Welcome to POST Wrestling’s coverage of the second night of Wrestle Kingdom 15 at the Tokyo Dome featuring new Double Champion Kota Ibushi defending against Jay White in the main event.
Wai Ting and I will have a Wrestle Kingdom 15 POST Show later today available for all members of the POST Wrestling Café.
Live coverage on the site begins at 3 am eastern.
*Double Championship: Kota Ibushi (champion) def. Jay White in 48:05 to retain
*IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Hiromu Takahashi def. Taiji Ishimori (champion) in 25:25 to win the title
*SANADA def. EVIL in 23:41
*NEVER Openweight Championship: Shingo Takagi (champion) def. Jeff Cobb in 21:14
*IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Championship: El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru (champions) def. Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato in 13:21
*KOPW2021 Provisional Championship: Toru Yano def. Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens & BUSHI in 7:35
*Dark Match: Saya Kamitani, Utami Hayashishita & AZM over Maika, Himeka & Natsupoi in 9:48
*Dark Match: Giulia & Syuri over Mayu Iwatani & Tam Nakano in 12:49
Kevin Kelly stated that “record numbers” tuned in for night one of Wrestle Kingdom. Kelly is alongside Rocky Romero and Chris Charlton on English commentary.
BUSHI VS TORU YANO VS BAD LUCK FALE VS CHASE OWENS
The winner of the match will hold the KOPW provisional title to begin 2021.
Fale and Owens attempted the finger poke of doom, but the pin was broken up. BUSHI was sent out allowing Fale and Owens to double-team Yano. When BUSHI returned, he hit tope suicidas to both Owens and Fale on opposite sides. Owens blocked the MX from BUSHI, then failed to hit the package piledriver. Owens and Fale each tried to pin BUSHI and stopped the other leading to an argument over who would win. The two grabbed the referee in the air, Yano hit low blows to Fale and Owens and pinned BUSHI.
WINNER: Toru Yano at 7:35
It was a largely nothing match, which is fine on most shows. For this year, there were limited matches on the shows, and this felt like a waste with the continuation of Yano with the KOPW title allowing Yano to have the same type of matches but with a title involved. The roster is too deep to justify this on the main show.
EL DESPERADO & YOSHINOBU KANEMARU VS RYUSUKE TAGUCHI & MASTER WATO FOR THE IWGP JUNIOR HEAVYWEIGHT TAG TITLES
Hiroyoshi Tenzan is in the corner of Taguchi and Master Wato.
Wato came out of the gate attacking Desperado and hit a beautiful tornillo to the floor.
Taguchi tried to get Desperado to run the ropes with him and doing the criss-cross but got yanked to the floor by Kanemaru. Later, Kanemaru repeatedly used the referee as a shield to score cheap shots on Wato.
Taguchi and Desperado did comedy together and then got into a serious style with numerous counters ending with a Taguchi suplex. The champions worked on Taguchi’s knee allowing Desperado to apply Numero Dos and saved by Wato.
Desperado countered the Dodon with a roll-up and Wato was late making the save. Taguchi hit the Bom a Ye for a two-count on Desperado. With the referee not looking, Desperado used a closed fist and hit Pinche Loco to pin Taguchi.
WINNER: El Desperado (pinned Ryusuke Taguchi) & Yoshinobu Kanemaru in 13:21
After the match, Tenzan chased the champions out of the ring.
The interplay between Taguchi and Desperado elevated this match, so it got to a good level but still on the lower end when comparing both nights. Earlier in the match, Master Wato showcased good fire, and was a good outing for him on a big stage. Desperado is likely ready for something bigger in the junior heavyweight division after the match with Hiromu Takahashi last month.
SHINGO TAKAGI VS JEFF COBB FOR THE NEVER OPENWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
They explained on commentary that Takagi has never beat Cobb and is 0-2 in their two singles matches from the past two G1s.
On the floor, Cobb caught Takagi and executed an overhead belly-to-belly suplex.
Cobb attempted a Border Toss to the floor, which was avoided, and Cobb was knocked off the apron and hit with a somersault dive by Takagi. In the ring, he followed with the Dragon Elbow off the top.
