NJPW kicked off a weekend of wrestling with the first night of Wrestling Dontaku 2024.

Today’s card featured three high-profile matches with Jeff Cobb defeating Zack Sabre Jr. to become the new NJPW World TV Champion and David Finlay knocking off Yota Tsuji in a special singles match.

In the main event, Nic Nemeth overcame one of his inspirations, Hiroshi Tanahashi, to successfully retain the IWGP Global Heavyweight Champion.

Tanahashi and Nemeth began their match with some technical combinations and exchanging holds. Nemeth got things going with a dropkick, but Tanahashi came right back at him with a dragon screw. He then hit a springboard crossbody from the second rope and dropkicked Nemeth in the knee. He went for a second kick, but Nemeth caught him with a shot to the knee instead and followed that with a leg DDT into the mat.

Nemeth was focused on hurting Tanahashi’s left knee, he continued to attack it with a variation of strikes and holds. Tanahashi eventually made it back to his feet to exchange forearms with Nemeth, but that ended with Nemeth spiking Tanahashi into the mat with a leaping DDT. Nemeth was starting to taunt and that is when The Ace hit him with a running forearm. He was regaining momentum and was drilling Nemeth with strikes before hitting a diving senton from the second rope.

Dangerzone. Credit: NJPW

Both men then had the same idea of a crossbody and that led to a mid-air collision. As they both composed themselves they exchanged shots and Nemeth hit Tanahashi with a headbutt, but Tanahashi responded with a slingblade. Tanahashi went to the top rope and dove into Nemeth with Ace’s High. It was now time for a High Fly Flow, but Nemeth rolled out of the way and Tanahashi crashed into the mat. Nemeth super-kicked Tanahashi in the jaw and then went for a Famouser, but Tanahashi reversed and connected a swinging neckbreaker.

Tanahashi now hit another slingblade and went for High Fly Flow again, but this time Nemeth got his knees up. Nemeth then hit Tanahashi with two Dangerzones to get the victory and retain his Global Championship!

Following the match, Nemeth celebrated his victory and then he and Tanahashi showed their respect for one another. While the two men were embracing they were attacked from behind by the former Global Champion, David Finlay! He beat the hell out of both Nemeth and Tanahashi, but Nemeth began to fight back and the brawl was on!

Finlay and Nemeth brawl to end the show. Credit: NJPW

Nemeth and Finlay had to be pulled apart by officials and the War Dogs. Nemeth then called Finlay a coward for attacking him from behind, he told him if he has any balls he can face him tomorrow night for the Global Championship! Tomorrow’s card just got a whole lot sweeter, Nemeth will defend his title against Finlay in the co-main event!

NJPW Wrestling Dontaku 2024 Results

Just 5 Guys (TAKA Michinoku & DOUKI) vs. House of Torture (SHO & Yujiro Takahashi)

Takahashi cheated his way to victory by hitting Michinoku with his cane and Big Juice.

Winners: House of Torture (SHO & Yujiro Takahashi)

Just 5 Guys (Yuya Uemura & Taichi) vs. United Empire (Callum Newman & Great-O-Khan)

Uemura defeated Newman with the Deadbolt Suplex.

Winners: Just 5 Guys (Yuya Uemura & Taichi)

Guerrillas of Destiny (Jado, El Phantasmo & Hikuleo) vs. TMDK (Kosei Fujita, Shane Haste & Mikey Nicholls)

It seemed as though TMDK was closing in on the victory when ELP grabbed Nicholls from behind to roll him up with a handful of tights to steal the win.

Winners: Guerrillas of Destiny (Jado, El Phantasmo & Hikuleo)

Tiger Mask & Bishamon (YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto) vs. Bullet Club (Taiji Ishimori, Chase Owens & KENTA)

Owens delivered a C-Trigger to Tiger Mask and a Package Piledriver to win.

Winners: Bullet Club (Taiji Ishimori, Chase Owens & KENTA)

Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, Hiromu Takahashi, Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito) vs. Bullet Club War Dogs (Gedo, Drilla Moloney, Clark Connors & Gabe Kidd)

LIJ eliminated Connors, Moloney and Kidd from the match, leaving Gedo in a tough situation. BUSHI locked him into the Fable and forced a submission.

Winners: Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, Hiromu Takahashi, Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito)

El Desperado, Shota Umino & Jon Moxley vs. House of Torture (Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Ren Narita & EVIL)

Kanemaru sprayed whiskey into the face of Desperado and rolled him up to steal a win for House of Torture. After the match, House of Torture attempted to attack the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, Moxley and weaken his title defence against Narita tomorrow. Luckily for Moxley, Umino made the save and Mox will be at full strength tomorrow.

Winners: House of Torture (Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Ren Narita & EVIL)

NJPW World TV Championship Match: Zack Sabre Jr. (C) vs. Jeff Cobb

NEW NJPW World TV Champion, Jeff Cobb. Credit: NJPW

It was just 21 days ago that Sabre began his second World TV title reign after knocking off Matt Riddle. 21 days is all that this reign would last, Cobb was able to reverse an arm-bar from Sabre into the Tour of the Islands to become the new champion! After 5 years, Cobb once again holds singles NJPW gold.

Winner: NEW NJPW World TV Champion, Jeff Cobb

Yota Tsuji vs. David Finlay

Overkill. Credit: NJPW

This was a very back-and-forth contest, with both men trading their best shots. In the closing moments, Tsuji hit Finlay with his top rope springboard curb stomp and reversed an Overkill into a Stunner. He then drove into Finlay with a Gene Blaster, but instead of going for the pin, he wanted a second Gene Blaster. Gedo distracted the referee at ringside and as Tsuji leaped for the second Gene Blaster he was hit in the skull by Finlay’s shillelagh. Finlay would then hit two powerbomb and an Overkill to get the victory.

Winner: David Finlay

IWGP Global Heavyweight Championship Match: Nic Nemeth (C) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi

Winner: Still IWGP Global Heavyweight Champion, Nic Nemeth