By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
New Japan Pro Wrestling “Wrestle Kingdom 14 Night 2”
January 5, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan at the Tokyo Dome
Broadcast live on New Japan World and FITE TV
Wrestle Kingdom 14 Night 2 Pre-Show
The pre-show broadcast team was Kevin Kelly, Chris Charlton, and Gino Gambino…
1. Ryusuke Taguchi, Toru Yano, and Togi Makabe vs. Robbie Eagles, Yoshi-Hashi, and Tomohiro Ishii vs. Evil, Shingo Takagi, and Bushi vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru, El Desperado, and Taichi vs. Bad Luck Fale, Yujiro Takahashi, and Chase Owens in a gauntlet match for the Never Openweight Six-Man Tag Titles. Fale, Takahashi, and Owens started the match against Eagles, Ishii, and Yoshi-Hashi. Eagles avoided the Bad Luck Fall, then he and Hashi worked over the big man. Ishii tagged in to a nice pop and got the better of Owens. Ishii was isolated by the Bullet Club trio and took a knee to the face from Owens that led to a two count. Ishii rallied and performed a brainbuster on Owens and scored the pin.
Bad Luck Fale, Yujiro Takahashi, and Chase Owens were eliminated by Robbie Eagles, Yoshi-Hashi, and Tomohiro Ishii in 3:40.
Yoshinobu Kanemaru, El Desperado, and Taichi were the next entrants. FITE muted Taichi’s singing his entrance theme (thank you). Eagles and Kanemaru had a comical series of go behind reversals that resulted in Eagles rolling Kanemaru into a pin and getting the three count.
Yoshinobu Kanemaru, El Desperado, and Taichi were eliminated by Robbie Eagles, Yoshi-Hashi, and Tomohiro Ishii in 3:50.
Evil, Shingo Takagi, and Bushi were the next entrants. Kelly said there were “thousands and thousands” of new subscribers for New Japan World because of Wrestle Kingdom. Bushi performed a suicide dive and nearly landed on his head somehow. Evil and Ishii had a good exchange. Evil caught a charging Ishii with a lariat and then hit Darkness Falls for what seemed to be a two count, but it was ruled a three count.
Robbie Eagles, Yoshi-Hashi, and Tomohiro Ishii were eliminated by Evil, Shingo Takagi, and Bushi in 6:30.
Defending champions Ryusuke Taguchi, Toru Yano, and Togi Makabe were the final entrants. Takagi caught Taguchi with a lariat an then performed his finisher to win the match…
Evil, Shingo Takagi, and Bushi defeated Ryusuke Taguchi, Toru Yano, and Togi Makabe in 6:20 to win the Never Openweight Six-Man Tag Titles.
Powell’s POV: The gauntlet match got a lot of people on the card and was fine for what it was. Despite winning the six-man titles, it was a forgettable Wrestle Kingdom weekend for Evil and Takagi, though I admittedly don’t care about the six-man tag titles so some of you may feel differently. The duo took part in a faction tag team battle on night one and then this match on night two. It will be interesting to see what the year holds for them if their LIJ faction leader Tetsuya Naito wins the IWGP Heavyweight Champion later tonight. Speaking of which, are they setting up for an LIJ sweep with Sanada also challenging Zack Sabre Jr. for the British Championship?
Wrestle Kingdom 14 Night Two Main Show
The main show opened with a video package that ran through the various matches… The broadcast team was Kevin Kelly, Chris Charlton, and Gino Gambino. Kelly said Rocky Romero would join them later…
1. Jushin Liger and Naoki Sano vs. Ryu Lee and Hiromu Takahashi in Liger’s final match. The broadcast team played up the tension between Lee and Takahashi give the history that Takahashi suffered a serious neck injury when they wrestled against one another. Lee came out first and held the ropes open for Takahashi. Liger and Takahashi started the match. Liger performed an early surfboard on Takahashi. Lee checked in a short time later and wrestled in his Dragon Lee baseball jersey style shirt.
