|Missed what happened in Tokyo? We got it covered for you.|
By JP Abcede
IN the week that was in pro wrestling, I present to you highlights and the major occurrences that occurred on the squared circle.
Hopefully, this becomes a common fixture as a weekly habit. If not, this section would at least recap major events, such as pay-per-view and live shows, and present any big updates.
Wrestle Kingdom should become part of your yearly calendar
If you are a devout wrestling fan, you should be aware of the World Wrestling Entertainment's four big events, namely: Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, Summer Slam, and Survivor Series. You should now add a fifth into your can't-miss list.
The past three Wrestle Kingdom events of New Japan Pro-Wrestling have gradually help garner for the promotion an audience beyond "The Land of the Rising Sun".
From AJ Styles' and Nakamura Shinsuke's last performance on NJPW at Wrestle Kingdom 10 and the Dave Meltzer rating-shattering main event between Okada Kazuchika and Kenny Omega at Wrestle Kingdom 11 to the show-stealing match between Omega and Chris Jericho at Wrestle Kingdom 12, awareness on the Japanese brand of wrestling continue to rise, especially in the western hemisphere.
In the latest edition of NJPW's most prestigious offering, Jericho continues to become a chameleon as the biggest crossover star battled arguably the best wrestler of the past year in Omega for the IWGP United States championship.
After 34 grueling minutes, Omega was able to retain the belt after landing his One-Winged Angel finisher over a folded steel chair that was placed on the ring by the challenger.
Meanwhile, Okada's reign as IWGP heavyweight titleholder continues after he pinned Naito Tetsuya in the main event. Tanahashi Hiroshi also defeated "Switchblade" Jay White to retain the IWGP junior heavyweight diadem.
The rest of the championships changed hands with The Young Bucks opening the main card with a victory over Roppongi 3K for the IWGP junior heavyweight tag team belts; Chaos, composed of Beretta, Ishii Tomohiro, and Yano Toru, overcoming Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga, and Tanga Loa of Bullet Club in a gauntlet match for the NEVER openweight six-man tag team belts; EVIL and Sanada of Los Ingobernables de Japon stopping Killer Elite Squad to claim the IWGP tag title; Goto Hirooki winning against Suzuki Minoru in a hair versus hair match for the NEVER openweight strap; and Marty Scurll losing the IWGP junior heavyweight belt to Will Ospreay in a four-way bout.
WWE Raw starts year with a bang
Back Stateside, the WWE welcomed the new year with a Raw episode in Florida. All the combatants for the WWE universal championship had their moments as Braun Strowman spammed running powerslams on the helpless Rhyno and Heath Slater, while Kane and Brock Lesnar had a brief scuffle to close the show.
The main match of the night involved Roman Reigns and Samoa Joe for the intercontinental belt, where the stipulation was Reigns would relinquish the title if he gets himself disqualified. "The Big Dog" maintained his cool and was able to put away Joe clean.
Meanwhile, the Raw women's and tag champs were involved in non-title matches as Alexa Bliss looked apprehensive but managed to last long in a loss against Asuka, while Raw general manager Kurt Angle's storyline son, Jason Jordan, was able to score a win over Cesaro.
WWE SmackDown Live drama continues to unfold
Over at WWE's blue brand, the main angle involving WWE heavyweight champion AJ Styles, SD Live commissioner Shane McMahon, SmackDown GM Daniel Bryan, and best buddies Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn had another wrinkle after Zayn notched a victory over Styles. Fed up with what was going on, Styles went on to challenge the two Canadians to a handicap match. Bryan then upped the ante, setting up that encounter for the title at Royal Rumble. Sneaky.
The Usos had a scare in their tag match against Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable, briefly losing their belts before a replay showed that those involved in the supposed winning pin were not the legal men. The twins then went on to finish on top in the restart.
The WWE United States championship tournament trudges on with Xavier Woods advancing to the next round to face Jinder Mahal after upending Aiden English. Next week, friends-turned-rivals Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley would battle each other to complete the cast for the semifinal round.
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