AMIN’S NJPW WRESTLE KINGDOM 14 REVIEW
SUNDAY JANUARY 5, 2020
TOKYO DOME IN TOKYO, JAPAN
HIROMU TAKAHASHI & RYU LEE vs. JYUSHIN THUNDER LIGER & NAOKI SANO (w/Yoshiaki Fujiwara)
Liger came out last to a big reaction. Liger placed Takahashi in a Bow-and-Arrow and then transitioned into a Romero Special. Liger hit a pair of tilt-a-whirl backbreakers to Lee and Takahashi. Liger and Sano moved as Lee hit a Tope Con Hilo onto Takahashi. Takahashi hit a German suplex but Liger no-sold it and hit a Vertical Drop Brainbuster but Lee broke the count. Lee delivered a tope to Sano. Lee and Takahashi delivered stereo running knees but Liger kicked out. Takahashi avoided a Shote and hit a Time Bomb for the win.
WINNERS: HIROMU TAKAHASHI & RYU LEE (⭐️⭐️⭐️)
–After the match, Liger cut promo brought up the start of his career and noted his professional wrestling career ended in the Tokyo Dome. They showed fans crying in the crowd. Liger hugged Sano as his music played.
Amin’s Analysis: A fun opening match as everyone worked hard. The presentation of Liger was great as this was a really nice sendoff as he was treated as a legend.
IWGP JUNIOR HEAVYWEIGHT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: EL PHANTASMO & TAIJI ISHIMORI vs. ROPPONGI 3K SHO & YOH (w/Rocky Romero)
SHO and YOH hit stereo Tope Con Hilo’s onto Ishimori and Phantasmo as the match began. Ishimori dropped SHO with a sliding German suplex. Phantasmo hit a Lionsault to SHO and then took out Rocky with tope. Phantasmo hit a Super Splash to SHO but YOH made the save. Ishimori and Phantasmo massaged SHO & YOH’s balls too boos. YOH speared Ishimori. SHO hit a plancha onto Ishimori and Phantasmo. Ishimori hit a handspring kick on SHO. YOH planted Phantasmo with a pair of German suplex. YOH hit a double German suplex on to Ishimori and Phantasmo. Ishimori and Phantasmo hit a lung blower/moonsault combo on YOH for a two count. YOH gave Phantasmo a Canadian Destroyer. Phantasmo countered a Shock Arrow into a Styles Clash but YOH kicked out. Rocky grabbed the title from Phantasmo. Phantasmo went for a blow blow but YOH was wearing a cup. SHO and YOH hit 3K on Ishimori. YOH hit Shock Arrow on Phantasmo as SHO followed with a Dragon Suplex. SHO and YOH hit a Shock Arrow/Double Stomp combo to Ishimori for the win.
WINNERS: SHO & YOH WON THE IWGP JUNIOR HEAVYWEIGHT TAG TEAM TITLES (⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2)
Amin’s Analysis: This was a fun action packaged match as everyone worked hard. The finish was creative and well done as it plays of Rocky Romero’s sneaky style gimmick.
BRITISH HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: ZACK SABRE JR. vs. SANADA
Sabre and SANADA started the match with a nice series of counter exchanges. SANADA rolled Sabre around the ring and then applied a La Mastica Cradle for a near fall. SANADA delivered a dragon screw and followed with a plancha. Sabre avoided a moonsault and hit a sliding PK. Sabre and SANADA exchanged pinning combinations for close near fall. Sabre avoided Skull End and applied a European Clutch for a two count. The finish awesome as they kept exchanging pinning combinations as Sabre applied a European Clutch, fully bridged over and got the win.
WINNER: ZACK SABRE JR. RETAINED THE BRITISH HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE (⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2)
Amin’s Analysis: This was a good technical wrestling match as both Sabre and SANADA looked solid as there were great counter exchanges leading to the finish.
IWGP US HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: JON MOXLEY vs. JUICE ROBINSON
Juice delivered a plancha to Moxley before the match began. Juice placed Moxley on a chair and hit a running cannonball on the floor. Moxley hit a backbreaker and a sliding lariat for a pair of near falls. Moxley applied a Figure-4-Leg lock against the ring post. Juice punched a chair into Moxley’s face. Juice hit a Superplex, maintained control and followed with a Jackhammer for a two count. Juice and Moxley exchanged German suplex spots. Moxley got a better off a strike exchange as he hit a Regal knee. Juice made a comeback by hitting a pair of Left Hand of Gods. Juice went for Pulp Fiction but Moxley countered into a Dirty Deeds DDT. Moxley maintained control and delivered an elevated Death Rider for the win.
