Check out our Wrestle Kingdom 12 live coverage.
We are just hours away from the biggest night in Japanese wrestling. Chris Jericho and Kenny Omega have created a ton of publicity for the show in the US, but Kazuchika Okada and Tetsuya Naito may still be the main event to the fans in the Tokyo Dome.
We’ll be back with live coverage starting with the pre-show. If you have the chance, check out Jericho’s interview with Don Callis at his new podcast home.
See you soon.
On the pre-show Royal Rumble, Masahito Kakihara, pinned Cheeseburger to win the match. The main show will kick-off with the Young Bucks vs. Roppongi 3K.
The Young Bucks Vs Roppongi 3K
The Bucks won the belts again for the 7th time.
The match was built around Matt Jackson and Yoh selling their backs with Nick and Sho working most of the offense. There wasn’t a ton of normal Young Bucks spots as this was more about selling and double team moves. Some of them were a little silly and too synchronous to me, but near the end, the match picked up.
Maybe the craziest spot was a near shoot senton.
YOUR BACK ASPLODE.
— TDE Wrestling (@totaldivaseps) January 4, 2018
Nick wouldn’t allow Matt to tap out. They gave Yoh the Meltzer Driver and then Nick put him in the Sharpshooter to get him to tap out because of his back.
Winner: The Young Bucks
Suzuki-gun (Taichi, Takashi Iizuka and Zack Sabre Jr.) Vs Michael Elgin and War Machine (Hanson and Raymond Rowe) Vs Chaos (Beretta, Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano) Vs Taguchi Japan (Juice Robinson, Ryusuke Taguchi and Togi Makabe) Vs Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa)
This is a five-team gauntlet match.
Sabre tapped out Ray Rowe. He had him in a rear naked choke, transitioned to a triangle, then to an arm bar as he was going to be power-bombed, and then Rowe finally tapped out as he was on the ground.
Yano pinned Taichi after a low blow when Iizuka tried to hit him with the iron glove.
Yano pinned Taguchi after all three guys were triple teaming him with clotheslines and hip attacks in the corner. Taguchi telegraphed his move and got rolled up.
Beretta missed a moonsault off the top rope, but before he hit the mat, Tama Tonga hit the Gun Stun on him. Beretta looked like he was out, but when Tonga went for it again, he turned it into a Dudebuster and won the match. We have new champs.
Winner: Chaos (Beretta, Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano)
Cody Rhodes Vs Kota Ibushi
This was really good. It might be Cody’s best work ever. He was a great heel all throughout the match, which set up perfectly for Ibushi’s comeback.
Cody did a Cross Rhodes off the apron and onto the floor which was ridiculous.
— Steven Wilson (@Rockamaniac00) January 4, 2018
Ibushi hit the powerbomb and then was setting up the knee strike. Cody hit a lariat and then a head butt into the abdomen before Ibushi finally hit it. He then hit the Phoenix Splash off the top rope for the win.
Winner: Kota Ibushi
Evil and Sanada Vs Davey Boy Smith Jr. and Lance Archer
KES hit the killerbomb on Evil to start the match. Archer did a chokeslam on Evil from the apron and onto the young lions on the floor.
Sanada ended up being in the ring and selling for most of the match. He finally made the hot tag to Evil, but Evil spent most of the time on the floor and outside of the ring, so he wasn’t the most fresh.
But the match didn’t end there. Sanada and Evil would get their comeback and then KES would stop them and beat them up again until Sanada and Evil would hit a Hail Mary and then get some offense in.
It looked like KES would finally win when the hit the Killerbomb on Sanada, but he kicked out at 2 and 3/4. Evil and Sanada hit the Magic Killer on Davey Boy and then Sanada hit a moonsault to win the match. That’s three title matches and three new champions.
Winner: Evil and Sanada
Hirooki Goto Vs Minoru Suzuki
This was vicious. For most of the match, Suzuki was beating Goto to a pulp, right until he could give him the Gotch piledriver, but he could never get it. He had a rear naked choke right at the beginning of the match and Goto was out for a couple minutes. It was almost an oversell.
