Preview: NJPW — New Years Golden Series (2/20/22)

Okada vs Naito | NJPW New Years Golden Series

New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) will finish up their first tour of the year Sunday night as it is the final event of the New Years Golden Series. The match that everyone has been waiting for main events as Kazuchika Okada defends the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship against Tetsuya Naito. Here’s a look at the card, featuring an in-depth preview for the main event.

NJPW New Years Golden Series Card:

– Robbie Eagles, Tiger Mask & Kosei Fujita vs. Taiji Ishimori, El Phantasmo & Jado
– Ryohei Oiwa & Tomohiro Ishii vs. DOUKI & Taichi
– Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato vs. El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru
– Satoshi Kojima vs. Great-O-Khan
– Tomoaki Honma, Yuji Nagata, Togi Makabe & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. BUSHI, Hiromu Takahashi, Shingo Takagi & SANADA
– KOPW 2022 Championship: Minoru Suzuki (c)  vs. Toru Yano
– NEVER Six-Man Tag Team Championship: YOH, YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto (c) vs. SHO, Yujiro Takahashi & EVIL
– IWGP World Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada (c) vs. Tetsuya Naito

NJPW New Years Golden Series Match Preview

IWGP World Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada (c) vs. Tetsuya Naito

Okada vs Naito | NJPW New Years Golden Series

There may not be anything better in the current NJPW than a classic matchup. With Kazuchika Okada back on top of the company as the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, he will pave the way and begin that against Tetsuya Naito. Yes, Okada already defeated Will Ospreay in his first defense on night two of Wrestle Kingdom 16 but this feels like the first true defense for “The Rainmaker.” The last time these two faced one another for the top title in NJPW saw Naito walk out as the double champion at Wrestle Kingdom 14. He has the last laugh and this will be Naito’s first time challenging since losing those double titles at Wrestle Kingdom 15. The leader of Los Ingobernables de Japon has said he isn’t necessarily at the part of his career where he needs to chase gold anymore but there’s something about taking on Okada that drives him to do so here.

There’s something magical about these two when they face off. It’s bold to say they don’t miss, but Okada and Naito have one of the best series in NJPW and pro wrestling history. Okada feels back more than ever before. Naito still has the greatness in him despite all the injuries. Nobody knows how many more times we will get to see Okada and Naito face off so let’s appreciate this one in the moment. However, “The Rainmaker” isn’t going down as champion this early.

Prediction: Kazuchika Okada

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