The New japan Cup 2016 will reveal it’s winner this Saturday and, as always, the full show will be available live on the New japan World network (you can subscribe for a measly 999 Yen). But, before we get there, we need a preview of course. Luckily for you guys, that’s exactly what I propose to give you right now and we start with the semi-finals of the NJC:
New Japan Cup Semi-finals 1, Toru Yano vs. Tetsuya Naito:
On paper, this is the easiest semi-final to predict. It’s already miraculous for Yano to have made it this far, and he’s basically there to continue the Los Ingobernables/CHAOS theme that has been present throughout the tournament. And it has worked rather well for Naito who has now combined great characterization with equally great matches (his quarter-final against Ishii in particular). So, is there any chance for Yano here? Well, Yano’s character specializes in “stealing” victories, so, even if he’s a mid-carder you can’t never totally count him out. that being said, I don’t see what having Yano win here would accomplish, except to continue the CHAOS/Goto storyline, which is something that will be present anyway. No Naito wins here to further cement his new-found status as the company’s top-heel.
Winner: Tetsuya Naito
New japan Cup Semi-Final 2, Hirooki Goto vs. Michael Elgin:
I had made Elgin my dark Horse in my tournament preview, and, Big Mike has done well until now. But, I believe this is where he will reach his storyline limit. Indeed while an Elgin win is still possible, one of the main players of this tournament has been Goto, who is currently at the center of several ongoing things. there is the CHAOS storyline of course, there is also his relation with NEVER champion Shibata, who has tried to make him see reason as only Shibata can (by giving him stiff kicks to the back of the head), and there is still bad blood between him and Los Ingobernables as well, so a Naito vs Goto final seems almost inevitable at this point. Elgin will probably receive a consolation prize later on though, as wrestlers who make it to the semi’s of the NJC often receive a shot at one of the Championship belts somewhere along the line anyway.
Winner: Hirooki Goto
New Japan Cup Final:
Well, if I’m right, we’re getting Goto vs Naito, which is a match that we already saw at Wrestle Kingdom 10. But Many things have changed since then, Naito has huge momentum right now, while Goto has actually benefited from his defeat to Okada at new beginnings in ways none of us could have anticipated. In other words, this will be a very different match, fought under very different circumstances. Which makes predicting the winner that much more difficult. We will probably see the conclusion of the Goto/Okada saga here, but which way will it go? Will Goto indeed join CHAOS and then challenge his former friend Shibata? Or will he want to prove to Okada that he doesn’t need him or CHAOS to be the best? As for Naito, his motivation for winning this tournament is pretty much to show everybody he does what he wants, when he wants it and nobody can touch him; Which is pretty awesome when characterized by a heel as great as Naito is. So I’m going with him as the winner, firstly because it won’t stop NJPW from going through with whatever they’ve planned for Goto and secondly, because it will be awesome seeing Naito being an absolute dick to whatever champion he will go after.
Winner of the New japan Cup: Tetsuya Naito
Jay White vs. David Finlay:
As said before, this is a match we will see quite a few times in the coming months, but the upcoming Super J-cup might change the rules for some of the Young Lions, especially or White who has actually been involved in some storylines (with Los Ingobernables) lately. WXhitte is one of those young, hyper-talented Junior Heavyweight I could see enter the upcoming tounramnet, so, it may be that his develompment form Young Lion to Junior heavyweight goes a bit faster than most of us had anticiopated. Finlay is, of course, also hugely talented, but, character-wise, he seems a bkit behind White at this point. Regardless, it will be interesting to follow what NJPW has in store for hose two.
Winner: Jay White
Jushin Thunder Liger and Juice Robinson vs. Tiger Mask IV and Captain New Japan:
While many expected the former CJ Parker to fail miserably in NJPW, it must be said he has done rather well up until now. After a shaky start, he slowly found his stride to the point that he has now managed to achieve a certain popularity among the Japanese crowd. I’m sure he will have great fun teaming up with the legendary Jushi Liger here, and I even predict a crowd-pleasing victory for both. Good job, Mr Robinson.
Winner: Jushin Liger and Juice Robinson
CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii and YOSHI-HASHI) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL and BUSHI):
As said above, CHAOS vs Los Ingobernables is definitely a theme this year, so this match certainly fits. I actually think it’s a better idea to do this with ishii instead of putting Okada in there, because fans will always expect Okada to fight Naito, not EVIL and BUSHI. So, I’m expecting a good match here, or should I say war, here, especially since EVIL and Ishii have already proven that they have good chemistry, while BUSHI and YOSHI-HASHI should provide the high-flying. I wouldn’t be surprised if Los Ingobernables win here, since EVIL vs Ishii for the latter’s ROH TV Title would actually make sense (Watanabe having wrestled for ROH before).
Winner Los Ingobernables de Japon
Katsuyori Shibata and Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima:
A bit of an odd pairing here as the Taguchi is all about silly comedy these days while I don’t think I’ve ever seen Shibata smile. Or maybe a smirk one or twice. Anyway, this is more about TenKoji than Shibata or Taguchi as they’ve already stated they were going after GBH’s tag team titles. Of course they will find Bullet Club on their way too, but, more on that later. Shibata will probably have a rle to play after the NJC Final, so this is just to pass some time by kicking some asses for him.
Yuji Nagata and Manabu Nakanishi vs. Kazuchika Okada and Kazushi Sakuraba:
Prett much the same obeservation for Okada as for Shibata. they will (probably) have a role to play at the end of the final. In the meantime, Okada gets to play around with veterans Nagata and Nakanishi. While Nakanishi is NJPW’s version of the Big Show, nobody really wants to see him in a match nowadasy, Okada vs Nagata and Sakuraba vs Nagata could send some sparks flying and I’m all for that.
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma vs. Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga and Yujiro Takahashi:
This is probably the match were we will finally know who Tama Tonga’s new tag team partner will be. Quite a few names have been thrown around, but, at this time, Tonga’s younger brother Tevita Fifita (aka Camacho in WWE and Micha in TNA) seems like the most likely candidate. It is also likely we will se the continuation of the storyline started when Fale beat Tanahashi during the first round. We might get a Okada-like storyline where Tanahashi, after suffering some consecutive losses, need to conquer the monster Fale in order to regain his pride. or something like that. Anyway, this will be the start of an all-out war between the three faces (plus Elgin probably) against Bullet Club/The Elite. Should be fun.
And there you have it. this show will determine how NJPW next big PPV, Invasion Attack, will look like, so expect a full review of the NJC Final and an early preview on IA on Saturday evening. Until then, have fun!
Tags: bad Luck fale, David Finlay Jr, EVIL, Hirooki Goto, hiroshi tanahashi, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Jay White, Jushin "Thinder" Liger, Katsuyori Shibata, kazuchika okada, Kenny Omega, Michael Elgin, New Japan Cup 2016, njpw, Satoshi Kojima, Tama Tonga, Tetsuya Naito, Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma, Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano, Will Ospreay, Yoshi Hashi, Yuji Nagata, Yujiro TAkahashi