The biggest NJPW event of the year is in the books.
Wrestle Kingdom 18 took place today in Japan, featuring Bryan Danielson vs. Kazuchika Okada and a number of other big matches and title bouts.
Featured below, courtesy of Chick Fritts and F4WOnline.com, are complete results of the show.
NJPW WRESTLE KINGDOM 18 (1/4/2024)
Ishimori, Owens, Yano, and O-Khan win King of Pro Wrestling 2024 Rambo
Another year, another rambo. That said, this was better than most Rambos. Michinoku Pro's Fujita "Jr" Hayato and Takashi Iizuka we're the surprises.
This year's rambo opened with Chase Owens and Great-O-Khan. The first person to enter the match after the opening was Gabe Kidd, who attacked Owens, his faction mate, and O-Khan. As soon as Kidd had a lead, the second War Dog, Alex Coughlin, entered the match. Jeff Cobb was next to enter, helping the others, especially his faction mate O-Khan, challenge the War Dogs. HENARE followed, giving United Empire an even more significant advantage. Together, United Empire eliminated Kidd and Coughlin.
With three members of United Empire standing strong, Ishii made his way to the ring. Mikey Nicholls entered next, followed by Shane Haste, both of TMDK. Yujiro Takahashi joined the match after TMDK. TMDK eliminated Cobb and Henare as Master Wato walked to the ring. Yoshinobu Kanemaru followed.
YOH sprinted to the ring only to be attacked with his own shoes as soon as he made it inside. SHO entered next, but YOH met him on the ramp and attempted to take his wrench. YOH, in his socks, slipped while fighting SHO, allowing SHO to choke him with the wrench. Fujita "Jr" Hayato from Michinoku Pro stopped SHO and YOH from fighting and carried them to the ring. Taiji Ishimori entered as Ishii eliminated Haste. Yujiro then eliminated Ishii and Nicholls. DOUKI joined the match but was eliminated alongside Fujita Jr. shortly after entering.
Toru Yano walked to the ring next, but he refused to enter the ring. Takashi Iizuka, who retired three years ago, joined next, fighting off a wave of men on the outside of the ring before meeting House of Torture on the inside. HoT offered him a shirt, which he put on and immediately ripped off before attacking them. Taichi came to the ring next, backing up Iizuka and passing him the iron finger gifted to him by Iizuka. They then worked together to eliminate a lot of the field before shaking hands. Taichi went in for a hug, but Iizuka bit him, opening the door for the rest of the competitors to eliminate them.
The final five, Ishimori, Owens, Yano, YOH, and O-Khan, worked for eliminations. O-Khan eliminated Owens by dropping him on the apron, leaving Ishimori, Owens, Yano, and O-Khan as the winners. Tomorrow, they advance to challenge for the KOPW 2024 title.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: Catch 22 (Francesco Akira & TJP) defeated BULLET CLUB War Dogs (Clark Connors & Drilla Moloney) (c)
This was a creative, fast-paced match. A fun way to open the show.
TJP emerged from the casket he was sealed in on December 21st. He dressed as an Aswang, a Filipino cryptid. Akira was also in special attire, with his body painted in green flames. The War Dogs' entrance was also unique, as they debuted the new, all-white Junior tag belts.
The challengers started the match by rushing the champions, but the War Dogs gained advantage on the floor. Connors attached a collared chain to TJP, choking him against the barricade while Moloney beat down Akira. Back in the ring, the War Dogs continued the attack on a completely isolated Akira.
TJP eventually freed himself, saving Akira with a tag while taking out the War Dogs with intensity. The rally was short-lived as the War Dogs bounced back fast. They hit TJP with the Drilla Killa, but TJP broke the count by grabbing the hand of the referee. TJP then bit Moloney before spraying him with mist à la Muta. Catch 22 then hit Moloney with tandem knees to win the match and the belts.
NJPW World Television Championship: Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Zack Sabre Jr. (c)
This was another fast-paced match, bordering a sprint at times. An excellent outing from both men.
ZSJ tried grappling early, but Tanahashi answered with two quick twist and shouts, a slingblade, and a crossbody before attempting High Fly Flow. ZSJ blocked Tanahashi's finish with his knees and transitioned into a bridging pin that nearly won him the match. Tanahashi tried to rebound with a dragonscrew and a Texas cloverleaf, but ZSJ caught him again, taking control of the arm.
After a short strike exchange, the pair traded trap pins. Once ZSJ escaped, he secured a sleeper before transitioning to an octopus hold. ZSJ stuffed a dragonscrew, opening the door for two neck cranks and a penalty kick. ZSJ attempted to follow up with a Zack Driver, but Tanahashi reversed into a quick pin. The pair then rolled back and forth, trading pins. After a slew of attempts, Tanahashi pinned ZSJ to the mat for three, winning the match and the NJPW World Television Championship.
