There was a blindside attack, an ominous deal struck and promises of revenge and broken bones at the Wrestle Kingdom press conference today.

The highlight was Bryan Danielson giving one of the best promos of his career as he addressed his rematch tomorrow against Kazuchika Okada.

“Stupid (David) Finlay turned the microphone off,” joked Danielson about the crowd in attendance not being able to hear what he was saying at first.

Danielson has a warning for Okada. Courtesy: NJPW.

“First of all, I just want to say how grateful I am to be here in Japan. I has been almost 20 years since my last tour of New Japan,” said Danielson claiming that more than main-eventing WrestleMania, he always wanted to be a star in New Japan.

“I don’t know if you know this but he broke my arm. He broke my arm, I wrestled for ten more minutes and then I made him tap-out,” said Danielson reviewing his match against Okada at Forbidden Door in 2023.

Danielson explained that because of the broken arm he couldn’t pick up his children. Because of the fractured orbital bone in a tag match against Okada he couldn’t drive them to school.

“Am I angry? Yes. Do I want revenge? Yes. Am I grateful that these injuries happened? Yes and here is why. I have had a lot of injuries in my career. Every single one has not only made me a better wrestler they have made me a better human. I was forced to retire in 2016. It was thought I would never wrestle again. I came back and I was better,” said Danielson.

Danielson then made a solemn and grim promise to Okada.

“He broke my arm and I came back better. He fractured my orbital bone and I just did a tournament in AEW and I came back better because what injuries do is they cause you to focus and they cause you to get better. It has been reported that I want to break Okada’s arm at Wrestle Kingdom. There are two reasons for that. One, I want revenge. Two, I want to see if breaking his arm will break him or make him better and after I break his arm I am going to kick his f—–g head in,” said a furious Danielson.

Okada responded that he has never taken a day off in his 20-year career due to injury.

“If he thinks he can break my arm I want to see him try. I will still win with the Rainmaker,” vowed Okada.

As Okada mocked Danielson’s injuries during their photo-op Danielson responded by flipping Okada off.

Hyping their main event match Naito dared the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, Sanada, to break his silence and say something, anything.

It will be Naito versus Sanada in the main event tomorrow. Courtesy: NJPW.

Sanada explained how it took him 18 years to finally live out his dream of main-eventing Wrestle Kingdom and that tomorrow’s match was a “gift” to the fans.

El Desperado cited another luchadore as he spoke about facing Hiromu Takahashi for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.

“If Andrade can go from AEW to CMLL it shows nobody knows what might happen in the next year,” he said about his hopes of carrying the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship throughout 2024.

Hiromu made a promise too.

“This is the last time I will wrestle El Desperado in a spot other than the main event,” he said.

Francesco Akira appeared alone at the press conference to confront IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions the Bullet Club WarDogs: Clark Connors and Drilla Moloney. His Catch 22 partner, TJP, was absent from the proceedings.

“I am not afraid to say it. You guys are tough motherf—-rs but I am not scared of you,” said Akira reminding everyone that 2023 ended badly for him. He was left hanging from a chain around his neck at the end of Catch 22’s recent coffin match against The WarDogs.

“TJP isn’t here because TJP is dead! We shipped him off to the morgue and we are going to do the same to you! If it is just you out there tomorrow it will be a celebration,” laughed Clark Connors.

Clark Connors shows off the new tag belts. Courtesy: NJPW.

Connors and Moloney then revealed their new IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship belts.

Alternatively, NJPW World Television Champion, Zack Sabre Jr. had nothing but positive things to say about his challenger Hiroshi Tanahashi.

“Tomorrow will mark the one-year anniversary of me winning this beautiful, slightly less conventional championship but I have spent a year of hard work making it special and I wanted a Tokyo Dome-level challenger and Tanahashi is the epitome of a Tokyo Dome-level challenger,” he said.

Hiroshi Tanahashi and Zack Sabre Jr. Courtesy: NJPW.

At the Tokyo Dome tomorrow Shingo Takagi will put the NEVER Openweight Championship on the line against Tama Tonga.

