The January 4 Tokyo Dome Show is a major show, held by New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), held annually on January 4 in the Tokyo Dome. NJPW often invites other promotions, Japanese and international, to participate in their January 4 Tokyo Dome Shows as well including several companies that have been involved in scripted inter-promotional rivalries such as UWF International (UWFi), Big Japan Pro Wrestling (BJW), All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW), Pro Wrestling ZERO1 and Pro Wrestling NOAH, as well as representatives from the Mexican Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) promotion. The shows have regularly featured wrestlers from American promotions such as World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) and has on these occasions been shown either partially or in full in the American market.
It has become an annual event that starts the new year in NJPW since its inception in 1992. NJPW have held shows at the Tokyo Dome as far back as April 24, 1989, but their January 4 show has become the most anticipated show on NJPW calendar. It is Japan's biggest wrestling event and NJPW's premier show, similar to what the WrestleMania is for the WWE. The first two January 4 Tokyo Dome Shows were also the last two WCW/New Japan Supershows. Since 2007, when the event was renamed "Wrestle Kingdom in Tokyo Dome", the Dome shows have been broadcast on pay-per-view (PPV). As of 2016 all the Dome shows have featured championship matches, including several titles not owned by NJPW. On three occasions (1998, 2006 and 2013), no titles changed hands during the show. The 1993 Tokyo Dome show set the attendance record with 63,500 fans packing the Tokyo Dome, while the 2007 Dome show drew the lowest gates with only 18,000 in attendance. As of 2016, the January 4 shows have hosted 272 matches (not including dark matches), 86 of which were title matches leading to 38 title changes in total. The 2005 Tokyo Dome show had a 16 match card, the largest of any of the shows, while 2001, 2002, 2007, 2013 and 2016 featured 9 matches, the lowest number of matches on a show.
The first ever January 4 Tokyo Dome show held by New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) was called Super Warriors in Tokyo Dome and would start the tradition of NJPW holding their biggest show of the year on January 4 in the Tokyo Dome, making it their Super Bowl or WrestleMania event. It was promoted in conjunction with the American-based World Championship Wrestling (WCW). The show featured a mixture of NJPW and WCW wrestlers facing each other, with most of the matches that included WCW wrestlers being shown in North America as a PPV under the name WCW/New Japan Supershow II. The show drew 50,000 spectators for a gate of the equivalent of $3,700,000 at the exchange rate at the time. The show featured 12 matches, including two dark matches, matches held before the PPV broadcast began. Six of the twelve bouts featured wrestlers from WCW. On the show Lex Luger successfully defended his WCW World Heavyweight Championship against Masahiro Chono, while the main event saw Riki Choshu defeated Tatsumi Fujinami. The match unified the Greatest 18 Club Championship and the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Japanese heavy metal band Show-Ya performed live music between matches and performed theme music for a match where The Great Muta and Sting wrestled The Steiner Brothers.
Battlefield was the title of New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW)'s annual start of the year show that takes place on January 4 each year in the Tokyo Dome. The show drew 48,000 spectators. Unlike the previous two years events the 1994 show was not billed as being co-promoted by World Championship Wrestling (WCW) although it did feature former WCW wrestlers The Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott), who were working for WCW's rival, World Wrestling Federation (WWF), at the time. The show also featured Brutus Beefcake and Hulk Hogan before they began working with WCW, working freelance for NJPW for one night.
Battle 7 was the title of New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW)'s annual start of the year show that traditionally takes place on January 4 in the Tokyo Dome. Battle 7 was the fourth January 4 Tokyo Dome Show held by NJPW. The show drew 52,500 spectators and $4,800,000 in ticket sales. Besides NJPW Wrestlers the show also featured Sting from World Championship Wrestling and former WCW stars The Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott) as well as freelance wrestlers Tiger Jeet Singh and Tiger Jeet Singh, Jr.. The show featured a four-man "Final Countdown BVD" tournament, named after NJPW sponsor BVD. The 1995 show marked the first time a non-NJPW title was defended as Shinjiro Otani defended the UWA World Welterweight Championship (originated in the Universal Wrestling Association in Mexico) against El Samurai.
