This is part two of coverage of Night Two of Wrestle Kingdom 15. Part one is found here. While the first half had an instant classic over the NEVER Openweight Championship, this is where the biggest matches are. A likely violent grudge match, the biggest match in the history of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship, and Kota Ibushi making his first defense of the IWGP Double Gold. Let’s get right into it!
EVIL vs. SANADA – Special Singles Match
EVIL & SANADA won tag team gold in the Tokyo Dome together twice, but 2020 changed EVIL. He defected to Bullet Club, and has waged war on his old L.I.J allies. His betrayal hurt SANADA the most, and he’s been willing to do anything to stop EVIL. Now, they meet under the bright lights of Tokyo Dome, and will hold nothing back.
EVIL found himself in the paradise lock early, and rocked with a kick. SANADA followed EVIL outside and hit the barricade. EVIL grabbed some chairs, put one around the neck of SANADA and swung for the fences with another, likely a home run. A table was set up, and a corner exposed.
A fisherman buster was countered, SANADA finally showing life again and cutting EVIL down with a low dropkick to the knee. SANADA picked his pace up, but Dick Togo got involved with a trip. The Magic Screw from SANADA hit, and Skull End was attempted but nearly countered into the STO. SANADA hit the exposed steel corner, took a superplex and had to endure the Darkness Scorpion. Darkness Falls only got two, but the STO was next.
Instead, EVIL hit the exposed steel and took a sky high back drop. SANADA got fired up finally, nailed a TKO, but missed the moonsault, and had his leg used to take the referee out. Togo got SANADA with the chair, and hit Magic Killer with EVIL. Togo went through the table, and SANADA got EVIL alone. He knew all of EVIL’s tricks, hit the STO, pop up TKO and won with the moonsault.
This was a brutal fight for sure, but after Shingo vs. Cobb, fell flat. We had a better emotional match on Night One as well with Okada vs. Ospreay, which also made this one feel redundant. A solid match that got lost in the Wrestle Kingdom shuffle, and went a bit too long. Match Rating: 3.75/5 (*** ¾)
Hiromu Takahashi vs. Taiji Ishimori – IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship Match
In the summer of 2020, Taiji Ishimori was able to take the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship from rival Hiromu Takahashi. Now, Takahashi has won Best of Super Juniors, and defeated Super J-Cup winner El Phantasmo last night to earn this shot. With this belt being in the semi-main event of Tokyo Dome, it’s the brightest spotlight ever put on it, and these two will be sure to make the most of it.
Action started off fast, but both men were equally matched causing a stalemate. A thrust kick on the apron set up the sunset bomb, but Ishimori flipped out only to run into a powerbomb on the apron. After a scoop slam, Takahashi made his way up that long long ramp and picked up speed for a dropkick, but Ishimori caught him and dropped him with a side suplex. As Takahashi showed life, Ishimori flew in with a moonsault, and had exposed a steel corner in the ring, which quickly came into play to the detriment of Takahashi.
The injured hand from the night prior came into play as Ishimori picked away at the arm, but Takahashi fired up and hit a running hurricanrana. A wheelbarrow slam to the outside set up a shotgun dropkick, before hitting a Falcon Arrow back in the ring. Ishimori wanted an early Bloody Cross, but was countered into a pop-up powerbomb, which he countered into a hurricanrana before being run into the corner. A wheelbarrow flatliner from Takahashi was followed by the running Death Valley Driver, and a Time Bomb attempt.
Ishimori tried to get back into this with a handspring elbow, but got hit with a German Suplex instead, only to come back with a Canadian Destroyer. Heavy strikes were exchanged, and Takahashi was in his element.
Or atleast, Takahashi was in his element until Ishimori showed his striking prowess. These blows were leaving Takahashi dazed, and risked a referee stoppage. However, Takahashi just fired up like the mad man he is, just to be put down again. He was run into the ring post and hit with a nasty shoulder breaker, the left arm hammer locked during it. La Mistica into the Yes! Lock would come, and Takahashi fought like hell to escape only to take a Bloody Cross for a near fall.
A jumping knee was followed by another La Mistica attempt, but that was countered into a flatliner. Ishimori was run into the exposed steel with a Death Valley Driver, and hit with the Time Bomb, but kicked out. It’ll take Time Bomb II, and Takahashi kept trying but was trapped in the Omoplata, and had to fight free. Another attempt at Time Bomb II ended this one. What a war.
