With two nights of competition last Friday and Saturday, New Japan Pro Wrestling presented one of its last stops on the road to next month's Dominion--the promotion's second biggest event of the year.
Not to be overlooked, however, Wrestling Dontaku offered a sizable shift in the landscape as championships were defended--some more successfully than others--while new and returning competitors also made their presence felt.
Friday's event was headlined by two title matches with the Junior Heavyweight and NEVER Openweight prizes on the line, but a mysterious video message intended for the reigning United States Champion captured most of the attention. Similarly, Saturday saw the IWGP Heavyweight title defended, but the returns of Hiroshi Tanahashi and the All Elite Wrestling-contracted Chris Jericho stole the show.
With incredible matches and a wealth of major news, Wrestling Dontaku may not be the company's grandest event of the year, but it certainly made its mark. From Jericho's shocking challenge and El Phantasmo's impressive debut, to The Stone Pitbull's hard-fought win and the multiple marquee bouts signed for 9 June, here are all of the major stories from Wrestling Dontaku.
Douglas Scarpa is a freelance writer, independent filmmaker, art school graduate, and pro wrestling aficionado -- all of which mean he is in financial ruin. He has no backup plan to speak of, yet maintains his abnormally high spirits. If he had only listened to the scorn of his childhood teachers, he wouldn't be in this situation.