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Unread 01-24-2018, 05:29 AM
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joemurphy joemurphy is offline
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The Road to Wrestle Kingdom



After winning the title at Wrestle Kingdom 12 at the start of 2018 and finally taking his place at the top of the mountain in NJPW, Tetsuya Naito has looked almost unstoppable this year completing six successful title defences over talented opposition such as Kazuchika Okada, Kota Ibushi & Kento Miyahara. Naito has spoke recently, after defeating fellow L.I.J member SANADA, that surrounding himself with having the ability to train and travel with the top talent in the world such as SANADA & EVIL has helped him stay fresh and ready for whatever comes his way. The question on many fans minds is if someone like WHIRO willing to sit back and accept that he isn't the main focus point of the group when the 26 year old has already shown some small hints of potential stardom since returning from his excursion with victories over Kenny Omega & WALTER.

His opponent is no stranger, the self proclaimed ace of New Japan Pro Wrestling, Hiroshi Tanahashi. Last Wrestle Kingdom Tanahashi found himself in a strange situation as for the first time ever at a Wrestle Kingdom show he was not in a featured singles match, something that he was very vocal about on the show itself vowing to return to the top of the card and he has stuck to his promise. Back at Dominion Hiroshi Tanahashi had a shot at Naito's title and came close to winning back the Title for the first time since losing it in 2015 to AJ Styles but ultimately fell short. The aftermath of the match however would shake up the entire wrestling world as Tanahashi turned on former tag team partner Juice Robinson with a vicious low blow. Since his change of attitude and enlisting the help of Hirooki Goto, Tanahashi won the G1 Climax for the third time allowing him the right to challenge Naito once again for the top prize in wrestling.



The leader of the Bullet Club meets the leader of NEXTREAM at Wrestle Kingdom 13 in a first time matchup. Kenny Omega finds himself in the co-main event of the biggest show of the year for the second year in a row after defeating former best friend and long time rival Kota Ibushi to win the IWGP Intercontinental Title and has held onto it since with five successful defences.

This particular matchup came about in an unusual way where the champion called out the challenger as Kenny Omega took the words of previous challenger KUSHIDA to heart when he claimed that Omega hadn't been defending his title enough and that the Kenny Omega of old would be challenging himself against anyone to prove he is the best rather than spending his time in pink gear messing about in undercard tag matches.

Kento Miyahara joined New Japan Pro Wrestling just under 12 months ago and immediately made a huge impact going to a 60 minute time limit draw with Tetsuya Naito in his first big title shot. Having spent the majority of his year chasing the IWGP Heavyweight Champion around, including going on to another time limit draw in the G1 Climax, Kento may be unhappy deep inside that he isn't going into his first Wrestle Kingdom completing the trilogy with Naito and another chance to take down the leader of Los Ingobernables however it seems destiny that down the road the two will meet again and having the Intercontinental Title may be enough of an incentive to coerce Naito into completing the trilogy.



The golden boy of Bushiroad against the perpetual bridesmaid that broke away from Chaos and turned to the dark side in hope of finally reaching glory face off for the NEVER Openweight Title.

Kazuchika Okada & Hirooki Goto have faced each other in a singles match with a title on the line three times however this time it's different as Goto is coming in to the match with the gold round his waist for the first time. Their previous meeting during the G1 Climax this year resulted in Kazuchika Okada still coming out victorious despite Goto's new aggressive attitude but the confidence in having the gold will finally propel him to victory over the leader of his former faction or break him and send him tumbling back down yet again with another reminder that he was destined to never be the man.



WALTER burst onto the scene in New Japan Pro Wrestling with a huge impact on his first night beating Kenny Omega and winning the IWGP United States Title back in May at the famous Hammerstein Ballroom. Since then he went on to have a successful G1 Climax debut with big victories over Hiroshi Tanahashi & KENTA and holding Tanahashi to a 60 minute draw at Power Struggle almost earning the opportunity to headline Wrestle Kingdom however his opponent came into the picture directly after the match when he & Tanahashi were ambushed by EVIL & Naito.

EVIL is coming into his second singles match at Wrestle Kingdom after winning the NEVER Openweight Title last year in a hard fought contest against Michael Elgin. The 31 year old often comes into matches with the weight and strength advantage and uses it to his favor however in WALTER is a much larger man and may need to adjust his gameplan going into the Dome.



Since Wrestle Kingdom 12 when Ospreay defeated KUSHIDA to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title, the belt has been held exclusively by Will Ospreay & Hiromu Takahashi. Ospreay only made one successful defence, against Daichi Hashimoto, before losing to Best of the Super Junior 25 winner Hiromu at Dominion. The defeat was a huge disapointment for the young Brit who spent almost two years chasing the belt only to come up short at the second hurdle however now he finds himself back chasing the champion and a chance at redemption.


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