NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 15 Day 1 Live Results
Will Ibushi become God...
Good morning, and welcome to Cultaholic Wrestling's live results for day one of Wrestle Kingdom 15. As always, New Japan Pro-Wrestling's biggest event of the year will take place at the Tokyo Dome, but it will be a Wrestle Kingdom like no other because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The January 4 leg of the show is scheduled to begin at 7 am GMT with a pre-show featuring the New Japan Rambo. The main card will then follow at 8 am GMT. Fans can watch the show in English on NJPW World and pay-per-view with FITE TV.
Six matches will take place on the main show, check out the card below:
• Tetsuya Naito (c) vs. Kota Ibushi - IWGP Heavyweight & IWGP Intercontinental Double Championship
• Kazuchika Okada vs. Will Ospreay
• Hiromu Takahashi vs. El Phantasmo - Winner will face Taiji Ishimori for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship on January 5
• Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Great-O-Khan
• KENTA (c) vs. Satoshi Kojima - IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship Right To Challenge Contract
• Dangerous Tekkers (c) vs. The Guerrillas Of Destiny - IWGP Tag Team Championship
• New Japan Rambo - Final four participants will advance to a Four-Way Match for the KOPW 2021 Trophy on January 5 - Pre-Show
Toru Yano, Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens & BUSHI win the New Japan Rambo - Pre-show
The match is similar to the Royal Rumble. 22 men will enter the match at timed intervals and eliminations occur by pinfall, submission, knockout, disqualification and by being thrown over the top rope. The final four participants will advance to a four-way match on January 5 to crown the inaugural holder of the KOPW 2021 Trophy.
Chase Owens politicked his way into the Rambo and was met by Tomohiro Ishii, who went straight after the Bullet Club member. It went from bad to worse for Owens as Minoru Suzuki entered next. Ishii and Suzuki spent the next minute throwing bombs at Owens and each other.
Yuji Nagata entered next. He and Suzuki quickly reignited their rivalry from back in the summer.
Toa Henare was the fifth entrant and locked up with Ishii.
All of the fans in attendance have been seated at ringside and in the lower bowl, leaving the upper bowl of the Tokyo Dome empty.
Hirooki Goto entered next. Before Goto stepped in the ring, Toa Henare eliminated Suzuki and Nagata after both men started brawling on the ring apron. The King Of Pro Wrestling and the former IWGP Heavyweight Champion didn't let their elimination stop them from fighting as they brawled to the back.
Yujiro Takahashi was the next entrant. Ishii eliminated Toa Henare moments later. YOSHI-HASHI entered next. Togi Makabe came to the ring soon after and eliminated Goto and YOSHI-HASHI.
Tomoaki Honma entered the match next and exchanged chops with Tomohiro Ishii. Honma was followed by Hiroyoshi Tenzan one minute later.
Honma and Tenzan teamed up and eliminated Togi Makabe. Rocky Romero was supposed to be on English commentary with Kevin Kelly and Chris Charlton, but he shocked the commentary team and entered the Rambo. DOUKI followed him shortly after.
Romero and DOUKI immediately went after each other and Rocky connected with some Forever Elbows. This angered DOUKI who attacked him with a steel pipe for the first DQ.
SHO made the save for Rocky as he entered the match next. BUSHI followed soon after and eliminated Yujiro Takahashi.
Tiger Mask continued his comeback in the New Japan Rambo and went straight after Rocky Romero.
Bad Luck Fale was the 17th entrant and made the save for Chase Owens by eliminating Tomohiro Ishii.
Gabriel Kidd entered the match next and started throwing fists with BUSHI on the outside. Honma and Tenzan were eliminated while the broadcast focussed on the new entrant.
Yuya Uemura entered the ring next and helped his fellow young lion, Gabriel Kidd, against BUSHI.
Romero, SHO and Tiger Mask were all eliminated by Bad Luck Fale.
Kidd and Uemura eventually entered the ring and they were joined by Yota Tsuji, who was the next entrant. Toru Yano was the final entrant, but Bullet Club eliminated the young lions before Yano could enter the ring.
