Japan News

NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 15 Night 1 Results

Graphic for Tetsuya Naito vs Kota Ibushi on Night 1 of Wrestle Kingdom 15 - Wrestle Kingdom 15 results thumb

Keep up with all the night 1 of Wrestle Kingdom 15 results as the show emanates from the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan for the first night of NJPW’s biggest show of the year!

The results from Night 1 of Wrestle Kingdom 15 were as follows:

  • Chase Owens, BUSHI, Bad Luck Fale & Toru Yano won the New Japan Rumble to compete in the KOPW 2021 four-way on Night 2
  • Hiromu Takahashi defeated El Phantasmo via Pinfall to challenge Taiji Ishimori for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship on Night 2 (17:50)
  • Gorillas of Destiny defeated Dangerous Tekkers (c) via Pinfall to win the IWGP Tag Team Championships (19:20)
  • KENTA (c) defeated Satoshi Kojima via Pinfall to retain the US Heavyweight Right To Challenge Contract (14:10)
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Great O-Khan via Pinfall (17:50)
  • Kazuchika Okada defeatedWill Ospreayvia Pinfall (35:45)
  • Kota Ibushi defeated Tetsuya Naito (c) via Pinfall to win the IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental Championships (31:20)

Chase Owens, BUSHI, Bad Luck Fale & Toru Yano win the New Japan Rumble, advance to Night 2 (Pre-Show)

  • Chase Owens and Tomohiro Ishii enter #1 & #2 and Ishii dominates over Owens, who tries a more sneaky approach. #3 is Minoru Suzuki. Chase tries to interrupt Suzuki & Ishii’s slugfest, but he gets knocked down by bother for his troubles.
  • Yuji Nagata, Toa Henare & Hirooki Goto enter as #4, #5 and #6. Suzuki and Nagata are the first to be eliminated as Henare clotheslines both off the apron.
  • Yujiro Takahashi enters #7 and looks to ally with Bullet Club ally Chase Owens. Toa Henare is eliminated after Ishii throws him over the top with a back body drop. YOSHI-HASHI is entrant #8.
  • Togi Makabe enters at #9 and quickly eliminates both Goto and YOSHI-HASHI with a double clothesline as Tomoaki Honma enters at #10 and Hiroyoshi Tenzan enters #11 and helps Honma eliminate Makabe!
  • #12 and #13 are Rocky Romero and Douki, who enters with a steel bat and gets himself disqualified by using it on Romero. SHO enters at #14 and BUSHI at #15, who eliminates Yujiro. Tiger Mask is the match’s 16th entrant.
  • Romero and Tiger Mask have an exchange referring to Romero’s time as Black Tiger. Bad Luck Fale enters #17 before eliminating Ishii. Gabriel Kidd enters #18 as Honma and Tenzan are eliminated off-camera. Yuya Uemura is #19 as Romero is eliminated off-camera before Tiger Mask gets eliminated by Fale.
  • Yota Tsuji is #20 and the young lions try to collectively eliminate Fale but fail as Toru Yano enters last at #21. Kidd, Tsuji and Uemura are eliminated by Fale – Chase Owens, BUSHI, Bad Luck Fale and Toru Yano are your New Japan Rumble winners and advance to night 2.

Analysis: Pretty fun return for the New Japan Rumble, but it’s clear the pandemic affected their ability to bring in any real surprises – The match featured 3 young lions and the only surprise was Romero really. Fale and Yano facing off for the KOPW 2021 isn’t a shock after their feud for the 2020 version ended with Yano getting a cheap win. I’d expect Fale to pick up the win but I wouldn’t be averse to Chase or BUSHI picking up an outsider win!

Hiromu Takahashi defeats El Phantasmo via Pinfall to challenge Taiji Ishimori on Night 2 in 17:50

