The first night of NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 15 kick-started with the broadcast team paying tribute to the late Brodie Lee. The former WWE and AEW Superstar passed away on the 26th of December, 2020 to a non-COVID-related lung issue.
Over the course of the past week, the entire wrestling world paid their heartfelt tribute to real-life Jon Huber. WWE also started both RAW and SmackDown with a graphic tribute to the former Intercontinental Champion, whereas AEW conducted a whole tribute Dynamite show for their former TNT Champion.
NJPW pays tribute to Brodie Lee with Wrestle Kingdom 15
"It's January 4th, you know what that means."
New Japan Pro Wrestling started Wrestle Kingdom 15 with a tribute to Brodie Lee when the broadcast team started the night with the aforementioned line. Commentator Kevin Kelly then followed up by sending condolences to Brodie Lee's family and dedicating the broadcast to the former Intercontinental and TNT Champion.
While Brodie Lee never had the opportunity to compete in a New Japan ring, the former WWE Superstar did reveal his interest in working for the promotion. Lee also claimed in the past that he could wrestle for NJPW, despite being contracted to AEW.
The first match of Wrestle Kingdom 15
Following the classy gesture shown by NJPW to Brodie Lee, El Phantasmo took center stage as he prepared for the first match of the night. The winner of the Super J-Cup 2020 went head-to-head against the winner of the Best of the Super Juniors 2020, Hiromu Takahashi.
The two Jr. Heavyweights put together a fun opener, and while some fans expected a little bit more from the two Superstars, both ELP and Hiromu certainly did their best on the night. With Hiromu eventually pinning Phantasmo via a roll-up, the BOSJ 2020 winner will now face the latter's fellow Bullet Club stablemate Taiji Ishimori on Night 2 for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship.