Full line-ups for NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 14 & Road To Tokyo Dome events

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2019/12/09/full-cards-for-njpw-wrestle-kingdom-14-road-to-tokyo-dome-events/

On Monday, New Japan Pro Wrestling held a press conference to announce their full line-ups for Wrestle Kingdom 14 at the Tokyo Dome on January 4th and 5th:

WRESTLE KINGDOM 14 NIGHT 1 – Tokyo Dome – Sat. January 4th, 2020 – 3am ET

**IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada (c) vs. Kota Ibushi
**IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Jay White (c) vs. Tetsuya Naito
**IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship: Will Ospreay (c) vs. Hiromu Takahashi
**Texas Death Match for the IWGP US Heavyweight Championship: Lance Archer (c) vs. Jon Moxley
**IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: Guerillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) (c) vs. FinJuice (David Finlay & Juice Robinson)
**Chaos (Yoshi-Hashi, Toru Yano, Tomohiro Ishii & Hirooki Goto) vs. Bullet Club (Chase Owens, Yujiro Takahashi, Bad Luck Fale & KENTA)
**Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, Shingo Takagi, EVIL & Sanada) vs. Suzuki-Gun (El Desperado, Taichi, Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr.)
**Jushin Liger Retirement Match 1: Tiger Mask, The Great Sasuke, Tatsumi Fujinami & Jushin “Thunder” Liger vs. Ryusuke Taguchi, Tatsuhiro Takaiwa, Shinjiro Otani & Naoki Sano

WRESTLE KINGDOM 14 NIGHT 2 – Tokyo Dome – Sun. January 5th, 2020 – 1am ET

**IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Double Championship Match: (Kazuchika Okada or Kota Ibushi) vs. (Jay White or Tetsuya Naito)
**Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Chris Jericho
**(Loser of ‘Kazuchika Okada vs. Kota Ibushi’) vs. (Loser of ‘Jay White vs. Tetsuya Naito’)
**NEVER Openweight Championship: KENTA (c) vs. Hirooki Goto
**IWGP US Heavyweight Championship: (Lance Archer or Jon Moxley) vs. Juice Robinson
**RevPro British Heavyweight Championship: Zack Sabre Jr. (c) vs. Sanada
**IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: Bullet Club (El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori) (c) vs. Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH)
**Jushin Thunder Liger Retirement Match 2: Jushin “Thunder” Liger & Naoki Sano vs. Ryu Lee (fmr. Dragon Lee) & Hiromi Takahashi

NJPW also announced full cards for their Road to Tokyo Dome shows at Korakuen Hall from December 19-21 reaturing the in-ring return of Hiromu Takahashi and the final Korakuen Hall appearances of Jushin “Thunder” Liger.

ROAD TO TOKYO DOME NIGHT 1 – Korakuen Hall – Thurs. December 19th, 2019 – 4:30am ET

**Hiromu Takahashi Return Match: Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI vs. Birds of Prey (Will Ospreay & Robbie Eagles)
**Yoshi-Hashi & Kazuchika Okada vs. Chase Owens & Jay White
**Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kota Ibushi vs. Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito
**Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH), Tomohiro Ishii & Hirooki Goto vs. El Phantasmo, Taiji Ishimori, Yujiro Takahashi & KENTA
**EVIL & Sanada vs. Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr.
**Toa Henare, David Finlay & Juice Robinson vs. Bad Luck Fale & Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa)
**Jushin Liger’s Final Match at Korakuen Hall 1: Rocky Romero, Ryusuke Taguchi, Tomoaki Honma & Togi Makabe vs. Yuya Uemura, Yota Tsuji, Tiger Mask & Jushin “Thunder” Liger

ROAD TO TOKYO DOME NIGHT 2 – Korakuen Hall – Fri. December 20th, 2019 – 4:30am ET

**Birds of Prey (Will Ospreay & Robbie Eagles), Yoshi-Hashi & Kazuchika Okada vs. BUSHI, Hiromu Takahashi, EVIL & Tetsuya Naito
**Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kota Ibushi vs. Chase Owens & Jay White
**FinJuice (David Finlay & Juice Robinson), Tomohiro Ishii & Hirooki Goto vs. Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa), Yujiro Takahashi & KENTA
**Shingo Takagi & SANADA vs. Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr.
**Jushin Liger’s Final Match at Korakuen Hall 2: Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH) & Jushin “Thunder” Liger vs. Rocky Romero, Ryusuke Taguchi & Tiger Mask
**Yuya Uemura, Tomoaki Honma & Togi Makabe vs. El Phantasmo, Taiji Ishimori & Bad Luck Fale
**Toa Henare vs. Yota Tsuji

