Wrestle Kingdom 14 is just a few days away! Two nights of the best pure pro wrestling in the world. To celebrate, ya LOP bois Sam and Imp have challenged the expertise of Jeremy Donovan and The ‘Young Boy’ Joshua Smith from Social Suplex’s Keepin’ It Strong Style podcast to a friendly tag team prediction deathmatch. Before we all weigh in on this two night extravaganza, if you are thinking about checking it out for the first time the best way to do it is through New Japan’s streaming service New Japan World which also has an archive of all their old matches, you can find it here, it can be a bit daunting but just make sure you click the ‘Engligh’ button. You can also find both our podcasts previewing Wrestle Kingdom below.

Listen to “Imp’s LOP Radio Adventure” on Spreaker.

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Night One

Jushin Thunder Liger, Tatsumi Fujinami, The Great Sasuke, and Tiger Mask (with El Samurai) vs. Naoki Sano, Shinjiro Otani, Tatsuhito Takaiwa, and Ryusuke Taguchi (with Kuniaki Kobayashi)
Sam: Starting out with an easy one here. Liger is not getting rolled out for one final time with so many of the men who he made history with to do a job. Expect a lot of crowd pleasing back and forth from these legends with a spotlight placed on the man of the moment Liger. You don’t get any bonus points for predicting how a who gets the pin, but as well as predicting his team will win, I’m nearly one hundred percent certain Liger will get the pin as well. Prediction: Team Liger Imp: Saying goodbye to a legend. With his farewell ceremony set for New Year’s Dash on Monday, first we have a look back to the past and remember the good ol’ days of Liger! On this first night I’m predicting Liger to be heralded upon high with a victory, he’s still got time to put over the current lads tomorrow. Unless he really, really wants to put over Taguchi, but I think I’m fine from that happening. Go! Go! Liger! Prediction: Team Liger Jeremy: Liger is very giving and loves putting other people over. I would not be surprised if Liger wants to lose and go out on his back. The only problem with that only person in this match that would benefit from pinning Liger is Taguchi. So I think we’ll open the show with a feel good moment with Liger’s team to get the win. Prediction: Team Liger Josh: Queue the water works! Jushin Thunder Liger, this is your life. I expect all the nostalgia feels here, and what looks to be the final Liger victory of his career. Keep your eyes on the Sano-Liger interactions going into night 2. Prediction: Team Liger
Los Ingobernables de Japon (Evil, Sanada, Shingo Takagi, and Bushi) vs. Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, Zack Sabre Jr., and El Desperado)
Imp: I was all in on the Ingobernables winning on a high to set up the second day of matches, but then BUSHI went ahead and bloody pinned ZSJ ahead of Wrestle Kingdom and now I’m second guessing myself. You know what though? Stick with your gut Imp, LIJ win to send SANADA into his British Heavyweight Championship match with steam and his comrades to possible 6-Man victory that doesn’t really matter. Prediction: Los Ingobernables de Japon Jeremy: The last LIJ vs Suzuki-gun match we saw Zack Sabre being pinned by Bushi. Which was a huge upset. And before that Sanada was able to get pin on Sabre. So, I think Sabre needs to get some revenge and either get the pin on Bushi on Sanada. Preferably it would be Sanada so they can plan a seed of doubt if Sanada can beat Sabre on night two. Prediction: Suzuki-gun Josh: A preview match for th 6-Man Gauntlet, as well as Sanada-ZSJ, this could go either way. I’m guessing Sabre needs the rebound win, look for him to avenge his recent loss to Bushi. Prediction: Suzuki-Gun Sam: I’m all in on the idea that Suzuki-Gun are about to implode and this is where things will begin. The actual descent won’t happen here but this will be the beginning when someone from LIJ pins Suzuki and sets off a chain reaction of woe for The King’s stable. Prediction: Los Ingobernables de Japon
Chaos (Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano, and Yoshi-Hashi) vs. Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens, Kenta, and Yujiro Takahashi)