  • El Phantasmo debuts a new theme as Kevin Kelly dedicates the English broadcast to Brodie Lee. He wishes Lee’s friends and family the best.
  • Phantasmo throws Takahashi’s BOSJ trophy and taunts Liger before Hiromu hits him with a dropkick off the apron and a top rope senton to the outside.
  • Hiromu tries for his sunset flip powerbomb to the outside by ELP dodges before hitting a version of his own. ELP hits a springboard moonsault from the top to the outside before and he tweaks his right foot.
  • ELP pays ‘tribute’ to Kenny Omega by teasing Omega’s Terminator dive but he taunts the audience instead. Hiromu hits a shotgun dropkick and a falcon arrow for a near-fall.
  • ELP works over Hiromu’s chest, hitting a diving senton into Hiromu on the top rope. Phantasmo tries for the Styles Clash but Hiromu counters into the Dynamite Plunger for a near-fall.
  • Hiromu tries for the Time Bomb 2 but ELP counters into a roll-up for a near-fall. Hiromu tries again but ELP counters into a Dudebuster for another near-fall.
  • ELP gets knocked off the top rope, bumping into the referee. He hits a low blow almost instantly into a top rope hurricanrana and Frog Splash back-to-back for a near-fall.
  • Phantasmo hits the Styles Clash, the V-Trigger and tries for the One Winged Angel but Takahashi counters into the DVD into the corner.
  • Takahashi picks up the win after countering ELP’s CRII with a roll-up.

Analysis: Slower match than you’d expect from a Wrestle Kingdom Jr. heavyweight match but a solidly fine opener. Quite slow and technical with only a couple of roll-ups and both men looking good as Hiromu didn’t definitively defeat the Super J-Cup winner. Hiromu was the right choice and hopefully, him vs Ishimori have a match much closer to the fast-paced, high impact style we’re used to with the juniors at Wrestle Kingdom.

Gorillas of Destiny defeat Dangerous Tekkers via Pinfall to win the IWGP Tag Team Championships in 19:20

  • Jado accompanies GOD whilst Douki comes out with Dangerous Tekkers.
  • Taichi and Zack start out with dirty offence immediately, choking Tama in their corner to isolate him from Tonga. They move to the outside, where GOD regain control and Jado takes down Douki with a kendo stick.
  • GOD work over Taichi with a series of submissions before ZSJ tags in and locks in various submissions before GOD hit Guerrilla Warfare and attempt the Super Powerbomb but Tekkers counter into dual submissions before hitting a two-man Tower of Doom for a near-fall.
  • Taichi hits the Buzzsaw for a 2-count before ZSJ attempts the Holy Zack Driver. GOD counter into a Magic Killer attempt but Zack escapes before laying out his opponents with a dual clothesline.
  • ZSJ hits a PK and Tekkers try for their tag finisher but Tama hits the Gun Stun. Taichi takes down Tama after a second Gun Stun attempt before hitting a spinning back suplex for a near-fall.
  • Taichi pushes the referee down but Tama hits him with the Iron Claw in the confusion before Tonga hit a Samoan Driver to pick up the win!

Analysis: A fun match that definitely picked up as it went on. Started off slow but picked up in the middle and the back-and-forth exchange at the end was great! Despite being the faces of the match, GOD stuck to their Bullet Club ways and used the Iron Claw behind the referees’ back to pick up the win. Nice little story of them finally breaking their curse of never winning at Wrestle Kingdom.

KENTA defeats Satoshi Kojima via Pinfall to retain the US Heavyweight Right To Challenge Contract in 14:10

  • Before the match, we see a promo from US Heavyweight Championship Jon Moxley where he hints he’ll appear on NJPW Strong in the near future and will be ready for whoever wins the match tonight.
  • Kojima starts with a headlock but KENTA quickly regains control with some stiff kicks before locking in a headlock of his own.
  • Kojima hits some Tenzan-esque Mongolian Chops before laying in with some Machine Gun chops. He heads to the top but KENTA stuns him and hits a superplex. KENTA heads to the top himself and hits a diving clothesline for a near-fall.
  • Kojima hits a huge DDT onto the apron but KENTA still maintains control, hitting a Shotgun Dropkick into the corner and a diving double stomp for a 2-count. KENTA attempts the Go To Sleep but Kojima counters into the Koji Cutter.
  • Kojima tries for a Lariat but KENTA counters with a powerslam. KENTA tries to hit his opponent with the US Heavyweight Right To Challenge Briefcase but Kojima knocks it out his hand.
  • KENTA hits the Busaiku Knee to knock Kojima down and hits a series a stiff chops before a second Busaiku Knee attempt gets another 2-count. KENTA hits the Go To Sleep to pick up the win

Analysis: A decent match with a fairly obvious result. Kojima put on a good performance but he was never going to win over KENTA, who’s held the contract for months and seems destined to challenge Moxley for the US title. Glad Moxley is finally making a comeback in NJPW, even if it is on NJPW Strong, as his presence definitely helps strength NJPW’s global image.

