NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 13: Kenny Omega vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi

John Pollock's coverage of New Japan's Wrestle Kingdom 13 event from the Tokyo, featuring Kenny Omega vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi for the IWGP heavyweight title.

Welcome to POST Wrestling’s coverage of Wrestle Kingdom 13 from the Tokyo Dome.

Wai Ting and I will have a Wrestle Kingdom POST Show available later today for members of the POST Wrestling Café, which you can join for $6 (U.S.) per month and provides access to the last year’s worth of bonus shows. If you are a Double Double, Iced Capp, or Espresso member, you can watch the live video stream of our POST Show approximately 30 minutes after the main event ends.

The English commentary team consists of Kevin Kelly, Don Callis, and Chris Charlton. They stated the crowd is approaching 40,000.

The pre-show begins with the Gauntlet match to become the #1 contenders for the NEVER six-man tag titles at New Year Dash on Saturday.

GAUNTLET MATCH

Marty Scurll, Hangman Page and Yujiro vs. Jeff Cobb, Yuji Nagata, and David Finlay

The camera operator displayed zero shame zooming in on Pieter from behind. This is Nagata’s 25th consecutive appearance on the January 4th card dating to 1994. Cobb has his left shoulder taped. Chase Owens in the corner of the Elite.

They triple-teamed Cobb with Page landing a standing shooting star press. Scurll superkicked Cobb from the apron to set up Page’s shooting star shoulder block and followed with the buckshot lariat.

Finlay rolled up Yujiro as they were distracted at 4:41

Jeff Cobb, Yuji Nagata and David Finlay vs. Hirooki Goto, Beretta and Chuckie T.

Goto ditched his robe for a hoodie on the pre-show.

Chuckie landed a tope con giro onto Cobb and Finlay followed by an Asai moonsault from Beretta.

Nagata went for the Fujiwara armbar to Beretta and was saved by Chuckie, which generated boos. Cobb hit Goto with the Tour of the Islands and the pin was broken. The interaction between Cobb and Goto was strong.

Chuckie missed a moonsault and Finlay got another roll-up pin at 7:36.

Jeff Cobb, Yuji Nagata, and David Finlay vs. Minoru Suzuki and Killer Elite Squad

The audience went nuts for Kaze Ni Nare.

Charlton brought up the history of Nagata and Suzuki’s matches at the Tokyo Dome and they brawled on the floor.

Archer and Smith pinned Finlay after the Killer Bomb at 2:44.

Minoru Suzuki and Killer Elite Squad vs. Togi Makabe, Toru Yano, and Ryusuke Taguchi

This is the reunion of Makabe and Yano teaming again.

Taguchi missed Suzuki with the hip attack and crashed onto the mat, but hit it on the second try.

Suzuki and Makabe had a big forearm exchange. Yano was tagged in and removed the turnbuckle padding but was dropped by a boot from Smith. Yano kicked out of a Hart Attack by Killer Elite Squad.

Taguchi stopped the Gotch piledriver by Suzuki to Makabe and took out Suzuki with a hip attack.

Yano hit Smith and Archer with low blows from behind and rolled up Smith to win the match.

WINNERS: Ryusuke Taguchi, Togi Makabe, and Toru Yano at 8:09

Taguchi, Makabe, and Yano will challenge the Guerrillas of Destiny and Taiji Ishimori for the NEVER six-man tag titles on Saturday’s New Year Dash card.

The matches were quick with Jeff Cobb and Yuji Nagata the standouts.

They announced their major dates for 2019, including the finals of the Best of the Super Juniors at Sumo Hall, the first night of the G1 Climax in Dallas at the American Airlines Center, the final three nights of the G1 at Budokan Hall again. The biggest announcement was that they are running the Tokyo Dome on January 4th and 5th next year.

Kota Ibushi vs. Will Ospreay for the NEVER Openweight title

Ospreay blocked the Kamigoye and Ibushi blocked the OsCutter at the start. Ibushi went for the Golden Triangle and was kicked by Ospreay from the apron on the way down. They explained that Ibushi’s vision was blurred and couldn’t see Ospreay on the apron. Ospreay followed with the Space Flying Tiger Drop.

Ibushi landed a corkscrew moonsault from the top rope to the floor.