Jeremy: The main focus of this match will be the exchanges between Goto and KENTA. I expect both these guys to be brawling with each other so much that neither man will be involved in the fall. Throw Ishii a bone and let him brainbuster the Tokyo pimp. Prediction: Chaos Josh: The 2nd of two 8 man tag previews. The story here is all about the Kenta-Goto feud. Expect a lot of brawling and chaotic action. I’m expecting the heels to stand tall here. Let Yoshi Hashi eat the fall. Prediction: Bullet Club Sam: Of all the nothing matches on this card this has to be the most inconsequential. All I can say is poor Ishii, sure he got on the card but if anyone deserved something more it is him. Prediction: Chaos Imp: As the others have said, another tag preview. Purely setting up KENTA and Goto as we get ready for the Shibata mega pop on Night 2. No pop here though, predicting pure heel heat with the NEVER Champion acting like a total dick for 10 minutes. To be fair he’ll probably still be a dick come January 5th, but here he’ll be a dick with his mates. Forming one massive collective mega dick…although there is still ELP & Ishimori to come, the ‘Whose The Biggest Dick of a Pairing in Bullet Club’ Award certainly has some stiff competition this year. Prediction: Bullet Club
Guerrillas of Destiny (Tanga Loa and Tama Tonga) (c) vs. FinJuice (Juice Robinson and David Finlay) – IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship
Josh: G.O.D. have been champions for the majority of the year, FinJuice are riding a wave of momentum since Finlay returned from injury. I think Juice needs the rub for his US title challenge, and Finlay needs the elevation. Prediction: FinJuice Sam: Everyone is talking about the double gold dash in the main event but if you ask me the most important double champion leaving the Dome will be my boy Juice when he wins both this and the US Title. Prediction: FinJuice Jeremy: Momentum is on FinJuice’s side. Also with Juice having a US title match on night 2 he’ll need to look strong going into that match. With FinJuice winning this will open the door for a potential Juicy Two Belts. However I think this match is going to be more about David Finlay than Juice. Finlay has looked great since his return from injury. This will be a huge moment well deserved moment for him. Prediction: FinJuice Imp: Juicy Two Belts you say? IMAGINE THE FASHION. Surely on that alone the World Tag League winners should be winning this one! What do you mean Gedo’s booking has a little more to it than that? Prediction: FinJuice
Lance Archer (c) vs. Jon Moxley – IWGP US Heavyweight Championship (Texas Death Match)
Sam: What a difference twelve months makes. Lance Archer didn’t even make the card at Wrestle Kingdom last year and Moxley was stuck in the WWE in his ill fated heel turn. Now both men have had years to remember and will cap it off by beating the ever living bejesus out of one another. To the winner and I have to side with Mox, he has an unresolved rivalry with Juice and is the bigger star of him and Archer. Prediction: Jon Moxley Imp: Lance Archer’s reward for such a stand out year: he gets to lock in that Claw for a full 5 minutes as Moxley sells it as the most devastating move in pro wrestling history. He doesn’t get to win, Mox vs Juice on Night 2 has been set up too well, but this match is his well deserved reward. An incredible year, with Moxley the massive star also making his Tokyo Dome singles debut in what’s to be one hell of a mighty violent fight! If the Suzuki-Gun man wins colour me shocked, either way I’d be equally as surprised if they’re not coloured with their own blood by the end of it. Prediction: Jon Moxley Jeremy: Lance Archer had a great 2019. The departure of his former partner, Davey Boy Smith Jr., opened the door for a huge singles push. Thanks to mother nature he was thrusted into the US title picture. Archer has had a decent reign, but I think Mox will reclaim the title he never lost and face his biggest NJPW rival, Juice Robinson on night two. Prediction: Jon Moxley Josh: Here we go, the 1st big singles title match of the weekend & it looks to be a banger! Archer has had a hell of a year, and Mox is one of the hottest stars in wrestling today. This stipulation is perfect for the two guys, I can’t wait to see the carnage. We never got the proper blow off to Mox-Juice. I completely expect Moxley to best Archer in a war to advance to night 2. Prediction: Jon Moxley
Will Ospreay (c) vs. Hiromu Takahashi – IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
