Welcome to Wrestling Inc.’s live coverage of NJPW Wrestle Grand Slam from the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan. Live coverage gets going around 3 am ET/12 am PT. NJPW announced Hiroshi Tanahashi has replaced Kota Ibushi (aspiration pneumonia) in the main event against IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Shingo Takagi.

You can watch the show on NJPW World.

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KOPW 2021 Championship (Ranbo Match)

As per the winning stipulation, as voted on by the fans, handcuffs are legal in this match and if you get handcuffed, you’re eliminated (pinfalls and getting sent over the top rope are other ways to get eliminated). Toru Yano is the current KOPW 2021 Provisional Champion. Chase Owens and Great-O-Khan starting out. 22 total wrestlers expect in this match, the most ever for a Ranbo, according to commentary. Khan looking to work over Owens, but gets his beard pulled to slow his momentum.

Tomoaki Honma enters the match. Honma drops Owens and nails a diving headbutt. Tries for one on Khan, but misses that one. Togi Makabe enters the match. Honma and Makabe work over Khan. DOUKI enters the match. Everybody going after each other. Khan eliminated Makabe. Tiger Mask enters the match. Honma ends up getting handcuffed to the corner of the ring and is eliminated, but he has to just standing out there, lol. Tiger with a backbreaker on DOUKI.

Yoshinobu Kanemaru enters the match. More battling and wrestlers attempting to handcuff each other. Minoru Suzuki enters the match. Owens already begging off Suzuki, who goes right after him with kicks and punches. Forearm drops Owens, followed by stomps. Khan trying to rip of DOUKI’s mask. SHO enters the match. Khan with some Mongolian chops to Suzuki, but Minoru fires back with shots and ties up Khan’s arm in the ropes. SHO heads right to Kanemaru and tries to throw him out. YOH enters the match. Suzuki looking to handcuff SHO, but YOH breaks that up.

Only two eliminations so far as Yuji Nagata enters the match. Suzuki and Nagata battle in the center of the ring, Nagata gets dropped, Suzuki with some kicks that Nagata eventually blocks. Satoshi Kojima enters the match. Nagata and Suzuki throwing shots on the apron, Suzuki looks for a choke, but YOH eliminates Suzuki with a thrust kick. Hiroyoshi Tenzan enters the match. Khan ends up eliminating three people (SHO, YOH, and Kanemaru). BUSHI enters the match. Ring still fairly full as Tenzan and Kojima work together on Khan. Tenzan put out on the apron, tries to headbutt his way out. Kojima goes to hit Khan, ends up knocking Tenzan out to the floor, whoops.

Master Wato enters the match. Khan eliminates Kojima from the match. Multiple wrestlers make their way to the floor and attack each other. Dick Togo enters the match. Tiger and BUSHI both get handcuffed to the barricade and are both gone. Khan with a double slam, eliminating DOUKI and Wato. He’s been easily the most dominant wrestler thus far. Tomohiro Ishii enters the match. He runs out and goes after Togo as the two battle at ringside. Yujiro Takahashi enter the match. Ishii tries to handcuff Togo, but Takahashi attacks and helps out his fellow Bullet Club member. YOSHI-HASHI enters the match and goes after Takahashi in the ring with a low dropkick.

Togo and Ishii battle on the apron, Takahashi yanks off Ishii. Dogo celebrates, but gets kicked to the floor for the elimination. Hirooki Goto enters the match. Goto throws shots at Owens and Takahashi. KENTA enters the match at number 21. Honma still just handcuffed to the ring and has been standing there for most of this match, lol. KENTA with a low bridge to eliminate Goto. Toru Yano is the final entrant into the match. Nagata gets eliminated to the barricade by Khan. Khan smacks Khan with a chair from behind and handcuffs him to the barricade!

YOSHI-HASHI handcuffs KENTA to the top rope, still in the ring. YOSHI-HASHI is quickly handcuffed, as well. It’s down to Owens, Yano, and Takahashi. Low bridge to eliminate Takahashi. Yano undoes the padding, but KENTA attacks him. Owens into the exposed corner, cover, KENTA kicks him to break that up. Owens boots Yano, cover, YOSHI-HASHI kicks him to break that up. Yano with roll-up, but the ref gets knocked down. Powder in Yano’s face, cover, Yano kicks out! Owens with a package piledriver, cover, 1-2-3.

Winner: Chase Owens is the provisional KOPW 2021 Champion

– Post-match, Owens continues to beat up on Yano as the Timekeeper smashes the bell over and over. Bullet Club helps keep people away until Owens finally breaks the hold. Owens will have to defend the title for the rest of the year until he’s the official champ.

