Road to the Tokyo Dome Night 1 Preview

Korakuen Hall sees Hiromu Takahashi return to in-ring action in the main event.


Watch JRA Presents Road to the Tokyo Dome LIVE and in English December 19 on NJPW World!

With just three events left before the two day spectacular of Wrestle Kingdom 14, Road to the Tokyo Dome night one sees key previews of major Tokyo Dome matches, and in a huge main event, the in-ring return of the Time Bomb, Hiromu Takahashi.

Main event: Birds of Prey (Will Ospreay & Robbie Eagles) vs Los Ingobernables De Japon (Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI)


Will Ospreay 55 wins- 41 losses (22-11 singles) 57.3% Winning Record (66.7% single)

Robbie Eagles 21-31 (6-7) 40.4% WR (46.1%)

Hiromu Takahashi 0-0 (0-0) 0% WR

BUSHI 96-41 (8-5) 70.1% WR (61.5%)

A 539 day wait for Hiromu Takahashi and his fans finally comes to an end on December 21 as the Time Bomb returns to the ring. A neck injury on July 7 2018 in San Francisco put Takahashi on the shelf, but this bomb still ticks and is now finally back in action in the Korakuen Hall main event. 

There’s some appropriate symmetry to Hiromu’s return; at Power Struggle in Osaka in 2016, Takahashi came back from excursion, and instantly challenged for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship at the Tokyo Dome, before making his in-ring re-debut at Korakuen Hall and the Road to Tokyo Dome events. Now, things come full circle, as he reforms a successful tag team with BUSHI. In the opposite corner though is one of the most exciting new teams of 2019, led by Takahashi’s January 4 championship opponent: Will Ospreay and Robbie Eagles, the Birds of Prey. 

Imaginations are, no doubt, firing and mouths are wet at the prospect of Hiromu returning and going right to war with his rival and friend in Ospreay. yet Eagles and BUSHI have left their own marks this year and will look to make a huge splash in the Korakuen Hall main event.


6th Match: CHAOS (YOSHI-HASHI & Kazuchika Okada) vs BULLET CLUB (Chase Owens & Jay White)


Kazuchika Okada: 66-56 (18-3) 54.1% WR (85.7%)

YOSHI-HASHI: 77-48 (6-3) 61.6% WR (66.7%)

Jay White: 44-66 (14-5) 40% WR (73.7%)

Chase Owens: 56-56 (2-4) 50%WR (33.3%)

As the above data shows, this semi-main event tag team match is a clash of four of 2019’s ironmen, each with over 100 matches in 2019. It also shows the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Champions’ impressive resumes, with an 85.7% and 73.7% record in singles matches this year respectively. Truly they have more than qualified themselves for the Double Gold Dash on January 4 and 5, but will Okada and White be meeting one another as champions on January 5, and will one be walking out with all the gold?

5th Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kota Ibushi vs Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito


Kota Ibushi 38-57 (13-5) 40.5% WR (72.2%)

Hiroshi Tanahashi 56-57 (10-10) 49.6% WR (50%)

Tetsuya Naito 114-30 (9-7) 79.2%WR (56.3%)

Shingo Takagi 116-38 (16-7)75.3%WR (69.6%)

Kota Ibushi versus Tetsuya Naito seems easily as possible a January 5 main event than any other combination in the Double Gold Dash. The two have put their lives on the line in several meetings through 2018. While Ibushi can claim a 2-1 victory in their trilogy this year, the final act was written by Naito, and while Ibushi has grown to a 72.2% winning ratio through 2019, a key number for Naito is 114. That’s the number of victories in all matches Naito has racked up in 2019; more wins than matches wrestled by either Ibushi or his January 4 opponent Jay White. 

Shingo Takagi beats Naito in the 2019 ironman stakes, however. With 154 matches wrestled this year and 116 wins, Takagi was one of NJPW’s breakthrough stars in 2019, and will be looking to end his year in just as strong a form. The same can be said for Hiroshi tanahashi; after a year full of ups and downs, the Ace is now mere days away from starting his 2020 with a major challenge in the form of Chris Jericho on January 5. After two video messages have surprised the Ace, is it now Tanahashi’s turn to send a message to the Painmaker?


