WEEKLY OVERVIEW – NJPW (thru 1/1): Top stories of week, major show lineups, live event results, schedule of live events, noteworthy social media posts, more

By Chris Maloney, PWTorch Contributor


The following is the latest in a new series of weekly in-depth articles exclusive to PWTorch which will help put in perspective major wrestling promotions with a weekly overview, looking at news and roster developments, results, future line-ups, social media activity, key interviews, plus a timely commentary at the end. We will be featuring similar features on other promotions each week and each will be updated weekly.


•Top Stories of the Week

  • In the biggest news of the week, All Elite Wrestling has become a reality. In the latest episode of Being the ELITE, “The American Nightmare” Cody, “Hangman” Adam Page and The Young Bucks revealed to the pro-wrestling world the official logo for AEW and also announced that “Double or Nothing” is set to take place. Sources have stated that Tony Khan will oversee AEW and that a rally for “Double or Nothing” will take place at TIAA Bank Field on Jan. 8. While various members of the ELITE recently said goodbye to Ring of Honor, the same cannot be said about their relationship with New Japan Pro-Wrestling. With Wrestle Kingdom 13 set to take place this week featuring Cody, the Bucks and current IWGP Heavyweight Champion “The Cleaner” Kenny Omega, the month of January is going to be very interesting for NJPW, AEW and pro-wrestling in general. You can check out Episode 132 of Being the ELITE titled “New Years Elite” on YouTube HERE.
  • With All Elite Wrestling becoming a reality, rumors and speculation will no doubt fuel the month of January and leave it to current IWGP Intercontinental Champion Chris Jericho to lend a hand. Jericho recently posted a photo of him and his wife attending a Minnesota Vikings football game at U.S. Bank Stadium with the caption, “Amazing experience to be on the field for the big @vikings game today!! Thanks to @tonyrkhan & the #Vikings organization for the hookup!”
  • The week of Wrestle Kingdom 13 is finally here featuring some of the biggest matches pro-wrestling fans will see in 2019 including the main event of “The Cleaner” Kenny Omega defending the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against former 7-time champion and G1 Climax 28 winner Hiroshi Tanahashi. Wrestle Kingdom 13 airs live on NJPW World and FITE on Jan. 4 at 2:00 a.m. and later on delay on AXS TV. The official English website of NJPW has provided a guide for fans to “help you understand all you need to enjoy” WK13. You can download the guide HERE.
  • While Hiroshi Tanahashi’s fate at WK13 has yet to be determined, “The Ace” recently signed a new deal with New Japan Pro-Wrestling. With his contract in hand, Tanahashi broke the news through Twitter on Boxing Day stating, “Contract renewal with New Japan Wrestling. I will do my best next fiscal year too!”
  • If Tanahashi signing a new contract wasn’t great enough news for New Japan Pro-Wrestling, they recently announced that Wrestle Kingdom 13 will break last year’s attendance mark. The official website of NJPW stated, “At this moment the number of tickets sold this year has exceeded the number of visitors (34,995 people) of ‘WRESTLE KINGDOM 12 in Tokyo Dome’ last year.”
  • This week’s edition of NJPW Lioncast, exclusive to PWTorch.com, features a full preview of Wrestle Kingdom 13! You can check it out HERE.
  • This Week in NJPW History saw “The Cleaner” Kenny Omega defeat Ryusuke Taguchi for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship on Jan. 4, 2015 in Tokyo, Japan at NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 9. While this would be Kenny Omega’s first singles title win in New Japan Pro-Wrestling, Omega’s post-match interview with The Young Bucks has become legendary, being one of the earliest references to “the ELITE.”

•Live Event Results

No events to report


•Upcoming Major Show Line-ups

NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 13 Fan Festa 2019 in Tokyo, Japan
Jan. 3, 2019
Studio Coast at Tokyo, Japan
Airs at 10:00 p.m. ET on NJPW World

  • Tiger Mask & Jyushin Thunder Liger vs. Yuya Uemura & Ren Narita in Lions Gate Special I
  • Manabu Nakanishi & Yuji Nagata vs. Toa Henare & Tomoaki Honma in Lions Gate Special II
  • Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Shota Umino & Ayato Yoshida in Lions Gate Special III

NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 13
Jan. 4, 2019
Tokyo Dome at Tokyo, Japan
Airs at 2:00 a.m. ET on NJPW World

