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Ever since Power Struggle on November 5, Hirooki Goto has been persistent in demanding a rematch for Minoru Suzuki’s NEVER Openweight Championship. Yet Suzuki has consistently shut the former champion down, calling Goto a ‘pig, squealing for a title shot’.
On December 11 in Fukuoka, Goto appeared to have enough of Goto’s requests, yelling ‘why should I grant a request to a loser like you? I’d have to put my belt on the line. You- not a thing. You haven’t got a single thing to gamble with’. Goto responded that he had one thing: the hair on his own head. On December 18, Suzuki finally gave Goto what he was wishing for; a hair versus hair match with no CHAOS and no Suzuki-Gun at ringside. In this strict one on one match, Goto can finally get his hands on Suzuki without distraction or interference. But it’s winner take all, and that goes for both the NEVER title belt and the clippers to shave your opponent’s head.
At Road to Tokyo Dome on December 17, EVIL, SANADA and BUSHI of Los Ingobernables De Japon were unseated as NEVER 6 Man Champions by the Bullet Club team of Tanga Loa, Tama Tonga and Bad Luck Fale. Now the new champions have a tall task in front of them as they have their first defence in a five team Gauntlet match. This is essentially five title matches in one, as the winner of a match will stay on in the ring as the next team arrives.
The first challengers will be the latest Taguchi Japan lineup. This time, Togi Makabe and Juice Robinson will join the ever active player coach Ryusuke Taguchi.
War Machine had an awesome 2017, and were consistently in the mix for the IWGP Tag Team Championships. Now, they team with Michael Elgin to make an extremely powerful trio. But will Elgin function well with War Machine? Power alone won’t be enough in this gruelling Gauntlet.
Beretta might be without his Best Friend partner Chuckie T in the Tokyo Dome, but he has some impressive CHAOS partners in Toru Yano and Tomohiro Ishii. Beretta’s charisma should gel well with Ishii’s power and Yano’s more unorthodox tactics.
Last but certainly not least is the young British master craftsman that is Zack Sabre Junior, partnering with Takashi Iizuka and Taichi. The combination of masterful technique and dirty tactics will be one nobody should take their eyes away from.
Add in the new, fearsome champions, and it’s an unpredictable and unique matchup. Which of the five teams will come out on top?
Also recently added to the Wrestle Kingdom 12 card is the continuation of a Tokyo
Dome tradition. For the fourth year, the the New Japan Rumble will get the crowd warmed up for the hot night of action. Wrestlers enter every minute, and are eliminated by being thrown over the top rope or being pinned or submitted. A match full of surprises, entrants only become known when their music plays and they walk out in front of the sea of humanity. Who will pop up this year?
After he missed the end of the World Tag League tour, and was not listed on the Road to Tokyo Dome cards due to a right knee injury, concerns were raised as to the status of Intercontinental Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi heading into WK12. Those fears were allayed on December 18, as Tanahashi addressed the Korakuen crowd, assuring them his knee was getting better every day and that he’d be 100% for Wrestle Kingdom. His address drew cheers from the crowd, but these turned to shocked gasps as Jay White crashed the party.
White would stare down the Intercontinental Champion and tell him that it was ‘his time’, before assaulting Tanahashi’s injured knee. He then delivered rapid, violent elbows to the heart of the champion, and hit his newly named finish, the Bladerunner, to make a profound statement. How will Tanahashi respond on January 4?
All will become clear as these matches join a huge lineup at Wrestle Kingdom 12 at the Tokyo Dome on January 4, 2018, and airing LIVE and in English on NJPWworld.com!