Every year, New Japan Pro Wrestling holds their biggest show on January 4th at the Tokyo Dome (a baseball stadium that holds 55,000 people). It’s their version of Wrestle Mania. Due to how the wrestling ring and the stage are set up, not all the seats were available to sit in, but everything that was open seemed full. There were probably around 30,000 people in attendance.
The Dome is the main feature of Tokyo Dome City, in the Suidobashi area of Tokyo:
We arrived about an hour before the doors opened:
We wanted to find our seats early so we could settle in, get some food and take some pictures. Here’s a panorama of the floor from our seats:
Our view of the stage/entrance ramp:The entire thing is one big video screen that had a live video feed during the matches, so we could see if the wrestlers fell outside the ring.
And the view of the ring itself:It looks far away in the picture, but it was relatively easy to see (apart from a couple of tall people in front of us).
Closer to the start of the show, seats were starting to fill up, and there was a remote-controlled blimp flying around too:
There were 11 different matches (the show was about 5 hours long) and all of them were interesting or fun in some way. All of our favorite guys (Ricochet, Naito, Kenny) were there and had fun matches.
Here’s the WK11 hype video if you want some context: It’s mostly in Japanese, but you can at least see what the wrestlers look like.
The main event was Kenny Omega vs. Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship belt (New Japan’s most prestigious title). Here’s the hype video for that match, which actually has english subtitles:
And here is Kenny’s special entrance video (it’s awesome):
Their match was absolutely insane. It went for 46 minutes but it didn’t feel that long at all. The entire audience was going crazy, and we heard people yelling (in Japanese) things like “unbelievable!” and “impossible!” at certain points. By the end, people in the audience were literally crying.
When it was over, thousands of people took to the internet to heap praise on the match. Many respected journalists and wrestling industry veterans, including wrestling’s top critic, Dave Meltzer called it one of the greatest wrestling matches of all time. Ever.
Unfortunately, Kenny lost. But even in defeat he managed to prove to the whole world that he is one of the best wrestlers working today.
Since the entrances are one of the most fun parts of the event, I’ll link a few more videos for you to see.
Here’s Hiromu Takahashi, challenging for the Jr. Heavyweight title (for wrestlers under 205 lbs.):
The current Jr. champion, Kushida, comes out to defend (also he loves Back to the Future, so he dresses like Marty McFly):
Japanese wrestling superstar Hiroshi Tanahashi enters with his new (not as good in my opinion) theme song to challenge for the IWGP Intercontinental championship belt (New Japan’s 2nd-most prestigious title):
Here’s Tetsuya Naito, the current Intercontinental champion wandering out and taking up everyone’s time (as part of his laid-back bad guy character):
We have the previously mentioned Kenny Omega, and his awesome costume:
And finally, is current IWGP Heavyweight Champion, and New Japan “top guy” Kazuchika Okada:
Despite the event being over 5 hours long, it was awesome all the way through, even though we had to crane our necks a bit to get a good view of the action. We would absolutely do it again if we get the chance next year.