On Friday, January 4th, 2019 New Japan Pro Wrestling once again presents its annual Wrestle Kingdom event. As many fans are aware this is considered the biggest event of the year for the promotion, and this year's card confirms that. Often compared to other major sporting events around the world, Wrestle Kingdom (now in its 13th year) will have a collection of matches that will not disappoint. A number of different storylines have played themselves out, and this event will be where feuds and storylines will be reaching their climax. One to watch would be the match in which the Revolution Pro British Heavyweight championship will be defended by Tomohiro Ishii against Zack Sabre Jr. Here is Big Tall Japan's Wrestle Kingdom 13 preview.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Three Way tag team championship match
Suzuki-gun (Yoshinobu Kanemaru and El Desperado © vs. Roppongi 3k (Sho and Yoh) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Bushi and Shingo Takagi)
This match came about due to the fact that, at the November 3rd Power Struggle event, the tandem of Roppongi 3K beat the current IWGP tag team champions Suzuki-gun in a non-title triple threat match that also included LIJ. The following week the announcement was made that the three teams will battle at Wrestle Kingdom 13. Fans of New Japan Pro Wrestling are aware that Roppongi 3K isn't just any challengers for the titles. They are former two-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight tag team champions, and back-to-back winners of the Super Junior Tag Team Tournament and they know they are capable of pulling out the win. The same could be said about Bushi who has held the IWGP Junior Heavyweight tag team championship, previously alongside Hiromu Takahashi.
Kazuchika Okada vs. Jay White
This match has been a year in the making. It appeared as though at last year's New Year's Dash that Jay White was joining Bullet Club after Kenny Omega offered him a place in the faction. However, that he turned his back on Omega after accepting the shirt, thus precluding any possible alliance. Or so we thought. The following day, at a press conference, White was announced as the newest member of the CHAOS faction. While at the same time White expressed his intentions to be the next IWGP Heavyweight champion, a title held by the leader of CHAOS Kazuchika Okada. At Destruction in Kobe, Okada lost to Tanahashi in a match for the right to face Kenny Omega for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at Wrestle Kingdom. It was a right Tanahashi had earned in the G1 Climax tournament. After the match White attacked both Tanahashi and Okada. A month later, after another attack on Tanahashi by White, Okada made the save. However, Okada was then attacked by his manager Gedo as well as Jado, and it was revealed that they and White were now part of the Bullet Club.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
Kushida © vs Taiji Ishimori
Bullet Club members Robbie Eagles and Taiji Ishimori faced off against Taguchi Japan and Chris Sabin and Kushida in a triple threat at Super Junior Tag League. Ishimori pinned Junior Heavyweight champion Kushida in a moment that set the stage for the two to face one another one-on-one. A few weeks later Kushida once again faced Bullet Club, this time teaming with Grand Bash Heel in a six-man tag match. During this match, Ishimori, who was on crutches, but accompanying his fellow Bullet Club members, got involved in the match. He struck Kushida with the crutch, which ultimately cost him the match. After the match was over, Ishimori held the belt over the fallen champion. On two separate occasions Ishimori has got the best of Kushida; will do so again in this third exchange between the two? Or will the champion finally get his retribution for the loss and the attack at the hands of the Bone Soldier? This is a match fans will likely look forward to with great anticipation.
NEVER Openweight Championship
Kota Ibushi vs. Will Ospreay
One of the most recent bouts announced by New Japan Pro Wrestling, this match has the makings of an instant classic. Ibushi recently captured the championship by defeating Hirooki Goto, and at the same event, Ospreay became the number one contender by defeating Taichi. It is believed that this match has been planned for a while, and in the past, it was anticipated that Ospreay would defeat Taichi for the championship several months back and that Ibushi would be the eventual challenger. Instead, because Ospreay was injured, Taichi lost the title to Goto. In the end, though, this match was booked, just in a different manner. Will Ospreay be 100% when he faces Ibushi for the championship? Regardless the battle will happen whether he is ready or not.
IWGP Tag Team Championship
Guerillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa) vs . The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL and Sanada)
When these three teams get together fans are assured that it will be a pitched battle. The hostilities between the Bucks and the Bullet Club OGz has been well documented. Fans know that the OGz are seeking to cement their place as the dominant faction and not merely an afterthought. However, with all the attention paid to GOD and the Bucks, LIJ may slip in and take advantage of this situation and become new champions. Fans best not rest on Los Ingobernables de Japon, who are after all back-to-back winners of the World Tag League tournament, in this matchup.
IWGP Intercontinental Championship
Chris Jericho vs. Tetsuya Naito
The seeds for this matchup were planted nearly a year ago to the day. As fans will recall Jericho attacked Naito at the New Year's Dash event that took place the day after Wrestle Kingdom 12. A matchup for the title was on hold for quite a while, and at times seemed like it would not happen, until Dominion in June. At that event. Jericho defeated Naito to capture the IWGP Intercontinental championship. Jericho successfully defended the title when he beat Naito's LIJ colleague EVIL at the Power Struggle event on November 3rd. The champion continued to beat down the fallen EVIL until Naito made the save. It was later announced that their rematch would happen at Wrestle Kingdom, and fans are salivating at the prospect. Will Naito once again showcase that he is tranquilo?
IWGP Heavyweight Championship
Kenny Omega vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
It all comes down to this match. As the winner of the 2018 G1 Climax tournament, Hiroshi Tanahashi has once again earned the right to challenge for the IWGP Heavyweight championship at Wrestle Kingdom. He nearly lost his spot in a match against former champion Kazuchika Okada, Tanahashi prevailed and will face Kenny Omega for the championship. Both men have been in the championship picture before, Tanahashi is one of the most decorated IWGP champions ever. Has the time come for Tanahashi to once again recapture the championship he has held seven times before? Or will Kenny Omega be able to withstand the attack of the 42-year-old and cement his role as the new face of New Japan Pro Wrestling?