SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
NEW JAPAN WRESTLE KINGDOM 15 REPORT
JANUARY 5, 2021
TOKYO, JAPAN AT THE TOKYO DOME
AIRED LIVE ON NEW JAPAN WORLD STREAMING & FITE TV
Announcers: Kevin Kelly, Rocky Romero, and Chris Charlton
(1) Toru Yano beat Bad Luck Fale and Bushi and Chase Owens to become the provisional KOPW 2021 Champion at 7:34. The finish saw Owens and Fale arguing over a fallen Bushi. Owens and Fale went after the ref and Yano slid into the ring and gave them a double low blow before covering Bushi for the win.
(2) IWGP JR. HVT. CHAMPIONS SUZUKI GUN (EL DESPERADO & YOSHINOBU KANEMARU) vs. MASTER WATO & RYUSUKE TAGUCHI (W/HIROYOSHI TENZAN)
Wato charged at Desperado as the bell rang and nailed him with a dropkick. Wato sent Desperado to the floor and wiped him out with a corkscrew dive. Taguchi tried to get Desperado to run the ropes with him, but Kanemaru tripped him from the floor. He dragged Taguchi over to the guardrail and placed his leg inside it before nailing it with a dropkick. Desperado sent Wato into Tenzan on the opposite side of the ring.
Taguchi had his leg worked over. He eventually caught Kanemaru with a hip attack. Wato tagged in and ran wild. Wato hit a springboard uppercut on Kanemaru for a nearfall. Kanemaru dragged the ref in front of Wato several times to try to gain the advantage. He finally shoved the ref at Wato and then nailed him with a jumping kick to the head. He then tagged in Desperado. Wato countered a suplex and hit a mid kick on Desperado. He then tagged in Taguchi.
Taguchi caught Desperado with his legs in the corner. He then drove Desperado’s head into his rear end several times. Taguchi finally caught Desperado with a hip attack a short time later. Taguchi and Desperado went back and forth until Taguchi finally hit a reverse powerslam. Taguchi set up for the Buma Ye, but Desperado cut him off. Desperado and Kanemaru went after Taguchi’s leg. Desperado eventually locked in a single leg stretch muffler. He tried to trap Taguchi’s arms, but Wato broke it up.
Wato went up top, but Kanemaru dragged him to the floor. Taguchi knocked Kanemaru off the apron. Taguchi eventually hit a Buma Ye on Desperado, but he kicked out at the last second. Kanemaru had the whisky bottle, but Taguchi threw Desperado into him. Desperado hit a big closed fist to Taguchi’s head. He then hit Pinoche Loco for the win.
WINNERS: Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado to retain the IWGP Jr. Hvt. Tag Team Championship at 13:20. (***¼)
(Radican’s Analysis: This was a good fast-paced match. The crowd didn’t generate much of an atmosphere, which dragged things down a bit.)
(3) NEVER OPENWEIGHT CHAMPION SHINGO TAKAGI vs. JEFF COBB
They opened the match trading bombs in the middle of the ring, but neither man would relent and they came to a stalemate. Shingo had the upper hand and they went to the floor. Cobb fired back and hit a belly to belly suplex and the fans fired up. Shingo ducked a clothesline and eventually he had to run Cobb into the ropes to hit a Saito suplex and both men were down. Takagi went for a DVD on the apron, but Cobb blocked it. Cobb had Shingo set up for a Razors Edge off the apron to the floor, but Shingo slid out of it and nailed Cobb with a dropkick. Cobb went to the floor and Takagi wiped him up with a dive and the fans fired up.
Cobb fired back a short time later and hit the spin cycle. Cobb hit two rolling gutwrench suplexes. Shingo tried to fight out of a third and eventually he countered a powerbomb attempt into a hurricanrana on Cobb. Shingo went for Noshigami on Shingo, but Cobb countered it into a modified Black Tiger Bomb for a nearfall! WOW! Cobb went for a Tour of the Islands, but Shingo held onto the ropes. He then hit a DVD and both men were down.
