One night after defeating Tetsuya Naito for the IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental Championships, Kota Ibushi defends those titles against "'Switchblade" Jay White in the main event of Wrestle Kingdom 15 night two.
These two last met in singles competition in November 2020 at Power Struggle, where White illegally used the ropes for leverage to pin Ibushi and win the right to challenge for the top IWGP titles on tonight's show.
In tonight's semi-main event, Taiji Ishimori will defend the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship against Best of the Super Jrs. 27 winner Hiromu Takahashi. Hiromu earned his spot in this match by beating 2020 Super J-Cup winner El Phantasmo on last night's show.
Former tag team partners SANADA and EVIL will face off in a special singles match, Shingo Takagi will defend the NEVER Openweight Championship against Jeff Cobb, while El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru will defend the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team titles against Ryusuke Taguchi and Master Wato.
In the main card opener, The provisional KOPW 2021 Champion will be decided in a four-way. Toru Yano, BUSHI, Chase Owens and Bad Luck Fale will square off for the title after being the final four in last night's New Japan Ranbo.
Two Stardom matches will be held on the pre-show, but not broadcast on NJPW World. Mayu Iwatani and Tam Nakano will take on Giulia and Syuri, plus Utami Hayashishita, Saya Kamitani & AZM will face Maika, Himeka & Natsupoi.
Our live coverage begins with the main card at 3 a.m. Eastern time.
Pre-show matches --
Utami Hayashishita, Saya Kamitani & AZM defeated Maika, Himeka & Natsupoi (9:48)
Kamitani beat Natsupoi with a phoenix splash.
Giulia & Syuri defeated Mayu Iwatani & Tam Nakano (12:49)
Giulia beat Nakano with a Glorious Driver.
Provisional KOPW 2021 Championship match: Toru Yano defeated Bad Luck Fale, BUSHI & Chase Owens to win the title (7:24)
This featured a lot of comedy and a little bit of good wrestling. There were the usual Yano shenanigans, and those will continue in the new year with his victory here.
Yano and BUSHI teased not getting in the ring at the opening bell. Fale and Owens did a finger poke of doom. Fale covered Owens, but Yano and BUSHI jumped in to break up the pin.
Yano exposed a buckle and BUSHI missed a charge into the exposed steel. Owens used the turnbuckle pad as a weapon on Yano. BUSHI teased a tope to Owens, but Fale pulled him to the floor. Fale and Owens doubled up on Yano. BUSHI saved Yano from an Owens pin.
BUSHI hit a bulldog/dropkick combo on Owens and Fale, then hit a tope suicida on Owens. Fale took out BUSHI with a shoulder tackle. Yano tried to slam Fale. Fale collapsed on Yano and covered for a two count.
BUSHI and Owens had a nice exchange. BUSHI hit a rewind kick and a backstabber. Owens blocked an MX. BUSHI blocked a package piledriver attempt. Fale and Owens hit the Grenade Launcher on BUSHI. Owens covered, but Fale kicked him to break up the pin.
Fale and Owens argued over who should get to pin BUSHI. They decided to try a chokeslam on the referee. Yano used that opportunity to hit a double low blow on Fale and Owens.
Yano then covered BUSHI for the pin.
IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championship match: El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru defeated Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato (w/Hiroyoshi Tenzan) to retain the titles (13:20)
This was a solid undercard tag, but these guys weren't out there to steal the show.
Wato fired off an immediate shotgun dropkick to Desperado. He then knocked Kanemaru off the apron with a running boot. Wato sent Desperado rolling to the floor after a series of strikes. Wato then hit a tornillo.
Taguchi tagged in and tried some comedy with Desperado. Taguchi got sent outside and whipped into the barricade. Desperado took the referee. Kanemaru brought a chair into the ring and drove Taguchi's left leg into it.
Desperado and Kanemaru used quick tags and continued attacking the left leg of Taguchi. Taguchi missed one hip attack, but hit a second and tagged out. Wato hit a springboard uppercut to Kanemaru. Kanemaru used the ref as a human shield three times, then hit an enzuigiri. Desperado tagged in and ate a mid kick from Wato.
Desperado blocked a Taguchi hip attack. Taguchi hit a series of strikes with his butt, then hit a hip attack. Taguchi hit three amigos for a near fall. Desperado came back with a Numero Dos. Wato jumped in to break up the submission attempt.
Desperado went for Pinche Loco. Taguchi blocked and got an ankle lock applied. Taguchi threw Desperado into the ropes. Wato kind of hit a sloppy 619. Taguchi hit Dodon. Kanemaru broke up the ensuing pin attempt.
Taguchi tried another Dodon. Desperado rolled through for a cradle and a near fall. Wato was late on the save.
