NJPW and AXS reach the end of the road and arrive at Wrestling Dontaku! The Bullet Club civil war continues as The Cleaner, Kenny Omega, takes on the Problem Solver, Hangman Adam Page. And the Golden Star, Kota Ibushi, looks for payback against The American Nightmare, Cody, in their own grudge match!
This review of Wrestling Dontaku 2018 will be as broadcast by AXS TV.
Therefore, all images are courtesy of AXS TV.
- Cody VS Kota Ibushi; Cody wins.
- Kenny Omega VS Hangman Page; Omega wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
NJPW and AXS review what led to tonight’s matches.
The American Nightmare fired the first shot when he went after the Golden Star so aggressively. The Cleaner stood up for his old friend, but that only made Cody go after him. Kenny and Kota reunited as the Golden Lovers, and won against the team of Cody and Marty Scurll, and even the Young Bucks. However, Cody would regroup with Adam Page, and together, they gave the Golden Lovers their first loss since returning. Then over in NJPW’s partner promotion, Ring of Honor, Cody and Kenny went 1v1, and Cody won! Of course, it was partially thanks to a mistake by the Young Bucks, but Cody accepted it either way. However, Kota Ibushi beat Hangman Page in their own 1v1, so things are still even.
Tonight, opponents trade off to see which leader can best the other’s partner. Will Cody make Dontaku a nightmare for Kota? Will Hangman take his moment back from Omega? Or will the Golden Lovers be the ones to sweep the night?
Cody VS Kota Ibushi!
The American Nightmare kisses his literal ring of honor for good luck, but he’ll need more than luck to win this rematch from Wrestle Kingdom 12. Can Cody even his 1v1 series with the Golden Star?
The bell rings, and the fans cheer for “Ibushi! Ibushi!” Cody and Ibushi circle, but then Cody flexes atop a corner. He returns to circling with Ibushi, and the two tie up. Ibushi puts Cody against ropes but Cody turns it around. Cody pushes Ibushi harder, but rolls away to honor the break. Ibushi and Cody circle again, and Ibushi avoids a leg takedown. They circle again, and now Cody avoids a takedown. Ibushi and Cody tie up, Cody gets the leg! He shifts to a headlock, then an arm wrench, then pulls Ibushi down by his hair. Ibushi kips up, so Cody lets him go. Cody kicks the barrier in frustration, then chucks a chair into the ring! Red Shoes and Ibushi avoid getting hit, but Cody keeps pacing.
Ibushi puts the chair out of the ring, but Red Shoes spots Cody before he can sneak attack. Red Shoes reprimands Cody about the chair, then allows action to continue. Cody and Ibushi circle, feeling it out. Ibushi kicks and gets Cody in the thigh. They keep circling, and Cody catches the next kick. Cody puts on a waistlock and they go to ropes. Cody lets Ibushi go with a push, but Ibushi keeps his cool. They circle again, tie up, and Cody gets the headlock. Ibushi powers out, but Cody slides under to arm-drag. Ibushi arm-drags in return, and now they shove each other back and forth. They tie up again, Ibushi gets the headlock now. Cody fights out, but Ibushi runs him over. Fans cheer for Ibushi as he runs.
Things speed up as Cody follows, but Cody runs into the roundhouse! Cody is stinging while Ibushi catches his breath. Ibushi goes over to Cody, and snap suplexes to the cover, ONE. Ibushi keeps focus as he brings Cody up again. Cody reverses to a suplex and toss! Ibushi writhes while Cody catches his breath. Cody goes over to Ibushi and drags him up for body shots. Cody whips Ibushi corner to corner but Ibushi reverses. Ibushi runs in but Cody goes up and over. Cody’s head bothers him so he rolls out of the ring. Cody signals he needs a minute, but then he rushes in and kicks Ibushi! He was faking to get Ibushi off guard. But Ibushi blocks Cody’s next kick, to spin him around for a roll up, ONE. Ibushi comse back for a backslide, ONE.
Cody gets a waistlock but Ibushi backs him down, and Cody clutches his neck after hitting buckles. Is Cody faking again? Cody goes out, then he whispers something to Red Shoes. Red Shoes has Cody come up to the apron, and Ibushi walks over, but Cody hotshots Ibushi! Yes, it was another fake out, and Cody takes advantage with an apron gordbuster!
