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NEW JAPAN WRESTLE KINGDOM 15 REPORT
JANUARY 4, 2021
TOKYO, JAPAN AT THE TOKYO DOME
AIRED LIVE ON NEW JAPAN WORLD STREAMING & FITE TV
(1) SUPER J CUP WINNER ELP vs. BOSJ WINNER HIROMU TAKAHASHI – winner advances to IWGP Jr. Hvt. Title match on night 2
ELP kicked his Super J Cup jacket all the way down the entrance ramp. He wore a jacket that lit up with spikes. Takahashi came out next with his BOSJ Trophy. Fireworks shot out as he made his way down to the ring. ELP was looking for Liger to taunt him with the Super J Cup jacket, but Takahashi wiped him out with a dropkick from the apron to the floor. Takahashi then hit a big senton splash and mocked ELP’s pose. Takahashi went for a sunset bomb off the apron to the floor, but ELP landed on his feet. ELP then hit a sunset bomb off the apron to the floor. That looked brutal and we have an early candidate for the most unnecessary spot of 2021. ELP walked the ropes and hit a huge moonsault to the floor. He got crazy height on that maneuver.
ELP set up for Kenny Omega’s Terminator dive, but stopped and hit his pose instead. Takahashi recovered and slid inside the ring and nailed him with a shotgun dropkick. ELP fired back and worked over Takahashi’s ankle. ELP also went after Takahashi’s hand. ELP was walking the ropes and Takahashi bit his fingers and nailed him up top with a superkick. He then hit a cradle wheelbarrow driver off the top for a nearfall. ELP fired back and bit Takahashi’s fingers. He went for the Styles Clash, but Takahashi countered it into a Dynamite Plunger for a nearfall. ELP had Takahashi up on his shoulders. Takahashi tried to counter it, but ELP sat down and hit a modified inverted piledriver.
Takahashi crawled up top with ELP on his shoulders a short time later, but ELP slid out of it and nailed him with a kick.
They battled up top and Takahashi pushed ELP off. He seemed to purposefully run into the ref. ELP punched Takahashi in the groin twice and hit a super hurricanrana. He then hit a huge splash off the top. The ref recovered, but it was only good for a two count. ELP connected with a Styles Clash a short time later for a two count. ELP set up for CR2, but Takahashi turned it into a pinning combination for the win.
WINNER: Hiromu Takahashi at 17:46 to advance to face IWGP Jr. Hvt. Champion Taiji Ishimori on night 2. (****)
(Radican’s Analysis: I wasn’t a fan of the fingers in the mouth spots. Takahashi also took a really dangerous bump on the sunset bomb. Otherwise, this was a great match with ELP taking shortcuts to keep the upper hand while going after Takahashi’s hand and ankle, but Takahashi pulled a rabbit out of his hat to win.)
(2) IWGP HVT. TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS DANGEROUS TEKKERS (ZACK SABRE JR. & TAICHI W/DOUKI) vs. WORLD TAG LEAGUE WINNERS G.O.D. (TAMA TONGA & TANGA LOA W/JEDO).
The announcers mentioned GOD have never won at The Tokyo Dome. They made their entrance in silver and white gear. Douki went after Jado and everyone went at it. Tekkers were in control, but Jado tripped Taichi from the floor. Douki ended up wiping him out with a kendo stick shot. GOD worked over Taichi for a long period of time. Sabre got the hot tag and ran wild.
Sabre got cut off and GOD went on a roll. They isolated Sabre and worked him over with Taichi out of the picture. GOD set up for the Super Powerbomb, but Sabre grabbed a front chancery on Loa. Taichi got a submission on Tonga at the same time. Sabre yelled at Taichi and said, “This is the f—ing Tokyo Dome!” Sabre was still up top and Taichi powerbombed Sabre so he could suplex Loa off the top. Sabre managed to make the cover, but he only got a two count. That was a tremendous spot.