Liger was isolated for a bit and made a tag to Sano, who performed a missile dropkick on both opponents. Lee got fired up and removed his shirt prior to an exchange of forearms with Sano. Lee knocked him down with a high knee, then ran into a lariat clothesline. Takahashi and Liger checked back in. Takahashi got the better of it and yelled at Liger, then shoved the referee aside. Liger came back with a powerbomb in the corner. Lee had both opponents at ringside. Lee went for a flip dive, but Liger and Sano moved, causing Lee to crash into Takahashi.
Back inside the ring, Liger performed a brainbuster on Takahashi and had the pin, but Lee broke it up. Lee took out Sano with a suicide dive. With Sano down, Takahashi and Lee teamed up on Liger with knees and kicks. Takahashi set up for his finisher, but Liger rolled him into a pin for a two count. Liger charged at Takahashi, who caught him with a clothesline. Takahashi hit his Time Bomb finisher and scored the clean pin.
Ryu Lee and Hiromu Takahashi defeated Jushin Liger and Naoki Sano in 12:20.
After the match, both opponents had a moment with Liger. Once Liger got to his feet, he took the mic and spoke to the live crowd in Japanese, which Charlton translated. Liger thanked the fans for 31 years of support. They cut to a shot of a woman crying in the crowd. Liger went to ringside and slapped hands with fans along the guardrail and took some bows…
Powell’s POV: I can only assume that Liger wanted to do the honors on his way out. The end of an amazing era, as Jushin Liger has worked his final match at age 55. It continues to amaze me that a guy who worked the style that he did was able to do the things in the ring until the very end. I attended the first WCW Nitro event and I’m happy that I had the pleasure of seeing him in wrestle in person.
2. Taiji Ishimori and El Phantasmo vs. “Roppongi 3K” Sho and Yoh (w/Rocky Romero) for the IWPG Jr. Hvt. Tag Titles. The FITE TV feed muted the sound during the entrance of the champions (New Japan World’s feed was down at last check). Sho and Yoh jumped out to a quick start. Ishimori and Phantasmo regrouped at ringside. There was a good spot late with Phantasmo holding up Sho while Ishimori hit him with a high knee to the head. Phantasmo followed up with an airplane spin and eventually got a near fall.
Yoh returned after being down at ringside and threw a lousy superkick that missed Ishimori, who sold it anyway. Phantasmo hit a Styles Clash on Sho for a near fall. Takahashi distracted the referee while Phantasmo grabbed a title belt to use as a weapon. Romero pulled the belt away. Phantasmo went for a low blow, but he held his hand in pain. Sho pulled an athletic cup out of his tights. Sho and Yoh rallied and scored the pin…
Sho and Yoh defeated Taiji Ishimori and El Phantasmo in 14:10 to win the IWPG Jr. Hvt. Tag Titles.
After the match, Romero looked into the camera and boasted that the athletic cup was his idea. In a strange moment, Yoh pulled the camera toward his chest and then gave viewers an extreme closeup as he bounced a pec muscle…
Powell’s POV: The idea to use of the athletic cup makes Romero the smartest man in pro wrestling. It also makes everyone who has taken repeated low blows look stupid for not wearing one. Anyway, the match was good and they were given more time than I anticipated.
A video package set up the British Heavyweight Championship match…
3. Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Sanada for the British Heavyweight Championship. Kelly noted that the wrestlers are 2-2 against one another in singles matches. He added that whenever Sanada has been victorious at Wrestle Kingdom it has been for championship gold. Tiger Hattori was the referee. Kelly said it would be his last time working as a referee in the Tokyo Dome.
Sabre showed some frustration a few minutes into the match, but then he caught Sanada on the mat and went to work with a series of holds. Sanada came back by kicking the knee of Sabre. Sanada followed up with a dragon screw leg whip. Sanada swung Sabre round by his head. Sanada released the hold and went for a moonsault, but Sabre rolled out of the way shortly before 10:00.