Imp: The man that was set to be the next Ace of the Juniors, returns after over a year out with a horrific injury. However, in that time Will Ospreay has elevated not just himself but the entire division to a truly remarkable level. Hiromu’s having to swim up an already risen tide, good thing he has absolutely zero regard for his body and own well being! The incredibly popular returning star versus the dominant force of the division during his absence, this has show stealer written all over it! The question being does Hiromu enter with a 10 foot Daryll or not? Whatever he does, the only thing we know is it won’t be ‘normal’. Prediction: Hiromu Takahashi Jeremy: I love the story they’re telling with this match. This isn’t just two of the best juniors going at. You have Will Ospreay who has had an incredible year competing in multiple division and tournaments. Majority of his matches 4 stars and above. He’s feeling himself and going into this match overly confident. On the other side you have Hiromu returning from injury. He seems to be 100% but has suffered 3 losses on the Road to Tokyo Dome tour. Hirmou is coming in as the underdog. I think Ospreay’s arrogance will be his downfall and Hiromu will get the win. Prediction: Hiromu Takahashi Josh: Given the rivalry & caliber of matches these two have had in the past, it’s no wonder why so many have this ear marked as a show stealer. This is the biggest stage, and moment for this rivalry. With the story of a returning Hiromu trying to conquer the dominant Ospreay, were instore for more than just a dazzling spotfest. This may be a true changing of the guard, and 2020’s 1st great feel good moment. Prediction: Hiromu Takahashi Sam: Aside from the Liger tribute match this feels like the most obvious result of the night. Ospreay has done a fantastic job carrying the Junior division this year but in 2020 it seems clear he will be moving onto bigger things, specifically the heavyweight division. Prediction: Hiromu Takahashi
Jay White (c) vs. Tetsuya Naito – IWGP Intercontinental Championship
Jeremy: Tetsuya Naito has never lost an IWGP IC title match at the Tokyo Dome and I don’t think he’s going to start here. A loss here would absolutely kill Naito. Naito needs to win and complete his Destino on night 2. Prediction: Tetsuya Naito Josh: Double Gold Dash time. The story of this Dash has always centered on Naito’s destino! There would be no coming back from a loss here for Naito. We will see Naito overcome all the odds and Jay White Bullet Club shenanigans here to regain the white strap and headline on the 5th. Prediction: Tetsuya Naito Sam: I know that I have held out hope for Naito but honestly I think things are just a little too late for the guy. Wrestle Kingdom 12 was dead set his year, two years on he has had a year that could be described as middling at best and we need to face the fact he is held together with strapping tape. Sorry, the story would be great but Naito is no longer fit to carry this company. Prediction: Jay White Imp: Come on baby, 2020 will FINALLY be Naito’s year! Right? Right? Wait, why is no one saying it with me? In Gedo we trust! He’s had a plan for the Ingobernable One all along, we just had to wait a bit… Stay confident, Imp! Naito’s gonna catch them all, we know it’s his destiny. Prediction: Tetsuya Naito
Kazuchika Okada (c) vs. Kota Ibushi – IWGP Heavyweight Championship
Josh: This is my pick for match of the weekend. Every past Okada-Ibushi match has been incredible. Ultimately it has to be Okada and Naito on the 5th. That’s the most protected & marketable match possible to headline on the 5th. And for the story they’re telling Okada has to be the man opposing Naito’s destiny. 2020 will be Ibushi’s year, but it does not begin with this match. Prediction: Kazuchika Okada Sam: This is a rough one for The Golden Star. Where it not for the two night tournament I would be predicting him to beat Okada here and secure his position at the top of the heavyweight division. However with the extra stakes on the line I cannot see him winning here. Maybe next year fair angel. Prediction: Kazuchika Okada Imp: Ibushi’s the only man whose future is somewhat uncertain coming out of Wrestle Kingdom, set to be one of their biggest stars of this era, but now just isn’t his time. The same with Jay White, one day yes, but now. Okada vs Naito at Tokyo Dome III is waiting, having been protected for so long the occasion is finally calling. With the Rainmaker finally back in full strength and Naito the leader of one NJPW’s most popular factions in their history, there’s surely no other way to kick off the new Reiwa era. Prediction: Kazuchika Okada Jeremy: It’s very rare to see a match that was done at the G1 Finals being done at the Wrestle Kingdom main event. In the build to this match Okada has been pushing to see the “real” Ibushi. This ended up with Okada eating a briefcase shot. Okada has woken up murder Kota. However I believe Kota’s rage will be his downfall. Prediction: Kazuchika Okada

