It is King of Pro Wrestling time! The annual October event is one of the biggest of the New Japan wrestling calendar. The big show will have nine matches, five singles matches and three titles on the line. In what is arguably the last major show before Wrestle Kingdom, what will go down in Ryōgoku Kokugikan.
Ryusuke Taguchi & Roppongi 3K VS. SUZUKIGUN (El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Douki)
This should be a fun opener. El Desperado is finally returning from a broken jaw to rejoin his cheating Suzuki-gun friends. As we get onto the road to the Junior Tag League tournament, this should be a good preview of the action we are going to be getting in the coming weeks. With the wonderful Roppongi 3K and a motivated El Desperado, this should start the show on a strong note.
Hiroshi Tanahashi & Tomoaki Honma vs. Togi Makabe & Toru Yano
It is strange to see Hiroshi Tanahashi so low on the card. This is the 20th anniversary of Tanahashi in New Japan and one of his debuts matches in October 1999 was against Togi Makabe. It just makes some sense to have a reunion match here.
It could just be a fun and nostalgic trip with the likes of Yano and Homa involved. That could be all this match simply is. But maybe we could get a Chris Jericho appearance as well?
Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi & BUSHI vs. Zack Sabre Jr., Lance Archer & Taichi
Poor Naito. He has just lost his IC Title at the Destruction shows. Where does he from here? It would also seem this match presents a potential feud opportunity. Who wouldn’t want to see a Sabre/Naito match in the near future? Will LIJ rebound from their recent losses?
Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Jay White, KENTA & Yujiro Takahashi
This is buildup time for future matches. It seems we will be getting a Hirooki Goto vs. Jay White IC match really soon. It would be nice to see Tomohiro Ishii against Kenta again for the NEVER title as well. This should be Chaos vs. Bullet Club fun and another six-man tag match building to the Tokyo Dome and/or Power Struggle.
Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Minoru Suzuki
I cannot wait. This is arguably New Japan’s best storyline of 2019. As Liger goes on his retirement tour, Minoru Suzuki has disrespected him at every turn. He has attacked him, attacked his friends, ripped off his mask or anything else he could do to disrespect the Junior Heavyweight Legend. This pushed Liger so far that he returned to his amazing Kishin Liger persona for only the fourth time ever. Watch out for metal spikes Suzuki.
It should be a potentially brutal ending to this fierce feud. Or maybe just the beginning on the road to Wrestle Kingdom match. Both of these veterans deserve nothing less than some success on a big stage.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Will Ospreay(c) vs. El Phantasmo
It is the battle of the Juniors. El Phantasmo has had Will Ospreay’s number for a majority of 2019. He defeated him in his debut match. Phantasmo defeated Ospreay in the Best of Super Juniors. He defeated Ospreay again at the Super J Cup semifinals as well. Despite his amazing year, the Aerial Assassin seems unable to overcome the Bullet Club’s Junior Heavyweight.
Unless we have some Bullet Club interference, it should be an amazing high flying match. Will Ospreay is arguably the best wrestler in the world and El Phantasmo has built a solid resume in New Japan. Can we expect anything less than an amazing match on Monday?
IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship: Jon Moxley(c) vs. Juice Robinson
It is rematch time! Jon Moxley made his successful New Japan debut with a title match victory against Juice Robinson at Best of Super Junior finals. Jon Moxley competed in the G1 where Juice Robinson was able to get his victory back. Thus leading to the no-DQ title match at King of Pro Wrestling.
With Jon Moxley getting into the flow of weekly AEW wrestling, this will be an interesting showcase of his New Japan future. Does New Japan Pro Wrestling want Jon Moxley to be a part of Wrestle Kingdom? Can Juice Robinson get pushed to the next level in New Japan? It should be a fun brawl on this wonderful card.
Kota Ibushi vs. EVIL for Ibushi’s IWGP Heavyweight title shot at Wrestle Kingdom 14
It is another shot at Ibushi’s title shot. Evil was one of the people who defeated Kota Ibushi on his G1 journey. Much like Kenta, this means with New Japan booking that Evil can take the shot at Tokyo Dome for Wrestle Kingdom.
Much like the Kenta-Ibushi match, it is all about making Evil seem like a real threat to steal the Wrestle Kingdom title shot. Evil is a fantastic worker and this will be his shot to showcase his tremendous wrestling skills on a big stage. This has the potential of being the show-stealer of the night.
IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada(c) vs. SANADA
It is main event time! Sanada was 0-6 against Okada before finally defeating him at the G1 Climax this year. Because of that victory, Sanada got the traditional title shot for defeating Okada. It is time for Okada-Sanada 8!
Their matches have always been really good thirty-plus minute encounters. The big issue before the match is can Sanada look like a legit threat to win the match when all signs point to Okada-Ibushi at next year’s Wrestle Kingdom? It is hard to say but we know these two will put on another exciting match to wrap up a great night of wrestling at New Japan Pro Wrestling’s King of Pro Wrestling.