There was a good series with both men going for pins. A short time later, Sanada went for Skull End, but Sabre countered into a pin. Sanada rolled into a pin of his own, then Sabre rolled through into a bridge and got the three count…
Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Sanada in 12:35 to retain the British Heavyweight Championship.
Powell’s POV: A very good match. Sabre winning means it won’t be a sweep for LIJ in their title matches. I’m disappointed that we didn’t see a Sanada win because it gets no better than Sabre throwing a tantrum after he loses.
4. Jon Moxley vs. Juice Robinson (w/David Finlay) for the IWGP U.S. Championship. Robinson continued to pay tribute to the Village People with his mustache and cop hat. Robinson attacked Moxley at ringside before the bell. Robinson came back by shoving Robinson into the ring post. Robinson performed a drop toe hold onto a chair, then placed Moxley on a chair and performed a cannonball onto him. The wrestlers finally rolled into the ring, but it didn’t take long for Moxley to toss Robinson over the top rope and back to the floor where Moxley hit him with a chair.
Back inside the ring, Robinson came back and hit a powerbomb on the second try for a two count. Moxley fought back and applied a figure four, which Robinson broke by reaching the ropes. Moxley slid to the floor and slammed Robinson’s knee into the ring post, then reapplied the figure four around the post. Moxley wrapped a chair around the head of Robinson and then grabbed another chair, but Robinson punched it into Moxley’s face. Robinson held his hand while Kelly recalled that Robinson broke his hand doing the same thing in a match with Jay White a couple years earlier. Back in the ring, Robinson superplexed Moxley, then hoisted him up for a Jackhammer for a two count.
Moxley came back with a clothesline and signaled for his finisher, but Robinson avoided it and rolled him into a pin for a near fall. Both men got to their feet and Robinson knocked Moxley down with a clothesline. Both men got to their feet and Moxley told Robinson to hit him. The wrestlers exchanged strikes with Moxley getting the better of it by knocking Robinson to his knees and then hitting him with a running knee to the head. Robinson came back with a couple of big punches, then knocked him down with a left. Robinson went for his finisher, but Moxley countered into the Death Rider. Moxley picked up Robinson and hit the Death Rider again and scored the pin.
Jon Moxley beat Juice Robinson in 12:50 to retain the IWGP U.S. Championship.
After the match, Moxley climbed onto the ropes, looked into the camera, and said he owns Wrestle Kingdom. Minoru Suzuki made his entrance with a smirk on his face. Suzuki entered the ring and traded punches with Moxley, then put him in a choke hold, released it, and put him down with a Gotch style piledriver. Suzuki walked to the corner and picked up the U.S. Title belt and grabbed a mic. Suzuki spoke in Japanese and told Moxley to be careful who he picks a fight with. Suzuki dubbed himself the king of pro wrestling. Suzuki put his foot on Moxley and held up the title, then stomped him with his foot before leaving the ring…
Powell’s POV: Another entertaining edition of the Moxley vs. Robinson feud. With Robinson and Finlay holding the IWGP Tag Titles, it’s logical for Moxley to retain the U.S. Championship, especially considering what they did in the post match to set up a Moxley vs. Suzuki feud, which should be an absolute blast. It’s good to see that Moxley and Suzuki are sticking around in NJPW.
A video package set up the Never Openweight Championship match…
5. Kenta vs. Hirooki Goto for the Never Openweight Championship. Rocky Romero joined the broadcast team. Kenta’s music was muted on FITE (why can’t this happen when Dolph Ziggler makes his entrances?). Goto punched Kenta and was all over him to start the match. Kenta came back with a kick to the head and took offensive control. Kenta teased a double stomp, but landed on his feet and delivered a taunting kick to Goto’s head around 6:00.
Goto eventually rallied with a clothesline. The wrestlers traded forearms. Kenta jawed at Goto, who knocked him down with a forearm to the head. Kenta regrouped and clotheslined Goto from the top rope. Goto came back and performed a ushigoroshi, but Kenta quickly applied a submission hold. Later, Kenta set up for a GTS, but Goto grabbed his leg and then delivered a headbutt. Kenta threw some strikes, but Goto no-sold the blows and threw a lariat that led to a near fall.