Suzuki hit him with about 40 straight head and body strikes like a boxer. He busted Goto’s mouth and he was bleeding. Suzuki had the choke on the top rope and Goto hit the Ushigoroshi from the top rope.
Goto finally got the win with the GTR. Goto took brutal punishment. We’re four for four on new champs.
Winner: Hirooki Goto
Suzuki-gun tried to take Suzuki away, but he walked back to the ring, sat in his own chair, and chopped off the back of his hair and left it on the seat for Goto.
Hiromu Takahashi Vs Kushida Vs Will Ospreay Vs Marty Scurll
Scurll left the ring immediately and let the match start as a threeway. Ospreay did a moonsault from the ring lighting to the floor which was probably about the same height as him jumping from the top rope to the floor, but it was a great visual.
Scurll had a chicken wing on Ospreay and Kushida had a kimura on Takahashi. The rest of this match is a blur. So many great moves and they’re all meshed together in my brain. It looked like Hiromu was going to win as he hit the Time Bomb on Ospreay, but he kicked out. Scurll got his umbrella and started hitting everyone. There were sunset bombs to the floor on nearly everyone.
Ospreay was setting up the Oscutter all match long and finally hit it on Scurll to win the match. Yet another new champion.
Winner: Will Ospreay
Jay White Vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
That wasn’t necessarily the performance White needed on this stage, but the match was still fine. Tanahashi won with the High Fly Flow.
They teased Tanahashi’s knee injury early on and he had to work through the injury throughout the entire match. The crowd never got behind White as a viable contender and didn’t really react to much until the end.
Winner: Hiroshi Tanahashi
Tanahashi is the first champion to retain so far tonight.
Chris Jericho Vs Kenny Omega
Jericho is playing major heel. He’s roughed up Omega in the corner. Omega dumped Jericho outside and dove out toward him but he crashed and burned onto a table. Jericho put him in the Walls of Jericho, then shoved the referee and his son. He put the ref’s son in the Lion’s Tamer.
Omega put a table on Jericho. They were still outside. Then he jumped from the lighting rig and did a double foot stomp onto him. The announcer’s were taken out on Omega’s earlier dive onto the table.
Omega did a dive to the outside, but the match slowed down into more of a methodical match. Jericho put Omega in the Walls Of Jericho and since there weren’t rope breaks, Omega grabbed a can of cold spray and sprayed it in Jericho’s eyes to break the hold.
Omega was hit with a chair and busted wide open. He gave Jericho three snap-dragon suplexes. Jericho started using the chair to beat Omega. Jericho went to the top with a chair and Kenny drop-kicked the chair. Jericho almost fell off the top rope. Then Omega hit the V-trigger knee and sent Jericho backward and through the table that was perched from earlier in the match.
Omega hit another V-trigger and then went for the One-Winged Angel. Jericho reversed it into the Walls Of Jericho. Then he turned it into the Lion Tamer. Omega got out of it and hit two more knees and then the One-Winged Angel, but Jericho was near the ropes.
Finally, Omega put him away. Jericho couldn’t keep him down. He hit the One-Winged Angel on a chair to win.
Winner: Kenny Omega
Tetsuya Naito Vs Kazuchika Okada
The match started out really slow and at this point, it’s a long show. The intensity didn’t really pick up at points in which I thought it would. Okada hit a Rainmaker for a two count. He also used the Cobra Clutch twice to tire out Naito. Naito finally hit a Destino, but couldn’t capitalize since he was so beaten up.
There were some crazy nearfalls at the end. Naito hit the Destino again and Okada kicked at 2.9. Okada hit a ridiculous dropkick. Naito hit a Destino and tried to follow up immediately with a second, but it was reversed into a jumping Tombstone. Naito went for Destino again, but ate a Rainmaker clothesline again and Okada keeps his title.
Winner: Kazuchika Okada