This meant the final four men were Toru Yano, Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens and BUSHI. They will face off tomorrow for the KOPW 2021 Trophy.
Hiromu Takahashi def. El Phantasmo - Winner will face Taiji Ishimori for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship on January 5
Noritake Kinashi opened the event and invited the legendary Riki Choshu to the ring, who gave a special address to the audience at the Tokyo Dome.
After a video package hyping the card, it was time for our first match. Rocky Romero opened the English commentary broadcast with, "It's January 4th, and you know what that means." Kevin Kelly also dedicated the broadcast to the memory of Brodie Lee.
El Phantasmo dropped to the floor immediately after the bell and tossed the BOSJ 27 trophy away. He then went looking for Jushin "Thunder" Liger with the Super J-Cup gold jacket, but Takahashi caught him with a Shotgun Dropkick. The Time Bomb followed up with a dive and mocked Phantasmo's trademark pose.
Takahashi went for a Sunset Bomb moments later, but Phantasmo blocked it and hit his own Sunset Bomb to the outside. He followed up with a Springboard Moonsault at ringside.
The pace of the match slowed after the dive and ELP meticulously attacked Hiromu's legs and arms.
Takahashi fought back into the bout with a Wheelbarrow Driver from the top rope and both men exchanged offence over the next few minutes. Hiromu sold the damage to his right hand throughout and didn't have the strength to connect with Time Bomb 2. This allowed ELP to almost pick up the win with a roll-up.
We had our first ref bump of the show after ELP "accidentally" bumped into the official. The Super J-Cup 2020 winner took advantage with a Low Blow, Hurricanrana from the top rope and Frog Splash for a near fall.
He tried to follow up with CR2 but Hiromu reversed it into a pin and ELP just kicked out. Both men then got back to their feet and ELP hit Styles Clash for a near fall. He tried another call-back to Bullet Club of old and went for a One-Winged Angel but Hirmou reversed into a Death Valley Driver into the corner.
After another exchange, Phantasmo went for CR2 once again but Hiromu reversed into a Hurricanrana pinning combination for the 1-2-3.
Takahashi will face Taiji Ishimori for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship tomorrow morning.
Guerrillas Of Destiny def. Dangerous Tekkers - IWGP Tag Team Championship
The story heading into the match centred around G.O.D.'s quest to become a record seven-time IWGP Tag Team Champions. Also, no champions have successfully retained the titles at the Tokyo Dome for several years.
Dangerous Tekkers dominated the early going, working over Tama Tonga. Tonga fought back into the match after Jado grabbed at Taichi's leg. Jado and DOUKI then brawled on the outside with kendo sticks.
It was G.O.D.'s turn to dominate and Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa cut the ring in half and beat down Taichi for several minutes.
The World's Sliest Wrestler eventually made the hot tag to Zack Sabre Jr. and he used his technical wrestle proficiency to tie up Tonga into a near fall.
Dangerous Tekkers tried to organise a two-on-one beatdown of Tama Tonga but Tanga Loa caught him with a Clothesline from behind. This gave G.O.D. the opening to work over ZSJ for the next few minutes, including a Powerbomb which almost ended the match, but Taichi broke up the pin at the last possible moment.
G.O.D set up for the Super Powerbomb but ZSJ countered into a Guillotine on Loa. Tonga also locked in an Abdominal Stretch on Tonga. While this was going on, ZSJ screamed at Taichi to "get your arse over here. It's the f*****g Tokyo Dome," and they connected with a Powerbomb-Superplex combination.
After all four men were laid out, Taichi and Tanga Loa got to their feet first and tried to finish each other off with Clotheslines. ZSJ then helped his tag team partner and they set up for Zack Mephisto, but Tama appeared out of nowhere and connected with Gun Stun on ZSJ. Taichi fought back and hit an Axe Bomber for a two-count.
Loa kicked out and Jado entered the ring moments later and tossed Taichi's iron glove to Tama Tonga while he distracted the official. Tonga proceeded to drill Taichi with the weapon and Tanga Loa followed up with Apes**t for the victory.
