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January 13, 2020

Wrestle Kingdom 14 - Hot Take

New Japan Pro Wrestling set off the decade in professional wrestling with Wrestle Kingdom 14, live on FITE. For two nights, The Tokyo Dome in Japan was the epicenter of the professional wrestling c with a series of shocking events and amazing matches that changed the course of combat sports forever. Still on the fence about witnessing the might of Wrestle Kingdom for yourself? Here's why you should be diving into these massive events right now on FITE!

Naito Triumphant – Tetsuya Naito was denied his chance at ultimate glory several years ago at Wrestle Kingdom, but the leader of Los Ingobernables Japan did not let his chance at resurrecting his dream slip through his fingers. One Night One of Wrestle Kingdom, Naito went to war with a game Jay White for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. The next night, Naito ascended to the highest plane of existence within New Japan by becoming the first ever double champion, doing the unthinkable against the man that many feel is the best pure professional wrestler of this era, Kazuchika Okada. The ripple effects of this moment will be felt for many, many years, but you can witness the high emotion for yourself here on FITE.

The End of An Era – For 31 years, Jyushin Thunder Liger was not only the trail blazer for Junior Heavyweight Wrestling, but also its shooting star press trailblazer. There will never, ever be another star like Liger, a performer who was born in the Tokyo Dome and went down like a warrior in his final ever matches. Liger defined great wrestling, his look defined immortality within professional wrestling and he was a selfless soul who embodied the fighting spirit that is New Japan Pro Wrestling. His final matches at Wrestle Kingdom were not just about celebrating what came before but passing the torch to the future in some of the most emotional moments in professional wrestling seen in decades.

KENTA Crosses the Line – Since KENTA has migrated to New Japan Pro Wrestling, he has found himself renewed with anger, aggression and hatred for all in his path. Just when it seemed that Bullet Club had found themselves rudderless after a series of losses, KENTA made sure all the attention was back on himself and Bullet Club with his vicious attack on a spent new IWGP Heavyweight Champion in Tetsuya Naito. KENTA took a moment that was meant to be a true celebration and instead turned it into a wake, something that will define NJPW's main event seen for months to come. You can see the atrocity seen the world over and relive its shocking scene, step by step, right here on FITE.

Ospreay vs. Takahashi – In the annals of professional wrestling history, there are rivalries that set the bar and explode through glass ceilings, changing how pro wrestling is viewed, accepted and measured. Flair vs. Steamboat. Rock vs. Austin. Malenko vs. Guerrero. Brisco vs. Funk. 2020 began with yet another example of the might and amazement of professional wrestling pushed to the brink of creativity of athletics in Will Ospreay vs. Hiromu Takahashi for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. In a match that shocked the world and perhaps stole the entire Wrestle Kingdom weekend, awe-inspiring combat took place in, around and in the stratosphere above the ring. In the end, there were no losers, even if the winner had his hands raised. This was the bout that may have propelled professional wrestling headlong into the future.

Y2Dream Match – Chris Jericho, the reigning AEW World Champion once again shocked the world, not just by returning to New Japan to face the Ace, Hiroshi Tanahashi but by offering what some would have thought legally and contractually impossible – a chance for Tanahashi, should he emerge victorious, to challenge for the AEW title. In a match that had the Tokyo fans on the edge of their seats, two of the greatest performers of all time squared off for the first time ever. Similar to The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan, it was a meeting of two eras, two mindsets, two chess masters in the ring…and Wrestle Kingdom may never be the same again.

Texas Death in Japan – Jon Moxley lost the IWGP United States Championship on a fluke. It was a typhoon preventing his plane for making it to Japan that cost him his title. Even after it landed in the hands of the gritty, violent Lance Archer, Moxley came looking for his gold and did so by challenging Archer to a Texas Death Match, bringing the violence and the plunder of the Lone Star State all the way to the Tokyo Dome. While hardcore wrestling has become more of a consistent occurrence in pro wrestling, this was groundbreaking violence at Wrestle Kingdom.

Of course, there was much more. There was Jay White's attempts to outsmart the system. Juice Robinson's fight to return to championship glory. Legends returning to the ring in honor of Liger. The Guerrillas of Destiny causing all sorts of chaos. There were wrestling matches that won't just be remembered for greatness but for infamy, for athletics, for taking those who love pro wrestling on the emotional roller coaster ride of a lifetime. It was magnificent…it was Wrestle Kingdom. You can relive it or experience it for the first time, right now, on FITE.