NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 11: Results, Predictions and Full Match Card Analysis
2017 is set to kick off with a bang.
It’s almost 2017 and as always, New Japan Pro Wrestling will kick off the year with a bang with their annual 4th January Tokyo Dome Show – Wrestle Kingdom 11.
A stacked card doesn’t hide the fact that NJPW has lost a lot of stars since last year’s edition of Wrestle Kingdom, with Shinsuke Nakamura, AJ Styles, Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows all leaving for the WWE. New Japan have created new stars and elevated them since but it will take some time before they reach the same heights as their predecessors.
The show will be headlined by Kenny Omega challenging for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against Kazuchika Okada and fan-favourite Hiroshi Tanahashi taking on Tetsuya Naito for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. Wrestle Kingdom 11 will also feature the New Japan debut of the latest member of the Bullet Club – Cody Rhodes.
The New Japan Rumble
As per tradition, the show will kick-off with a Royal Rumble style match on the pre-show featuring members of the roster who didn’t make it onto the main card as we as a couple of surprise appearances and returns.
The match will probably feature the likes of Jushin Thunder Liger, Nakanishi, Tiger Mask, Nigata and possibly Michael Elgin who isn’t booked on the main card. The “Rambo”, as the New Japan Rumble is unofficially known as, will also feature former WCW star Scott Norton who will make his first New Japan appearance since 2006, returning to the promotion after a decade.
Who knows, maybe Billy Gunn will be in the match too.
Prediction: Michael Elgin (if he’s booked for the match)
Tiger Mask Dark vs Tiger Mask W (Kota Ibushi?)
This match is based on the Tiger Mask anime that airs on TV Asahi. The first time Tiger Mask W appeared, it was Kota Ibushi under the mask but it is still unclear whether he will still be the one to portray Tiger Mask W at WK11.
Ibushi still hasn’t signed a full-time WWE contract and there’s a rumour going around that it will indeed be Ibushi and he will win the match and come back out after the main-event to unmask and challenge the winner to end the night with a huge shock.
Prediction: Tiger Mask W
Young Bucks (C) vs Roppongi Vice (for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag-Team Championship)
The Young Bucks will defend their precious IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag-Team Championships at Wrestle Kingdom 11 against Rocky Romero and Barretta. A couple of months ago it looked like Romero and Barretta were splitsville but they manage to mend their frayed relationship to become the #1 contenders.
Redemption is on the cards for Romero and Barretta at Wrestle Kingdom 11. Winning the titles seem to be their destiny but could a split be on the cards if they lose?
Prediction: Roppongi Vice wins the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship
Satoshi Kojima, Ricochet and David Finlay (C) vs SANADA, EVIL and BUSHI vs Bad Luck Fale, Yujiro Takahashi and Hangman Page vs Tomohiro Ishii, YOSHI-HASHI and Will Ospreay (Gauntlet match for the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship match)
David Finlay has had a great 2016. The former Young Lion has moved up the card since Wrestle Kingdom 10 and will be defending his title along with teammates Satoshi Kojima and Ricochet against teams representing Los Ingobernables (SANADA, EVIL and BUSHI), the Bullet Club (Fale, Takahashi and Page) and CHAOS (Ishii, YOSHI-HASHI and Ospreay)
Expect a fast-paced spot fest that will truly kick things into gear as these 12-men put their bodies on the line for the NEVER Openweight 6-man Tag-Team Championships.
Prediction: Ishii, YOSHI-HASHI and Ospreay win the NEVER Openweight 6-man Tag-Team Championships
‘The American Nightmare’ Cody Rhodes vs Juice Robinson
Code Rhodes was announced as the newest member of the Bullet Club at NJPW World Tag League Finals. The former WWE Intercontinental Champion will make his much-awaited NJPW debut at Wrestle Kingdom 11 when he faces former NXT Superstar Juice Robinson.
Expect Rhodes to be impressive on debut and pick up the win against Robinson, who has re-invented himself in Japan since leaving NXT in 2015.
Prediction: Cody Rhodes
Kyle O’ Reilly (C) vs Adam Cole (for the ROH World Championship)
Kyle O’ Reilly won the ROH World Championship from Adam Cole at Ring Of Honor Final battle earlier this month. The rematch is set for Wrestle Kingdom 11 and will undoubtedly be one of the top matches of the night.
Prediction: O’ Reilly retains