WINNER: JON MOXLEY (⭐️⭐️⭐️1/4)
Amin’s Analysis: A solid match as both Juice and Moxley worked hard as there were some nice counters and sequences leading to the finish.
–The big angle came after the match as Kaze Ni Nare hit as Minoru Suzuki who was wearing a tracksuit came out to a thunderous reaction. Suzuki removed his tracksuit and entered the ring as he and Moxley exchanged strikes. Suzuki placed Moxley in the Rear-Naked Choke and then laid him out with a Gotch Piledriver. Suzuki cut a promo as Moxley what he’s thinking picking a fight with him. Suzuki noted he’s the king of pro wrestling and if Moxley wants a fight, he will be king of the United States. Suzuki left as the Young Lions went to check on Moxley.
Amin’s Analysis: This angle was just tremendous and it’s clearly leading to a Moxley and Suzuki match which will be awesome.
NEVER OPENWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: KENTA vs. HIROOKI GOTO
KENTA nailed Goto with a pair of running boots and then hit a DDT on the entrance ramp. KENTA slowed the pace down by appling a chin lock. Goto and KENTA exchanged forearm smashes in the corner. Goto hit a huge forearm smash as KENTA went down. Goto hit a running spin kick and followed with a backdrop suplex for a two count. KENTA hit a flying clothesline for a two count. Goto caught KENTA coming off the ropes and hit Ushigorishi. KENTA applied Game Over but Goto placed his foot on the ropes. KENTA hit a draping DDT and followed with a stalling dropkick into the turnbuckle. KENTA delivered Coup De Grace but Goto kicked out. KENTA hit a PK and followed with a sliding Bauizuku Knee but Goto kicked out. Goto blocked a GTS and hit a massive head butt. There was a great sequence as Goto hit a running lariat but KENTA no-sold hit a pair of spinning back first. Goto responded with a running lariat for a two count. Goto and KENTA exchanged vicious palm strikes. Goto hit a Ushigorishi slam but KENTA kicked out. Goto hit a GTR for the win.
WINNER: HIROOKI GOTO WON THE NEVER OPENWEIGHT TITLE (⭐️⭐️⭐️3/4)
Amin’s Analysis: This was superb hard hitting match as both Goto and KENTA worked really hard. I’ve been impressed with KENTA since arriving to NJPW as he’s been awesome playing just an unlikable heel.
JAY WHITE (w/Gedo) vs. KOTA IBUSHI
White stalled early but Ibushi chased him around and hit a powerslam/moonsault combo for a near fall. White hit a DVDDT for a near fall. The intensity picked up early as Ibushi spiked White with a Cradle Driver. Ibsuhi’s facial reactions as he no-sold White palm strikes and delivered a huge a lariat. White hit a Blade Buster, maintained control and then hit a Kiwi Crusher for a two count. Ibushi went for springboard hurricanrana but White crotched him on the top rope. The match picked up as White hit an avalanche uranage for a near fall. White hit a sleeper suplex but Ibushi responded with a V-Trigger. There was a great spot as Ibushi teased a Bomb Ye but stopped and hit a bridging German suplex for a two count. White shoved Ibushi into Red Shoes. Ibushi no-sold a chair shot and laid out Gedo with a palm strike. Ibushi hit a Last Ride Powerbomb, had the match won but the referee was out. Ibushi delivered a Kamigoye Knee, had the match won again but Gedo pulled the referee to the floor. White threw a chair into Ibushi’s face as Gedo decked him with pair of Brass Knuckles. White hit a straightjacket Bloody Sunday DDT and followed with a Blade Runner for the win. White gave Ibushi another Blade Runner after the match.
WINNER: JAY WHITE (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
Amin’s Analysis: I’m not a fan of these outside distractions and referee bumps. Having said that, this was tremendous as both Ibushi and White worked a great match as the closing minutes were terrific.
