Bryan Danielson had a dream come true on Jan. 4, 2024, wrestling in one of the main events of Wrestle Kingdom 18 at the Tokyo Dome. He was doing it against a man who injured him in their last two matches together, a man whose arm he vowed to break in this one — Kazuchika Okada.
The American Dragon did his best, smashing Okada’s arm into the guardrail and stretched the arm in a variety of submissions. But New Japan’s current Ace fought back, targeting the orbital bone he (kayfabe) broke on AEW Dynamite in October.
Surviving the elbow drop that broke his forearm in their first singles encounter at Forbidden Door last summer, Danielson used a kick to the head to lock on the modified LeBell Lock that Okada tapped to in Chicago. But fighting spirit wouldn’t allow him to tap out on his home turf, and he got a foot on the ropes to break the hold.
Surprising Danielson by nailing him with a Rainmaker using his injured arm wasn’t enough to get a pin. But after surviving a Daisuke Knee and evading another, Okada launched a final flurry that culminated in another Rainmaker to escape with a win and tie the series at one win a piece.
In the aftermath, Danielson met Okada on the mat where they both bowed. After a handshake and raising his rival’s arm, the Dragon left.
And we echo Rocky Romero’s sentiment from commentary, “when’s the rubber match?”
While we hope the answer to that is “soon”, you can get complete results from Wrestle Kingdom 18 here.