NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 15: Night 2 Review

Night two of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Wrestle Kingdom 15 was just as fantastic as the first. Six matches made up the main card for night two and we’ve given a more indepth look at some of the bigger matches as we close out this years Wrestle Kingdom 15.

1st Match

KOPW 2021 Four-way Bad Luck Fale vs Chase Owens vs BUSHI vs Toru Yano

After some initial hesitation to get in the ring on the part of Toru Yano and BUSHI, it’s easy to see why Bullet Club had a clear numbers advantage in both Chase Owens and Bad Luck Fale. However, the two men were quickly prompted to enter when Owens and Fale went for a ‘Too Sweet’ only for Fale to hit his into the chest of Owens kayfabe knocking him down and allowing Fale to go for the cover. Clearly, the Bullet Club had a game plan going into the match. BUSHI and Yano narrowly broke up the pin attempt to finally get the match underway.

Bullet Club managed to divide and conquer in the early going, getting in some close falls before BUSHI made a small comeback that was eventually stopped by Yano. Yano decided it was a good idea to go for a body slam on Fale but Fale’s weight was too much for Yano who fell back inadvertently putting Fale in a pinning situation on him. Some dissension between the two Bullet Club members lead to them accosting the referee giving Yano the perfect opportunity to low blow them both. He managed to pick up the win by going for a cover on the already down BUSHI to win the KOPW 2021 trophy.

Winner: Toru Yano

2nd Match

IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: Suzuki-Gun (El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) vs One or Eight (Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato)

El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru were by far the more cohesive unit throughout this match both taking the time to work on Ryusuke Taguchi’s knee to great effect. Taguchi on the other hand played around a little too much. His Shinsuke Nakamura inspired sloppy offence was a fun sight but probably not the best place to showcase the comedy act during a championship match at Wrestle Kingdom. Unsurprisingly El Desperado and Kanemaru picked up the win. Being the more experienced team tag really showed compared to the inexperienced pairing of Taguchi and Master Wato.

Winners: El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru

3rd Match

NEVER Openweight Championship: Shingo Takagi vs Jeff Cobb

Not much to say for this match, it was fantastic and definitely needs a sequel down the road. For two larger athletes, this was a fast-paced and highly physical match with barely a respite. Both men, like two tanks, went all out for the entire match trading heavy blows throughout. Shingo Takagi picked up the win but Jeff Cobb was clearly still ready to go. Hopefully we get to see more from these two men sooner than later.

Winner: Shingo Takagi

4th Match

EVIL (w/ Dick Togo) vs SANADA

This match certainly had that big fight feel going in and the anticipation as the two wrestlers made their entrances was at an all-time high. 

The match started with a good flurry of offence and quick counters, not surprising given the history with these two. Chaos quickly ensued as the match got taken out of the ring. EVIL threw SANADA into the barricade knocking out the ring announcer before grabbing some chairs from under the ring. With a chair around the neck of SANADA EVIL hit a baseball swing with the second. This move is terrifying to watch. EVIL and Dick Togo even managed to set up a table at ringside while the referee was either distracted or showing a huge amount of leeway.

Togo once again played his role during the match by removing the blue corner turnbuckle padding which continued to come into play throughout the match. SANADA was thrown again into the barricade knocking out the ring announcer once more. An unfortunate leg from SANADA knocked down the referee allowing Togo to get involved with a chair to the midsection of SANADA. This descended into a series of double team moves from EVIL and Togo on SANADA. A well-timed escape by SANADA allowed him to push EVIL into the ropes causing the perched Togo to lose balance and fall from the top of the turnbuckle, slip and tumble to the outside. 

SANADA managed to get in a good flurry before being halted by EVIL. Togo returned with some wire around the neck of SANADA while the referee was being distracted by EVIL. SANADA freed himself and landed a dropkick on EVIL who inadvertently knocked Togo from the apron and through the table at ringside. With Togo out of the picture, SANADA was able to mount an offensive strategy to beat Evil.

