February 10, 2015 by mrlahhh
The next NJPW PPV, The New Beginning, is just around the corner. Here’s my take on what the big night holds:
- Sho Tanaka Yohei Komatsu
The Young Lions (Komatsu, Jay White and Tanaka) have shown some pretty good stuff on The Road to The New Beginning and have more than held their own in the ring against some impressive opponents, most notably reDragon and The Young Bucks. Sho Tanaka, in particular, has been excellent throughout his time with NJPW and many may deem him ready for the Junior Heavyweight picture. Skills-wise, I absolutely agree, however he’s perhaps still too slight physically. That won’t stop Tanaka picking up the win here, though.
- Captain New Japan, Jay White & Manabu Nakanishi Mascara Dorada, Tiger Mask & Satoshi Kojima
This match is noteworthy mostly for the presence of Mascara Dorada, who has shown exactly why he’s been such an excellent acquisition from CMLL. After winning the 2015 Fantasticamania tag tournament with Atlantis, it was announced that Dorada had signed a 1-year contract with New Japan. He’s been on the winning side in a few matches in the build-up to the PPV, and I fully expect this to continue at The New Beginning where Dorada, Tiger Mask & Kojima will be victorious (Be sure to catch this match, in particular, as Dorada’s high-flying Lucha style will make it worth tuning in for).
- Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Jushin Thunder Liger Rob Conway & Chase Owens
This contest is very much an appetiser for the second leg of The New Beginning from Sendai (this coming Saturday, 14/02). Conway and Owens are both big names from NWA and they will be involved in title matches against Tenzan and Liger respectively. Liger defends the NWA Junior Heavyweight Title against Chase Owens , while Tenzan challenges Rob Conway for the NWA World Heavyweight Title. This almost makes the result of this match negligible, but I’d like Liger to retain his belt on Saturday, so personally I reckon Conway and Owens will go over here.
- Kota Ibushi Tomoaki Honma
This could easily be the match of the night. It boasts two of my favourite NJPW stars (particularly Honma) and both have shown exactly what they’re capable of. For Ibushi, see his Wrestle Kingdom 9 match against Shinsuke Nakamura, or indeed his Wrestle Kingdom 8 and 7 matches, both of which feature Prince Devitt (AKA Finn Balor). It’s glaringly obvious that Ibushi is bonafide Main Event material. Honma, on the other hand, is the beloved underdog, who went 0-10 in the 2014 G1 Climax but was arguably the star of the show, putting on some absolute barnstormers (see his matches against Ishii and Shibata). Honma was finally vindicated at WK9, scoring a Kokeshi headbutt and pin victory against Bullet Club. Unfortunately, as much as I’d love it, Ibushi is destined for bigger things and I can’t see Honma overcoming him. Kota Ibushi will pick up the victory here.
- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag-Team Title Match: reDragon (c.) Timesplitters v. The Young Bucks
Essentially a WK9 rematch, minus Forever Hooligans who were eliminated from the title picture after being pinned by reDragon at the big show (Alex Koslov subsequently, has taken an “indefinite sabbatical” from wrestling). reDragon (Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly) are probably the best tag-team in the world at the minute, holding the ROH World Tag-Team titles and the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight belts, too. This match will be fast and furious, if their WK9 match, which was an absolute whirlwind, is anything to go by. While I don’t think it’ll be as fast paced, that’s kind of the MO of these teams. reDragon are set to defend the ROH tag titles against The Young Bucks at the Ring Of Honor Anniversary PPV on March 1st and I’d like to see the momentum shift begin here. Bullet Club needs more gold and it’d be great to watch The Young Bucks take the ROH titles on March 1st, before coming to NJPW: Invasion Attack (scheduled for broadcast on 05/04/15) and taking on reDragon 2v2 where they ultimately take their belts as well, completing a full reversal. For that to happen, Timesplitters (Shelley & KUSHIDA) have to take the loss here to reDragon.
- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Kenny Omega (c) Ryusuke Taguchi
Another WK9 rematch here, after Omega won the belt from Taguchi. This rivalry between ‘The Cleaner’ (Omega) and ‘The Funky Weapon’ has ran through from Wrestle Kingdom and has been hugely entertaining thus far. I personally think Omega is excellent and has real star potential – his arm-chainsaw is more over than Roman Reigns could ever wish to be. I’ve been wondering about where Omega is headed, as it could go either way, from a turn to rival stable CHAOS to – my personal favourite – leader of the Bullet Club. Whatever happens long-term for Omega, the short term is a victory over Taguchi, it would be senseless to derail Omega’s momentum now.
