Wrestle Kingdom 12 Results
THE ACE STILL HAS IT!
Wrestle Kingdom was an emotional night for everyone in the New Japan locker room, but it was more so for the two fighters in the Main Event. Long time defending champion; Kazuchika Okada looked to continue his historic championship run in front of his biggest audience yet. He entered the Tokyo Dome with one goal, and that's to show the universe what he's been proving for the previous 18 months. That The Rain Maker is the best wrestler in New Japan. The challenger; Hiroshi Tanahashi though no stranger to challenging for the World Heavyweight championship in a Wrestle Kingdom main event has said on record that this year is different. This year's Wrestle Kingdom is the most important for him. After watching Okada's incredible reign as champion for eighteen months, "The Ace" began to doubt his nickname. He believed that Okada was the new Ace of New Japan. However, Tanahashi wasn't going to just pass that torch. Okada had to earn it, and Tanahashi had to prove to himself that he can still be the best in New Japan. The challenger entered the Tokyo Dome believing this to be his last chance to taste the glory.
The highly anticipated rematch more than met the respectful fans that packed the Tokyo Dome to watch to two gladiators do battle. It was an evenly contested match, with both men not wanting to give the other an early advantage. The focused Tanahashi saw a mistake on Okada's part where he lost his step for a split second and Tanahashi immediately targeted the leg for the remainder of the match. Okada smartly suckered Tanahashi on the outside and dropped him on his head with a Tombstone on the stage. Tanahashi was able to answer the referee's 20 Count, but not without the consequences of being a bloody mess for the remainder of the contest. Tanahashi would withstand two Rain Makers and a Tombstone. The usually calm and cool, Okada grew frustrated and went for an immediate Tombstone again. Tanahashi had it scouted and dropped Okada with one. He would finally hit the High Fly Flow to end Okada's incredible championship reign in 32:55.
When asked for comment at the after show Press Conference, Kazuchika Okada was notably not himself entering the room. Okada was silent the entire conference as his mentor, Gedo was forced to answer the questions. "The better man won tonight" Gedo said with respect before adding "Even the best aren't the best every day" in concerns to the now former champion. A tearful Hiroshi Tanahashi entered the room, holding his newly won belt like a newborn child. He was greeted by the press with a round of applause. He was very grateful for the support of his fans, wanting to let them know that he loves them all.
American Dragon IN. Katsuya Shibata OUT... For Now.
The shocking championship changes wouldn't stop there as "The Wandering Warrior" Katsuyori Shibata made his fifth championship defense in his near year run as IWGP Intercontinental champion. What made this championship defense so interesting was that it was the champion that issued the challenge. He challenged "The American Dragon" Bryan Danielson to get on a plane and travel across the planet. The American Dragon would show up unannounced the following month and shook Shibata's hand accepting the challenge for the biggest event of the year at the Tokyo Dome.
The contest was incredibly hard hitting back and forth, with The American Dragon locking in every submission hold he could. Shibata would stomp, headbutt, or slap his way to freedom. Both men fought with heart and determination, but once Dragon got Shibata in the Cattle Mutilation submission hold the champion had no choice but to forfeit in 22:19. Following the contest, Shibata was the one to present Dragon with the Intercontinental championship. He told Dragon to defend it with pride and honor like he had the previous 10 months. Both men would shake hands with the standing room only fans in attendance giving the two warriors a well deserved standing ovation.
During the Press Conference, the former champion; Shibata announced that he's been suffering from chronic back pain for several months now. He was waiting for the right man with the quicker draw to finally beat him so that he could walk away for a little while. "It took a lot longer than I had anticipated" he said with a grin and chuckle. That was why he made the decision to make the challenge for his opponent at Wrestle Kingdom, revealing that he chose The American Dragon because he believed that he could get the job done. Shibata said now he can finally rest. He warns that he will be back though. An ecstatic Bryan Danielson entered the Conference Room to a standing ovation from the Press. He brought up what an honor it is to be only the second North American to hold the prestigious IWGP Intercontinental champion. He vows to carry this championship with the pride of the previous champions. And issues the challenge to a rematch for Shibata when he's healthy again.
OG Bullet Club reigns supreme!
For months there's been dissension among The Bullet Club which was enormous leading into the 2017 G1 Climax. It forced the group to unintentionally pick favorites. Guerrillas of Destiny and Bad Luck Fale sided with their Original Leader, Prince Devitt. The Young Bucks and Marty Scurll sided with Kenny Omega. The Good Brothers chose AJ Styles as their favorite to win the tournament. It was the inner arguing that cost the three members the tournament that was won by Hiroshi Tanahashi. With Bullet Club officially out of the championship picture for the foreseeable future and a path to Wrestle Kingdom unwritten tensions eventually boiled over as finger pointing began. Devitt, Fale, and GoD made a separate Bullet Club labelled "OG" for the original founders. Devitt wanted Anderson and Gallows with him, but they were adamant with staying with AJ Styles calling him a "Good Brother". Things got even more heated in the World Tag League Finals that pitted Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows against The Young Bucks. This was when Anderson & Gallows sided with the OG BC and cheated their way to victory with help from Prince Devitt. AJ Styles tried to get cooler heads to prevail but fell victim to a Magic Killer, and getting bloodied by his former friends that he called "brothers".
