NJPW Event 2020NJPW EventsRecaps (PPV/Event)

[Event Recap] ‘NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 14: Night 2’ – Okada vs. Naito, Jericho vs. Tanahashi

DATE: January 5, 2020
VENUE: Tokyo Dome (Tokyo, Japan)
ENGLISH COMMENTARY: Kevin Kelly, Chris Charlton, & Gino Gambino

Following a stellar all-time show the night before, NJPW brings us Night 2 of Wrestle Kingdom 14 and the stakes are as high as they can be as Kazuchika Okada and Tetsuya Naito vie to become the first ever double IGWP champion (Heavyweight and Intercontinental). Also on the show KENTA defends the NEVER Openweight Title against Hirooki Goto, Hiroshi Tanahashi meets hated rival (and le champion) Chris Jericho, after a long and storied career Jushin “Thunder” Liger wrestles his last-ever match as he teams with Naoki Sano to take on Ryu Lee and the new Junior Heavyweight Champion Hiromu Takahashi.

CHAMPIONS

  • IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION: “The Rainmaker” Kazuchika Okada
  • IWGP INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION: Tetsuya Naito
  • IWGP UNITED STATES CHAMPION: Jon Moxley
  • IWGP JUNIOR HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION: Hiromu Takahashi
  • NEVER OPENWEIGHT CHAMPION: KENTA
  • IWGP TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: FinJuice (Juice Robinson & Dave Finlay)
  • IWGP JUNIOR HEAVYWEIGHT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: Bullet Club (El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori)
  • NEVER OPENWEIGHT SIX-MAN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP: Ryusuke Taguchi, Togi Makabe, & Toru Yano

LINEUP

  • Jushin Liger & Naoki Sano vs. Ryu Lee & Hiromu Takahashi (***1/2)
  • Bullet Club [c] vs. Roppongi 3K for the IWGP JUNIOR HEAVYWEIGHT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (***1/4)
  • Zack Sabre Jr. [c] vs. SANADA for the BRITISH HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP (****1/4)
  • Jon Moxley [c] vs. Juice Robinson for the IWGP UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP (***3/4)
  • KENTA [c] vs. Hirooki Goto for the NEVER OPENWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP (***1/2)
  • Kota Ibushi vs. Jay White (***3/4)
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Chris Jericho (**3/4)
  • DOUBLE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: Kazuchika Okada [HW] vs. Tetsuya Naito [IC] for the IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT & INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIPS (*****)

*****

-OPENING VIDEO: Card for Night 2 is run down.

-After Ryu Lee & Hiromu Takahashi make their entrances, out comes Yoshiaki Fujiwara to be the second for their opponents. Jushin “Thunder” Liger’s entrance music being dubbed during his entrance robs me of hearing his goodbye pop from the Tokyo Dome. Aw man I can’t believe he’s retiring; this is an emotional moment.


JUSHIN LIGER’S RETIREMENT MATCH
Jushin “Thunder” Liger & Naoki Sano [w/ Yoshiaki Fujiwara] vs. Ryu Lee & Hiromu Takahashi

Takahashi beat Will Ospreay for the Junior Heavyweight Title last night in an insane match, and I’m legitimately shocked he can still walk after that one. Lee shows off his ROH Television Title, which he apparently holds now (I don’t watch a lot of ROH).

Liger and Hiromu immediately lock up after the bell. Hiromu breaks clean, they lock up again, Liger backs him into the ropes, and he breaks clean as well. Liger sweeps the legs, spins Hiromu around into a surfboard and soon enough a Romero Special with a full extension. I’M REALLY GONNA MISS LIGER, Y’ALL. Hiromu escapes, a smile across his face. Lee tags in, Hiromu knocks Sano off the apron and they double-team Liger! Lee and Hiromu splash him in the corner and connect with a double dropkick. Sano back on the apron, Lee knocks him back off. Hiromu tags in for a Fujiwara Armbar, right in front of its inventor. Lee tags in and misses a splash, Liger with tilt-a-whirl backbreakers to both and a tag to Sano, who drops both with a missile dropkick. Lee grabs Sano from behind, Hiromu connects with a superkick. Sano ducks a double clothesline, another double dropkick. Sano drops Lee with a shoulderblock, Lee nips up and they trade forearms. Lee drops Sano with a knee strike, Sano gets back up and turns him inside out with a lariat.