  • Ryusuke Taguchi & Toru Yano & Togi Makabe vs. David Finlay & Jeff Cobb & Yuji Nagata vs. CHAOS (Chuckie T & Beretta & Hirooki Goto) vs. Suzuki-gun (Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Minoru Suzuki) vs. “The Villian” Marty Scurll & Yujiro Takahashi & “Hangman” Adam Page in a No.1 Contender Gauntlet Match for NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship (Pre-Show)
  • Kota Ibushi (c) vs. Will Ospreay for the NEVER Openweight Championship
  • Suzuki-gun (El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) (c) vs. Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (“The Dragon” Shingo Takagi & BUSHI) for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championship
  • Tomohiro Ishii (c) vs. Zack Sabre Jr. for the RPW British Heavyweight Championship
  • Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) (c) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (“King of Darkness” EVIL & SANADA) vs. The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson) for the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship
  • “The American Nightmare” Cody (w/Brandi Rhodes) (c) vs. Juice Robinson for the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship
  • KUSHIDA (c) vs. “Bone Soldier” Taiji Ishimori for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship
  • “Rainmaker” Kazuchika Okada vs. “Switchblade” Jay White (w/Gedo)
  • Chris Jericho (c) vs. Tetsuya Naito for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship
  • “The Cleaner” Kenny Omega vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship

•Upcoming Events

01/03/2019: NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 13 Fan Festa 2019 in Tokyo, Japan
01/04/2019: NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 13 in Tokyo, Japan
01/05/2019: NJPW New Year Dash in Tokyo, Japan
01/11/2019: NJPW presents CMLL Fantastica Mania 2019 – Night 1 in Osaka, Japan
01/12/2019: NJPW presents CMLL Fantastica Mania 2019 – Night 2 in Ehime, Japan
01/13/2019: NJPW presents CMLL Fantastica Mania 2019 – Night 3 in Kyoto, Japan
01/14/2019: NJPW presents CMLL Fantastica Mania 2019 – Night 4 in Gifu, Japan
01/16/2019: NJPW presents CMLL Fantastica Mania 2019 – Night 5 in Chiba, Japan
01/18/2019: NJPW presents CMLL Fantastica Mania 2019 – Night 6 in Tokyo, Japan
01/20/2019: NJPW presents CMLL Fantastica Mania 2019 – Night 7 in Tokyo, Japan
01/21/2019: NJPW presents CMLL Fantastica Mania 2019 – Night 8 in Tokyo, Japan
01/26/2019: NJPW Road to The New Beginning – Night 1 in Saitama, Japan
01/28/2019: NJPW Road to The New Beginning – Night 2 in Tokyo, Japan
01/29/2019: NJPW Road to The New Beginning – Night 3 in Tokyo, Japan
01/30/2019: NJPW Road to The New Beginning – Night 4 in Miyagi, Japan
01/30/2019: NJPW The New Beginning USA – Night 1 in Los Angeles, California
02/01/2019: NJPW The New Beginning USA – Night 2 in Charlotte, North Carolina
02/02/2019: NJPW The New Beginning in Sapporo – Night 1 in Hokkaido, Japan
02/03/2019: NJPW The New Beginning in Sapporo – Night 2 in Hokkaido, Japan
02/06/2019: NJPW Road to The New Beginning – Night 5 in Nagano, Japan
02/07/2019: NJPW Road to The New Beginning – Night 6 in Aichi, Japan
02/08/2019: NJPW Road to The New Beginning – Night 7 in Mie, Japan
02/09/2019: NJPW Road to The New Beginning – Night 8 in Osaka, Japan
02/11/2019: NJPW The New Beginning in Osaka in Osaka, Japan
02/21/2019: NJPW New Japan Road – Night 1 in Tokyo, Japan
02/22/2019: NJPW Honor Rising: Japan 2019 – Night 1 in Tokyo, Japan
02/23/2019: NJPW Honor Rising: Japan 2019 – Night 2 in Tokyo, Japan
02/27/2019: NJPW New Japan Road – Night 2 in Okinawa, Japan
03/01/2019: NJPW Anniversary Tour 2018 – Night 1 in Saitama, Japan
03/02/2019: NJPW Anniversary Tour 2018 – Night 2 in Nagano, Japan
03/04/2019: NJPW Anniversary Tour 2018 – Night 3 in Fukushima, Japan
03/06/2019: NJPW Anniversary Event in Tokyo, Japan
03/08/2019: NJPW New Japan Cup 2019 – Night 1 in Tokyo, Japan
03/09/2019: NJPW New Japan Cup 2019 – Night 2 in Aichi, Japan
03/10/2019: NJPW New Japan Cup 2019 – Night 3 in Hyogo, Japan
03/11/2019: NJPW New Japan Cup 2019 – Night 4 in Kagawa, Japan
03/13/2019: NJPW New Japan Cup 2019 – Night 5 in Okayama, Japan
03/14/2019: NJPW New Japan Cup 2019 – Night 6 in Nara, Japan
03/16/2019: NJPW New Japan Cup 2019 – Night 7 in Tokyo, Japan
03/17/2019: NJPW New Japan Cup 2019 – Night 8 in Tokyo, Japan
03/20/2019: NJPW New Japan Cup 2019 – Night 9 in Shizuoka, Japan
03/21/2019: NJPW New Japan Cup 2019 – Night 10 in Shizuoka, Japan
03/23/2019: NJPW New Japan Cup 2019 – Night 11 in Niigata, Japan
03/24/2019: NJPW New Japan Cup 2019 – Night 12 in Niigata, Japan
04/06/2019: NJPW/ROH G1 Supercard in New York, New York