Shingo screamed and urged the fans to fire up. Both men got to their feet and Takagi nailed Cobb with a big clothesline in the corner. A short time later, Takagi went for a sliding lariat, but Cobb turned it into a suplex. Shingo got up and fired up with a suplex of his own. Takagi screamed out Jeff and both men began slapping each other across the face. They got to their feet and continued to trade blows. Both men yelled at each other. Cobb hit a German and Shingo got right up and hit a HUGE clothesline. Cobb went down and Shingo collapsed and went to the floor. What an exchange!
Shingo barely beat the ref’s 20 count and he walked right into a Gonzo Bomb for a nearfall! Cobb tried to whip Takagi, but he collapsed. Cobb went for TOI, but Shingo escaped and clipped his knee. He then hit a dragon screw. Takagi set up for Made in Japan and hit it, but Cobb kicked out at two! The fans applauded. They went back and forth. Cobb caught Takagi off the ropes with a German. He then hit TOI, but his knee gave out after and he was slow to make the cover. Cobb crawled over and grabbed Shingo’s legs off the ropes to make the cover, but he kicked out at two.
They went back and forth. Cobb hit a moonsault powerslam and went for TOI, but Takagi nailed him with a Pumping Bomber. Shingo hit two more Pumping Bombers and Cobb wouldn’t go down. Takagi hit several headbutts and hit a big uranagi and both men were down as the fans fired up. This is unbelievable! Shingo got up and turned Cobb inside out with a Pumping Bomber. He then Let out a scream and hit Last of the Dragons for the win. What a war!
WINNER: Shingo Takagi at 21:11 to retain the NEVER Openweight Champion. (****¾)
(Radican’s Analysis: This was an amazing back and forth match between Shingo, who is one of the best hard-hitting wrestlers in all of wrestling, and Cobb, who is emerging as a monster in NJPW. Takagi won this match, but Cobb gained a lot here putting on this kind of performance at The Tokyo Dome.)
A commercial aired for the NJPW Strong Spirits mobile game with Tetsuya Naito.
(4) EVIL (W/DICK TOGO) vs. SANADA
Here we go, as former tag partners and stablemates in L.I.J. collide. Evil tried to throw Sanada to the floor, but he got right back into the ring. Both men went for their finishers. Sanada went for Everything is Evil, which is Evil’s finish, but Evil got out of it. The fans fired up as both men backed off. Evil tried to toss Sanada’s leg to the ref a short time later, but Sanada countered it. He then tied Evil in the Paradise Lock before nailing him with a dropkick. Sanada flipped to the floor and landed on his feet. Evil eventually drove Sanada right into the barricade. Evil placed a chair around Sanada’s neck and hit his homerun swing with the other chair.
They went back to the floor and Sanada shoved Evil into the guardrail, which knocked over the timekeepers table. The ref was on the outside, so Togo got into the ring and nailed Sanada with a chair, but the cameras didn’t catch it. Evil went for a misdirection charge out of the corner, but Sanada dropkicked his knee. Togo got up on the apron, but Sanada knocked him off the apron. He then hit Evil with his signature dropkick. A short time later he wiped out Evil with a dive to the floor. Then he wiped out Togo with a dive ot the other side of the ring and the fans fired up.
Evil distracted the ref at just the right moment a short time later and Togo tripped Sanada from the outside. Togo set up a table at ringside. Evil tried to hit EIE off the apron through the table, but Sanada blocked it. Sanada went for a TKO through the table, but Evil got out of it. Evil tried to hit a Magic Killer while using the ref for assistance, but Sanada countered and hit one of his own off the ropes.
The fans fired up with both men trying to regroup. Sanada tried to lock in Skull End. He got Evil in an airplane spin. Evil got out of it and they went back and forth. Evil eventually drove Sanada into the exposed corner. They battled up top a short time later and Evil hit a superplex. He then locked in a scorpion deathlock. Sanada struggled towards the ropes and finally made it to break the hold as the fans applauded.
Evil hit Darkness Falls right after the 15 minute mark passed. Sanada fought out of EIE. Sanada ducked a charge in the exposed corner and hit a German and the fans fired up. Romero screamed that Sanada needed to find his fire. Sanada hit a TKO on Evil for a two count. He then went for the Muta Moonsault. Evil got out of the way and Sanada landed on his feet. He favored his legs after landing. Sanada went for a kick, but Evil caught it and swung his leg into the ref. Sanada checked on the ref and Togo got into the ring and attacked Sanada.
