The day has finally arrived. Many anticipated New Japan’s return to the U.S. immediately after G1 Special in USA ended and today is that day. New Japan are giving the fans a fairly traditional looking show, featuring mostly tag team matches. Although this may turn off fans who were hoping for a lot of singles matches, this will feel more natural to what we see on New Japan World. There are a lot of interesting pieces so let’s break things down a bit and I’ll tell you what I believe will be the outcomes.
Roppongi 3K & Rocky Romero vs The Addiction & Scorpio Sky
This is one of the more random matches this show has to offer. The connection is between Sky and Romero, both of whom have worked in the New Japan Dojo as a trainer. Their partners on the other hand, couldn’t be more different in terms of career trajectory. Both SHO and YOH of Roppongi 3K began their wrestling careers in 2012. Kazarian and Daniels, of The Addiction, started wrestling in the 90s. Being that one team consists of juniors and the other of heavyweights, it’s pretty clear to see where this one is going but it’ll be a fun little generational match.
Prediction: The Addiction & Scorpio Sky
Hirooki Goto & Gedo vs Juice Robinson & David Finlay
The team of Juice and Finlay have been one of my favorites to keep track of so far this year. I think they have serious potential in the New Japan tag division. Juice has recently pinned Goto in a tag team match, signaling a future title match for the NEVER Openweight Championship. Gedo being in the match tips the hand on which team will be winning so just look for some great moments between Goto and Juice as they gear up for the impending title match.
Prediction: Juice Robinson & David Finlay
Killer Elite Squad vs Toru Yano & Chuckie T.
In recent weeks it feels like Killer Elite Squad are gearing up for another run at the tag titles. Their opponents tonight are two of the more comedic wrestlers on the New Japan roster. Expect a lot of hijinks from the two goofballs as they try to sneak out a win over the two moments by any way possible. Chuckie T. is a crowd favorite, especially in southern California, so it’s really nice that he has a spot on the show.
Prediction: Killer Elite Squad
Guerrillas of Destiny vs Cody & Marty Scurll
The first of two Bullet Club versus Bullet Club matches that will take place tonight. There is much beef between these two teams in particular. G.O.D. generally stick to the Japan side of the Bullet Club and refer to themselves as the Bullet Club OG. Cody and Scurll are a part of the ROH side of Bullet Club that focuses on the U.S. Traditionally if a junior heavyweight is in a match, he’s the one to take the fall. In this case, that’s Marty Scurll. The only reason to hesitate picking him as the fall guy is his popularity amongst U.S. audiences. With G.O.D. being an established New Japan tag team, I do see them winning but if Cody were to pin one of them, I wouldn’t be surprised.
Prediction: Guerrillas of Destiny
Tetsuya Naito, SANADA, Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI vs Hiroshi Tanahashi, KUSHIDA, Ryusuke Taguchi & Dragon Lee
Even those who aren’t excited by tag team matches must be excited by this one. This will be extremely chaotic and a lot of fun from beginning to end. CMLL’s Dragon Lee, a longstanding rival to Hiromu from their days together during Hiromu’s CMLL excursion, will be making an appearance. Anytime those two are in the ring together you are in for some exciting wrestling. Expect some fast-paced action that will go by effortlessly.
Predicition: Naito, SANADA, Hiromu & BUSHI
Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger vs Will Ospreay
Due to an injury Rey Mysterio Jr. suffered earlier this month, he is unable to face Liger tonight. A very unfortunate situation because of how excited everyone got to see that match. Replacing Mysterio is IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion, Will Ospreay. Last year, Liger told Ospreay that he was the future of junior heavyweight wrestling so the respect of the legend has been earned. These two have had several matches across the world so this won’t be unfamiliar territory for either. This should be a whole lot of fun considering how great of performers both are so don’t miss this one! As a current champion, Ospreay likely isn’t going to lose but it’s not out of the relam of possibility.
Prediction: Will Ospreay
Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii vs Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr.
Coming off his win of the New Japan Cup, Sabre laid down the challenge to Okada for his IWGP Heavyweight Championship. That match will take place next weekend. This weekend, however, we see them face off in a tag. Consider me one of many who are interested to see how these two match up against one another. You have four of New Japan’s best all in the ring together so there is absolutely no way this won’t rule. Sabre is likely to get a submission win over Ishii while Suzuki takes care of Okada on the outside in order to highlight the dangerous submissions of Sabre.
Prediction: Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr.
IWGP US Heavyweight Championship
Jay White (c) vs Hangman Page
Two of the worlds most athletic big boys squaring off in what should feature some jaw-dropping displays of athleticism. To many, Jay White still has a lot of prove moving forward. He wasn’t seen as the guy who should have beat Kenny Omega for the title and since that win, has been relatively quiet. He didn’t make any appearances during the New Japan Cup so as fans we’re coming into this match cold. That said, there is no question in my mind that these two can deliver a really good match. A title change isn’t out of question because the direction of Jay White right now is undetermined, but I wouldn’t count on it happening.
Prediction: Jay White
The Golden Lovers vs The Young Bucks
While I wouldn’t go as far to say this is a one match show, this match is definitely above the rest in terms of excitement. Both teams consist of next level wrestlers, comparable to any others across the world. I don’t see an obvious choice for either side winning or losing. I’ll just flip a coin because I have absolutely no clue what will happen. This is wrestling at its finest. If you’re a fan of traditional wrestling, this won’t be for you and you probably already know what these guys are all about. Insane athleticism, over the top mannerisms and an all around good time. The type of match you can show someone who has been out of wrestling since the Attitude Era. Now for the coin flip.
Prediction: The Young Bucks