•Latest TV Highlights: NJPW on AXS TV (12/28/2018)

“Kenny Omega-thon”

(1) “The Cleaner” Kenny Omega defeated Hirooki Goto by pinfall in the finals of the G1 Climax 26 tournament
(2) “Rainmaker” Kazuchika Okada defeated “The Cleaner” Kenny Omega by pinfall to retain the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at Wrestle Kingdom 11
(3) “Rainmaker” Kazuchika Okada (c) & “The Cleaner” Kenny Omega fought to a 60-minute time limit draw at Dominion 6.11 in Osaka-jo Hall
(4) “The Cleaner” Kenny Omega defeated Tomohiro Ishii by pinfall in the finals of the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship tournament to become the inaugural champion at G1 Special in USA – Night 2
(5) “The Cleaner” Kenny Omega defeated Chris Jericho by pinfall to retain the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship at Wrestle Kingdom 12
(6) “Switchblade” Jay White defeated “The Cleaner” Kenny Omega by pinfall for the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship at The New Beginning in Sapporo 2018
(7) “The Cleaner” Kenny Omega defeated “Rainmaker” Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in a “Two Out of Three Falls” match at Dominion 6.9 in Osaka-jo Hall
(8) “The Cleaner” Kenny Omega defeated “The American Nightmare” Cody by pinfall to retain the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at G1 Special in San Francisco
(9) “The Cleaner” Kenny Omega defeated “The American Nightmare” Cody & Kota Ibushi by pinfall after pinning Ibushi to retain the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in a “Triple Threat” match at King of Pro-Wrestling 2018


•NJPW in the Media

  • History of CHAOS part 3: CHAOTIC Good: LINK
  • Road to TOKYO DOME (December 15th) – Hiroshi Tanahashi & Will Ospreay vs. Kenny Omega & Kota Ibushi: LINK
  • “BTE On Christmas Eve” – Being The Elite Ep. 131: LINK
  • Tetsuya Naito to Chris Jericho “It’s going to be your last match, not mine!” LINK
  • The Wire: IWGP Heavyweight Championship Omega vs Tanahashi at WK13: LINK
  • 1 min preview NEVER OPENWEIGHT Championship at WK13; LINK
  • 1 min preview IWGP Jr. TAG TEAM Championship at WK13: LINK
  • 1 min preview British Heavyweight Championship at WK13: LINK
  • King Of Sports – New Japan Podcast – 28: WRESTLE KINGDOM 13 Preview: LINK
  • 1 min preview IWGP TAG TEAM Championship at WK 13: LINK
  • 1 min preview IWGP US HEAVYWEIGHT Championship at WK13: LINK
  • 1 min preview IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship at WK13: LINK
  • 1 min preview Okada Kazuchika vs Jay White at WK13: LINK
  • A Phoenix from the Ashes: Tetsuya Naito and the IWGP Intercontinental Championship: LINK
  • Kenny Omega and Xavier Woods’ Top 10 Games of 2018: LINK
  • 1 min preview IWGP INTERCONTINENTAL Championship at WK13: LINK
  • 1 min preview IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT Championship at WK13 [Tanahashi ver.]: LINK
  • 1 min preview IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT Championship at WK13 [Omega ver.]: LINK
  • EGGSHELLS Podcast Companion: 2016 w/ Joe Lanza: LINK
  • PWTorch FREE PODCAST 12/29 – WKPWP Mailbag Saturday: Keller & Martin answer questions on reasons for Vince’s vision of pro wrestling, WWE PPV format, Big Show, Okada’s IWGP Title run, predicting New Japan’s top foreign stars in three years, Shelton: LINK
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Kenny Omega : 2016.2.14 IWGP INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP – Monday Free Match: LINK
  • Special “WRESTLE KINGDOM 13” interview with Jay White: LINK
  • Historic New Year’s Eve WK13 Contract Signing in Shibuya opener: LINK
  • The Recount: History of Okada and Gedo: LINK
  • “Kenny’s Quest”: LINK
  • EGGSHELLS Podcast Companion: 2017 w/ Michelle Cain: LINK
  • Special “WRESTLE KINGDOM 13” interview with Kazuchika Okada: LINK
  • Special “WRESTLE KINGDOM 13” interview with Hiroshi Tanahashi: LINK
  • PWTorch VIP AUDIO 12/31 – Radican Worldwide (w/Fann): ROH news and notes, Beyond Wrestling announces weekly live show, Tanahashi signs new deal with NJPW, review of NJPW’s Golden Lovers vs. Ospreay & Tanahashi tag main event, more! LINK
  • “New Years Elite” – Being The Elite Ep. 132: LINK

