Wrestle Kingdom 18 is set to rock the wrestling world, and Ringside News is here to provide you with live play-by-play coverage for the January 4, 2024 event.
Wrestle Kingdom 18 is scheduled to kick off this week on January 4, 2024, at 1:30 AM EST, and we’ll be bringing you match-by-match highlights and results right here on this page. Share your thoughts and reactions in the comments section below, as we delve into the exciting lineup for the night.
The initial experience with the New Japan World Roku app was somewhat problematic, at least from my perspective. There were issues related to connectivity, and initially, the English language channel featured Japanese commentary. Fortunately, the English audio feed became operational during the pre-show match. Hopefully, these early hiccups will be resolved, and the viewing experience will be smoother from this point onward.
The Rambo kicked off with Chase Owens and Great-O-Khan in the ring. Gabe Kidd was the first to enter the match and immediately launched an attack on Owens, his fellow faction member, and O-Khan. The arrival of the second War Dog, Alex Coughlin, followed suit. Jeff Cobb then joined the fray, aligning himself with his fellow United Empire members to take on the War Dogs. HENARE entered next, further bolstering United Empire’s dominance. Together, they managed to eliminate Kidd and Coughlin.
With three members of United Empire remaining, Ishii made his entrance. Mikey Nicholls came in next, followed by Shane Haste, both representing TMDK. Yujiro Takahashi entered the match after TMDK. TMDK worked together to eliminate Cobb and Henare, but the numbers game still favored United Empire. Master Wato entered, followed by Yoshinobu Kanemaru.
YOH rushed into the ring, only to be ambushed with his own shoes as soon as he stepped inside. SHO entered next, and YOH attempted to grab his wrench but slipped in his socks, allowing SHO to use the wrench to choke him. The unexpected arrival of Fujita “Jr” Hayato from Michinoku Pro put a halt to their fight, as he intervened and carried them to the ring. Taiji Ishimori entered as Ishii eliminated Haste. Yujiro proceeded to eliminate Ishii and Nicholls. DOUKI joined the match but was swiftly eliminated alongside Fujita Jr.
Toru Yano made his way to the ring but refused to enter it. The surprise return of Takashi Iizuka, who had retired three years ago, came next, as he fought off a crowd of wrestlers on the outside before clashing with House of Torture members inside the ring. House of Torture offered Iizuka a shirt, which he briefly put on before tearing it off and attacking them. Taichi entered the scene, backing up Iizuka and handing him the iron finger that had been gifted to him by Iizuka. Together, they worked to eliminate several competitors before sharing a handshake. Taichi attempted a hug, but Iizuka bit him, leading to the rest of the wrestlers eliminating them.
The final five competitors, Ishimori, Owens, Yano, YOH, and O-Khan, battled for supremacy. O-Khan managed to eliminate Owens by dropping him on the apron, leaving Ishimori, Yano, YOH, and O-Khan as the winners. They will advance to challenge for the KOPW 2024 title in tomorrow’s event.
The show commenced with a video package, featuring a Japanese narrator who provided an overview of the event’s lineup.
TJP made a dramatic entrance by emerging from the casket in which he had been sealed since December 21st, donning the appearance of an Aswang, a Filipino cryptid. Akira, on the other hand, had a unique look with his body painted in green flames. The War Dogs also showcased a distinctive entrance, introducing the new all-white Junior tag belts.
As the match began, the challengers wasted no time in launching an aggressive assault on the champions. However, it was the War Dogs who quickly gained the upper hand, taking the action to the floor. Connors utilized a collared chain to choke TJP against the barricade, while Moloney relentlessly attacked Akira, leaving him isolated.
TJP eventually managed to free himself and made a timely tag to Akira, unleashing his intensity on the War Dogs. However, the War Dogs made a swift recovery and executed the Drilla Killa on TJP. Still, TJP managed to break the count by grabbing the referee’s hand. In a surprising turn of events, TJP bit Moloney and sprayed him with mist, reminiscent of the Muta, before executing Catch 22 with tandem knees, securing both the victory and the championship belts.
This match maintained a consistently fast pace, often resembling a sprint, and both competitors delivered an outstanding performance.