Kanemaru jumped in with a whiskey bottle. Taguchi threw Desperado into Kanemaru. The ref was distracted by the Kanemaru interference. Desperado then hit a closed fist strike.
Desperado then hit Pinche Loco and pinned Taguchi to retain.
NEVER Openweight Championship match: Shingo Takagi defeated Jeff Cobb to retain the title (21:11)
This was an awesome match. This was Cobb's best NJPW match to date.
A striking battle kicked things off. After the strikes resulted in a stalemate, both tried a series of tackles. Shingo used a misdirection spot to send Cobb into the buckle, then hit a hip toss. Shingo then scored with a tackle for a one count.
Cobb came back with a dropkick, then hit a belly-to-belly on the floor. Back inside, Cobb tried working a side headlock. Shingo used the ropes to aid him in hitting a back suplex.
They fought on the apron. Shingo teased a DVD on the apron. Cobb blocked and teased a razor's edge off the apron to the floor. Shingo escaped and hit a tope con giro. Back in the ring, Shingo hit a DDT and an elbow drop for a near fall.
Cobb fought out of a noshigami attempt and hit a spin cycle. Cobb hit a leaping uppercut forearm and two gutwrench suplexes. Shingo escaped a third suplex attempt with a headscissors takeover. Cobb hit a black tiger bomb for a great near fall.
Cobb set up for Tour of the Islands. Shingo blocked and hit a death valley driver. Shingo hit a corner lariat and a superplex. He followed with a wheelbarrow suplex. They traded strikes and suplexes. Shingo rolled to the floor for a countout tease, but made it back in at 19.
Cobb hit a gonzo bomb for a near fall. Shingo hit a dragon screw and Made in Japan for a two count.
They traded strikes. Cobb hit a German and a Tour of the Islands, but Cobb sold his knee giving out on the landing. Shingo got hit foot on the ropes as Cobb made a late cover. Cobb then hooked both legs but only got a two count.
Cobb teased a Tour of the Islands off the top rope. Shingo slid out and hit a powerbomb. Shingo tried a pumping bomber. Cobb blocked and hit a lariat. Cobb hit a moonsault powerslam. Shingo hit a pumping bomber but Cobb didn't go down. Shingo hit two more lariats, a headbutt, a jab and another headbutt, but Cobb refused to go down. Shingo hit a belly-to-belly throw into a double down.
Shingo was first up and hit a pumping bomber. He followed with Last of the Dragon and scored the pin.
***** Intermission *****
SANADA defeated EVIL (w/Dick Togo) (23:40)
If you can set aside the usual Bullet Club hijinks and ref bumps, this was very good. They worked it like a true grudge match.
EVIL hit a kick to the knee and tried to bait SANADA into following him outside. SANADA refused. They did a quick series of finisher teases as EVIL went for Everything is EVIL, SANADA teased a Skull End, then SANADA teased Everything is EVIL. SANADA got a paradise lock applied and broke it with a dropkick.
SANADA teased a tope. EVIL side-stepped. SANADA tried a moonsault off the apron to the floor, but EVIL stepped away from that as well. EVIL whipped SANADA into the barricade, wiping out ring announcer Abe on the other side. EVIL and Togo set up a table to use later.
EVIL put a chair around SANADA's neck and hit a baseball swing with a second chair. Back in, EVIL used a cocky cover for a one count. Togo exposed a turnbuckle and EVIL sent SANADA into it. They went back outside and EVIL again sent SANADA into the barricade. Abe took another bump.
Togo used a chair on SANADA while the ref was on the outside tending to Abe. EVIL covered for a couple of two counts. SANADA came back with a low dropkick and a TKO attempt. EVIL slid out. The camera missed a move while Togo was fiddling with a table on the floor and EVIL regained control of the match.
They fought on the apron. EVIL teased Darkness Falls off the apron through the table. SANADA blocked and teased a TKO through the table. EVIL escaped. They fought back into the ring. EVIL tried a ref-assisted Magic Killer. SANADA blocked and hit a magic screw.
SANADA hit a Tiger suplex for a near fall. SANADA used a spinning Skull End. EVIL tried Everything is EVIL. SANADA blocked and went back to Skull End. EVIL rammed SANADA into the exposed buckle to break the hold.
EVIL hit a superplex, then applied the Darkness Scorpion. SANADA reached the bottom rope to force a break. EVIL hit Darkness Falls for a near fall at the 15 minute call.
SANADA blocked Everything is EVIL. EVIL took a sternum-first shot into the exposed buckle. SANADA hit a back suplex and a TKO for a two count.
SANADA hit a backbreaker and went for a moonsault. EVIL rolled away and SANADA landed on his feet. EVIL threw SANADA into the ref, who took a bump.