ROAD TO TOKYO DOME NIGHT 3 – Korakuen Hall – Sat. December 21th, 2019 – 4:30am ET

**Jushin Liger’s Final Match at Korakuen Hall 3: Rocky Romero, Yoshi-Hashi & Kazuchika Okada vs. Jushin “Thunder” Liger, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kota Ibushi
**Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Kaito vs. Chase Owens & Jay White
**Tomohiro Ishii & Will Ospreay vs. EVIL & Hiromu Takahashi
**Toa Henare & FinJuice (David Finlay & Juice Robinson) & Hirooki Goto vs. Bad Luck Fale, Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) & KENTA
**BUSHI & Sanada vs. Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr.
**Robbie Eagles & Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH) vs. Yujiro Takahashi, El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori
**Yuya Uemura, Tiger Mask & Togi Makabe vs. Yota Tsuji, Ryusuke Taguchi & Tomoaki Honma

You can watch the press conference in its entirety (with comments from select participants) on New Japan World (account not required).


Quick thoughts:

  • 2 shows are not better than 1
  • Liger’s final match being a tag is actually very disappointing
  • A story of Jericho ending two legends careers on back to back nights with Liger and Tanahashi would have been much better build than this non-story with Tanahashi; also Jericho losing to Tanahashi on the 4th and then and winning against Liger on the 5th would keep Jericho strong if he ever comes back and be a more appropriate use of him (unless they decide to take the Jericho/Tana match in a loser-is-done-with-New Japan direction as a story and Jericho is done after this appearance)
  • not getting a pay off to KENTA & Shibata is a shame because the question has to be asked, why run a physical angle with the two twice(!) if he was not going to be cleared for a match (not even a tag match which would have made a lot of sense using Kenta/bullet-club jobbers vs. Goto/Shibata on the 4th)
  • sticking with the Never Open Weight scene: - a gauntlet style match on the 5th would be more interesting to me than a singles match on the 5th. Using all the cross-over guys like Osprey & Shingo, Taichi, and utilizing Ishii, Goto, Kenta, etc. in a guantlet style gives some importance to the Never Open title using all the mid-carder and sets up a bunch of matchups down the road. We’ve seen Goto/Kenta feud for how long now and it does nothing for either to get a definitive win
  • Moxley & Suzuki should be somewhere across these two nights…it is a much more high profile match for the North American crowd (which is why they are using Moxley, right?) than running back Juice and Mox, unless Mox is losing to Archer, which hopefully is the case and sets up an opportunity for Suzuki and Mox on night 2
  • I am very against this concept of a double-champ round robin and for the life of me can’t understand the appeal of a consolation match - it wastes a spot on the card (unless it is getting replaced by something set up Night 1)
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A case can be made for the two Wrestle Kingdom cards being condensed into one, but I appreciate seeing the undercard talent getting potentially more of a spotlight in tag team matches than in gauntlet or Rumblesque matches.

The additional US Title match is a headscratcher. Is the idea for Moxley to win the title and lose it to Robinson the next night, just to boost business for these two Dome cards? Does Archer put Moxley behind him only to succumb to Robinson, who Archer doesn’t see as a threat? Does Robinson become a double champion?

I bet Liger has final say on all of these matches he’s doing.

I hope next year we’re back to one night of WK

I really don’t like the WK split on paper, especially as it pertains to IWGP Title. Feels like it could cheapen one or both of the title matches (pending the presentation, of course).

But at the end of the day, I’m sure we’re coming away with a ton of great matches to watch from that weekend (and thankfully it’s a weekend for those of you who watch live), so I will persevere through the semantics.

I’m emotionally ready to have to watch an Ibushi vs. Naito IWGP Title match on Night 2: my two favorite New Japan wrestlers who I usually have no problem watching square off, except for when it is for all the marbles on the biggest stage (@Jesse_from_the_6 can attest to my losing functioning abilities at MSG earlier this year)

My qualms pretty much match MJ’s. While I know that the shows themselves will be great in the moment, part of what makes WK so great is the long anticipation leading up to a payoff. With the potential exception of a flash-heated Naito/Okada night two main event, Ospreay/Hiromu is the only match here that I’ve been actively awaiting for months. While I understand and respect Liger likely having control over his retirement, there are no two ways around it: having a tag be his final match is disappointing.