KENTA def. Satoshi Kojima - IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship Right To Challenge Contract
Before the next match, The Death Rider Jon Moxley appeared in a pre-taped vignette inside a NJPW USA ring and said he was coming for the contract holder, whoever that may be.
This was Kojima's biggest match in years and his first title match since he and Hiroyoshi Tenzan dropped the IWGP Tag Team Title at Sakura Genesis 2017.
After taking a beating from KENTA, Kojima fought back into the matchup with some Mongolian Chops and Machine Gun Chops.
Later, KENTA went for a Suplex on the ring apron but Kojima countered and drilled the Bullet Club member's face off the apron.
Back in the ring, KENTA continued to beat down his opponent and went for the Go To Sleep but Kojima reversed into a Cutter. Satoshi then went for a Lariat, only for KENTA to counter into a Powerslam. The former GHC Heavyweight Champion then grabbed the briefcase but Kojima knocked it away and landed a Lariat for a near fall.
Both men continued to try and hit their finishers but reversals reigned supreme.
After several more counters, KENTA landed a Running Knee and followed up with the Go To Sleep to retain the contract.
An intermission followed so the ring could be disinfected and New Japan announced they'll be on USA and UK TV soon.
Hiroshi Tanahashi def. Great-O-Khan
After some mat wrestling in the opening moments, Great-O-Khan dominated the next several minutes while Hiroshi Tanahashi tried to fight from underneath.
Tanahashi eventually got on a roll with a trio of Flying Forearms and a Somersault Senton for a two count. The Ace sold his knees afterwards.
Both men traded Forearms in the centre of the ring and The Empire member won the exchange with a Pump Kick. He then resumed control of the match and worked over Tanahashi's battered knees.
The Ace repeatedly blocked Mongolian Chops and connected with Slingblade for a near fall. He climbed the top rope for High Fly Flow, but Great-O-Khan dragged him back into the ring and locked in an Abdominal Stretch.
Great-O-Khan then went for The Eliminator on a chair but Tanahashi reversed into Twist And Shout. The former IWGP Heavyweight Champion teased hitting Khan with the chair, but he tossed it away and delivered a Dragon Suplex for a near fall instead.
Tanahashi again climbed to the top rope and connected with High Fly Flow to Great-O-Khan's back. He followed up with another one on Great-O-Khan's stomach for the 1-2-3.
Kazuchika Okada def. Will Ospreay
Ospreay was accompanied to the ring by Bea Priestley, who held her Goddess Of Stardom Championship.
The action started slowly as both men locked up. Okada got the better of the exchange and mocked Ospreay, which The Commonwealth Kingpin didn't appreciate.
Both men then fought back and forth inside and outside of the ring. Okada even went high risk and hit Ospreay with a Senton over the top rope.
Okada got distracted by Bea Priestley goading him and Ospreay capitalised with a kick. He and Priestley proceeded to expose the flooring at ringside and Ospreay took control of the match. The Ariel Assassin delivered a Diving Knee to Okada while he was draped on the apron and followed up with a Side Slam after initially being blocked by Red Shoes.
Ospreay worked over Okada on the mat for the next several minutes but The Rainmaker eventually fought back with a Back Body Drop, Flying Forearms and a Flapjack.
After both men exchanged offence, Okada connected with Heavy Rain and he and Ospreay exchanged Forearms in the centre of the ring. Okada got the better of the exchange with his patented Dropkick, knocking Ospreay to the floor. They then brawled on the outside, scaring Kevin Kelly, and Okada ducked the OsCutter and drilled Ospreay with a Shotgun Dropkick.
He connected with another Shotgun Dropkick from the top rope and tried to follow up with a Tombstone, but Ospreay countered and hit a Reverse Bloody Sunday.
The pace of the match quickened and after a flurry of counters, Ospreay reversed a Shotgun Dropkick into a Jumping Powerbomb for a near fall.
The bout once again descended to the floor and Ospreay Suplexed Okada through a table. Bea Priestley implored Ospreay to pull Okada back into the ring, exclaiming, "He's done."
