For the first time in history, New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s signature annual event, Wrestle Kingdom in the Tokyo Dome, will take place on two nights from Jan. 4-5th.
We already know that night one of Wrestle Kingdom 14 will be headlined by Kazuchika Okada defending the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against the winner of the 2019 G1 Climax tournament, Kota Ibushi. However, due to the high level of competition in the world title picture right now, both men have expressed interest in defending said title on night two, no matter who emerges victorious just 24 hours prior.
NJPW really knows how to go big at their annual Tokyo Dome show, and not only does that mean two defenses of their top titles in as many days, but it may just result in a history-making Champion vs. Champion showdown.
The IWGP Intercontinental Championship is currently held by “Switchblade” Jay White, with Los Ingobernables de Japon leader Tetsuya Naito positioned as the next challenger in line. Naito has a long, love-hate relationship with that belt, and actually spent most of 2019 warring over the strap with Kota Ibushi, including a stand-out performance at Madison Square Garden during the G1 Supercard.
On Sunday at NJPW Power Struggle, the show closed with White and Naito coming face-to-face to set up a match between the two – presumably on night one of Wrestle Kingdom 14. However, there is a secondary, underlying storyline brewing underneath the surface of all of this.
Ibushi made it clear that his goal throughout the year was to make it to the Tokyo Dome and become the first man to hold both the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental titles simultaneously. Naito has since taken that on as his own goal; there’s a TON of history behind his character and issues with those two belts specifically, which we may go into more detail on in a future column. Suffice it to say he’s got issues, and reasons for wanting to prove himself in Tokyo Dome main events.
Okada, as the longest reigning and arguably greatest heavyweight champion in NJPW history, also sees this as an opportunity to make history once again, as does the “Switchblade” Jay White. The Bullet Club leader may have more to gain than any of the four if he were to somehow manage to leave Wrestle Kingdom as double champion.
While it’s pretty much a certainty at this point that the situation will play out this way, NJPW still likes to allow their fanbase to weigh in on important decisions that have to do with their annual Dome show. In fact, fans once voted the IWGP Intercontinental title into the main event over Naito challenging for the heavyweight title (remember that drama we were talking about?).
This time around, NJPW is using a popular Japanese mobile app called LINE starting now, running for the next 24 hours. For more information on how to download the app and cast your vote for whether or not you want to see a double title match on night two of Wrestle Kingdom 14, visit NJPW1972.com.