Togo jumped in and hit SANADA with a series of strikes. EVIL and Togo hit corner clotheslines and a Magic Killer, EVIL and SANADA's former tag team finisher. Togo teased a senton bomb. SANADA shoved EVIL into the ropes and crotched Togo, who fell to the floor.
SANADA used a cradle for a near fall, then hit the rounding body press to set up Skull End. SANADA grounded EVIL with Skull End and applied the body scissors with the hold.
SANADA gave up the hold and hit a moonsault to the back. SANADA tried a second moonsault. EVIL got his knees up to block at the 20 minute call.
Togo jumped up to the apron and choked SANADA with his cord. SANADA escpaed and shoved EVIL into Togo. Togo took a bump off the apron through the table.
SANADA used an O'Connor roll for a near fall. EVIL answered with a huge lariat for his own near fall.
SANADA blocked Everything is EVIL and blocked a low blow. SANADA hit Everything is EVIL.
SANADA then hit a pop-up TKO and a moonsault for the pin.
IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship match: Hiromu Takahashi defeated Taiji Ishimori to win the title (25:31)
This really would have benefitted from having a crowd that could make noise. They were out there killing themselves, working a crazy pace for 25-plus minutes to almost absolute silence. The match was great, but a victim of the pandemic era in that this won't reach that iconic match status.
They came out going a million miles an hour. They teased some moves on the apron. Hiromu went for a sunset bomb. Ishimori landed on his feet on the sunset attempt, but Hiromu hit a pop-up apron bomb.
Hiromu teased a running shotgun dropkick on the long entrance ramp. Ishimori caught him with what was supposed to be a powerbomb on the ramp, but the timing got messed up and the move didn't look good.
Ishimori exposed a buckle, then hit a golden triangle moonsault off the post. Ishimori sent Hiromu into the exposed buckle. Hiromu came back with some palm strikes to the chest, a flying headscissors, a shotgun dropkick and a falcon arrow for a near fall.
Ishimori hit a sliding German, then a springboard 450 onto Hiromu's left arm. Ishimori used the Yes Lock. Hiromu reached the ropes for a break. Hiromu hit a release German into the corner pad, then hit a running DVD.
Ishimori escaped a Time Bomb attempt and hit a jumping knee strike. Hiromu hit a German. Ishimori hit a destroyer into a double down. They traded forearm strikes. Hiromu finally dropped Ishimori with a big forearm strike. Ishimori fired up and dropped Hiromu with a forearm.
Ishimori hit a series of hard forearm strikes, unanswered. Ishimori continued with the hard shots at the 15 minute call. They teased a ref stoppage as Ishimori continued hammering away with hard strikes for several minutes.
Ishimori sent Hiromu's left shoulder into the post, then hit a shoulder breaker. Ishimori used La Mistica to set up the Yes Lock. Ishimori applied the hold in the center of the ring. Hiromu fought his way to the ropes for a break.
Ishimori hit a cipher utaki for a near fall. Hiromu blocked a Bloody Cross attempt and hit victory royal into a double down.
Hiromu hit a lariat, then followed with a DVD into the exposed turnbuckle. Hiromu hit Time Bomb, but Ishimori kicked out. Ishimori blocked Time Bomb II and used the Bone Lock. Ishimori rolled through and tried a Bloody Cross. Hiromu blocked and hit another victory royal at the 25 minute call.
Hiromu then connected with Time Bomb II and pinned Ishimori to win the title.
IWGP Heavyweight Championship & IWGP Intercontinental Championship match: Kota Ibushi defeated Jay White (w/Gedo) to retain the titles (48:05)
This was an epic and an all-time classic.
Ibushi is one of the very best ever. White should enter the conversation surrounding the best of his generation after this performance. This was the match of his life. This will sound blasphemous, but White is a modern Ric Flair. His moves won't blow you away, but in-ring he is the perfect heel pro wrestler.
White started out with his customary stalling. He then agreed to lock up. He backed Ibushi into the ropes and feigned a clean break, but Gedo tripped Ibushi and White pounced. White hit a series of stomps.
Back in the center of the ring, White used a headlock to keep Ibushi grounded. Ibushi kipped up off a shoulder tackle, then missed with a wild kick. After some misdirection from White, Ibushi hit a flying mid kick.
They rolled to the floor. Gedo tried to get involved. Ibushi hit him with an elbow to the ribs. As they climbed back inside, White hit a DDT to regain the upper hand. White threw Ibushi outside, then hit a back suplex onto the apron.
White continued to target Ibushi's core and continued to use the ring frame as a weapon. He drove Ibushi's ribs into the apron. White continued methodically working over the abdomen and lower back. Ibushi tried to fire off a dropkick, but White avoided it.