- BULLET CLUB (Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga & Yujiro Takahashi) Kazuchika Okada, Toru Yano & Kazushi Sakuraba
Since Okada’s tearful loss to Tanahashi at Wrestle Kingdom, it’s fair to say he’s a broken man at the minute. The Rainmaker is 1-6 against Bullet Club on The Road to The New Beginning and also lost to Bad Luck Fale at New Year Dash, the day after the PPV. Booking the slow-build for Okada is sensible, there’s no doubt at all, he’s easily in the top three pro-wrestlers in the world and his time at the summit will come again. For now though, I like this losing streak and I’d have him lose again at the PPV, building resentment and anger in order for him to eventually overcome Tanahashi for the IWGP Heavyweight Title. I also considered Okada working through Bullet Club and defeating AJ Styles for the title, thus keeping Okada and Tanahashi apart longer, enhancing Okada’s seeming inability to beat Tana when it matters. However, that relies on Tanahashi dropping the belt to Styles, and I’m not sure I see that happening. BULLET CLUB will add to Okada’s woes here.
- Shinsuke Nakamura, Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI Tetsuya Naito, Togi Makabe & Yuji Nagata
Another hype match for Saturday’s second New Beginning event, in Sendai, where Shinsuke Nakamura (my favourite pro wrestler in the world) defends his IWGP Intercontinental Title against Yuji Nagata and Tomohiro Ishii gets his rematch against Togi Makabe for the NEVER Openweight Title. It’s been a fairly mixed bag along The Road to The New Beginning, with both sides taking victories here and there. I don’t expect either title to change hands on Saturday, as much as I’d like to see Ishii regain his NEVER Openweight Title. It was a bit of a shock he lost it in the first instance, and he was probably Wrestler of The Year 2014, at least in my eyes. Naito, Makabe & Nagata will win this one.
- IWGP Tag Team Championship Match – Meiyu Tag: Katsuyori Shibata & Hirooki Goto (c) Bullet Club: Doc Gallows & ‘The Machine Gun’ Karl Anderson
This is another Wrestle Kingdom 9, rematch after Meiyu Tag (the 2014 Tag League winners) defeated the Bullet Club members for the tag team championships. That match didn’t do a lot for me and I felt it was fairly unspectacular. Fortunately, though, the right decision was made with Meiyu taking the belts. Shibata is a real talent and more than capable of great things. His partner Goto is also capable of excellent matches, and I see absolutely no reason to strip the incumbent champs just yet. Shibata and Goto to retain the championship.
- IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match – Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) AJ Styles
Where to start with this one?! For a rivalry that has been missing one half along the entire Road to The New Beginning (AJ Styles has been away with Ring of Honor), this has had SO much to it and has been built incredibly well. Styles dropped his IWGP Title to Tanahashi in a 4.5 star rated match, at King Of Pro-Wrestling 2014, in what was the Main Event of that card. Fast forward to January 5th of this year, the day after WK9, when Styles pinned Tanahashi – who was fresh off defending his title against Okada – in a tag-match at New Years Dash, leading to Styles demanding a rematch at The New Beginning. Add to this the fact that Styles legitimately broke Yoshi Tatsu’s neck in November with a botched Styles Clash attempt –Tatsu is a close friend of Tanahashi, and he has vowed to beat Styles for two reasons; first, to avenge his friend, and second to thank Tatsu for his assistance in overcoming Bullet Club in the run up to his title win at KOPW. Tanahashi has fired several shots at Styles during the build-up to the PPV, using the Styles Clash as a finisher on several occasions, as well as taunting, “He’ll be the champ forever”. As mentioned previously, I’d like to see Styles win and have Okada work through Bullet Club for a while, culminating in those two facing off for the title. With the personal angle to it though, I don’t know whether this will work. Tanahashi is practically worshipped by fans and ultimately, he’ll pick up the win.
The New Beginning is broadcast LIVE from Osaka on NJPW World at 8am GMT on 11/02/14. NJPW World is also completely FREE for the month of February.