Saturday, February 13, 2016

The New Beginning in Niigata Predictions

I'm a bit pressed for time today, so I'll be doing write ups for the bigger matches on the card, and then short predictions for the rest of the show.

At Wrestle Kingdom 10 last month, NJPW introduced the NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championship. On that night, the odd tandem of Toru Yano and the Briscoes beat Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga and Yujiro Takahashi of the Bullet Club to become the first champions. At the New Beginning in Osaka, the Bullet Club captured the straps. The change was rather obvious since this match was booked for both New Beginning shows. I expect this to be a decently fun match like the last two have been, with the champions retaining seeing as how they just won them.

Winners: The Bullet Club

Outside of the main event, this is the match that I'm looking forward to the most. I strongly dislike the booking of the Juniors divisions but KUSHIDA was, hands down, the bright spot of it last year. Hell, he just had great match after great match in 2015 with everyone from Kyle O'Reily to Kenny Omega to Roderick Strong. BUSHI is interesting to me. He's pretty good and is a nice addition to the title ranks. I do wish we got more people with a varied style, like a Zack Sabre Jr. or someone similar, but anyone different is welcome. While I like BUSHI, I don't think KUSHIDA should drop the belt anytime soon. His run last year was terribly cut short by giving Omega a meaningless run. Have KUSHIDA hold it until he faces the winner of the Best of the Super Juniors, which will hopefully be O'Reily, giving us the rematch from last year.


Like the NEVER Title matches on the New Beginning shows, this is a rematch from Wrestle Kingdom 10. On that night, Tomoaki Honma and Togi Makabe won the IWGP Tag Team Titles from Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson. It was the first title win for the uber popular Honma. Right after Wrestle Kingdom, word broke that Gallows and Anderson, along with Shinsuke Nakamura and AJ Styles, were headed to the WWE. Gallows and Anderson have stayed longer than those guys, but are expected to be finishing up their run by the end of the month. No need to pull off a title switch here. My only question is, who challenges Honma and Makabe next? The Briscoes? Naito and EVIL?

Winner: Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson

I picked the other three titles to stay put, but we'll obviously have a new IWGP Intercontinental Champion here. After Nakamura left, the title was vacated. Kenny Omega pinned Nakamura on his way out and is new to the heavyweight ranks. He was scheduled to face a mystery opponent, but on January 30th, Hiroshi Tanahashi revealed that he was going to be his opponent. This sets the stage for an interesting matchup. Omega is still a bad over actor and I'm no fan of him or the Bullet Club, but this should be clear. To solidify Omega, he needs to go over Tanahashi here and win the title. That, followed by cutting back on the antics and a strong showing in the G1 Climax could make him a legit heavyweight. I fully expect this to be one of Omega's better matches because he'll be in there with a top three wrestler on the planet.

Winner: Hiroshi Tanahashi

Rest of the card predictions
Cody Hall and the Young Bucks def. Captain New Japan, Jushin Thunder Liger and Tiger Mask
reDRagon def. Gedo and Kazushi Sakuraba (really excited to see Saku against reDRagon)
Matt Sydal, Ricochet & Tencozy def. Yuji Nagata, Manabu Nakanishi, David Finlay & Ryusuke Taguchi
Tetsuya Naito and EVIL def. Michael Elgin and Jay White (I assume White takes the pin)
Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHi def. Meiyu Tag & Juice Robinson (toughest call)