KENTA vs. Satoshi Kojima made official for NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 15

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Several days ago, it was made official that KENTA was going to defend the briefcase that gives him the right to challenge for the IWGP U.S. Heavyweight Championship against Juice Robinson. That match was scheduled for night two of Wrestle Kingdom 15 but Juice Robinson suffered a fractured orbital bone and was pulled from the card.

At the 12/23 Road to Tokyo Dome show, Satoshi Kojima stepped up, took out KENTA and issued the challenge for Wrestle Kingdom and it was made official for night one. For the first time since Wrestle Kingdom 8 in 2014, Kojima will not be in a tag match on NJPW’s biggest show of their calendar year.

Juice Robinson's replacement for KENTA January 4 is official:

Night 1 of Wrestle Kingdom will see KENTA vs Satoshi Kojima! #njwk15

— NJPW Global (@njpwglobal) December 24, 2020

The Wrestle Kingdom 15 cards are updated and here are the lineups for night one and two:

January 4
* IWGP Heavyweight & Intercontinental Championships: Tetsuya Naito (c) vs. Kota Ibushi
* Kazuchika Okada vs. Will Ospreay
* IWGP Tag Team Championship: Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi (c) vs. Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa)
* Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. The Great O-Khan
* Winner Becomes #1 Contender to IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title: Hiromu Takahashi vs. El Phantasmo
* New Japan Ranbo: Competitors TBA
* IWGP U.S. Heavyweight Title Challenge Rights: KENTA (c) vs. Satoshi Kojima

January 5
* IWGP Heavyweight & Intercontinental Championships: TBD (c) vs. Jay White
* IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Taiji Ishimori (c) vs. TBD
* NEVER Openweight Championship: Shingo Takagi (c) vs. Jeff Cobb
* KOPW Four-Way Match: TBD vs. TBD vs. TBD vs. TBD
* IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru (c) vs. Master Wato & Ryusuke Taguchi
* Dark Match (STARDOM): TBA vs. TBA

Looking forward to it!

Now, a word from our sponsor:

Kojima bringing the bread to the US Championship Contract!

Feel bad for Juice, but I’m far more excited to see Kojima get this match than him. His momentum and rise in NJPW seems to have plateaued (the long break obviously didn’t do him any favors) and without much of a story and no actual belt to fight over, it was just going to be another match on a card.

Now with Kojima, we’re getting what could be the last major show singles bout of a legend that’ll create a great atmosphere for the match (depending on what the crowd size winds up being, I guess). Kenta has spent his time back in NJPW not needing to keep up with the work rate of others to have entertaining matches and thus I doubt any limitations on Kojima will matter here. FWIW, of the dads, he and Nagata haven’t had any issues keeping up when necessary and the only other guy I maybe would have liked to see here was Suzuki, because it’s a real shame he’s probably going to be just in the Rumble after the year he has had.

Theyre doing the Stone Pitbull dirty. Where is my guy?

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