It was certainly a night of history-making proportions this Friday, as New Japan Pro-Wrestling once again knocked it out of the park with its annual January 4th Tokyo Dome event, Wrestle Kingdom 13. Out of the nine matches present on the show’s main card, eight were championship matches, and a title changed hands during every single one of them.
Starting with the opening contest, which saw Will Ospreay defeat Kota Ibushi in a breathtaking performance to capture the NEVER Openweight Championship, all the way to the Tokyo Dome main event that saw Hiroshi Tanahashi reclaim his throne as the true Ace of New Japan, defeating Kenny Omega to once more become IWGP Heavyweight Champion.
Los Ingobernables de Japon also had one hell of a night in Tokyo, as Tetsuya Naito defeated pro wrestling legend and legit rock star Chris Jericho to win back the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. Earlier in the night Sanada and Evil teamed together to capture the IWGP Tag Team Champions, and the group’s newest member Shingo Takagi teamed with Bushi to win the junior tag titles as well.
Zack Sabre Jr. was able to submit the “Stone Pitbull” Tomohiro Ishii to regain the RPW British Heavyweight Championship, with a new incarnation of the title belt presented at his coronation. And as previously reported, Juice Robinson got his revenge on the “American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes, defeating his rival in a Wrestle Kingdom 9 rematch to recapture the IWGP U.S. Heavyweight Championship.
One extremely notable thing about this year’s monstrous event is that New Japan very obviously placed themselves under very strict time constraints to finish up the entire main card in just under four hours. Traditionally the annual Tokyo Dome, and especially in recent years, is known to run upwards of six or seven hours, with multiple “main event” matches that each took upwards of an hour with full entrances.
This year, the first six matches, all for different titles, had finished up in less than two hours. The top three matches were given time, and of course the main event was the longest segment of the show, but it is certainly strange to have any NJPW event end before 7AM ET.
You can catch Wrestle Kingdom 13 on-demand at both FITE TV and on NJPW World.