Evil and Togo set up for the Magic Killer and hit it on Sanada. Togo went up top, but Sanada managed to send Evil into the ropes to crotch Togo. Sanada then caught Evil with an inside cradle for a nearfall. Sanada moonsaulted over Evil in the corner and got the Skull End. He dropped down and applied the hooks on Evil. Sanada let go of the hold and hit the Muta Moonsault to Evil’s back. He rolled Evil over and went up top, but Evil got his knees up right before the 20 minute mark passed. WOW!
Sanada floated over Evil, but Evil grabbed the ref. Togo then choked Sanada with the garrett from the apron. Sanada fought out of it and he dropkicked Evil right into Togo on the apron. Togo then went flying through the table from the apron. Evil sold shock at what he did to Togo. Sanada got a bridging pinning combination on Evil for a near fall. Evil shoved Sanada into the ref and hit a half and half suplex and a big clothesline for a nearfall.
Sanada blocked EIE and went for Skull End. Evil shoved the ref and went for a low blow, but Sanada blocked it. Sanada then hit EIE and his face showed fire. He popped up Evil into a TKO. He then hit the Muta Moonsault for the win. WOW!
WINNER: Sanada at 23:40. (****)
(Radican’s Analysis: There was all sorts of interference from Togo and Evil, but Sanada managed to beat Evil at his own game. He proved to be one step ahead of Evil and Togo here, but most importantly, Sanada showed fire like he hadn’t shown before. Evil was really good here as well. This match was nicely placed and not as plodding as I expected going in.)
(5) IWGP JR. HVT. CHAMPION TAIJI ISHIMORI vs. HIROMU TAKAHASHI
Takahashi comes into this match banged up from his encounter on night 1 with ELP. They went right at it and Takahashi went for a sunset bomb off the apron, but Taiji flipped out of it. He charged at Takahashi, who ended up powerbombing him into the apron. Takahashi went for a running dropkick all the way down the ramp. The cameras didn’t catch a good shot of what happened, but a replay showed Ishimori turning a running dropkick into a side suplex. Takahashi tried to get back into the ring, but Ishimori cut him with his version of the Golden Triangle.
Ishimori went after Takahashi’s injured hand. Takahashi finally cut him off with a headscissors takedown. Takahashi off the apron and dropped him face-first onto the floor. He then got a running start on the apron and wiped out Ishimori with a shotgun dropkick. Takahashi fired back with a sliding German a short time later. He then worked a crossface variation on Hiromu’s injured arm. He struggled, but managed to get to the ropes. They traded moves until Takahashi hit a belly to back on Ishimori right into the corner and both men were down as the fans fired up.
Takahashi countered a wheelbarrow into a facebuster. He hit a HUGE blu-ray on Taiji into the corner and then hit a big running DVD. Takahashi went for the Time Bomb, but Ishimori slipped out of it. They went back and forth and Hiromu caught Ishimori coming off the ropes with a big German. Ishimori fired right back with a running Canadian Destroyer and both men were down as the fans fired up.
Both men began trading blows from their knees. They got to their feet and continued to trade bombs. Takahashi finally hit a big forearm and Ishomori went down. Ishimori was glaring when Takahashi dragged him to his feet. Takahashi ate forearm after forearm and he wouldn’t go down. Ishimori finally decked him with a big forearm.
Takahashi got up, but Ishimori kept dropping him with some big elbows. Ishimori picked Hiromu up and decked him once again. He sat Takahashi up on the mat and drove yet another big elbow into his face. Ishimori hit a nasty shoulder breaker on Takahashi’s injured arm. Takahashi moaned in pain on the mat. Ishimori spun around Takahashi a short time later and grabbed the Yes Lock. He then turned it into a crossface variation and the fans fired up.
The announcers said Takahashi’s neck is always at risk. Takahashi tried to get to the ropes and he finally did. Ishomori hit a lung blower a short time later, but Takahashi kicked out at the last second. Takahashi blocked a Bloody Cross attempt. He then blocked a running Yes Lock attempt and dropped Ishimori face-first into the mat for a two count.