Wrestling World 1997 was the title of New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW)'s annual start of the year show that takes place on January 4 each year in the Tokyo Dome. The show drew 62,500 spectators and $5,000,000 in ticket sales. The show featured 12 matches, including four matches that were promoted jointly with the Big Japan Pro Wrestling promotion and presented as a rivalry between the two promotions. The show featured 12 matches in total, including three title matches, two of which saw new champions crowned.
The first match of the show was na eight-man tag team match which on one side featured Junji Hirata, Satoshi Kojima, Manabu Nakanishi and Osamu Nishimura going against Takashi Iizuka, Osamu Kido, Yuji Nagata and Kazuo Yamazaki. The contest lasted for 11:21 before Junji Hirata pinned Yuji Nagata after striking him with a lariat. This was the last match Nagata wrestled in Japan before travelling to the United States to work for World Championship Wrestling (WCW) as part of an "educational tour" that a lot of young Japanese wrestlers undertake to learn various styles of wrestling.
The second match of the night featured the debut of a character called "Super Liger", a silver and white version of Jushin Thunder Liger played by Chris Jericho. Super Liger wrestled Koji Kanemoto in what Power Slam Magazine correspondent Rob Butcher called "A super aerial battle". Super Liger won after 11 minutes and 11 seconds of action by using a bridging tiger suplex to pin Kanemoto. NJPW intended to use "Super Liger" character as a storyline enemy of Jushin Thunder Liger, hoping to create a rivalry similar to the Tiger Mask vs. Black Tiger rivalry. However, the character was so poorly received that it was never used again.
Matches four, five, six and seven featured a "New Japan Pro Wrestling vs. Big Japan Pro Wrestling" (BJW) premise as wrestlers representing the two companies wrestled against each other. In previous years NJPW had great success promoting "inter-promotional rivalries" against UWF International, only this time they were working with the much smaller BJW. In the first match Shinjiro Otani defeated Yoshihiro Tajiri after a flying heel kick in what was described as the best contest of the NJPW vs. BJW series.Kendo Nagasaki defeated Tatsutoshi Goto to even the score to 1–1. NJPW headliner Masahiro Chono made very short work of BJW wrestler Shoji Nakamaki, defeating him with a Yakuza kick in just over a minute. The final match of the series saw NJPW veteran Masa Saito defeat BJW president Shinya Kojika, who wrestled under the ring name The Great Kojika, to win the series 3 to 1.
Match number eight was billed as a Mixed Martial Arts match although it was still as predetermined as all the other matches of the night. NJPW founder Antonio Inoki took on Martial Artis Willie Williams in a rematch from a highly publicized match from 1980. In the end Inoki forced Williams to submit to a ground cobra twist after 4:19.
The ninth match of the evening was originally supposed be for nine championships in total, but at the last minute WCW had not allowed Último Dragón to put the WCW World Cruiserweight Championship on the line in the match, Dragón still defended the J-Crown Championship, a championship consisting of eight unified titles. His opponent of the night was Jushin Thunder Liger, the driving force behind NJPW's very successful Light Heavyweight division and multiple time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship holder, a belt that at the time was part of the J-Crown. Liger and Dragón had previously wrestled at the 1993 January 4 Tokyo Dome show called Fantastic Story in Tokyo Dome. After over 18 minutes of high flying wrestling Liger pinned Dragón following a Steiner Screwdriver to become the fourth J-Crown holder.