They went through several powerbomb counters, Ibushi landed a head kick and then ran into a standing Spanish Fly as both went down following a breathtaking sequence.

Ibushi countered the Storm Breaker into a huracanrana and landed a Bom a Ye and blasted Ospreay with the knee strike to the head. He landed the Last Ride powerbomb and Ospreay kicked out. Ospreay pulled Ibushi off the top and slapped him in the tree of woe position and Ibushi slapped back leading Ospreay to kick at his face.

Ibushi hit a double foot stomp off the top and attempted the Power German, but Ospreay landed on his feet. Ibushi is busted open from the mouth. Ospreay was spiked with a tombstone and kicked out.

Ospreay responded with an elbow to the back of the head and Ibushi’s body was limp. Ospreay lifted the dead weight of Ibushi and hit the Storm Breaker for the win.

WINNER: Will Ospreay at 18:13 to win the NEVER Openweight title

Fantastic match and loved the elbow strike being the finish. This was tremendous.

El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Roppongi 3K vs. Shingo Takagi and Bushi for the IWGP junior heavyweight tag titles

It built up to Takagi and Sho being tagged in as the two strongmen of the junior heavyweight division. Yoh entered and they double-teamed Takagi.

Takagi hit both members of 3K with a Pumping Bomber simultaneously, Sho kicked out of another Pumping Bomber to the back of the head before falling to the Last of the Dragon.

WINNERS: Shingo Takagi and Bushi at 6:50 to win the IWGP junior heavyweight tag titles

It was a short match, which wasn’t a bad call, and the whole match focused on Takagi as the difference maker and powerhouse of the division.

Tomohiro Ishii vs. Zack Sabre Jr. for the British heavyweight title

Chris Roberts is the referee from Revolution Pro.

Sabre goes for an armbar within the first minute and then attacks from different angles on both arms. Then, he moved to the ankle lock but was reversed by Ishii.

Ishii landed a superplex, but Sabre held onto the arm upon impact and snapped the arm with his legs.

Ishii attempted to block a submission and Sabre turned it into a Code Red for a big near fall. Sabre was attacking Ishii with kicks, including a PK. Ishii ate the kicks and chopped Sabre, who dropped to his knees. Ishii fired up with a headbutt and lariat.

Sabre ducked the Sliding D and applied the European clutch for a two-count.

Sabre got behind Ishii and applied the double Fujiwara armbar and forced Ishii to submit.

WINNER: Zack Sabre Jr. at 11:37 to win the British heavyweight title

Another strong match, perhaps hampered by time restrictions and was more of a showcase of Sabre’s style as opposed to a big-time Ishii match. The transitions and submissions were something marvel at. I liked it a lot, just wish it built for a bit longer.

Guerrillas of Destiny vs. The Young Bucks vs. EVIL and Sanada for the IWGP tag titles

Kevin Kelly made mention of the Bucks’ announcement this past week.

The Guerrillas were all decked in elaborate outfits, Jado appeared to be auditioning for a cross between Curtis Iaukea and Zodiac from the Dungeon of Doom.

EVIL and his braided hair sprinted down the ramp and nailed Matt Jackson with a big lariat as Matt screamed in pain.

Sanada went on a furious sequence featuring numerous pescados and the place came unglued, it was one of the loudest reactions of the show so far.

Nick Jackson hit a springboard blockbuster and later a 450 splash onto Sanada.

Jado and Bad Luck Fale came into the ring, the Bucks avoided the Grenade and superkicked Jado. Fale was sent to the floor.

The Bucks landed a double superkick to Sanada, went for the Meltzer Driver, but Tama Tonga cut off Nick with a gun stun.

EVIL and Sanada hit the Magic Killer onto Matt Jackson and Sanada hit a top rope moonsault and pinned Matt.

WINNERS: EVIL and Sanada at 10:16 to win the IWGP tag titles

It was a rushed match at times, but the stars of the match were Sanada and Nick Jackson, as expected. This was a great showing for Sanada and the type of performance that warrants all the hype and expectations for him.

They are booking the winners very strong in each of the matches so far with zero controversies.

Cody vs. Juice Robinson for the IWGP United States title

Robinson has never beaten Cody, including their singles matches at Wrestle Kingdom 11 in 2017 and at Fighting Spirit Unleashed this past September in Long Beach, California where Cody defeated Robinson for the title.

