New Japan Pro Wrestling‘s Destruction in Kobe show earlier today ended in a game-changing betrayal. In the show’s main event, Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Kazuchika Okada for the first time since 2015 to retain his contract for the main event IWGP Heavyweight Championship match at Wrestle Kingdom 13. Though this was a surprising twist in the context of their rivalry, it fit the New Japan trope of G1 winners never losing their contract/briefcase. The truly shocking part of the show came after the match was over.
Tanahashi beating Okada continued both the Ace’s quest for a complete comeback and the Rainmaker’s downward spiral. Since he lost the championship he held for over 700 days to Kenny Omega at Dominion, he’s been taking it like he lost a family member. Okada’s extended personal crisis has included questionable hair dye, adding balloons to his entrance, cutting needy promos, and losing his first few G1 matches, including one against his rival and faction-mate Jay White. At the G1 Final, Okada announced that he was splitting with his manager Gedo, who has been yelling “COME ON, RAINMAKER” in his corner for the past six years. At the time, Gedo seemed to take it pretty well!