NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 18 Results

Results from NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 18

New Japan Pro-Wrestling, as is tradition, held their biggest show of the year on January 4 as Wrestle Kingdom 18 emanated from the Tokyo Dome. 

In the main event, Tetsuya Naito finally finished the story as he received the Tokyo Dome roll call that he didn't have in 2020 following his win over SANADA for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. It looked at points like SANADA would somehow win but Naito ultimately scored the victory following a fourth Destino after just over 25 minutes. 

EVIL then tried to ruin Naito's celebrations this time but SANADA took out his former tag team partner and fellow former Los Ingobernables de Japon faction mate. Naito then paid tribute to SANADA, leaving the former champion in tears, before he sent the fans inside the Tokyo Dome happy with the LIJ roll call. 

In the semi-main event, Kazuchika Okada levelled his series with Bryan Danielson at one win apiece. Danielson managed to connect with two Busaiku Knees during the match and he went for a third to the back of Okada's head after leading the Tokyo Dome in YES! chants. Okada managed to avoid it, though, and he avoided another attempt from Danielson soon after. NJPW's top star then followed up with a Landslide and a second Rainmaker to pick up the 1-2-3. 

Following the contest, the two men paid each other the ultimate respect, bowing to each other. If fans will ever receive a rubber match remains to be seen. 

Including the main event, Wrestle Kingdom 18 was very much a night of crowning new champions as every match featured a title change. In the opening contest, Catch 22's Fransesco Akira and an aswang-inspired TJP defeated Clark Connors and Drilla Moloney to capture the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Titles. Hiroshi Tanahashi, the new President of NJPW, then defeated Zack Sabre Jr. to capture the NJPW World Television Title, ending ZSJ's one-year reign in the process. 

A surprising title change then happened as Tama Tonga captured the NEVER Openweight Championship from Shingo Takagi, only for Tama to announce after the match that January 2024 would be his final month wrestling in Japan. El Phantasmo and Hikuleo defeated Bishamon to continue Guerrilla of Destiny's big night, retaining the NJPW STRONG Openweight Tag Team Titles and winning the IWGP Tag Team Championships in the process. El Desperado, meanwhile, regained the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title with a win over Hiromu Takahashi.

The inaugural IWGP Global Heavyweight Champion was crowned too as David Finlay overcame Will Ospreay and Jon Moxley in a Three-Way. Moxley was taken out of the equation following two Hidden Blades and a Stormbreaker from Will Ospreay. Finlay looked to steal the win, however, as he caught Ospreay with Oblivion before following up with a new GTS-like finisher to the Aerial Assassin to score the victory. 

In other matches, Yuya Uemura surprisingly defeated Yota Tsuji, Ren Narita and EVIL of House of Torture had another interference-riddled match to beat Shota Umino and Kaito Kiyomiya, and Taiji Ishimori, Chase Owens, Toru Yano, and Great-O-Khan were the final four in the New Japan Rambo that featured Takashi Iizuka and Fujita Hayato as surprise entrants. The four talents will wrestle at New Year Dash on January 5 for the KOPW Title. 

Full NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 18 Results:

  • Taiji Ishimori, Chase Owens, Toru Yano, and Great-O-Khan win the New Japan Rambo 
  • Catch 22 (Francesco Akira & TJP) def. Bullet Club War Dogs (Clark Connors & Drilla Moloney) (c) - IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi def. Zack Sabre Jr. (c) - NJPW World Television Championship 
  • Yuya Uemura def. Yota Tsuji 
  • Ren Narita & EVIL def. Shota Umino & Kaito Kiyomiya
  • Tama Tonga def. Shingo Takagi (c) - NEVER Openweight Championship
  • El Phantasmo & Hikuleo (c) def. Bishamon (Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI) (c) - NJPW STRONG Openweight Tag Team Championships & IWGP Tag Team Championships
  • El Desperado def. Hiromu Takahashi (c) - IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
  • David Finlay def. Will Ospreay & Jon Moxley - Three Way for the IWGP Global Heavyweight Championship
  • Kazuchika Okada def. Bryan Danielson 
  • Tetsuya Naito def. SANADA (c) - IWGP World Heavyweight Championship 

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Aidan Gibbons

Written by Aidan Gibbons

Editor-in-Chief of Cultaholic.com Twitter: @theaidangibbons