White hit a DDT. White spent some time jawing with Red Shoes in the corner. Ibushi used that opening to hit an overhead kick. He followed with two mid kicks and a standing moonsault for a near fall, his first significant offensive sequence of the match.
Ibushi sent White outside. White rammed Ibushi into the edge of the ring and into the barricade. On the way back in, White hit a dragon screw in the ropes. Ibushi tried to fire off a springboard attack, but White shoved him off the ropes to the floor.
Ibushi climbed back inside and ate an underhook suplex into the turnbuckle pad. White covered for a near fall. Gedo called for the Kiwi Krusher. Ibushi blocked and hit a snap German. They exchanged forearm strikes.
Ibushi strung together a combination of strikes at the 20 minute call. They traded cradles for quick near falls. Ibushi rolled through on a cradle and hit a bastard driver for a two count.
Ibushi missed a Bomaye and went knee-first into the turnbuckle. White hit a half-and-half suplex and a uranage for a near fall. White hit the Kiwi Krusher for a two count.
White called for the Blade Runner. Ibushi countered into a back suplex. Ibushi hit the Bomaye for a two count. White tried a pin with his feet on the ropes in the way that won him the match at Power Struggle, but Red Shoes caught his feet on the ropes and stopped the count.
They fought to the top rope at the 25 minute call. White teased a sleeper suplex off the top. Ibushi elbowed out and White dropped to the mat. Gedo grabbed Ibushi and bought White some time. White hit a chop block and two dragon screws to the right leg.
White used the TTO submission. Ibushi grabbed the bottom rope and forced a break. White hit some short kicks to the face. Ibushi no-sold them and went into his no-selling trance. Ibushi no-sold a series of strikes, then dropped White with a palm strike.
White crawled to the corner. Ibushi hit more strikes with White in the ropes. Ibushi stood in the middle and demanded that White strike him. White obliged. Ibushi no-sold and dropped him with one strike. They repeated that again. They traded forearms. White rolled to the floor after one shot from Ibushi.
Back inside, Ibushi offered up his neck. White laid on his back and begged Ibushi to cover him. Ibushi refused and hit a series of strikes. Red Shoes tried to pull Ibushi off. Ibushi shoved Red Shoes down. White then hit a low blow.
They rolled to the floor. White sent Ibushi into the barricade and the ring again and again. White posted Ibushi. White dragged Ibushi to the ramp and hammered away with forearms. White went back to the ring and Ibushi followed, staggering.
White hit a complete shot at the 35 minute call. White hit a pair of deadlift German suplexes. They fought on the apron. White teased a German on the apron. Ibushi blocked and hit a high kick. Ibushi hit a German off the second rope back into the ring.
Ibushi hit a last ride for a super close near fall. Ibushi called for Kamigoye. White blocked and dumped Ibushi on his head with a sleeper suplex. White hit another sleeper suplex. White hit a Regal suplex for a near fall at the 40 minute call.
White called for the Blade Runner. Ibushi used a backslide to set up Kamigoye. Ibushi connected, but White kicked out at two.
Ibushi hit a phoenix splash. Red Shoes counted 1, 2 -- but Gedo pulled Red Shoes out of the ring. Gedo jumped in with brass knuckles. Ibushi blocked the shot and hit a Kamigoye on Gedo.
Ibushi revived the ref. Ibushi slowly walked towards White. White popped up and hit a Blade Runner. Ibushi kicked out at the last possible instant.
White tried for another sleeper suplex. Ibushi elbowed out. Ibushi tried to set up a German. White rolled through and applied the TTO. Ibushi tried to fight his way to the ropes. White pulled him back to the middle of the ring. Ibushi teased tapping out, but finally crawled to the ropes at the 45 minute call.
White tried a Blade Buster. Ibushi escaped and hit a v-trigger. White hit another Regal suplex for a near fall. White hit a bloody sunday DDT. Ibushi popped up and hit another v-trigger.
Ibushi grabbed the wrists. They traded kicks. Ibushi hit another v-trigger. Ibushi tried a Kamigoye. White reversed into a Blade Runner attempt. Ibushi escaped and hit a high kick.
Ibushi hit a Kamigoye to the back of the head, then hit a standard Kamigoye. Ibushi covered for the 1-2-3.
White was great in the post-match, clawing for the titles, clawing for Ibushi while Young Lions pulled him out of the ring.
SANADA came to the ring and challenged Ibushi for a future match. Ibushi accepted.
Ibushi cut a short promo as SANADA left. Ibushi said he has done it, he has become God.
Ibushi posed on the turnbuckles with his title belts. He walked around ringside and bowed to Jushin Liger.
Ibushi took his time as he walked up the ramp. He then posed on the stage, holding his belts aloft as fireworks shot off.
This felt like a huge deal. This is how it's done.