These two will always live in the shadow of their Best of The Super Juniors final from 2018, unable to reach those heights again. This one came close though, full of insane action that did the division proud. Match Rating: 4.75/5 (**** ¾)
Jay White vs. Kota Ibushi – IWGP Double Heavyweight & Intercontinental Championship Match
Last night, Kota Ibushi finally did it. He was able to become the top champion in NJPW, beating Tetsuya Naito in an epic battle. Now, he already has to defend against the man who almost took his spot completely. Months ago, White cheated to win the Right To Challenge briefcase for Tokyo Dome, and now he looks to steal another win in the main event, the biggest match of his career. Either we all breathe with the Switchblade, or Ibushi becomes the god of professional wrestling.
This one was impossible to watch without being on the edge of your seat, especially if you’re an Ibushi fan. He worked so hard to get to these heights, and his reign could not even last two days. White used his typical slow start to get into the head of Ibushi, who was laser focused, and drew White back in for a proper match, until Gedo helped trip Ibushi up. Ibushi was going to have a hard time getting moving with the control skills of White, but even an inch of space let Ibushi get moving.
On the outside, he took Gedo out with an elbow and started to get to work on White, but took a DDT getting back in the ring. Then Ibushi was dropped on his head with a high angle back suplex on the apron. The slow and very deliberate pace of White was sucking the energy from Ibushi & the fans, showing his heel mastery.
White could have kept this pace up for the full time limit, but Ibushi was always going to make the comeback. The big kick to the chest, a standing moonsault, and Ibushi was starting to hit his second wind.
Ibushi made the mistake of following White to the outside, and was slammed into the ring and barricade. Back in the ring, Ibushi was set up in the corner and hit with a dragon screw through the ropes. White already broke the core down, and now is going after the legs. Again, Ibushi mounted a comeback, and even looked for the Golden Triangle Moonsault, but the knee gave out.
A suplex into the corner was almost followed by the Kiwi Crusher, and Ibushi tried to power him up into the Lawn Dart. Instead, Ibushi got a Half & Half Suplex, and was ready to throw strikes with White. He’s by far the stronger striker, and still had his speed. White was dropped with the Bastard Driver, but dodged the Boma-Ye and was back under White who nailed the Kiwi Crusher. Blade Runner was signalled, Ibushi rolling through into a suplex. Boma-Ye connected, but even pulling from Nakamura wouldn’t end this one.
White tried to roll up Ibushi and use the ropes again, but the referee caught him this time. Ibushi was in his most dangerous mode now, ready to kick the head of White off. He went for Phoenix Splash and was cut off by Gedo. A super sleeper suplex was attempted, but Ibushi fought free before Gedo got his leg again. Pulled off the top, White hit some dragon screws and applied a submission, making Ibushi crawl to the ropes.
White kicked Ibushi in the head one too many times, and now he was in trouble. Ibushi became akin to a terminator, and one open palm strike led to White on the mat, and him literally getting his ass kicked. White came back with a forearm, Ibushi didn’t even register it and dropped White with one of his own. Ibushi was offered a chance to just pin White, the opponent surrendering, but White just got pummeled until the referee was shoved away and hit a big low blow to try and save himself.
On the outside, White was relentless with slamming Ibushi into the barricade, and wanted revenge for the asskicking he had recieved. He let Ibushi crawl back into the ring, hopefully right into Blade Runner. The Flatliner, a deadlift German Suplex onto Ibushis head, and another for good measure. White found himself in trouble as Ibushi got the German Suplex from the apron to the ring. The Sitout Last Ride got him a 2.9 count, and Kamigoye was set but countered into the sleeper suplex, then the Regal Plex for a near fall.
Blade Runner was countered, and White was rolled into Kamigoye for a near fall. The Phoenix Splash landed, but Gedo pulled the referee out at the two count. He’d slip into the ring but take a Kamigoye, ending his night. Ibushi went to find the referee, only to walk right into Blade Runner, but thankfully kicked out at two. Ibushi had to fight another submission, but made the ropes.
The V-Trigger was caught into the Regal-Plex, Bloody Sunday hit, but Blade Runner was countered. V-Trigger. The arms were grabbed. White fought, but got beat down. Kamigoye to the back of head. Knee exposed. Goodnight, Jay White.
How much you enjoy this match depends on how you feel about Jay White matches. His matches have such a unique style for NJPW, very slow and defensive, but the babyface fire from Ibushi was unmatched. It went 48 minutes, longest main event in Tokyo Dome history. Simply put, this was another Tokyo Dome classic, an absolute epic. Match Rating: 5/5 (*****)
Following the match, as Ibushi addressed the Tokyo Dome crowd, his first challenger stepped up. After beating EVIL earlier in the night his own way, SANADA wants to test himself against the best that NJPW has. Right now, it’s Ibushi, who gladly accepted.After the event, Ibushi made a request for the belts he holds to be properly unified.
Will Kota Ibushi still be the champion by this time next year? Is he beatable? Let us know what you think in the comment section down below.
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