NJPW unveiled new title belts at the Wrestle Kingdom 18 press conference.
At Power Struggle back in November, Will Ospreay successfully defended the IWGP United Kingdom Championship against Shota Umino. Ospreay had rechristened the United States Title for the UK earlier in 2023, but still held onto both belts.
Following the match, Ospreay issued a challenge to Jon Moxley, but before the AEW star could respond, David Finlay appeared and attacked both men before destroying Ospreay’s title belts.
Rather than reinstate either the UK or US title, NJPW made the decision to create the new IWGP Global Championship to symbolise the company’s ambitions of expanding to a “new level of international involvement.” It was also announced that Ospreay, Moxley, and Finlay would face off in a Triple Threat match at Wrestle Kingdom to determine the inaugural champion.
At a press conference ahead of their biggest event of the year, NJPW Chairman Naoki Sugabayashi gave fans their first look at the new title belt, which you can see below.
While the Global Title took the limelight at the press conference, another belt change was introduced as IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions Drilla Maloney and Clark Connors brought new belts to the stage. The Bullet Club War Dogs explained the change, saying that the old belts represented a faded era they didn’t “give a f**k about.”
Clark Connors and Drilla Moloney showed off all new IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Championships at the #njwk18 press conference- all the while laughing off Francesco Akira's warnings of 'The Aswang'?
— NJPW Global (@njpwglobal) January 3, 2024
Full NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 18 Card
The full card for Wrestle Kingdom 18 is as follows:
- SANADA (c) vs. Tetsuya Naito – IWGP World Heavyweight Championship
- Kazuchika Okada vs. Bryan Danielson
- Will Ospreay vs. David Finlay vs. Jon Moxley – IWGP Global Championship
- Hiromu Takahashi (c) vs. El Desperado – IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship
- Hirooki Goto & Yoshi-Hashi (c) vs. Hikuleo & El Phantasmo (c) – IWGP & STRONG Openweight Tag Team Titles
- Shingo Takagi (c) vs. Tama Tonga – NEVER Openweight Championship
- Shota Umino & Kaito Kiyomiya vs. EVIL & Ren Narita
- Yota Tsuji vs. Yuya Uemura
- Zack Sabre Jr. (c) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi – NJPW World Television Championship
- Bullet Club War Dogs (c) vs. Catch 2/2 – IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championship
- New Japan Ranbo for the right to challenge for the KOPW 2024 Championship