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'TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE WRESTLE KINGDOM, ALL JAPAN RETURNS TO KORAKUEN HALL AND TONS MORE FROM JAPAN

By Oliver Taylor on 2021-01-03 09:24:00

New Japan Pro Wrestling

New Japan Pro Wrestling will hold the first night of Wrestle Kingdom 15 tomorrow.

The full card is:

• New Japan Rambo
• El Phantasmo vs. Hiromu Takahashi
• IWGP Tag Team Championships: Taichi and Zack Sabre Jr. (c) vs. Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa
• IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship challenge rights certificate: KENTA (c) vs. Satoshi Kojima
• Great-O-Khan vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
• Kazuchika Okada vs. Will Ospreay
• IWGP Heavyweight Championship and IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Tetsuya Naito (c) vs. Kota Ibushi

The final four men remaining in the 22-man New Japan Rambo will advance to the KOPW 2021 four-way on January 5.

The winner of El Phantasmo versus Hiromu Takahashi will face Taiji Ishimori for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship on January 5.

Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa have never won a match as a team in the Tokyo Dome. If they defeat Taichi and Zack Sabre Jr. (who will attempt their third defense of the titles) tomorrow, they will become the only team in history to hold the IWGP Tag Team Championships eight times.

KENTA will attempt his fifth defense of the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship challenge rights certificate against Satoshi Kojima. Juice Robinson was originally scheduled to face KENTA but will miss the face due to a fractured orbital bone.

KENTA earned the right to face Jon Moxley for the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship by winning the New Japan Cup USA over the summer on NJPW STRONG. However, due to travel restrictions and Moxley’s contractual obligations to All Elite Wrestling, there is a looming question mark over when the match can actually take place.

KENTA’s successful defenses have been against Jeff Cobb, Hiroshi Tanahashi, David Finlay and Brody King.

Speaking of Tanahashi, he will face Great-O-Khan tomorrow.

The match has drawn criticism from a lot of fans, with the Great-O-Khan gimmick seemingly failing to connect with a lot of Western fans.

However, one could just as easily view a singles match against Tanahashi at Wrestle Kingdom as a huge endorsement of Great-O-Khan, who only returned from excursion at the end of the G1 Climax. The last returning young lion to face Tanahashi was Jay White, who was also doubted as a shaky start, but has turned into one of the company’s top stars.

Will Ospreay will challenge his former stable leader Kazuchika Okada in undoubtably Ospreay’s biggest match in New Japan. Ospreay betrayed Okada at the conclusion of this year’s G1 Climax with the help of his girlfriend Bea Priestly and Great-O-Khan.

Needless to say, Okada is extremely protected at the Tokyo Dome. Since returning from his own excursion, Okada has only lost to Tanahashi, White and Tetsuya Naito at Wrestle Kingdom.

Both the IWGP Heavyweight Championship and IWGP Intercontinental Championship will be defended on both nights of Wrestle Kingdom after Naito insisted as such. Kota Ibushi won the G1 Climax but lost his IWGP Heavyweight Championship challenge rights certificate to White at Power Struggle.

After White decided he would challenge for both titles on January 5, Naito demanded to defend both titles against Ibushi on January 4. Tomorrow’s match will be Naito’s second defense of both titles.

All Japan Pro Wrestling

All Japan Pro Wrestling held its second New Years Wars show in Korakuen Hall today.

The full results were:

• Francesco Akira and The Bodyguard def. Alejandro and Ryuki Honda
• Shigehiro Irie and UTAMARO def. Black Menso~re and Takao Omori
• Jake Lee, Koji Iwamoto and TAJIRI def. Dan Tamura, Hikaru Sato and Shuji Ishikawa
• Kuma Arashi, Shotaro Ashino and Yusuke Kodama def. Atsuki Aoyagi, Kento Miyahara and Rising HAYATO
• All Asia Tag Team Championships: Izanagi and Zeus (c) def. Hokuto Omori and Koji Doi
• GAORA TV Championship TLC match: Jun Kasai def. Yoshitatsu (c)
• Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship: SUWAMA (c) def. Yuma Aoyagi

Izanagi and Zeus made their second successful defense of the All Asia Tag Team Championships against Hokuto Omori and Koji Doi.

Jun Kasai defeated Yoshitatsu to win the GAORA TV Championship, seemingly putting Yoshitatsu’s recruitment of John Cena to an unfortunate end. Kasai was challenged by Black Menso~re after the match.

SUWAMA made his fourth successful defense of the Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship against Yuma Aoyagi in the main event. SUWAMA challenged Shotaro Ashino after the match.

Ryuki Honda will start his trial series at All Japan’s show in 2AW Square on January 10. His first match will be against Shuji Ishikawa.

