The wait is almost over. New Japan Pro Wrestling’s WRESTLE KINGDOM 9 comes to us Sunday (or very, very late on Saturday night) on pay-per-view, presented by Global Force Wrestling. We know who’s on commentary, we know all the mystery tag team partners, all that’s left is to pack the Tokyo Dome to capacity and make some magic. Since this is such a big deal, I figured I should give you guys and gals a one-man version of our trademark prediction thread, much like the ones we do for WWE’s major shows. Make sure to weigh in with your picks down in the comments section!
Here’s your complete Wrestle Kingdom 9 card:
- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship four-way match: reDRagon (c) vs. Time Splitters vs. Forever Hooligans vs. The Young Bucks
- Six-man tag team match: Tomoaki Honma, Satoshi Kojima, and Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Bullet Club (Jeff Jarrett, Yujiro Takahashi, and Bad Luck Fale)
- Eight-man tag team match: Suzukigun (Takashi Iizuka, Shelton X Benjamin, Lance Archer, and Davey Boy Smith, Jr.) vs. Toru Yano, Naomichi Marufuji, Shane Haste, and Mikey Nicholls
- UWF Rules match: Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Minoru Suzuki
- NEVER Openweight Championship match: Tomohiro Ishii (c) vs. Togi Makabe
- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship match: Ryusuke Taguchi (c) vs. Kenny Omega
- IWGP Tag Team Championship match: Bullet Club (Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson) (c) vs. Meiyu Tag (Hirooki Goto and Katsuyori Shibata)
- AJ Styles vs. Tetsuya Naito
- IWGP Intercontinental Championship match: Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs. Kota Ibushi
- IWGP Heavyweight Championship match: Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs. Kazuchika Okada
Let’s go through it, match by match.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship four-way match: reDRagon (c) vs. Time Splitters vs. Forever Hooligans vs. The Young Bucks
What Should Happen: Chaotic fun. Ideally, this will be as fun as the four-way match for the same titles that kicked off Wrestle Kingdom 8 a year ago. You’ve even got three of the same teams, so you don’t really need to screw with the recipe that much. Alex Koslov of the Hooligans needs to start with the Russian anthem and get hilariously interrupted once again. Also, the entrances need to catch us from the beginning. Time Splitters came to the ring in a got-dang Delorean last year, nothing short of live teleportation will raise the bar. Also, Taka Michinoku and Taichi need to show up just to mess with people. They’re good at that.
What Will Happen: I’m thinking we’ll see a title change here. reDRagon is a Ring of Honor team, and ROH has been a bit stingy with their talent lately. Kyle O’Reilly dropped the PWG title recently, I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the reason. Regardless of how good or bad the ROH/NJPW working relationship may be, I think we’ll see new champions here – the only team without extensive American ties, the Time Splitters.
Six-man tag team match: Tomoaki Honma, Satoshi Kojima, and Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Bullet Club (Jeff Jarrett, Yujiro Takahashi, and Bad Luck Fale)
What Should Happen: Domination from the New Japan squad. Jeff Jarrett is at Wrestle Kingdom in the year of our lord Two Thousand And Fifteen, stuff needs to get RIDICULOUS here. Bullet Club is great at playing up the Ugly American trope, but it has to be played comedically here. I want Jarrett to realize just how bad he f*cked up as he’s staring at an oncoming Kojima lariat.
What Will Happen: Jarrett accidentally hits one of his team members with a guitar. Kojima hits at least 200 chops on him in the corner before strong-arming him into oblivion. Also, this is the Tokyo Dome… Honma absolutely MUST hit his trademark Kokeshi headbutt. The place will come unglued.