•LATEST “TALKING HONOR” PWTORCH LIVECAST COVERING ROH

“2019.” It’s the 50th episode of Talking Honor! Harley R. Pageot and Emily Fear look ahead to Ring of Honor in 2019 including who they’d like to see challenge for gold, who the next champions may be, and who stands the best shot of climbing the ranks. Plus: wrestling resolutions and hopes and wishes for ROH in the year ahead.

-On Tune In Radio HERE
-On Apple Podcasts HERE
-Or search “PWTorch” or “Pro Wrestling Torch” on your podcast app of choice

•Social Media Scene

View this post on Instagram

#週刊プロレス #表紙 ♪

A post shared by 棚橋弘至 (@hiroshi_tanahashi) on

https://www.instagram.com/p/Brz3o7SH1bH27

https://www.instagram.com/p/Br4iBxCH8my

View this post on Instagram

作戦会議

A post shared by KUSHIDA (@kushida_ts) on

View this post on Instagram

『Darkness Year 2019』 #evil #everythingisevil #2019

A post shared by King of Darkness EVIL (@kingofdarkness_evil) on

View this post on Instagram

Happy New Year’s from the #GlitterBoyz!

A post shared by Chris Jericho (@chrisjerichofozzy) on


•Closing Commentary

With Wrestle Kingdom 13 right around the corner, I’m going to take the time this week to share my thoughts and predictions on the card. From Omega vs. Tanahashi to Okada vs. White to Ibushi vs. Ospreay, WK13 has the potential to be one of the biggest if not *the* biggest pro-wrestling show of the year! Let’s see if I can go 10-0 with my predictions…

Match 1:

Ryusuke Taguchi & Toru Yano & Togi Makabe vs. David Finlay & Jeff Cobb & Yuji Nagata vs. CHAOS (Chuckie T & Beretta & Hirooki Goto) vs. Suzuki-gun (Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Minoru Suzuki) vs. “The Villian” Marty Scurll & Yujiro Takahashi & “Hangman” Adam Page in a No.1 Contender Gauntlet Match for NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship (Pre-Show)

Prediction & Thoughts: Suzuki-gun (Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Minoru Suzuki) by pinfall. With the recent injury of Michael Elgin, my pick would have easily been “Big Mike”, Cobb and Finlay before Elgin was replaced by Nagata. Nothing against Nagata as he’s an absolute legend but so is Suzuki. You add K.E.S. by his side and you’ve got your new number one contenders.

Match 2:

Kota Ibushi (c) vs. Will Ospreay for the NEVER Openweight Championship

Prediction & Thoughts: Will Ospreay by pinfall to become the new NEVER Openweight Champion. More than a decade separates them in age but watching Ibushi and you could never tell. This should be one of the greatest pro-wrestling matches you will ever see in your life. In 2019, these two stars define what pro-wrestling is all about and if you want one set of letters to define this match, it’s very simple… MOTY.