Ibushi bounces up and slumps to the floor while Cody goes back into the ring. Cody waits for Ibushi to stand, rallying the crowd with a stomp. Cody runs, climbs and JUMPS down onto Ibushi! Ibushi does down again, but Cody drags him back up to throw him into barriers. Cody clubs and rakes Ibushi’s back, then drags him up to bring him around. Cody gives Ibushi a headlock punch, then brings him around for a haymaker in front of the commentary team. He takes a big sip of water, to then spit it in Ibushi’s face! Fans boo and jeer but Cody embraces the heat. Cody puts Ibushi back in the ring, covers, TWO. Cody stomps away on Ibushi, then does some push-ups to show off. The American Nightmare has control while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns as Ibushi fights back from the floor. Cody kicks him back, then shoves him to robes for forearms to the back. Cody hangs Ibushi up on the top rope for the draping low kick! Cover, TWO, but Cody keeps his cool. Ibushi gets to ropes but Cody brings him up. Cody throws a forearm, but Ibushi starts to fire up. Cody gives him another, but Ibushi gives one back, so Cody rocks him with a roundhouse! Ibushi slumps down, and Cody goes out to bring Ibushi across the apron. Cody clubs away, then climbs back in the ring. Cody taunts with flexing, shrugging off the boos. He goes over to Ibushi, to bite Ibushi’s fingers! Red Shoes reprimands Cody but Cody just stalks Ibushi to ropes. Ibushi fires back with forearms, then runs in at the corner, but into Cody’s boots.
Cody shoves Ibushi down, then puts on the Figure Four leglock! Ibushi endures, and tries to pry his way out, but Cody has it on tight. Cody puts more pressure, and keeps Ibushi from rolling it over. Ibushi works against the hold again, and gets the ropebreak. Cody lets Ibushi go, but Cody keeps on Ibushi in a corner with a shoulder breaker. Cody whips Ibushi corner to corner, then fires himself up. Fans rally, and Cody whips Ibushi corner to corner again. Cody runs in, hits the forearm smash, but then runs into a dropkick! Fans rally again and Ibushi feeds off the energy. Ibushi and Cody stand up, and Ibushi unleashes his strike fest on Cody, knocking Cody down with a roundhouse. Ibushi kicks Cody again, then whips him corner to corner. Cody reverses, but now Ibushi goes up and over, to huricanrana Cody down and out!
Fans fire up and Ibushi soaks it in. Ibushi builds speed, climbs up, and leaps for the Golden Triangle moonsault!
Down goes Cody, but Ibushi springs right back up. Ibushi catches his breath before putting Cody back in the ring. Ibushi takes aim again, springboards but Cody gets under. Cody springboards for the Beautiful Disaster Kick! Cover, TWO! Both men are down, but Cody sits up first. Cody and Ibushi crawl over to each other, and Cody throws a forearm. Ibushi feeds off it, and eggs Cody on. Cody hits Ibushi again, but Ibushi still feeds off it as they both stand. Cody throws another, but Ibushi hits back. They go back and forth with forearms, then kicks, then palm strikes. They slap and slap fast and furious, but Cody kicks to then hit the dropping uppercut. Ibushi comes right back with a clobbering clothesline!
Fans fire up while both men are down from exhaustion. Cody and Ibushi stir, then slowly stand. Ibushi whips Cody but Cody reverses, and Ibushi has to stop himself before colliding with Red Shoes! Cody runs in, and as Ibushi evades, Cody corner splashes Red Shoes! Red Shoes goes down, but now Cody goes after Ibushi. There’s no authority to tell Cody no, so Cody drags out a table! Cody puts the table in the ring, then sets it up in a corner. Cody drags Ibushi up and over in a fireman’s carry. He puts Ibushi on the top rope, then climbs up to join him. Cody prepares the superplex, but Ibushi resists. Ibushi hits back, then adjusts, but now Cody resists. Cody fights back, but Ibushi rocks Cody with a punch. Cody falls back onto the table, Ibushi adds double stomps!
The table doesn’t give way, so Ibushi decides to go one more time. Ibushi climbs up as fans fire up for him. He jumps again, and THAT breaks the table! Cody is stuck in the wood and pries himself out. Ibushi gets rid of the wrecked table and brings up the scratched and bloody Cody for a Golden Star sit-out powerbomb!
Red Shoes returns and counts, TWO! Ibushi doesn’t stop, as he brings Cody back up with the double wristlock. Cody avoids Kamigoye, but Ibushi reels him back into a waistlock. Cody slips down and under, to pop Ibushi to a cover, TWO! Ibushi roundhouses Cody! Cody drops to his knees, while Ibushi exposes his own. Ibushi stands, grabs Cody’s hands again, but Cody again avoids the Kamigoye! Cody crawls away, and out of the ring. He climbs over the railing, trying to retreat. But Ibushi springboards out at him!
They make contact, but Cody manages to deflect Ibushi enough to send him into the second railings. The 20 count begins and passes 5 as Ibushi gets up and pushes Cody back to ringside. They reenter at 9, but Cody grabs Ibushi on reentry for the CROSS RHODES!
