On one side of the ring a fifteen-year veteran, a two time and current IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion and multi-time WWE Intercontinental Champion. On the other side a thirty plus year veteran, a former IWGP Intercontinental, NEVER Openweight and RevPro Undisputed British Heavyweight Champion. Sunday, February 9th in Osaka, Japan IWGP United States Champion Jon Moxley will defend his championship against the Wrestling King Minoru Suzuki. Their initial confrontation with one another came at the end of night one of NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 14. After defeating Lance Archer in a Texas Deathmatch, Moxley was focussing his attention on what lay ahead on Night Two. This is Jon Moxley & Minoru Suzuki, never crossed paths.
As it appeared as though, Moxley was going to leave the ring with the last word a menacing sound was heard. With Suzuki’s noted theme Kaze ni nare or ‘Become the Wind’ was blasted on the overheard speaker the mood immediately changes. He was walking to the ring with purpose. Once in the ring, Suzuki came right at Moxley and obliterated the champion. The seeds had been planted of a future battle between the two. What is different here however is that the while incredibly dangerous and intimidating, they are very calculating.
Jon Moxley and Minoru Suzuki: Wrestle Kingdom
On night two of Wrestle Kingdom 14, it was Moxley that repaid the favor and wiped out Suzuki. This had to lead to something and on January 7th it did. It was only a matter of time before a match between Moxley and Suzuki would happen.
The decision to face one another is as much about the most dangerous man in America against the most dangerous man in Japan. Suzuki’s as fierce a wrestler as he is a mixed martial arts competitor. At 51 years of age, Suzuki is as dangerous a man as there ever was. In assessing Suzuki’s MMA background his mat wrestling skills are superb. Whether it is his ability to applying pressure to his opponent’s, neck, head, and shoulders shows his strength. His strength is in his submission wrestling but he provides so much more in the ring. Fans will often acknowledge how effective Suzuki can be in the ring. While involved in combat sports such as professional wrestling and MMA for over thirty years, Suzuki in no way has relented or taken a step back in his pursuit of success.
Jon Moxley and Minoru Suzuki:
Mirror Images Continents Divided
It now appears as though Minoru Suzuki has his biggest challenge comes from a man that maybe his mirror image in North America in Jon Moxley. Also graced with strong grappling skills. Jon Moxley is a former protégé of Les Thatcher. He has embraced the hardcore style that has been like second nature to him. A former World Heavyweight Champion, Moxley has seen his share of halogen lightbulbs, staple guns, and barbed wire. While Moxley has achieved success competing for the biggest promotion in the world, new opportunities awaited him. He could have rested on his laurels and continue to do exactly what had been. The notion of simply competing under the bright lights of the WWE may be enough for some but not Moxley.
A preview of Feb.9 #njnbg IWGP US HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
.@JonMoxley vs @suzuki_D_minoru
Sign up Now & Stay tuned to https://t.co/CcdQ1XrpWA#njpw #njpwworld #njnbg pic.twitter.com/QSYDXbAiGH
— njpwworld (@njpwworld) February 1, 2020
As the clock struck May 1st, 2019 Moxley released a cryptic video tweet suggesting his newfound emancipation. Twenty-four days later, Moxley appeared at the inaugural AEW event Double or Nothing. His appearance meant he has arrived back on television. Returning to television wasn’t something Moxley’s wasn’t his ultimate intention in returning. His freedom has also allowed him to travel the world. One such place in which Moxley had come and gained popularity was in New Japan Pro Wrestling. Much like his opponent, Moxley has earned a hero’s welcome for everything he has done and what he continues to do.
IWGP United States Championship
On June 5th, challenged then IWGP United States Champion Juice Robinson on the last night of the Best of the Super Juniors 26. He defeated Robinson to capture the IWGP United States Championship. After holding the title for over four months he was stripped of the championship do to being unable to perform. However, while travel issues cost him the championship it wouldn’t prevent him from ultimately regaining it at Wrestle Kingdom 14. At the June 9th, Dominion event taking place in Osaka-jo Hall defeated Shota Umino and said he was entering the upcoming 2019 G1 Climax tournament.
This brings us to today. Minoru Suzuki and Jon Moxley are headed for a match that neither one of them have had with one another. Their motivation is clear. For Suzuki, he plans on becoming the next IWGP United States Champion. Moxley’s intent is to ensure he walks in as the champion and walks out as the champion.