NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 18: Instant Results and Discussion Thread

The largest show of the year for New Japan is coming to the Tokyo Dome today, January 4.

Seven title matches are scheduled for Wrestle Kingdom 18, with the main event featuring SANADA defending the IWGP World Heavyweight championship against Tetsuya Naito, the winner of the G1 Climax. That is just one of three main event-caliber fights scheduled. The other two are a one-on-one match between Bryan Danielson and Kazuchika Okada and AEW’s Jon Moxley and Will Ospreay and Bullet Club leader David Finlay in a Triple Threat match for the new IWGP Global title.

Catch a sneak peek of today’s Tokyo Dome performance, provided by Mr. Ares, right here.

NJPWWorld offers access to Wrestle Kingdom 18, which can be viewed with commentary in either English or Japanese. An hour prior to the main event, at 4:30 p.m. JST/7:30 a.m. GMT/2:30 a.m. ET, there is a Kickoff show.

Enjoy engaging in lively conversation in the open thread and stay tuned for updates here.

PRE-SHOW: New Japan’s 2024 King of Pro Wrestling Ranbo: There were not many shocks, although Takashi Iizuka and Fujita “Jr.” Hayato from Michinoku Pro Wrestling were present. The final four, Taiji Ishimori, YOH, Toru Yano, and Great O-Khan, will compete for the KOPW 2024 title at tomorrow’s New Year Dash!


The IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship was won by Catch 2/2 (TJP & Francesco Akira) over Bullet Club War Dogs (Drilla Moloney & Clark Connors).

TJP is making his stage debut as The Aswang, a mythical beast from the Philippines, following his defeat in NJPW’s inaugural Coffin Match. He bit people, adding some eerie touches to his ring skills, and once pulled the referee by the arm to avoid being pinned. He and Akira used their 2×2 tandem knee strike on Moloney to defeat the War Dogs.

• Hiroshi Tanahashi wins the NJPW World TV Championship against Zack Sabre Jr.

President Ace attempted a hasty end, but ZSJ got his knees up on High Fly Flow. Submissions, counters, and pinning situations abound as the battle evolved into a catch-style bout. A Zack Driver counter resulted in a sequence of rolling pins, with Tanahashi getting the last one for three. Sabre Jr. bows and hands Tana the belt before departing with TMDK.

The new champion takes the microphone and delivers a brief new year’s message before asking for continuous support for NJPW.

• Yuya Uemura vs. Yota Tsuji

A couple of guys fought really good. NJPW wants to produce tomorrow’s stars. Most of the time, Tsuji had the advantage. After Uemura kicked out of the initial curb stomp, Tsuji attempted a second one, but a series of suplexes ended it.

• EVIL and Ren Narita’s House of Torture defeated Shota Umino and Kaito Kiyomiya.

Shooter gave us a great motorbike entrance, but the HoT hijinks started right away. To get into Kiyomiya’s thoughts, they tore up a NOAH shirt on the ramp. Before we could even begin to let the entire faction work on our heroes, the referee was removed. When Unimo managed to capture Narita—who had betrayed him during World Tag League—EVIL choked him with a shirt. While the referee was restrained by one of his teammates, Narita utilized a push-up bar as a weapon. He then executed a Double Cross to pin his erstwhile comrade.

• Tama Tonga wins the NEVER Openweight Championship by defeating Shingo Takagi.

In a brutal 13-minute encounter, Tonga performed the biggest classics from the Bullet Club (using Gun Stun by Karl Anderson, Styles Clash by AJ Styles, and Bloody Sunday by Prince Devitt, aka Finn Bálor). But Takagi was expelled from all of those. It was ultimately terminated by a DST, along with Shingo’s rule.

• Prior to our upcoming match, AEW’s Ryan Nemeth and free agent Nic “Dolph Ziggler” Nemeth take seats at ringside. 

• El Phantasmo and Hikuleo, the Guerillas of Destiny, defeated Bishamon, which consisted of Hirooki Goto and Yoshita Hashi, to win the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Titles and hold the NJPW Strong Openweight Title.

After a back-and-forth in which both teams attempted double-team maneuvers, Hikuleo’s height advantage helped GoD gain the upper hand. The tide turned when ELP unintentionally hit his partner with a superkick. Hikuleo broke up the pin, but Bishamon had ELP down for the count. GoD appeared to have ended Goto with a double chokeslam/splash, but Goto kicked out. A dive eliminated YOSHI-HASHI. However, he was unable to repel a splash from the large man.

• El Desperado won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship after defeating Hiromu Takahashi.

Despy flew to take out the champion on his entrance to grab the upper hand on his longtime adversary. Although Takahashi battled his way back, Desperado damaged his knee during a submission attempt, and from then on, he focused on the leg. Taka was unable to raise his opponent to execute hits like Time Bomb because of it. Takahashi was rendered unconscious by strikes, and the night became worse for those attempting to retain their titles with several Pinche Loco (spinning sitout facebusters).

• David Finlay became the first IWGP Global Champion by pinfalling Will Ospreay and Jon Moxley (on Ospreay).