New Japan Pro Wrestling hosted King of Pro-Wrestling on the 13th October 2014 via Nico Video. The two main events of the show were both G1 Climax rematches; first the winner of the G1 Climax 24 tournament, Okada, defends his shot at the championship at Wrestle Kingdom against a man who beat him in the tournament, Naito. The second main event was AJ Styles with the new president of Bullet Club Jeff Jarrett defending the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship against the man who beat AJ to receive third place in the tournament, Tanahashi.
Tama Tonga, Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows and Bad Luck Fale vs Tomoaki Honma, Kota Ibushi, Togi Makabe and Yuji Nagata
The two teams start of brawling and the tag champs try to go for their finish early on Nagata, but he escapes and puts the armbar on Anderson but Gallows cuts him off, only for Nagata to send him reeling. Honma is tagged in and goes for the kokeshi headbutt, but Anderson moves out of the way. Fale is tagged in and lands some offense, including a HUGE lariat. Fale goes for a splash but misses as Makabe gets tagged in. Ibushi and Tama Tonga then are tagged in and Ibushi goes wild, including hitting an amazing moonsault off the middle rope to the floor on Bullet Club members. He eventually gets the win out of nowhere with the phoenix splash.
Winners: Tomoaki Honma, Kota Ibushi, Togi Makabe and Yuji Nagata
Match Rating: 2.5/5
Solid opening tag team match but with the match being so short it became so basic, I would have liked to see some more urgency and a faster pace overall worked. But this was a fine way to kick off the show.
NWA Jr. Heavyweight Championship: Chase Owens (Champion) vs Bushi (Challenger)
Owens immediately jumps him at the bell. Owens goes on the outside but Bushi responds with a big suicide dive through the ropes. Owens eventually gains control and works over Bushi, throughout the match and gets a couple of nearfalls. Bushi starts getting some offense in and goes for the codebreaker off the top but Owens dodge, puts him back on the top rope and hits a draping cutter from the top rope for a nearfall. Swinging slingshot backbreaker followed by a package piledriver gets Chase Owens the win.
Winner and still NWA Jr. Heavyweight Champion Chase Owens
Match Rating: 2.5/5
After the match they called out Liger to set up a title match with Owens.
Was a decent match with two guys getting a good amount of offence in, I do think the match could have been better but overall the match was fun and solid.
NWA Tag Team Championships: Tencozy (Champions) vs Killer Elite Squad (Challengers)
The match begins and after a few tags, Archer hits a vertical suplex and does the rope walk sledge a la Undertaker for another pinfall attempt. Kojima finally comes back and hits the DDT and tags in Tenzan as these two go at it again. Archer is tagged in again and so is Kojima and he starts his offense. He hits the chops and the elbow. Tenzan assists with the lariat but Kojima accidentally hits him instead. KES double teams him and goes for this finish but Kojima manages to take out Davey Boy Smith. He scores a close nearfall on Archer, and as he goes for the lariat Archer grabs him in the full nelson position, DBS comes back and they hit the killer bomb on Kojima for the pinfall and win the titles.
Winner and New NWA Tag Team Champions Killer Elite Squad
Match Rating: 2.75/5
This match is getting very repetitive, I believe on iPPV this was the 11th time they have faced each other and sure the matches are decent but they really don’t add anything. I’m glad the Killer Elite Squad won the straps as I feel they are one of the more underrated tag teams in NJPW and I’m interested to see who challenges them.
Minoru Suzuki and Takashi Iizuka vs Kazushi Sakuraba and Toru Yano
Suzuki and Sakuraba start things off and do their usual grappling. Sakuraba manages to get an armbar in but it’s quickly broken up. Sakuraba works the arm and as they go to the corner Sakuraba starts slapping and stomping away. Yano is tagged in and so is Iizuka follows. Suzuki has Sakuraba in a kimura on the outside as Yano undoes the turnbuckle and Iizuka goes flying into it. Yano grabs the ref and this distracts him long enough to low blow him and roll him up for the pinfall.