Liger and Hiromu tag in and trade forearms. Hiromu wins the shootout to the shock of the crowd. Hiromu with more forearms in the corner and shoves the referee when he tries to break it up. Hiromu with a corner mount, Liger plants him with a powerbomb and peppers him with palm strikes. Liger Bomb is countered with a dropkick from Lee. Hiromu holds Liger and Sano on the floor and Lee takes flight, but his tope con hilo only connects with his own partner as the opposing team gets out of the way. Back in the ring Liger connects with a powerbomb and stacks him for the 1…2…Hiromu kicks out. Hiromu counters a suplex with a German, Liger pops back up and hits a Shotei followed by a brainbuster for the 1…2…Lee breaks it up. Sano comes in, gets sent to the floor, and Lee belts him with a tope suicida. Hiromu connects with a Falcon Arrow for the 1…2…Liger kicks out. Knee strike from Lee, thrust kick from Hiromu, double knees from both and Hiromu covers for the 1…2…Liger kicks out again! Hiromu drives Liger into the corner with a Death Valley Driver, Liger counters a Tiger Driver with a roll-up for the 1…2…Hiromu kicks out. Liger charges, Hiromu connects with a lariat and hits the Time Bomb for the 1…2…3

Ryu Lee & Hiromu Takahashi defeated Jushin Liger & Naoki Sano via pinfall (12:18)

  • And with that ends Liger’s in-ring career, the most influential junior heavyweight in modern pro wrestling history. What a glorious run, and a good way to end his career, staring up at the lights at the hands of the current Junior Heavyweight Champion. Liger showed great fire in this one and rocked as he always does. I’m getting choked up. (***1/2)

Hiromu says some words and exits, Lee bows to Liger and presents him a gift of a mask before they embrace. Lee exits the ring, Liger grabs a mic and says Jushin Liger the wrestler is no more, and thanks everyone for their support over the past 31 years. Cut to a shot of a crowd member crying.


Bullet Club (El Phantasmo & “Bone Soldier” Taiji Ishimori) [c] vs. Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH) [w/ Rocky Romero] for the IWGP JUNIOR HEAVYWEIGHT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP

Roppongi 3K dropkick Bullet Club out of the ring and follow up with stereo splashes. They roll Phantasmo in for a drop toehold/basement dropkick combo, Ishimori runs in and gets wishboned. Roppongi 3K whip Phantasmo, who slides out of the ring to break the momentum and slow things down. SHO with a side headlock on Phantasmo, Ishimori hits him from behind and distracts him so Phantasmo can send him to the floor with a dropkick. Ishimori tags in and connects with a sliding German on SHO. Ishimori rolls through a 450 attempt and connects with a headscissors, cranking the neck. Phantasmo tags in and gets real animated before raking the back. Ishimori quick tags and does a back rake of his own, Bullet Club busting out their amateur moves. Phantasmo rope walks, back flips, and BACK RAKES. I love it. This is the pro wrestling I crave in my life. Phantasmo with a tope suicida on an unsuspecting Romero, then a flying splash halfway across the ring for the 1…2…not yet. Ishimori puts SHO in the tree of woe (yo), Bullet Club with sliding dropkicks. YOH comes in to help his partner but gets stacked over his partner in the woe. More ball steppin’.

SHO with a spear to Ishimori, YOH gets the hot tag and everybody gets a dropkick. YOH connects with a flying forearm and nip up, Phantasmo buzz kicks him. YOH throws Ishimori into Phantasmo and splashes ‘em both on the floor. YOH rolls Ishimori in and connects with a corner elbow, Ishimori flips out of a suplex and connects with a back-handspring kick. SHO tags in and connects with two Germans, Phantasmo grabs Ishimori to try and prevent a third but SHO overpowers them both and hits a double German! HOT DAMN. Phantasmo rolls SHO up for the 1…2…not yet. Phantasmo picks SHO up, Ishimori tags in and hits a knee strike leading into a giant swing neckbreaker from Phantasmo, Ishimori covers for the 1…2…SHO kicks out! Phantasmo throws Ishimori into SHO for a lung blower, Ishimori holds him and Phantasmo hits the Best Moonsault Ever for the 1…2…SHO barely kicks out. Ishimori throws SHO into Phantasmo, SHO hits him with a surprise Canadian Destroyer. YOH with a superkick, Ishimori backdrops him to the floor. SHO clotheslines Ishimori out, series of hard kicks to Phantasmo. Phantasmo blocks the Shock Arrow and connects with a Styles Clash for the 1…2…SHO kicks out! Ishimori distracts the ref as Phantasmo grabs a title belt. Romero pulls it out of Phantasmo’s hands, Phantasmo tries a low-blow but SHO IS WEARING A CUP. Lariat to Phantasmo, 3K to Ishimori. SHO with a Shock Arrow, feeds him to YOH for a Dragon Suplex. YOH to the top, double stomp/Shock Arrow combo for the 1…2…3!

