NJPW’s annual start-of-the-year PPV is usually features a cavalcade of great matches, and this year looks set to be no different! But who will walk away with the wins? Well, let’s get some predictions in for tomorrow’s offering.
Gauntlet Match to determine the #1 contenders to the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Championships
Most Violent Players (Togi Makabe and Toru Yano) and Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Yuji Nagata, Jeff Cobb and David Finlay vs. Chaos (Hirooki Goto, Beretta and Chuckie T.) vs. Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki, Lance Archer and Davey Boy Smith Jr.) vs. The Elite (Hangman Page, Yujiro Takahashi and Marty Scurll
This is either going to be ridiculously fun or a terrible cluster of short-running mini-matches. With the upcoming All Elite Wrestling, I think we can rule that team out. MVP are certainly in with a shot, but I’m gonna go with Chaos here.
NEVER Openweight Championship
Kota Ibushi (c) vs. Will Ospreay
What a match this is going to be! If they get the expected 20 or so minutes, they’ll tear the house down with innovative exchanges. I can see a clear winner here though: Will Ospreay
IWGP Jr. Tag Titles
Suzuki-gun (Yoshinobu Kanemaru and El Desperado) (c) vs. Roppongi 3K (Sho and Yoh) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Bushi and Shingo Takagi)
The traditional three-way match is usually a lot of fun. There was a time that I would have picked Roppongi 3K for the win here, but after Shingo Takagi’s successful jump from Dragon Gate, I can’t help but think that Los Ingobernables de Japon are taking the belts here,
British Heavyweight Championship
Tomohiro Ishii (c) vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
I expect these two to knock each other senseless. I’m probably a little biased here given that we used to train together, but I’m dead-set on Zack Sabre Jr taking the title back here.
IWGP Tag Team Championship
Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa) (c) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Sanada and Evil) vs. The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson)
I would love to see The Yong Bucks win. But I just can’t see them risking the belts on them if they’re heading out to run All Elite Wrestling. I’m gonna go with GoD retaining.
IWGP United States Championship
Cody (c) vs. Juice Robinson
This is a match that I actually expect to over achieve. Cody has been a hot commodity since his WWE departure, and love or hate him, he’s perfectly capable of having a good match. Juice Robinson has built himself up slowly over the last few years, and this should be his crowning.
IWGP Jr. Championship
Kushida (c) vs. Taiji Ishimori
There are rumblings about Kushida jumping ship to WWE. I’m gonna assume that they’re true – he’d be a great signing – and say that Taiji Ishimori takes the belt.
Kazuchika Okada vs. Jay White
I know that Okada is fantastic. I know that he’s a modern living legend in NJPW. But he’s losing here, I’m certain. Jay White is part of the group of workers that GEDO is building up, and a win here would cement his status.
No DQ Match for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship
Chris Jericho (c) vs. Tetsuya Naito
Okay, I’m gonna go with an unusual prediction here. You see, it makes sense for Naito to win. I think that they’re gonna get another match out of this feud though. Jericho’s ties to GEDO from there WAR days has meant that we get to see him in a promotion that we never thought he’d be in post-WWE. They’ll want to get as much mileage out of him as they can before he goes to All Elite Wrestling too. So, Chris Jericho retains to drop the strap to Naito another day.
IWGP Heavyweight Championship
Kenny Omega (c) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
Kenny Omega retains. Tanahashi’s time has been and gone, and I fully expect Omega to drop the strap to Naito down the line, probably after besting Ibushi. He’s the one member of The Elite that I don’t expect to jump, simply because he ahs it so good in Japan.
So, those are my predictions. But what about yourselves? Any thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.