We’re just shy of two months away from New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW)‘s biggest show of the year, Wrestle Kingdom 13, on January 4, 2019, and the line-up is starting to take shape. It was already made official that IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega would be defending his title against New Japan’s “Ace” Hiroshi Tanahashi. It will mark the 10th time in his career he has main evented Wrestle Kingdom in a Championship match (as either Champion or challenger), with nine for the IWGP Heavyweight title and one for the IWGP Intercontinental (against Shinsuke Nakamura at Wrestle Kingdom 8 in 2014) and 10 out of 13 Wrestle Kingdom’s to feature “The Ace” in the main event.
Last night, NJPW held a press conference to update on Wrestle Kingdom 13, announcing four big match-ups for the January classic.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: Suzuki-gun (El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) (c) vs. Roppongi 3K (SHO & YO) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI & Shingo Takagi)
It’s a rematch of the Super Junior Tag League final, but this time the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag titles are on the line. At Power Struggle, it was Roppongi 3K‘s SHO & YO that won the triple threat match-up, but Suzuki-gun always pulls through by hook or by crook when the chips are on the table. It would be a huge feather in Shingo Takagi’s cap if he could win gold in his first Wrestle Kingdom appearance.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: KUSHIDA (c) vs. Taiji Ishimori
Also at Power Struggle, the Bullet Club trio of Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) & Robbie Eagles defeated Great Bash Heel (Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honmu) alongside IWGP Junior Heavyweight champion KUSHIDA, which followed with a brutal attack from Eagles’ tag partner, “Bone Soldier” Taiji Ishimori on the Junior Heavyweight champ. Looks like KUSHIDA will get his revenge on January 4 in the Tokyo Dome, where he faces Ishimori with the title on the line.
— njpwworld (@njpwworld) November 3, 2018
Kazuchika Okada vs. “Switchblade” Jay White
It’s been brewing for months and after Jay White finally turned on both Okada and CHAOS, joining Bullet Club, it’s been a grudge match in the making. At Wrestle Kingdom 13, Okada will finally get his hands on “Switchblade”. While the two have faced each other countless times in multi-man tag matches since his betrayal, they’ve only met once prior in singles competition, at this year’s G1 Climax, where Jay White defeated Okada after a 25-minute war.
IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Chris Jericho (c) vs. Testuya Naito
Chris Jericho‘s war against Los Ingobernables de Japon – particularly their Tranquilo leader Testuya Naito – will continue through to the Tokyo Dome following his Intercontinental title defence against LIJ’s EVIL at Power Struggle. Naito will be looking for revenge on the man who took the title from him at Dominion this past June.
With NJPW World Tag League getting ready to kick off at the end of the month, it will be interesting to see who earns the title shot against Guerrillas of Destiny for the IWGP Tag Team titles at the Tokyo Dome. SANADA & EVIL, The Young Bucks and Killer Elite Squad (Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer) are all heavy favourites, but there will be some wild card combinations that could be introduced to freshen up NJPW’s heavyweight tag team division.