Takahashi hit a big running clothesline. He hit a blu-ray into the exposed corner. The fans fired up and Takahashi hit the Time Bomb for a nearfall. Ishimori countered another Time Bomb attempt. Takahashi rolled through and countered Ishimori. They went back and forth and Ishimori dropped Takahashi face first into the mat with a modified facelock. Takahashi was about to get to the ropes, but Takahashi rolled him over and went for the Bloody Cross. Takahashi countered him at the 25 minute mark and hit a pop-up facebuster. Takahashi got up and screamed and hit Time Bomb 2 for the win.
WINNER: Hiromu Takahashi at 25:31 to become the new IWGP Jr. Hvt. Champion. (****¾)
(Radican’s Analysis: This was an amazing match. These two went to war from start to finish and they pulled off some amazing big spots, especially at the beginning where they mirrored the start of Takahashi vs. ELP from night 1. Down the stretch the action was tremendous as Ishimori worked over Takahashi’s injured arm. He then began working over his neck down the stretch, but he just couldn’t put him away.
Takahashi vs. Ishirmori is cemented as one of the greatest rivalries in NJPW history. These two showed so much intensity and fire here. Ishimori wanting to beat the posterboy of the division and get his respect and Takahashi fighting to beat his long standing rival.)
After the match, Takahashi said he would bring the Jr. Hvt. Title to the main event at the Tokyo Dome.
(6) IWGP IC & IWGP HVT. CHAMPION KOTA IBUSHI vs. JAY WHITE (W/GEDO)
White bailed to the floor. Then he got into the ring and told Ibushi he wouldn’t stall. Gedo got up on the apron and White told him back off. White got the upper hand and Ibushi tried to fire back, but White ducked his kick. They went to the floor and White cut him off with a DDT. White then hit a high angle back suplex on the edge of the ring that looked like it dumped Ibushi right on his neck. White taunted Ibushi as he worked him over inside the ring. White took Ibushi into the corner and worked over his midsection. Red Shoes kept making him back away. White argued with Red Shoes and Ibushi nailed him with a big kick to the chest.
White fired back on the outside and sent Ibushi chest-first into the guardrail. White wrapped Ibushi’s leg around the turnbuckle and hit a dragon screw on the apron. Ibushi caught White with a Frankensteiner and White went to the floor. White fired back and eventually dropped Ibushi stomach first over the top rope. He then suplexed Ibushi into the turnbuckles for a two count. Ibushi finally fired back with a sleeper suplex and both men were down as the fans fired up.
They traded strikes back and forth and Ibushi grounded White with a flurry of strikes. They exchanged pinning combinations and Ibushi hit a Bastard Driver and both men were down just after the 20 minute mark. They went back and forth and White caught Ibushi with a backdrop suplex. He then hit a uranagi for a two count. Ibushi countered a Blade Runner and lifted him up into a backdrop driver. Ibushi then hit the Boma Ye for a two count. WOW!
White got a backslide and put his feet on the top rope, but Red Shoes saw it at the last second and stopped his count. White argued with Red Shoes and Ibushi kicked him in the head about as hard as a man can get kicked in the head. Ibushi went for a Kamigoye, but White covered up. White sat up, so Ibushi just kicked him right in the head. Ibushi went up top for the Phoenix splash, but Red Shoes stopped him. White got up and cut off Ibushi up top.
They battled up top and White went for a sleeper superplex, but Ibushi held on. Both men stood up top and Ibushi hit several elbows. White finally went down to the mat. Gedo grabbed Ibushi’s leg and he kicked him to the floor. White dragged Ibushi to the mat and then cut his leg out from under him. White then hit a series of dragon screws on Ibushi’s leg. He then applied the TTO.
Ibushi fired back and kicked White over and over in the corner. Red Shoes backed him away and Ibushi told him to bring it. White came to Ibushi and he dropped him. He told White to bring it again. White got up and Ibushi leveled him with a big forearm. White hit another forearm and Ibushi sent White all the way out of the ring with his own elbow strike.
Ibushi told White to bring it, but White just collapsed down to the mat. Ibushi hit some hard slapped to White’s face. Ibushi hit several kicks and then some closed fists. He shoved the ref away and White hit a low blow. WOW! That was a great sequence and setup to the low blow there.
