RADICAN’S BIG MATCH SPOTLIGHT – NJPW 1/4 WK 13: IWGP World Hvt. Champion Kenny Omega vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi

By Sean Radican, PWTorch Columnist


JAN. 4, 2019

Commentators: Kevin Kelly, Don Callis, Chris Charlton

Hiroshi Tanahashi made his entrance first. Kenny Omega’s music played and then the music changed. The video game footage Omega had released earlier in the week was shown and Omega came out wearing armour with one set of wings and a sword. He was flanked by The Young Bucks. Charlton noted the hole in Tanahashi’s ring jacket is the space for the IWGP World Hvt. Championship.

Omega hugged The Young Bucks before the match began.



The bell rang and the fans started to stir and a Tanahashi chant began to ring out in The Tokyo Dome. Tanahashi looked annoyed before he locked up with Omega. Charlton said Tanahashi despises Omega. Tanahashi nailed Omega with a slap and Omega backed up before they locked up. Omega backed Tanahashi into the ropes and hit him with a light slap. Tanahashi plastered him with a HUGE slap. Omega fired back and went after Tanahashi with blows. They went back and forth and Omega went for the One-Winged Angel, but Tanahashi slipped out and got an abdominal stretch. Omega managed to toss him off, but Tanahashi rolled him up for a two count. Tanahashi went after Omega’s leg, but Omega grabbed his hair. Tanahashi managed to maintain control and he continued to go after Kenny’s leg. Omega hit a couple of slaps. Tanahashi fired back with slaps of his own while continuing to work over Omega’s legs. Omega finally got to the ropes and the fans applauded. Both men went back and forth and Omega caught Tanahashi with a big knee at the five minute mark. Omega took his time and hit some hard kicks to Tanahashi’s back and some stomps to his midsection.

Omega continued to target Tanahashi’s back and he hit a high angle suplex on the ring. He went to the outside and suplexed him back-first onto the apron. Kelly and Omega compared the Tanahashi vs. Omega feud to Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels. Omega whipped Tanahashi into the guardrail, but Tanahashi fired back as Omega charged at him and hit a dropkick. Tanahashi hit his back on the apron while going for the dropkick. Omega fired back and pushed Tanahashi into the apron. He then slammed Tanahashi right through one of the Japanese commentary tables at ringside. Omega set up and hit a springboard moonsault off the guardrail. He then helped out the injured Japanese ring announcer to his feet. Omega teased using a table, but Tanahashi fired back. Omega had asked the fans where his grace was in reference to Tanahashi saying he had no grace prior to the match. Tanahashi thought about using the table, but tossed Omega back into the ring showing that he has grace. They went back inside the ring and Tanahashi finally caught Omega with a dragon screw.

Omega fired back and set up for Rise of the Terminator, but Tanahashi slid into the ring and wiped him out. Omega sent Tanahashi to the floor with a snap rana. Omega set up and hit Rise of the Terminator, but he took a really hard landing as Tanahashi barely caught him. OUCH! They ended up back inside the ring and Omega hit a missile dropkick to Tanahashi’s back. Omega hit a snap dragon, but Tanahashi got right up. Omega hit another snap dragon and Tanahashi got up, but Omega decked him with a V-Trigger and smiled. WOW! Kelly mentioned Ibushi wasn’t at ringside because he suffered an injury earlier in the night. He went for You Can’t Escape, but ended up hurting his knee. Tanahashi popped up and cut him off up top and hit a dragon screw out of the corner. WOW!

At the 20 minute mark, Tanahashi applied the Texas Cloverleaf. He had a hard time sitting down on the hold due to the work on his back from Omega. Omega went for the ropes, but Tanahashi blocked it and really sat down on the hold! Omega managed to turn over, but Tanahashi lifted him into the Styles Clash. Tanahashi paused and connected with Styles Clash and the fans exploded. WOW! Tanahashi went up top and went for the High Fly Flow, but Omega got his legs up at the last second! WOW! Tanahashi sold his midsection and Omega sold his leg on the mat. Omega got up and went for a running V-Trigger across the ring into the corner, but Tanahashi got out of the way! They went at it near the apron and Tanahashi hit a dragon screw around the ring ropes on Omega’s leg! Tanahashi then hit a Sling Blade on Omega on the apron. WOW! The table on the floor was shown ominously in a replay that NJPW showed of the spot from a different angle. This time Tanahashi put Omega on the table. He went up top and went for the High Fly Flow, but Omega rolled off the table at the last second! WOW! Callis said so much for Tanahashi’s philosophy on commentary.

The ref began his count as Omega smiled and surveyed the damage to Tanahashi. Omega tossed Tanahashi back into the ring to break the ref’s count and the fans applauded. Kelly said Omega would be second guessed if he doesn’t win the match for throwing Tanahashi back into the ring. Omega set Tanahashi up over the middle rope. He went up top and nailed him with a double stop and the fans gasped. Omega then lifted Tanahashi up and hit a HUGE folding powerbomb. Tanahashi kicked out and Omega hit another. He got a 2 count and hung on for a sit-out powerbomb, but Tanahashi kicked out at the lsat second and the fans applauded. WOW! Omega choked Tanahashi, which is something he promised to do after the match previously. Omega set up for a V-Trigger, but Tanahashi surprised him with a Sling Blade. WOW!

