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New Japan Pro Wrestling holds their Super Bowl, their WrestleMania at the top of every year. It’s called Wrestle Kingdom and for the tenth year, Wrestle Kingdom took over the Tokyo Dome and packed the venue to the roof. If you wanted to watch Wrestle Kingdom 10 here in the United States, you had to be up at 3 AM EST to catch it.

25,000 people came to see the main event of Okada versus Tanahashi for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship to see whether or not “The Rainmaker” could get the W over his blood rival. A year ago, Okada crumbled into tears when he couldn’t get the job done against Tanahashi. This year, the belt’s on his waist and he may be the best wrestler in the world currently not signed by the WWE.

In terms of pure wrestling from top to bottom, nobody’s besting NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom event. The show was already stolen with a dream match between AJ Styles & Shinsuke Nakamura for Nakamura’s IWGP Intercontinental Title belt but almost every IWGP title was defended on the Wrestle Kingdom card, including matches featuring The Young Bucks, ROH World Champion Jay Lethal, The Briscoes, Katsuyori Shibata, Tomohiro Ishii & more.

NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 10 Results

1. Pre-show: Jado won the New Japan Rumble.  If you need a heads up on how a New Japan Rumble works here’s the simple rules. It’s like the Royal Rumble where eliminations are scored via someone getting tossed over the top rope but NJPW also counts pinfalls, submissions and disqualifications as eliminations, too. Hell, MENG (billed as King Haiku) showed up and shit went down but in the end, the co-booker of NJPW, Jado (along with celebrity guest Momoka Ariyasu) took home the W over the likes of those not on the Wrestle Kingdom card — legends like Yuji Nagata, Jushin Thunder Liger & Ryusuke Taguchi.

2. IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Match: The Young Bucks def. reDRagon (c), Forever Hooligans, and Matt Sydal and Ricochet. Quick note: The Young Bucks are the Internet’s favorite tag team as all of their moves eventually wind up in WWE’s 2K Games. Ricochet is arguably the greatest high flyer to have never wrestled for WWE and also is a pretty good wrestler stateside as Prince Puma for Lucha Underground. Anyway, the Bucks hit More Bang For Your Buck (example) to knock off Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly to become the new IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions.

3. NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship Match: Toru Yano and the Briscoes def. the Bullet Club (Yujiro Takahashi, Bad Luck Fale, and Tama Tonga). The Briscoes are still the most decorated ROH Tag Team ever so for them to be New Japan imports makes perfect sense. And since by proxy they’re the best *team* in the match, of course a simple tag finisher by them equates to a Special for everyone else. One Doomsday Device later and the Briscoes (along with Toru Yano) to become inaugural NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Champions. The Bullet Club may be the greatest stable in Japan but jeez, they’ve got to realize that everybody, including valets (!) are key parts to their victories.

4. Ring of Honor World Championship Match: Jay Lethal (c) defeated Michael Elgin. Jay Lethal, plain and simple is the most acclaimed African-American wrestler not named The Rock on planet Earth. There’s a Rolling Stone feature to prove it. Michael Elgin won plenty of Japan over with his work during the summer but point blank, he still doesn’t register to me as “ROH Champion” just yet. So, ROH still wants to get damn near a year out of Jay Lethal with the belt and after Truth Martini ran a little interference, Lethal hit Elgin with the Lethal Injection to retain.

5. IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship Match: KUSHIDA defeated Kenny Omega (c). KUSHIDA for all intents and purposes is the NJPW version of Sami Zayn, a dorky, yet lovable super babyface who fights for what’s right and stays the moral center of the company. What Zayn was for NXT in 2014, that’s what KUSHIDA is for NJPW. This time, he had a little help with Ryusuke Taguchi was at ringside to fight off interference from the Young Bucks, wait — let me say this right. KUSHIDA (as Marty McFly) had help from Ryusuke Taguchi (as Doc Brown) to fight The Young Bucks.

After a back and forth classic, Omega attempted the One-Winged Angel despite a bad shoulder but KUSHIDA rolled through and pinned him to become the new Junior Heavyweight Champion.

6. IWGP Tag Team Championship Match: Great Bash Heel (Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma) defeated the Bullet Club (Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson) (c). Despite there not being much build for this match since the World League Tournament, GBH takes home the straps over the Bullet Club (jeez, just wasn’t their night). After a top-rope Kokeshi headbutt from Honma and a King Kong Knee Drop from Makabe, GBH became the new IWGP Tag Team Champions.

7. Hirooki Goto defeated Tetsuya Naito. You know how you loathe something but you realize it’s better than what else is out there? THat’s Naito vs. New Japan at this point. And in another moment of good triumphing over evil, Goto fought off interference from Los Ingobernables and hit the Shouten Kai for the victory.

8. NEVER Openweight Championship Match: Katsuyori Shibata defeated Tomohiro Ishii (c). Ironically enough, I caught Wrestle Kingdom 9 over on AXS New Years Day and saw Ishii win a damn near legit fight to pick up the Openweight Title. This go round, ultra violence kicked in from jump and Ishii couldn’t pull it off. Shibata hit the Penalty Kick to end Ishii’s reign as Openweight Champion in another straight up brutal fight.

9. IWGP Intercontinental Championship Match: Shinsuke Nakamura (c) defeated A.J. Styles. Remember how I led this off stating that this was the match that stole the show? Believe it. Whatever juice AJ Styles found in New Japan, I’m glad he did because he’s never looked or performed better. However, Nakamura’s on another planet right now and after two Boma Ye knee strikes, he retained his IWGP Intercontinental Championship.

10. IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada (c) defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi. Oh the main event. When modern WWE Main Event style kicked in (the trading of finishers, fyi), it borrowed a bit from NJPW. These two know each other. They know their finishers, they know how to counter and they literally know what the other man may do. Okada kicked it into overdrive on this night, hitting multiple Rainmaker clotheslines and pinned Tanahashi to retain the IWGP Heavyweight Championship and erase the bitter feeling of walking out of Wrestle Kingdom 9 a loser.

Much like the WWE Network, you can sign up to watch Wrestle Kingdom 10 in its entirety over at the official NJPW website. It’s 999 yen (or $8.63 a month) and may easily be one of the best buys of your life if you’re a serious pro wrestling fan. Click here to watch Wrestle Kingdom 10 before Matt Striker and company eventually come over when NJPW airs on Friday nights on AXS TV.

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