NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 15 Primer

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2021/01/01/njpw-wrestle-kingdom-15-primer/


John Pollock, Wai Ting and WH Park preview NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 15 from the Tokyo Dome on January 4th and 5th, 2020 featuring Tetsuya Naito vs. Kota Ibushi, Kazuchika Okada vs. Will Ospreay, and more.

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NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 15 – Night 1
January 4, 2020
Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo Dome

    • Double Championship: Tetsuya Naito © vs. Kota Ibushi
    • Kazuchika Okada vs. Will Ospreay
    • Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Great-O-Khan
    • IWGP U.S. Title Briefcase: KENTA (holder) vs. Satoshi Kojima
    • IWGP Tag Titles: Dangerous Tekkers © vs. Guerillas of Destiny
    • IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title Eliminator: Hiromu Takahashi vs. El Phantasmo
    • New Japan Ranbo (Final 4 advance to KOPW Trophy Match)

NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 15 – Night 2
January 5, 2020
Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo Dome

    • Double Championship: (Winner of Naito vs. Ibushi) vs. Jay White
    • IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title: Taiji Ishimori © vs. (Winner of Takahashi vs. El Phantasmo)
    • SANADA vs. EVIL
    • NEVER Openweight Title: Shingo Takagi © vs. Jeff Cobb
    • IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Titles: Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado © vs. Master Wato & Ryusuke Taguchi
    • Provisional KOPW 2021 Trophy Fatal 4-Way
    • STARDOM Dark Match: Mayu Iwatani & Tam Nakano vs. Donna Del Mondo (Syuri & Giulia)
    • STARDOM Dark Match: Queen’s Quest (Saya Kamitani, Azumi, & Utami Hayashishita) vs. Donna Del Mondo (Maika, Natsupoi, & Himeka)

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Spoiler Alert: WH Park has opinions on NJPW. Good job as always guys.

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WH’s optimistic assessment of Great-O-Khan began with discussing his new gear. I love it.

Just re-watched Wrestle Kingdom 10, just days before AJ Styles showed up at the Royal Rumble and started strong in his WWE journey by starting a programme with Chris Jericho from the get-go.

EDIT: Forgot. Happy New Year, Happy New Start, and Happy Wrestle Kingdom!

Good job as always guys.

I know a lot of people aren’t pumped up for this year’s card - last year was almost the perfect circle of great build up, very anticipated card, New Japan peaking, and the shows living up to all that - so no matter what it was going to be hard to replicate, let alone in these times.

I think ultimately what did NJPW in on the anticipation and build front was the lack of time. Not having any time for Naito to build up a few defense before the loss and/or not being able to let an EVIL title reign breathe at all. And on the other end, the nature of having the G1 later in the year really shrunk the amount of time they had to build out the rest of the card between the BOSJ and WTL having to be squeezed in.

That said, in many ways I think the year did a lot of good. This time last year, we were all screaming for a shit or get off the pot moment with both EVIL and Sanada, and it’s hard to argue with one winning the Double Title and both being involved in a big singles match with each other this year that they haven’t taken a big step in that direction. They stumbled a bit and needed some more time to build and tell the story of the stoic Sanada being pushed to his breaking point by the betrayal and actions of EVIL, but they eventually got halfway there.

Jay White returned from the break fully understanding and portraying his character and its really made him finally feel like the level of wrestler for the position he’s been placed in this whole time.

On another front of building, all seems to be going great with The Empire. Ospreay, whether he wins this morning or not is now on a different level. Its helped place a returning Young Lion in an enormous match on WK. And Jeff Cobb is starting to feel like something other than just another imported big man. Even if the two devolve into a tag team after this, WTL showed a lot of potential there and NJPW always can use fresh contenders.

One of the big and rightful gripes with this card is the large amount of deserving guys who are somehow left off of a two day event. I think it was mentioned in the podcast that simply going with CHAOS and SHO and Robbie Eagles would have made more sense and I definitely agree with rather than trying to use the importance of the event to make a failing entity like Wato relevant. There’s also the matter of the Ranbo, which while I can’t care less about KOPW, hopefully it’s a tool that gives us an exciting 4-way on Day 2 that’ll put the card over the top. If we’re entering tomorrow with something like 3 of a mix of Suzuki-Goto-Ishii-Nagata-SHO (and of course, Yano as a 4th), we’re in okay shape.

Anyway, I committed a while ago to watching live, so hopefully they’ll be others doing so too so we can live chat it on here like last year. If not, hope everyone enjoys it regardless. This is one of my favorite weeks every year.