Wrestle Kingdom Rewind: The Newest, The Strongest 【WK18】

After six years Shinsuke Nakamura took on Yoshihiro Takayama for the second time in the Tokyo Dome at Wrestle Kingdom 4.

<– 2009: Ace versus Genius      2011: A New Era Begins–>

Watch Wrestle Kingdom 18 LIVE and in English January 4 2024!

International tickets on sale NOW for Wrestle Kingdom!

While Shinsuke Nakamura would truly begin the King of Strong Style era in the 2010s, he ended the decade prior having already won his third and final IWGP Heavyweight Championship. In the coming years, it would be the Intercontinental title that would define Nakamura, but before the white and gold, there was only one prize to gun for, and Nakamura had it. 

His opponent in the main event of January 4 2010 was the giant Yoshihiro Takayama. Six years prior, the two had met in a double championship bout over the NWF and IWGP Heavyweight Championships, a match that Nakamura just barely came out on top of. Now Takayama was eager to see how much Nakamura ‘evolved’ in the intervening years. After a one two shot of Boma Yes from Nakamura, Takayama felt just that, and the giant was forced to yield to Nakamura. Less than one year since forming CHAOS, Nakamura was on top of the wrestling world, and only about to grow into the role of King of Strong Style. 

Meanwhile NJPW’s connection to NOAH was evolving into an all out war at Wrestle Kingdom. The young faces of both companies, Go Shoiozaki and Hiroshi Tanahashi would meet on the card that also saw Takashi Sugiura and Hirooki Goto do battle once again.

Sugiura had only the prior month beaten Shiozaki to lift the GHC Heavyweight Championship for the first time, and begin what became a dominant 581 day reign. Meanwhile Goto had Sugiura to blame for a loss in the G1 Climax that could have put paid to him winning his second consecutive G1 tournament. Goto would bring an aggressive approach to Sugiura, but his impetuousness would see Sugiura take advantage of the challenger as he took control on the floor. The challenger would regain control with a brutal neckbreaker on the apron, but Sugiura would battle back, and use the ankle lock to secure victory.  

For that aforementioned battle of fresh faced aces, Hiroshi Tanahashi was carrying the pride of NJPW one year after a true torch taking match against Keiji Muto in 2009, one that took him to the Tokyo Sports MVP award for the first time. Tanahashi was the face of Japanese wrestling, but a face that Shiozaki intended to wreck, a catapult sending Tanahashi face first into the ring post early. Ultimately though it was NJPW’s Ace perservering, the High Fly Flow scoring on the second time of asking to bring home the win. 

The pride of NOAH on the night though would be Naomichi Marufuji. The 2009 Super J-Cup winner would defeat Tiger Mask on the night, taking home the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship, and creating a line of contenders from NJPW intent on wresting the title back. 

Watch Wrestle Kingdom IV here!