Also on January 10, Ayato Yoshida and Fuminori Abe will face Jake Lee and Koji Iwamoto. Atsuki Aoyagi versus Rising HAYATO was previously announced for the show as well. Chikara and Takayuki Ueki are confirmed for January 10 but their matches have not been announced.

Abe will challenge Iwamoto for the World Junior Heavyweight Championship at All Japan’s show in Korakuen Hall on January 24. Kohei Sato has also been confirmed for the show.

While Abdullah Kobayashi and Daisuke Sekimoto seem first in line to challenge for the World Tag Team Championships, Odinson set an ominous message to the new champions on Twitter.

Odinson teams with Parrow as The End. The duo competed in the 2018 and 2019 Real World Tag League tournaments. Kento Miyahara pinned Odinson in 2018 and 2019 but Odinson did pin Aoyagi (who was teaming with Naoya Nomura and not Miyahara) in 2018.

DDT Pro-Wrestling

DDT Pro-Wrestling held a show in Korakuen Hall today.

The full results were:

• Keigo Nakamura def. Hideki Okatani
• Antonio Honda def. Choun Shiryu
• Gota Ihashi, Saki Akai and Yukio Sakaguchi def. Toi Kojima, Tomomitsu Matsunaga and Toru Owashi
• Hiroshi Yamato, Mad Paulie and Nobuhiro Shimatani def. Makoto Oishi, Mizuki Watase and Yukio Naya
• Danshoku Dieno, Shinya Aoki and Super Sasadango Machine def. Sanshiro Takagi
• Konosuke Takeshita, MAO, Shunma Katsumata and Yuki Ueno def. Akito, Kazuki Hirata, Keisuke Ishii and Shota
• Soma Takao, Tetsuya Endo and Yuji Hino def. Chris Brookes, HARASHIMA and Kazusada Higuchi

Various announcements were made for DDT’s Kawasaki Strong 2021 show on February 14. First, Yuki Iino will return from injury in an eight-man tag team match with Akito, Konosuke Takeshita and Shunma Katsumata against Daisuke Sasaki, Mad Paulie, Soma Takao and Yuji Hino.

HARASHIMA and Yuji Okabayashi will team together at the show against unspecified opponents while Saki Akai will team with Maya Yukihi against Miyako Matsumoto and Saori Anou.

Recent free agent Yusuke Okada appeared after the fifth match and said he wants to compete in DDT. It was announced he will wrestle at DDT’s show in Korakuen Hall on January 9. Given Okada’s close relationship with Jun Akiyama, it is far from a surprise to see Okada land in DDT.

Hino will face Iino in a singles match at DDT’s show in Nagoya on February 23.

Big Japan Pro Wrestling

Big Japan Pro Wrestling will hold a show in Shin-Kiba 1st Ring tomorrow.

The full card is:

• Kazuki Hashimoto and Takuho Kato vs. Kosuke Sato and Kota Sekifuda
• Daichi Hashimoto, Yasufumi Nakanoue, Yuji Okabayashi and Yuya Aoki vs. Daisuke Sekimoto, Kazumi Kikuta, Ryuichi Kawakami and Takuya Nomura
• Deathmatch: Abdullah Kobayashi and Minoru Fujita vs. Jaki Numazawa and Yuko Miyamoto
• Deathmatch: Akira Hyodo and Kankuro Hoshino vs. Hideyoshi Kamitani and Masaya Takahashi
• Deathmatch: Ryuji Ito vs. Yuki Ishikawa
• Deathmatch: Drew Parker and Shunma Katsumata vs. Masashi Takeda and Takumi Tsukamoto

Big Japan has also confirmed the full card for its show in Shin-Kiba 1st Ring on January 19. The full card is:

• Jaki Numazawa and Masaki Morihiro vs. Takuho Kato and Yuichi Taniguchi
• Drew Parker and Kosuke Sato vs. El Lindaman and Kota Sekifuda
• Daichi Hashimoto, Ryuichi Kawakami and Takuya Nomura vs. Kazuki Hashimoto, Kazumi Kikuta and Masaya Takahashi
• Hardcore: Akira Hyodo and Kankuro Hoshino vs. Hideyoshi Kamitani and Yuki Ishikawa
• T-Hawk vs. Yuya Aoki
• Abdullah Kobayashi, Daisuke Sekimoto and Ryuji Ito vs. Quiet Storm, Yasufumi Nakanoue and Yuji Okabayashi

Pro Wrestling NOAH

Pro Wrestling NOAH will hold its NEW SUNRISE 2021 show in Korakuen Hall tomorrow, however the entire card is a mystery. The full results will be covered tomorrow.

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