Kazuchika Okada vs Tetsuya Naito
January 4, 2018
Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan
NJPW WrestleKingdom 12
IWGP Heavyweight Championship
I thought this was a solid ****3/4 match, even more impressive since it followed the ***** classic Omega vs Jericho match. Heat was red hot, as fans genuinely believed this was the day Kazuchika Okada was going to finally drop the IWGP Heavyweight Title. And he was going to drop it to the popular rebel Tetsuya Naito.
This belief made the near falls much more dramatic than usual, helped by each guy getting his shoulder up milliseconds before the 3-count. Execution was textbook here, they worked a good pace, and everything was rock solid. Typical NJPW Tokyo Dome main event with the slow (though much faster than usual) build, trading big moves, and near falls. Okada was so great, as when they traded blows near the end, he intentionally slowed down his punches to give the impression he was exhausted. So effective. Naito was at his best as well, and you really couldn’t ask for more from these two on the biggest NJPW show of the year.