Taichi wiped out GOD with a double axe bomber. He then hit a buzzsaw kick on Loa for a two count. The pace really picked up with all four men going at it. Both teams countered each other’s finishers. Taichi finally ended the sequence with a big jumping kick to Tonga’s head and everyone was down as the fans applauded. That was another tremendous heat building sequence in this match. Tekkers set up for Zack Mephisto, but Tonga hit a Gun Stun on Sabre. Taichi no-sold a big kick and hit a huge belly to back suplex for a nearfall and the fans clapped in unison once again. The fans fired up and Taichi ripped his pants off to reveal his trunks. Jado got in the ring, but Taichi cut him off. Tonga got the iron glove and hit Taichi with it. Loa then hit a big humping tombstone for the win.
WINNERS: Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa at 19.18. (****)
(Radican’s Analysis: The heavyweight division has certainly gotten better and this match was a product of that. These two teams put on a fantastic back and forth match. They had two big sequences late in the match that really fired up the fans. GOD finally got their big moment at Wrestle Kingdom with the win. My only worry going forward is how many matches over the course of two nights are going to future heels cheating to win.)
A video played about a man on a horse. Jon Moxley appeared and cut a promo. He said everyone was hoping and praying the IWGP U.S. Hvt. Champion would return. Moxley said he would be coming for whoever won the right to challenge match tonight between Kenta and Satoshi Kojima.
(3) IWGP U.S. HVT. CHAMPIONSHIP RIGHT TO CHALLENGE CONTRACT HOLDER KENTA vs. SATOSHI KOJIMA (W/HIROYOSHI TENZAN)
Kojima is replacing the injured Juice Robinson in this match. Kenta tried to stall during the early going. Tenzan was on the outside to support his tag team partner and he jawed with Kenta. Kenta went to the outside once again a short time later. He eventually ended up shocking Kojima into Tenzan. Kojima tried to mount a comeback, but Kenta raked his eyes and nailed him with a kick. Kenta kept going out of his way to jaw with Tenzan. Kojima fired up and began hitting the Mongolian Chops on Kenta and the fans fired up. Kojima then lit up Kenta with his signature machine gun chops.
They went back and forth. They battled to the apron and Kojima caught Kenta with a big DDT. Kenta ducked a clothesline attempt back inside the ring and hit a DDT of his own. Kenta hit the soaring dropkick as Kelly said Kenta wanted everyone to know that Shibata had taken it from him. Kenta went for G2S, but Kojima blocked it. Kojima swatted away a clothesline attempt and hit a Koji Cutter. Kojima took his elbow pad off and bounced off the ropes, but Kenta countered his signature clothesline into a powerslam.
Kenta got the briefcase, but Kojima clotheslined it away. He then caught Kenta coming off the ropes with a big lariat, but Kenta kicked out at the last second. Kenta fired back and hit the Busaiku Knee and both men were down. Kojima lifted Kenta for a lariat, but Kenta plastered him with a series of palm strikes and hit a Busaiku Knee. He then hit the G2S for the win.
WINNER: Kenta at 14:12 to retain the IWGP U.S. Hvt. Championship right to challenge contract. (***¼)
(Radican’s analysis: This was a solid match. It went a little longer than it needed to, but Kojima put in a good effort here mounting comebacks against Kenta and getting his signature comeback sequences in to engage the crowd. I’m really looking forward to seeing Kenta vs. Moxley.)
A video package aired. It showed Tetsuya Naito eating. It ended up being a commercial for a NJPW mobile game coming this year called Strong Spirits.
Chris Charlton said some news was coming and we might want to watch the ads. Kelly said Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Great-O-Khan was next.
The commercials aired and one said an English broadcast of NJPW would be coming soon to the U.S. and U.K.
Great-O-Khan came out with a picture of half of Hiroshi Tanahashi. He crumpled it up and threw it down to the entrance ramp. Kevin Kelly asked if he would be facing half of Tanahashi. Kelly said he’s not what he used to be, but he’s still good enough and tough enough to win. The announcers talked about O-Khan targeting Tanahashi during World Tag League. Charlton dropped a hint in relation to the TV deal that he likes the color purple.
Hiroshi Tanahashi was out next. He came out and played to the crowd as he made his way down the ramp.
