Wrestle Kingdom 12 in Tokyo Dome was a professional wrestling event promoted by New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW). The event took place on January 4, 2018, at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan. It was the 27th January 4 Tokyo Dome Show. The show was headlined by Kazuchika Okada defending the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against Tetsuya Naito. The second match of the show’s “double main event” saw Kenny Omega defend the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship against Chris Jericho in a no-disqualification match. Six other title matches also took place on the show. All in all, the event featured ten matches (including one on the pre-show).
Wrestle Kingdom 12: Date: January 4, 2018
Arena: Tokyo Dome – Location: Tokyo, Japan
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship:
Roppongi 3K (Sho and Yoh) (c) vs. The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson)
After starring in some of Ring Of Honor’s best matches during 2017 , Young Bucks started the new year on Japanese soil. Entertaining combat start, but somewhat choreographed, with the cool men from each team doing exactly the same blows, in a kind of dance.
In front of the always silent Japanese public, Matt and Nick Jackson seemed like fish out of water, since they usually excel in a great interaction with the fans when they act in the North American independent scene. After the Young Bucks had controlled operations during the first few minutes, Roppongi 3K managed to comeback , executing high-impact moves, such as knee and painful projections. The Bucks got back on their feet, applying some of their signature moves , but they soon got into trouble again.
The final stretch was exciting, with occasions when each team was close to victory. After an Indytaker and a Sharpshooter , Yoh ended up giving up and allowing the Young Bucks to be crowned champions for the seventh time.
Winners : The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson) (new champions)
Rating : 6.5/10
Gauntlet match for the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship:
Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa) (c)
vs. Chaos (Beretta, Tomohiro Ishii, and Toru Yano)
vs. Michael Elgin and War Machine (Hanson and Raymond Rowe)
vs. Suzuki-gun (Taichi, Takashi Iizuka and Zack Saber Jr.)
vs. Taguchi Japan (Juice Robinson, Ryusuke Taguchi and Togi Makabe)
Suzuki-gun against Michael Elgin and War Machine was the duel that opened the hostilities and was marked by great intensity. War Machine was well on their way to victory, but Suzuki-gun managed to distract the referee, benefit from outside interference and eliminate the opponents, after a submission applied by Zack Saber Jr. Chaos followed, which soon installed… chaos in the ring and in the surrounding area. In a supersonic way, they eliminated the Suzuki-gun following a low blow from Toru Yano on Taichi.
The fourth team to enter the action was Taguchi Japan. Ryusuke Taguchi, who is apparently already preparing for the World Cup, accused his overconfidence and ended up causing his team’s defeat by suffering a quick pin fall .
Finally, the champions entered the scene. Tomohiro Ishii’s mission was to take down the giant Bad Luck Fale, and after many attempts, he managed to apply an epic Vertical Suplex . This apparently feat turned out to be short-lived, as Bullet Club quickly returned to control operations. Even so, it was Chaos who achieved triumph, after a Dudebuster .
Winners : Chaos (Beretta, Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano) (new champions)
Grade : 7/10
Wrestle Kingdom 12: Cody
Rhodes vs. Kota Ibushi
After leaving WWE, Cody is showing to independent promoters in North America and Japan what the main wrestling promoter in the world wasted : an excellent wrestler and a very interesting and well interpreted character. Wrestling runs in his veins and he knows very well what he’s doing at every moment .
As the in-ring general that he is, the son of Dusty Rhodes tried to keep his opponent on the mat, making use of his cunning and some of his signatures , such as the Disaster Kick and the Cross Rhodes . He came close to winning after a Super Hurricanrana , but it didn’t make it past near fall .
Even after being massacred, Kota Ibushi reacted through impressive projections and stiff kicks . After dodging a Disaster Kick, he achieved triumph after applying a Kamigoye [ Double wrist-lock knee strike ] and a Phoenix Splash [ Corkscrew 450° Splash ].
Winner : Kota Ibushi
Rating : 7.5/10
IWGP Tag Team Championship:
Killer Elite Squad (Davey Boy Smith Jr. and Lance Archer) (c) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Evil and Sanada)
Start at full speed, with the Killer Elite Squad executing a Killer Bomb , but without being able to end the fight right there. The two giants, both ex-WWE, dominated for long minutes. Only with the addition of Evil did Los Ingobernables de Japon gain momentum. Evil took care of Davey Boy Smith Jr. and, after a few instances, managed to take down Lance Archer through a Lariat . Shortly after, it was Sanada who reentered with physical freshness, showing great agility to avoid opponent blows, even though he ended up falling into the clutches of Smith and Archer.
The Killer Elite Squad were very close to triumph after a Killer Bomb , but Sanada made sure that situation was nothing more than a near fall and gave his team the victory after a Moonsault on the son of the British Bulldog , thus winning the tag team titles.
Winners : Los Ingobernables de Japon (Evil and Sanada) (new champions)
Rating : 7.5/10
Hair vs. Hair – Deathmatch for the NEVER Openweight Championship:
Minoru Suzuki (c) vs. Hirooki Goto
Duel that started with a very stiff exchange of punches , in the good Japanese style. Suzuki managed to put Goto to sleep very early with a choke near one of the corners, but wanted to inflict even more pain on his opponent.
