For the first time ever, New Japan Pro Wrestling held its annual Wrestle Kingdom event for two consecutive nights on January 4th to 5th, 2020 at the famed Tokyo Dome to take advantage of having this event fall on the weekend. This was fantastic as it allowed everyone on their roster to have at least one match during the two-day celebration of wrestling from New Japan. I won’t go too much into the results, but I will go into things of significance.
First of all, I am pretty bummed out that the New Japan Rumble match didn’t occur as it’s usually a great way to get the fans engaged especially with all the surprise entrants that have occurred in the past. Not everyone got to wrestle a second match that weekend, so it would have been a great chance for everyone to wrestle again.
This event was really historical as it was the first time that a women’s match was contested in a New Japan ring. At this point, Bushiroad had become the new owners of Joshi pro wrestling organization, World Wonder Ring Stardom or Stardom for short. In the opening match of night one, Hana Kimura and Giulia teamed up to take on Mayu Iwatani and Arisa Hoshiki of the Stars faction.
Wrestle Kingdom 14 also marked the swan song for the legendary wrestler, Jushin Thunder Liger. After 30+ years in the squared circle, it was time to call it a career for Liger. Instead of having a singles match with one of his numerous rivals, he decided to end his career with his friends, rivals, and colleagues in tag matches. He did lose but received the highest ovation one could get. It legitimately brought tears to the many fans that attended considering what he has meant to people in the past few decades.
One of the driving forces of this event also was the double dash main event which would have a winner take all for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship and the IWGP Intercontinental Championship with a four-person tournament to see who would end up with all the gold. On one side was IWGP Intercontinental Champion, Jay White of the Bullet Club pitted against the challenger, Tetsuya Naito of Los Ingobernables de Japon. The other match would include G1 Climax winner, Kota Ibushi versus IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Kazuchika Okada of Chaos in the main event of night one. The two winners would meet in the main event of night two while the losers would also face each other.
There were quite a few debuts for Wrestle Kingdom. The four Stardom wrestlers got to wrestle a match. Jon Moxley (fka Dean Ambrose) wrestled two matches. KENTA also wrestled two matches. The Young Lions from both LA Dojo and the regular ones also got to compete early on. Other first-timers included Robbie Eagles, El Phantasmo, and Ryu Lee (aka Dragon Lee).
It was a really fun event. There were people from all over the world ascending down to the Tokyo Dome for some of the best pro wrestling on the planet, and it sure didn’t disappoint. The feels were real and everyone was on the edge of their seat during the course of the two-day event.
Written by: Timtastic