On January 4th, 2018, New Japan Pro Wrestling presented Wrestle Kingdom 12 at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan. For those that aren’t aware of New Japan’s brand of pro wrestling, they are the biggest organization in Japan and Wrestle Kingdom is their biggest show of the year. For those that are tired of what WWE has to bring to the table and are looking for a viable alternative, New Japan is for them.
What makes this Wrestle Kingdom special is that New Japan is moving up in terms of popularity despite huge language barrier. The athleticism and smash mouth style of pro wrestling that could make anyone who left the pro wrestling life come back. The previous year’s edition brought new eyeballs to the organization and over the past year, more and more people were tuning in. This one brought an influx of brand new attendees with the biggest non WWE star in Kenny Omega against WWE’s Chris Jericho. It became a must attend event especially for international fans traveling to Japan.
In addition to this international affair, it also had a nationalistic feeling too as the main event brought two of the best wrestlers on the planet facing against each other with reigning IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Kazuchika Okada against the G1 Climax tournament winner, Tetsuya Naito.
There were quite a few classic matches and everyone got their time to shine. All matches were given enough time to tell a story as all of them clocked in at 15 minutes or more. All the talent there were utilized well.
I’ve been to Wrestlemania and Wrestle Kingdom. This event is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I was talking to people from not just Japan, but also from various places like New York, Australia, and United Kingdom. The sea of people draped in Los Ingobernables de Japon and Bullet Club attire was a sight to see.
Although NJPW’s show was the biggest one, it also felt like a Wrestlemania week there as there were pro wrestling shows and events from various other organizations that benefited from Wrestle Kingdom. Nearby, Korakuen Hall had various different organizations hold shows there while 1st Ring also had fans come through too. Many Wrestle Kingdom attendees also took the time to attend these other shows which exposed them to all these other companies that are putting out quality events too.
If you’re a pro wrestling fan and want to see some quality action, New Japan is the place and Wrestle Kingdom is the big one every fan should try to attend. I don’t know how it came off on television and on stream, but the atmosphere at the actual event was electric from the preshow to the main event.
Written by: Timtastic