“It is no secret that Shingo is a great wrestler. The experience he has around the world with different companies and what he has done here has been incredible but make no mistake, I have done just as much,” said Tonga.

Tonga admitted that he feels like the underdog in their match.

“I am okay with that. I have been the underdog my entire life and my entire career in New Japan. I have fought to the top and here I am,” Tonga declared.

NJPW Strong Openweight Champions, the Guerrillas of Destiny (Hikuleo and El Phantasmo), expressed confidence going into their match against Bishamon (Hirooki Goto and Yoshi-Hashi), the current IWGP Tag Team Champions, in a match where all the gold is on the line.

“We are 100 per cent focused because just three weeks ago we lost in the Tag League finals. We lost to one of the greatest tag teams in New Japan history: Bishamon,” said Hikuleo stating that Bishamon reminds him of the first Guerrillas of Destiny.

Lots of gold will be on the line at Wrestle Kingdom 18. Courtesy: NJPW.

Hikuleo promised that “all good things must come to an end” and that includes Bishamon’s reign.

During the press conference, Kaito Kiyomiya and Shota Umino were attacked by their Wrestle Kingdom challengers the House of Torture’s Evil and Sho as they posed for photos. Evil and Sho choked out Kaito and Shota on stage leaving them in a heap.

Security had to intervene to break up the assault.

The House of Torture gets the jump on their Wrestle Kingdom opponents. Courtesy: NJPW.

Jon Moxley and Will Ospreay agreed to a deal going into their three-way match for the inaugural IWGP Global Heavyweight Championship match against each other and David Finlay.

Moxley was glad to be starting 2024 in Tokyo and at Wrestle Kingdom.

“I love Japan. I love these fans. The fans here in Japan changed my life a few years ago and I will be forever grateful to them,” said Moxley. “I am not worried about what this douche bag (Finlay) is saying right now. I just wanted to say thank you for letting me start 2024 right here in Japan.”

Ospreay then had his say.

“You want me to be honest. He (Finlay) don’t f—–g belong here. This is a match between me and Moxley,” he said.

Will Ospreay and Jon Moxley strike a deal. Courtesy: NJPW.

Ospreay offered Moxley a “ceasefire” for the first five minutes of the match.

“We work together to f—k this little c—t off. Get him out of here and give NJPW fans what they really want which is Ospreay versus Moxley,” said Ospreay.

Ospreay offered Moxley two non-alcoholic beers to seal the deal.

Moxley accepted Ospreay’s offer.

“I will take you up on it for three reasons. One, I like a Asahi Dry Zero. Two, I am very thirsty. It was a very long flight. Three, because you (Finlay) need to learn something. I am not even mad at you for what you did in Osaka. That took balls to step up to the plate but what you did when you disrespected the United States and UK championship, when you disrespected me and Will, Tanahashi, all the guys that came before you that gave their blood, sweat and tears to make that championship into something you put a target on your back,” he answered.

Wrestle Kingdom takes place on January 4th at the Tokyo Dome in Japan and will stream live and in replay on the New Japan World streaming service.

The Wrestle Kingdom card is:

  • Shingo Takagi (c) vs. Tama Tonga – NEVER Openweight Championship Match
  • Hiromu Takahashi (c) vs. El Desperado – IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship Match
  • Bullet Club War Dogs (Clark Connors and Drilla Moloney) (c) vs. Catch 2/2 (TJP and Francesco Akira) –  IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Match
  • Bishamon (Hirooki Goto and Yoshi-Hashi) (IWGP) vs. Guerrillas of Destiny (Hikuleo and El Phantasmo) (Strong Openweight) – Winners Takes All tag team match for the IWGP Tag Team Championships and Strong Openweight Tag Team Championships
  • Zack Sabre Jr. (c) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi – NJPW World Television Championship Match
  • Will Ospreay vs. Jon Moxley vs. David Finlay – Three-way match for the inaugural IWGP Global Heavyweight Championship
  • Bryan Danielson vs. Kazuchika Okada
  • Sanada (c) vs. Tetsuya Naito – IWGP World Heavyweight Championship Match