Roppongi 3K defeated Bullet Club [c] via pinfall to win the NJPW JUNIOR HEAVYWEIGHT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (14:10)

  • This is Roppongi 3K’s first win in the Tokyo Dome and this begins their 4th reign as champions. Match cut a good pace, loved SHO using a cup to prevent a low blow cheat and the ending sequence/finish of Roppongi 3K. Good stuff. Extra props for Bullet Club’s showy back rakes. Back rakes forever. (***1/4)

Romero takes credit for the cup usage, which is something EVERY wrestler should be doing 24/7 given people’s love of low blows.


-VIDEO HYPE: Zack Sabre Jr. vs. SANADA, which is up next. SANADA has four pinfall wins over Sabre Jr. in various matches, which has rubbed the British Champ the wrong way to say the least.


Zack Sabre Jr. [c] vs. “Cold Skull” SANADA for the BRITISH HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP

Sabre Jr. with a wristlock to start, bringing SANADA to the mat. SANADA with side headlocks, Sabre Jr. with headscissor counters, and they reset. Sabre Jr. ducks under a kick and they roll around the ring trying to pin each other. SANADA attempts the Paradise Lock, Sabre Jr. counters with an Ankle Lock, a quick bow and arrow and they reset again. Holy sh*t that was quicker than my brain can comprehend. SANADA with a straitjacket, Sabre Jr. escapes and counters, SANADA counters back. Sabre Jr. escapes, steps through, and wraps SANADA’s arms around his neck. SANADA with the same counter and back into the stranglehold. Sabre Jr. with a single leg, SANADA kicks him to the floor. SANADA flips around, Sabre Jr. throws a fit at ringside in frustration. Sabre Jr. counters a hip toss with a cobra twist, SANADA reverses it and rolls him around the ring for a two-count. SANADA with a back elbow, Sabre Jr. counters a moonsault attempt into a double-arm submission what the f*ck. Sabre Jr. pins the left arm down and stomps the elbow to weaken it further. SANADA with forearms and connects with a dropkick to Sabre Jr.’s left knee. SANADA flips through a snapmare and catches a PK for a Dragon Screw Legwhip. Sabre Jr. bails to the floor, SANADA with a slingshot splash. Back in the ring Sabre Jr. rakes the eyes to prevent another Dragon Screw, both men counter each other, Sabre Jr. with a key lock. SANADA counters into an inverted DDT position, spinning him around. SANADA misses the moonsault, Sabre Jr. with a PK and both are down.

SANADA with hard European uppercuts to Sabre Jr., Sabre Jr. ducks a springboarding SANADA and cue a bunch of roll-up pinfall attempts, SANADA almost getting the win. SANADA with a moonsault into a Skull End attempt, Sabre Jr. rolls through and rolls him up with a bridge for the 1…2…SANADA kicks out. SANADA tries a Skull End once more, Sabre Jr. escapes and locks in the Cobra Twist. SANADA tries another Skull End, both men roll through until Sabre Jr. end up on top for the 1…2…3!

Zack Sabre Jr. [c] defeated SANADA via pinfall to retain the BRITISH HEAYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP (12:34)

  • Once again it was an honor watching Zack Sabre Jr. work. So many quick fluid counters from both men as they jockeyed for position, tons of near-falls until Sabre finally pulled it off. What a match. I could barely keep up with all of the exchanges but I loved every minute. (****1/4)

Jon Moxley [c] vs. Juice Robinson [w/ David Finlay] for the IWGP UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP

Moxley defeated Robinson for the U.S. Title on his first night in NJPW, Robinson ended Moxley’s G1 Climax run later in the year, and now we’re here for the rubber match. Robinson and Moxley both won gold on Night 1, Moxley the U.S. Championship and Robinson the Tag Team Championship. Could Juice end Wrestle Kingdom 14 weekend with double gold? We’re about to find out!

