Today is the second day of New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s largest event of the year, Wrestle Kingdom.
This event will be streamed live on NJPW‘s streaming service, NJPW World, and on Fite TV. English and Japanese commentary are available on both platforms. This event will have a reduced attendance capacity to comply with COVID-19 social distancing restrictions.
Start Times: January 5, 12AM Pacific, 3AM Eastern, 8AM UK, 5PM Japan, 7PM East Australia
Four Way Match for the Provisional KOPW 2021 Championship: Toru Yano def. Chase Owens, BUSHI, Bad Luck Fale (7:34)
Both BUSHI and Toru Yano were refusing to enter the ring, at first, but were forced to break up the pin when Chase Owens laid down for Bad Luck Fale to let him win. Owens and Fale worked together to abuse Yano, while BUSHI mostly tried to avoid getting involved. Yano tried to body slam Fale, who fell on top of him and nearly pinned him then and there. Fale and Chase double teamed BUSHI and put him down with the Grenade Launcher, but kept breaking up each other’s pin attempt. They argued with each other and the referee until Yano slid in, low blowed them both, and pinned the still down BUSHI. Toru Yano is the provisional KOPW 2021 Champion, but will only be crowned as such if he retains the trophy until the end of the year.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Match: Suzuki-gun (El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) def. Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato
The tornillo that Master Wato pulled off on El Desperado might have been the most impressive he has looked since his return. He and Taguchi took advantage early until Suzuki-gun focused their team efforts on Taguchi, working his legs and cutting off the ring, and attacking Master Wato whenever Taguchi got even close to tagging him in. A hip attack from Taguchi gave him the room needed to rally, but Desperado and Kanemaru’s generous amount of tag team offense had him playing defense soon again. Taguchi tried for the Dodon, but El Desperado rolled through it for a near pinfall. El Desperado decisively finished off Taguchi with the Loco Mono straight punch, followed by Pinche Loco. Suzuki-gun retain the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships.
NEVER Openweight Championship Match: Shingo Takagi (c) def. Jeff Cobb (21:11)
Shingo Takagi found himself in the rare position of being the smaller, weaker man in a singles match, as Jeff Cobb ate his strikes and returned heavier ones, and tossed the former junior heavyweight like a ragdoll. Takagi was forced to get creative, pushing Cobb into the ropes and using the bounce to finally take him off his feet with a backdrop driver. Cobb tried to retaliate with a crucifix powerbomb from the apron to the floor, but Shingo avoided it, knocked Cobb off the apron, and came hurtling through the air. You don’t often see a tope con hilo from Shingo Takagi. Shingo tried to follow up with the Noshigami, but Cobb was too heavy, and he picked Shingo up from behind to land a black tiger bomb. Feeling desperate, Shingo immediately fought back with a Death Valley driver, followed by a superplex. He gave a Pumping Bomber with such speed that, despite impacting Jeff, he couldn’t stop and fell out of the ring. He came back in and immediately looked to the leg, taking Cobb off his feet again with a dragonscrew leg whip, and then hoisting him in the air for Made in Japan, which earned a near fall. Shingo came running for another Pumping Bomber, but Cobb pushed him into the ropes, then caught him on the rebound to deliver Tour of the Islands. He was too hurt to go for the pin right away, and when he did, Takagi’s foot found the bottom rope, breaking the pin. He tried to take Shingo for another Tour of the Islands, but was blasted with one more Pumping Bomber! With the Last of the Dragon, Shingo Takagi retains the NEVER Openweight Championship.
