King of Pro-Wrestling 2018
October 8, 2018
By: Lou Pickney
Here's a preview of New Japan Pro Wrestling's King of Pro-Wrestling 2018 show, being held later today at Sumo Hall in Tokyo.
IWGP Heavyweight Title: Kenny Omega (c) vs. Kota Ibushi vs. Cody
It would be a major surprise for Omega to lose the title. I loathe "first fall wins" three-way matches, but this one should be outstanding in spite of the stipulation.
G1 Briefcase: Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs. Jay White
Tanahashi gets his win back from White as his redemption tour continues. Or at least that's my hope. Deviating from Omega vs. Tanahashi on top at Tokyo Dome in three months would be a serious disappointment.
For the vacant IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title: KUSHIDA vs. Marty Scurll
This one could go either way. This match will take place one day shy of an exact year since KUSHIDA last held this title, and wow has he been under-utilized in the interim.
Scurll is 0-3 all-time in singles matches with KUSHIDA, including their match in this year's BOTSJ. KUSHIDA also beat Scurll for the ROH World Television Title last year.
EVIL vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
No titles are on the line in this first-ever singles match between these two. EVIL doing the honors for Sabre in their six-man tag at Fighting Spirit Unleashed, and then appearing inordinately flummoxed about it, might come into play relative to whatever story the match is designed to tell.
Kazuchika Okada & Toru Yano & Roppongi 3K vs. Tetsuya Naito & SANADA & BUSHI & X (mystery partner)
Shingo Takagi would seem to be the favorite to be LIJ's mystery partner. But Gedo tends to keep his booking plans from leaking better than most, so it's hard to say for sure.
Tomohiro Ishii & Hirooki Goto & Will Ospreay vs. Minoru Suzuki & Taichi & Takashi Iizuka
Step one toward setting up Ospreay to beat Taichi for the NEVER Openweight Title? Dare to dream.
Young Bucks & Hangman Page & Chase Owens vs. Bad Luck Fale & Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa & Taiji Ishimori
I hope Ishimori and the Bucks get some time to work together.
Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma vs. Juice Robinson & Toa Henare
Makabe (46) and Honma (turning 42 later this month) versus Juice Robinson (29) and Toa Henare (26) is a battle of wily veterans against young upstarts. Juice & Henare would benefit from a win, particularly if they are going to be positioned as a serious threat in the World Tag League.
Alternately, this could be used to re-establish Makabe and Honma as a viable tag team contender. But this match is clearly here for a reason, not just undercard filler.
IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Championship: El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru (c) vs. Jushin Liger & Tiger Mask
Liger and Tiger don't need the belts, but the winning team likely locks up a spot on the main Wrestle Kingdom 13 card. Liger and Tiger haven't worked the main card for a Dome show since WK6, with both wrestlers being regulars in the New Japan Rumble/Rambo.
For contrast purposes, Ishimori and his Super Junior Tag League surprise partner facing Liger & Tiger would seem to be a better fit than Ishimori/? vs. Desperado & Kanemaru.
See any mistakes, omissions, or needed corrections? Please let me know: @LouPickney