On October 13th 2014, Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated AJ Styles for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. In a grueling fight, he managed to beat Styles with his patented High Fly Flow and capture the most prestigious prize in Japanese wrestling for a record breaking 7th time. As he celebrated, Kazuchika Okada, the man who will challenge for his title at New Japan's premier event of the year, Wrestle Kingdom IX, strode to the ring. The two went face to face, and a buzz rose from the 9,000 people clustered around them in Ryougoku Sumo Hall. For the 5th consecutive year, (and 7th out of 8,) the man known as the Ace of the Universe would fight for the biggest title, on the biggest show, for the biggest promotion in his homeland. For the 8th time, he would face Okada, the transcendent star that he made a household name. And for perhaps the final time, he would lead New Japan into uncharted territory, as the face of a wrestling revolution that seeks to take the United States by storm.
As both men posed for the audience, Tanahashi's legion of fans drowned out the shouts from the Okada faithful, driving Okada from the ring. And that left Tanahashi alone in the ring at the end of the show for about the millionth time, posing with the title he rescued from obscurity, shining in the lights like a golden lion.