Yuya Uemura defeated Yota Tsuji
This was a rock-solid match with some quick sequences that the crowd ate up. Uemura got the win, which he desperately needed.
This match opened with a collar-and-elbow that transitioned into some typical chain wrestling. Once separated, Uemura tried running at Tsuji, but Tsuji caught him with a sudden spinebuster followed by a tope to the floor. Back in the ring, Tsuji scored a nearfall with an electric chair drop.
Tsuji maintained his control until Uemura landed an arm drag and a dropkick. A backdrop allowed Uemura to climb to the top, but he missed the crossbody, leaving Tsuji free to hit Uemura with a backbreaker, retaking control.
Tsuji attempted a Gene Blast, but Uemura reversed with an arm drag. Tsuji transitioned into a pin and followed up with a curb stomp once Uemura kicked out. Uemura avoided the second curb stomp and landed a suplex to score a nearfall in response. Uemura didn't let this opportunity pass, following up with a deadbolt suplex into a pin, winning the match.
House of Torture (EVIL & Ren Narita) defeated Kaito Kiyomiya & Shota Umino
This match was very enjoyable ahead of the frustrating finish. Oh, well. Umino looked like a star. Kiyomiya was fantastic (as always). A significantly better-than-average HoT match.
HoT attempted to take advantage early, but Kiyomiya responded with a firey attack. He fought off Kanemaru on his own while maintaining control over EVIL. Narita eventually hit the ring, prompting Umino to stop him. The babyfaces tied up HoT with submissions, prompting the heels on the outside to ring the bell. This distraction led to HoT rushing the ring and overwhelming the faces.
After a short period of isolation, Kiyomiya tagged out to Umino, leading to a strong rally. Umino took out Narita and the HoT soldiers on the floor. Back in the ring, Umino continued his advance with help from Kiyomiya.
HoT tried to rush the ring again, choking the babyfaces as they did at the press conference yesterday. Kiyomiya held them off momentarily, but a distraction allowed Evil to land Everything is Evil, leaving Narita in control of Umino.
As Umino gained control back, Yujiro distracted the referee, allowing Narita to strike Umino with his pushup bar. Narita then hit Umino with the double cross spike and pinned him to win the match.
NEVER Openweight Title Championship: Tama Tonga defeated Shingo Takagi (c)
This match opened with shoulder blocks, testing each other's footing. Tama was the first to strike landing a dropkick and a pair of suplexes, putting Shingo on the backfoot. Shingo fired back, hitting a shoulder tackle, a slam, and a tope con hilo to gain the lead.
A Tama neckbreaker reset the match, leading to a strike exchange in the center of the ring. Shingo fought into the corner, landing a superplex to re-cement his lead. A sliding lariat seemingly furthered this lead, but Tama answered with a Tongan twist moments later. Then, supreme flow from Tama scored a nearfall.
Shingo stuffed the gun stun, leading into a quick back-and-forth exchange. Shingo won out, landing a powerbomb that turned into another nearfall. Shingo then hit Tama with the pumping bomber before attempting Made in Japan; Tama reversed into a gun stun, taking the lead back.
Tama dropped Shingo with Bloody Sunday, but Shingo kicked out at one. Tama followed up with a lariat before attempting a DST. Shingo escaped but ate a forearm. Tama attempted another gun stun, but Shingo hit one of his own. Shingo then hit a pumping bomber and Made in Japan; Tama kicked out.
Shingo unloaded on Tama, dropping him with strikes before attempting Last of the Dragon. Tama freed himself and hit a Styles Clash. Tama tried to close, landing another gun stun; Shingo kicked out. Finally, Tama hit the DST, winning the match. Tama Tonga is a four-time NEVER openweight champion.
Nic Nemeth (formerly Dolph Ziggler) and Ryan Nemeth Appear
In between matches, the Nemeth brothers walked to the VIP section while on camera, seemingly to watch the tag team title match. What this appearance means is to be seen.
IWGP / NJPW STRONG Openweight Tag Team Championships: Guerrillas of Destiny (El Phantasmo & Hikuleo) (c) defeated Bishamon (Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI) (c)
Bishamon gained an early lead by double-teaming ELP. They attempted to do the same to Hikuleo, but his strength proved to be too much. GoD then established control by using double team moves of their own.
A suplex to ELP allowed Bishamon to fight back into the match, but a rana from the top rope sent both members of Bishamon to the floor. Hikuleo furthered this lead for quite some time.