– Main card starts up. It’s announced to the crowd Kota Ibushi is out of tonight’s main event, but Hiroshi Tanahashi will replace him in the main event against IWPG World Heavyweight Champion Shingo Takagi

– Kevin Kelly and Chris Charlton on English commentary.

– Hiromu Tanahashi sprints to the ring to talk to the crowd and run down tonight’s card. Takahashi announces he’s cleared for in-ring action and challenges whoever wins the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship between Robbie Eagles and El Desperado (which takes place later tonight).

Taiji Ishimori and El Phantasmo (c) vs. Rocky Romero and Ryusuke Taguchi (IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championship)

Back and forth attacks between Phantasmo and Taguchi before Romero gets tagged in. Double fake-outs and double hip attacks from the challengers. They try to take off Phantasmo’s boot as he’s previously “loaded” it and won matches with cheap tactics. Ishimori lands some attacks on Romero, working over his neck. Romero and Phantasmo tag in. Phantasmo puts Romero down, jumps down on him and then bites his hand. Ishimori tags in and hits a back rake! Phantasmo back in, up on the second rope, does some taunting, another back rake. Ishomori does the same.

Phantasmo goes for three amigos, but Romero slips out of the third and does a back rake. He nails Phantasmo with an enziguri, looks for the tag, but gets stomped on by Ishimori. Crowd claps for Romero to tag out, but Phantasmo pulls Taguchi off the apron. Romero is finally able to find a window and tag in Taguchi, Taguchi with a bunch of hip attacks on both opponents, springboard hip attack, cover, two. Taguchi really getting amped up, looks for a big hip attack, rolled up for two. Both trade a bunch of pin attempts, Ishimori tries for the tights, but still only two. Romero tags in, full moon slice on Ishimori. He then boots Phantasmo away. Romero up to the second rope, dropkicks Ishimori who was draped on the second rope, cover, two.

Romero looks for sliced bread, no, Ishimori with a springboard flipping kick on his opponent. Phantasmo gets involved, springboard splash, cover, two. Romero with an arbar, Taguchi locks in an ankle lock submission, as well. Ishimori doesn’t let Phantasmo tap out, and ends up flipping Taguchi into the other two wrestlers to break that hold. Romero with a swinging DDT on Ishimori. Taguchi with a big hip attack, cover, two-count. Fifteen minutes in. Black hole vacation hits on Ishimori, cover, Ishimori grabs the rope for the break. Strong zero, but Phantasmo throws Romero to the floor. Ishimori lands code red on Taguchi.

Challengers on the floor, Ishimori with a moonsault down to the floor. Phatansmo climbs to the top rope, tells Ishimori to send them back behind the barricade. Phantasmo walks out a ways and hits a huge moonsault down on both opponents! Phantasmo is holding his ankle, commentary wondering if he hurt his ankle or if it was loaded, like in previous matches. Back in the ring, Phantasmo lifts Taguchi, knee strike by Ishimori, UFO by Phantasmo, cover, two. Phantasmo goes up top, huge splash, cover, and Romero makes the save. Phantasmo with a thrust kick on Romero. He tries to hit Taguchi, catches it, throws the kick into Ishimori, cover, two. Blue thunder bomb, cover, two-count. He goes right into an ankle lock on Phantasmo, drops the elbow and tries to get the boot off. Phantasmo gets to the ropes, Taguchi rips the boot off and looks inside. He shows the referee! Ishimori gets the ref’s attention. Phantasmo with a lowblow on Taguchi, CR2, cover, and that will do it.

Winners: Taiji Ishimori and El Phantasmo via Pinfall

El Desperado (c) vs. Robbie Eagles (IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship)

Commentary noting Eagles took a chairshot to the knee in a recent match and may impact how things go tonight. Desperado going right after that bad knee. Desperado really working the ground game to keep the pace slowed. Eagles gets a hmmerlock, but Desperado steps out of the ring and back in, to tie-up Eagles arm. He then boots the rope. Eagles gets the champ out on the floor and looks to fly, but Desperado got low to keep Eagles in the ring. Boots in the corner to the champ.

