Shelly Deathlock cares too much about Japanese wrestling and, as Captain of the S.S. Strong Style, she’s here to welcome you on board and fill you in on what’s going on in the world of puro.
Hello shipmates & crew! I’ve been away for a while but I HAVE RETURNED for this most beautiful time of year: Wrestle Kingdom. This year is #10 by number, but New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Tokyo Dome show itself has been running annually since 1992. That’s before some of you were EVEN BORN, so you know it’s a big deal.
How to watch Wrestle Kingdom 10
If you’re new and wondering how to tune in to Wrestle Kingdom 10, let me tell you! It takes place on January 4, 2016 at 4PM in Japan (so 2AM EST). For about $9 USD, you can get WK10 and a whole month of NJPW’s streaming service, NJPWWorld, right on your computer machine (AND it works with Chromecast now!). Here’s how:
- Wait until January 1 (billing starts at the first of the month).
- Go to NJPWWorld’s English signup page at https://njpwworld.com/auth?lang=en
- Sign up & select a payment method (I use a credit card & my bank has no problem with the international transaction; others have been able to use pre-paid Visas and the like).
- Watch wrestling!
I keep a calendar of events that air live on NJPWWorld, so you can reference this to find out what’s going on during WK weekend and what time the events start in your timezone. As of now, I keep this up to date through the year, and it’s pretty handy in general.
You can also reference the official NJPWWorld Schedule to find out what’s going on and when.
WK10 will air in both Japanese and English. It should be easy to select whichever stream you want at the time it airs. The English commentary team this year is Matt Striker & Kevin Kelly, with an appearance by YOSHITATSU to do some translating. Good luck, guys! I’ll be tuning into the Japanese stream. I don’t understand it all but I love hearing them yell about things, it’s fantastic. You can feel free to do the same if you’re adventurous, or stick with Matt, Kevin, & YOSHITATSU if you want some more info about the combatants & the action in English during the broadcast.
Another event of note is the BIG WRESTLING FESTIVAL 2016. This takes place around noon Japan time on the Sunday before WK10. Last year it was a lot of fun and included Gedo & Okada squaring off in Taiko no Tatsujin, a press conference, etc. If you can’t catch it live, the replay should be up for viewing on demand on NJPWWorld soon after. Cross your fingers for more footage of our IWGP Heavyweight Champion playing video games, please.
If all goes well, NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom 10 should be a beautiful evening of pro wrestling that everyone can enjoy. Let’s get to the card rundown, including my incredibly biased opinions!
NJPW Battle Royal
Participants will enter every sixty seconds. Participants are eliminated by going over the top rope. Last year was the first NJPW Battle Royal, and it looks like it’s becoming tradition! WK9’s saw a number of surprise entrants and was a lot of wild fun. Yuji Nagata was victorious last year and received an IWGP Intercontinental Championship match somehow, but as far as I know, nothing is actually guaranteed to this year’s winner. We’ll see.
It could be literally anyone. Last year, The Great Kabuki showed up. With nunchaku. Expect to see Tiger Mask V, Jushin Liger, Satoshi Kojima, Yuji Nagata, and more!
Kaomoji excitement rating: o((*^▽^*))o
IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Four Way Match:
RPG Vice vs. Young Bucks vs. ReDRagon (c) vs. Matt Sydal & Ricochet
Look, what the hell. We had a whole tournament in recent months between these teams to decide which *two* teams would face off at WK10 for the belts, only to have everyone come out after the finals and make it a four-way match again. Oh well! More wrestling is more wrestling. This should be a lot of fun, and you can guarantee the Tokyo Dome crowd will be into it. A great choice for an opener.
RPG Vice: Rocky Romero & Trent Baretta! Part of NJPW’s stable CHAOS.
The Young Bucks: Matt & Nick Jackson! The Bullet Club! Homeowners, fathers! Suck it!
ReDRagon: Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly, good wrestlers, gonna kick the hell out of some dudes.
Matt Sydal & Ricochet: Matt Sydal & Ricochet! They don’t even have an official team name yet! High flying madmen, you’ve probably heard of them.