Robinson splashes Moxley during his entrance and throws him into the barricade, followed by a slam on the floor. Robinson rolls Moxley in, Mox bails out on the other side and shoves him into the ring post. Mox pulls two chairs out from under the ring in short order, setting one up. Robinson sends him into it with a drop toehold. Robinson seats Mox on a chair and flattens him with a cannonball. Action moves back inside for a brief moment until Mox sends Robinson back out with a corner whip. Mox grabs another chair and cracks it across his opponent’s back. Mox rolls him in and connects with a series of rights in a full mount. Mox focuses on Robinson’s back, which got wrecked early in the Tag Team Title match the night before, applying a camel clutch. Mox with a snapmare and sliding clothesline for the 1…2…Robinson kicks out. Mox and Robinson trade chops, Mox bites him but gets spiked with a spinebuster. Leg lariat from the challenger followed by a fireman’s carry into a pair of knees. Robinson with a power bomb and jackknife cover for the 1…2…Mox kicks out. That almost got ugly but they recovered for the spot. Rocky Romero joins commentary, I assume for the remainder of the show. Robinson with jabs, Mox responds with a figure four from outta nowhere. Robinson gets to the ropes, Mox wraps the left knee around the post and now we got a RING POST FIGURE FOUR until Tiger Hattori forces the break. Mox wraps a chair around Robinson’s head and goes to hit him with another, but Robinson punches the f*cker right into Mox’s face. Robinson seats Mox on the top buckle and connects with a middle rope superplex, Robinson pops the hips and connects with a Jackhammer for the 1…2…Mox kicks out.

Mox counters Pulp Friction with a release German, Robinson ducks a clothesline and hits a release German of his own. Both men collide with clothesline, Mox puts him down with a second one and signals for the Death Ride. Robinson escapes and rolls him up for the 1…2…Mox kicks out and walks right into a lariat. Mox begs Robinson to hit him, which he does. Forearm and headbutt exchanges. Mox with a whole lot of forearms and a slap to the face. Robinson slaps back, Mox hits him with a forearm followed by a flying knee. Robinson escapes the Death Rider and belts him with two Left Hands from God. Robinson goes for Pulp Friction, Mox escapes and connects with a double arm DDT then floats over into the Death Rider for the 1…2…3!

Jon Moxley [c] defeated Juice Robinson via pinfall to retain the IWGP UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP (12:48)

  • Robinson doesn’t get the double gold after all, poor guy. Great hard-hitting match here, right amount of plunder to not take away from the rest of the action. Mox in NJPW f*cking rules. (***3/4)

Finlay helps Juice to the back. Music hits and out comes a smiling Minoru Suzuki to stare him down. He’s dressed and ready to fight right now, removing his jacket and workout pants. Oh man let’s do this! They trade forearms, Suzuki with a choke followed by a Gotch-style piledriver! Suzuki gets on the mic and asks Mox who he thinks he’s picking a fight with, he is the king of professional wrestling. Suzuki poses with the United States Title and a boot on Mox’s chest. OH MAN GIMME GIMME GIMME.


KENTA [c] vs. Hirooki Goto for the NEVER OPENWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP

KENTA trash talks Goto, Goto makes him pay with all of the forearm strikes. Goto with a hip toss followed by a shoulderblock, KENTA bails to the floor but gets followed out and tossed back in. Goto with a corner clothesline followed by a running bulldog, KENTA bails again. Goto immediately tosses him back in the ring and gets stomped by Goto. Snapmare into a spine kick for a one-count and Goto applies a chinlock before dropping an elbow across the bridge of the nose. Goto with a whip, KENTA belts him with a big boot and tosses Goto out to the floor. Goto immediately runs back in, KENTA throws him out, Goto to the apron but KENTA drops him with a big boot. KENTA whips Goto into the barricade and finally gets his t-shirt off before delivering a hard kick. Another whip into the barricade, KENTA rolls in happy to accept a countout victory. Goto beats the count, KENTA tosses him back out and DDTs him on the ramp. Goto beats the count in the nick of time, KENTA tosses him back out once again.