(4) GREAT-O-KHAN vs. HIROSHI TANAHASHI
O-Khan got the upper hand. Tanahashi got tossed over the top. He tried to skin the cat, but O-Khan nailed him with a double chop and he spilled to the floor. They went up the ramp and O-Khan nailed Tanahashi with a big slam. Tanahashi managed to crawl back to the ring to beat the 20 count. O-Khan began going after Tanahashi’s leg. Tanahashi managed to block a kick and hit a dragon screw to stop O-Khan’s momentum. Tanahashi went for a Sling Blade, but O-Khan blocked it and slammed Tanahashi face-first into the mat.
They went back and forth trading bombs, but O-Khan ended the sequence with a big pump kick. O-Khan then blasted Tanahashi to the mat with a Mongolian Chop. O-Khan lifted Tanahashi up and dropped him face-first into the mat. He then grabbed a leg submission, but Tanahashi got to the ropes quickly. O-Khan tried to hit a belly-to-belly suplex that would have sent Tanahashi out of the ring. Tanahashi held on and this time he was able to skin the cat. Tanahashi hit Twist and Shout, but O-Khan got right up. O-Khan then ate a Slingblade for a two count. O-Khan got the Iron Claw on Tanahashi up top as he was setting up for the High Fly Flow.
O-Khan went for the Eliminator, but Tanahashi fought it. He kept the claw on and worked a cobra twist. Tanahashi reached for the ropes, but O-Khan turned him inside out with a suplex. O-Khan made a lax cover for a two count. O-Khan hit a reverse suplex a short time later and Tanahashi grabbed his chest and then hit knee. O-Khan grabbed a chair. He grabbed Tanahashi to hit an Eliminator on the chair, but Tanahashi slid out of it. Tanahashi then hit Twist and Shout away from the chair. Tanahashi grabbed the chair. The ref told him not to do it. He tossed the chair aside and hit a dragon suplex with a bridge for a two count. Tanahashi then went up top again. He hit a HFF to O-Khan’s back. He turned O-Khan over and went up top again. He hit a traditional HFF for the win.
WINNER: Hiroshi Tanahashi at 17:13. (***¼)
(Radican’s Analysis; This was a good match, but at 17 minutes it wore thin given O-Khan’s methodical style. O-Khan has improved a lot in the last couple of months since making his debut as a new character during the G1 Climax tournament in October. This was a big step forward for him facing Tanahashi on this stage.)
A video package aired for the Will Ospreay vs. Kazuchika Okada match. Will Ospreay was shown watching footage of him beating up Okada. He smashed the TVs and then continued to watch them with his girlfriend Bea Priestley. Ospreay and Priestley then came out together. Okada was out next and he had a big entrance with pyro.
Kelly pointed out that first Gedo and now Ospreay had betrayed him. Okada tried to fire the crowd up with a clap. Romero mentioned Ospreay had signed a new contract with NJPW. The fans attempted to clap to the rhythm Okada had set.
(5) BRITISH HVT. CHAMPION WILL OSPREAY(W/BEA PRIESTLEY) vs. KAZUCHIKA OKADA – non-title match
It didn’t take long for both men to trade blows. Ospreay mounted Okada in the corner and hit several punches. They went back and forth and Okada caught Ospreay with an elbow off the ropes. Okada hit Ospreay with a big flip dive over the top to the floor. You don’t see that often from Okada. The announcers pointed out that Okada wanted to put on the best match on the show. Priestley distracted Okada and Ospreay nailed him with a dropkick. Ospreay pulled up some mats off the floor. They wrestled around the hardwood floor, but neither man could hit a win. Ospreay finally hit a neck breaker on the floor, but it was on the padded area.
Ospreay tried to make a cover back inside the ring, but Red Shoes wouldn’t count it. Ospreay dominated for a long period of time until Okada caught him with a big backdrop. Ospreay fought out of a neckbreaker attempt, but Okada hit it the second time he tried. Okada got the Money Clip, but Ospreay drove him into the corner. Ospreay then hit Pip Pip Cheerio for a two count.
Ospreay set up for the Stormbreaker, but Okada hit a backdrop. Ospreay went for a springboard, but Okada caught him and hit Heavy Rain. Kelly pointed out that Okada has been targeting Ospreay’s back. Both men began trading blows. They went back and forth and Okada eventually hit his corner dropkick to send Ospreay off the top to the floor. They went back and forth on the floor. Ospreay missed an Os-Cutter off the barrier and Okada wiped him out with a shotgun dropkick.