Night 2

Jushin Thunder Liger and Naoki Sano (with Yoshiaki Fujiwara) vs. Ryu Lee and Hiromu Takahashi
Sam: This is tough, it would be great to see Liger go out with a win but it just doesn’t make sense for him to beat the two men set to be the backbone of the junior division in 2020. The only chance would be shenanigans which I don’t think they will do in Liger’s last match. Prediction: Ryu Lee & Hiromu Takahashi Imp: Liger passing that torch laying on his back to the new IWGP Junior Heavyweight champion. Was he going to go out any other way? The final match for the legend, going to be one hell of an emotional occasion. No your getting teary eyed thinking about his farewell the next night in Korakuen Hall. Prediction: Ryu Lee & Hiromu Takahashi Jeremy: It’s the past of the Junior division vs the future. This will be a great generational showcase and Liger’s moment to officially past the torch to Ryu and Hiromu. Prediction: Ryu Lee & Hiromu Takahashi Josh: Liger’s final match is a tag team battle, pairing up generational junior heavyweight rivals. I’m not entirely sure what to expect here, but you couldn’t ask for 2 more capable performers than Lee & Hiromu to create a magical match for Liger’s send off. Something tells me we are getting Flair-HBK levels of emotion here. Liger will do the honors, and walk off into the sunset. Prediction: Ryu Lee & Hiromu Takahashi
Bullet Club (Taiji Ishimori and El Phantasmo) (c) vs. Roppongi 3K (Sho and Yoh) – IWGP Junior Tag Team Championship
Imp: Sooner rather than later Sho is going to become a massive name in that Junior division, the lad’s got ‘star’ written all over him. But first there’s that one hurdle of having never won at the Dome to get over. Two times tried, both occasions came up short. This year however they’ve reached that point of future potential starting to call, third time’s the charm being the career achievement to collect next. Prediction: Roppongi 3K Jeremy: I feel like Roppongi 3K have been on the back burner all year in the Junior Tag Division. It’s time for SHO and YOH to reclaim their thrown as the top team in the division. They’ve gotten their trophies back now it;s time to get their titles back and pick up their 1st Wrestle Kingdom win. Prediction: Roppongi 3K Josh: This will be a sprint involving 4 of the best Juniors today.The last great goals RPG 3K have yet to accomplish, is winning gold in the Tokyo Dome. I’m expecting that to come to an end here. Unless Gedo wants to never give RPG 3K their Tokyo Dome moment, that’s one way to build a split. I’m still hoping Rocky’s boys get their big moment. Prediction: Roppongi 3K Sam: Bullet Club has been a fantastic team to rule over the junior tag division for 2019 but eventually they have to be knocked off and what better time to do it than at the biggest show of the year against the most popular team in the division? Prediction: Roppongi 3K 3K 3K
Zack Sabre Jr. (c) vs. Sanada – RevPro British Heavyweight Champion
Jeremy: This is a huge match for SANADA. This year he really broke out in a singles role with his feud with Okada. I think SANADA takes the next big step in his NJPW singles career by winning his first singles title in his first singles match at Wrestle Kingdom. Prediction: SANADA Josh: RPW’s big strap gets it’s big moment in the Dome for a 2nd year. Will we see ZSJ win another title match in the Dome, I’m thinking no. This is a long term story told across 2 companies. NJPW has big plans for SANADA in 2020, and I think his RPW title win is the 1st part of that. I can’t wait to see the grappling exchanges between these 2 masters. Prediction: SANADA Sam: As I said earlier I am predicting that coming out of Wrestle Kingdom one of the big angles will be the implosion of Suzuki-Gun and part of that story will come here when Zack Sabre Jr.’s year finishes with him losing the belt that is most precious to him. Prediction: SANADA Imp: Royal Britania, Britania rules the waves. A nice condolence victory for Zack after the General Election, “Boris JOHNSON?!” Hey, even if SANADA’s the one with the bright future, the Brit’s gonna stick with The Brit dammit! Prediction: ZSJ