Hiroshi Tanahashi defeats Great O-Khan via Pinfall in 17:50

  • O-Khan and Tanahashi feel each other out early before finally locking up in a collar-and-elbow tie up which Tanahashi get the better of.
  • The two remain in technical lockups before Khan takes control by taking the fight to the outside and slamming him into the ringpost and canvas. O-Khan slams Tanahashi on the ramp before getting back in the ring, Tanahashi barely makes the 20-count but O-Khan maintains control with a kneebar.
  • Tanahashi eventually gains the advantage with a dragon screw leg whip and hits several flying forearms to knock his opponent down. He hits a middle rope flip senton for a near-fall.
  • The Ace tried for the Slingblade but O-Khan counters into a facebuster. O-Khan keeps up the pace with a bicycle kick and another facebuster before trying a belly-to-belly suplex over the top.
  • Tanahashi catches and pulls himself back up on the rope before blocking O-Khan’s Mongolian chops into a Sling Blade for a near-fall.
  • Tanahashi tries for a High Fly Flow but O-Khan locks in the Iron Claw and attempts the chokeslam but Tanahashi counters. He keeps the Claw in as submission before hitting a half-and-half suplex for a 2-count.
  • O-Khan hits a reverse suplex before placing the chair in the centre of the ring to set up for the Iron Claw Chokeslam onto it. Tanahashi counters with Twist and Shout and teases using the chair but ultimately goes for a Dragon Suplex for a 2-count.
  • Tanahashi hits High Fly Flow onto O-Khan’s back before hitting a second to pick up the win.

Analysis: Another solidly okay match. O-Khan got a good showing by going toe-to-toe with The Ace but Tanahashi ultimately triumphed and took his revenge over The Empire’s enforcer. It was a fairly slow affair that never really picked up but after the Jericho match last year, slower story-focused matches seem to be Tanahashi’s standard nowadays following his classics with Okada.

Kazuchika Okada defeats Will Ospreay via Pinfall in 35:45

  • Bea Priestley accompanies Ospreay to the ring with her half of the Goddess of Stardom Championships.
  • The two start with a collar-and-elbow tie-up and Okada mocks Ospreay by feigning a chop. Ospreay begins hitting heavy strikes and the two get into a slugfest. Okada gets the better of his opponent and hits a Tope Con Hiro onto Ospreay on the outside.
  • Ospreay throws Okada into the ring apron and rips up the ringside mat. He attempts a piledriver on Okada, but Okada counters into a swinging neckbreaker attempt. Ospreay manages to escape and move Okada away from the exposed area.
  • Ospreay throws Okada back in the ring and hits a back suplex, which Okada kicks out of at 2. Ospreay continues to focus on Okada’s back by hitting a backbreaker and locking in a chinlock, which Okada escapes.
  • Okada regains control with a sky-high backdrop and hits the Air Raid Crash Neckbreaker for a near-fall. The pace quickens and Ospreay hits Pip, Pip Cheerio for a 2-count before hitting a picture-perfect german suplex for another close fall.
  • Ospreay tries for another springboard manoeuvre but Okada catches him and hits Heavy Rain but doesn’t go for a cover. Okada hits multiple heavy forearms but Ospreay takes them before heading to the top rope, where Okada hit him to the outside with a dropkick.
  • Okada throws Ospreay back in the ring before hitting a top rope shotgun dropkick. Ospreay stuns Okada with the Cheeky Nandos Kick before hitting a reverse Bloody Sunday for a near-fall.
  • Ospreay ran into the rope and Okada attempted a standing dropkick but Ospreay countered into a catching sit-out powerbomb. The two moved to the exposed ringside area where the two brawl back and forth before Ospreay suplexed Okada over the barricade and through a ringside table.
  • Ospreay drags Okada back into the ring before hitting a top rope hidden blade and a standing powerbomb, both for near-falls. Ospreay hits a tombstone on the apron but Okada manages to lock in the Money Clip.
  • Bea Priestley makes her way onto the apron but Okada knocks her down before locking the money clip back in but eventually releases the hold. The two get into a back-and-forth striking match which Okada goes to the top rope but Ospreay ran up and hit a Spanish Fly off the top.
  • Ospreay stamps on Okada’s head as he shoves the referee down. Ospreay hits a stiff elbow to the back of the head before attempting the Hidden Blade, but Okada counters with a standing dropkick. He hits a Spinning Rainmaker but Ospreay hits a full-on one of his own after a Tombstone Piledriver.
  • Okada locks in the Money Clip again but Ospreay escapes. Okada eventually hits the Rainmaker to pick up the win.