Eagles throws some kicks, but falls to the mat as his one leg is very weakened. Desperado finally catches a kick and drops his opponent with a kick to his banged up knee and really focuses on damaging it further. He throws Eagles across the ring and he just falls down to the mat. The two out on the floor as Desperado throws him into the apron, Eagles does the same, then boots Desperado into and over the barricade. Back in the ring, Eagles drops the champ and applies the ron miller leg submission, but Desperado finally claws his way to the ropes. Back and forth action as Eagles tries to work his way into this match. Desperado getting frustrated that he can’t put away Eagles. Looks for his finisher, reversed into a pin. Spinebuster on Eagles right into numero dos submission. Multiple pin attempts from both opponents, all of them two-count. Eagles with a thrust kick to the knee and both men are down.

Eagles tries for a big move, no, Desperado tries for a dropkick, Eagles moves. Eagles lands a kick as Desperado punches him in the face. Eagles with a kick, turbo backpack, cover, two. Eagles heads to the top, 450 splash, ron miller special is applied on the champ. Desperado is screaming in pain and nearly gets to the ropes, but gets dragged to the middle of the ring. Eagles with some kicks to the leg and really cranks it for the tap out.

Winner: Robbie Eagles via submission to win the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship

– Post-match, Eagles celebrates, then turns his attention to Takahashi. The two will meet for the title down the road.

Kazuchika Okada vs. Jeff Cobb

Both end up in the ropes, clean break both times, but Cobb then tries for a cheap shot. Okada doesn’t take that, puts Cobb down and hits a low dropkick on his opponent. Okada sitting on the top turnbuckl, but Cobb with a standing dropkick that sends Okada down to the floor. Cobb swings away on Okada at ringside.

Back in the ring, Cobb continues to beat up Okada, lifting him up and throwing knees to his ribs. Big shots in the corner. Okada finally gets some offense with a flapjack. Okada with a drapping DDT down to the floor. Referee starts up his 20-count, but Okada gets Cobb in the ring, looking to win the match more definitively. Okada locks in the money clips, but gets driven into the corner to break that up. Cobb with a big splash in the corner, ends up on the apron. Looks for a suplex to the floor, Okada fights that off. Okada with a splash, caught in midair, running suplex on the floor!

Cobbs looks for tour of the islands, no, hits a german suplex though. Okada with a shotgun dropkick, Cobb up, and another dropkick from Okada. Okada tries for tombstone, can’t do it, switches for some short-arm clotheslines. Okada looks for rainmaker, Cobb ducks it and ends up trying for a tombstone, no. Cobb blasts Okada with a lariat. Back and forth strikes in the middle of the ring, doctor bomb, cover, two. Looks for tour of the island, nope, tombstone, nah, thrust kick lands on Okada. Cobb with a running headbutt, pin, two-count. Multiple counters of each other’s finishers, Cobb tries for a sunset flip, but Okada just sits down on him for the pin!

Winner: Kazuchika Okada via Pinfall

– Intermission so the crew can clean the ring.

Tetsuya Naito and SANADA (c) vs. Taichi and Zack Sabre Jr. (IWGP Tag Team Championship)

The two teams stand in the middle in the ring and try to decide who will start the match. It ends up being Sabre vs. Naito as the bell rings. Bit of a feeling out process between Sabre and Naito. They tell each other they will meet again later and both tag out. Crowd chuckles at that exchange. SANADA looks to flex his pectoral muscles and offers up a contest against Taichi. The two did this last show with SANADA winning, Taichi felt like he did better and it was just a popularity contest. Taichi passes on the contest tonight and gets to wrestling.

Things break down at both teams battle out on the floor. Taichi using a camera cable to choke SANADA. Back in the ring, the challenger maintain control of the match. SANADA is able to attack Sabre’s bad knee and takes him out to the floor. SANADA wraps Sabre’s leg around the barricade, and kicks the barricade. Back in the ring, Naito tags in and focuses more on that knee with plenty of strikes and submission applied to it. Sabre able to attack Naito’s neck and tag in Taichi. Taichi with a big kick to the back. SANADA runs in and takes an enziguri.

Taichi with a kick to the face of Naito, cover, two. SANADA able to tag in, atomic drop, paradise lock on Taichi. SANADA asks for claps from the crowd and finally dropkicks Taichi to the backside. He heads up to the top rope, crossbody, cover, two-count. Fast back and forth action between with the two that leads to a tiger driver by SANADA. He goes up top for a moonsault, lands on his feet, Sabre drops him with an european uppercut. Naito runs in and hits a low dropkick on Sabre. Taichi drops Naito, and then hits an ax bomber on SANADA. All four wrestlers are now down.  SANADA looks for TKO on Taichi, no, skull end, no, and Taichi with a kick to the head.

