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NJPW ‘Royal Quest’ Preview & Predictions

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After using RevPro as platform for several years, New Japan Pro-Wrestling make their way to the UK to produce their very first solo show. Four titles will be on the line with the chance of a late IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship match being added later. The show will be headlined by Kazuchika Okada defending the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against Minoru Suzuki.

This will be Suzuki’s first challenge in over two years but in that time he’s found success in both RevPro’s heavyweight and tag divisions, winning the titles in both. He’ll be coming into the night with the homefield advantage and a crowd that’s adopted him as one of their own.

The show will be streamed live Saturday, 12:30 pm eastern, on Fite TV with plans of it making NJPW World sometime in September.

Rocky Romero, YOH & SHO vs Ryusuke Taguchi, Shota Umino & Ren Narita
Awesome that the young lions will have a chance to showcase. Roppongi 3K once again find themselves in the opening spot on one of these big shows. They hype the crowd with fast-paced action but never produce anything overly memorable in this spot. Watching Ren Narita fire off overhand chops and suplexes is some of my favorite stuff to follow on the undercards. I hope he has one of those exchanges with SHO but ultimately they’ll get in, get out and be forgotten about by the end of the show.
Prediction: Romero, YOH & SHO

Kota Ibushi & Juice Robinson vs Yujiro Takahashi & Hikuleo
This will be my first look at Hikuleo since May. He’ll have the chance to showcase against G1 Climax 29 winner, Kota Ibushi. A nothing match that’s served as a way to get Ibushi and Juice on the card. Hopefully Hikuleo leaves a good impression.
Prediction: Ibushi & Juice

Will Ospreay & Robbie Eagles vs Taiji Ishimori & El Phantasmo
At the time I’m writing, the match isn’t scheduled to be for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships but that could change at any moment. There’s history between all four of these guys spanning back years at this point. Most recently, El Phantasmo beat Will Ospreay on his way to becoming the winner of the 2019 Super J-Cup. Once aligned with Taiji Ishimori and ELP in Bullet Club, Robbie Eagles left the group back in June and joined up with Ospreay in CHAOS. These guys all know each other extremely well and with their added story, should be one of the hottest matches of the night. If the titles aren’t on the line I can see Ospreay and Eagles winning to set up a challenge in the near future.
Prediction: Ospreay & Eagles

Tetsuya Naito & SANADA vs Jay White & Chase Owens
Jay White shook the foundations of the G1 Climax 29 when he defeated Tetsuya Naito on the final night of the B Block, ending Naito’s chance of claiming the tournament. Over the span of eight months White has been on an incredible run, beating Kazuchika Okada at Wrestle Kingdom 13, winning the IWGP Heavyweight Championship from Hiroshi Tanahashi and eliminating Naito from the G1 Climax. Most recently he’s challenged Naito for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship, a match that is scheduled to headline September’s Destruction tour. Owens is here to eat the pin but expect White to use this platform to get more heat on his upcoming title match.
Prediction: Naito & SANADA

IWGP Tag Team Championship
Guerrillas of Destiny (c) vs Aussie Open

Under what was reportedly suspect circumstances, Aussie Open won a tag team tournament to earn themselves a shot at the Guerrillas of Destiny’s IWGP Tag Team Championship. If this was truly a mistake, this could put a wrench in the plans. With Destruction coming up, I would have imagined New Japan would’ve liked to fill their upcoming tour with a new tag team to showcase and try to get fans invested in but if Aussie Open weren’t the planned team, they obviously wouldn’t win in this spot. It’s no secret that the tag division is weakest aspect of New Japan. They need new teams. They need better teams. No matter the plan I’d like to see a title change here. Freshen up the division all you can. But since it looks like the result was wonky, I don’t expect to see the change now.
Prediction: Guerrillas of Destiny

NEVER Openweight Championship
Tomohiro Ishii (c) vs KENTA

KENTA chose to final day of the G1 Climax to reveal he had aligned himself with Bullet Club. Although he was scheduled that night to team with Tomohiro Ishii, he instead attacked his teammate and helped Bullet Club pick up the win. He then turned his attention to Katsuyori Shibata’s young lions which brought Shibata out to get mugged by the Bullet Club as well. After a G1 run that left many feeling indifferent on KENTA’s future roll with the company, the turn to Bullet Club gives him something you can sink your teeth into. Everyone will be out for revenge and he’s one of the few members of the unit that is able to garner a reaction. I expect him to win the title from Ishii to continue to elicit negative reactions from a crowd that want to see him dead for his actions on Shibata.
Prediction: KENTA

RevPro Undisputed British Heavyweight Championship
Zack Sabre Jr. (c) vs Hiroshi Tanahashi

For the fourth time this year, Zack Sabre Jr. and Hiroshi Tanahashi are set to clash. This will be their second meeting for the title, the last being at MSG in April. This is a match that has no legs to stand on but we’re getting it because these are two high profile guys who needed a singles match for this show. Their seventh match overall, both men have split wins at three a piece. Neither man has won two consecutive matches over the other in the series, making this result scream of a Sabre win. The match came about because Sabre was angry over his G1 performance and wanted to avenge his loss to Tanahashi. This wasn’t a challenger challenging the champion, instead a champion who wanted to avenge a loss. The match is going in cold because it’s not the freshest nor does it have a compelling story but the two have tons of chemistry so it at least has a backbone to support itself on.
Prediction: Zack Sabre Jr.

IWGP Heavyweight Championship
Kazuchika Okada (c) vs Minoru Suzuki

For his first IWGP Heavyweight Championship challenge in over two and a half years, Minoru Suzuki takes on Kazchika Okada where Suzuki is most comfortable. Starting in 2017, Suzuki made the UK his home and by 2018 he had claimed both the RevPro Undisputed British Heavyweight and Tag Team Championships. His singles record with Okada currently sits at 1-4-2. He hasn’t defeated Okada since their first encounter back in February 2013 and twice has come up empty in his challenges for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Now at the age of 51 and his window closing, Suzuki is taking his shot in the place he’s found his most recent success.

In all reality, there’s very little chance Suzuki leaves with the title but the atmosphere will make this match special. Over the last few years, these two have had several memorable matches thanks in large part to atmosphere. Whether it be wrestling in the rain, the Suzuki-Gun return or a 30-minute G1 draw, there is always a special aura when these two are in the ring together. This will be yet another case of an amazing atmosphere as the UK crowd is sure to be fully behind their adopted grandfather, Minoru Suzuki.
Prediction: Kazuchika Okada

Along with providing show reviews from across Japan, Robert McCauley is also an editor for FightboothPW.

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