AEW WORLD CHAMPION CHRIS JERICHO vs. HIROSHI TANAHASHI
Jericho was introduced as the AEW World Champion as he came out with the AEW World Title. Jericho didn’t come out to “Judas” which sucked. The commentator noted Tanahashi baited Jericho to raise the stakes and possibly open the “forbidden doors.” The fireworks started early as Jericho delivered a DDT as he spiked Tanahashi on the announcers table. Jericho mocked Tanahashi’s air guitar strum as the fans booed. Jericho went for the High Fly Flow but Tanahashi moved and smiled into the camera. The referee took a bump as Jericho gave Tanahashi a low blow and then whipped him with a belt. Tanahashi responded by giving Jericho a low blow. The match picked up here as Tanahashi hit an awesome High Fly Flow to the floor. Tanahashi hit a pair of dragon screws in-between the ropes. Tanahashi went for a High Fly Flow but Jericho got his knees up and then hit a Lionsault for a two count. Jericho applied the Walls of Jericho but Tanahashi broke free and hit a slingblade. The Ace went for a High Fly Flow but Le Champion countered into a Codebreaker in mid-air for a close two count. Tanahashi avoided the Judas Effect and hit a Codebreaker for a two count. The Ace hit a twist-and-shout and followed with a slingblade but couldn’t put Jericho away. Tanahashi went for a High Fly Flow but Jericho countered into the Walls of Jericho. The fans cheered loudly as the wanted to see The Ace break free. Jericho transitioned into a Liontamer as Tanahashi tapped as the “forbidden doors” remain closed for now.
WINNER: CHRIS JERICHO VIA SUBMISSION (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2)
Amin’s Analysis: This was just a tremendous match as both Jericho and Tanahashi are two of the biggest wrestling legends as they worked a terrific match and told a great story. I liked how the kinda swerved everyone by bringing up the AEW Title stipulation but having Jericho win in the end. At some point I think we will see AEW and NJPW have a working relationship but for now both companies should just work on their own promotion.
IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT & IWGP INTERCONTINENTAL DOUBLE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: KAZUCHIKA OKADA vs. TETSUYA NAITO
The crowd popped huge as the match began. Okada took control early as hit a jumping back elbow and followed with a DDT for a two count. Naito made a comeback with a slingshot dropkick in the corner and followed with a pair of neck breakers of a two count. Naito applied a reverse head scissors but Okada placed his foot on the ropes. Naito charged but Okada drilled with a running boot. Okada went for a jackknife cover, rolled through, hit a neck breaker and followed with a Macho Man Elbow. Naito hit a popup Spinebuster and followed with a Super Frankenstiner at the 15 minute mark. Okada hit a Woo dropkick and followed with a standing dropkick sending Naito to the floor. Okada hit a chop block and then smashed Naito’s knee on the table. There was a great moment as they teased a count-out but Naito made it into the ring at 19. Okada hit a missile dropkick for a two count. Okada hit a high angle German Suplex but Naito responded with a Tornado DDT and followed with Gloria. The match reached the next level here as Naito hit an Avalanche Poison Hurricanrana but Okada kicked out. Naito hit a Koppo Kick but Okada responded with a standing dropkick. Naito no-sold it and hit a Destino but Okada kicked for an AWESOME near fall. Naito went for a second Destino but Okada countered into a standing dropkick. They exchanged strikes from their knees. Okada hit a Spinning Rainmaker. Naito went for Destino but Okada with a Corkscrew Tombstone. Okada followed with a Rainmaker but Naito kicked out at the 30 minute mark. Naito spat at Okada who responded by slamming his knee to the mat as the fans booed this. Okada hit a Rainmaker, maintained wrist control and hit a second Rainmaker. Okada went for another Rainmaker but Naito countered with a Destino but got a close two count. Naito hit Stardust Press but Okada kicked out again at the 35 minute mark. Naito hit Flencia and followed with Destino and pinned Okada.
WINNER: TETSUYA NAITO WON THE IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT & INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
Amin’s Analysis: This was an excellent main event as both Okada and Naito worked a great pace and told a terrific story. The finish was right as they made Naito feel like a huge superstar as he’s always talked about being double champion. Okada is simply amazing and the best (male) wrestler in the world.
–Naito cut a promo after the match mentioning he would like to have a match again as Okada raised his first in an LIJ way which was a nice touch. KENTA appeared from behind and laid out Naito with a GTS to massive boos as the show came to a close.
Amin’s Analysis: I would’ve liked if they gave Naito his crowning moment and let him celebrate with the crowd to close NJPW biggest show of the year instead of creating “heel heat” for KENTA. However, for the job to get “real heel heat” the angle was well done as it looks like KENTA is being positioned to challenge Naito for the title.
[Overall Thoughts] NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 14 was a terrific show with had some excellent pro wrestling matches and some very news worthy angles. A thumbs up show.