Early in the match, ZSJ attempted to engage in grappling, but Tanahashi responded with a flurry of offense, including two rapid Twist and Shouts, a Slingblade, and a Crossbody, followed by an attempt at the High Fly Flow. ZSJ cleverly blocked Tanahashi’s finishing move by using his knees and smoothly transitioned into a bridging pin that came close to securing him the victory. Tanahashi attempted to regain control with a Dragon Screw and a Texas Cloverleaf submission, but ZSJ continued to focus on Tanahashi’s arm.
After a brief exchange of strikes, both wrestlers exchanged trap pins, and once ZSJ escaped, he applied a Sleeper hold before transitioning into an Octopus hold. ZSJ successfully defended against a Dragonscrew attempt, which allowed him to execute two neck cranks and a penalty kick. ZSJ then looked to follow up with his Zack Driver, but Tanahashi countered swiftly into a quick pin. The two competitors engaged in a back-and-forth exchange of pinning attempts, and after numerous tries, Tanahashi finally managed to pin ZSJ to the mat for the three-count, winning both the match and the NJPW World Television Championship.
The match kicked off with a collar-and-elbow tie-up that smoothly transitioned into some classic chain wrestling between the two competitors. Once they separated, Uemura attempted to charge at Tsuji, but Tsuji swiftly countered with an unexpected spinebuster, followed by a tope to the outside of the ring. Upon returning to the squared circle, Tsuji managed to secure a nearfall with an electric chair drop.
Tsuji continued to assert his dominance until Uemura fought back with a well-executed arm drag and a precision dropkick. Uemura’s momentum led to a backdrop, enabling him to ascend to the top turnbuckle. However, his crossbody attempt missed its mark, allowing Tsuji to regain control by delivering a punishing backbreaker.
Tsuji then attempted to execute a Gene Blast, but Uemura cleverly reversed it with an arm drag. Tsuji quickly transitioned into a pinning attempt and followed it up with a curb stomp when Uemura managed to kick out. Uemura, however, evaded the second curb stomp and retaliated with a powerful suplex, securing a nearfall in the process. Uemura seized the opportunity and capitalized on his momentum, culminating in a deadbolt suplex followed by a pin, ultimately emerging victorious in the match.
Shota Umino made quite an entrance by riding a motorcycle to the ring for his introduction. However, things took a turn when House of Torture, a faction in NJPW, appeared and proceeded to cut a t-shirt, which visibly angered Kaito Kiyomiya. An unusual moment occurred early in the match when Kiyomiya was held upside down with his legs spread apart and then subjected to a rather unorthodox chop to a sensitive area.
Members of the House of Torture, who were present at ringside, consistently interfered in the match from the beginning. At one point, Umino managed to pin Narita, but Evil intervened by choking Umino with a t-shirt. Ultimately, it was Ren Narita who seized the opportunity created by the outside interference and secured the victory by pinning Shota Umino.
The team of Evil and Ren Narita emerged victorious over Kaito Kiyomiya and Shota Umino in this match.
The match kicked off with a series of shoulder blocks, both competitors testing each other’s footing. Tama Tonga made the first impactful move, delivering a dropkick and following it up with a pair of suplexes, gaining the upper hand and putting Shingo Takagi on the defensive. However, Shingo quickly rallied, countering with a shoulder tackle, a slam, and a tope con hilo, seizing the lead in the match.
A well-executed Tama neckbreaker reset the momentum, leading to a heated strike exchange in the center of the ring. Shingo fought his way into the corner, managing to land a superplex to solidify his advantage. A sliding lariat seemed to extend this lead, but Tama responded swiftly with a Tongan twist, nearly securing a pinfall.
Shingo thwarted the gun stun attempt, setting the stage for a rapid back-and-forth exchange. Ultimately, Shingo came out on top, executing a powerbomb that led to another nearfall. He followed up with a pumping bomber before attempting the Made in Japan, but Tama reversed it into a gun stun, regaining the lead.
Tama furthered his offensive onslaught, dropping Shingo with Bloody Sunday, but Shingo astonishingly kicked out after just one count. Tama pressed on with a lariat and attempted a DST, but Shingo managed to escape, receiving a forearm strike instead. Tama tried for another gun stun, but Shingo retaliated with one of his own. Shingo then delivered a pumping bomber and another Made in Japan, but Tama showed incredible resilience by kicking out.
