New Japan Pro Wrestling announced the complete line-up and match order for Wrestle Kingdom 11 at a press conference on Monday. For the uninitiated, the Tokyo Dome show is New Japan’s equivalent to WrestleMania and has been traditionally held every year on January 4.
New Japan Rumble – To be honest, I usually skip this match. It’s a Royal Rumble style match without any real stakes. It’s simply a vehicle to provide some warm up entertainment before the real show begins.
Tiger Mask W vs. Tiger the Dark — This match is a promotional tool for the Tiger Mask anime show that airs on TV-Asahi. I don’t know if Koto Ibushi will be W this time around but that mask looks to be difficult to work in.
IWGP Jr. Tag Team Championship: The Young Bucks (c) vs. Roppongi Vice – Thank goodness it’s not a Fatal Four Way this time around. A straight up tag match should give all four wrestlers more time to shine, which hopefully make the match mean more instead of the usual eight-person spot fest.
NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship (Gauntlet Match): Satoshi Kojima, Ricochet & David Finlay (c) vs. SANADA, EVIL & BUSHI vs. Bad Luck Fale, Yujiro Takahashi & Hangman Page vs. Tomohiro Ishii, YOSHI-HASHI & Will Ospreay – It’s faction warfare as Bullet Club, Chaos and Los Ingobernables are all represented for what should be a fun match with some interesting pairings. Plus, Ricochet and Ospreay will get some time alone to dazzle the audience.
Cody (Rhodes) vs. Juice Robinson – If Cody Rhodes is truly the superstar that he believes Vince McMahon should have put his faith in, he needs to at the very least show some semblance of that guy in this match. Robinson is almost a completely different wrestler since he requested his release from WWE/NXT over a year ago.
ROH World Championship: Kyle O’Reilly (c) vs. Adam Cole – Kyle O’Reilly is one of my favorite wrestlers to watch and I understand what makes Adam Cole such a blue chip talent. With O’Reilly just winning the title and Cole reportedly leaving ROH, the outcome is already set. The journey from bell to bell that will have to stand out even more.
IWGP Tag Team Championship: Tama Tonga & Tanga Roa vs. Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma – I’m expecting this to be a hard-hitting affair on both sides of the coin, which could be fun.
IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship: KUSHIDA (c) vs. Hiromu Takahashi – I’ve never been impressed with Hiromu Takahashi. KUSHIDA is always on point in big match situations. This should be no different and maybe I’ll become a Takahashi fan when it’s all said and done.
NEVER Openweight Championship: Katsuyori Shibata (c) vs. Hirooki Goto – Shibata is someone that I’ve wanted New Japan to push to the moon for a while now. I became a Goto fan after his matches with Kenny Omega in the G-1 Climax finals and King of Pro Wrestling. If given enough time, this is the sleeper pick for match of the night.
IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Tetsuya Naito (c) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi – It’s great to see this match booked for New Japan’s biggest stage. Naito won the heavyweight title earlier this year but didn’t hold it for long. He’s also never won a singles match in the Tokyo Dome. Will that change against the incomparable Tanahashi?
IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada (c) vs. Kenny Omega – Bullet Club kingpin Kenny Omega becomes the first gaijin to headline the Tokyo Dome in eleven years with the last being Brock Lesnar. Champion Kazuchika Okada will head into his first Tokyo Dome main event as the definitive ace of New Japan as opposed to being one of the top guys. Lot’s of pressure here for this to be an epic match.
Wrestle Kingdom 11 will air live on New Japan World with an option for English language commentary with Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino.