The 14th edition of NJPW’s biggest show of the year, Wrestle Kingdom, is in the history books.
A lot of fascinating things happen during these historic nights that will shape the future of NJPW. For night 1, WK 14 drew 40.008 attendees and night 2 drew 30.063 attendees.
IWGP Heavyweight & IC Champion Tetsuya Naito
After a long journey with a lot of high and low moments, Tetsuya Naito was the bigger winner of both nights and now he is the first ever IWGP HW and IC Champion.
Naito had to face Jay White and Okada to make his dream of being double champion a reality. After giving an emotional promo celebrating his victory and hinting on facing Okada down the line, KENTA attacked Naito and he will be next person to feud with Naito.
Overall, this was the right result and it was time for Naito to have his moment on the spotlight after years of fans waiting to see this finally happen.
One of the biggest mysteries of the night was if AEW was going to be involved in anyway in this event. While there was no involvement from the promotion, the commentary did mention AEW in multiple occasions.
The Jericho vs. Tanahashi match delivered in every possible way and saw Jericho taking the win. For now, it seems like the forbidden portal is close, for now at least. The next episode of AEW Dynamite will be interesting to see and if AEW will make any mention of what happened in Wrestle Kingdom or even show on TV the IWGP US championship.
Jon Moxley had two busy nights. In night 1, Moxley had to face Lance Archer in a Texas Deathmatch. This match was brutal and had a lot of creative moments. For night 2, Moxley faced Juice Robinson in an intense match. After defeating Robinson, Minoru Suzuki appeared and attacked Moxley by giving him a devastating Gotch Style Piledriver and setting himself as Moxley’s next opponent.
This match is part of many fan’s list of dream matches and the fact that it will happen soon makes it hard to believe.
Kota Ibushi, The Biggest Loser
The winner of the latest edition of the G1 Climax saw his aspirations of becoming double champion disappear after losing to Okada in night 1. The following night, Jay White managed to defeat Ibushi with a lot of help of Gedo.
The future of “The Golden Star” seems uncertain and maybe his next step could join Bullet Club, since Jay White offered Ibushi an open invitation to join him in Bullet Club.
The Retirement of Jushin Thunder Liger
Wrestle Kingdom 14 witnessed the retirement of one of the greatest wrestlers to ever be part of this business Jushin Thunder Liger.
The retirement of Liger was every emotional and special. In his first match he was part of an entertaining 8-man tag comprise by old rivals of him. In night 2, Liger and Sano lost to the team comprise of Ryu Lee (AKA Dragon Lee) and Hiromu Takahashi in a passing of the torch match.
Besides of being involved in the last match of Jushin Liger, Takahashi the previous night was part in an early contender of MOTY with Ospreay for the IWGP Jr, Heavyweight Championship.
Hiromu Takahashi in both nights looked like a star and with no doubts he will be the ace of the Jr. division for many times to come.
This was an amazing show. In my opinion, night 1 was better than night 2 in terms of build and fan engagement during most matches.
The best matches from these historic nights were:
- Naito vs. Okada (Night 2)
- Ospreay vs. Takahashi (Night 1)
- Okada Vs Ibushi (Night 1)
- Tanahashi vs. Jericho (Night 2)
- White vs. Naito (Night 1)
- ZSJ vs. SANADA (Night 2)
- Moxley vs. Archer (Night 1)
- Ibushi vs. White (Night 2)
The only negative this show had is that some of the undercard matches just felt like filler and didn’t add too much enjoyment to the show.