Shingo unleashed a barrage of strikes on Tama, ultimately bringing him down before attempting the Last of the Dragon. Tama, however, freed himself and executed a Styles Clash. Tama sought to close the match, landing another gun stun, but Shingo demonstrated his determination by kicking out once more. Finally, Tama Tonga sealed the victory with the DST, becoming a four-time NEVER Openweight Champion in an epic showdown.
Nick Nemeth, formerly known as Dolph Ziggler, and his brother Ryan Nemeth made a striking appearance at ringside, both impeccably dressed in sharp suits. They took their seats at a designated table, creating an intriguing and stylish presence that caught the attention of the wrestling audience.
Bishamon initially gained the upper hand by employing double-team tactics against their opponents, with their target being ELP. However, their attempts to do the same to the powerful Hikuleo were thwarted as his sheer strength proved insurmountable. The tide of the match then shifted dramatically when the Guerrillas of Destiny (GoD) entered the fray and asserted their dominance by unleashing a series of double-team maneuvers.
Bishamon’s resurgence came courtesy of a well-executed suplex on ELP, allowing them to regain momentum. But a daring aerial move, a rana from the top rope, sent both members of Bishamon crashing to the arena floor. Hikuleo took control, maintaining his dominance for a considerable stretch.
A pivotal moment emerged when ELP capitalized on a missed opportunity, leading to an extended offensive assault. Bishamon managed to connect with a devastating move called Shoto, prompting Hikuleo to intervene and break up the pinfall attempt. ELP then utilized his agility with a head-scissor move, hurling both members of Bishamon into each other, buying himself some precious time.
ELP continued his offensive barrage by flooring Goto with a superkick, setting the stage for Hikuleo to deliver a punishing chokeslam. But Goto displayed remarkable resilience by kicking out. ELP then dialed up the intensity, hitting Goto with a move known as CR3, while Hikuleo ascended to the top rope. With a breathtaking splash, Hikuleo sealed the deal, pinning Goto in a dramatic fashion. As a result, the Guerrillas of Destiny emerged victorious, securing both tag team titles in New Japan and solidifying their dominance in the wrestling world.
The match kicked off with Desperado taking the initiative by launching himself in a diving attack onto Hiromu as he made his entrance to the ring. Once the action returned inside the squared circle, both competitors engaged in a back-and-forth exchange of moves until a powerful dropkick sent Desperado tumbling from the ring and crashing into the ringside barricade. With Hiromu now in control, he drove Desperado into the corner.
However, Desperado swiftly regained the advantage by employing a stretch muffler submission hold, targeting Hiromu’s vulnerable leg. Despite Hiromu’s attempts to escape, Desperado persisted in his leg-focused assault. In a bid to inflict further damage to Hiromu’s leg, Desperado leaped towards him, but Hiromu adeptly sidestepped the attack.
Hiromu managed to regain his footing, executing a devastating destroyer to reclaim the lead in the match. He followed up with a Timebomb maneuver, earning a near fall in the process. Hiromu then attempted Timebomb 2, but it didn’t go as planned, leading to Desperado being sent into the corner instead.
In a high-risk maneuver on the top rope, Hiromu tried to fling Desperado, but Desperado turned the tables by catching him. Now in control, Desperado executed a punishing slam from the top rope to the mat. Hiromu made efforts to rally, but Desperado countered with a barrage of strikes, keeping his opponent grounded. Hiromu, however, managed to dodge a punch and responded with a fierce lariat to momentarily regain the upper hand. Desperado fired back, landing the Pinche Loco, securing a near fall.
Desperado attempted the Pinche Loco once more, but Hiromu cleverly reversed it into an unnamed roll-up. Desperado kicked out and promptly executed another Pinche Loco. This time, instead of going for the pin, Desperado hit Hiromu with another Pinche Loco, and this final one proved to be enough to secure the victory in this intense and hard-fought match.
Moxley and Ospreay wasted no time in the match, immediately charging at Finlay, just as they had promised during the press conference the previous day. They unleashed a relentless assault on Finlay, both inside and outside the ring, leaving no room for respite.