Ospreay had the chance to win by count-out, but he dragged Okada back into the ring and delivered a Phenomenal Forearm from the top rope and a Powerbomb for another two count.
Ospreay tried to follow up with Stormbreaker on the apron, but Okada blocked it. The former Chaos member then went for an OsCutter but Okada reversed into a Tombstone Piledriver on the apron.
Ospreay managed to get back in the ring at the count of 18 and Okada hit a non-twisting version of the Rainmaker. The former IWGP Heavyweight Champion then locked in the Money Clip, hit a Twisting Tombstone and locked in the Money Clip again. Bea Priestley climbed on to the apron and was promptly knocked off after Okada threw Ospreay into her.
Okada reapplied the Money Clip and Ospreay somehow made it to the rope.
With Ospreay wheezing, Okada knocked Ospreay to the mat twice with Elbow Strikes. He then toyed with Ospreay, Kicking him on the back of the head. Ospreay tried to Slap back but Okada just laughed and Powerslammed his former friend.
Okada climbed to the top rope, Ospreay blocked him, though, and fought back with a Big Boot. With Okada stunned, Ospreay followed up with a Spanish Fly from the top rope for a near fall.
He went for OsCutter, but Okada blocked it. He hit it at the second attempt, though, and The Rainmaker just kicked out.
It was Ospreay's turn to toy with his opponent as he Slapped Okada and repeatedly Stomped on his head, even pushing away Red Shoes.
Okada fought back with a Dropkick and went for the Rainmaker, Ospreay ducked and went for the OsCutter but Okada caught him with another Dropkick. He followed up with Rainmaker and applied Money Clip again. Ospreay got out of it, hit a Tombstone and mocked Okada with a Rainmaker pose. He then hit his own Rainmaker for the nearest of near falls at the 35-minute mark.
Okada managed to get back to his feet and connected with a Sit-Out Tombstone and another Rainmaker for the hard-fought victory.
Kota Ibushi def. Tetsuya Naito - IWGP Heavyweight & IWGP Intercontinental Double Championship
The story of the match was built around whether Kota Ibushi would finally become God and capture the Double Championship after suffering setbacks in 2020. Many also wondered how dangerous the match would be, particularly after Naito and Ibushi's past battles.
Both men engaged in mat wrestling in the early going, but the danger quickly ramped up as Naito dropped Ibushi on his head on the ramp. Naito controlled the match for the next several minutes, working over Ibushi's neck, but The Golden Star fought back with a Dropkick.
Naito quickly regained control after a Neckbreaker and Spinning Neckbreaker on the outside. Ibushi once again fought back with a German Suplex and a Double Stomp at the 15-minute mark.
Naito took control yet again and wore Ibushi down with the Pluma Blanca. He followed up with Gloria for a near fall, but Ibushi caught Naito with a Spinning Heelkick when The Ingobernable One went to the top rope.
They then moved to the apron and Naito countered a Piledriver into a Back Drop. Naito then charged at his opponent and Ibushi caught him with a Hurricanrana from the apron to the floor. Naito grasped his knee after the move and was almost counted-out, but he made it back into the ring at 19.
Naito caught Ibushi with a Poison Rana from the top rope and both men landed on their head. The Champion followed up with Destino for a near fall. He went for a second Destino but Ibushi caught him and delivered the B*****d Driver.
After exchanging Forearms, Ibushi hit the Golden Star Powerbomb and the Kamigoye but Naito kicked out at two. Ibushi went back to his past and tried for a Phoenix Splash. Naito rolled out of the way, though, and hit another Destino. Ibushi somehow kicked out.
Both men exchanged offence and Ibushi hit another Kamigoye for a near fall. The crowd let out an audible gasp when Naito got his shoulder up.
Ibushi next exposed his knee and went for a third Kamigoye, only to receive a Valentia. Naito then went for a third Destino but Ibushi hit a Wristlock Knee and a third Kamigoye for the victory.
Ibushi became God and is your new IWGP Heavyweight & IWGP Intercontinental Champion. After the bell, Naito ripped the belts from Red Shoes hands and handed them to Kota Ibushi.