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NJPW: Wrestle Kingdom 13

The biggest event in the world of pro wrestling emanates today from the Tokyo Dome in Japan. And for those that say that Wrestlemania is the biggest event, WWE is “Sports Entertainment” not pro wrestling. New Japan Pro Wrestling’s annual Wrestle Kingdom event is an incredible event in spectacle and performance. And given the card, we were presented this year’s annual January 4th event did not disappoint. Now my exposure to NJPW is relatively new for many of these matches my predictions were simply guesses. And be sure to check out The Laracuente Ledger Podcast as we discuss everything that went down at Wrestle Kingdom 13.


Never Openweight Gauntlet 6-Man Tag Team Championships #1 Contendership

Laracuente Ledger Rating: 🌟🌟🌟
Predicted Winner: Chaos (Goto, Beretta, & Chuckie T)
Actual Winner: (Most Violent Players (Togi Makabe, Toru Yano) and Ryusuke Taguchi

The first two teams in the match were the Elite (Hangman Page, Marty Scrull and Yujiro Takahashi) taking on the team of Yuji Nagata, Jeff Cobb, and David Finlay. After some entertaining early spots, the Elite were eliminated. Next team in was Chaos (Hirooki Goto, Chuckie T, and Beretta.) Chaos would control much of the matchup. Jeff Cobb is super impressive if you haven’t seen this man’s work previously he displays some of that talent in this match. But despite controlling much of the match, the team of Finlay, Cobb, and Nagata would win the second elimination. The following team would be Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki, Lance Archer, and Davey Boy Snith Jr.) and Suzuki-Gun would start off hot. The team of Suzuki-Gun wouldn’t waste much time in eliminating the team of David Finlay, Jeff Cobb, and Yuji Nagata.

The next team in was the Most Violent Players (Togi Makabe, Toru Yano, and Ryusuke Taguchi). Suzuki-Gun would meet MVP and Taguchi in the aisle for the early advantage. And while Suzuki-Gun would show some brilliant tag team manuveurs, it would be the teamwork of Makabe, Yano, and Taguchi that would pick up the Victory.

Main Card

Never Openweight Championship: Kota Ibushi (c) vs. Will Ospreay

Laracuente Ledger Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Predicted Winner: Kota Ibushi
Actual Winner: Will Ospreay

The speed of this matchup was evident right from the start. My early prediction of this match being an early match of the year candidate was not wrong. I could absolutely watch these two guys work all day long. This match gives fans of all styles of pro-wrestling something to enjoy. The exchanges and transitions between these two men were some of the smoothest transitions I have ever witnessed. After a huge elbow to the back of the head Ospreay would hit the Storm Breaker and win the match.

IWGP Jr. Tag Team Championships: Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado (c) vs. Roppongi 3K vs. BUSHI & Shingo Takagi

Laracuente Ledger Rating: 🌟🌟🌟
Predicted Winner: Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado
Actual Winner: BUSHI & Shingo Takagi

This matchup would start off fast with Roppongi 3K getting the early advantage. But it wouldn’t last long. The Jr. Heavyweight Division is usually stapled by a high octane pace. And this match delivered that in spades. But also as a staple of Japanese wrestling the “Strong Style” was out in full force.

British Heavyweight Championship: Tomohiro Ishii (c) vs. Zack Sabre Jr.

Laracuente Ledger Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Predicted Winner: Zack Sabre Jr.
Actual Winner: Zack Sabre Jr.

Let me start out by saying Zack Sabre Jr. is such a wonderful pro wrestler to watch. His technical prowess is unlike anyone else working the business today. Ishii would not be a slouch but this match would be a display of Sabre Jr.’s technical mastery.

IWGP Tag Team Championships: Guerrillas of Destiny (c) vs. EVIL & Sanada vs. The Young Bucks

Laracuente Ledger Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Predicted Winner: Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa)
Actual Winner: EVIL & Sanada

This contest was one that I was really looking forward to as the Guerrillas of Destiny are very entertaining to me. And I absolutely love the Young Bucks. And let me tell you all three teams gave me all I expected and more. The “turned over new leaf” narrative of the Guerrillas of Destiny was brilliant. And the ability of EVIL and Sanada was a great addition as well.

IWGP United States Championship: Cody (c) vs. Juice Robinson

Laracuente Ledger Rating: 🌟🌟🌟 1/2
Predicted Winner: Juice Robinson
Actual Winner: Juice Robinson

Another matchup that I predicted to be affected by ALL ELITE WRESTLING. Cody and Juice Robinson would tell a story of the conniving champion willing to do whatever it takes to retain his championship. And Juice the honorable challenger fighting the good fight to win the title. And just on a bit of a side note, Cody (can’t use his last name Rhodes) would be wearing Jacksonville Jaguars inspired gear.

IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship: Kushida (c) vs Taiji Ishimori

Laracuente Ledger Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Predicted Winner: Kushida
Actual Winner: Taiji Ishimori

The entrance for Kushida in this match popped me. It was a Back to the Future inspired entrance. The Jr. Heavyweight Division is always a fun division to watch. And given how evenly matched Kushida and Ishimori were, the contest moved at an incredible pace. This match would be a battle of the power of Ishimori versus the technical ability of Kushida.

Kazuchika Okada vs. Jay White

Laracuente Ledger Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟 1/2
Predicted Winner: Jay White
Actual Winner: Jay White

The build to this matchup featured a broken man betrayed by someone close to him. As Kazchika Okada was betrayed by Gedo who decided to side with “Switchblade” Jay White. And as Okada battled his broken state of mind this matchup would tell a wonderful story of attempted redemption. These two men would battle in an intense matchup.

IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Chris Jericho (c) vs. Tetsuya Naito

Laracuente Ledger Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟 1/2
Predicted Winner: Tetsuya Naito
Actual Winner: Tetsuya Naito

The Jericho vs. Naito No DQ match would be a vicious display by both men. Naito would give Jericho a receipt for the vicious assaults throughout the build to this match. And Chris Jericho seems to have found the fountain of youth because the man is still just as talented as ever. Jericho would dominate much of the matchup. But in the end, it would be Tetsuya Naito that would walk away as the victor.

IWGP Heavweight Championship: Kenny Omega (c) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi

Laracuente Ledger Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Predicted Winner: Hiroshi Tanahashi
Actual Winner: Hiroshi Tanahashi

A battle of styles and personas, the old school NJPW versus the new wave psychology. Omega versus Tanahashi is a wonderful match to show anyone that has never seen New Japan. Kenny Omega really is the best in the world. Tanahashi would deliver one of the most vicious and devastating looking Dragon Screw Leg Whips I’ve ever seen. Kenny Omega would then deliver a vicious looking Super DragonPlex. But it would not be enough as Tanahashi.

Wrestle Kingdom 13 Overall

Laracuente Ledger Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟 1/2

This was an incredible event. Each contest while draped in Strong Style had it’s own unique flavor. The entire night was a beautiful display of what pro wrestling can bring to the table. And even though no champions retained their championships each defeated champion looked incredible in defeat.

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