Winners: Kazushi Sakuraba and Toru Yano
Match Rating: 2/5
It was short, and the events after the match was used to set up Suzuki vs. Sakuraba for Wrestle Kingdom, that is fine but I do not need to see these guys tag against each other all the time.
Triple Threat Tag Team Match for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: Time Splitters (Champions) vs The Young Bucks (Challengers) vs Forever Hooligans (Challengers)
Koslov’s left shoulder was wrapped up. The Splitters had a lot of success early. The Hooligans worked over Shelley for a bit. The Bucks then worked over Shelley, The Bucks and Hooligans were not on the same page, which gave Shelley an opening. Shelley escaped the beatdown, and KUSHIDA made a hot tag. Shelley recovered very fast and joined in and this is where the match completely broke out. There were some big dives to the floor the dive sequence was supposed to end with Koslov doing the Air Jordan, but his leg got caught in the ropes so Matt gave everyone a moonsault to the floor. The Bucks went after Koslov who seemed to be clearly (and understandably) hobbled. Koslov took the springboard tandem tombstone, but everyone else made the save. The Splitters saved Koslov from More Bang for Your Buck, KUSHIDA caught Koslov with a pinning combination to get the win.
Winners and still IWGP Junior Tag Team Champions Time Splitters
Match Rating 4.25/5
Great match as expected, The Bucks and the Splitters are really carrying the juniors right now and the Forever Hooligans also had some good spots in the match and I’m looking forward to the Junior Tag Team Tournament.
IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship: Ryusuke Taguchi (Champion) vs Desperado
Taichi and Taka distract the referee so Desperado can hit Taguchi with the title belt. Taichi and Taka work him over on the outside while Desperado distracts the referee. He’s in control, including slapping Taguchi on the butt, until Taguchi starts fighting back with the dropkick and then rams his butt onto Desperado’s head in a measure of revenge. Taguchi hits a huge swanton off the ring onto the floor and then hits the Indian deathlock bridge by Taguchi for a nearfall. Taguchi goes for the ankle lock but Desperado gets to the ropes. Desperado fires back with a vertebreaker variation for a nearfall. Taichi goes to the top rope to interfere, but Taguchi pushes Desperado into the ropes causing Taichi to fly to the outside. Taguchi hits the dodon then locks in the ankle lock for the win.
Winner and still IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Ryusuke Taguchi
Match Rating: 2/5
I honestly couldn’t get into this match which is disappointing as I know the junior division can put on some amazing matches, I’m waiting to see why Taguchi was made champion over KUSHIDA because even though he is talented, he just looked like he wasn’t interested in this match.
NEVER Championship: Yujiro Takahashi (Champion) vs Tomohiro Ishii (Challenger)
Yujiro is in control to start. Ishii gets a barricade shot in but Yujiro soon gains control again. Ishii finally hits a huge release overhead suplex for some momentum. Yujiro cuts him off and hits a buckle bomb. Yujiro starts unleashing some elbows but Ishii hits a huge superplex but Yujiro gets his shoulder up. Yujiro tries to cheat by grabbing a ref and going for a low blow, but Ishii catches him only for Yujiro to lariat him and they then exchange elbow shots. Yujiro hits the olympic slam but Ishii kicks out. Tokyo pimps attempt but Ishii counters with a back body drop. Yujiro hits a huge elbow shot then follows with the Tokyo Pimps but Ishii somehow manages to kick out. Ishii blocks the Miami Shine and hits a buckle bomb of his own and both men are down. They get back up and exchange moves. Ishii hits a lariat, but still Yujiro kicks out at two so Ishii hits a brainbuster to get the win.
Winner and new NEVER Champion Tomohiro Ishii
Match Rating 4.25/5
This match started out incredibly boring, but things picked up and the crowd got really hot as soon as Ishii started to come back. They did some great nearfalls and mostly made up for the very poor beginning.
Katsuyori Shibata and Hirooki Goto vs Yoshi Hashi & Shinsuke Nakamura
Shibata and Nakamura start things off. They go at it for a bit before tagging in their respective partners. Goto manages to lock in a boston crab as Shibata isolates Nakamura from making the save. Hashi eventually gains free. Tag back to Shibata and Nakamura, who gains control of the bout for a bit until Shibata unleashes a huge overhead German. Both teams work over one another as Hashi and Shibata are in the ring, hitting a powerbomb followed by a bridge for a nearfall. Shibata nails him with a dropkick and nails the penalty kick for the pinfall.
