Three nights of action on NJPW World ends the year in New Japan
The Road to Tokyo Dome kicks off this week, as live events see the tour start in Shizuoka before the traditional year end in Korakuen Hall. With plenty of Tokyo Dome implications at play, there’s unmissable action up and down the card on all three evenings.
December 21: LIJ vs BULLET CLUB! Tanahashi, Okada vs THE EMPIRE!
Headlining the first night in Korakuen Hall will be a Los Ingobernables De Japon and BULLET CLUB, as Tetsuya Naito, SANADA and BUSHI will face Dick Togo, EVIL and Jay White. SANADA and EVIL are set to explode on night two of Wrestle Kingdom, as SANADA looks to finally show EVIL’s betrayal of LIJ has some severe consequences. Meanwhile Jay White vs Tetsuya Naito could well be the main event on night two of Wrestle Kingdom as he takes his right to challenge the double champion into January 5.
EVIL and Jay White have not exactly seen eye to eye since EVIL joined BULLET CLUB this summer, lending an intriguing twist to this Korakuen main event. Differences notwithstanding though, they will be united by a desire to deal some damage to their LIJ opposition before January 5.
Also of note on December 21, Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Tomoaki Honma face off against the unified EMPIRE team of Will Ospreay, Jeff Cobb and Great-O-Khan. With Ospreay and O-Khan preparing for their respective singles matches against Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kazuchika Okada on January 4, it feels as if a generational shift may be in the offing at Wrestle Kingdom 15. Okada and Tanahashi’s rivalry spearheaded unprececdented success for NJPW through the mid 2010s, but now they are fighting to prevent what they created from being consumed by the EMPIRE’s advances.
With the return of Tiger Mask and Togi Makabe to action as well, it’s a great start to three huge nights!
December 22: Juice seeks revenge! Wato wants to make an impact!
The main event on December 22 sees Kota Ibushi team with Juice Robinson and SHO against Jay White, KENTA and Gedo. Should Ibushi outlast Tetsuya Naito on night two of Wrestle Kingdom on January 4, he will be facing Jay White for the double IWGP titles, and Ibushi will get a valuable preview here to piece together a gameplan for both the Switchblade, and Gedo in his corner.
Meanwhile Juice Robinson will be gunning directly for KENTA tonight. During the World Tag League final, it was KENTA who came through for BULLET CLUB, striking Robinson with his IWGP US right to challenge case as G.o.D broke their World Tag League curse. Having fallen short at the last hurdle of going back to back in World Tag League, Robinson will look to strike with furious vengeance at Korakuen.
On the first two nights at Korakuen Hall, Master Wato, Ryusuke Taguchi and Hiroyoshi Tenzan will battle El Desperado, the returning Yoshinobu Kanemaru and Minoru Suzuki. Having beaten El Desperado during Best of the Super Jr., Wato has suggested that he may be looking for his first title in the form of IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team gold. He and Taguchi need to make a statement against the tag team champions tonight. Meanwhile Minoru Suzuki, not yet with a match at Wrestle Kingdom, will be looking to make a violent statement of his own as he tries to make NJPW’s biggest card, and biggest payday.
December 23: Ibushi and Naito! KOPW2020 decided!
The main event on December 23 will see Kota Ibushi and SHO face Tetsuya Naito and BUSHI. Ibushi and Naito square off one last time before they meet on what is sure to be an early match of 2021 contender on January 4. An explosive main event awaits on night one of Wrestle Kingdom, but who will stand tall as the snow falls on Korakuen Hall two nights before Christmas?
Also on December 23, the KOPW2020 winner will be determined as Bad Luck Fale faces Toru Yano. During World Tag League, Yano got an early win over Fale, and his confidence swept him to a December 11 performance, where Yano was convinced he could bodyslam the big man. Fale was having none of it, and not only squashed the KOPW 2020 holder, but smashed his trophy post match, proposing backstage that he face Yano in a bodyslam match. Will Yano have a counter offer for match rules tonight? Whatever happens, with this being the last night of NJPW action this year, its winner will be the official King of Pro-Wrestling in 2020!