TOKYO BARED WITNESS TO THE FIRST MAJOR SHOW OF THE YEAR, AND NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING’S BIGGEST SHOW OF THE YEAR. IT WAS A NIGHT OF TITLE CHANGES AND THE BATTLE OF ‘ALPHA VERSUS OMEGA’ AS NEW JAPAN BROUGHT THE WORLD WRESTLEKINGDOM 12.
In the main event, Kazuchika Okada squeaked past Tetsuya Naito to retain his IWGP World Heavyweight Title. In a brutal match where both men were working over eachothers necks to set up for their respective finishers, there were Destino’s and Rainmaker’s galore. However, it took Okada to turn a Destino into a leaping tombstone piledriver, followed by a vicious Rainmaker lariat to get the win and be go into his third calendar year as champion.
Kenny Omega won an all out war with Chris Jericho to keep his IWGP United States Championship. These two had a brutal confrontation with both men going through tables, chairs broken and blood spilled. Omega survived mutliple moments in the Walls Of Jericho and a Codebreaker before he finally got the best of ‘Alpha’ by hitting a One Winged Angel onto a chair for the victory.
Hiroshi Tanahashi showed the world that he is still the ‘Ace’ of New Japan as he kept his IWGP Intercontinental Championship as he bested Jay White. With an injured knee, he managed to see off ‘Switchblade’ with a duo of High Fly Flow’s to keep his gold.
Will Ospreay regained his IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title in a wild four way Marty Scurll, Hiromu Takahashi and KUSHIDA. In a wild contest which saw sunset bombs to the outside, moonsaults off of scaffolding and ‘The Villain’ trying every trick in the book, ‘The Aerial Assassin’ bested his long time rival by hitting Scurll with an Oscutter for the championship victory.
We have a new NEVER Openweight Champion as Hirooki Goto survived a war with Minoru Suzuki. The match looked done when Suzuki had seemngly choked out Goto, but Goto got cocky and kept looking for the Gotch Piledriver but it was not to be. An avalanche Ushigoroshi, an inverted GTR followed by a GTR lead to the win for Goto and Suzuki shaving himself bald.
The L.I.J duo of SANADA and EVIL won the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Titles, beating the Killer Elite Squad (Lance Archer and Davey Boy Smith. Jr). In a match largely dominated by the champs, with Archer hitting EVIL with a chokeslam onto the young boys outside, L.I.J rallied and kicked out of the Killer Bomb, before hitting Everything Is Evil, the Magic Killer and a SANADA moonsault for the win. This also means the tag titles have changed hands five straight years in a row at the Tokyo Dome.
CHAOS captured the NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Titles, beating The Bullet Club (Guerrilas of Destiny and Bad Luck Fale), War Machine and Michael Elgin, Taguchi Japan (Ryusuke Taguchi, Juice Robinson and Togi Makabe and the Suzuki-Gun trio of Takashi Iizuka, Taichi and Zack Sabre Jr.
The Suzuki-Gun team first eliminated War Machine and Michael Elgin when Zack Sabre Jr choked out Raymond Rowe whilst Iizuka took out his partners with his steel glove. CHAOS then took out Suzuki Gun when Toru Yano hit his finisher, the low blow and roll up, to Taichi. CHAOS then eliminated Taguchi Japan when Yano once again used a roll up, this time to catch Taguchi who was looking to hit a Kinshasa, in tribute to former CHAOS leader Shinsuke Nakamura. The deciding fall saw Baretta catch Tama Tonga out of nowhere with his ‘Dudebuster’ piledriver to get the three count and the titles.
The Young Bucks won their seventh IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Titles, giving Roppongi 3k their first loss as a team in New Japan Pro Wrestling. It was a story of backs, as The Bucks worked over Yoh’s back throughout, however the tide turned when Matt Jackson took a nasty spill to the outside leaving him with a back injury. However, Matt gritted it out to hit Yoh with a Meltzer Driver and force him to submit with the sharpshooter.
In our other non-title match on the card, Kota Ibushi bested Cody in a phenomenal match where Ibushi dropped the former ROH World Champion with a knee, then punctuating the victory with a pheonix splash for the victory.
Finally, on the pre-show it was an emotional scene as Masahito Kakihara returned from beating cancer to win the New Japan Rumble, lastly eliminating Ring Of Honor cult hero Cheeseburger. He then dedicated his win to Yoshihiro Takayama, and asked everyone to continue their support and fundraising for the paralyzed wrestler.
GIFS Courtesy of @totaldivaseps