New Japan Cup, Night 1 and 2 Tournament Matches Predictions
New Japan is back, and tonight we get the first night of the New Japan Cup, where the winner will go on to Dominion on July 12th to face Tetsuya Naito, for the IWGP World Heavyweight, and Intercontinental Championships. The brack is stacked with talent as well as young lions and some newer talent. So I am going to break down all the matches for night one and night two, all the first round matches of the left side of the bracket and who I see winning those matches. Here's the bracket again just for reference.
Night 1, Round 1
Togi Makabe vs. Yota Tsuji
With a bunch of top names, like Will Ospreay, Juice Robinson, Tama Tonga, Bad Luck Fale, Jay White, and Kenta, missing from the field of talent in this tournament, due to travel and undisclosed reasons, a lot of the spots in this tournament are held by Junior heavyweight talent and young lions. See this match, Tsuji, is one of the top young lions in New Japan for a while, but usually when young lions are in tournaments like this, before excursion, they don't go very far, I don't 100 percent agree with the young lion system, limiting their moves, their appearance etc. I'm not about that at all, with that said. Togi Makabe is a veteran of the business and a very good worker at that, it's pretty obvious he will win here and go on to round two.
Tomohiro Ishii vs. El Desperado
Tomohiro Ishii, to me, is an uncrowned champion in New Japan, he is so good, and deserves to passed the NEVER Openweight title, and the US and Intercontinental titles. He is too good for those, and would love to see him go far in this tournament and even win. That's how much I believe in him as a talent. El Desperado is not one of those talents, don't get me wrong, he's a formidable tag team/junior talent, but it's clear to me he's in a filler role here. Ishii should win effectively.
Toru Yano vs. Jado
We've reached the comedy match of the tournament, Toru Yano, the Santino Marella of New Japan. Always finds a way, by any means necessary, does it get him to a title, absolutely not, but it usually helps in early single elimination matches like this with people like Jado who don't even need to be in it let alone win. Part of me really wishes Yano would go back to his old role as a serious contender, mean spirited killer, but it is what it is I guess, Yano wins.
Tomoaki Honma vs. Hiromu Takahashi
It's very clear to me, and pretty much everyone, Honma is no the Honma of old, he doesn't move the same, he doesn't work the same, it's sometimes hard to watch. I realize he wanted to make it back after a gruesome freak accident that almost left him paralyzed but, I fear for him every time he gets in the ring every single time. In the same breathe Hiromu Takahashi, had a neck injury that kept him out for a long time, however unlike Honma, Hiromu is not only much younger, but much more resilient, and prepared for a stage like this. Before the injury I would have told you that it was time for Hiromu to move onward and upward, and I get they need star power in the Juniors division but he is so good it's too obvious to me he's a future World champ. He's one of my favorites to win this tournament, and we deserve that Hiromu vs. Naito match we were supposed to get at the anniversary show.
Night 2, Round 1
Kazuchika Okada vs. Gedo
We all know the story here, the history between these two has been documented for a while, despite the on-screen relationship coming to end, the off-screen relationship is very obvious, Okada is the man, Okada is the face of the company, and Gedo as head booker continues to make that very obvious with the way Okada is booked. Don't get me wrong Okada is great, he's one of the best wrestlers of this generation and I know that, If he wins this tournament I will not be happy about it, because a lot of other talents deserve a shot. It's obvious who's winning here, Okada moves on.
Yuji Nagata vs. Minoru Suzuki
Nagata is entering the twilight of his career, that's pretty clear by how he hasn't been featured in a program in over a decade, or how he's always in the opening match of a pay-per-view card. Minoru Suzuki on the other hand, is still going strong, still being that crazy, scary, intimidating talent he's been for years. With all of that said, it's pretty obvious whose gonna win here. I think it's safe to say Nagata probably is one of those talents that wouldn't be in this tournament if not for other talent being unavailable, Suzuki moves on.
Yuya Uemura vs. Yoshinobu Kanemuru
I think it's safe to say, this match as a whole is kind of a wash, no matter who wins, they won't make it past the second round. Kanemuru is usually a fall guy for Suzuki-Gun, which again not really surprising he's been working for a long time, and isn't gonna face the world champion in a main event of a big show, and I already discussed my stance on Young Lions, and don't need to reiterate, however, this match, might go another way. I think Uemura could win this, it won't matter in the end but like I said earlier neither of these two are going past round two anyway.
Gabriel Kidd vs. Taiji Ishimori
This is an interesting match, because Gabriel Kidd is not super well known to me, I've seen his work in Defiant Wrestling when he had matches with Cody and all. I'm still unclear if he will go far in this tournament, considering the winner of this match goes one to face the winner of the last match, whoever wins here, is definitely going to round three. Ishimori is a talent of the future, he has all the tools but, it's too early for me for him to get a World title shot, safe to say whoever wins here, is probably facing Okada in round three, which means it won't matter who wins here, but I'm gonna pick Ishimori, cause he has more of a catalog of work, and Gabriel Kidd seems like a replacement.
So that's gonna do it for me, I'll be back in a couple days to discuss the other first round matches, and discuss the second round matches at the end of the week. Thanks for reading and supporting me as always. New Japan is back everyone, so rejoice and enjoy wrestling.