Cody was wearing the colors of the Jacksonville Jaguars, which Kevin Kelly acknowledged.

Cody was down, Brandi came into the ring and lay on top to shield him. Cody struck Robinson on the edge of the apron and went for Cross Rhodes, which was a call back to what Cody did to Kota Ibushi on last year’s show.

Brandi returned and speared Robinson with the “bionic shoulder” and was ejected by Tiger Hattori.

The match resumed with Cross Rhodes hit and Robinson kicked out to a minimal reaction. Cody blocked Pulp Friction and then Robinson hit his own version of Cross Rhodes for a near fall. Then, Cody hit the Pulp Friction for a near fall. This is all within seven minutes and feels extremely rushed.

Robinson landed with his right jabs and the audience was lively for the strikes, he caught Cody with the Left Hand of God as Cody went for a Disaster Kick. Robinson hit another left hand and Pulp Friction but didn’t go for the cover. He hit a second Pulp Friction and pinned Cody.

WINNER: Juice Robinson at 9:03 to win the IWGP United States title

This felt rushed and was structured as though they were expecting a lot more time than they received. The audience woke up for Robinson’s comeback, which was an important part of the match, but I would say this match fell beneath expectations.

These were very definitive losses for Cody and The Young Bucks back-to-back.

KUSHIDA vs. Taiji Ishimori for the IWGP junior heavyweight title

KUSHIDA had a tremendous entrance where a little child with a KUSHIDA mask came out and Ryusuke Taguchi was dressed as Doc Brown from Back to the Future and the child turned into KUSHIDA following an explosion on the stage.

Ishimori hit the sliding German suplex with KUSHIDA seated on the second rope. Ishimori went for a 450 splash and KUSHIDA applied an armbar as he landed it.

KUSHIDA blocked the double knees, placed Ishimori’s legs onto the referee’s and kicked out his arm.

KUSHIDA went for the Hoverboard Lock, Ishimori lifted him and hit a Death Valley Driver to break free.

KUSHIDA hit Back to the Future, went for a second one and it was blocked so he connected with the overhand right.

Ishimori then caught KUSHIDA and landed the Bloody Cross and pinned KUSHIDA, out of nowhere.

WINNER: Taiji Ishimori at 11:17 to win the IWGP junior heavyweight title

A good match between the two, not at the level of their Super J Cup match in 2016, and could have used more time, which is becoming a theme for some of the undercard matches.

The finish was a bit spontaneous, but a strong win for Ishimori and doing so with the Bloody Cross.

Kazuchika Okada vs. Jay White

Okada came out with his old entrance and they cut to Gedo who was giving the death stare. Okada is back in trunks and has shelved the pants.

The stadium was buzzing when the bell rang to start the match.

Gedo tripped Okada and White took over, Irish whipping Okada into the guardrail and had the advantage back in the ring. Okada fights back and the place is cheering loudly and dropkicked White off the top turnbuckle to the floor.

Gedo tried to attack Okada from behind, Okada tossed him over the guardrail and hit a running crossbody to White and Gedo leaping over the guardrail. Callis encouraged Okada to murder Gedo. The place was in love with Okada.

Okada hit an elbow off the top and made the Rainmaker pose. White stopped him with a Saito suplex and uranage. Gedo distracted the referee as White got a chair, but Okada thwarted the effort and sent White into Gedo on the apron. White ducked the Rainmaker and hit a half and half suplex.

Okada blocked the Blade Runner and hit a tombstone. Okada hit the dropkick, called for the Rainmaker again, White ducked and the Blade Runner was blocked again. There were several reversals ending with a spinning Rainmaker, Okada lifted White and went for the Rainmaker, White ducked and hit the Blade Runner to pin Okada.

WINNER: Jay White at 14:19

This was a great match and the finish was a big surprise to me. This was structured so well and was a career-maker for White to win such a big match at the Tokyo Dome. We knew they were going all the way with White and this sped it up. I enjoyed this a lot.

Chris Jericho vs. Tetsuya Naito in a No Disqualification match for the Intercontinental title

They mentioned Ted Irvine is at the show tonight.