A miss from ELP allowed Bishamon another opportunity. After a prolonged offensive sequence, Bishamon hit ELP with Shoto, forcing Hikuleo to break up the pin. ELP then used head-scissors to throw Bishamon into each other, buying him some time.
ELP dropped Goto with a superkick. Hikuleo then landed a chokeslam, leaving ELP free to land a super Thunderkiss 86; Goto kicked out. ELP then hit Goto with CR3 as Hikuleo climbed to the top rope. Hikuleo hit Goto with a splash and pinned Goto. GoD now controls both tag team titles in New Japan.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: El Desperado defeated Hiromu Takahashi (c)
Desperado started the match by diving onto Hiromu as he made his way to the ring. Back in the ring, the pair traded moves until a dropkick sent Desperado from the floor into the barricade. Hiromu, now with the lead, drove Desperado into the corner.
Desperado retook the lead, using a stretch muffler to focus Hiromu's leg. Once Hiromu escaped, Desperado continued to focus on the limb. In an attempt to damage the leg further, Desperado leapt towards Hiromu, but Hiromu sidestepped the attack.
Hiromu gained some footing, but Desperado caught him in the stretch muffler again moments later. Hiromu powered out into a destroyer to regain the lead. Hiromu followed up with Timebomb for a two-count. Hiromu tried for Timebomb 2 but failed, forcing Desperado into the corner instead.
On the top rope, Hiromu attempted to fling Desperado but was caught. Desperado, now in control, slammed from the top to the mat. Hiromu tried to power up, but Desperado hammered him with strikes to keep him grounded. Hiromu dodged a punch, landing a lariat to regain advantage momentarily. Desperado fired back, landing Pinche Loco for a nearfall.
Desperado attempted Pinche Loco again, but Hiromu reversed into his unnamed roll. Desperado kicked out and landed another Pinche Loco. Instead of trying for the pin, Desperado hit Desperado with another Pinche Loco. This time, it was enough to win the match.
IWGP Global Heavyweight Championship: David Finlay defeated Will Ospreay & Jon Moxley
Moxley and Ospreay opened the match by rushing Finlay as they promised to do at yesterday's press conference. They beat him up, inside and outside the ring.
After taking care of Finlay, Ospreay and Moxley traded suplexes in the middle of the ring. Ospreay attempted the OsCutter, but Moxley stuffed it before delivering another suplex. Ospreay tried for a Spanish fly, but Moxley reversed into an armbar, which he transitioned into a choke. Ospreay powered out, powerbombing Moxley in the corner but Moxley popped up and dropped Ospreay with a lariat.
Moxley attempted a Death Rider on the apron, but Ospreay stuffed it. Once Moxley was clear, Finlay attacked Ospreay. Ospreay tried to fight off Finlay with a cutter, but Finlay stopped him with a shillelagh.
Back in the ring, Finlay focused a bloody Moxley. Once Ospreay re-entered the match, he took out both men. Finlay was thrown to the outside and dropped with a tope from Moxley. Ospreay then took out both men again with a dive to the floor.
Back in the ring, Ospreay lept towards Moxley, but Moxley caught him with a forearm, followed by the death rider. Ospreay kicked out, but Moxley immediately transitioned into the choke. Once Ospreay was free, Finlay hit the ring, only to eat a piledriver into Ospreay.
Moxley exited the ring to grab chairs, which he threw back inside. He sat up the chairs, but Finlay drove him into the backs. Finlay then hit Ospreay with a dominator onto Moxley. Finlay then hit Ospreay with a backbreaker, but Moxley responded with a quick knee.
Moxley turned his attention to Ospreay, hitting another deathrider. Ospreay ate the move and hit Moxley with a hidden blade. Finlay then threw Ospreay to the floor and attempted to pin Moxley. Once Moxley kicked out, Finlay hit him with a dominator, prompting Ospreay to breakup the pin with another hidden blade, this time to Finlay.
Once the men returned to their feet, they took turns trading strikes. Moxley and Ospreay focused on Finlay again. When Finlay looked to be out, Gabe Kidd and Alex Coughlin, the Bullet Club War Dogs, hit the ring, attacking Moxley and Ospreay.
Ospreay and Moxley managed to fight back, driving both War Dogs through tables with a crazy dive. Back in the ring, Moxley dropped Finlay with a pair of deathriders before eating two hidden blades. Ospreay hit Moxley with Stormbreaker, but Finlay stopped the pin. Finlay then landed Oblivion, a curb stomp, and a new variant of his previous finish before pinning Ospreay to win the match. David Finlay is the first IWGP Global Heavyweight Champion.
After the match, Finlay taunted Nic Nemeth. Finlay pushed Nemeth, leading to a short scuffle.
Kazuchika Okada defeated Bryan Danielson
This was one of the greatest matches I have ever covered. It was focused, vicious, and emotional. This is what professional wrestling is all about.