Winner of (Moxley v Archer) v Juice Robinson
Josh: I’ve always believed one of Mox’s purposes in NJPW is to elevate Juice. This will be the culmination of their feud. We would have already gotten here, had it not been for a Tsunami. These 2 guys have awesome matches, and Mox is looking to put on a display in the dome. We will see Juicy two straps on Jan 5th. Prediction: Juice Robinson Sam: One of the big plans for New Japan in 2020 is the launch of NJPW America and I think Juice is the man to put right at the forefront of that. He is an incredibly versatile worker and the best promo in the company. He takes the belt back and runs with it for most of 2020. Prediction: Juice Robinson Imp: The moment that may have come a few months ago were it not for Typhoon Hagibis, Mox & Juice face off once again and bring an end to one hell of a feud. A somewhat masterclass in building animosity without constant interaction, making their clashes feel special and explosive in their collision. And BOY am I predicting this one to be explosive! With Juice coming out in momentous fashion – in both his entrance and victory. How do you top Siberian Supermodel? Prediction: Juice Robinson Jeremy: As I mentioned above, I believe Mox will be walking into this match as champion. It’s the chance for NJPW to do the blowoff match that was planned for King of Pro Wrestling. Mox will be coming in less than 100% due to the Texas Deathmatch. This will give Juice the advantage he needs to reclaim the title and walk out Juicy two belts. Prediction: Juice Robinson
KENTA (c) vs. Hirooki Goto – NEVER Openweight Championship
Sam: This seems to be a pretty clear cut one for me, while KENTA is the new shiny big name and Goto is Goto, this time Goto is the stand in for Katsuyori Shibata and after what KENTA has done there is no way he doesn’t get his comeuppance. Prediction: Goto Imp: You NOAH Goto’s NEVER beating KENTA. I’m expecting us to enter the Shibata Zone at some point, although the Bullet Club man has reinvented himself so well under this guise I can’t see see Gedo deciding not to reward that. So yeah, Shibata will run for the super pop, but maybe keep it to after the match so Imp can be correct with his prediction first. Prediction: KENTA Jeremy: To me this feud is all about defending the honor of Shibata. Since Shibata can’t wrestle (for now), Goto will be the stand in to get revenge on KENTA and Bullet Club. I expect this match to be full of Bullet Club shenanigans which lead to Shibata coming out to help Goto get the win. Goto desperately needs this win after having a pretty forgettable 2019. Prediction: Goto Josh: The bigger star here is KENTA. There’s more money long term in KENTA. The better dome performer is KENTA. Gedo would be crazy to have Goto go over KENTA in the dome. I understand people believe Goto being a proxy for Shibata means KENTA will get what’s coming to him. There will be a lot of disappointment that night, as KENTA is going to defeat Goto Jan 5th. Who know’s Shibata might stand tall when it’s all said and done. Prediction: KENTA
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Chris Jericho
Imp: The saviour and defender of New Japan defends his home once again and Jericho wallows with a little bit of the bubbly in Kabukicho. Foreign fans can cheer Tana challenging in AEW, Japanese that Tanahashi has once again fought off that dreaded Western influence. I was pulling for Tanahashi before the AEW Championship implication announcement, if anything that blunts my firm choice a tad, but I’m sticking with New Japan’s hero! Prediction: Hiroshi Tanahashi Jeremy: There are a lot of politics that could be involved here that determines the winner in this match. Is Tony Khan sending over his world champion to be defeated? Is Tony Khan attempting to get a future Tanahashi appearance? Both questions I don’t have the answers too. But what I do know is Jericho has only won 2 of his 5 NJPW matches and has never won at the Dome. In order to keep Jericho hot for future matches he needs to defeat the Ace. Prediction: Chris Jericho Josh: Le Champion vs The Ace of the Universe. The prospective AEW title shot, should Tanahashi win, has shot this match with renewed interest. Sadly Tana will not be winning here. Y2J needs the win to stay relevant, and viable in NJPW. As AEW champion I don’t see Jericho