It's official! Kota Ibushi will still get his chance to challenge Tetsuya Naito at Wrestle Kingdom 15 and “Switchblade” awaits the winner. Meanwhile, Ospreay gets his chance to face “The Rainmaker” inside the Tokyo Dome.
In a press conference the day after the Power Struggle, NJPW confirmed that the main event of Wrestle Kingdom 15 will be Tetsuya Naito defending his IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental titles against Jay White. The match will take place on January 5, which is night two of the event.
However, later in the press conference, the incumbent champion Naito stated that he still wanted to face Kota Ibushi on night one of Wrestle Kingdom on January 4 because Ibushi was the rightful winner of the G1 Climax Tournament. New Japan Pro-Wrestling has now made that match official for Night 1 inside the Tokyo Dome.
Wrestle Kingdom 15 night 1: Kota Ibushi vs Tetsuya Naito!
Headlining night one of Wrestle Kingdom 15 on January 4 will be Kota Ibushi challenging Tetsuya Naito for the double IWGP Intercontinental and Heavyweight Championships. At Power Struggle on November 7, Kota Ibushi lost the right to challenge Naito earned with his G1 victory, but with victor Jay White electing to challenge for the titles on night two of Wrestle Kingdom, Tetsuya Naito was left without an opponent for January 4.
With a strong desire to headline back to back in the Dome at Wrestle Kingdom, Naito nominated the G1 winner to face him for January 4. Now a storied rivalry will play out on the grandest of all stages. Their battles have been fierce, violent and dangerous; a combination Ibushi has in the past likened to ‘playing with fire’. With Naito putting all the marbles on the line in the first of two nights, is he playing with fire when it comes to double IWGP gold?
Wrestle Kingdom 15 night 2: Jay White vs X!
Night two of Wrestle Kingdom 15 on January 5 has its main event set as Jay White will take on the winner of Kota Ibushi and Tetsuya Naito with double gold glory on the line. White has talked at length about he and Naito’s ‘destinos’ being intertwined, and that could well be the case on January 5 should they meet in the headline spot of the entire weekend. Last year on January 4, it was Naito’s Destino that couldn’t be denied as El Ingobernable sent Jay White crashing out of the Double Gold Dash. This year, could the Switchblade seize the grandest prize in wrestling on the grandest stage in wrestling from Naito?
Or could it be Ibushi? After the G1 Climax 29 final saw Ibushi victorious, White has done everything in his power to viciously attack the Golden Star. From a steel chair assisted win in the Tokyo Dome on January 5 2020 to a win in the G1 that opened the door for Power Struggle and the first-ever successful briefcase challenge (albeit under controversial circumstances with feet on the ropes), Jay White, more than has Ibushi’s number, but he also has Ibushi’s extreme, burning ire. Should Ibushi meet Jay White in the main event, the personal hatred between both men may even eclipse the double titles themselves.
In addition to that match, it has also been confirmed that Will Ospreay will face Kazuchika Okada on the first night of the event after challenging him at Power Struggle.
Wrestle Kingdom 15 night 1: Kazuchika Okada vs Will Ospreay!
Night one of Wrestle Kingdom 15 will also see Will Ospreay face Kazuchika Okada. On the last night of G1 Climax 30 A Block action, Ospreay faced ‘big brother’ Okada in his last group match, but shocked the world when enlisting the services of STARDOM’s Bea Priestley and Great-O-Khan to defeat the Rainmaker. Forming a new faction known as The Empire, Ospreay stated that he used Okada’s name and status to get to the top of the industry, and now vows to ascend to even greater heights by ‘ending Okada’s career’.
Ospreay further angered Okada by refusing to engage him one on one, instead nominating the fearsome O-Khan to take him on at Power Struggle instead. With the Rainmaker sending O-Khan into unconsciousness in Osaka, his path to Ospreay is clear, and now the Rainmaker has promised he will ‘crush’ the man he brought into New Japan Pro-Wrestling in the first place.
Fightful will have live coverage of both nights of Wrestle Kingdom on January 4 and 5.