Naito jumped Jericho before the bell and they fought on the floor and up the ramp. Naito hit a piledriver on the ramp. Naito is dominating until Jericho attacks Naito with a kendo stick to the face and choked him with it.

Naito took the springboard dropkick on the edge of the apron and went down on his neck. Jericho took Naito onto the table and Naito came straight down on his head from a DDT by Jericho and the table didn’t break, which is right out of their match in June. Jericho rang the bell to declare himself the winner and the audience was livid that Jericho would screw with the match like that.

Naito went for the seated dropkick in the corner and was caught with the Walls of Jericho. Naito escaped and landed a tornado DDT and hit Gloria. The Walls of Jericho was re-applied, Naito reached for the kendo stick and attacked Jericho to break free. Naito blasted Jericho in the body with it. He swung and missed and was hit a codebreaker, which Naito kicked out from.

Jericho grabbed a bunch of chairs and threw them into the ring. He lifted Naito for a powerbomb but was countered with a DDT onto the chairs and Naito hit a codebreaker for a near fall. Naito hit a German onto the chairs, went for the Destino but Jericho shoved Red Shoes, hit a low blow and codebreaker and Naito kicked out, this was the finish of the Dominion match. Callis said, “in Canada, that was a three”.

Naito got out of the way of a chair shot and hit Destino for a huge near fall.

Naito hit Jericho with the title, tossed it away and hit a second Destino to win the match.

WINNER: Tetsuya Naito at 22:35 to win the Intercontinental title

The audience was lively throughout the match and the final ten minutes were solid and one of the best matches on the show. They paced the near falls effectively and the audience bit on the codebreakers and Destino kick out. The English commentary was great on this call.

Kenny Omega vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi for the IWGP heavyweight title

The “Kenny’s Quest” video started to play as Omega entered literally dressed as a One-Winged Angel with a sword. The Young Bucks came out with Omega.

Omega went for the One-Winged Angel within the first three minutes just as he did in their February 2016 match. Omega dominates the beginning of the match, wearing down Tanahashi and attacking his lower back with strikes and suplexed him onto the edge of the apron. Omega lifted Tanahashi on the floor and slammed him onto one of the announcer’s desks and then leaped onto the guardrail and executed a moonsault onto Tanahashi.

Tanahashi cut off the Terminator dive and received some boos for denying the spot but executed it moments later to Tanahashi on the floor. Omega landed a V-Trigger in the ring, he was favoring his right knee and led to Tanahashi hit a dragon screw off the turnbuckle as Omega screamed in pain.

Tanahashi applied a Texas cloverleaf and then hit the Styles Clash. Tanahashi climbed to the top and landed on the knees of Omega attempting the High Fly Flow, further injuring Omega. He hit a sling blade onto the edge of the apron and placed Omega onto the table on the floor.

Tanahashi came off the top with a High Fly Flow, Omega moved and Tanahashi went through the table in a spectacular spot. Omega went for repeated covers following a sequence of powerbombs and Tanahashi kicked out.

Omega hit his own sling blade and hopped to the top with his own High Fly Flow that Tanahashi kicked out from at one. Tanahashi caught Omega’s good knee with a seated dropkick.

They each landed reverse huracanranas with Tanahashi a counter to the One-Winged Angel. Tanahashi struggled to get to the top, hit a standing High Fly Flow, returned to the top and landed the High Fly Flow that Omega kicked out from.

Omega hit a dragon suplex off the top rotating Tanahashi so he took it like a moonsault and not onto his neck, thankfully. Tanahashi countered the One-Winged Angel and I don’t know what he was going for but landed on top.

Tanahashi hit the sling blade and another High Fly Flow to win the match and the title.

WINNER: Hiroshi Tanahashi at 39:13 to win the IWGP heavyweight title

It was a great main event, the drama built throughout with each selling that they were about to collapse from their respective injuries. The audience was behind Tanahashi the entire way and this was a war of attrition with the legend pulling it out.

Every title changed hands on the show.

Tanahashi thanked Katsuyori Shibata, said he barely had the energy to do the air guitar but did one song.

Kevin Kelly announced the paid attendance at 38,162.

Wai Ting and I will be live on the POST Wrestling Café. You can stream the POST Show live if you are a Double Double, Iced Capp, or Espresso member. The podcast version will be up for all tiers of the Café.

About John Pollock 1124 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.