doing any jobs to a non-stop 4 guys in a rival promotion, not even one the caliber of Tanahashi. We will see a Judas Effect in the Dome! Prediction: Chris Jericho Sam: How dare we accuse these two of having a cold build to their match? With just two interviews suddenly this is one of the highest stakes matches on the card. While the AEW Title Shot stipulation will make for some fun near falls, it sadly won’t mean Tanahashi is going to win and reunite New Japan and The Elite. However this match is also about Tanahashi protecting New Japan from Jericho’s corrupting influence so I also can’t see Jericho getting a clean win either. That means, we get some sort of screwy finish. My tip is the fight gets so heated that neither of them make it back to the ring. Prediction: Double Countout
Night 1 Losers Match
Jeremy: I say it all the time, never doubt Jay White in a big match situation. We’ve seen Jay win a lot of matches that people thought he was going to lose. I have a hard time seeing Jay lose two nights in a row. Plus I think there’s big money in a Naito/White rematch in February. Prediction: Jay White Josh: White vs Ibushi, in a G1 Finals rematch, that is quite the semi-main event. The winner of this match looks to be in line for a title match in February, with that in mind, I see Ibushi being the better opponent for New Beginning, from a business perspective. This match will mark a rebuilding period for Jay White. Prediction: Kota Ibushi Sam: Naito v Ibushi for the biggest losers match and while I know these guys will have a great match I don’t think the result will make LIJ fans too happy. You heard it here, Naito is going 0-2. I hope I’m wrong but I just don’t think Naito is going to ever have the reign we all want. Prediction: Kota Ibushi Imp: I’m really doubting I’ve got any idea who’s winning out of these two. Really I’m gambling the double weekend for the first Wrestle Kingdom of the new era results in New Japan putting on the biggest main event they can and the G1 winner gets a consolation win the next night. Although how dangerous is a pissed off Jay White? I’m predicting not enough for an equally as pissed off Ibushi! Prediction: Kota Ibushi
Double Championship Main Event: IWGP Heavyweight v Intercontinental Championship
Josh: This will be the culmination of Naito’s 6 year odyssey and quest to prove himself as the “Top Star” of NJPW. He will have to overcome the Rainmaker in the Dome, if he wants to be the 1st ever IWGP double champion. Beating Okada in the dome is something he’s failed to do twice before. This is it, everything in Naito’s career has built to this moment, it’ all or nothing. If they don’t pull the trigger here, Naito will always be one of Gedo’s greatest, what ifs. Naito is fulfilling his Destiiinnooooooo!!! Prediction: Tetsuya Naito Sam: My theoretical match up is Okada v Jay White and the reason I have gone for it is that Okada lost to Jay White at Wrestle Kingdom last year and New Japan wants their crowd to be on the edge of their seat thinking their ultimate heel might just win everything at the biggest Wrestle Kingdom they have ever done. He won’t and Okada will get yet another notch to add to his legacy, the first double champion. Prediction: Kazuchika Okada Imp: Standing by it! Third year on the trot, after this I promise to stop predicting it next year (maybe). But this is the one, the time, the moment Tetsuya Naito walks out of the Tokyo Dome the crowned hero of the evening. As Josh said, a 6 year journey to become the Shuyaku of New Japan finally reaching its peak. What a road it’s been for the Ingobernable one. For him to then go and throw the IWGP Intercontinental Championship right in the trash. To be fair he might even treat it better than Okada would, that lad couldn’t give two shits. Prediction: Tetsuya Naito Jeremy: This is what die hard LIJ fans have been waiting for. The Naito-Okada IWGP title Dome rematch. Naito and LIJ fans have been denied their moment over and over again. It’s time for Naito to finally fulfill his Destino after two failed attempts. Naito will finally defeat Okada in the dome, win the IWGP title, and be the winner of the Double Gold Dash. Prediction: Tetsuya Naito

That wraps it up from us, let us know in the comments below what your predictions are. You can also find us on Twitter @Sir_Samuel, @TheDamnImplicat & @KIStrongStyle I will be keeping track of the score there.

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