New Japan Pro Wrestling have set an impossibly high bar for their annual Tokyo Dome spectacular over the past few years, and with Wrestle Kingdom 13 bringing perhaps the event's strongest ever card on paper (despite a middling build), much was expected of the world's second-biggest promotion.
It was a great show. Not an all-time great show, but a strong, well-paced night peppered by the kind of in-ring excellence we've come to expect from NJPW, with one specific bout planting a way-too-early 'Match Of The Year' candidate's flag just four days into 2019.
The night was headlined by IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, though there were blockbuster bouts everywhere. WK13's opener, Will Ospreay vs. Kota Ibushi, was among its most anticipated, and with Tetsuya Naito vs. Chris Jericho, Kazuchika Okada vs. Jay White, KUSHIDA vs. Taiji Ishimori, and loads more on deck, several of NJPW's biggest and most important storylines were set to come to a head.
Then, of course, were the off-screen considerations. Would AEW's formation and the uncertain futures of guys like Omega play into Wrestle Kingdom's booking? That's still up for debate, even now that the show is over, though the next few days promise to be full of game-changing developments.
For now, let's take a trip through the night that was...