With the Road to Wrestle Kingdom 15 well and truly in full swing, New Japan Pro Wrestling has revealed the cards for the biggest event of the year.
Two nights are set for the Tokyo Dome and, even under the current circumstances, the matches are going to be bigger than ever. There are a mixture of matches across the two days, there is something for every wrestling fan.
There is no doubt that, as always, New Japan is going to provide the best quality matches in a show perfectly blending wrestling and storytelling.
Here is a look at the top five Wrestle Kingdom 15 matches to keep your eyes open for.
5. Shingo Takagi vs. Jeff Cobb – NEVER Openweight Championship – Night 2
Over the past few years, the NEVER Openweight title has always seemed to be at the back of fans minds. Due to the lack of investment from New Japan and constant changing of champions, the championship has struggled to increase its prestige. However, since Shingo Takagi became invested in the division, it seems to be on the right road to redemption.
This match at Wrestle Kingdom 15 is proof of that. Going into this match between Shingo Takagi and Jeff Cobb, there are high expectations. These are two men who have always wanted to represent the division.
Yet, the conditions are very different. A few months ago, we may have seen a clean and sportsmanlike match between the two. With Jeff’s change in personality and move to The Empire, it could put that at jeopardy. However, it possibly will still be a great match between two big, strong men.
With Shingo’s determination and passion facing Jeff’s animosity, it will be the kind of match we always want to see for the NEVER title. Both men now have different intentions going into the match with equal skills combining speed and power.
4. Taiji Ishimori vs. X – IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship – Night 2
The participants of this Jr. Heavyweight match not be determined until the end of the first night. However, it is still going to be one of the best. Since winning the title, it feels like Taiji Ishimori has been overshadowed throughout the past few months. It could be his chance to shine and remind the crowds why is the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight champion.
After Hiromu won the Best of the Super Jr. tournament, many assumed that he would get his rematch. However, things got complicated when El Phantasmo won the Super J-Cup, earning himself a shot at the title. Now, the two will face off on Night One to determine Ishimori’s challenger on Night Two. No matter who wins and goes on to face Ishimori, it will be an interesting match.
If Hiromu wins, we are going to see a match between two men who not only dislike each other but are also very different in wrestling styles. If El Phantasmo wins, then it is a battle between faction members and tag team partners. The difference in opponents and their approach to Ishimori could very much impact the fate of this match.
Whether Ishimori faces ELP or Hiromu, it will be a high-flying showcase of what Jr. Heavyweight wrestling is all about. It will be Ishimori’s chance to shine and whether he does this cleanly or not, might make or break his title reign.
3. Jay White vs. X – IWGP Intercontinental and Heavyweight Double Championship – Night 2
Ever since Jay White lost the IWGP Heavyweight title in April 2019, he believed that he deserved another shot at the title straight away. Although it has taken a year, Jay White is main-eventing night two of Wrestle Kingdom after beating Kota Ibushi for his Tokyo Dome contract. However, even with his opponent undecided, this match has the potential to shine on the stacked card.
Depending on who wins on night one, White will face either Tetsuya Naito or Kota Ibushi. These are two men that White has a strong rivalry and chemistry with. They are matches we have seen before, but never get tired of watching because of the drama and action.
On top of the history, whoever faces White will have a distinct difference in style. White is a methodical wrestler who is strong in defence and offence utilizing his surroundings to his advantage. Also, with the help of Gedo from ringside, he has the advice of a veteran and someone to distract the referee. On the other hand, Ibushi and Naito are a lot more unpredictable. Ibushi will give fans a clean match but Naito will not be afraid to break the rules. These contrasting personalities are bound to cause some chaos in the ring.
This match will end the two nights of Wrestle Kingdom 15 and is bound to be a spectacle. However, the result of the match will determine whether the fans go home happy or not. White will make sure that he ruins the crowd’s dream of seeing Naito or Ibushi as champion. With the first night off, he is going into the match with a huge advantage.