Analysis: Fantastic match though I’m not a massive fan of the result. I really think Ospreay would have benefitted from getting his first clean singles win as a heavyweight over Okada at Wrestle Kingdom but it was not to be. Ospreay still got a fantastic showing and didn’t manage to hit the Stormbreaker, which almost certainly would have put The Rainmaker away. I suspect this isn’t the end of their rivalry and maybe Ospreay will finally get the win at Dominion or a similar event.

Kota Ibushi defeats Tetsuya Naito via Pinfall to win the IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental Championships in 31:20

  • The two start off technical with exchanging headlocks but the pace quickens fast. Naito drags Ibushi to the outside and tries for a suplex but Ibushi dodges before the two make their way back inside.
  • Naito dragged Ibushi into the corner and hit a series of stiff elbows before hitting a reverse DDT for a 1-count. Ibushi tries for a german suplex but Naito grounds himself before attempting his corner dropkick, which Ibushi counters with a clothesline.
  • The two move out to ringside again with Naito hitting a neckbreaker which takes both himself and Ibushi down. Both men eventually get back in the ring before Naito locks in a grounded full nelson-esque submission which Ibushi breaks with by getting his foot on the rope.
  • Naito attempts Gloria but Ibushi blocks it. Ibushi catches Naito from a jumping clotheslines attempt and double stomps his opponent. Ibushi hits a powerslam before attempting a moonsault, which Naito counters into a modified Rings of Saturn.
  • Naito eventually releases the hold and absorbs several stiff strikes from Ibushi before delivering some short elbow strikes to the head. Naito hits Gloria for a near-fall before taking Ibushi to the top rope before hitting a peel kick to Naito’s rear.
  • Ibushi attempts a piledriver onto the apron but Naito throws him off before Ibushi hits a jumping hurricanrana off the apron – during which Naito injuries his leg. Naito barely gets back in the ring in time.
  • Ibushi tries for his deadline german from the apron into the ring but Naito escapes the hold before hitting a top rope frankensteiner for a near-fall.
  • Naito choreographs Destino but Ibushi stops the attempt with a roundhouse kick. Ibushi sets up the Kamigoye but Naito counters into the Destino for a 2-count. He tries for a second but Ibushi counters into the Bastard Driver, which Naito kicks out off.
  • The two get into a slugfest but both men get takes down after Naito hits a front flip kick and Ibushi counters with a lariat. Ibushi tries for the Golden Star Powerbomb but Naito counters with Destino for a very close near-fall.
  • Ibushi hits the Kamigoye for a near-fall and Naito hits a second Destino and Ibushi still kicks out. Naito hits several elbow strikes before attempting a suplex, which Ibushi counters with a kick. Ibushi hits a second Kamigoye and Naito kicks out again.
  • Ibushi goes for the move a third time but Naito hits an elbow and enzuguri before taking Ibushi down with Valentia. Naito tries for a third Destino but Ibushi counters into a V-Trigger before hitting Kamigoye one more time for the win.
  • After the match, Naito grabs both titles from Red Shoes and before presenting them both to Ibushi himself. The two bow to each other but Naito raises Ibushi’s hand.
  • After Naito leaves, Jay White appears to congratulate Ibushi and promises he’ll take everything from Ibushi tomorrow. White promises that he will always be there to drag Ibushi back down just when it seems like he’s reaching the top.

Analysis: Great main event with the right result. Naito got his moment last year and now Ibushi will get a chance to have his whilst also settling his rivalry with Jay White tomorrow. I don’t think it was as strong as either main event last year but still a great match that was a fitting end to Naito’s reign. Tomorrow’s main event will probably be the bigger story match, similar to last year, where Ibushi will finally overcome White and get his fairytale ending like Naito did.


And that was Night 1 of NJPW Wrestling Kingdom 15!

A mixed show, to be honest, where half the card hit and the other really didn’t. O-Khan/Tanahashi, KENTA/Kojima and ELP/Takahashi all fell slightly short whilst Dangerous Tekkers/GOD, Ospreay/Okada and Ibushi/Naito were all pretty great.

Hopefully, night 2 is a bit more consistent but not a bad night of wrestling at all! Some great wrestling, good stories and a big show feel – What more can you ask for?

Inside The Ropes will have live coverage of night 2 of Wrestle Kingdom 15 when the show kicks off at 8am GMT on January 5th.

Keep up-to-date with all the latest NJPW news right here at Inside The Ropes.