|The New Beginning in Sapporo (2018)|
Promotional poster for the event, featuring various NJPW wrestlers
|Promotion||New Japan Pro Wrestling|
|Sponsor(s)||Sengoku Enbu –Kizna–|
January 27, 2018 (night one)|
January 28, 2018 (night two)
|Venue||Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center|
|City||Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan|
|The New Beginning chronology|
The New Beginning in Sapporo 2018 was a professional wrestling event promoted by New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW). The event took place on two nights on January 27 and 28, 2018, in Sapporo, Hokkaido, at the Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center. Both nights featured nine matches, two of which were contested for championships in each night. The first night was main evented by Hiroshi Tanahashi defending the IWGP Intercontinental Championship against Minoru Suzuki and the second night was main evented by Kenny Omega defending the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship against Jay White. This was the thirteenth event under the New Beginning name and the second to take place in Sapporo.
In recent years, NJPW has held the opening day of the G1 Climax tournament in Sapporo. With The New Beginning in Sapporo, the promotion revives an old tradition of holding a show during the annual Sapporo Snow Festival, resulting in the show being promoted under the subtitle ～雪の札幌2連戦～ (-Yuki no Sapporo 2 Rensen- "-2 Sapporo Snow Battles-"). On January 4, 2018, NJPW announced that the event would be hosted on two nights. The event aired worldwide on NJPW's internet streaming site, New Japan Pro Wrestling World, with English commentary provided by Kevin Kelly and Don Callis.
The New Beginning in Sapporo featured nine professional wrestling matches in two nights that involve different wrestlers from pre-existing scripted feuds and storylines. Wrestlers portray villains, heroes, or less distinguishable characters in the scripted events that build tension and culminate in a wrestling match or series of matches.
The first night was main evented by Hiroshi Tanahashi making his fifth defense of the IWGP Intercontinental Championship against Minoru Suzuki. On January 5, at NJPW's New Years Dash, Tanahashi teamed Michael Elgin, Raymond Rowe and Hanson to face Suzuki teammates Zack Sabre Jr., Lance Archer and Davey Boy Smith Jr. During the match, Suzuki kept attacking Tanahashi's injured leg. After the match, Suzuki stated Tanahashi was his next target. The previous time that the two faced each other was on October 8, 2012 at King of Pro-Wrestling and their match was considered one of the best matches of the year. Until now Tanahashi as two straight victories over Suzuki and in the past the time they fought each other was over the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, where Tanahashi won both times in which the first was the main event of Wrestle Kingdom VI and Tanahashi won both matches. The match was officially announced on January 9.
The second night was main evented by Kenny Omega making his fifth defense of the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship against Jay White. On January 5, at NJPW's New Years Dash after tensions over leadership of the Bullet Club, Kenny Omega stated that Bullet Club had to be united and then he called out Jay White and offered him to join the stable. White seemingly joined the Bullet Club only to hit Omega with the Blade Runner and saying that he would come after his belt. Then in the backstage, White stated that he would become the second IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion. The following day, White joined CHAOS in order to face off against Bullet Club. This is the second time that both wrestlers face each other. The first was on March 26, 2016 when White was a "young lion" and Omega was the IWGP Intercontinental Champion at the time, where Omega was victorious. This marks the first match between the two since White's "rebirth" as the Switchblade. The match was officially announced on January 9.
The CHAOS and Bullet Club angle resulted in The New Beginning in Sapporo also featuring other prominent matches featuring the stable. On November 5, 2017 after Sho and Yoh won the 2017 Super Jr. Tag Tournament, they were challenged by The Young Bucks, which was accepted by Rocky Romero. On January 4, 2018 at Wrestle Kingdom 12 The Young Bucks defeated Sho and Yoh to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship. Following the New Years Dash on the following day, NJPW announced a rematch between the two teams.
The matches for the IWGP United States Heavyweight and Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship resulted in a six-man tag team match between Omega and The Young Bucks known as The Elite and Roppongi 3K and Jay White. Roppongi 3K and White started on the NJPW dojo. However, Roppongi 3K had their excursion first and White followed up. Sho and Yoh returned at King of Pro-Wrestling and White returned at Power Struggle. The three men are part of the CHAOS stable and this will be the first time that they team up after their returns.
The event also included another title match that include Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa) defending the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship against Ryusuke Taguchi, Togi Makabe and Toa Henare and also Katsuya Kitamura's seven-match trial. Kitamura won the 2017 Young Lion Cup on December 21 winning all five of his matches. Afterwards, he was given a seven-match trial, with the first match losing to Jay White at New Years Dash.