|Wrestling Dontaku 2018|
Promotional poster for the event, featuring caricatures of several NJPW wrestlers
|Promotion||New Japan Pro Wrestling|
May 3, 2018|
May 4, 2018
|Venue||Fukuoka Kokusai Center|
|Wrestling Dontaku chronology|
Wrestling Dontaku 2018 was a professional wrestling event promoted by New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW). The event took place on two nights May 3 and 4, 2018, in Fukuoka, Fukuoka at Fukuoka Kokusai Center. Both nights featured nine matches, one of which were contested for championships in the first night and the second two of were contested for championships. The first night was headlined by Kenny Omega defeating Hangman Page and the second night was headlined by Kazuchika Okada after defending the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against Hiroshi Tanahashi. This was the fifteenth event under the Wrestling Dontaku name.
Both nights of Wrestling Dontaku 2018 featured nine professional wrestling matches 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 of Wrestling Dontaku 2018 was headlined by Kenny Omega facing Hangman Page. On January 28 at The New Beginning in Sapporo Kenny Omega lost the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship to Jay White. After the match, Omega's Bullet Club stablemate Hangman Page assert himself as the next challenger, after taking White's belt away from him. Omega took the belt from Page and gave it back to the White, leading to an argument between Omega and Page. This led Cody, The Young Bucks and Marty Scurll coming to the ring to calm things, but this ended up in an argument between Omega and Cody. This led Omega acidently shoving Matt Jackson, which led The Young Bucks walking out of the ring. Apparently, when things calmed down, Cody turned on Omega and when Page went to assist Cody to further attack Omega, Kota Ibushi returned to the ring to save his former tag team partner. Omega and Ibushi then embraced in the ring, reuniting the Golden☆Lovers and leaving the status of Bullet Club in question. After this, at Strong Style Evolved, Page unsuccessfully challenged White for the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship. At the main event, the Golden☆Lovers defeated The Young Bucks. On April 1, at Sakura Genesis, the Golden☆Lovers faced Cody and Page in a losing effort. Afterwards, the match between the two was made official the following day.
The second night of Wrestling Dontaku 2018 was headlined by Kazuchika Okada making his twelveth defense of the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against Hiroshi Tanahashi. On April 1, at Sakura Genesis, after Kazuchika Okada successfully defended the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against Zack Sabre Jr., Okada was challenged by his longtime rival Hiroshi Tanahashi, who Okada tied the record for most successful defenses, with eleven. The title match was announced the following day. If Okada defeats Tanahashi, he will break the record for most successful defenses, with twelve. Since Okada defeated Tanahashi at main event of the Wrestle Kingdom 10, he has been defending the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, but only lost the title to Tetsuya Naito at Invasion Attack, before regained it at Dominion 6.19 in Osaka-jo Hall, while also main eventing Wrestle Kingdom. During this time, Okada became the longest reigning IWGP Heavyweight Champion, surpassing Shinya Hashimoto reign of 489 days and his four combined reigns hold the record of most days as champion, surpassing Tanahashi record of most days as champion. After losing to Okada, Tanahashi has been persuing the IWGP Intercontinental Championship, after failing to defeat Kenny Omega for the vacant title at The New Beginning in Niigata and then failling to winning it from Tetsuya Naito at Wrestle Kingdom 11 in the semi main event, before defeating him at Dominion 6.11 in Osaka-jo Hall to win the title. Tanahashi then focused on defending the title, until he lost it to Minoru Suzuki at The New Beginning in Sapporo. Tanahashi then entered in the New Japan Cup in a chance to get a championship opportunity, however he would lose at the finals to Zack Sabre Jr., before challenging Okada at Sakura Genesis who tied his record of most successful defenses, with eleven. This marks the eighth IWGP Heavyweight Championship match between Okada and Tanahashi with Okada having won four of the previous matches.
On January 4, 2018 at Wrestle Kingdom 12, Kota Ibushi defeated Cody. The following night, at New Years Dash, a Bullet Club group led by Cody won a tag team match over a group including Omega's former tag team partner Kota Ibushi, who had defeated Cody at Wrestle Kingdom 12. Cody had teased Ibushi about his history with Omega during the Wrestle Kingdom match and went to attack Ibushi, but was stopped by an enraged Omega. On January 28, The New Beginning in Sapporo, Cody turned on Omega and when Hangman Page went to assist Cody to further attack Omega, Ibushi returned to the ring to save his former tag team partner. Omega and Ibushi then embraced in the ring, reuniting the Golden☆Lovers and leaving the status of Bullet Club in question. Then at Honor Rising: Japan on the Golden☆Lovers made their tag team return defeating Cody and Marty Scurll. The Golden☆Lovers faced Cody and Page in a losing effort on April 1 at Sakura Genesis, Afterwards, the match between the two was made official the following day.
On April 1, at Sakura Genesis, Will Ospreay defeated Marty Scurll to retain the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. After the match, Ospreay challenged KUSHIDA to a match or his title, which KUSHIDA (who was on commentary) accepted. Ospreay wanted to prove that the victory over KUSHIDA "wasn't a fluke", "[he] also wanted to prove that [he] is the best junior heavyweight in the world". Ospreay's previous losses against KUSHIDA included the finals of the 2017 Best of the Super Juniors and What Culture Pro Wrestling's 2017 Pro Wrestling World Cup tournaments, as well as two IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship matches, which took place on April 10, 2016, at Invasion Attack 2016 and June 19, 2016, at Dominion 6.19 in Osaka-jo Hall. Ospreay was finally able to defeat KUSHIDA on October 9, 2017 at King of Pro-Wrestling. Ospreay quickly lost the title to Marty Scurll on November 5 at Power Struggle. Ospreay and KUSHIDA would then take part of a four-way match for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship, which Ospreay ended up winning it, becoming a two-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion.
The event also featured another title match include Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa) defending the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship against their Bullet Club stablemates The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson) and Marty Scurll. The event also featured the Suzuki-gun and Los Ingobernables de Japon angle resulted in Wrestling Dontaku 2018 also featuring other prominent matches featuring the stable.