Five things that happened at Wrestle Kingdom
It's Wrestle Kingdom, the pinnacle of New Japan Pro Wrestling. It's arguably the second-biggest wrestling show in the world, and as predicted, it delivered. There wasn't an all-time classic match - like Okada v Omega I from the year before - but as a whole it was a great card that delivered in many moments. 2017 was a banner year for NJPW, and with the inclusion of Chris Jericho, WK12 was going to be one of the biggest shows internationally. Let’s look at some takeaways from a contender for 'Show of the Year'.
Chris Jericho v Kenny Omega
From the beginning with Jericho attacking Omega as he entered the ring, to the One Winged Angel on the same chair Jericho used viciously throughout the match, this bout was brilliant. Despite some shaky moments (a No DQ match with rope breaks and count outs?), it satisfied our huge expectations.
We haven’t seen heel Jericho like this in quite some time and it was so refreshing. From smacking Red Shoes (he's the referee for the match if you're new to NJPW) and putting his son in the Lion Tamer to cursing out the crowd, this was the Y2J that was desperately needed for this match. Omega SOLD all over the arena from the announcer table to the chair shots to the head.
Did I mention blood? There was blood in this match, a lot of blood.
Many were wondering if this would be a one-and-done for Jericho, but he appears headed towards a program with Naito. Y2J felt right at home, and the wrestling community were glad to see a dream match like this come to fruition.
Wrong Winner at the Right Time
Naito got the loudest pop of the night by far. The internets were buzzing, saying that it was Naito’s time to shine (I FULLY AGREE), but I chose Okada to win simply because he is Gedo’s golden boy. What we received is another win for the Rainmaker as he closes out the show, but this shouldn’t have happened.
Naito has become the most popular wrestler in Japan with his “Tranquilo” persona, and it was the right time to pull the plug on Okada and give the belt to Naito. Okada already has the record reign for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Naito defeating Okada would have made more sense.
It was a great match, even though the ending just felt like a spot fest, but WK12 could’ve ended on an amazing note with Naito receiving the top title.
Young Bucks won……again
I respect the Young Bucks, I really do, but this was the time for them to put Roppongi 3K over. YB have won the IWGP Jr. Tag Team Championships six times and could have put over the rising and upcoming stars in SHO & YOH.
It was still one of my favorite YB matches. They actually told a psychological story with Matt hurting his back throughout the bout. With less spots and more of a story during their contest, I thoroughly enjoyed the match, even though Roppongi 3K should have won.
Cody had his best Indy match
Cody finally had a classic match in the indies everyone. Cody Rhodes has been getting over as a character than a wrestler ever since he left the WWE. His use of being wrestling royalty, believing he’s the best out cause of his bloodline is a great gimmick, but his wrestling never matched his big talk. His matches with Christopher Daniels, Okada & Juice Robinson left much to be desired, but in this match, Cody & Ibushi put on a clinic.
This could be a main event on any other show. Cody and Brandi Rhodes came off as the perfect heel couple. In one of the best spots of the night, Brandi feigned injury Ibushi tended to her, luring him into an attack. Their chemistry shows in the laughter they shared after their plan worked. Cody hit Ibushi with a SICK Cross Rhodes onto the ground from the apron. The springboard moonsault from Kota was also beautiful/ This match produced high quality all around. If Cody continues this run, he will receive no critique from me.
Ospreay finally breaks the curse
If you do not know the curse, Will Ospreay has been unable to beat Marty Scurll for years. The commentators told their story throughout the night. Ospreay hit Scurll with an OsCutter to finally defeat him and win the title.
Even though Ospreay was the worker of the match, Takahashi received the biggest pop in the match as he was on a wrestling spree, sunset flipping every opponent to the outside. This match may have been a tad bit too long, but it displayed each wrestler's qualities - from the heelish attitude of Scurll, the athleticism of Ospreay, the technique of KUSHIDA & the charisma of Takahashi.