What won the week?
What won the week? runs every Sunday morning and chooses which discipline as a whole — boxing, MMA, or pro wrestling — had the best week of the three. The following is the entry for 1/3/16–1/9/16.
Pro wrestling won the week on the strength of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s annual Tokyo Dome show which took place early Monday morning on U.S. time. Pro boxing and pro mixed martial arts were also largely dormant for the duration of the week.
NJPW “Wrestle Kingdom 10,” essentially the WrestleMania of Japanese wrestling, drew 45,000 fans to see a ten match card headlined by the double main event of Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi and Shinsuke Nakamura vs. A.J. Styles. Both were said to be incredible, match-of-the-year type bouts.
The immediate aftermath of the big event also sent waves through the wrestling world as it began being reported the next day that half of that aforementioned double main event, Nakamura and Styles, as well as the longtime NJPW tag team of Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson had been stolen away from the Japanese promotion by WWE in one of the largest talent raids of the last decade.
That behind-the-scenes drama somewhat overshadowed NJPW at long last decisively putting the ball in the hands of Kazuchika Okada, after years of the young superstar toiling over the IWGP Championship with his longtime rival Tanahashi. Okada now has the keys to the kingdom. The company is on his back. After the main event, he essentially got on the mic and very confidently relayed as much to the crowd.
Nakamura, Styles, Anderson, and Gallows, three of whom are over the age of 35, will undoubtedly give at least a short term boost to a currently injury-plagued WWE (or NXT). And their loss does hurt NJPW. However, with an inspired, 28-year-old Okada now firmly at the helm, I wouldn’t be so fast to cry for the Japanese company’s future. He’s truly one of the best in the world and the sky is the limit for the business he has the potential to do.
Back stateside, on Monday Night RAW, there was a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match between Roman Reigns and Sheamus with Vince McMahon as special guest referee. After the match, frustrated with Reigns retention of his title, McMahon announced that the Royal Rumble match this year would now be for WWE’s top prize. So, Reigns will have to outlast twenty-nine other men just to keep his belt.
The TNA Heavyweight Championship was also awarded and subsequently changed hands during a five night run of television tapings in Pennsylvania.
The biggest news out of MMA was the announcement of Conor McGregor vs. Rafael dos Anjos for UFC 197 in Las Vegas. It was a big announcement — for a possible “10” fight — but it was only an announcement. It doesn’t trump real live event action. And, as MMA fans are all too aware, all parties still have to get to the day of the event injury-free, too (don’t worry, I knocked on wood out of respect).
As for boxing, you’d be hard pressed to find a quieter week for the sport in recent memory. The sweet science will look to jump start a hopefully eventful 2016 with a heavyweight title clash between Deontay Wilder and Artur Szpilka next weekend.
Winner for the week of 1/3/16:
Totals for 2016:
Pro wrestling: 1
Be sure to follow @BigFightFeel on Twitter to participate in our coinciding weekly fan poll & let us know which discipline you think “won the week.”