Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kenny Omega
January 4, 2019
Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan
NJPW WrestleKingdom 13
IWGP Heavyweight Championship
In one word? Drama. The dramatic feeling you’ll get from watching this epic main event is one that rarely gets to be experienced. And when you have two of the masters battling it out on the biggest show of the year for the most prestigious title in the land, this is what you get.
Kenny Omega later told the Japanese press that he wasn’t going to re-sign with New Japan, so he took the fall here. Hiroshi Tanahashi, as banged up as he is, won the IWGP Title and put on perhaps the best performance of his career. This main event sold out the Tokyo Dome for the first time in many years, and it delivered on all fronts.
Unlike most New Japan classics these days, this one didn’t have the dangerous high spots that even the Omega-Okada matches had. Sure, there was Tanahashi taking a belly flop onto the table from the top rope, and Omega doing his running dive. Really, aside from those two moments, there really wasn’t much else in the way of big spots that left you wincing in pain. Instead, the wincing came from the incredible looking wicked knees Omega threw to Tanahashi at all sorts of angles, and the dramatic fight for supremacy that carried out in the form of back and forth slaps, chops, and attempts at finishers. Masterful.
The match was given enough time (at the expense of other matches on the show), and the heat was intense from start to finish. The ramifications of the finish are yet to be known, however in the meantime, we will all bask in the glory of the greatness that was this Dome classic. It goes without saying this is a must-see match.