New Japan Pro Wrestling have revealed the new logo for the upcoming Wrestle Kingdom 18 event.
The show was officially announced for the first time, with the event predictably taking place in the traditional January 4th slot.
Wrestle Kingdom 18 will take place at the Tokyo Dome, the spiritual home of NJPW’s annual show.
NJPW have hosted a show in the Tokyo Dome every year since 1992. However, the event was not named Wrestle Kingdom until 2007, where it was named after the video game of the same name.
Wrestle Kingdom 18
At NJPW Strong Independence Day 2023, on July 5th 2023, NJPW officially announced Wrestle Kingdom 18.
The event is confirmed for January 4th 2024, and will be the 18th edition of New Japan’s equivalent of WrestleMania.
The logo for Wrestle Kingdom 18 was revealed, and had fans reminiscing about events of the past.
Many likened it’s red and blue style to the Smackdown vs Raw video games, while others said it looked like a “Tokusatsu logo”.
Wrestle Kingdom 18 Match Predictions
Here are our predictions for the matches taking place at Wrestle Kingdom 18.
We will update this page when more rumors about the event come to light, or when more matches are confirmed to take place in the Tokyo Dome.
Tetsuya Naito vs SANADA (IWGP World Heavyweight Championship)
The first match of Wrestle Kingdom 18 has been announced, with Tetsuya Naito earning a match against SANADA for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship.
The main event of Wrestle Kingdom 18 is rumored to be SANADA vs Tetsuya Naito for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship, assuming Naito does not lose his G1 Climax winner’s briefcase before January 4th, 2024.
SANADA left Los Ingernobles de Jopon earlier this year, defecting to form his own faction (Just 5 Guys). LIJ are lead by Tetsuya Naito, so this match makes sense from a storytelling perspective for Wrestle Kingdom 18.
After Tetsuya Naito defeated Kazuchika Okada in the G1 Climax Final, he has now booked himself the match against SANADA, ready for revenge against the former LIJ member. This match is rumored to be Naito’s final foray into the main event, given the current state of injuries he suffers with on a daily basis.
Prediction – Tetsuya Naito pins Sanada with a Stardust Press to win the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship.
Kazuchika Okada vs Bryan Danieslon
The second match confirmed for Wrestle Kingdom 18 is Bryan Danielson vs Kazuchika Okada. This is a rematch from the pair’s match at Forbidden Door 2023, where Danielson picked up a shock victory by forcing Okada to tap out to a modified LaBelle Lock.
During the course of the match, Bryan Danielson broke his arm after a botched elbow drop from Kazuchika Okada. This kept him out for months, forcing The American Dragon to miss AEW All In at Wembley Stadium. Despite suffering even more injuries since then, Bryan Danielson challenged Kazuchika Okada at Power Struggle 2023 for a match at Wrestle Kingdom 18.
After suffering injury at the hands of Okada once again on AEW Dynamite, this clash between two of the best wrestlers of all time has become a grudge match which threatens to overshadow the main event of Wrestle Kingdom 18 – as Kenny Omega vs Will Ospreay did one year ago.
Prediction – Kazuchika Okada gets his win back from Bryan Danielson, pinning him after a Rainmaker.
Will Ospreay vs Jon Moxley vs David Finlay (IWGP United Kingdom Championship)
In a memorable main event at Power Struggle, Will Ospreay and Shota Umino engaged in a riveting battle that concluded with IWGP US and UK Champion Ospreay paying his respects to his valiant opponent. While we expected Ospreay to defned his IWGP United Kingdom Championship against either Umino or Kaito Kiyomiya, two other challengers were playing on his mind for Wrestle Kingdom 18.
Despite paying his respect to his fallen opponent, Ospreay had more to say, directing his words towards Umino’s mentor, Jon Moxley. Still harboring frustration over the handling of his championship during the pandemic and a controversial decision in their 2022 singles match in Chicago, Ospreay aimed to settle unresolved matters at Wrestle Kingdom with the former AEW Champion.
The pair faced off in the ring before David Finlay ambushed both competitors from behind, using a shillelagh to knock out both men, before laying his hands on Will Ospreay’s title belts. Seizing the opportunity, Finlay proceeded to demolish both the US and UK title belts with a sledgehammer, obliterating a symbol that had connected Moxley to NJPW since his debut and arguably dismantling the culmination of Ospreay’s life’s work.
Prediction – David Finlay pins Will Ospreay to win the match, bringing back the IWGP Intercontinental Championship as Ospreay leaves NJPW to sign for AEW.
Hiromu Takahashi vs El Desperado (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship)
Hiromu Takahashi will defend his IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship against El Desperado in one of the premier matches at Wrestle Kingdom 18. Takahashi is already one of the most iconic holders of the belt, boasting five separate reigns with the legendary title.
Takahashi vs Desperado is a match that NJPW fans will be looking forward to, given the insane quality of their previous encounters. The pair have previously wrestled seven times over the past five years, with three wins each and one draw leaving them evenly matched going into the Tokyo Dome.
El Desperado beat Takahashi for that same title just two years at Wrestle Kingdom 16, so the Time Bomb will be hoping to get his win back at the biggest event of the year.
Prediction – El Desperado wins to take home the Junior Heavyweight Championship, winning the rubber match between the two stars.
Zack Sabre Jr vs Hiroshi Tanahashi (NJPW Television Championship)
Prediction – Zack Sabre Jr retains his championship, but will lose it soon after the event to a younger talent.
Tama Tonga vs Shingo Tagaki
Tama Tonga is getting his rematch against Shingo Tagaki, aiming to win back the title he lost to him on October 28th. He answered Tagaki’s open challenge for Wrestle Kingdom 18 at NJPW Lonestar Shootout, setting up this match with very little build up or story going into it.
Prediction – Tama Tonga wins back the NEVER Openweight Championship.
Bullet Club War Dogs vs Catch 2/2 (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships)
Prediction – Bullet Club War Dogs retain.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.