Kaomoji excitement rating: (ˆ ڡ ˆ)
Inaugural NEVER Openweight Six-Person Tag Team Titles Match:
Toru Yano & The Briscoes vs. The Bullet Club (Tama Tonga, Yujiro Takahashi, & Bad Luck Fale)
NJPW just introduced a TRIOS title! It’s branded under the NEVER Openweight division (which doesn’t really mean anything specific anymore). This is the first match and will decide the first champions. I can’t possibly have any idea what is going on here or who decided this should be, but the Briscoes of ROH are teaming up with Toru Yano of NJPW’s CHAOS and it should be really weird and fun.
Toru Yano: You’re gonna love him (um, or hate him) if you don’t already. He’s a thief with a noble mind and he’ll cheat so fast you legitimately won’t see it. Buy his DVD. Buy 10,000 copies.
The Briscoes: Mark & Jay. Longtime ROH competitors with many titles to their names, I have no idea why they’re in this but I’m here for it.
The Bullet Club: Tama Tonga, Yujiro Takahashi, Bad Luck Fale. These guys are the lesser names in the Bullet Club compared to guys like AJ Styles and Karl Anderson, but Yujiro & Fale held the NEVER & IC Championships last year, respectively.
Kaomoji excitement rating: ｢(ﾟﾍﾟ)
ROH Heavyweight Championship Match:
Michael Elgin vs. Jay Lethal (c)
As part of Ring of Honor’s partnership with NJPW, the ROH heavyweight championship is being defended at Wrestle Kingdom! Wow!
Michael Elgin: BIG MIKE made a name for himself in NJPW in this year’s G1 Climax Tournament. People in Japan love him and we’re all expecting a lot from him after such a great showing.
Jay Lethal: He’s Jay Lethal! ROH Heavyweight Champion! If you don’t know, you’ll see.
Kaomoji excitement rating: (ﾉ´ヮ´)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧
IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship Match:
Kenny Omega (c) vs. KUSHIDA
It’s been a very tumultuous time for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship in recent months. KUSHIDA won the Best of the Super Juniors tournament in 2015 and earned a shot at the title, which he took from Kenny Omega in July, only to lose it back to him in September. This is the latest bout in their tug of war to be the best.
Kenny Omega: Part of the Bullet Club. The Cleaner. Real Bad Dude. Wears sunglasses so you know he’s serious. Current champ, and as far as he’s concerned, he will be forever. Could probably definitely beat me at Street Fighter.
KUSHIDA: Adorable angel-faced high flyer and grappler with talent to spare. Always an absolute treasure to watch, this should be no different. Objectively speaking, he should hold all the belts ever, ok, get your stupid hands off of him, Kenny.
Kaomoji excitement rating: (☄ฺ◣д◢)☄ฺ
IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Match:
Gallows & Anderson (c) vs. Honma & Makabe
Tomoaki Honma & Togi Makabe earned this shot by winning the World Tag League Tournament in 2015. They’ll face defending champions Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows.
Karl Anderson: Member of the Bullet Club with the longest tenure. Really good at wrestling. Can’t beat Shinsuke Nakamura, but he tries, you know. That’s worth something.
Doc Gallows: Bullet Club member & long time tag team partner of Karl Anderson.
Tomoaki Honma & Togi Makabe: The last remaining members of GBH (Great Bash Heel), a faction in NJPW that has been crumbling over the years. They hit hard and take risks. It’ll be interesting to see what unfolds during this match.
Kaomoji excitement rating: <(￣ー￣)>
Special Singles Match:
Hirooki Goto vs. Tetsuya Naito
Oh baby, Tetsuya Naito joined the CMLL stable LOS INGOBERNABLES in the later half of 2015 and started recruiting members for the Japanese chapter of the group. Since then, LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON has grown to include KING OF DARKNESS, EVIL (formerly Takaaki Watanabe) and BUSHI. These fellows have been causing all kinds of mayhem in NJPW since, and lately they’ve been messing with Goto. This match is a result of that.
Hirooki Goto: Noble samurai, former IWGP Intercontinental Champion & former IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champion with Katsuyori Shibata, doesn’t mess around, is pretty irritated with Naito for ALL THIS MESSING AROUND.
Tetsuya Naito: Formerly the “Stardust Genius,” a lukewarm fan favorite, Naito has turned his back on ALL OF US and joined LOS INGOBERNABLES. Now he hangs out with bad boys and wears a skull mask and a suit and causes a lot of trouble and then tells everyone to “tranquilo: just calm down.” It’s so great. He’s so great.