The storyline going into the tenth match of the evening was that of the first ever holders of the IWGP Tag Team Championship wanted "one last chance at the title that made them famous" before retirement. Fujinami and Kimura took on Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Masahiro Chono (who had already wrestled that night, albeit in a very short match) for the IWGP Tag Team Championship. While the age of the challengers prevented the match from being a good wrestling match the antics of Tenzan and Chono and the emotion of the challengers "last stand" created a match the crowd in the Tokyo Dome enjoyed. The end came after Tenzan accidentally hit his partner, allowing Fujinami to apply a dragon sleeper on Chono to force him to submit. With this victory Fujinami and Kimura became four-time tag team champions and the 29th overall champions.
The semi-main event of the evening was billed as a "battle of the alter egos" as Keiji Mutoh reverted to his "Great Muta" character and Kensuke Sasaki wrestled as "Power Warrior". While Mutoh and Sasaki tended to wrestle a more scientific style their face painted alter egos tended to brawl more. The match quickly turned into more of a brawl than a wrestling match with both participants using the ringside tables and a steel chair during the match. Power Warrior won after moving out of the way of a Moonsault from Muta allowing him to drive Muta into a table with his Northern Lights bomb for the victory.
The main event of the show featured the same "last stand" storyline that was used in the tag team title match as NJPW veteran Riki Choshu challenged Shinya Hashimoto for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. In August, 1996 Choshu had surprisingly defeated Hashimoto during the 1996 G1 Climax tournament. Unlike their encounter in 1996 and unlike the tag team championship match the "legend" did not prevail in this match as Hashimoto pinned Choshu after a brainbuster following 18:04 of wrestling.
Final Power Hall in Tokyo Dome was the title of New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW)'s annual start of the year show that takes place on January 4 in the Tokyo Dome each year. Final Power Hall in Tokyo Dome was the seventh January 4 Tokyo Dome Show held by NJPW. The show drew 62,500 spectators and $6,000,000 in ticket sales. One of the focal points of the show was the retirement of wrestling legend Riki Choshu, who would wrestle five times that night against select opponents in what was billed as the Riki Road Final Message 5, the completion of month-long "retirement tour" for Choshu. The show also featured successful defenses of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship and the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, which made Final Power Hall in Tokyo Dome the first January 4 Tokyo Dome show to not have a single championship change hands. Besides the five Riki Road Final Message 5 matches the show featured eight additional matches.
Wrestling World 1999 was the title of New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW)'s annual start of the year show that takes place on January 4 in the Tokyo Dome each year. Wrestling World 1999 was the eight January 4 Tokyo Dome Show held by NJPW. The show drew 52,500 spectators and $5,300,000 in ticket sales. The show featured 10 matches in total including four championship matches, three of which saw the championship change hands.
Wrestling World 2001 was the title of New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW)'s annual start of the year show that takes place on January 4 in the Tokyo Dome each year. Wrestling World 2001 was the tenth January 4 Tokyo Dome Show held by NJPW. The show drew 52,000 spectators. The focal point of Wrestling World 2001 was a tournament to crown a new IWGP Heavyweight Champion, which accounted for five of the nine matches on the show. No other championships were defended in 2001, marking the first year that only one title was on the line. The show saw Toshiaki Kawada wrestle twice; Kawada had previously been one of the main event wrestlers of NJPW's biggest rival All Japan Pro Wrestling.
Wrestling World 2003 was the title of New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW)'s annual start of the year show that takes place on January 4 in the Tokyo Dome each year. Wrestling World 2003 was the twelfth January 4 Tokyo Dome Show held by NJPW. The show drew 30,000 spectators. The show featured the semi-finals and the finals of the "Young Generation Cup", an NJPW tournament for relative newcomers who have yet to establish themselves as top level wrestlers, which saw Ryushi Yanagisawa defeat Yutaka Yoshie to win the cup. The show featured a total of eleven matches, including a match for the vacant NWF Heavyweight Championship that Yoshihiro Takayama won by defeating Tsuyoshi Kosaka. The main event was a successful defense of the IWGP Heavyweight Championship as champion Yuji Nagata defeated Josh Barnett.