Excitement is high for Wrestle Kingdom 15 as night one kicks off in a few hours. These are major moments to watch for heading into the big event.
It is that time of the year! Fresh off all the New Year celebrations, New Japan Pro Wrestling brings one of the most anticipated events of the year, Wrestle Kingdom. 2021 is the year of the 15th installment which is another showcase of wrestling across two nights. The first night kicks off on January 4 and there are several important moments to keep an eye out for. Here are three things to watch for heading into night one of Wrestle Kingdom 15.
New Japan Rambo
New Japan presents its own iteration of the battle royal format where 22 men compete in the match with the final four having a fatal-four-way match on night two for the Provisional KOPW 2021 trophy. As with other battle royals across wrestling, this is an opportunity for surprise entrants and big moments. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has limited traveling in all forms. Japan is currently struggling with another COVID-19 surge as the country considers a new state of emergency declaration as recently as yesterday. Even still, expect New Japan to figure out a way to give fans some exciting moments during this match, even if they cannot bring in names from all over the world.
Will we get a Jon Moxley sighting?
KENTA defends his IWGP US title challenge rights against Satoshi Kojima. This should be an excellent match with KENTA coming out on top with the briefcase. The reason question is whether fans will get some mention of Jon Moxley, the former AEW champion who has held the IWGP US title throughout the global pandemic. As mentioned, travel is extremely restricted and it is hard to believe Moxley would travel right now, putting any future commitments in jeopardy. But that does not mean something could not be done virtually.
Remember, Moxley was first introduced to New Japan via a video segment where he let Juice Robinson know he was coming. Hiroshi Tanahashi appeared at a recent AEW taping virtually to congratulate Chris Jericho on his career. It would be a big moment if Moxley had something to say to KENTA on the big screen. It is not the face-to-face fans want, but it is a start to build intrigue for the future.
The Main Event
As with any show, the main event is the draw of the evening. But Wrestle Kingdom 15 is set to answer the question about who the promotion sees as the future of the organization. Bets are on either Kota Ibushi or Jay White making it out of the two-day event with both the IWGP Intercontinental and Heavyweight titles. But Ibushi must make it through Tetsuya Naito on night one. Naito has had a positive reign as champion, but it is hard to see the company keeping that reign going beyond this major event. Ibushi and White have the makings to be a promotion-building feud for years to come. They already have the story between the two and having them battle for both belts on night two is an excellent next step. The question is whether Ibushi will get through Naito on night one, and that is reason enough to watch Wrestle Kingdom 15.
Wrestle Kingdom is the annual tradition to kick off the year of professional wrestling. Night one is hours away and fans should keep a close eye on these moments to set the stage for New Japan in 2021.