New Japan Cup, Night 5, Tournament Matches Predictions
So Today I'm going to discuss the second round of the left side of the New Japan Cup bracket, it's been a very good tournament thus far, with some really good matches, with the right side of the bracket still to air this coming Monday and Tuesday (which I previewed a few days ago and you can see my predictions on those if you haven't already.) So let's breakdown the first four, second round matches. Also there is an updated bracket below to see where the tournament is at to this point.
Togi Makabe vs. Tomohiro Ishii
These two have met on nine different occasions and currently Makabe has the advantage, 6-3, a lot of their early match-ups came when Makabe was at the top of his game, he would win the first six meetings between these two. Ishii however, is better then he's ever been and performing at a level that has surpassed how he performed back then, and as I mentioned in earlier writings, is an uncrowned champion of the future in my eyes. Also, whose to say how long Ishii can continue to perform at this level, turning 45 this year, I think that even for a short time (probably next year), Ishii needs to win the world title at some point in his career. This should be a hard hitting match as their encounters always are, with Ishii getting another victory, to this point being his fourth straight over Makabe.
Toru Yano vs. Hiromu Takahashi
These two have only faced one time ever, and it was when Hiromu was a young lion, and Yano was a much different character, a much meaner character. I'm sure Hiromu hasn't forgotten the humiliation that he was put through on that night, as Yano shaved his head. Now that might not matter in the scheme of this match of course, just trying to set the scene if you will. Yano as I've mentioned before isn't that meaner character he once was and hasn't been for a very long time, so a lot of time we don't expect much from him except his usual antics and a sneak finish. Hiromu on the other hand is one of the most popular, most over, and most charismatic people in New Japan, the sky's the limit for Hiromu. I think he will get the win here, and it will be an entertaining match at that, or as entertaining as a Yano match can be these days. I can't not sing the praises of Hiromu Takahashi, and the future is very bright for him and as I've said before I expect a strong performance in this tournament for that reason.
Kazuchika Okada vs. Yuji Nagata
I find it very interesting, that this is only the second singles encounter between these two. The last time they faced it was high velocity contest, that saw Okada overcome the veteran, Nagata. That encounter took place in 2015, and it's safe to say that in that time they've gonna very different directions. Nagata being at the tail end of his career for the most part, and Okada being at the very top of his game, and the very top of New Japan for the foreseeable future. Even without a title Okada is and will be for a long time, the face of New Japan, and unless something changed about his view on ownership or the way things are being run he isn't going anywhere. I think it's obvious Okada will win, of the first round matches on this side of the bracket, I expected Suzuki to be here, and I was surprised Nagata beating him, so obviously they want Nagata and Okada to have a hell of a match, and if Nagata can deliver at that level with the best, it should be a great match that of course, Okada will win.
Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Taiji Ishimori
The last match on this side of the bracket in round two, and it's an interesting one at that. Kanemaru, has come out on top and both of their encounters, the most recent being the most humiliating for Ishimori, who has made a reputation for himself in New Japan of being no nonsense, and no prisoners in his actions. Last time these two met, Ishimori lost in under four minutes thanks to some underhanded tactics by Kanemaru, who spit whiskey in the face of Ishimori and won with a sneaky roll-up finish. I underestimated Kanemaru in round one as he was the only person I picked to lose to young lion, that was foolish of me, but regardless, Ishimori will most definitely be looking for retribution for that previous contest and to finally get one over on Kanemaru. For that reason I don't think the trend will continue and Ishimori will come out on top, which would unfortunately for him put him in the sights of the Rainmaker himself. This will hopefully be a much more action packed contest then their last meeting, and as I already stated, see Ishimori finally get passed Kanemaru for the first time ever.
Alright so that's gonna do it for me I'll be back in a few days, to discuss the second round of the right side of the bracket, after all the first round matches take place, and I'm sure the action will keep getting better in this tournament as we get closer to the end and to the Dominion show taking place the day after this tournament concludes. Thanks again for the support, and I everyone is enjoying the New Japan Cup.