I am very excited for Wrestlekingdom 12. There has been some talk that this particular card is a setup for the future more than it is a standalone card. I am fine with that, although there is only one match that I would have done differently (Suzuki against Ishii instead of Goto) so as a standalone show, it is fine with me. I am just going to talk about the show with a limited structure…even though I think I may get the match order right by accident.
Junior Tag Title Match
This could go either way and be fine. A win would do wonders for Roppongi 3K. At the same time, barring injury-Roppongi 3K will get their win over the Young Bucks. The Young Bucks certainly do not have to win to be over, especially with North American fans. At the same time, because this is such a tough match to call…I lean towards the Young Bucks because more North American fans are going to be watching this show…including people who have never seen the Young Bucks so for those fans (especially if wins and losses matter to those fans). Roppongi 3K will have their time.
Six Man Title Match
Well, we are almost 100 percent sure that War Machine and Elgin will not win. That leaves Chaos, Suzuki-Gun and Bullet Club. I think that the Bullet Club or Chaos team makes the most sense. There is a chance that they are getting Fale ready for Naito (if Naito wins the title), to me that means booking him strong and having him win this match. They switch the titles a lot and I am intrigued by Ishii, Yano and Baretta as a team…so like I said either Chaos or Bullet Club.
Ibushi vs Cody
Very interesting match here. There is part of me that thinks that Cody lost the ROH title just so he could also lose this match. Furthermore while Ibushi is not signed, I am almost positive that he is going to have a major match with Kenny Omega so he (Ibushi) should be kept strong for that. Certainly with the potential BC split coming the history between Omega and Ibushi could influence this match. For example, Cody could be aggressive in an “inappropriate” way to get at Omega. Then again, would you want Omega and Ibushi to be overtly aligned before the two have their match? Another option is that Cody could lose to Ibushi and then Ibushi could lose to Omega which makes Cody jealous. Yeah…this is interesting.
Tag Team Titles-Heavyweight
I like Evil and Sanada as a change of pace. I agree with the sentiment that the heavyweight tag division is the weakest part of NJPW in many ways. I actually enjoy KES, but it does not seem to be working so why not go with something fresh? They still need more teams so hopefully Best Friends are part of the NJPW tag division this year.
Never Openweight Title
I would have preferred Ishii in this match. My idea since I knew this was the planned match was that Goto was going to win to make up for the two losses to Suzuki in 2017. I would have Goto lose and join Suzuki-Gun (maybe as soon as New Year’s Dash). Goto with a new look (shaved head) could do wonders for him. He feels stale, which is a shame because he is a very good wrestler with a strong theme song. Suzuki will be fine either way and if he loses that opens him up to win the New Japan Cup…but I think it is more important to freshen up Goto. I should also mention that this match more than any other on the card has “trust Gedo” all over it because Ishii is a fresher and better matchup in my eyes and in the eyes of many others.
I would go with Takahashi here. I mentioned Goto being stale, I get the same feeling about Kushida. I don’t think he should win unless he is turning heel. The other two are strong choices. I think this is where NPJW has to be careful about going with so many foreigners at the expense of Japanese talent. I personally do not mind either way…to me talent is talent, but I just wonder if NJPW feels the same way. I’m okay with any of the other three besides Kushida winning (unless he turns heel like I said) I am a fan of Kushida, but it seems underwhelming just to re-establish him as the ace when it seems like his popularity is regressing. I think it is first fall wins so Ospreay winning without beating Scurll is a good story going forward (even if it is elimination that story could still be told). I think Takahashi is the best of all options