The New Beginning in Sapporo is the first sole NJPW show that will have been broadcast since New Year Dash on January 5th. You can watch it live at NJPWWorld on January 27th starting 1AM PST, 4am EST, 9am GMT. The price is ~$9 or ~£6.50 For Wrestle Kingdom 12 I made a predictions article where I finished 6-4. I’ll be trying my luck again in predicting the outcomes for the first night of The New Beginning in Sapporo as well as a rundown of what I’m expecting from each match.
Michael Elgin vs Katsuya Kitamura
There is a big portion of wrestling fans who have heard of Michael Elgin’s troubles of handling sexual misconduct accusations at his now former wrestling promotion. This has caused many to not want to see this man have continued success in the world of wrestling. Yet here he is, still wrestling with the second most popular promotion in the world. As much as people would like to see him fail, he’ll be winning this match. Kitamura is a young lion and this will be the second stop on his ‘Best of Seven Series’ where he’ll be tested against seven different established heavyweights. Right now, in this climate, it’s nearly impossible for me to be excited for this match due to Elgin’s involvement.
Prediction: Michael Elgin
Tenzan, Nakanishi, Liger, Tiger & KUSHIDA vs Iizuka, Kanemaru, Taichi, Desperado & TAKA
At Wrestle Kingdom 12 Suzuki-Gun lost every single match they participated in and their future looked to be in question. The next night at New Year Dash, they rebounded with a win. Originally scheduled, Satoshi Kojima tore his ACL earlier in the week and will be replaced by Manabu Nakanishi. Let’s hope for the speediest recovery for the leader of Bread Club. I see Suzuki-Gun coming back with a vengeance for their boss, Minoru Suzuki, who was embarrassed at Wrestle Kingdom by having to shave his head after losing the NEVER Openweight Championship.
Prediction: Iizuka, Kanemaru, Taichi, Desperado & TAKA
Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano vs Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens
What a bizarre-looking match to book for this show. It screams an Ishii/Yano win, catapulting them to challenge the champions EVIL/SANADA some time next month. The trouble I’m having is that other Chaos members, Okada and Goto, are already challenging the champions next month. There isn’t a single reason to believe in Yujiro/Owens, the two haven’t amounted for anything in New Japan, but still this is a puzzling match for me to predict. My motto is when the match looks obvious, go with the underdogs.
Prediction: Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens
NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship
Fale, Tama & Tanga (c) vs Makabe, Taguchi & Henare
Now sporting a first name, Toa Henare seems firmly established as no longer being in the young lion camp. Team Bullet Club came into Wrestle Kingdom as champions, left as losers and left New Year Dash as champions once again. This championship flip-flops at the drop of a hat and a weird Sekigun team seem like suitable holders of these titles for the upcoming Korakuen shows.
Prediction: Makabe, Taguchi & Henare
Ibushi, Juice & Finlay vs Cody, Page & Scurll
With Finlay being the resident fall guy, this seems like an obvious Bullet Club win. If they lost the previous match, as I predicted, I can see them immediatley rebounding and picking up a win. What’s also important to note is Kenny Omega’s promo at New Year Dash when he was said to be sick of the in-fighting. The ROH subsect of Bullet Club taking a loss could further the conflict within the stable. At Dash they planned to attack Ibushi until Omega ran in to stop them. We’ll see what happens this time when they step into the ring. Once again I’m conflicted and when that happens I go against the grain.
Prediction: Ibushi, Juice & Finlay
Will Ospreay & YOSHI-HASHI vs Tetsuya Naito & Hiromu Takahashi
Hiromu and Ospreay will be facing off on February 10th for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. Neither one should be taking the fall leading up to the match. This leaves Y-H; but wait. Naito and Y-H also have a singles match on February 10th. What makes more sense, Naito winning and Y-H looking for revenge or the other way around? I see Y-H pulling off a surprise win that leads to Naito getting his revenge two weeks later.
Prediction: Will Ospreay & YOSHI-HASHI
Okada, Goto & Gedo vs EVIL, SANADA & BUSHI
Again, let’s look at February 10th. Okada faces SANADA, Goto faces EVIL and Gedo faces BUSHI. Before that, on February 6th, Okada and Goto will be challenging EVIL and SANADA for the IWGP Tag Team Championship. It wouldn’t make any sense if LIJ won but Chaos challenged them for their titles. Team Chaos should win this to cement their claims for LIJ’s tag titles.
Prediction: Okada, Goto & Gedo
White & Roppongi 3K vs Omega & Young Bucks
The day after this show each of these men will be in a championship match in their respective divisions which makes no one an obvious fall-guy. Heavyweight wrestlers are respected on a much larger scale than the juniors so we can eliminate White and Omega from taking the fall. White pinning a champion takes away the sting of YOH or SHO doing it the next day. I’m going to predict that someone from 3K will take the fall.
Prediction: Omega & Young Bucks
IWGP Intercontinental Championship
Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs Minoru Suzuki
There is a storied history between Tanahashi and Suzuki, making this match extremely anticipated. Shamed after his loss at Wrestle Kingdom 12 to Goto, Suzuki is now more pissed than ever and has his sights set on Tanahashi. The ace’s arm is legitimately torn and mangled. Now he must face the king of armbreakers. You should have no doubts in your mind that this will be yet another special match in the history between these two legends. Tanahashi desperately needs to heal up his arm, and entire body, as much as he can. Matching up with Suzuki feels like the perfect excuse for how to get the belt off Tanahashi. Expect a hell of a main event.
Prediction: Minoru Suzuki
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