Cover, TWO?! Fans are thunderous but Cody can’t believe it. Cody is furious while fans rally for Ibushi. Cody drags Ibushi up, and lifts Ibushi up, for Dinn’s Fire!
Cover, Cody wins!
Winner: Cody, by pinfall
The American Nightmare ties the series! Cody toughs it out, and finds the openings he needed. The supposed new leader of Bullet Club conquers one Golden Lover, but what about the other?
Kenny Omega VS Hangman Page!
The Problem Solver chose Cody’s side when he felt The Cleaner wouldn’t give him his moment in the spotlight. With Cody and Hangman having beat The Golden Lovers in a tag team match, and now Cody having beat Ibushi 1v1, can Hangman help complete the sweep? Or can Omega remind everyone why he is the REAL leader of the Bullet Club?
But before the match begins, Cody jumps Kenny!
Cody and Hangman stomp away on Omega, keeping the match from beginning. Hangman brings Omega up while Cody fetches a new table. Omega fights Hangman off, then dropkicks the table into Cody’s face! Omega then aims to slingshot, but Hangman waistlocks and pulls him away. The bell rings and this match is actually underway.
Omega standing switches, but Hangman elbows out. Hangman runs, but into Omega’s huricanrana. Omega finally takes off the robe, to then slingshot onto Hangman!
Omega gets back in the ring, and kneels for the Terminator pose. The drums start up, and Omega rises. He runs, builds speed, and FLIES onto Cody and some young lions!
The Cleaner wipes them all out, but fires up with the fans again. Omega gets back in the ring but Hangman gets him with a German Suplex. Hangman climbs up while Omega rolls out, and jumps for a SUPER Moonsault!
Hangman takes out Omega, then springs back up. He puts Omega into barriers, then into more barrierss. Cody and Hangman toss in chairs and tables, and Hangman picks Omega up. Hangman stands over the unfolded table, to drop Omega with a Rite of Passage!
The table cracks from the impact, but Hangman keeps on Omega by putting him in the ring. Hangman grabs the chair now, and aims at a bleeding Omega. Red Shoes stops Hangman frmo swinging, so Hangman shoves Red Shoes down! Omega kicks low, then sees the blood dripping down. That only serves to fire Omega up, and he grabs Hangman for a DDT. Hangman reverses out, kicks low, and he gives Omega the chair DDT! Omega bleeds more, but Hangman stalks him to ropes. Hangman pushes Omega all the way out, then follows him out to chop and punch Omega against the barriers. Omega staggers around but Hangman follows. Hangman throws more hands into the bleeding wound. Red Shoes comes over to check on Omega, but Hangman grabs Omega for a suplex. Omega resists, then snap suplexes Hangman!
Hangman and Omega are both slow to stand up, but Omega has Hangman first, for a back suplex to the apron! Hangman is sore now, and Red Shoes still wants to check Omega’s wound. Omega keeps going, bringing Hangman up in a fireman’s carry. Omega hits “You Cannot Escape!” Rolling Senton! The roll seems to make Omega dizzy, but he gives a thumbs up that he’s okay. Omega goes to the railing, and uses those to springboard back! Hangman rolls and Omega lands on his feet, though he still staggers and rolls back. Omega gets up and runs back over, and blocks Hangman’s boot to clothesline Hangman over the railing! Omega walks around but Hangman comes back with a Buck Shot lariat!
Hangman hurries to put Omega in the ring. He brings Omega up, Powerbomb! High stack cover, TWO! Omega is bleeding and Hangman is in control while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns again, and Hangman puts Omega in a corner. Hangman stomps a mudhole into Omega, then goes after that open wound! Red Shoes counts and Hangman backs off at 4. Omega drags himself up, and throws a forearm. Hangman hits back, and they go back and forth. Hangman drops Omega with an elbow, then swings him for a rope guillotine! Cover, TWO, but barely. Fans applaud Omega’s toughness, but Hangman grows annoyed. Hangman adjusts his knee pad and makes sure his leg is okay. Omega stands again and throws hands on Hangman. Hangman hits back, making sure to hit the head wound. Hangman brings Omega around but Omega resists the suplex. Omega tries to suplex Hangman but Hangman resists. Hangman suplexes Omega but Omega slips out, and he throws another haymaker. Hangman hits back again, but Omega comes back to give a punch back.
They go back and forth, Hangman again making sure to hit the head wound. Omega chops Hangman, and fans applaud. Hangman swings but Omega ducks, Omega enziguris but Hangman ducks. Hangman pumphandle deadlifts Omega, for the Fall Away bridge! TWO, and Hangman is surprised. Omega gets himself up and to a corner, but slumps back down against the second rope. Hangman checks his knees, then walks over. He goes after the wound again, but Red Shoes counts. Hangman stops with the wound, but gives Omega a swift chop. Omega walks to another corner, and chops Hangman back. Hangman kicks and whips Omega hard corner to corner. Omega bounces off buckles and falls to the mat. Hangman walks over, and stands Omega up.
