There were no fewer than seven titles on the line at Friday's Wrestle Kingdom 13, and a couple of big championship switches inevitably took place.
Wrestle Kingdom is effectively New Japan Pro Wrestling's equivalent of WrestleMania. The perfect way to kick off every new year and the show just keeps getting bigger and better. This year's offering may have very well been the best yet, especially when it comes to the brand appealing to a worldwide wrestling audience.
Of the stacked card, there were two matches in particular that stood out. Kenny Omega versus Hiroshi Tanahashi for the IWGP Heavyweight Champion, and Chris Jericho defending his Intercontinental Title against Tetsuya Naito. No surprise that those were the two matches that went on last. However, it likely surprised some fans that both the title holders in their respective matches wound up losing.
Jericho and Naito battled first in what was labeled as the first of two main events. It has been almost seven months since Y2J defeated Naito for the Intercontinental Title. The Japanese star had a long wait for his rematch but it was worth it. Despite a devastating spike DDT from the now-former champ which you can check out below, Naito prevailed and is once again New Japan's Intercontinental Champion.
The most newsworthy match of the show was the one that came last. Omega losing his World Championship to Tanahashi. For those of you who are not big fans of Japanese wrestling, how big a star Tanahashi is in the land of the rising sun cannot be overstated. His win in the Wrestle Kingdom 13 main event means that he has begun his eighth reign with New Japan's biggest prize, more than any other wrestler in history.
Omega losing the Heavyweight Title to Tanahashi will only have fueled speculation that The Cleaner is on his way out of New Japan. His good friends in The Elite have started up their own wrestling promotion, and there is also talk that he has a meeting with WWE coming up very soon. Now that he is no longer champion, there is nothing tying Omega to New Japan. We are extremely excited to find out what he, and Jericho, will do next.