Winner: SANADA

5th Match

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Taiji Ishimori vs Hiromu Takahashi

Speedy start to the match with both men kicking it into high gear but Taiji Ishimori having the upper hand from a speed standpoint. Took one risk to many though and received a pop-up apron bomb for his troubles. The action continued outside the ring and for whatever reason Hiromu Takahashi decided to walk back up the extremely long entrance ramp, stop, turn around and proceed to run back down. Heading straight for Ishimori he goes for a running shotgun dropkick only to be sidestepped by Ishimori who grabbed a leg, pulling Takahashi to the ground, hitting his head as he fell. Not sure this was the intended result as it looked rather nasty.

Ishimori continued to work Takahashi into that exposed steel turnbuckle because either the padding was removed again or never replaced. After some nasty offence to Takahashi’s hand and arm, he makes a comeback and plants Ishimori firmly on the mats at ringside with a rather heavy thud. A well-placed dropkick from the apron sent Ishimori into the barricade, Takahashi got him back in the ring for a Falcon Arrow and a close two count. Ishimori’s speed cannot be ignored and can quickly turn the tables allowing him to go back to work on Takahashi’s arm with an insane looking Springboard 450.

The match continued to go at a breakneck pace never missing a beat. Counter into a Dragon Suplex, Canadian Destroyer, these two men were taking us on a rollercoaster ride of high-risk moves. As the match went on tiredness set in with both men running on pure instinct and emotion. Despite taking most of the punishment Takahashi’s will won out, determination above all else. An impressive victory given the amount of time he spent locked up in submissions on his already vulnerable arm. No shame in Ishimori losing here it was a fantastic effort and best match of the night and only second to the semi-main event of night one of Wrestle Kingdom 15.

Winner: Hiromu Takahashi

Main event

Double IWGP Heavyweight & Intercontinental Championships: Jay White vs Kota Ibushi

This might be the first match at Wrestle Kingdom 15 that has started with a traditional lockup. Things quickly descended into a beat down due to Gedo grabbing the leg of Ibushi allowing White to rain down fists and stomps on the champion. Being the fresher man White’s early game plan was to tire out Ibushi with frequent dashes to the outside. Gedo tried to get involved on the outside and received a nice elbow in the throat from Ibushi.

White’s tactics may have started to work as he was clearly a step ahead as he sent Ibushi head first into the canvas with a sudden DDT through the ropes. White sent Ibushi out of the ring and delivered a high angle back suplex on the apron, high on the head and neck. In and out of the ring is what White is going for, taking as much time to punish Ibushi outside as possible. Thunderous thrusts into the ring apron went Ibushi again and again at the hands of White working the ribs of Ibushi not allowing any recovery time.

Some words between Red Shoes and White gave Ibushi an opening to deliver a thunderous kick in the chest to White. A kick to the midsection and another to the chest, a standing moonsault and a cover for a two. The comeback didn’t last as he was thrown into the edge of the ring and then the barricade. Everytime Ibushi gained any momentum White always had a counter and his early game plan seriously robbed Ibushi of breath. White almost stole the match by using the ropes to give more leverage to his pin but luckily Red Shoes caught on just before the three count.

Any sign of tiredness that Ibushi had shown up till this point is all but gone and White was on the wrong side of a comeback. Whatever White hit Ibushi with it only returned two-fold. White appeared to have given up telling Ibushi to pin him as he lay tired on the canvas. Not accepting the offering Ibushi wailed on White some more and had to be warned by Red Shoes not to go too far. Not interested in stopping, Ibushi shrugged off Red Shoes allowing White to hit a low blow. White rolled Ibushi out of the ring to continue the punishment of throwing him from barricade to ring edge. The back and ribs of Ibushi took a major beating by this point.

White continued the beat down on the entrance ramp while Red Shoes told him to take it back to the ring. Deadlift German suplex high on the head of Ibushi and another landing even more awkwardly on his neck. Last ride sit out powerbomb almost clinches the match for Ibushi but White managed, by only centimeters, to get the shoulder up. Massive dragon sleeper suplex right on the head of Ibushi and another, then a regalplex for a near fall. Huge 450 splash for a 1, 2 and nothing, Gedo pulled Red Shoes from the ring before he could hit the 3. Ibushi got the referee back in the ring only for White to hit bladerunner for a very close two count mirroring White’s kick-out only a few minutes previous.

In the end Ibushi’s stamina and drive was just that much greater than White’s as he managed to end the match victorious and set the record of longest main event match at a Wrestle Kingdom event.

 Winner: Kota Ibushi