Hangman denounces Omega as leader before whipping him even harder. Omega dodges and Hangman hits buckles, and fans rally. Omega stands up, fires up, and runs in at Hangman. He rallies on Hangman, but Hangman boots the discus away to whip Omega to ropes. Omega dodges, and runs for the DDT! Cover, TWO, but Omega doesn’t give up yet. Fans rally again as he brings Hangman up. Fireman’s carry, “You Cannot Escape”, and he hits the rolling senton again. Omega keeps moving and moonsaults! He hits, cover, TWO! Omega drags Hangman up, cross-leg fisherman into the Ushigoroshi! Fans fire up with Omega again, and Omega takes aim. BANG, and run, but Hangman dodges the Trigger! Omega drop toeholds Hangman though, and with Hangman on the ropes, he hits a point-blank V-Trigger!
Omega runs again, but Hangman retaliates with a roaring elbow! Hangman scoops Omega, for a cradling Tombstone piledriver! Cover, TWO!! Omega survives, but Hangman is too tired to be shocked. Hangman sits up first, then drags Omega up. Hangman chops Omega into a corner, then hoists him up to the top rope. He climbs up but Omega fights back. They brawl on the top rope, but Hangman gets the edge. Hangman adjusts, for a SUPER swinging neckbreaker
Cover, ROPEBREAK! Hangman is in disbelief while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns one more time as Omega clutches his neck. Hangman stands up, then drags Omega up in position. Omega flails and grabs the ropes again, so Hangman lets him go. Hangman clubs away on Omega, with another elbow to the wound. Hangman throws Omega with a German Suplex, but Omega lands on his feet! Omega V-Trigger outta nowhere! Omega grabs Hangman for the full nelson, but Hangman breaks out to PELE Omega! Hangman runs, but Omega follows for another V-Trigger! Omega fires up, brings Hangman up, but Hangman spins out of the One Winged Angel to lift Omega for the Rite. Omega flails, and powerbomb lifts but Hangman slips out. Hangman swings but Omega gets under and around, for the Snap Dragon Suplex!
Hangman goes to the apron, but Omega walks over. Omega brings Hangman through the ropes, BANG, but Hangman slingshots, only for Omega to still hit the V-Trigger! Cover, TWO?! Somehow Hangman survives, but Omega doesn’t fret. Omega drags Hangman up and into double underhook. He lifts, but Hangman resists, so Omega backslides to another V-Trigger. Omega underhooks, for the butterfly driver! Cover, TWO! Omega is surprised but he won’t slow down. He and the fans fire up, he takes aim again, for yet another V-Trigger!
Then the lift, the tuck, and the One Winged Angel!
Cover, Omega wins!
Winner: Omega, by pinfall
The Cleaner finally finishes the Problem Solver, but it took a lot out of Omega, too. Omega keeps the Golden Lovers even with the Bullet Club, though it is still unclear if Omega is in or out. What will it take to settle things so that Bullet Club truly is fine?
Omega speaks in the ring.
“It’s been a long time, hasn’t it?” Omega wanted to speak in just Japanese, but he’s a little too tired for that. So if the fans don’t mind, he’ll go into English for a bit. Next time, if there is a next time, he will definitely speak in 100% Japanese, so look forward to that. But today, wow, Omega’s first time in a main event in front of this crowd. He thanks them for coming. Omega will be back in Night 2, just not the main event, so look forward to that, too. Thanks again for coming, and now, as always, his catchphrase. “Good bye, mwah, and good night. BANG!” Even after such a hard fought main event, the Cleaner is still himself. Will he be successful again in Night 2? Will he use these wins to climb his way back towards a title?
NJPW does great again with only two matches, because those two matches were great. The entire night was about Bullet Club and the “Bullet Club is (Not) Fine” story, and it’s still great. Cody VS Ibushi had lots of story, especially with Cody faking/exaggerating a bad neck to trick Ibushi. Cody wins with a surprise finisher and then another finisher, so it’s not like Ibushi looks weak at the end. This way, Cody stays pace with Omega, who also wins tonight. Omega VS Hangman truly is Hangman’s best match, both for Omega being his opponent and Hangman having improved so much on his own. Hangman is worthy of being a mid-card champion, and will one day be worthy of a world title. Omega is of course still worthy of a world title, but with Okada as the champion, it’s still not clear he’ll get it at Dominion.
My Score: 8.8/10