Goto back in, KENTA drives a knee to the midsection then kicks the f*ck out of his spine for the 1…2…Goto kicks out. KENTA exposes the knee but disrespectfully kicks him instead and pulls it back up. Nice. Chinlock time. Goto escapes, KENTA buries another knee to the midsection. KENTA belts Goto in the chest with kicks, Goto catches one and hits a spinning clothesline. Corner forearm shivers from both men until Goto hits a f*cking near-KO blow. Goto with a corner whip, spinning heel kick and backdrop suplex for the 1…2…KENTA kicks out. KENTA escapes a fireman’s carry and connects with a powerslam. KENTA with a tornado neck snap across the top rope followed by a flying clothesline off the top for the 1…2…Goto kicks out. KENTA places Goto on the middle rope and drives a knee to the spine, Goto ducks a clothesline and hits the Ushigoroshi but he’s too out of it to go for the pin. KENTA with a LeBell Lock out of nowhere, Goto forces a rope break. KENTA drives Goto into the canvas with a hanging DDT and measures him for a leaping dropkick. KENTA takes flight and hits the double stomp for the 1…2…Goto kicks out.

Goto counters a Busaiku Knee with a sleeper, KENTA counters into one of his own. Nice save. Goto almost fades, KENTA lets go for a PK and Busaiku Knee for the 1…2…Goto kicks out again! Goto catches the G2S, KENTA with forearms and Goto responds with a headbutt. Goto with a lariat but KENTA doesn’t go down and hits two spinning backfists. KENTA with a clothesline, Goto doesn’t go down and drops KENTA with a HARD LARIAT for the 1…2…KENTA kicks out. KENTA catches a kick and connects with a whole lot of palm strikes, Goto with the GTW for the 1…2…KENTA gets a shoulder up. Goto keeps hold of KENTA and hits the GTR for the 1…2…3!

Hirooki Goto defeated KENTA [c] via pinfall to win the NEVER OPENWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP (16:13)

  • These two did not hold back and had a match that looked super f*cking painful. Lots of kicks and palm strikes, fun counters. I’m a little disappointed Goto got the win if only because I love seeing KENTA do his thing, but I assume it made sense for the story they were telling that I’m not super aware of. (***1/2)

-SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: The 2020 NJPW Schedule. I’m not going to watch a lot of this so I’m not super interested but y’all can find it online at With Spandex or something. G1 Climax has been moved to October though because of the 2020 Olympics, which is interesting. Also means it’s going to be a shorter tournament so maybe I will watch it after all.


Kota Ibushi vs. “Switchblade” Jay White [w/ Gedo]

This is a “runners up” match between the two losers in the Intercontinental/Heavyweight Title matches. During his entrance White says there’s no belt but he’s still the best. My kingdom for that level of confidence for anything in my life.

White bails from the ring, Gedo provides a distraction but Ibushi catches it. Ibushi with a mid-kick and a whole lot of strikes followed by another mid-kick and standing moonsault for a two-count. White tries to bail, Ibushi pulls him back in. White blocks a whip and belts Ibushi with a series of forearms. Ibushi floated to the apron, White snaps his neck across the top rope and sends him crashing face-first into the barricade. White decides against the countout, at least this point, and rams him chest-first across the apron. White rolls him in and covers but Ibushi kicks out at one. White with a neckbreaker, Ibushi kicks out at two from the lateral press. White wrenches in a bridging chinlock, saying he’s not a loser like Ibushi is and how the people don’t care about him anymore. Ibushi runs into a boot but catches White with a snap rana, sending him to the floor, Ibushi follows up with a slingshot splash. Back in the ring Ibushi connects with a missile dropkick, White dodges a corner splash. Ibushi floats over White and connects with a powerslam followed by a middle rope moonsault for the 1…2…White kicks out. White with a DDT on the top of Ibushi’s head. Ibushi tries to fight out of the urinage, White throws him down by the hair. Ibushi blocks the Blade Buster, White responds with forearm strikes, Ibushi flips out of a Blade Buster attempt and hits a Bastard Driver.