White sent Ibushi to the outside. He then took him up the ramp where he began hitting him with elbows to the head. Red Shoes told him to stop. White rolled back into the ring and Ibushi was left down on the entrance ramp by himself. White yelled at Ibushi to get back into the ring. Ibushi got back into the ring, but White continued to dominate the action. They ended up on the apron and White went for a German, but Ibushi grabbed the rope. Ibushi hit several elbows and lifted up White. White slipped out, but Ibushi nailed him with a high kick to the head and both men were down on the mat once again.
Ibushi yelled as it appeared he was trying to get himself back to his feet. Ibushi hit his outside in German off the ropes and the fans applauded. Ibushi smiled for the first time in the match. He hit the Last Ride for a nearfall. White kicked out at the very last second. Ibushi went for the Kamigoye, but White got up and hit a snap sleeper suplex out of nowhere to counter it. White hit another sleeper suplex. He then hit a Regal-plex for a nearfall. The fans applauded after Ibushi kicked out. The 40 minute mark came and went.
Ibushi countered a Blade Runner. He went right into a backslide and then turned it into a Kamigoye for a nearfall. WOW! Ibushi went up top and hit a Phoenix Splash, but Gedo dragged Red Shoes out of the ring. Gedo went to hit Ibushi with the brass knuckles, but Ibushi nailed him with a Kamigoye. The fans applauded. Ibushi went and dragged Red Shoes back into the ring. Ibushi went after White, who surprised him with a sudden Blade Runner for a nearfall. This is crazy!! Kelly said this is the first time someone had kicked out of the Blade Runner.
White grabbed Ibushi’s arms, but he shoved White away. The announcers started talking about a draw. White countered Ibushi and got the ITO (Ibushi Tap Out). Ibushi struggled and Red Shoes asked him if he wanted to tap. White dragged Ibushi back to the middle of the ring. Red Shoes checked on Ibushi. White yelled at Ibushi to just give up. Ibushi struggled towards the ropes at the 45 minute mark. He eventually managed to get to the ropes. WOW!
Ibushi went for a jumping knee, but White absorbed it and hit another Regal-plex for a nearfall!. White hit Bloody Sunday a short time later. Ibushi blocked a Blade Runner attempt and nailed white with a jumping knee to the head and both men were down. The fans fired up as Ibushi grabbed White’s arms. White kicked away a Kamihoye attempt. Ibushi told White to keep kicking him in the head. Ibushi then nailed him with a big jumping knee. White tried to counter a Kamigoye into a Blade Runner, but Ibushi nailed him with a clothesline. Ibushi then hit a reverse Kamigoye. He exposed his knee and hit a traditional Kamigoye for the win. What an amazing war between these two to cap Wrestle Kingdom.
WINNER: Kota Ibushi at 48:05. (*****)
(Radican’s Analysis: This was a beautiful match. Ibushi, fighting on his quest to become a wrestling god, against Jay White. Cemented himself as one of the very best wrestlers in the world. White is an amazing heel and he and Gedo gave Ibushi everything he could handle.
Ibushi on back to back nights has had two incredible matches against two very different opponents. What a weekend for Ibushi, who now cements himself as the top star in NJPW right now. He was just on another level here against White, who is the best heel in wrestling right now.)
White tried to hit Ibushi after the match and he didn’t think it was over. White reached towards both titles as a Young Lion dragged him out of the ring. Kelly said White would be back and probably after the titles tomorrow.
Ibushi was presented with the IWGP IC and IWGP Hvt. Championships. Red Shoes strapped the hvt. Title around his waist. The announcers ran down all of Ibushi’s accolades. Sanada came down to the ring in a suit. He asked Ibushi if he could challenge him for the titles. Ibushi got on the mic and said he might have lost what he beat Sanada for in the finals of G1, but now he holds something much greater. Ibushi said he’s more powerful than ever.
Ibushi said he wants to wrestle Sanada a whole lot more in the future. Sanada left the ring. Ibushi said he’s not sure when the match would take place due to the uncertain times. Ibushi said “I won’t escape, I won’t quit, I won’t betray you and I have become god.” WOW!
Email Sean at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @SR_Torch.