They went back and forth and Ospreay caught Okada with Cheeky Nandos. He then hit a reverse Bloody Sunday on Okada for a two count. They went back and forth and Ospreay turned Okada’s dropkick into a sitout powerbomb for a great nearfall. They went back to the floor and battled on the exposed area. Okada went for a tombstone, but Ospreay ended up standing on the timekeepers table. Okada blocked a suplex attempt and they went back and forth. Ospreay finally lifted Okada over the guardrail and tossed him through a table. Ospreay picked up Okada and dragged him back towards the ring. He then tossed Okada into the ring.
Ospreay set up and hit a top rope Hidden Blade for a two count. He then hit a big folding powerbomb for another nearfall. They went to the apron and Ospreay set up for a Stormbreaker, but Okada blocked it. Ospreay hit several kicks to Okada’s head. Ospreay went for an Os-Cutter, but Okada blocked it and hit a tombstone on the apron. Both men then spilled to the floor at the 25 minute mark.
Okada dragged Ospreay back into the ring and nailed him with a short Rainmaker. He held on and Ospreay tried to free himself. Okada went for the Rainmaker. Ospreay ducked, but walked right into a dropkick. Okada grabbed the Money Clip. Ospreay tried to escape and Ospreay hit a twisting tombstone. He then applied the Money Clip again. Priestley got up on the apron and Okada tossed Ospreay into her. He applied the Money Clip again. The ref checked on Ospreay several times. Osprey tried to get to the ropes with his feet and he managed to get there. WOW!
The fans applauded as Okada regrouped. Okada stood over Ospreay and told him to stand up. Okada hit him with a slap to the face. Ospreay went for a forearm, but there was nothing behind it. Okada then dropped Ospreay with a big elbow. The announcers pointed out we hadn’t seen Okada like this in the ring before. Okada hit a big slam and pointed to the heavens. Ospreay crawled towards Okada. Okada hit him with some big forearms. Ospreay returned fire. They went back and forth up top. Okada sent Ospreay to the ground with a forearm, but he got right up and nailed Okada up top with a running kick.
Ospreay hit a Spanish Fly off the top on Okada for a nearfall and the fans applauded. Okada blocked the Os-Cutter and went for The Money Clip. Ospreay got out and they went back and forth. Ospreay hit a big discus elbow and an Os-Cutter for a two count. Ospreay mounted Okada and slapped him across the face. He then grabbed Okada’s arms and stomped on him. The ref stepped in and Ospreay shoved him away. Ospreay hit several more kicks. He stood Okada up and hit an elbow to the back of his head. Ospreay set up for an elbow out of the corner, but Okada nailed him with a dropkick. Okada went for a Rainmaker, but Ospreay ducked it. He went for an Os-Cutter off the ropes, but Okada wiped him out with a dropkick. Okada hit a discuss Rainmaker. He went for the Money Clip, but Ospreay got out of it.
Okada charged at Ospreay, but ate a Tombstone. Ospreay hit a Rainmaker and made the cover for a nearfall. WOW! The 35 minute mark came and went. Okada fought out of the Rainmaker and hit a tombstone. He then plastered Ospreay with a full Rainmaker for the win.
Winner: Kazuchika Okada at 35:41. (*****)
(Radican’s Analysis: This was one hell of a ride and it was deeply personal between these two given Ospreay’s betrayal of Okada. They put together some amazing sequences during the match, especially down the stretch. This was just incredible and certainly deserves to be mentioned amongst Okada’s best matches at Wrestle Kingdom.) The storytelling elements were fantastic here with Okada going back to the Rainmaker to beat Ospreay after relying on the Money Clip submission for so long.)
A video package aired for the Naito-Ibushi main event.
(6) IWGP IC & HVT. CHAMPION TETSUYA NAITO vs. G1 CLIMAX WINNER KOTA IBUSHI – winner defends both belts against Jay White on night 2
The match started slow with a feeling out period. It was clear Naito was trying to control the pace on the mat. The pace picked up and Ibushi set up for The Golden Triangle, but Naito cut him off. They battled to the floor and Naito turned Ibushi inside out with a German on the ramp. Ibushi got back into the ring and Naito began working over his neck. Ibushi eventually mounted a comeback and caught Naito with a dropkick. The fans clapped as Ibushi regrouped. Ibushi caught Naito coming off the ropes with a jumping mid kick and the fans really fired up with claps.
