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12 Biggest Stories From NJPW's Year-End Events And How They Affect Wrestle Kingdom

Wrestle Kingdom nears as champions are crowned, challengers emerge, and major bouts are previewed.

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New Japan Pro Wrestling had a slew of events in December as they wrapped up their annual World Tag League and embarked on the Road to Tokyo Dome. The tag tournament began back in November but officially wrapped on 9 December after seventeen nights of competition. Then just one week later, on 14 and 15 December, New Japan presented their final two shows of the year.

The World Tag League saw all of the company's top teams compete for bragging rights and a chance at the IWGP Heavyweight Tag belts. Then last Friday and Saturday's shows in Tokyo featured major previews for Wrestle Kingdom -- including a blow-away main event of Will Ospreay and Hiroshi Tanahashi against The Golden Lovers.

The countdown to NJPW's biggest show of the year has begun with several noteworthy moments going down recently. Those happenings -- from Chris Jericho's return to the company to a new NEVER Openweight champion and challenger, among other tales -- have led to one of the most packed Wrestle Kingdom cards in New Japan history.

With that, let's breakdown all of the major stories from the past few weeks and look at what's in store come 4 January.

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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.