With Finlay taken care of for the moment, Ospreay and Moxley engaged in a thrilling exchange of suplexes in the center of the ring. Ospreay attempted his signature OsCutter, but Moxley thwarted it, responding with another powerful suplex. Ospreay then went for a Spanish fly, but Moxley countered with an armbar, transitioning seamlessly into a chokehold. Ospreay managed to power out, executing a powerbomb on Moxley in the corner, but Moxley promptly bounced back and leveled Ospreay with a devastating lariat.
Moxley attempted a Death Rider on the apron, but Ospreay blocked it. Seizing the opportunity, Finlay launched an attack on Ospreay. Ospreay tried to fend off Finlay with a cutter, but Finlay stopped him in his tracks with a shillelagh.
Back inside the ring, a bloodied Moxley became the focus of Finlay’s relentless assault. Upon Ospreay’s return to the match, he unleashed a barrage of offense on both Moxley and Finlay. Moxley was sent to the outside and met with a tope from Ospreay. Ospreay then showcased his incredible athleticism with another high-flying maneuver that took out both opponents outside the ring.
Once back inside the ring, Ospreay attempted to leap onto Moxley, but Moxley caught him with a forearm strike, followed by another Death Rider. Despite Ospreay’s resilience, kicking out of the move, Moxley swiftly transitioned into a chokehold. When Ospreay eventually managed to free himself, Finlay re-entered the fray, only to be subjected to a piledriver by Moxley.
Moxley left the ring momentarily to fetch chairs, tossing them inside. He arranged the chairs, but Finlay countered, driving Moxley into the steel seats. Finlay then executed a dominator on Ospreay, displaying his tenacity. Moxley responded with a swift knee strike.
With the focus back on Ospreay, Moxley delivered another Death Rider. Ospreay absorbed the impact but retaliated with a hidden blade. Finlay then hurled Ospreay to the outside and attempted to pin Moxley. After Moxley kicked out, Finlay executed a dominator on him. Ospreay intervened with another hidden blade, this time targeting Finlay.
As the competitors regained their footing, they engaged in a back-and-forth exchange of strikes. Moxley and Ospreay joined forces once more, shifting their attention back to Finlay. Just when Finlay seemed to be on the brink, Gabe Kidd and Alex Coughlin, the Bullet Club War Dogs, stormed the ring, attacking Moxley and Ospreay.
Despite the onslaught, Moxley and Ospreay managed to mount a counteroffensive, sending both War Dogs crashing through tables with a daring dive. Back inside the ring, Moxley subjected Finlay to a pair of Death Riders. However, Ospreay struck Moxley with two hidden blades. Ospreay followed up with his devastating finishing move, Stormbreaker, but Finlay thwarted the pin attempt.
Finlay then unleashed his own arsenal of moves, including Oblivion, a curb stomp, and a new variant of his previous finishing maneuver before ultimately pinning Ospreay to secure the victory. With this monumental win, David Finlay became the first-ever IWGP Global Heavyweight Champion.
Following the match, Finlay didn’t waste any time in taunting Nic Nemeth, leading to a brief altercation between the two.
The opening moments of this highly anticipated showdown saw Okada attempting to lure Danielson into striking first, but the wily Danielson had other plans. He swiftly took Okada down to the mat and immediately began targeting Okada’s arm. Upon returning to their feet, Okada unleashed a barrage of strikes that sent Danielson crashing to the canvas. Adding to the brutality, Okada executed a devastating DDT on the unforgiving floor.
As the battle raged on, Okada charged forward with a running dropkick, only to be met by a lightning-fast leaping knee strike from Danielson. Seizing the opportunity, Danielson focused his assault on Okada’s arm, ruthlessly wearing down the very limb that fueled the Rainmaker.
After several grueling minutes of torment, Okada summoned his inner strength and fought back with a powerful big boot, momentarily shifting the momentum in his favor. A subsequent air raid crash maneuver left Okada in a relatively advantageous position, but the battle was far from over.
Climbing to the top rope, Okada sought to capitalize on his advantage, but Danielson had other plans, meting out a relentless barrage of uppercuts to halt Okada’s ascent. A breathtaking butterfly suplex from the top rope showcased Danielson’s technical prowess, and he continued to methodically wear down his opponent.
Outside the ring, Okada surprised Danielson with a spine-chilling piledriver, injecting a new layer of intensity into their clash. Returning to the squared circle, Okada taunted Danielson with flat-footed kicks to his eyepatch, eventually tearing it off and delivering a ruthless stomp to the injured eye.