Cobb got Takagi on his shoulders and lifted him in the air and hit a Black Tiger Bomb, which was impressive. Moments later, it was Takagi hitting a superplex. The athleticism of these two is off the charts.
There was a tremendous sequence of slaps, forearms strikes, straight rights, Cobb nailed a release German and Takagi was stunned but had enough to hit a Pumping Bomber before he fell to the floor. Takagi beat the count into the ring and was exhausted but clipped Cobb’s knee and attacked it further. He hit Made in Japan and Cobb kicked out.
Cobb hit Tour of the Island but the knee was injured and he had to crawl allowing Takagi time to recover and kick out.
Takagi stopped a Tour of the Islands attempt with a Pumping Bomber, Cobb won’t go down and finally nails a massive one sending Cobb inside out. Takagi got him up for Last of the Dragon and the victory.
WINNER: Shingo Takagi at 21:14 to retain the NEVER Openweight Championship
This was off the charts, an unbelievable performance from both and one of the defining matches of Cobb’s career. This was as intense and hard-hitting as you could imagine, and both worked at a pace that was so high with constant struggle and fire that place this one at a unique level. They benefited from the format as I can’t imagine they would have had the length this match was provided in a normal year. Fantastic match.
EVIL VS SANADA
Sanada placed EVIL in the Paradise Lock and landed a seated dropkick. EVIL ran Sanada into the guardrail and sent the timekeeper down and EVIL is in control. Kelly is explaining that Sanada is sticking to his regular style to beat EVIL with.
Dick Togo tripped Sanada from the floor as EVIL distracted the referee. They had multiple counters to the Skull End, and Everything is Evil ending with Sanada being run into the exposed buckle.
EVIL applied the Sasori-Gatame (Sharpshooter) and Sanada fought to the rope. EVIL missed and ran into the exposed buckle as Sanada battled back. Sanada landed on his feet off the moonsault attempt. EVIL swung Sanada’s leg knocking Marty Asami down and Dick Togo got involved. EVIL and Togo hit the Magic Killer. Togo set up for a senton, but EVIL was knocked into the ropes and Togo fell.
Sanada applied Skull End, hit a moonsault on the back of EVIL, and went for another landing on the knees. Togo returned and choked Sanada with the wire, he got free and dropkicked EVIL into Togo, who fell off the apron through the table that had been set up. Sanada used the O’Connor roll, which is how he beat EVIL in the G1, but he kicked out this time.
Sanada blocked the low blow and hit his own Everything is Evil followed by a pop-up TKO and moonsault off the top.
WINNER: Sanada at 23:41
This was significantly better than their G1 match, in my opinion. There was still a lot of Dick Togo involved but that was the story of Sanada overcoming the numbers and Togo did get his comeuppance with the table break. The ending minutes were solid from Sanada’s Everything is Evil through the closing moonsault.
Between Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi and now Sanada, that’s three strong babyface challengers coming out of the shows.
TAIJI ISHIMORI VS HIROMU TAKAHASHI FOR THE IWGP JUNIOR HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE
Ishimori countered the sunset bomb to the floor but was caught and dropped on the edge. Takahashi sprinted down the ramp, Ishimori was up and attempted to suplex him but the timing was off. In the ring, he rammed Takahashi’s shoulder into the exposed buckle. Ishimori was sent to the floor allowing Takahashi to hit a missile dropkick running off the apron.
Ishimori hit a springboard 450 onto the left arm of Takahashi. Ishimori tried a handspring off the ropes and was caught with a German suplex, then Ishimori landed a Canadian Destroyer moments later. Then, it turned into a big striking battle on their feet and Takahashi finally went down. Ishimori’s forearms looked excellent. Takahashi kept getting knocked down and absorbing the excessive blows.
Ishimori used La Mistica into the LeBell Lock and he fought his way to the rope using his leg as the arms were trapped. Ishimori is dominating the match but he can’t finish it. Takahashi stopped the Bloody Cross and Ishimori hit a flying knee to the injured shoulder.
