolls out and grabs Gedo by his beard to temp Jay back in the ring, which worked. Naito is all over White early on, then Gedo gets involved by holding the leg of Naito and even using a chair on the leg of Naito. White continues to work over Naito but Naito keeps fighting. After Jay working over the leg for the better part of twenty minutes, Jay White whips Naito off the ropes but Naito falls down, unable to run. Jay hits Naito with a vicious Saito suplex over the ropes and onto the apron. Jy hits Kiwi Crusher but Naito kicks out. White puts Naito in the leg lock that he submitted Tanahashi with last year to win the Heavyweight championship but Naito gets to the ropes. Naito fights back and hits a satellite DDT and Gloria but when Naito hits elbows, Gedo gets in the ring and distracts Red Shoes. Tetsuya Naito takes too many bumps on his head, but that being said, White took the Destino two times in the end. Naito fought through the pain and picked up a win in the Tokyo Dome to retain the Intercontinental championship. Naito will face the winner of the next match. Winner: Tetsuya Naito in 33:51.
IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match – Kota Ibushi vs Kazuchika Okada(c)
- This match starts slow, you can tell this match will go a while. They trade wrist locks and headlocks as they wrestle. Okada has new gear, boots and a new ring jacket that glows in the dark. Ibushi is wearing his usual blue, white and gold gear. This moves to ringside where Okada draps Kota over the barrier and DDTs Kota on the mats. Back in the ring Okada wears down Ibushi in the ring but Ibushi fires up and fights back. Ibushi uses kicks against Okada then hits a spinning powerslam then a moonsault on the neck of Okada. Okada switches it round in the corner and dropkicks Ibushi out of the ring. Okada hits his running crossbody over the barrier onto Ibushi. They go back in the ring. Okada calls for the Rainmaker but Ibushi reverses. Ibushi goes for a backflip kick but Okada stops it and Ibushi lands on his head. Ibushi goes nuts and stops selling anything. He looks forward and stares into the distance. Kota hits Okada so hard that he has no option than to go to the mat and cover up. Ibushi does not let up and the fans boo. They trade reversals on the apron until Okada hits a tombstone, sending Kita to the floor. Kota climbs back in at the count of 19. Okada gives Kota a German suplex on the back of his head and Kota fights back and gives Okada a German off the second rope on the back on Okada’s head and neck. Okada tries a Rainmaker but as he spins Kota, Okada is hit with a lariat from Ibushi. Ibushi hits Kamigoye but Okada kicks out. Okada reverses another Kamigoye into a dropkick. Incredible. Kota goes back to that place as he delivers multiple strong kicks to the head of Okada, sending the champ to the mat. Kota Ibushi misses a Phoenix splash and Okada hits a Rainmaker but Ibushi kicks out. The Dome explodes with fans noise as the finish of the show closes in yet both fight on. They quickly trade big moves as they reverse each other. Okada reverses a Kamigoye into a sit down tombstone then picks up Kota for a Rainmaker and pins the G129 winner. Okada defeats Kota Ibushi to retain his belt and Okada will face Naito tomorrow on night 2 of Wrestle Kingdom 14. Incredible main event, it’s just sad that Kota had to lose. Winner: Kazuchika Okada in 39:17
After the match Tetsuya Naito came out, dragging his newly won Intercontinental championship belt long behind him. Neither touched but Naito cut a short promo about the next night’s main event then left. Okada cut a promo saying he will make it rain again the next night. Join me here for my full review of night 2 on January 5th, 2020.