New Japan Cup 2021, Night 1 and 2 Tournament Matches Predictions

New Japan Pro Wrestling made a few announcements this week.  First thing they announced was The IWGP Heavyweight Championship and the IWGP Intercontinental Championship would be unified and one title would be christened the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship.  Not to get into a rant about this because it's not the main topic of this article, but it is relevant.  There has been talk for a while that New Japan has too many championships.  For me these were the wrong titles to unify.  They should have unified the Heavyweight and Junior tag team championships because there's no need to two tag divisions at all, and got rid of the six man tag titles because nobody cares about them at all.  

Regardless of that they also announced the New Japan Cup bracket where the winner gets a shot at the new world title at Sakura Genesis on April 4th so I am going to give my thoughts on all the matches and who I think should win them, so lets get right into Night 1 and 2 of the tournament and the rest will be broken down in articles to come.  Here is the bracket as it was announced and of course there will be an updated bracket with each of the articles to come.

Night 1, Round 1

Satoshi Kojima vs. Jeff Cobb

This Jeff Cobb's first time in the Japanese tournament as he was in the USA tournament last year.  Kojima on the other hand, this is his eighth appearance in this tournament.  I often wonder why guys like Kojima, Tenzan, and Nagata continue to be in these tournaments, then I realize they are in it to lose.  I know I shouldn't put too much thought into that, that's what New Japan does, I guess it just surprises me that there isn't a single junior heavyweight in this tournament but these three and and two young lions are.  Anyway, these two have only faced each other once in a singles match.  Often times New Japan likes to 50/50 in these situations but the thing that may stop that from happening is Kojima just got a tag team win over Cobb.  For that reason I could totally see Cobb winning this match.  The winner of this match is facing EVIL in round two, who in this new format gets a first round bye for winning the tournament last year.  I'd certainly prefer to see EVIL face Cobb instead of Kojima so for that reason I'm picking Cobb and with Kojima getting the win in that tag match a few nights prior at Castle Attack, I see Cobb getting the win back for that reason.

Winner: Jeff Cobb

Tetsuya Naito vs. Great O-Khan

For the first time in two years, Tetsuya Naito is not the world champion during the New Japan Cup, that means he's in this tournament and it is his ninth entrance in the tournament, also having won it in 2016.  O-Khan on the other hand, this is his first appearance ever in the New Japan Cup and boy is his character just not hitting home at all.  There's no way Naito is losing this match.  It's very clear to many the O-Khan character and the entire Empire group is not working.  Naito being Naito, there is no way he's losing this.  Unless out of nowhere they have different plans for O-Khan that we haven't seen at all to this point, he's literally lost all of his "big" matches.  So the first meeting between these two is very clear, Naito wins, moves on to round two.

Winner: Tetsuya Naito

Night 2, Round 1

Toru Yano vs. Bad Luck Fale

I am not a Yano fan, I get his act, I get what he's there to do, he's just not for me.  I've grown to be very cynical of comedy wrestling because a lot of times it feels like a waste of time to me.  Yano himself is a very good wrestler and this is his sixteenth New Japan Cup appearance, and sixteenth consecutive appearance, so yeah he's a very reliable competitor.  Bad Luck Fale is making his seventh New Japan Cup appearance and his fist in two years.  These two have faced five times in singles competition, Yano has the advantage, 4-1, and the only win for Fale was in a previous New Japan Cup.  The winner of this match faces Naito in round two so either way I don't think either of them will go passed round two.  I'm gonna pick Yano because I can totally see Yano antics for at least one round getting him a win, and he'll probably beat Fale by count out or something.

Winner: Toru Yano

Hirooki Goto vs. Taichi

Hirooki Goto is one of the best New Japan Cup competitors ever.  This is his thirteenth appearance, and is the only person to ever win it three times, and was the first to win two years in a row.  There's no denying his history in this tournament.  Taichi in his fourth in a row and fourth ever.  Despite my thoughts on the Taichi character, there's no denying his in ring ability and these two are currently tied in singles competition against each other at a 2-2 record, they haven't faced one on one in almost two years, and Taichi got the victory in the most recent.  Goto has had a lot of trouble recently not getting to the top of the mountain, and he hasn't won this tournament in particular in nine years.  Taichi has kind of been on a role in tag team competition recently.  I also don't have very high hopes for either of these two to go passed round two as they are most likely facing Kazuchika Okada.  This is the hardest match to call of these early first round matches because it could go either way, but I'm going to pick Taichi.

Winner: Taichi

So that's gonna do it for Night 1 and 2 of the New Japan Cup it's sure to be a very interesting tournament and I look forward to all of the intriguing matches we are sure to get a long the way.  Look out for more of these as I will continue to break down the tournament two nights at a time.  I'll be back in two nights to discuss Night 3 and 4, Thanks everyone.

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