SANADA def. EVIL (23:40)
SANADA attacked EVIL with an uncharacteristic ferocity at Power Struggle, but on this day, in the Tokyo Dome, EVIL was ready with weapons. He tossed SANADA into the barricade, causing the timekeeper’s table (and the timekeeper) to be knocked over. He set up a table outside the ring and attempted to STO SANADA through it, but it didn’t take. Nevertheless, EVIL maintained control, partly thanks to aid from Dick Togo on the outside. He lifted SANADA to the top, then brought him crashing down with a superplex. EVIL applied a scorpion deathlock, but SANADA achieved a rope break. Despite this, he was too hurt to make a comeback, and EVIL landed Darkness Falls, but SANADA weakly kicked out. As soon as SANADA rose to his feet, EVIL barreled towards him, looking for a lariat, but SANADA pushed EVIL into the exposed turnbuckle that he himself was the cause of. Seeing his advantage slip away, EVIL pushed SANADA into the referee, allowing Dick Togo to make his presence known. The two performed the Magic Killer, and Dick Togo rose to the top turnbuckle for a senton, but SANADA kicked EVIL into the ropes, causing Togo to lose his balance and fall. From there, SANADA mounted his first major comeback, trapping EVIL in the Skull End. He went for a top rope moonsault, and then another, but EVIL lifted his knees on the latter. As EVIL distracted the referee, Dick Togo tried to come in and choke SANADA out, but SANADA freed himself and pushed EVIL into Togo, causing Togo to comically crash through the table that EVIL placed. With Togo out, SANADA hit EVIL with EVIL’s own finish hold, and then landed a top rope moonsault for the pinfall victory. No bloodshed, but victory nonetheless.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship Match: Hiromu Takahashi def. Taiji Ishimori (c) (25:31)
At this point, Hiromu and Ishimori know what it’s like to fight each other very well, and often had a hard time making their moves work without being countered. Ishimori’s early strategy was to work over Hiromu’s arms, smart considering many of Hiromu’s best moves start with a fireman’s carry hold. His early attempt at the Yes Lock, with which he tapped Hiromu out at Summer Struggle, was thwarted by a rope break. Before Ishimori’s arm work could pay off, Hiromu was on the offensive, delivering multiple death valley bombs into the corner. Having already wrestled against El Phantasmo last night, Hiromu wasn’t as fresh as Ishimori, and he tried to finish the match early with the Time Bomb. Ishimori would slip out of it and land a Canadian Destroyer to stop Hiromu in his tracks. He kept Hiromu on his knees with the hardest elbow strikes that his compact but overdeveloped body could produce. With a La Mistica into the Yes Lock, Ishimori had Hiromu working for every centimeter as he wriggled to the ropes for one more rope break. Hiromu’s Victory Royale granted him a moment of respite, and he then bowled Ishimori over with a lariat, then drove him into the corner that still had no turnbuckle pad from the previous match. The Time Bomb connected, but Ishimori was not out yet! He tried once more for the Yes Lock, but Hiromu lifted him onto his shoulders and finally pinned Ishimori with the Time Bomb II. “Mr. Belt” is back in the possession of Hiromu Takahashi.
IWGP Heavyweight & IWGP Intercontinental Championship Match: Kota Ibushi (c) def. Jay White (48:05)
It feels like Jay White has been a thorn in Kota Ibushi‘s side for years. True, Ibushi defeated him to win his first ever G1 Climax, but he also lost to Jay, and became the first person to ever lose the G1 briefcase. The first ten minutes were almost all Jay, as he grinded Ibushi into the mat with strikes and holds. White cleverly cut off all of Ibushi’s comebacks, sweeping Ibushi’s legs out from under him when he tried for any sort of aerial offense. Gedo called for the Kiwi Crusher, and Jay tried to oblige, but Ibushi fought him off and rallied with a half nelson suplex, followed by the hitodenashi driver. His bicycle knee missed, and Jay was finally able to connect with the Kiwi Crusher for a near fall. He tried for his first Blade Runner, but Ibushi wasn’t having it. Jay tried to roll Ibushi into a pin with his legs elevated on the ropes, but the referee noticed it and refused to count the three. Angered, Ibushi ate Jay White‘s elbow strikes and blasted him with kicks, forcing him into the fetal position. He growled for Jay to hit him harder, and would return every strike twice as hard. Ibushi shoved the referee away when they told him to let Ibushi up, but Jay White pounced with a low blow. He took control with repeated German suplexes, and brought Ibushi to the apron. Ibushi rocked him with a high kick and delivered his patented rope-assisted inside to outside German suplex. His first Kamigoye missed, and this gave Jay an opening for him to dump Ibushi on his head with suplexes. He tried again for the Blade Runner, but again Ibushi avoided it, and landed a Kamigoye flush, but Jay kicked out! With no hesitation, Ibushi ascended to the top turnbuckle and delivered a beautiful phoenix splash, but Gedo pulled the referee out of the ring. He tried to hit Ibushi with brass knuckles, but Ibushi caught him and obliterated him with a Kamigoye. Ibushi brought the referee back in, but Jay sprung with a Blade Runner, keeping Ibushi down until just shy of 3. Jay locked in the TTO leglock, but Ibushi crawled with all his might and made it to the ropes. Jay hit a cross-arm Bloody Sunday and tried again for the Blade Runner, and got blasted with a bicycle knee. Jay desperately tried again for the Blade Runner, but Ibushi leveled him with a lariat! He delivered a Kamigoye to the back of Jay’s head, then spun him around for another, and it was all over. Kota Ibushi is still your IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental Champion.
SANADA appeared and civilly challenged Kota Ibushi. KENTA could learn a thing or two from him.