Wrestle Kingdom 15 Night 1 (Recap and Review)

New Japan Rambo Pre Show Match

Winners: Bad Luck Fale, Toru Yano, Chase Owens and Bushi

This was a fun way to start Wrestle Kingdom. The contenders are below.

  • Chase Owens
  • Tomohiro Ishii
  • Minoru Suzuki
  • Yuji Nagata
  • Toa Henare
  • 6 Hirooki Goto
  • Yujiro Takahashi
  • Yoshi- Hashi
  • Togi Makabe
  • Tomoaki Honma
  • Hiroyoshi Tenzan
  • Rocky Romero
  • Douki
  • SHO
  • BUSHI
  • Tiger Mask
  • Bad Luck Fale
  • Gabriel Kidd
  • Yuya Uemura
  • Yota Tsuji
  • Toru Yano

By the end of the match he four men left standing were Bad Luck Fale, Toru Yano, Chase Owens and Bushi. They will compete for the KOPW 2021 Trophy for the Wrestle Kingdom Night 2.

Hiromu Takahashi vs. El Phantasmo

Winner: Hiromu Takahasi

Before the match started, Kevin Kelly, Rocky Romero and Chris Charlton paid a tribute to Brodie Lee. Now, let me mention how much I loved Hiromu Takahasi’s gear. Absolutely loved it. El Phantasmo and Hiromu Takahashi was the first match of the main card. This match was to see who would face Taiji Ishimori for the IWGP Jr Heavyweight title on Night Two.

Hiromu quickly did a senton splash from the top, but immediately after Phantasmo did a sunset bomb outside of the ring. Phantasmo was able to slow down the match considerably. He did some ground techniques as well as some top rope moves. At some point Phantasmo knocked down the referee, “accidentally” so he could do a low blow to Hiromu. He also did some shout outs to Kenny Omega, AJ Styles (doing a Styles Clash) who were part of the Bullet Club, but it didn’t help. Phantasmo did a CR2, but Hiromu was able to counter his move and rolled him up for a win.

IWGP Tag Team Championship: Zack Sabre Jr. and Taichi (Dangerous Tekkers ) vs. The Guerrillas of Destiny

Winners: The Guerrillas of Destiny

Very early on Zack Sabre Jr and Taichi tried to get an early advantage against GOD.  However, GOD was able to corner Taichi and beat him up pretty badly. However, Zack was able to get in there showing his grappling skills. It seemed for a brief period, Zack had turned the tide for his team during this match. Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa was able to regain control until Taichi did a powerbomb from the top rope. GOD used a weapon and Jado interfered. This allowed GOD to win the match becoming the IWGP Tag Team Champions for a 7th time.

Jon Moxley Appears

Jon Moxley, the current IWGP United States Champion made an appearance in a pre-recorded segment during the show. He said he was the “boogeyman” of NJPW. He also said he would be coming for whoever has the contract to challenge him for the title.  

KENTA vs. Satoshi Kojima (Rights to IWGP US Championship Match)

Winner: KENTA

KENTA and Satoshi Kojima’s match was for the opportunity to get a title shot at the IGWP United States belt. Jon Moxley is the current champ. Kojima took Juice Robinson’s place because of an injury. This match was pretty interesting. While KENTA kept trying to do things throughout the match, but as Kojima is the more experienced one, it didn’t help too much at first.

KENTA tried to do a suplex on the apron, but Kojima reversed it with a DDT.  Once back in the ring, KENTA did a double foot stomp off the top to Kojima. Kojimia was able to get some moves in, but KENTA used his Busaiku Knee Kick twice. KENTA was then able to get Kojima in his GTS move and he won the match keeping the briefcase.

Because KENTA won the contract in the New Japan Cup USA in August 2020, also defending it successfully during this match, it seems we may be getting Jon Moxley vs. KENTA quite soon.

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Great-O-Khan

Winner: Hiroshi Tanahashi

Hiroshi Tanahashi has been a favorite of mine since I got into watching New Japan and as he has been having problems with the Empire, I was ready for this match. He went against Great-O-Khan. Great-O-Khan was clearly in an advantage, punishing Tanahasi throughout the match. Great-O-Khan did some big chops and then slammed Tanahasi into the ramp back-first.

Tanahashi was punished some more and when Great-O-Khan tried to do another claw, he was able to break free and use a Twist and Shout. Earlier during the match Great-O-Khan brought in the chair. Tanahasi picked it up as if he was going to use it, but decided against it. Instead he did two High Fly Flows, getting the win with a pin.  

Will Ospreay vs. Kazuchika Okada

This match was great with much back and forth between the two. Wil showcasing his skills and Okada showing while he is one of the greatest to ever set foot in New Japan. Okada sis the Money Clip and while Red Shoes checked in on Will, Okada told him to get up. He gave Will 2 very hard elbow and then Okada did a powerslam.

Will was able to hit the Oz Cutter and stomped on Okada’s head. Will taunted Okada by doing a Rainmaker, but Okada kicked out of it. Okada did the Rainmaker on Will and won the match. One of my favorite matches of the night. .

Winner: Kazuchika Okada

Kazuchika Okada quickly backed Will Sspreay into to ropes to start the match. It was aggressive and I liked it. Will does a textbook DDT sending Okada down on the canvas. Okada sent Will into the guard rail which almost caused Bea Priestley to get knocked out. Bea used this to talk crap to Okada and in turn, Will gave Okada a big boot.  

Main Event: Tetsuya Naito Vs. Kota Ibushi

Winner: Kota Ibushi

I’ve been looking forward to this match as I felt Kota Ibushi was robbed of being champ in 2020. At least he was in my opinion. This match was for the battle for the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental titles. This match was for the battle for the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental titles. The bell rang and the crowd clapped and cheered. Both men started with nice mat skills that left me wanting more. Ibushi sent Naito out of the ring with a hurricanrana. Naito threw Ibushi over from outside of the ring and Ibushi crashed into the ramp. He was able to get back into the ring by the 15th count. Ibushi used a dropkick and then a standing moonsault, but it didn’t get him the in. Naito then did a neckbreaker from outside of the ring.   

It seemed Naito continued to focus on Ibushi’s neck throughout the match knowing that his neck is a weak point for him.  A powerslam from Ibushi led to Naito using a submission move. However, Ibushi was able to get to the rope with his foot for a rope break.

Naito then did a Super Poisonrana from the top rope. There were kicks, forearms, and lariats in the middle of the ring. Naito went for the Destino for the 3rd time and Ibushi countered it. Ibushi drove his knee into Naito and did a Kamigoye. He got the pin and won the match becoming the new IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Champion making me very happy. Now, Kota Ibushi has to go against Jay White in Night 2 for Wrestle Kingdom 15

Overall, I was impatiently waiting for Wrestle Kingdom 15 after the events of Wrestle Kingdom 14 and New Japan delivered on all accords. This was a perfect way to open up 2021 with it’s first big show of the year and I am excited to see what Night 1 has to offer.

Here is what we are looking at for Wrestle Kingdom Bight Two

NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 15 – Night Two

  1. Chase Owens vs. Bad Luck Fale vs. Bushi vs. Toru Yano (Match for Provisional KOPW 2021 Trophy- Four Way Match)
  2. IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Suzuki-gun (El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru) (champion) vs. One or Eight (Ryusuke Taguchi and Master Wato)
  3. Evil vs. Sanada
  4. NEVER Openweight Championship: Shingo Takagi (champ) vs. Jeff Cobb
  5. IGWP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Taiji Ishimori (champ) vs. Hiromu Takahashi
  6. IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Championship Kota Ibushi (champ) vs. Jay White

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