Match 3:

Suzuki-gun (El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) (c) vs. Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (“The Dragon” Shingo Takagi & BUSHI) for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championship

Prediction & Thoughts: Los Ingobernables de Japon (“The Dragon” Shingo Takagi & BUSHI) by pinfall to become the new IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions. Takagi and BUSHI made it to the finals of Super Jr. Tag League 2018 and while LIJ wasn’t victorious, they didn’t lose the match either. NJPW booked them strongly throughout the tournament all the way through the finals. Takagi has been making huge waves since his arrival in New Japan Pro-Wrestling so look for BUSHI to hit that wave as well on their way to capturing the titles.

Match 4:

Tomohiro Ishii (c) vs. Zack Sabre Jr. for the RPW British Heavyweight Championship

Prediction & Thoughts: Zack Sabre Jr. by submission to become the new RPW British Heavyweight Champion. As great as Ishii is, it’s the “British” Heavyweight Championship and what a way to solidify the relationship between NJPW and RPW than to have ZSJ, one of England’s greatest pro-wrestling stars, win his third RPW British Heavyweight Championship at the Tokyo Dome.

Match 5:

Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) (c) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (“King of Darkness” EVIL & SANADA) vs. The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson) for the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship

Prediction & Thoughts: The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson) by pinfall to become the new IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions. How do you throw off the entire world or pro-wrestling? You have two members of the ELITE capture the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship at the biggest show of the year for New Japan Pro-Wrestling. Will their reign last long? Not a chance. But, look for the internet to blow up when it happens.

Match 6:

“The American Nightmare” Cody (w/Brandi Rhodes) (c) vs. Juice Robinson for the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship

Prediction & Thoughts: Juice Robinson by pinfall to become the new IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion. Quite possibly the toughest prediction on the card to make but with Cody on a recent losing streak as far as championship matches go, look for Robinson to recapture the title he lost to Cody back in September 2018.

Match 7:

KUSHIDA (c) vs. “Bone Soldier” Taiji Ishimori for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship

Prediction & Thoughts: “Bone Soldier” Taiji Ishimori by pinfall to become the new IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion. What happens when you put two guys in their mid-30’s in a NJPW ring and have them battle it out for one of the most prestigious championships in the history of pro-wrestling? You get an instant classic that wrestling fans should be talking about all year. With that being said, Ishimori’s affiliation with Bullet Club OG will prove to be too much for KUSHIDA, ending in defeat for the current champion and quite possibly the end of his NJPW career.

Match 8:

“Rainmaker” Kazuchika Okada vs. “Switchblade” Jay White (w/Gedo)

Prediction & Thoughts: “Switchblade” Jay White by pinfall. How do you establish Jay White as the dominant leader of Bullet Club OG and a future IWGP Heavyweight Champion? You have him beat the former champion Okada at the biggest show of the year. While the win won’t be clean, it will state in the record books that White defeated Okada at WK13.

Match 9:

Chris Jericho (c) vs. Tetsuya Naito for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship

Prediction & Thoughts: Tetsuya Naito by pinfall to become the new IWGP Intercontinental Champion. Jericho’s time to pass the torch to one of the pillars of NJPW at the Tokyo Dome will take place. Jericho has been a thorn in the side of Los Ingobernables de Japon but there is strength is numbers. Look for LIJ to get involved and put an end to Jericho’s reign as champion.

Match 10:

“The Cleaner” Kenny Omega vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship

Prediction & Thoughts: Hiroshi Tanahashi by pinfall to become the NEW IWGP Heavyweight Champion. Tanahashi has been on fire since winning the finals of G1 Climax 28, defeating Kota Ibushi, Omega’s Golden Lovers partner to do it. From defeating Ibushi to challenging Omega at WK13, he’s defeated former champion Kazuchika Okada, defeated current Bullet Club OG leader Jay White and landed his fourth MVP Award in the “Tokyo Sports Pro-Wrestling Awards” along the way. Tanahashi’s record eighth IWGP Heavyweight Championship could not be more set to happen than right now.

So there you go – every single championship changing hands with my attempt to go 10-0 with my predictions. Feel free to share your own comments and predictions below, and be sure to order and enjoy Wrestle Kingdom 13!

#njWK13 #AndNEW #HappyNewYear


NOW CHECK OUT OTHER WEEKLY OVERVIEWS HERE.

OR JUMP TO LAST WEEK’S WWE OVERVIEW: WEEKLY OVERVIEW – NJPW (thru 12/23): Top stories of week, major show lineups, live event results, schedule of live events, noteworthy social media posts, more

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*