Always in a very tough tune with regard to punches, kicks and slaps, Goto was loosening the restraints and managed to respond, applying some impactful blows. Finally, he came to victory after a GTR [ Spinning headlock lariat into a Backbreaker ].
Winner : Hirooki Goto (new champion)
Rating : 7.5/10
Wrestle Kingdom 12: IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship:
Marty Scurll (c) vs. Hiromu Takahashi vs. Kushida vs. Will Ospreay
Champion Marty Scurll started by leaving the ring and letting the other three fight it out in a fight marked by the confrontation between four very talented, agile fighters with a desire to fly. In a big spot , Will Ospreay climbed a tower and dove down on his opponents in Moonsault form . Shortly after, Scurll and Kushida trapped Ospreay and Takahashi in submissions at the same time, which forced the champion to drop the lock to prevent Kushida from getting the win.
From then on, chaos ensued, with bodies flying around the ring, attacks appearing from all sides and a lot of uncertainty regarding the winner. Scurll came very close to retaining the title via pin fall over Ospreay, but neither a Neckbreaker nor an OsCutter gave him the win.
Later, with the champion lying outside the ring, Kushida came very close to winning through a Cross Armbreaker , but Will Ospreay resisted the temptation to give up. Desperate, Scurll used flour to blind Kushida and give him a final blow, but it was the Japanese who almost defeated him.
This was followed by the resurgence of Takahashi, who appeared with a lot of momentum in the final stretch. However, the Japanese calmed down and the danger of having a decision came back to all sides. Takahashi had Ospreay fixed and nearly pinned him, but Marty Scurll stopped the pin fall and hit Takahashi and Kushida with an umbrella. He just couldn’t hit Ospreay, who avoided the object and executed the OsCutter that won him the title.
Winner : Will Ospreay (new champion)
Grade : 9/10
Wrestle Kingdom 12: IWGP Intercontinental Championship:
Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs. Jay White
After all the aerial action of the previous match, this one was based on chain wrestling . As the minutes passed, the intensity and impact of the blows applied increased. Jay White was very close to winning after a series of elbows and a Kiwi Krusher , but he did not go beyond the near fall. He ended up beating Tanahashi, after a Cross Body on White’s back and a well-aimed Frog Splash.
Winner : Hiroshi Tanahashi
Grade : 6/10
No Disqualification Match for the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship:
Kenny Omega (c) vs. Chris Jericho
The most anticipated match of the event and Chris Jericho’s first outside the WWE umbrella in nearly two decades. An authentic grudge match that started with a violent exchange of punches. After a flight out of the ring, Chris Jericho trapped a member of Kenny Omega’s entourage in a Walls Of Jericho . From there, the first objects were introduced, in the case of chairs and tables.
Back in the ring, Y2J hit Omega’s operated knee with his usual Triangle Dropkick , leaving the champion quite complaining. Afterwards, he tried to fix the opponent through a Powerbomb on a table, but due to Omega’s resistance, the blow had to be applied over the existing mats outside the ring.
The fight continued in the ring, with high-impact projections and the use of various objects. At one point, Omega hits Y2J with a chair and then with a knee, making the Canadian fall from the top of one of the corners onto a table that was set up outside the ring.
Omega continued to dominate and was close to winning after a knee and a Double Underhook Piledriver , but Jericho did not allow the settlement to reach three and would even come back a little later through a Walls Of Jericho .
Omega didn’t give up, he returned to the charge with his powerful knees and a One-Winged Angel [Electric Chair Driver], but Y2J took a hand to the ropes during the pin fall . After blows from both sides, Jericho got the Codebreaker , but the finisher didn’t give him the victory.
Frustrated, Jericho placed a chair on top of Omega’s body and looked for the Lionsault, but the champion threw the object at him and performed a victorious One-Winged Angel on that chair.
Winner : Kenny Omega
Grade : 8.5/10
Wrestle Kingdom 12: IWGP Heavyweight Championship:
Kazuchika Okada (c) vs. Tetsuya Naito
Beginning of combat marked by sequences at a high pace and by the provocations of Tetsuya Naito, who was proving to be faster and more astute than the champion. His overconfidence cost him dearly: Okada hit him with a Dropkick that knocked him off the top of one of the corners and sent him crashing out of the ring.
After a period of some balance, Okada was in control of operations for several minutes, neutralizing the opponent with strikes , projections and submissions. Then it was Naito’s turn to fight back, risking some of his most impactful moves, like a Reverse Super Hurricanrana .
A new phase followed, marked by balance, stop and response. Okada came close to settling the matter with a vicious Lariat , but it didn’t go beyond near fall . He tried to land another blow to give him the win, but Naito countered with a Destino [ Somersault reverse DDT ].
The film was repeated in the final stage. Okada applied the Lariat and Naito the Destiny , but neither managed to triumph on those occasions. Okada advanced for a Tombstone Piledriver , but Naito countered with a Destino . However, when Naito was preparing for a second Destino, Okada performed a Tombstone again , finishing with yet another violent Lariat , followed by the victorious settlement.
Winner : Kazuchika Okada
Grade : 8.5/10