Ibushi set up and hit a standing moonsault. Ibushi went for a powerbomb on the floor a short time later, but Naito countered and went back after the neck with a neckbreaker. Naito worked over Ibushi’s head and neck with a modified full nelson using his legs. Ibushi blocked a flying forearm and hit a German. Naito ran right at Ibushi, but he jumped up and nailed Naito with a double stomp and both men were down.
Both men got up and went back and forth. Ibushi hit a powerslam, but Naito fired right back and caught Ibushi in another neck submission. Ibushi tried to fire back, but Naito grabbed his arm and pulled him in and hit several short elbows. Naito lifted Ibushi and hit Gloria and the fans applauded. Kelly pointed to all the work Naito did during G1 was just to set up Destino.
They battled up top and Ibushi nailed Naito with a big strike. He smiled and slid under Naito. He then nailed him with a backflip kick. They went to the apron. Both men went back and forth. Naito charged at Ibushi, who nailed him with a hurricanrana from the apron to the floor. Naito sold his leg and nearly got counted out, but he dove back into the ring at the last second.
Ibushi hit several kicks on Naito. He set up for his outside in German, but Naito elbowed his way out of it. Naito followed up with a poison rana off the top, but Ibushi kicked out at the last second. Kelly pointed out that this was the second time Ibushi landed on his head. Charlton said Naito landed on his head as well. Naito set up for Destino, but ate a pair of big kicks. Ibushi went for Kamigoye, but Naito countered it into Destino for a near fall. Naito went for another Destino, but Ibushi blocked it and hit the Bastard Driver! Both men were down after that exchange. The fans fired up with claps as both men tried to recover.
Both men got to their knees and began trading blows. They got to their feet and continued to trade and Naito hit a big lariat. Ibushi hit a powerbomb and went right into a Kamigoye for a nearfall. Ibushi sold shock at Naito kicking out. He went up top, but missed a phoenix splash. Naito immediately hit Destino, but Ibushi kicked out! Naito held onto Ibushi’s wrist. He lifted Ibushi up and hit several short elbows. Ibushi slipped out from his grasp and hit a big head kick. He then hit Naito flush with another Kamigoye, but Naito kicked out again at the last second! Naito fired back with an enzuguri and hit Valentia. He then went for Destino, but IBushi blocked it. Ibushi hit a jumping knee strike and held on for a Kamigoye for the win.
WINNER: Kota Ibushi at 31:18. (*****)
(Radican’s Analysis: This was an amazing match. Both men had different gameplans and as the match went on, they merged and began to go back and forth and it became a matter of which man could put the other away. Naito kicking out of two Kamigoye’s was crazy, but he could not kick out of a third.)
After the match, Ibushi was passed out on top of Naito. Ibushi woke up and he went to hook his leg and the ref told him he was the winner. Naito recovered and shoved the ref out of the way and grabbed both belts from him. Naito handed both titles to Ibushi and raised his hand.
Jay White made his way down to the ring. Red Shoes asked him what he was doing. Gedo was with White. White asked for a mic. He congratulated Ibushi. White asked if he needed any ice. White says everyone knows he’s not the real champion. He told Ibushi to enjoy the moment because it would only last for one night. He told Ibushi he was taking everything from him tomorrow. White said Ibushi said he was going to become god, but he would expose him.
White said everytime Ibushi is about to reach the heights, he will always be there to pull him back down. White said Ibushi would help him fulfill his destiny tomorrow when he becomes god. Ibushi walked towards White and got in his face. White said Ibushi would breathe with the Switchblade in his new era.
Ibushi got on the mic. He said his reign would not finish tomorrow. He thanked Naito. He said he would see him tomorrow. He then addressed the fans. He said he would not be finished in one day. He said tomorrow he would leave with the titles because with the strongest belt and the best belt, he will still be a champion. Ibushi said he will become god tomorrow night.
NOTE: I’ll be continuing to add to this report tonight as I watch more of the matches.
Email Sean at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SR_Torch.