Nic Nemeth Wins Major Championship In New Japan Debut

Last month, the former Dolph Ziggler made his surprise debut in New Japan Pro-Wrestling when he appeared at Wrestle Kingdom 18. The ex-WWE star, now going by his real name of Nic Nemeth, sat ringside for the show’s IWGP Global Championship match in which David Finlay overcame both Will Ospreay and Jon Moxley to become the belt’s inaugural holder. After his victory, Finlay got into a brawl with Nemeth at ringside before Nemeth got his revenge by jumping Finlay during a post-match interview.

Tensions between the two eventually led to the announcement that Nemeth would challenge Finlay in his New Japan in-ring debut at night one of The New Beginning In Sapporo, which took place earlier today. In a surprising move, Nemeth defeated Finlay in the main event of the show and became the second-ever IWGP Global Champion in the process. Nemeth picked up the win by pinning Finlay after hitting the ‘Danger Zone’, formerly known as the ZigZag.

Nemeth wasn’t the only former WWE star to capture championship gold at the event though. In the semi-main event, Matt Riddle dethroned NJPW World TV Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi with the BroDerek in only his second match for the promotion. Their entire match has since been uploaded in full to the official NJPW World X account. Shortly after his victory, Riddle posted a photo of him standing over Tanahashi on X and celebrated his victory.

“The King of Bros is back on top and your new Television Champion,” Riddle wrote. “Thank you everyone for supporting me and showing me love.”

At the time of writing, both men are not contracted to New Japan Pro-Wrestling full-time. Since returning to the ring last month, Riddle has competed for the likes of MLW, The Crash, and MCW while Nemeth has competed in several matches for TNA on top of making one-off appearances in GCW and Puerto Rico’s World Wrestling Council.