With Dominion looming on the horizon this Sunday (4pm bell time in Japan) or for US fans the crack ass of dawn Sunday morning at 3 am EST on New Japan World we got your full card rundown along with my predictions on who comes out on top. New Japan is advertising this as a triple main event card and generally they don’t disappoint so let’s get into it.
Written by: @KingOfKekStyle
Something of note to start with is that the dark match will be a six man tag between the teams of Manabu Nakanishi and TenCozy vs Juice Robinson, David Finlay and Jay White. Normally this would be your average six man however this one is of note as this will be Jay White’s last New Japan match before he comes stateside to Ring of Honor. I see them probably giving him the pin fall to send him off. As well as he is doing coming up in the Young Lions I really think Jay is going to solidify his spot as a top talent and obviously Ring of Honor thinks likewise considering his first match for the promotion will be against Kamaitachi on June 25th in Concord. If this guy comes to your town definitely check him out.
Captain New Japan/YoshiTatsu/Togi Makabe v The Bullet Club (Yujiro Takahashi/Bad Luck Fale/Adam “Hangman” Page)
Another six man features the teams of Captain New Japan, Yoshitatsu and Togi Makabe against Yujiro “Where the hell is Mao goddamnit” Takahashi, Bad Luck Fale and the newest member of The Bullet Club Adam Page. Page became the newest member during the TV tapings following Global Wars.
I’ll be honest I don’t really know what to make of this team of CNJ/Yoshi/Makabe. Togi seems like such an odd pairing with these two but I guess they wanted to get him on the card as Honma is out due to injury.
Prediction: It’s hard to call because these are generally two teams who end up on the losing side of things so it’s basically a tossup but with New Japan seemingly really taking a liking to Adam Page. I think BC gets the win in a fairly short match that really doesn’t wow anyone.
CHAOS v Los Ingobernables de Japon #1:
YOSHI-HASHI/Tomohiro Ishii v BUSHI/Sanada
Speaking of interesting pairings next up we have CHAOS members YOSHI-HASHI and Tomohiro Ishii facing off against LIJ members BUSHI and Sanada. Yoshi-Hashi seemed to have a lot to say about Sanada after their many six mans during the Best of Super Juniors tournament, calling out Sanada for essentially abandoning the company for greener pastures only to come up short, calling him scum and vowing to make him bleed. I actually think this is pretty great considering if you’ve followed New Japan for a while Yoshi-Hashi was always the low man on the CHAOS totem pole especially when Nakamura was still with the company and for him to show this kind of fire is really refreshing. Bushi and Ishii squared off in a tag match at Invasion Attack but I see this being a one-off as both men’s sights are going to be set on singles titles in the near future.
Prediction: As much as I love the fire in Yoshi-hashi I really think LIJ picks up a win in this match. Sanada more so needs a win to spin this off into an angle with Yoshi-hashi with momentum on his side. Realistically a loss by either team really wouldn’t hurt them that much as I see the Yoshi-hashi/Sanada angle going at least through the G1 in some form.
4 Way IWGP Jr Heavyweight Tag Titles
Ricochet/Matt Sydal (c) v reDRagon (Kyle O’Reilly/Bobby Fish) v Roppongi Vice (Beretta/Rocky Romero) v The Young Bucks
Tag matches! Tag matches everywhere! In essentially a rematch from Wrestle Kingdom 10 we get our 4 way IWGP Jr Tag Title match this time with Ricochet and Sydal coming in as champs against Roppongi Vice, The Young Bucks and reDRagon. Not much story here if at all. Just four excellent teams that will go a hundred miles an hour and put on a fantastic match.
Prediction: Over the past few months it’s been a hot potato between Ricochet/Sydal and RPG Vice with the junior tag belts partially I’d like to think due to the rumors earlier this year that Ricochet was WWE bound. That being said if history is any indication, any time The Young Bucks are the challengers in a title match they’re a solid bet every time and I just can’t bet against them. Any outcome is a favorable one as these are four of the best tag teams on the planet right now but I’m going with The Bucks in what will probably be one of the best matches on the card. Plus come on, The Elite all walking out of Dominion as double champs? Too sweet.
IWGP Tag Team Title Match
The Guerillas of Destiny (c) (Tanga Roa/Tama Tonga) v The Briscoes
The final tag team match of the card features the GOD in their second title defense since winning the titles from GBH back at Invasion Attack. This match was set actually back in May after ROH’s War of the Worlds show where Jay pinned Tanga Roa during an 8 man Bullet Club vs Team ROH tag and stated The Briscoes were heading back to New Japan and they’re gunning for the IWGP tag titles.
Prediction: I’ve been a huge fan of The Briscoes in ROH for years now and especially after Global Wars I could really see Jay and Mark walking away with the titles. I mean as I mentioned above with the Bucks it’s hard to argue against tag teams that have built a legacy in the division. If ROH is willing to let The Briscoes spend some time in the promotion I could see them really helping elevate some of the teams in the division in the near future especially leading up to the World Tag League later this year.
CHAOS v Los Ingobernables De Japon #2
Hirooki Goto v EVIL
Another stable war sees Goto continuing his feud with the “King of Darkness” EVIL. 2016 has not been Goto’s year. It started off good enough. The former IWGP IC champ beat Naito at Wrestle Kingdom and got a shot at Okada’s title soon after at New Beginning. Okada offered him a spot in CHAOS which Goto declined on many occasions until accepting as Okada came to his aid post match in the New Japan Cup finals. Goto wants another shot no doubt at Naito especially now that he is champion and EVIL stands in his way. These two love to beat the ever-living hell out of each other so it should be a decent match.