Takahashi made a comeback running Ishmori into the corner off the shoulders. Ishimori made one final flurry where he focused on the shoulder going for a submission, Takahashi escaped and suplexed Ishimori into a flat liner and hit the Time Bomb for the win.
WINNER: Hiromu Takahashi in 25:25 to win the IWGP junior heavyweight title
I thought the pacing was very good and Ishimori was excellent in the role of aggressor with a targeted attack of the arm and shoulder while Takahashi’s selling was strong. There were plenty of spectacular moments, but it really conveyed a struggle for Takahashi fighting from underneath throughout most of the match and nearly finished with strikes and the shoulder attack. Technically, this was masterful and some of the sequences were breathtaking.
The announcers pushed Takahashi being right at the level of the all-time great junior heavyweights.
KOTA IBUSHI VS JAY WHITE FOR THE DOUBLE CHAMPIONSHIP
White was stalling and then got control of Ibushi in the early minutes. Gedo grabbed Ibushi and Ibushi hit him with an elbow strike. White dropped Ibushi with a high-angle suplex onto the edge of the apron affecting his neck. White attacked the ribs and wore him down inside the ring while mocking Ibushi and riling up the crowd.
After a long period of selling, Ibushi started to fight back. The game was Ibushi breaking free to showcase his aerial ability and White constantly grounding him and weakening the previously injured areas. Ibushi ate strikes and then executed a huracanrana while lifting the crowd up before he attempted a springboard and was knocked to the floor by White.
Ibushi rolled through and landed the Bastard Driver, which was his most significant move of the match, thus far after twenty minutes.
White hit a uranage, Kiwi Krusher, but the Blade Runner was stopped as Ibushi hit a Bom a Ye for a two-count. White used a backslide with his feet on the ropes and was caught by Red Shoes. Ibushi grabbed the wrists for the Kamigoye but White put his head down, Ibushi struck him and climbed the turnbuckle where Gedo distracted, and White attacked. Ibushi stopped the Sleeper Suplex from the top, White attacked the knees with inverted dragon screws and applied the TTO and Ibushi reached the rope.
White’s strikes stopped having an effect on Ibushi, who fired back as he channeled “Killer Kota” and repeatedly dropped White. Ibushi offered his neck for White to hit, instead, White lay down and told Ibushi to cover him. Ibushi slapped and stomped White, he knocked Red Shoes down and White hit a low blow. Ibushi was rammed repeatedly into the guardrail and attacked with strikes on the ramp as he tried to win by count-out.
Ibushi hit the Power German and the Last Ride powerbomb for a two-count. Kamigoye was countered with a sleeper suplex.
Ibushi landed the Kamigoye and White kicked out. Ibushi went to the top and hit the Phoenix Splash, but Gedo yanked Red Shoes to the floor to stop the count. Ibushi took out Gedo. Moments later, Ibushi walked into a Blade Runner for a big near fall. White applied the TTO (or ITO in this case) and he crawled to the rope. Ibushi kicked out of a Regal-plex, White hit a reverse Bloody Sunday and Ibushi was able to land a flying knee as both are down.
Ibushi hit a reverse Kamigoye to the back of the head and then a regular one with the exposed knee to keep White down for a three-count.
WINNER: Kota Ibushi at 48:05 to retain the Double Championship
This was the long drawn out epic that one could have assumed it would end up being. It was a very long match, in fact, the longest pro wrestling match in the history of the Tokyo Dome surpassing the first Okada vs. Omega match in 2017 (although the longest MMA fight in the building was the famous 90-minute fight between Kazushi Sakuraba and Royce Gracie in 2000).
I could have done with a more condensed version. The story was there, and both played the roles tremendously well especially Ibushi with the variations he had to go through to battle back from adversity and going to a deep place to beat White. The match had lots of interesting twists and the two went through a lot of adversity and I was compelled for a good portion of it. Ibushi is a fantastic babyface and is so evidently the right choice to move forward as the flag bearer for the company and the match leaned on that charisma he displayed and the audience rooting for his victory.
Sanada entered the ring to congratulate and challenge Ibushi. Ibushi said he is more powerful than ever with these titles and he wants to wrestle Sanada again as they shook hands.