New Japan Pro Wrestling concluded Wrestle Kingdom 15 on Tuesday. The two night spectacle was an ablution; a washing of the water after a year of darkness and strife. 2020 was hard. 2020 was tough. 2020 tested people and nations in a way that no years of our new century have. Wrestle Kingdom 15 was as much a prayer for hope in 2021, as it was a raucous celebration of finally making it to the Tokyo Dome. In the end, Kota Ibushi and Jay White closed the weekend with the longest match in Tokyo Dome history.
Continuing last year’s new tradition, NJPW partner STARDOM had two untelevised dark matches, bringing another year of Joshi action to the Tokyo Dome. Then the main card picked up where last night’s pre-show ended.
The KOPW 2021 provisional trophy was won under almost the exact same circumstances as the KOPW 2020. Toru Yano took advantage of a brief moment of dissension between tag partners Chase Owens & Bad Luck Fale. The two men hit their trademark Grenade Launcher on BUSHI, but couldn’t agree who should get the win. They turned their frustration to the referee, giving Yano time to hit them in the dicks and pin BUSHI to win his second provisional trophy.
Master Wato showed up and showed out in a losing effort for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championship. He teamed with Ryusuke Taguchi, who ended up being the one to be picked apart by the champions, El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru.
Jeff Cobb & Shingo Takagi added another match to the list of great NEVER Openweight Championship matches in the Tokyo Dome. The two men had a breathless, brutal match, that saw both competitors break the laws of physics. Takagi retained his title after 20-minutes of taking the Hawaiian King to his limit.
In the only true grudge match of the night, SANADA got an emotional win over his former tag team partner EVIL, even sending EVIL’s new crony Dick Togo through a table. SANADA got the win with his moonsault, an homage to Keiji Mutoh. The win propelled SANADA out of his post-G1 Climax funk, and brought a fiery new edge to the normally aloof wrestler.
Hiromu Takahashi, after battling Super J Cup 2020 winner El Phantasmo just 24-hours prior, won the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship from Taiji Ishimori. The Jr. Champ stretched and pummeled the injured arms of Hiromu, but the Ticking Timebomb willed himself back from the brink and crumpled Bone Soldier with his new trademark, Time Bomb II.
In the main event, Kota Ibushi defended both IWGP Heavyweight titles against Jay White in the longest match in Tokyo Dome history. At 48 minutes, 5 seconds, the grueling epic captivated the Tokyo crowd, and left indelible memories. Jay White tried everything he could think of, even begging Kota Ibushi to tap out to his Reverse Figure Four, but Ibushi was simply too strong for him. Ibushi made good on his promise to win the double gold. The Golden Star has ascended to god-like status, and sent NJPW fans home happy after a long and tough 2020.
NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 15: Night 2 Results
- Dark Match: Utami Hayashishita, Saya Kamitami & AZM def. Maika, Himeka & Natsupoi by pinfall. (9:48)
Saya Kamitami pinned Natsupoi via Phoenix Splash.
- Dark Match: Giulia & Syuri def. Mayu Iwatani & Tam Nakano by pinfall. (12:49)
Giulia pinned Tam Nakano via Glorius Driver.
- KOPW 2021 Four Way Match: Toru Yano def. Bad Luck Fale, BUSHI & Chase Owens by pinfall. (7:34)Toru Yano pinned BUSHI via Grenade Launcher.
- IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Match: Suzuki-gun (Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado) (c) def. Rysuke Taguchi & Master Wato by pinfall. (13:20)
El Desperado pinned Ryusuke Taguchi via Pinche Loco.
- NEVER Openweight Championship Match: Shingo Takagi (c) def. Jeff Cobb by pinfall via Last of the Dragon. (21:11)
- SANADA def. EVIL by pinfall via Moonsault. (23:40)
- IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship Match: Hiromu Takahashi def. Taiji Ishimori by pinfall via Time Bomb II. (25:31)
- IWGP Heavyweight & IWGP Intercontinental Heavyweight Double Championships Match: Kota Ibushi (c) def. Jay White by pinfall via Kamigoye. (48:05)
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