Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Wrestle Kingdom 14 Preview
Wrestle Kingdom is a holy event for wrestling fans, eclipsing Wrestlemania for many and serving as a second Christmas to all who embrace the lion's mark. That said, this year New Japan has gifted us a bonus gift by presenting two evenings worth of glorious in-ring content. So, let's dig in by looking at the cards and some predictions.
NIGHT ONE 01/04/2020
1.Liger, Fujinami, Sasuke, Tiger Mask vs Sano, Otani, Takaiwa, Taguchi
Norio Honaga is working as the special guest ref for this legends showcase as Liger wrestles his second to last match ever. Expect the hero to win this one, earning the pin in a match that might not be the highest in workrate but likely will see a lot of tears from fans in the crowd and around the world, too.
2.LIJ (EVIL, SANADA, BUSHI, SHINGO) vs Suzuki-gun (Suzuki, Taichi, Sabre, Desperado)
This one largely serves to give these guys something to do on the card and also as a last minute pilot for the Sabre/SANADA match on night two. It could be pretty good, and SANADA should get several minutes with Sabre here. No idea who's winning but I'll say SHINGO gets a pin on El Desperado.
3.CHAOS (Goto, Ishii, Yano, Yoshi-Hashi) vs Bullet Club (KENTA, Fale, Owens, Yujiro)
Like the match before it, this largely serves to give these guys a gig while also helping build the KENTA/Goto battle planned for night two. Basically copy and paste the above summary but expect Goto to get a win over Owens.
4.IWGP Tag Titles: GOD(c) vs FinJuice
If the champs bring their A-game, this could be great. That's an if. Finlay and Juice are perfect in their underdog roles but GOD tend to be complacent at times even on shows they shouldn't be. I'll say they step up, this turns out to be very enjoyable, and that we end it with new champs.
5.IWGP US Title, Texas Deathmatch: Archer(c) vs Moxley
Jon wants his belt back and wants to do it in a Texas Deathmatch. I have no idea how crazy they're going to be allowed to get, but this has sleeper written all over it. Lance stepped up a lot this year and Mox is a beast so this should be fun. Mox wins if he's willing to keep adding a few more dates for New Japan in 2020.
6.IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title: Ospreay(c) vs Hiromu
This could steal the show and I'm eager to see if Hiromu, one of the most insane yet awesome workers I've ever seen, is truly back to 100%. I'd like Will to officially move up to heavyweight in 2020 and the story of Takahashi returning and winning this prize is too good to pass up, right?
7.IWGP Intercontinental Title: White(c) vs Naito
Naito not winning this would be a terrible call, but they've been so iffy with his booking calls at times that I am not certain they'll pull the trigger here. I like White a lot and this should be killer, but please do the right thing, guys!
8.IWGP Heavyweight Title: Okada(c) vs Kota
Okada needs to win this one. The dude is their fallback and their ace. Kota is amazing and this should be a true MOTYC, but there should be no doubt who's winning here.
NIGHT TWO 01/05/2020
1.Liger, Sano vs Ryu Lee, Hiromu
Liger choosing to end his career in tag action with the former Dragon Lee and Hiromu on the other side of the ring is pretty special. I consider the Lee/Takahashi feud one of my favorite of all time and I also consider Liger a true legend so this should be an emotional experience. I expect Ryu to pin Liger before he walks off into the sunset.
2.IWGP Jr Tag Titles: Bullet Club (Ishimori,Phantasmo) (c) vs RPG3k (Sho,Yoh)
The CHAOS duo is awesome and Ishimori and ELP have gelled very nicely so this should be a very fun tag match. I'm thinking we have a title change here, but flip a coin.
3.British Heavyweight Title: Sabre(c) vs SANADA
Give these two enough time and pick the right layout and this could be one of a few MOTYC level matches of the two-day event. SANADA's booking calls have been questionable at times but I smell another title change for this one.
4.IWGP US Title: CHAMPION vs Juice
Whomever wins the deathmatch gets Juice the next day, whom I think will be coming in as a tag champ. If Mox doesn't add more dates and they pick Archer instead, have him win night one but fail night two. If Mox does add more dates, assume he wins both matches. Still, this should be a fun one either way.
5.NEVER Openweight Title: KENTA(c) vs Goto
I'm hoping the bullshit is cut completely and we get a clean battle deserving of the NEVER strap. Expect KENTA to get the nod in what I hope is an epic clash.
6.Loser of Okada/Ibushi vs Loser of White/Naito
I think this will be Kota versus White in a psuedo-number one contenders affair. White was a golden boy last year so I don't see him failing twice in a row on such a big show. This should be fun and expect White to take the W.
7.Jericho vs Tanahashi
Jericho's match of the tour is a big one, testing out another big name and this time in the form of an ace like Tana. Expect a fun one here but the winner depends on if Jericho will sign on for more dates or not...
8.IWGP Heavyweight/Intercontinental Titles
This should be Okada versus Naito and has must-see written all of it. If there is a wrestling god, Naito will win out and put it all aside for later. This will close the night on a buzz and might blow the minds of some fans. All hail, Naito, who will hopefully get the treatment he deserves starting with this moment!