Prediction: Goto is one of those guys who you think “Man he’s a really solid talent BUT..”. Goto needs this win. He needs something to use a stepping stone to get higher up on the card again and I really think this is the beginning of that. I’m not saying that beating EVIL puts him in the driver seat for an IWGP title shot but the IC title is going to need some new challengers in the near future. Goto gets a definitive win in this match.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title
KUSHIDA (c) v 2016 BoSJ Winner Will Ospreay
The Best of Super Juniors tournament this year was really something to behold. On one hand new arrival Will Ospreay set the wrestling world on fire with his performance during the tournament. His match with Ricochet was a 20 minute classic that had people from every corner of the internet talking for days and was such a hot topic that New Japan gave the match away on Youtube for a limited time. (DM link as Youtube video is now private) His match in the finals against Ryusuke Taguchi was arguably one of the best matches of the year that had me screaming at my television in disbelief at times of what was going on in the ring.
However on the other hand it was not exactly the greatest tournament for champion Kushida. Kushida managed only four wins and was eliminated from the round robin by Bushi. Kushida and Ospreay absolutely killed it in their first match at Invasion Attack and I expect this match to be no different.
Prediction: Will Ospreay in 2016 at 23 years old is on fire. In his debut match he pushed Kushida to his limit. His matches in the BoSJ especially in the finals with a very game Taguchi had me saying afterwards “There is no way in hell Kushida is beating this guy” and not a single thing has changed. Kushida is fantastic. Ospreay however is just that much better. Ospreay beats Kushida in what quite possibly will be a match of the year contender and very well may be the best match on the show.
NEVER Openweight Title
“Blue Justice” Yuji Nagata (c) v Katsuyori Shibata
Shibata gets his rematch with Nagata following his loss at Wrestling Dontaku to the final member of the “Third Generation”. Nagata demanded this rematch, telling Shibata that the two together could revive “strong style” wrestling in New Japan. Nagata has gone on record saying that New Japan’s strong style roots have faded over the years and wants to show that only those in New Japan can embody the “strong style” obviously referring to Nakamura leaving the company to sign with WWE earlier this year. I look for this to be an especially physical matchup from both men.
Prediction: As much as I’m a mark for Blue Justice I really think Shibata wins in another brutally stiff and physical contest. As much as Ishii seemed like the gatekeeper for the title before Shibata won it I see the same capacity for Shibata. The NEVER title really seems to be something that is tailored to a guy like him and let’s be honest a guy like Nagata’s reputation precedes him so titles are just a formality at this point.
First Ever In New Japan IWGP Intercontinental Title Ladder Match
“The Cleaner” Kenny Omega (c) v Michael Elgin
Two gaijins make New Japan history again this Sunday. First in April they were part of the first all Canadian main event in NJPW. Now Kenny Omega and Michael Elgin will take part in New Japan’s first ever ladder match. Think about that. Think about how common ladder matches are in WWE and just wrestling period. Now think about the fact New Japan has been around for almost 45 years and this is their first ladder match. Match was originally supposed to be with Omega squaring off against Tanahashi but Tana has been sidelined by nagging injuries dating back to late last year and it finally caught up with him last month causing him to be written off and later announcing he would miss Dominion. Elgin will be subbing for him looking to redeem his loss to Omega in April.
Prediction: I’ll be honest. Gimmick matches are not a thing usually in New Japan so I don’t know what to expect. Omega has all the advantages in this match. He’s got the Bullet Club and The Elite watching his back. He’s the champ. I’d even argue he’s a better performer than Elgin. It’s going to be a brutal spotfest but I just can’t see Kenny possibly losing this belt until Tanahashi returns. The only question is how they one up this match when he does.
IWGP Heavyweight Championship
Tetsuya Naito (c) v Kazuchika Okada
After Naito’s tainted win at Invasion Attack Okada finally gets his rematch for the IWGP title. Naito has really managed to get under Okada’s skin over the past month or so. He beat his CHAOS stable mate Ishii at last month’s Wrestling Dontaku and has made very public comments implying that the reason Okada has been afforded so many opportunities is because of New Japan owner Takaaki Kidani.
Naito’s anti-establishment movement has made Kidani his prime target over the past month, accusing Kidani of being in cahoots with Okada to get him the return match, inviting Kidani to sit ringside to watch the match, going so far as to confront Kidani during an expo in Singapore to once again invite him to watch the match in person. Then there’s Naito’s mocking of the commentators. He rags on Nogami for supposedly being a Yuji Nagata fanboy as well as mocking Milano Collection A.T. for his injury that lead him to retire from in-ring competition and forcing him to leave the broadcast position to open the ropes for him. It’s a rematch of the two hottest stars in New Japan Pro Wrestling in the main event with the title up for grabs.
Prediction: I fully predict there will a shitload of shenanigans in this match from both sides. The war between CHAOS and Los Ingobernables de Japon has been building to a fever pitch over the past month and this time I don’t see Okada coming to the ring alone and making the same mistake he made at Invasion Attack. That being said LIJ is the hottest thing in wrestling right now and Naito, despite obviously giving zero fucks about the IWGP title, needs to continue to have a solid title reign and I think a title switch after one defense would be a poor choice. Both men will deliver as they always do in big match situations but I will be absolutely shocked if this match ends in a clean fashion.
All things considered this is looking to be a pretty solid show as most New Japan shows have been as of late. As always I welcome any feedback you guys may have so feel free to hit me up on twitter @kingofkekstyle and make sure to follow The Wrestling Chronicle @WrestlingChron.
Till next time… T R A N Q U I L O