The first big wrestling pay-per-view of 2018 is officially in the books, and as usual, New Japan Pro Wrestling set an impossibly high bar for the rest of the year.
Wrestle Kingdom 12 was a success. While not without imperfections, and unquestionably a shade or two below last year’s all-time great show, the card over-delivered. Even the New Japan Rambo, so often the most skippable part of any Wrestle Kingdom, provided a couple of notable moments, but that’s only the beginning.
NJPW ace Kazuchika Okada defended his IWGP Heavyweight Championship against the world’s hottest wrestler, Tetsuya Naito, in the night’s main event. Below them was an all-out war between Kenny Omega and Chris Jericho, the biggest match of young Jay White's career, a NEVER Openweight slugfest, and a host of other highlights.
A long, gruelling marathon of a show, WK12 took a while to get going. The undercard had plenty of great moments, but as is tradition, NJPW saved the best for last, with most of the night’s biggest bouts delivering on completely different levels.
Which matches had Wrestle Kingdom 12 surging towards the excellence synonymous with the brand, and which ones tried to dull its shine? Let’s have a look.