White fights out of the lawn dart with all the forearms to the back, Ibushi drops him with one hard forearm shiver. Ibushi stalks White in his fugue state and continually knocks him down with forearm strikes while absorbing White’s shots. White slaps Ibushi and hits some quick shots, Ibushi absorbs them and WRECKS White with a lariat. Jesus. White pulls the ref in the way of Ibushi and hits a flatliner followed by a deadlift release German. White connects with a Blade Buster and holds on for a Kiwi Crusher for the 1…2…Ibushi kicks out. Ibushi fights out of a sleeper suplex attempt but not the snap Saito suplex. Ibushi fights off the superplex attempt, Gedo climbs the apron and distracts him so White can rake the eyes. White pummels Ibushi who crumples to the apron. Ibushi chops White and goes for a springboard, but White trips him up and hangs him out to dry. White brings Ibushi back to the top and we get a SUPER URINAGE for the 1…2…IBUSHI KICKS OUT! White with a sleeper suplex and signals for the end, Ibushi pops to his feet and hits a V-Trigger, and both crumple to the mat again. Ibushi with a bridging German suplex for the 1…2…White kicks out. Ibushi follows up with the Bomaye for the 1…2…White kicks out again.

Ibushi with a high kick to the skull, White counters the Kamigoye by sending him right into the referee. Gedo hits Ibushi with a chair and now we got FUGUE STATE IBUSHI OUT FOR BLOOD. Gedo with strikes, Ibushi no-sells them and drops him with one shot, Gedo’s head bouncing off the top rope. YIKES I hope he’s okay. Ibushi with a sit-out Last Ride but there’s no ref to make the count. Ibushi rolls the ref back in and grabs White’s wrists, White flattens out to avoid the Kamigoye. Ibushi kicks White with a pair of kicks and hits the Kamigoye for the 1…2…Gedo pulls out the referee. This is some WWE sh*t, tremendous. Gedo tries to hit Ibushi with brass knuckles but is caught. White wrecks Ibushi with a chair, Gedo hits him with the knuckles, and Ibushi crumples to the mat. Holy f*ck. White crawls over to Ibushi and hits a straitjacket Bloody Sunday and Blade Runner for the 1…2…3.

Jay White defeated Kota Ibushi via pinfall (24:59)

  • Did not need to be 25 minutes, probably didn’t need to have all the shenanigans either but I do appreciate a brass knuckles spot. Ibushi and White essentially wrestled for a bronze medal here but they did not hold back, Ibushi especially who is a crazy person and I’m terrified to watch in fear he’s going to f*cking kill himself every time out. I still liked the match a lot overall but I would have shaved some time off if we were going to go that route. (***3/4)

White hits another Blade Runner on Ibushi and celebrates with Gedo. Ibushi breaks down as the awful weekend has finally caught up to him, and refuses help as he heads to the back.


-VIDEO HYPE: Tanahashi vs. Jericho. Tanahashi dresses up as the Painmaker as well and looks RIDICULOUS. I love it.


“The Ace” Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. “The Painmaker” Chris Jericho

If Tanahashi can beat Jericho he will receive a shot at the AEW World Championship. Hell yeah, fingers crossed he gets the duke. Jericho brought the AEW World Title with him but not his Judas theme song. NOT A FAIR TRADE.

Tana with a side headlock to start, Jericho whips him off and they collide with neither man falling. Jericho with a side headlock takeover, Tana counters with a headscissors, and vice versa before they reset. Jericho with an ARMBAR!!!, Tana counters with an armdrag into an armbar of his own. Hammerlocks, reversing of hammerlocks, jockeying for position as they back into the corner. Tana doesn’t break clean though, hitting a back elbow and a mule kick. Tana sent to the apron, Jericho sends him flying with a springboard dropkick. VINTAGE. Jericho works Tana over on the floor, sending him into the barricade in front of commentary and dumping him onto the broadcast table. Jericho breaks the count and DDTs Tana on the table, stopping to take a drink from somebody’s water bottle. Back in the ring Jericho continues his slow destruction of Tana as audio issues plague the f*ck out of this broadcast. Commentary has not been restored, so I’m just hearing a ton of mic hits and sh*t which is drowning out the actual arena noise. Jericho mocks Tana’s air guitar and heads to the top but misses the Frog Splash. Tana skins the cat, ducks a clothesline, and hits a series of forearms followed by a flying forearm. Forearm is what I’m saying.