Kaomoji excitement rating: (`･/д＼･)
NEVER Championship Match:
Tomohiro Ishii (c) vs. Katsuyori Shibata
Ishii is the current NEVER Openweight Champion, which means he beat up some guys to get a belt. Shibata is not the champion and he doesn’t really care about belts but he wants to beat up guys so BAM he has a title match. At least, as far as I can tell, that’s how this came to be. It should be fun.
Tomohiro Ishii: A member of CHAOS, Ishii has been the NEVER Champ 4 times. He’s 40 years old and insane and will avalanche suplex any goddamn thing that moves. You can check Shinsuke Nakamura’s instagram if you want to see a lot of pictures of Ishii sleeping on the bus or just being beautiful.
Katsuyori Shibata: Former heavyweight tag team champs with Hirooki Goto. He seems not to care about much of anything except kicking people, which he does very well. I’m sure you’ll love him.
Kaomoji excitement rating: ٩(ˊᗜˋ*)و
IWGP Intercontinental Championship Match:
Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs. AJ Styles
OH MY GOD YOU GUYS OH MY GOD. ALL I WANTED FOR CHRISTMAS WAS AJ STYLES VS. SHINSUKE NAKAMURA. AJ Styles has been having killer match after killer match in NJPW since he showed up, and Shinsuke Nakamura is known for putting on incredible matches at big shows. I’m expecting this to be nothing short of amazing. If it lives up to even a portion of my expectations, it’ll be my match of the year. Please hold me, I’m terrified.
Shinsuke Nakamura: Shinsuke Nakamura, along with Toru Yano, is a founding member of the CHAOS faction. He debuted in 2002 and was the youngest IWGP Heavyweight Champion ever. He’s incredibly popular with Japanese & international fans alike, and wrestles all over the world for a number of promotions. He’s also my favorite wrestler of all time and I have completely lost my mind. If you lose your mind, I will be here for you. You don’t have to go through this alone. Check out the post I wrote after Wrestle Kingdom 9 if you need some help before I can get to you, ok? I’ll check back in about this soon.
AJ Styles: After being phenomenal and then spending a long time stagnating in TNA, AJ Styles is phenomenal again. A member of the Bullet Club, he’s a former IWGP Heavyweight Champion and he now has his sights set on the Intercontinental Championship, held by Current Best Wrestler In The World, King of Strong Style, and Maybe Actual King of Everything, Shinsuke Nakamura (see above).
Kaomoji excitement rating: (*˘︶˘*).｡.:*♡
IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match:
Kazuchika Okada (c) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
The years-long saga of Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada began in 2012, and may very well culiminate (ok but probably not?) here at Wrestle Kingdom 10 in 2016. The story has been much the same with a few variations over the years: Okada is an incredibly talented young wrestler who wants to be the Ace of New Japan Pro Wrestling, and he needs to basically retire Hiroshi Tanahashi to do it. Tanahashi isn’t ready to go anywhere yet. Okada may be the current champ, but Tanahashi won the 2015 G1 Climax Tournament to earn a title shot at WK10. This very match happened last year with the roles reversed, and Okada left the arena in tears and defeat. There’s no way this won’t be a war.
Kazuchika Okada: Current IWGP heavyweight champion, 28 years old and a TEN YEAR VETERAN, member of CHAOS, the RAINMAKER. Stunning in-ring talent & a strange charisma: his character is an arrogant brat with a lot of money, but out of the ring you catch him giggling uncontrollably and eating ice cream and generally being delightful. Also he let me hold his belt and was only mildly terrified that I’d drop it. I love him a lot.
Hiroshi Tanahashi: The most decorated IWGP Heavyweight champ of all time with the most reigns & also longest combined time as champion. Ace of the company, a once in a century talent, beloved by the world. His catchphrase is “I LOVE YOU” and he celebrates his victories with an air guitar. He has amazing hair. He’s really great at wrestling. I hope he loses.
Kaomoji excitement rating: (•́⌄•́๑)૭✧
That’s all! That’s it!
If you want to follow along with dozens of your favorite internet people as we livetweet at stupid o’clock on January 4, I’ll be at @shellydeathlock and the hashtag will be #njwk10. Hope to see you there! Feel free to @ me with any questions in the meantime! Happy Wrestle Kingdom & New Year!