Okada further escalated the brutality with an elbow drop from the top rope, though this maneuver only exacerbated his own arm injury. As he attempted to execute his signature Rainmaker, the hesitation caused by his injury allowed Danielson to evade and counter with a powerful kick and a series of devastating elbow strikes. Though Okada exhibited incredible resilience, absorbing a barrage of elbow strikes, he mustered the strength to retaliate, but it was not enough to secure the victory.
Danielson transitioned into the Labell lock, a submission hold reminiscent of his triumph over Okada at Forbidden Door, forcing Okada to desperately reach for the ropes to break the hold. Following his escape, Danielson proceeded to brutally stomp Okada’s head into the canvas, showcasing the intensity of their rivalry.
With both competitors pushing their limits, Danielson pulled Okada to his feet, only for Okada to summon the energy for a sudden Rainmaker. The impact sent Danielson crashing to the mat, and though Okada earned the victory, he was left writhing in pain and unable to capitalize further.
After the grueling contest, both competitors displayed a deep mutual respect for one another, cementing their status as two of the wrestling world’s finest.
In an intense battle for the ages, Naito and SANADA squared off at the Tokyo Dome, leaving it all on the line in a quest for supremacy.
The opening moments of the match saw Naito gaining control on the mat, asserting his dominance by attempting to send SANADA to the outside. However, SANADA countered, reversing the momentum and sending Naito to the floor instead. Adding a touch of irony, SANADA executed his version of the Naito taunt, setting the stage for a grueling encounter.
Back inside the ring, Naito wasted no time in targeting SANADA’s neck, unleashing a barrage of strikes and delivering a punishing slam. Naito’s focused assault continued, with his attention firmly fixed on SANADA’s vulnerable neck.
SANADA retaliated with a plancha, showcasing his resilience and determination. A fireman’s carry cutter earned him a two-count, and he continued to target Naito’s neck, locking in the skull end submission hold. Naito managed to escape but found himself on the receiving end of a dropkick that sent him to the mat, allowing Naito to resume his relentless attack on SANADA’s neck.
A neckbreaker from the barricade to the floor had SANADA reeling outside the ring, as the referee’s count edged higher. SANADA eventually reentered the ring, only to have his neck driven onto Naito’s knee, followed by a frankensteiner.
SANADA turned the tide, reversing Naito’s tornado DDT into a magic screw and proceeding to deliver a poison rana and a shining wizard. His next move was an attempted moonsault, but Naito cleverly blocked it by extending his knees.
As both competitors continued to pour everything into the match, Naito unleashed a flurry of strikes targeting SANADA’s neck. He followed up with the Esperanza and Destino, sensing that one Destino wouldn’t be enough to secure victory. SANADA, however, had other plans, reversing Naito into a TKO.
SANADA went for a moonsault once more, narrowly missing his mark on the first attempt but connecting on the second. Remarkably, Naito kicked out, refusing to yield. Naito retaliated with a spinebuster, seizing control once more.
Despite SANADA’s resilience, Naito hit him with a Deadfall, leading to a momentary reset in the match. A determined SANADA responded with a Destino of his own, but Naito managed to fend off the Deadfall. Naito then delivered a tornado DDT, setting the stage for the dramatic climax.
SANADA briefly fought back, but Naito’s resilience was unwavering. A second Deadfall left Naito unchallenged as he unleashed another Destino, this time securing the pinfall victory and winning the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship.
Following this grueling encounter, Naito was poised to address the Tokyo Dome crowd, but before he could speak, chaos ensued as Evil and Dick Togo launched a ruthless attack on him. Evil proclaimed that Naito wouldn’t have his coveted roll call and prepared to strike him with the championship belt. However, SANADA intervened, coming to Naito’s rescue and dropping Evil with a shining wizard.
After the ring was cleared of their assailants, Naito, with blood flowing from his head, expressed his gratitude to SANADA and the fans for their unwavering support. With tears of joy and accomplishment, Naito delivered the LIJ roll call, culminating in a triumphant moment at the Tokyo Dome. His goal had been achieved, and he stood tall as the newly crowned IWGP World Heavyweight Champion.