The New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) Wrestle Kingdom 15 series will investigate every aspect of the upcoming two-night Wrestle Kingdom 15 event hosted by NJPW. Over the past 15 years, the event has become known as one of the biggest wrestling events in the world. The fourth piece will look at Wrestle Kingdom 15 Night One match between Hiroshi Tanahashi and Empire member Great-O-Khan.
NJPW presents Wrestle Kingdom 15 live from the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan on January 4th and January 5th. Due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus, 2019) pandemic, both nights will have attendance capped at a maximum of 20,000 fans to adhere to company social distancing and safety guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus.
Hiroshi Tanahashi wants to show that he can still compete at the highest of levels in the world’s most competitive in-ring promotion. However, after HenarAce (Hiroshi Tanahashi/Toa Henare) lost quickly to the Empire team of Jeff Cobb/Great-O-Khan on November 15th during World Tag League 2020 (WTL 2020), the tides of redemption began to flow.
After another encounter with Great-O-Khan led to a loss for his team on December 11th, Empire assaulted Tanahashi’s leg, much like they did during WTL 2020, leading to the Wrestle Kingdom 15 match announcement where Great-O-Khan will wrestle Hiroshi Tanahashi during Night One on January 4th.
While O-Khan lost his first singles match in NJPW after returning from an excursion to IWGP Conception member Revolution Pro Wrestling (RevPro) in the United Kingdom against former five-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion and CHAOS member “Rainmaker” Kazuchika Okada on November 7th at Power Struggle 2020, the match against Tanahashi at Wrestle Kingdom 15 is the biggest match of his career.
It would be difficult to overstate Tanahashi’s role in helping build Wrestle Kingdom into the international spectacle that it has become over the past fifteen years. While questions swirl around Tanahashi’s form, with some believing he is too far past his prime to be a credible threat, he once proved doubters wrong at Wrestle Kingdom 13, leading to him capturing the IWGP Heavyweight Championship for the eighth time.
O-Khan will want to use the legendary Tanahashi as a stepping stone to springboard his career into stardom; as a victory over his senior at Wrestle Kingdom will see NJPW fans view him in a new light, especially with intrigue around the Empire faction.