|Wrestle Kingdom III|
Promotional poster featuring the NJPW Wrestlers
|Promotion||New Japan Pro-Wrestling|
|Date||January 4, 2009|
|Wrestle Kingdom chronology|
Wrestle Kingdom III in Tokyo Dome was a professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by the New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) promotion, which took place at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan on January 4, 2009. It was the 18th January 4 Tokyo Dome Show and the third held under the "Wrestle Kingdom" name. The event featured eleven matches (including one dark match), five of which were contested for championships. Wrestle Kingdom is traditionally NJPW's biggest event of the year and has been described as their equivalent to WWE's WrestleMania.
For the second year in a row, the show featured wrestlers from the American Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) and again their matches aired in the United States as part of the Global Impact! broadcast. In addition, the show also featured wrestlers from the Mexican Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) as part of a new relationship between NJPW and CMLL. Wrestlers from other Japanese promotions also took part in the show, including All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW), Pro Wrestling Noah and Pro Wrestling Zero1, whose top title, the World Heavyweight Championship, was defended during the show.
Wrestle Kingdom III featured eleven professional wrestling matches that involved different wrestlers from pre-existing scripted feuds and storylines. Wrestlers portrayed villains, heroes, or less distinguishable characters in the scripted events that built tension and culminated in a wrestling match or series of matches.
Wrestle Kingdom III was main evented by Keiji Mutoh defending the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against Hiroshi Tanahashi. On April 27, 2008, Mutoh defeated Shinsuke Nakamura to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship for the first time in eight years and four months. Mutoh, who was part of NJPW's "golden age" in the 1990s, was now representing All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW). Over the following months, NJPW wrestlers attempted to defeat Mutoh to bring the title back to NJPW. After Mutoh had defeated Nakamura in a rematch on October 13 to make his fourth successful title defense, there were no more NJPW challengers left in sight to challenge the outsider. Meanwhile, Hiroshi Tanahashi, after a poor outing in the 2008 G1 Climax, had chosen to travel to the United States to train and work for the Orlando, Florida-based Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) promotion. In November, NJPW president Naoki Sugabayashi, desperate to bring the IWGP Heavyweight Championship back to his company, traveled to Orlando to talk Tanahashi into coming back and challenging Mutoh. Tanahashi ended up canceling his scheduled TNA bookings and returned to Japan to accept the match with Mutoh at Wrestle Kingdom III.
The IWGP Tag Team Championship was scheduled to be defended in a three-way match involving defending champions The Most Violent Players (Togi Makabe and Toru Yano), Tencozy (Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima) and the TNA tag team Team 3D (Brother Devon and Brother Ray). This would have marked the first three-way match for the IWGP Tag Team Championship in history. However, when Tenzan suffered a retinal detachment, he and Kojima were pulled out of the match and it was turned into a hardcore match.
In the main event of the show, Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Keiji Mutoh to capture the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, bringing the title back to NJPW. While NJPW regained possession of the heavyweight championship as well as the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship with Tiger Mask defeating Low Ki, it lost possession of both of its tag team championships, which were both captured by wrestlers from TNA. In the first match, The Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin) defeated No Limit (Tetsuya Naito and Yujiro) to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship, while in the second match, Team 3D defeated The Most Violent Players in a hardcore match to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship.
Pro Wrestling Zero1's World Heavyweight Championship was also defended during the show with NJPW wrestler Yuji Nagata making his third successful title defense against Zero's Masato Tanaka. The event is also notable for featuring the final NJPW match of Pro Wrestling Noah wrestler Mitsuharu Misawa, prior to his death in the ring the following June.
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- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Relph, Lee 2009-01-04. New Japan-TNA 1/4 Tokyo Dome results . Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved on 2017-08-25.
- ↑ Meltzer, Dave (January 16, 2012). "Jan 16 Observer Newsletter: Cyborg busted for steroids, all the details, Edge and Horsemen going into WWE Hall, New Japan Dome Show review, 30 year Muchnick retrospective, TNA and Strikeforce shows, more". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Campbell, California: 14–16. ISSN 1083-9593.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 1-4 Tokyo Dome results, TNA teams captures titles . Wrestling Observer Newsletter (2009-01-07). Archived from the original on 2009-01-07. Retrieved on 2017-08-25.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Martin, Adam 2009-01-04. 1/4 NJPW Wrestle Kingdom III Results: Tokyo, Japan . Wrestleview. Retrieved on 2017-08-25.
- ↑ Martin, Garrett 2015-01-16. Japanese Wrestling's Golden Age Comes to America . Paste. Retrieved on 2017-08-25.
- ↑ Grabianowski, Ed. How Pro Wrestling Works . HowStuffWorks, Inc.. Discovery Communications. Archived from the original on 2013-11-18. Retrieved on 2017-08-25.
- ↑ Circuit2008 New Japan Brave (in Japanese). New Japan Pro-Wrestling. Retrieved on 2017-08-25.
- ↑ ja:武藤ＩＷＧＰ防衛、中邑返り討ち／新日本 (in Japanese). Nikkan Sports (2008-10-14). Retrieved on 2017-08-25.
- ↑ ja:新日本プロレス 蝶野正洋が“黒い緊急提言” (in Japanese). NPN (2008-10-21). Retrieved on 2017-08-25.
- ↑ ja:新日本プロレス菅林社長、緊急渡米。しかし棚橋の答えは……。 (in Japanese). New Japan Pro-Wrestling (2008-11-10). Retrieved on 2017-08-25.
- ↑ ja:1.4ドームで武藤vs.棚橋のIWGP戦が決定=新日本プロレス 至宝奪回へ棚橋が武藤に挑戦決意、早くも舌戦 (in Japanese). Sports Navi. Yahoo! (2008-11-18). Retrieved on 2017-08-25.
- ↑ ja:1月4日東京ドーム、対戦カード発表！ IWGPタッグ戦は史上初の3Wayマッチ！ (in Japanese). New Japan Pro-Wrestling (2008-12-10). Retrieved on 2017-08-25.
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 ja:詳細速報 ＜新日本1・４東京ドーム＞ (in Japanese). Nikkan Sports. Archived from the original on 2011-02-10. Retrieved on 2017-08-25.
- ↑ Ocampo, Jorge 2009-01-03. Resultados Wrestling Kingdom III desde el Tokyo Dome – Victoria de Místico – Los MCMG nuevos campeones IWGP Jr. – Los Dudley Boyz nuevos campeones IWGP – Hiroshi Tanahashi vence a Keiji Muto (in Spanish). Superluchas. Retrieved on 2017-08-25.
- ↑ Schramm, Chris 2009-06-13. Japanese legend Mitsuharu Misawa dies in the ring . Slam! Sports. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved on 2017-08-25.
- ↑ Misawa passes away after backdrop in Hiroshima match . Wrestling Observer Newsletter (2009-06-15). Archived from the original on 2009-06-16. Retrieved on 2017-08-25.
- NJPW.co.jp (Japanese)