Kenta threw a kick that Kenta blocked. Kenta fired palm strikes at Kenta, who no sold them and then fired back with some of his own. Kenta beat him to the punch on one and fired away with several more. Kenta him off and hit a GTW for a near fall. Goto followed up with the GTR and scored the pin…
Hirooki Goto beat Kenta in 16:15 to win the the Never Openweight Championship.
Powell’s POV: A good, physical match with the payoff of Goto finally getting a win over Kenta. They have been building to this since Kenta joined Bullet Club and turned on Katsuyori Shibata. Romero mentioned Shibata afterward. It’s a shame he wasn’t there for this match given his history with both men.
A video package listed various big events, including the New Beginning shows for February, the New Japan Cup for March, Sakura Genesis for March 31, the Best of the Super Juniors for June 6 in Tokyo, Dominion for June 14 in Osaka, and the G1 Climax 30 tournament finals weekend October 16, 17, and 18 in Tokyo…
Powell’s POV: The G1 will occur in September and October this year due to Japan hosting the Summer Olympics. I like the usual timing, but one benefit is that there wont be such a long wait between tournament finals and the winner challenging for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at Wrestle Kingdom.
6. Kota Ibushi vs. Jay White (w/Gedo). The bell rang and White rolled to ringside. Gedo provided a distraction so that White could attack Ibushi from behind, but Ibushi saw him coming and went on the early offensive, which included a standing moonsault for a two count. Kelly spoke about the length of the matches that Ibushi and White had the night before and said he would be surprised if this match or the main event went 30 minutes. White knocked Ibushi off the apron and he fell between the barricade and the platform the ring was on. White went to ringside and ran Ibushi into the guardrail.
Ibushi came back with a missile dropkick and a moonsault for a near fall. Ibushi stopped a White rally with a tombstone piledriver. Moments later, White shoved Ibushi a way and said that’s it. White threw a forearm to the head of Ibushi, who no sold it and then dropped White with a forearm of his own. They repeated that several times with Ibushi winning the battle each time. White slapped Ibushi, who blasted him with a lariat. White shoved the referee into Ibushi, who pushed the ref aside and walked into a Flatliner.
White performed a wicked suplex, then picked up Ibushi and put him in a seated position on the ropes. White set up for a superplex. Ibushi was about to stuff it, but Gedo distracted the referee, allowing White to gouge the eyes of Ibushi and then knocked him to the apron. Ibushi went for a springboard move, but White tripped him up and he landed with his abdomen over the top rope. White performed a top rope uranage and covered Ibushi for a close near fall. White followed up with a sleeper suplex. White picked up Ibushi, who drilled him with a V-Trigger knee.
Ibushi executed a bridging German suplex for a two count. Ibushi followed up with a running knee for another two count. Ibushi set up for his finisher. White avoided it, but Ibushi caught him with a kick. White pulled Ibushi into the referee. REF BUMP!!! Gedo entered the ring with a chair and slammed it over the back of Ibushi, who turned and glared at Gedo, who begged off. Gedo kicked Ibushi three time. Ibushi no sold the kicks and delivered a heart punch that knocked Gedo from the ring. Ibushi nailed White with a knee to the head and then performed a sit-out powerbomb for a visual pinfall while the referee was still down.
Ibushi went to ringside and rolled the referee inside the ring. Ibushi tried to pick up White, who laid on his back and smiled while the fans booed. Ibushi threw kicks at White and caught him with a Kamigoye. Ibushi had the pin, but Gedo pulled the referee out of the ring. Gedo entered the ring and tried to hit Ibushi with brass knuckles. Ibushi blocked the punch. White threw a chair at the head of Ibushi. Gedo hit Ibushi with the brass knuckles. Gedo rolled the referee back into the ring and told him to do his job. White picked up a limp Ibushi and performed a Bladerunner and scored the pin.
Jay White defeated Kota Ibushi in 25:05.
