NJPW News: NJPW's Wrestle Kingdom 11 voted Wrestling Observer's best major show of 2017
What’s the story?
Wrestle Kingdom 11, New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s flagship program and biggest annual show, was voted as the best wrestling PPV of 2017 by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and its fans.
This marks the third consecutive year that a show under the ‘Wrestle Kingdom’ banner won this award.
In case you didn’t know…
Wrestlers aren’t the only ones to win Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards; shows themselves can are rated based on the overall match quality and presentation. For a show to win this award, it must be put together better than any other show that year and also have the best matches of the year.
Previous shows to win this award include: several one-night G1 Climax shows, WWE Money in the Bank 2011, WrestleMania X-Seven, SummerSlam 2002, ECW Heat Wave 1998, two different editions of the Super J Cup tournament, and The Great American Bash 1989.
The heart of the matter
NJPW’s two biggest shows of the 2017 calendar year took the number one and number two spots in the ranking, respectively. Wrestle Kingdom 11 won the award and Dominion 6.11 took second place.
The third place spot went to UFC 211, fourth went to NXT TakeOver: Chicago, and fifth went to the finals of the G1 Climax tournament. Unfortunately, the fans didn’t think any single major WWE PPV that didn’t have the letters ‘NXT’ in its name was worthy of the top five.
For many people, the biggest wrestling show of the year – WrestleMania – is less than a month away. WWE will have to absolutely pull all the stops if they hope to make this a high-quality program, especially since the bar has already been set for 2018 with Wrestle Kingdom 12.
While the show does have potential to be better than last year’s event – at least based on its current line-up, which includes a possible dream match in Styles vs. Nakamura – there are many factors that could lead to the opposite.
The two most notable risks include fans booing Roman Reigns out of the building again, as well as the risk of the show being ridiculously long, which has been an unfortunate trend in recent years.
Wrestle Kingdom 11 was – top to bottom – a fantastic show. While most people tend to focus on that program’s main event, there were other matches on that card that also made it such a good show to watch.
In particular, the final three singles matches before the main event itself – Takahashi vs. KUSHIDA, Goto vs. Shibata and Naito vs. Tanahashi – were all excellent matches that could’ve been main events themselves if this were another promotion.
Indeed, WK11 managed to get the whole world talking to such a degree that even WWE tried to put on their own wrestling spectacle with Cena vs. Styles at Royal Rumble 2017. Although that match didn’t get the same rating, it was still an excellent match in its own right.