4th Match:  CHAOS (SHO, YOH, Tomohiro Ishii & Hirooki Goto) vs BULLET CLUB (El Phantasmo, Taiji Ishimori, Yujiro Takahashi & KENTA)



SHO: 55-54 (6-6) 50.5% WR (50%) 

YOH: 57-54 (6-4) 51.4% WR (60%)

Tomohiro Ishii: 70-57 (10-9) 55.1% WR (52.6%)

Hirooki Goto: 55-55 (7-8) 50% WR(46.7%)

El Phantasmo: 45-21 (14-4) 65.2%WR (77.8%)

Taiji Ishimori: 70-45 (11-4) 60.9% (73.3%)

Yujiro Takahashi: 46-39 54.1% WR

KENTA: 28-33 (7-6) 45.9%WR (53.8%)

Two January 5 title matches are previewed in Korakuen here, as IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team and NEVER Openweight Championship opponents square off. At Power Struggle on November 3, SHO & YOH won the Super Jr. Tag League and their Tokyo Dome title shot, but it was the champions that made off with the league trophies. Can Roppongi 3K get some measure of revenge? 

Meanwhile KENTA will have to fend off some vicious offense from both Tomohiro ishii and his Wrestle Kingdom 14 challenger Hirooki Goto in Korakuen tonight. The NEVER Openweight Championship has changed hands every year at Wrestle Kingdom since 2015; can KENTA put an end to that streak against an infuriated Goto?


3rd Match: Los Ingobernables De Japon (EVIL & SANADA) vs Dangerous Tekkers (Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr.)



EVIL: 97-28 (5-8) 77.6% WR (38.5%)

SANADA: 94-38 (8-9) 71.2% WR (47%)

Taichi: 60-61 (6-9) 49.6%WR (40%) 

Zack Sabre Jr.: 49-59 (11-9) 45.4%WR (55%)

The third match of the evening sees a rematch from November and the World Tag League as EVIL & SANADA face Dangerous Tekkers. Then, it was SANADA scoring a pinfall victory over Zack Sabre Jr., another hard loss for the British heavyweight Champion after SANADA pinned him at Power Struggle on November 3. 

During an impassioned tirade at the Wrestle Kingdom press conference on December 9, ZSJ made much of the fact that SANADA has never submitted the self proclaimed submission master. Yet in their British Heavyweight Championship match on January 5 at the Tokyo Dome, a pin is as good as a tap, and ZSJ must be wary of both in the Dome and in Korakuen Thursday night.


2nd Match: Toa henare, David Finlay & Juice Robinson vs BULLET CLUB (Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & Bad Luck Fale) 



Toa Henare 43-97 (5-4) 30.5% WR (55.5%)

David Finlay 18-6 (1-1) 75% WR (50%)

Juice Robinson 65-37 (10-18) 63.7% WR (35.7%)

Tama Tonga 44-41 (0-0) 51.2% WR

Tanga Loa 44-41 (0-0) 51.2% WR

Bad Luck Fale 49-46 (5-8) 51.6% WR (38.5%)

Every year since 2014, January 4 has ended with new IWGP Tag Team Champions. Will history repeat in 2020? Certainly FinJuice’s tremendous World tag League seems to suggest so. Yet, as Tama Tonga pointed out in the Wrestle Kingdom 14 press conference, a strong showing in a three week league is not a patch on GoD’s performance across the whole of 2019. Their 23-5 record in straight tag team action for 2019 and V7 championship reign is nothing to sniff at, and their commitment too tag team wrestling is second to none; in all of NJPW this year, the brothers have only ever comepeted together, and done so extremely effectively. A chance to prove that point in this Wrestle Kingdom rpeview, while Toa Henare battles against fellow Kiwi Bad Luck Fale as he attempts to end a mixed year with a win.


1st Match: Rocky Romero, Ryusuke Taguchi, Tomoaki Honma & Togi Makabe vs Yuya Uemura, Yota Tsuji, Tiger Mask & Jyushin Thunder Liger 



Rocky Romero 24-52 (5-8) 31.6%WR (38.5%)

Ryusuke Taguchi 68-48 (8-7) 58.6%WR (53.3%)

Tomoaki Honma 45-75 (0-1) 37.5% WR (0%)

Togi Makabe 45-45 (0-1) 50% WR (0%)

Yuya Uemura 18-75-4 (5-21-4) 19.4% WR (19.2%)

Yota Tsuji 14-79-4 (6-18-4) 15.1% WR (25%) 

Tiger Mask 31-50 (2-7) 38.3% WR (15.1%)

Jyushin Thunder Liger 35-44 (0-2) 44.3% (0%)

The evening will kick off with the first of three farewells for Jyushin Thunder Liger to Korakuen Hall. This will be the 470th match for Liger in the hallowed Hall, and after 472 here, he’ll retire next door on the Tokyo Dome January 5. In this first farewell, he teams with Tiger Mask, just as he will on january 4 along with Great Sasuke and Tatsumi Fujinami to take on Shinjiro Otani, Tatsuhito Takaiwa, Naoki Sano and Ryusuke Taguchi, who joins fellow Mega Coach Rocky Romero and GBH tonight.