Winners: Katsuyori Shibata and Hirooki Goto
Match Rating: 3.25/5
After the match Shibata and Nakamura have a staredown until Shibata leaves and Nakamura grabs the microphone and I assume he challenges him to a match.
Pretty solid tag team match, the main reason for the match was to build a feud up between Shibata and Nakamura for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship and Yoshi Hash had a pretty good showing throughout the match as well.
Kazuchika Okada vs Tetsuya Naito
The winner here is the #1 contender for the IWGP title at the Tokyo Dome. Naito slaps him after a clean break so he’s working as a heel here. Naito works him over but Okada springs back to life and dropkicks Naito off the top rope and sends him scrambling to the floor. Okada follows it up with a DDT off the barricade. He tries for the Rainmaker, but Naito comes back and starts mounting some offense after blocking it. He hits Gloria and goes for the stardust press but Okada rolls out of the way. Naito counters with a dragon suplex, but it still isn’t enough. Okada hits a huge dropkick to the back of the head and hits a Tombstone. Okada goes for the Rainmaker, but Naito keeps squirming out of the way until Okada latches on to him, hits a German suplex and follows with the Rainmaker for the win.
Winner: Kazuchika Okada
Match Rating: 4.25/5
Great match by these two as expected and this match may have even topped their classic in the G1 Climax 24 tournament. Okada retains his right to challenge the IWGP World Champion at Wrestle Kingdom but Naito in this match shows why he deserves another shot at the IWGP World Championship.
IWGP World Heavyweight Championship: AJ Styles (Champion) vs Hiroshi Tanahashi (Challenger)
Jeff Jarrett is in AJ Styles corner and has a Bullet Club guitar. They start with some back and forth chain wrestling. Tanahashi misses a plancha but ends up grabbing AJ as he slides out of the ring and shoves him into the barricade. They do the spot where AJ jumps over the guardrail then launches off with a punch, but Tanahashi grabs him instead and hits a huge belly to belly. They get back into the ring where AJ hits a dropkick. Tanahashi cuts him off with an axe handle and follows with a swanton for a nearfall. AJ goes for his quick offense but Tanahashi fight back and nails a dragon suplex, follows that with two high fly flows…then Jarrett pulls the referee out of the ring. This distracts Tanahashi long enough for AJ to hit the pele kick and bloody Sunday DDT for a nearfall. AJ shoves Tanahashi right into the referee. Jarrett comes into the ring and it looks like he’s about to nail Tanahashi with the guitar but suddenly Naofumi Yamamoto, aka Yoshi Tatsu comes out of nowhere and starts attacking Jeff Jarret and chases him off. Back in the ring AJ low blows Tanahashi and hits the hollow point tombstone. AJ goes for the 450 splash, but Tanahashi gets the legs up. Tanahashi goes for the High fly flow, but AJ gets the legs up. AJ grabs him from the top rope and tries for the Styles Clash of the top ropebut Tanahashi throws him off and hits two more high fly flows to win the IWGP title.
Winner and new IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi
Match Rating 4.5/5
After the match Okada came down to the ring and he and Tanahashi had a staredown to show that basically the main event for Wrestle Kingdom has been set.
Wow, I did not expect the title to change hands as like many others I expected Okada to get his revenge on AJ Styles at Wrestle Kingdom by dethroning him as World Champion. So because of this result the main event will be Tanahashi vs Okada for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship, a match people have seen before, but with how amazing the matches are and how great their chemistry is in the ring, I don’t think anyone has any complaints about seeing this match again.
Event Rating: 9/10
Another fantastic NJPW event and even though some matches were duds, the main event matches not only delivered but they exceeded my expectations, with multiple 4 star matches on the card there is no reason why you shouldn’t check out this event and Wrestle Kingdom is shaping up to be one amazing event.