The opening tie-up saw Okada trying to bait Danielson into striking. Instead, Danielson took Okada to the mat and began going for Okada's arm. Once they returned to their feet, Okada caught Danielson with a couple of strikes, flooring Danielson. Okada landed a dropkick to Danielson's eye before landing a DDT on the floor.
Okada attempted a running dropkick, but Danielson cut him off with a leaping knee strike. Danielson then placed Okada against the barricade, slamming his arm into the metal. Back in the ring, Danielson continued his focused attack, brutalizing Okada's rainmaker arm.
After minutes of torture, Okada caught Danielson with a big boot. The follow-up air raid crash left Okada in a relatively strong position. Okada tried climbing to the top, but Danielson cut him off with a barrage of uppercuts. Danielson then hit a butterfly suplex from the top and continued his wear-down attack.
Danielson carried Okada to the apron, but Okada surprised Danielson with a scary piledriver. Back in the ring, Okada taunted Danielson with flat foot kicks to the eyepatch. Okada then ripped off Danielson's patch and drove his foot into Danielson's bad eye.
Okada landed an elbow drop from the top rope, but this further injured the arm of Okada. Okada then tried for the rainmaker, but the injury-induced hesitation gave Danielson the time duck. Danielson followed up with a kick and his signature elbow strikes. After eating a slew of elbows, Okada powered up, but Danielson answered with a busaiku knee and the Labell lock. Danielson transitioned into the hold he used to submit Okada at Forbidden Door, forcing Okada into the ropes.
Once Okada escaped, Danielson stomped his head into the mat. Danielson pulled to a standing position, where Okada fired back with a sudden rainmaker. Okada fell in pain and was unable to follow up.
Danielson pulled Okada to the ground, but Okada fought back with strikes on the mat. Once standing, Okada tried another rainmaker, but Danielson stuffed it. Danielson hit one busaiku knee but didn't go for the cover, instead opting for another. Danielson missed, leaving Okada an open opportunity. After dropping Danielson, Okada landed another rainmaker and collapsed onto Okada. The referee counted to three, leaving Okada with the win.
After the match, both men showed their respect for one another.
IWGP World Heavyweight Championship: Tetsuya Naito defeated SANADA (c)
A great main event here. This was a feel-good match if there ever was one.
Naito gained control on the mat early and tried sending SANADA to the floor. SANADA reversed, sending Naito to the floor before doing his own version of the Naito taunt. Back in the ring, Naito began wearing down SANADA's neck with strikes and a slam. Naito maintained control standing and on the mat, focusing on the neck.
SANADA fired back with a plancha. A fireman's carry cutter left SANADA with a two count. After a little bit of work on the neck, SANADA locked in skull end. Once Naito escaped, SANADA attempted the moonsault, but Naito avoided it. A dropkick from Naito sent SANADA to the ground, leaving Naito free to focus the neck once more.
A neckbreaker from the barricade to the floor left SANADA outside high into the referee's count. Once SANADA made it back, Naito dropped SANADA's neck onto his knee, followed by a frankensteiner.
SANADA reveresed Naito's tornado DDT into a magic screw. He followed up with a poison rana and a shining wizard before attempting another moonsault. This time, Naito stuck out his knees to block the finish.
Once standing, Naito landed a barrage of strikes on the neck of SANADA. Naito followed up with Esperanza and Destino. Naito, knowing one Destino wouldn't be enough, tried for a second, but SANADA reversed into a TKO.
SANADA tried for a moonsault again; this time he overshot by a hair. SANADA tried again, landing it this time, but Naito kicked out anyway. Naito then interrupted SANADA's follow-up with a spinebuster.
SANADA tried hoisting Naito up again, but he dropped him. Naito hit Destino once, but, again, was forced to try for another. This time, SANADA slipped free, making the move partially land. After SANADA kicked out, he hit Naito with a sudden Deadfall, forcing a match reset.
SANADA hit a Destino of his own, but Naito stuffed the Deadfall. Naito then landed the tornado DDT. SANADA fired back briefly but could not hold on to any lead. Naito's own Deadfall left Naito uncontested into another Destino. This time, it proved enough to pin SANADA and win the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship.
After the match, Naito grabbed a microphone. Just as he was going to speak, Evil and Dick Togo attacked him. Evil told him he wouldn't let him have his roll call as he propped him up for a belt strike. Before Evil could take him out, SANADA made the save, dropping Evil with a shining wizard.
Once the ring was cleared, Naito thanked SANADA with blood pouring from his head. He thanked the fans for their support and delivered the LIJ role call after winning the main event in Tokyo Dome. His goal is complete.