After the match, White picked up Ibushi and gave him another Bladerunner. White looked into the camera and said, “We’ve always got a plan.” White walked over to the English broadcast table and boasted about the win and always having a plan while Gambino cheered him on. After White and Gedo were gone, Ibushi had to be held back by the young lions at ringside briefly. Ibushi continued to sell while staggering as he made his way toward the back…
Powell’s POV: A very good match. Ibushi loses both Wrestle Kingdom matches, but the outside interference was so heavy here that he obviously has an out. This probably won’t be a popular finish, but it makes sense to give Ibushi a loss to avenge.
A video package set up the next match. It included footage of a Japanese band playing while wearing Jericho’s face point and hat. Hiroshi Tanahashi attacked the singer, put the hat on, and revealed that he was wearing face paint similar to Jericho’s. Tanahashi sang while the band played. They also showed Jericho offering to give Tanahashi a shot at the AEW Championship if he could beat him at the Tokyo Dome…
7. AEW Champion Chris Jericho vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi in a non-title match. Jericho wore the AEW Championship belt to the ring and was introduced as the AEW Champion. Jericho performed an early dropkick from the ropes to knock Tanahashi to ringside. Jericho went to ringside and pulled a piece of the guardrail into his head. Jericho set up Tanahashi on top of a table and then DDT’d him.
The broadcast team cut out and very little could be heard from inside the dome as Jericho continued to dominate the match and mocked Tanahashi by playing air guitar. Jericho went to the ropes and the dome sound was restored, though the broadcast team could not be heard. Jericho played air guitar on the top rope, then performed a High Fly Flow frogsplash, but Tanahashi movedout of the way. A short time later, Tanahashi charged at Jericho, who pulled the referee in his place. REF BUMP!!! The sound returned as Kelly said they had to rebuild their table after the destruction caused by Jericho.
With the referee down, Jericho whipped Tanahashi with his weightlifting belt. Once the referee recovered, Jericho went for a Lionsault, but Tanahashi pushed him off the ropes to ringside. Tanahashi went up top and performed the High Fly Flow cross body block onto Jericho at ringside. Tanahashi hit a flurry of moves as Jericho returned to the ring. Jericho went for a Codebreaker, but Tanahashi stuffed it and performed three dragon screw leg whips. Tanahashi went for a High Fly Flow from the top rope, but Jericho put his knees up. Jericho performed a Lionsault for a near fall.
At 16:20, Jericho applied the Walls of Jericho. Tanahashi eventually turned over and then flipped Jericho off of him. Tanahashi caught Jericho with a sling blade clothesline. Tanahashi went up top for his finisher, but Jericho caught him with a Codebreaker on the way down. Jericho covered Tanahashi for a two count. Tanahashi hit a Codebreaker on Jericho for a near fall. Jericho came right back with a Liontamer attempt, but Tanahashi countered into an inside cradle for a two count.
Tanahashi performed a twist and shout neckbreaker. Tanahashi hit another sling blade clothesline for another two count. Tanahashi went up top and performed a cross body block, but Jericho rolled through and applied a Codebreaker, then turned it into a Liontamer. Tanashi eventually tapped out…
Chris Jericho defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi in 22:20 in a non-title match.
Powell’s POV: A really fun match and easily my favorite of the night. I didn’t have a strong feeling about who would go over, but I didn’t think Tanahashi would actually tap out to the Liontamer. This was a cool moment and I assume this means we can look forward to a rematch, albeit not for the AEW Championship given the match stipulation. Nevertheless, it was cool to see the AEW Championship belt on a Tokyo Dome show.
A video package set up the main event…
8. IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada vs. IWGP Intercontinental Champion Tetsuya Naito in a title vs. title match. Both men handed over their respective title belts to referee Red Shoes prior to the match. The broadcast team played up the story that Okada wasn’t as crisp as usual due to the quick turnaround.
