Monday, October 12, 2015

The WrestleKingdom 10 Main Event Is Set

Tanahashi is destined to do this with Okada at least once more
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
The main event for the tenth edition of WrestleKingdom, New Japan Pro Wrestling's annual flagship event at the Tokyo Dome, will be the same as last year's. The only difference is the man holding the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. Kazuchika Okada survived his final pre-WK title defense against AJ Styles at this morning's King of Pro Wrestling, and Hiroshi Tanahashi warded off LOS INGOBERNABLES' own Tetsuya Naito for the shot he earned by winning the G1 Climax Tournament. The two will face off again in the main event of the big January 4 show.

This past year, Okada was the challenger, gunning for Tanahashi, but he failed in his attempt to win the IWGP Championship. While the two have traded wins in the past, Okada has never beaten Tanahashi at the Tokyo Dome, a fact that made him get a little emotional. Clearly, it was all part of a super-long term story by Jado and Gedo to boost the tenth edition of the WK name.

The decision was met with mixed reviews, as always. While Tanahashi and Okada have drawn rave reviews for matches in the past, some feel as if they've reached John Cena vs. Randy Orton levels of oversaturation. Conversely, their match at this past year's event was pretty darn spiffy, and as a relative newcomer to NJPW, I wouldn't mind seeing them go one more time. But again, I wasn't around for the first billion matches in their series, so take my opinions with a grain of salt.

The big news that came out of the broadcast was that WK10 would be offered on New Japan World in both Japanese and English commentary. King of Pro Wrestling was the first NJPW event to be offered with English commentary on the company's over-the-top streaming service. If this morning's show is any indication, then Kevin Kelly and Matt Striker will call the big event as well. While Kelly is barely tolerable as a play-by-play announcer for Ring of Honor, he's a huge step up from Striker's WK9 partner for the Global Force Wrestling-distributed English broadcast, Jim Ross.