Going into the Tokyo Dome it was a turf war, wanting to prove which Bullet Club runs New Japan. AJ Styles, Kenny Omega, and Cody Rhodes teamed up to battle Prince Devitt and Guerrillas of Destiny in a Special Six Man Tag Team Contest. It was indeed a war with little regard for the rules as Red Shoes let the chaos go. AJ Styles would bash GoD with a steel chair until the chair was almost unidentifiable other than a chunk of metal. Devitt delivered a Double Stomp to the outside on Cody Rhodes, driving him through a table. GoD would hit a running double power bomb on AJ Styles at ringside. A bloodied and beaten Kenny Omega tried his best to fight off his former three team mates, but fell victim to a Bloody Sunday which kept Omega down for the three count in 17 minutes.
During the Press Conference; Cody Rhodes tried making to calm AJ and Kenny down. Reminding them that they still got gold at the end of the night. AJ says it's more than that, it's about revenge now. This is far from over for The Phenomenal One, saying he's not over with the OG BC until he gets his hands on Anderson and Gallows. Kenny Omega expresses his disappointment. reminding them that they used to be a family. Cody promises to make good tomorrow with a special surprise. Prince Devitt, Guerrillas of Destiny, and Bad Luck Fale would take over the Press Conference making belligerent and harsh words for the sub-Bullet Club. They proclaimed Wrestle Kingdom to be "Just Too Sweet!".
One of the more anticipated matches at Wrestle Kingdom saw Yuji Nagata come out of his five year retirement for one night only to finally shut the shit talking Tetsuya Naito up. After months of being disrespected and attacked at every turn by the LIJ, Yuji Nagata still tried to keep good on his word of retirement. He eventually went back on that word when Naito would show up in Nagata's Dojo and brutally beat his students. Fans in attendance packed the building to see the Living Legend in action one last time. Nagata looked as if he didn't miss a beat in his years away from the ring, and whatever ring rust that he had collected was dusted off back in Dojo. He had the IWGP United States Champion on edge the entire match, but was eventually caught with a Destino in 9 minutes to give Naito the Non-Title victory.
The bigger news occurred following the contest, when Naito was celebrating the lights went out and The Switchblade was finally revealed. Jay White appeared behind the unsuspecting Naito and dropped him with a Blade Runner. He even gave the legend, Yuji Nagata a Blade Runner. Switchblade left without speaking a word or expressing a single emotion. Even when asked about his actions during the Press Conference, Jay White sat unmoved in his seat in silence just soaking in the questions, anger, and insults thrown at him by the Press. Yuji Nagata said that he was proud of his performance and hopes that Naito can put this all behind them because he is done with entering the ring from this day forth. Tetsuya Naito admits that he's not as happy as he should be following such a victory against such an old man. But that Switchblade put some rain on his parade tonight. He speculates that if Jay White targeted him because he wants the United States champion, all he had to do was ask.
Respect in War.
The NEVER Openweight Championship match between champion, Minoru Suzuki and new comer Zack Sabre Jr was an incredible hard hitting encounter. Going into the Tokyo Dome, Zack Sabre Jr has turned a lot of heads in his first year in New Japan. However, Minoru Suzuki has not been impressed with his previous nine months in the company. Sabre eventually found himself in contention for a championship in his first Wrestle Kingdom event. He stretched and smacked Minoru around the canvas but the champion persevered and won after a decapitating lariat followed by a Gotch Piledriver in 11:47. Following the match, Minoru Suzuki looked impressed with Zack Sabre who ignored medical attention and walked away on his own two feet following a brutal beating. At the Press Conference, Zack Sabre Jr expressed his disappointment in loss. He was greeted by Minoru Suzuki who patted him on the back, saying "Good Fight, kiddo". Sabre looked as confused as the Press, but held his head high knowing that he earned the respect of one of the most vicious men in the locker room.
FATAL FOUR WAY FOR THE IWGP JUNIOR HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE: Pentagon Jr defeated (C) Kushida, Rey Fenix, and Will Ospreay [15:41]
NEVER OPENWEIGHT SIX MAN TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: (C) Marty Scurll & Young Bucks defeated The Undisputed Era [12:00]
IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: The Good Brothers (Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows) defeated (C) The Killer Elite Squad (David Smith Jr & Lance Archer) [7:15]
#1 CONTENDER'S GAUNTLET MATCH: Evil & SANADA defeated Tomohiro Ishii & Hirooki Goto, Michael Elgin & Juice Robinson, and El Desperado & Takahashi Iizuka [14:33]
IWGP JUNIOR HEAVYWEIGHT TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI defeated (C) Pac & Ricochet [9:49]