Wrestle Kingdom 12 was an important checkpoint in the recent history of New Japan Pro Wrestling. The late-2017 announcement of Chris Jericho's blockbuster clash with Kenny Omega rightfully grabbed all the headlines, not least due to the unprecedented nature of a WWE part-timer performing on somebody else's stage.
The enormous intrigue added to the pay-per-view by 'Y2J's moonlighting was augmented by a card showcasing the very best of the roster with skillsets far beyond that of the special guest. Always with an ear to the ground an an eye for an opportunity, Jericho managed to position himself against zeitgeist impresario Kenny Omega, but some of 'The Cleaner's contemporaries had done just as good a job at capturing the mood of the global wrestling audience over the prior few years.
Shinsuke Nakamura's 2016 NXT arrival was white hot thanks to a record-setting five runs as the company's Intercontinental Champion. His sensational defence of the title against AJ Styles at Wrestle Kingdom 10 took place just 20 days before 'The Phenomenal One's own debut for WWE at the Royal Rumble. They co-main evented the epic Tokyo Dome show with Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi - the two men most responsible for the Meltzer-busting quality of matches that have oozed out of the promotion for the better part of a decade.
Like WWE, NJPW is a constantly-evolving beast. Unlike Vince McMahon's oft-stale vision though, the product does so through unmatched dynamism and incomparable class.
Square eyes on a square head, trained almost exclusively to Pro Wrestling, Sunderland AFC & Paul Rudd films. Responsible for 'Shocking Plans You Won't Believe Actually Happened', some of the words in our amazing Wrestling bookazines (both available at shop.whatculture.com), and probably every website list you read that praised Kevin Nash.