7 Times Wrestling Dontaku Main Event Wasn’t For IWGP Heavyweight Championship

7 Times Wrestling Dontaku Main Event Wasn’t For IWGP Heavyweight Championship Credit: NJPW1972

During the year, New Japan Pro Wrestling holds several significant, staple events that divide the year up. In May, fans are always excited to see the annual Dontaku show, which started in 1993. Like many big shows, the main event is usually marked by a defence of the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.

Yet, there have been times when the main event has not been for the Heavyweight title, and here are the seven times it has happened.

1993 – Antonio Inoki and Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Genichiro Tenryu and Riki Choshu

For the first-ever Dontaku event, New Japan chose to have a star-studded tag team match to headline the show. With such a stacked match, it wasn’t surprising that the crowds seemed so into it and that it was worthy of starting Dontaku’s legacy.

Going into the match seemed like an odd match, with Choshu and Tenryu having feuded before teaming against Inoki and Fujinami. Inoki and Fujinami combined their babyface personalities with pure, technical and diverse wrestlers.

Yet, combined with Tenryu and Choshu, the pace never seemed out of control. Everything was there for a purpose. When it came to the finish, the crowds rightly embraced the result. New Japan has always shined when it comes to main events and even back in 1993, the company was full of stars.

1994 – Antonio Inoki vs. The Great Muta

When it comes to two of the biggest names in New Japan history, Antonio Inoki and The Great Muta are names that everyone knows. Even back in 1994, they were legends, and it isn’t surprising to know that they were the main event of the Dontaku show with a special singles match.

The match itself allowed both wrestlers to shine, and it also combined wrestling with psychology. Yet, for most of the match, it seemed like Inoki was on the defence struggling to gain any momentum. When Inoki eventually won with his patented sleeper hold, the crowds went even crazier.

Although it contained some of the best wrestlers in the world, the wrestling itself has received mixed opinions from current fans. Many didn’t enjoy the ending, which was deemed anticlimactic, while others didn’t like the sudden switch at the end after Inoki was beaten up for most of the match. Yet, it was a special match worthy of the main event.

2 years ago by Sonal Lad



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