At 13:00, Okada performed a neckbreaker onto his knee. Okada slammed Naito and then went up top dropped an elbow onto Naito. Okada struck the Rainmaker pose. Okada went for the move, but Naito hit him with elbows to cut him off. A short time later, Okada caught Naito sitting on the top rope with a dropkick that sent him to ringside. Okada went to ringside and slammed Naito’s left knee onto the floor. Kelly recalled that Naito’s knee was damaged the night before during his match with Jay White.
Okada cleared off the Japanese broadcast table. Romero said it was uncharacteristic of Okada to be taking this approach. Okada slammed Naito knee first onto the table. Naito struggled to get to his feet at ringside and barely beat the referee’s 20-count. Okada was waiting and hit him with a great missile dropkick that led to a near fall. Okada performed a German suplex. Naito came right back with a spinning DDT while using the ropes. Naito followed up with Gloria, then sat up and smirked. At 23:30, Naito performed a Poison Rana from the ropes for a close near fall.
Powell’s POV: That Poison Rana looked sick. Okada landed on his head when he landed, yet he somehow got up and continued.
Naito went for Destino. Okada avoided it and dropkicked Naito, who came right back with Destino for a great near fall. Naito went for Destino, but Okada slipped away and dropkicked him. Both men struggled to get to their feet. They got to their knees and traded forearms. Okada smiled at Naito, who responded with a forearm and a smile. They smiled at one another again and went back to trading forearms and elbows. They got to their feet and Naito spat in the face of Okada. They went back to exchanging strikes. Naito delivered a palm strike, then Okada fired back with a lariat.
Okada went for a Rainmaker. Okada countered into a Destino attempt, but Okada performed a tombstone piledriver. Okada hit a Rainmaker clothesline and got a really good near fall. Okada set up for a sit-out driver, but Naito fought his way free and then fell to the mat. Okada stood over Naito, who rolled to the corner. Okada picked up Naito, who spat in his face and then fell down. Okada slammed Naito’s bad knee into the mat twice, which drew some boos from the live crowd.
Kelly said it was nothing personal against Naito, it was just business for Okada. Okada grabbed Naito by the arm and hit him with a pair of clotheslines. Okada let out a primal scream and set up for a Rainmaker, but Naito countered into a Destino for another strong near fall. Naito scooped up Okada and slammed him, then went to the ropes and performed a Stardust Press for a great near fall. Naito went for Destino, but Okada blocked it. Naito slammed Okada, then followed up with another Destino and scored the pin…
Tetsuya Naito defeated Kazuchika Okada in 35:40 to retain the IWGP Intercontinental Championship and to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
After the match, Okada was helped away from ringside. Naito took the mic and said perhaps they could do it one more time in the future. Okada was shown holding up his fist, then stumbling as he made his way to the back. Red Shoes presented Naito with both title belts while majestic music played. Naito delivered a promo in Japanese while Charlton translated.
As Naito was wrapping up, Kenta attacked him and put him down with a GTS. Kenta picked up the title belts and sat on Naito. Kelly said Kenta ruined the moment. Bushi finally arrived just as Kenta was leaving. Bushi helped Naito to the back while Red Shoes retrieved the title belts. Kelly said that just as history seemed like it was made right, Kenta ripped it away and changed the narrative. Kelly said the thing that can’t be erased is that Naito emerged as the first every dual champion. Kelly said that on this night, Naito is truly the king of sports. Kelly closed the English broadcast shortly thereafter…
Powell’s POV: The main event was outstanding. As good as the semi main event was, this was even better. In fact, I enjoyed this main event even more than last night’s big three closing matches. Naito finally wins the big one on the big stage and becomes the first man to hold both titles. Overall, night two was great and was the deeper of the two cards. I have mixed feelings about the two night Wrestle Kingdom format, but it definitely made for a fun weekend. Dot Net Members will have access to my audio review of night one, and they will also hear my audio review of night two. Let me know what you thought of tonight’s show by grading it and voting for the best match in our polls, which are available on the main page.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Kenny Herzog discussing his journalism career, his new Outside Interference podcast, doing a feature story on CM Punk, pro wrestling in the pandemic, WWE talk on Retribution, The Hurt Business, Roman Reigns as a heel, and much more...