They got up and began exchanging blows. The fans gasped with each blow from both men. Omega hit several big slaps and Tanahashi tried to power through them. Omega continued to slap Tanahasi, but he wouldn’t go town. Tanahashi fired back with slaps of his own. Tanahashi hit slap after slap to Omega’s face. Omega fired back and hit several big knees to Tanahashi’s ribs at the 30 minute mark. Omega fired back and hit a Sling Blade of his own and smiled devilishly. Omega hopped over the top rope and went up top. He sold his leg before hitting his own High Fly Flow, but Tanahashi kicked out and got up at one. HOLY S–T!!! Omega nailed Tanahashi with a big V-Trigger. Tanahashi went down to his knees. Omega and Tanahashi went head-to-head. Tanahashi hit a slap, but Omega fired back with a V-Trigger. Omega measured Tanahashi and hit a V-Trigger on a kneeling Tanahashi. Omega went for another V-Trigger, but Tanahashi blocked it and teased a dragon screw before drop kicking Omega’s other knee. Omega fired back and hit a poison rana. He sold his leg after getting up, but got a running start and connected with a HUGE V-Trigger against the ropes. WOW! Omega grabbed Tanahashi, who slapped him in the face. Omega hit a V-Trigger and went for the One-Winged Angel, but Tanahashi turned it into a poison rana. ARE YOU KIDDING ME. WOW!!! Tanahashi hit a dragon suplex, but Omega kicked out at 2. Tanahashi struggled, but got over the ropes. He set up and hit a standing High Fly Flow.

The fans applauded and Tanahashi went up top again. Tanahashi hit the High Flow, but OMEGA KICKED OUT AT THE LAST SECOND!!!! WOW!!! THIS IS CRAZY!!! Both men were down on the mat at the 35 minute mark. Tanahashi got up and went up top again, but Omega greeted him with a V-Trigger. Omega slapped Tanahashi across the back. They battled up top and Omega set up for a super snap dragon and connected. OH MY GOD. That was brutal! Omega sold his leg after impact. Omega measured Tanahashi and hit a HUGE V-Trigger against the ropes. Omega set up for the One-Winged Angel, but Tanahashi turned it into a modified Sling Blade. Tanahashi then hit a traditional Sling Blade. He went up top a the fans roared. Tanahashi connected with the High Fly Flow for the win. WOW!

WINNER: Hiroshi Tanahashi in 39:00 to become the new IWGP World Hvt. Champion (*****)

Tanahashi was presented with the title. After the match, Tanahashi got on the mic. He thanked the 38,000 paid fans in attendance. He said if he’s being honest he thought maybe he couldn’t stand on this stage, but it was thanks to Shibata and his friends and the people that stood with him that gave him the energy to make it back. He thanked the fans for bringing him back to the top. He said the IWGP Title once more will breath new life and begin a new stage together with the fans.

Tanahashi teased leaving, but got back on the mic. The fans chanted his name. He said he doesn’t have enough power to perform for the fans as he normally does. He said it breaks his heart, so he’ll do one song. He called for the air guitar and began shredding on guitar. WOW! What a moment! He collapsed when he finished.

He got back on the mic and said he would protect the belt. Tanahashi is now an eight time IWGP World Hvt. Champion. Tanahashi said just one song tonight and told the fans that he loves them. A big Tanahashi chant rang out in The Tokyo Dome. Kevin Kelly said Tanahashi’s journey to the top is complete. Tanahashi posed in every corner to salute the fans in The Tokyo Dome. Callis said he had a big smile and this is a great night for NJPW. Kelly said the second guessers would point out that Omega should have taken the count out. Callis said he applauds him for doing that. Kelly said Omega was the most physically dominant wrestler he’s ever called matches for. Callis said Tanahashi is more damaged than usual after the beating he took from Omega. Tanahashi walked up the ramp and fireworks went off. WOW! Kevin Kelly signed off as Tanahashi posed on the top of the ramp. Tanahashi finally gingerly made his way down the stairs and backstage.


This was an amazing match between these two men. They went at it hard and heavy from the start, which was fitting given the spirited nature of their verbal battle leading into the feud. Tanahashi worked over Omega’s legs throughout the match and Omega in turn worked over Tanahashi’s midsection and back.

Omega was never able to hit the One-Winged Angel, but Omega did kick out of the High Fly Flow in a classic moment. With this win Tanahashi’s redemption story is complete on NJPW’s biggest stage. Tanahashi now gets one more run going forward when things looked so bleak for him early in 2018.

Contact Sean at radicansean@pwtorch.com. Follow him on Twitter @sr_torch.

1 Comment on RADICAN’S BIG MATCH SPOTLIGHT – NJPW 1/4 WK 13: IWGP World Hvt. Champion Kenny Omega vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi

Leave a Reply