In the professional wrestling world, there are several major events that take place each year. The biggest is obviously WWE’s WrestleMania, but New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Wrestle Kingdom is up there in terms of importance and excitement. The event draws massive crowds in the Tokyo Dome each year, and tons more people watch it on the company’s streaming platform.
This year’s Wrestle Kingdom 13 delivered in terms of match quality and storytelling in a way that exceeded the already high expectations of most fans. As exciting as the matches themselves were, what was even more interesting was the number of new champions crowned throughout the event.
The main card kicked off with a title match between Kota Ibushi and Will Ospreay for the NEVER Openweight Championship. Ibushi went into the match as the champion, and as was the trend for the night, he didn’t leave with the title. Will Ospreay defeated him in an absolutely incredible match that all wrestling fans owe it to themselves to see.
From there, the show moved to a three-way match for the IWGP Jr. Tag Team Championship. Suzuki-gun’s El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru went into the match as the champions, and they ended up losing to Los Ingobernables de Japon’s Shingo Takagi and Bushi.
Not only did NJPW change champions for its own titles, but the company actually had Revolution Pro’s British Heavyweight Championship defended on the card. Tomohiro Ishii went into the match as the champion, and he left without the belt as Zack Sabre Jr. managed to wrest it from his grasp in a very good match.
Los Ingobernables’ Evil and Sanada would then win the IWGP Tag Team Championship in a three-way match with the Young Bucks and current champions, the Bullet Club’s Guerillas of Destiny. GoD wouldn’t walk out the way they walked in, as Evil and Sanada would snatch the titles away.
Next up was the IWGP United States Championship Match where Cody Rhodes would defend his title against Juice Robinson. No one expected Cody to win this match since he was just announced as the Executive Vice President of All Elite Wrestling, and everyone was right. Juice took home the IWGP United States Championship from Cody.
Kushida took on Bullet Club’s Bone Soldier Taiji Ishimori for his IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship and he lost, thus crowning yet another new champion at Wrestle Kingdom 13.
— Cody Rhodes (@CodyRhodes) January 3, 2019
The next match saw Kazuchika Okada taking on Jay White in the only non-title match on the card. Jay White won, which could be considered something of an upset.
Moving back to title changes, Tetsuya Naito defeated Chris Jericho to win the IWGP Intercontinental Championship in a crazy no DQ match that fans need to watch. Interestingly, Jericho losing could be a sign that he’s leaving NJPW, perhaps for All Elite Wrestling, but only time will tell if that’s the case.
Kenny Omega defended his IWGP Heavyweight Championship against Hiroshi Tanahashi. Following the trend, he lost his title in an early match of the year candidate. Does that mean Omega is going to AEW? Will he accept the offer he’s apparently received from WWE? Time will tell, but his loss could mean he’s leaving NJPW.
For anyone keeping track, every single championship that was defended on Wrestle Kingdom 13 changed hands, which made for quite an exciting and eventful show.