Sabre’s knee is bothering him as he tries to fight on, SANADA with a basement dropkick to stop him. Multiple pin attempts on Sabre and SANADA, no three-counts though. Forearm shots by both wrestlers. Sabre with a weak jackknife pin, two. SANADA tries for a pin, but Sabre reverses into a pin of his own for two. Cobra twist applied to SANADA, but a hip toss breaks out of that. Nasty dragon screw leg whip on Sabre. Naito works the knee, tries for a swinging DDT, but eats a kick to the arm. Sabre with a swinging DDT of his own, cover, two. Everyone battling in the ring for a moment. Taichi is tossed out. Sabre takes a flurry of attacks from Naito and SANADA, but he’s still able to kick out of the pin attempt. Double knee slam to the mat and goes for a knee lock. SANADA applies a figure-four to Taichi.

30 minutes into the match as Naito heads to the top, but is slowed by Taichi. SANADA sends him out to the floor, splashes down. Naito drives Sabre down to the mat, cover, two. The challengers each have a submission locked in on the champs. SANADA with a moonsault down on Sabre. Black mephisto on SANADA, then destino on Taichi! Naito tries for destino on Sabre, but he takes a zack driver. His knee is slowing him and he can’t follow up. Everyone up and throwing shots at each other as we pass the 35 minute mark. Sabre with a penalty kick to Naito, cover, two. Sabre and Taichi look for a finisher, but Sabre eats a brainbuster as SANADA shoves Taichi into the corner. Naito destino, no, euro clutch pin for the 1-2-3.

Winners: Zack Sabre Jr. and Taichi via pinfall to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship

– Post-match, Hirooki Goto and YOSHI-HASHI get in the ring to challenge the new champions.

Shingo Takagi (c) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (IWGP World Heavyweight Championship)

Lots of back and forth action as we get things going. Each trading attacks. Tanahashi tries for a second rope splash, came up short, Takagi lifts him up and nails him with a death valley driver. Tanahashi then clotheslined out to the floor. The champ continues to beat him up at ringside. Ref starts up his count, but Tanahashi gets in at nine. Takagi continues with big strikes and the challenger crumbles to the mat, suplex, cover, two.

Tanahashi with a second rope senton for a two-count. He lands a low dropkick to the knee of the champion. Takagi is back up with chops and punches in the corner, he runs to the other side of the ring and Tanahashi catches him with a dropkick into the corner. Takagi out to the floor, but Tanahashi goes up top and nails him with a high fly flow. Back in the ring, three twist and shouts from Tanahashi, who is gaining some steam now.

He hits a dragon screw leg whip, then puts Takagi on the second rope and hits another one. He applies the texas cloverleaf on Takagi. The champ is able to focus on Tanahashi’s knee as action spills out to the floor. Takagi delivers a knee strike to Tanahashi’s head. Ref starts up his 20-count. Tananashi gets in a 19 and eats a dropkick the moment he gets in the ring. Made in Japan lands, cover, two-count. 25 minutes have passed. Pumping bomber puts Tanahashi down, pin attempt, two-count. Takagi looks for last of the dragon, but it’s countered into a sling blade. He hits another one, cover, two. Takagi is up on his feet, Aces high crushes Takagi. He looks to go back up top, but Takagi keeps grabbing his leg. Tanahashi blasts him with kamigoye! High fly flow lands, cover, 1-2-no!

Takagi reverses a full nelson with last of the dragon, but can’t follow up whatsoever. Both throwing bombs in the middle of the ring. Tanahashi throws a headbutt! Dragon suplex, Takagi is right back up, another one with the bridge for a two-count. Both end up on the second rope as it’s 35 minutes in. More big shots from both wrestlers. Takagi finally hits last of the dragon for the pinfall victory.

Winner: Shingo Takagi via Pinfall 

– Post-match, Takagi says to Tanahash that he knew it — Tanahashi is great. He thanks him for taking the match on short notice. He says Kota Ibushi was checking with doctors up until the last minute to see if he could still wrestle. He says he’ll hold the title and wait until Ibushi is healthy so they can meet down the road. He thanks the fans for showing up (despite the current state of emergency in Tokyo) and for watching at home. The lights go out, up on the big screen, EVIL (with Dick Togo) says he’s next for a shot at that title. The lights go up and EVIL is behind Takagi. He drops the champion with everything is evil. EVIL then puts the championship over his shoulder for a moment, puts his boot on Takagi’s face and holds up the title. He tosses the title aside and leaves the ring.

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