NJPW has had an up and down year so far in 2021. The promotion has dealt with COVID-19 outbreaks and stars being out that has made it difficult to gain momentum. Despite all the setbacks, the one thing preserved has been New Japan Pro Wrestling's standard of in-ring excellence.
Kicking off the year at the Tokyo Dome, NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 15 showed off the greatness of the company's performers. Kota Ibushi, Will Ospreay, and Shingo Takagi have all won their first IWGP World Heavyweight Championships and have been at the top of the heap in "the best wrestler in the world" conversation.
It's time to look back at some of the most spectacular matches seen in all of wrestling. In this article, let's take a look at the ten best NJPW matches of 2021 so far.
#10 Taiji Ishimori vs. Hiromu Takahashi for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship (NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 15 Day 2)
Heading into NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 15, Hiromu Takahashi won his second Best of Super Juniors tournament to earn an opportunity to regain the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship from Taiji Ishimori. The Bullet Club member defeated Takahashi for the title at Summer Struggle 2020, but the latter was still high in fans' eyes.
The two men put on one of the fastest paced matches of the entire year. Takahashi and Ishimori are two performers who utilize their speed better than most in the business. It was on display on the biggest night for NJPW. For a match that went 25 minutes, it flew by without letting up.
Taiji Ishimori showed why so many knowledgeable fans believe he is criminally underrated, while Hiromu Takahashi proved why he is the ace of the junior heavyweight division. "The Ticking Time Bomb" hit the Time Bomb II on Ishimori to reclaim the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship for the fourth time. Wrestle Kingdom 15 was so good that some may have forgotten how great this match was.