Tana charges at Jericho, Jericho pulls Red Shoes in the way and Tana accidentally splashes him. Commentary returns as Jericho whips Tana with his weight belt. Tana responds with a Greco-Roman low blow. Jericho catches Tana with a kick, Tana sends him into a seated position in the corner and follows up with knees to the back. Tana to the middle buckle for a senton and the 1…2…Jericho kicks out. Red Shoes is alive! Tana counters the Lionsault by shoving him out to the floor and hits High Fly Flow to the outside! Jericho stumbles around but beats the count. Tana grabs the leg and hits a pair of Dragon Screws over the middle rope. Jericho sidesteps the Sling Blade, Tana counters the Codebreaker with a Dragon Screw, followed by two more. Jericho counters High Fly Flow with a pair of knees and hits the Lionsault, but hurts his knee and takes too long to cover so Tana kicks out of the lateral press. Tana blocks the Judas Effect and hits a bridging straitjacket German for the 1…2…Jericho kicks out! Jericho with a double leg takedown and the Lion Tamer in the center of the ring! Tana fights through, turns himself over and uses his leg strength to whip him off, following up with a sling blade. Tana hammers Jericho down and heads to the top, High Fly Flow countered with the Codebreaker for the 1…2…Tana kicks out!

Tana ducks the Judas Effect and hits a Codebreaker of his own for the 1…2…Jericho gets the shoulder up. Jericho counters the sling blade with a Lion Tamer attempt but Tana counters with an inside cradle for the 1…2…not yet. Tana with a front chancery into a Twist & Shout. Tana with the sling blade for the 1…2…Jericho kicks out. Jericho rolls through the High Fly Flow for another Lion Tamer attempt, this time turning it over. Jericho steps over and bends back further, AND THE ACE TAPS.

Chris Jericho defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi via submission (22:27)

  • I’m honestly a little surprised Jericho got the win, and by submission to boot. Guess we aren’t getting a Tanahashi Dynamite main event. I’ll be honest this match didn’t do much for me; it was well-wrestled but in the shadow of everything else NJPW has brought to the table it could not come close to measuring up. (**3/4)

DOUBLE TITLE MATCH
“The Rainmaker” Kazuchika Okada [HW] vs. Tetsuya Naito [IC] for the IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT & INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

Naito busts out the white suit/robe for this one. Okada loved his glowing entrance gear from Night 1 so much he brought it back. The winner of this one will be the first man to hold both championships in NJPW history…and hopefully unify them because there are TOO MANY CHAMPIONSHIPS in this company.

After 2.5 minutes they finally lock up, jockeying for position. Oh god this f*cker is going an hour isn’t it? Naito backs Okada against the ropes, Okada ducks back to back elbows and hits one of his own. Okada splashes Naito in the corner and follows up with a DDT for the first two-count of the match. Okada with a chinlock, Naito almost breaks out so Okada brings him back to the mat with a snapmare followed by a sliding kick. Naito with an armdrag, elbow, and dropkick to the back of the head. Naito kicks off Okada, sweeps the leg, and hits a slingshot dropkick. Naito sweeps the legs and connects with a hanging neckbreaker to the floor. Hot damn. Naito rolls Okada in and hits another neckbreaker, floating over into a lateral press for the 1…2…Okada kicks out and Naito traps a double armbar using the legs in a full nelson-like manner.

Naito beats Okada down in the corner, dragging him into the center of the ring with a cravat to continue working on the neck. Naito charges and gets turned inside out with a big boot. Okada puts his dukes up and flapjacks Naito off the whip, then measures for a big boot. Naito catches it, Okada with a forearm and European uppercut, Naito with a sunset flip but Okada rolls through and picks him up for a cradle neckbreaker. NICE. Scoop slam, flying elbowdrop, RAINMAKER POSE AND ZOOM OUT BAYBEEE. Naito counters the Rainmaker with a series of back elbows and plants him with a spinebuster. Naito follows up with a super rana but no pinfall attempt is made. Okada fights Naito off and delivers some forearms and European uppercut, Naito fakes him out and hits him with a kick, Okada immediately responds with a shotgun dropkick. Okada charges, Naito gets a pair of boots up and sits on the buckles, Okada sends him to the floor with a dropkick. Okada drives Naito’s left knee, the same one hurt last night, into the floor. Okada clears the Japanese announce table, Naito tries to fight him off but the knee gets chop blocked and Okada sends him KNEE FIRST INTO THE TABLE WHICH DOES NOT BUCKLE. F*ck that noise.

Naito beats the count JUST IN TIME, Okada heads right to the top and belts him with a missile dropkick for the 1…2…Naito kicks out. Okada hangs on through back elbows and hits a German suplex. Okada tries for a Rainmaker, Naito counters with a tornado DDT. Naito wakes up a bit, connecting with a high-angle Gloria, a smile across his face. Naito stands Okada on the middle buckle and hits a SUPER POISON RANA for the 1…2…OKADA GETS HIS SHOULDER UP AND NAITO CAN’T BELIEVE IT. Okada fights Naito off, Naito responds with an enzuigiri. Okada catches Naito mid-air, Naito ducks the Rainmaker but Okada blocks Destino. Naito connects with the flying forearm, combo kick from Naito and a dropkick from Okada. Naito recovers and hits DESTINOOOOO for the 1…2…OKADA F*CKING KICKS OUT.

Okada counters the Destino again and connects with a dropkick after Naito dodges the Rainmaker. Both men get to their knees and trade forearms. Vertical base, Naito spits in his face and hits him with a forearm. Okada responds with another, everybody stumbling. Forearms get faster and more furious, Naito with a right hand, Okada with a spinning Rainmaker! Okada counters Destino with a Tombstone, and RAAAAINMAAAAAKEEEERRRRR for the 1…2…NAITO KICKS OOOUT! Okada picks Naito up, Naito squirms like a Dead By Daylight character to escape his grasp. Naito spits in Okada’s face once again, Okada rams his knee into the canvas repeatedly. Rainmaker 1, Rainmaker 2. Okada gets him rip-cord position, Naito ducks and DESTINOOOO for the 1…2…OKADA KICKS OUT. Naito spent precious seconds in pain after his knee jammed, possibly costing him the match. Naito slams Okada and hits the Stardust Press for the 1…2…OKADA KICKS OUT AGAIN. Naito goes for Destino, Okada fights him off so he hits a sit-out tombstone followed by DESTINOOOOOOO FOR THE 1…2…3!

Tetsuya Naito defeated Kazuchika Okada via pinfall to win the IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP and retain the IWGP INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP (35:38)

  • I thought Okada/Ibushi couldn’t be topped last night but then this match happened. Tremendous f*cking contest, Naito finally getting the big win was a tremendous moment. The commentators did a great job filling me in on the feud between the two and what happened two years, making that Stardust Press moment even better. I bought into so many of those nearfalls, man. What a great f*cking match and great way to end the weekend. Goddamn. Godmotherf*ckingdamn. What a moment to experience. (*****)

Naito gets on the mic and tells Okada they should do this again, Okada raises a fist in agreement and is helped to the back. Champion coronation ceremony time! Naito lays both belts down, puts on his Los Ingobernables hat and poses in front of them. Naito back on the mic “BUENAS NOCHES TOKYO!”. Naito says the fans have finally seen him flip the script; he will never forget this weekend and will take steps to the future. Naito tries to end in style but in come KENTA to be the spoiler! KENTA lays him out with a PK followed by the GTS. KENTA sits on Naito’s chest Shibata-style, posing with both belts. Out comes BUSHI to check on Naito and help him to the back.

  • KENTA was super close to starting a riot, it felt like. I dug it a lot. Good way to end the show I think, creating a super heel and his first challenger. Almost makes you forget he got punked out by Goto earlier in the show.

*****

FINAL THOUGHTS: Despite having higher-profile matches Night 2 of Wrestle Kingdom 14 could not measure up to the previous show, but at the same time also featured the best match of the entire weekend so there we go. That said this is still a great show with no truly bad matches and a great capper of a weekend for NJPW who have set the table for 2020. Tremendous stuff. NJPW is cool.

  • MATCH OF THE NIGHT: Okada vs. Naito
  • MOMENT OF THE NIGHT: KENTA ruins Naito’s moment, becomes the biggest heel in NJPW

 

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