We continue our look at NJPW‘s The New Beginning tour, with Night 2 of The New Beginning in Sapporo!
Kitamura Trial Series #3: Kitamura Vs. Juice Robinson
The end-game in the Kitamura trial series should be longer matches where we all get to see what the former Young Lion with a bodybuilders physique has to offer in New Japan Pro Wrestling. If Kitamura can string some big wins together and get the crowd support than he could easily be on the road to a huge NJPW singles career like the company hopes. Juice Robinson didn’t go the Young Lion route after leaving WWE 2 years ago and his charisma is really what shines through. In the G1 Climax tournament Juice proved he can go with anybody from Satoshi Kojima to IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada. This is a battle of future top main eventers. Kitamura needs the victory more in this situation and maybe he can add some new moves to his arsenal to put Juice Robinson away.
“The Golden Star” Kota Ibushi, KUSHIDA and David Finlay Jr. Vs. Bullet Club (“The American Nightmare” Cody, “The Villain” Marty Scurll and “Hangman” Adam Page)
Cody and Ibushi meet again this time Kota Ibushi has new partners in the young rising muse David Finlay Jr. and the highly talented KUSHIDA. Bullet Club has a lot of experience in the ring with all of these competitors except for “The Golden Star” and Kota Ibushi is hard to predict anyways so the edge goes to team Ibushi. Cody can hit a moonsault to the floor but it’s no match for The Golden Triangle Moonsault. Look for “The Villain” Marty Scurll to be the wild card. Despite being in the Junior Heavyweight division, Marty Scurll has had great matches for the ROH TV championship against KUSHIDA and he could apply the Chickenwing when you least expect it. “Hangman” Adam Page gets pinned by a Kota Ibushi knee strike in a very fun 6-man tag team match is the prediction.
Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano Vs. Leo Tonga and Yujiro Takahashi
Tomohiro Ishii is in tag team action again even though he would be better served in major matches on the card. There is lots of tag team action on this card, this could be a way to earn “The Stone Pitbull” and Toru Yano another shot at the IWGP Heavyweight tag team championships. Leo Tonga has not received a regular spot on the NJPW roster just yet but he has done quite well in tag team matches, he replaced Kenny Omega last year teaming with Bullet Club. “The Tokyo Pimp” and Leo Tonga is an odd pairing for sure and one not likely to defeat the well-rounded duo of Yano and Ishii. Toru Yano surprised everyone by being the one to earn the pinfalls in December’s World Tag League tournament and I would expect the same here against Yujiro Takahashi.
Hiroshi Tanahashi and Michael Elgin Vs. Minoru Suzuki and Takashi Iizuka
“The Unbreakable Aces” finally return and they get Suzuki–Gun in a match that hasn’t been seen yet but the feud has been leading to this for months. Iizuka ruined Elgin’s chance to become the NEVER Openweight champion when he used the steel claw on Elgin’s throat and helped Minoru Suzuki retain and now Tanahashi is facing the same odds. Suzuki made his intentions clear that he wanted Tanahashi’s IWGP Intercontinental championship at NJPW New Year’s Dash and they battle for the title the night before on night 1 of New Beginning In Sapporo. The outcome will effect this match but Elgin and Tanahashi are the much better duo that use teamwork like Elgin’s press slam on Tanahashi to take out the opponents on the floor. Suzuki may win the title but he should suffer the Elgin Bomb and High Fly Flow in this match.
Satoshi Kojima, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Henare and Makabe Vs. Bad Luck Fale, The Guerilla’s Of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tana Loa) and Chase Owens
It’s always fun to see TenCozy team together and they take Young Lion Henare under their wing and become ally’s with Makabe again. Bullet Club is represented by the OG members and IWGP 6-man tag team champions Bad Luck Fale and The Guerilla’s Of Destiny with “The Crown Jewel” Chase Owens by their side. Even if the match doesn’t go too long, there will be lots of hard hits and “The Unchained Gorilla” Makabe doesn’t slow down a bit for his age. Kojima and Tenzan have been at war with The Guerilla’s Of Destiny for some time now and Bullet Club almost always comes out victorious. Bad Luck Fale should be the heavy hitter that wins with a Bad Luck Fall on Henare.
“Funky Weapon” Ryusuke Taguchi, Umino, Jushin “Thunder” Liger and Tiger Mask lV Vs. El Desperado, Taichi, Kanemaru and TAKA Michinoku
A Junior Heavyweight 8-man tag is always exciting with veterans like Liger always coming up with new ways to interject all competitors. El Desperado against Jushin “Thunder” Liger would be a nice feud late in the career of Liger if it pushed Desperado up the card and towards the IWGP Jr Heavyweight Championship. Kanemaru, TAKA and Taichi are the sneakiest heels on the whole roster that are capable of pinning anyone really due to their dirty tactics but El Desperado could use the win more than anyone and he will beat Shota Umino in this match who is being newly booked on major events after only one year of experience.
CHAOS (“Rainmaker” Kazuchika Okada, “The Aerial Assassin” Will Ospreay, Hirooki Goto, Gedo and Yoshi-Hashi) Vs. Los Ingobernables De Japon (Tetsuya Naito, SANADA, EVIL, Hiromu Takahashi and BUSHI)
CHAOS battles Los Ingobernobles De Japon again this time Naito has his entire crew together for this one and that’s going to be a big advantage. Okada meshes well with most of his CHAOS stablemates but Yoshi-Hashi has proven to be a weak link capable of getting double-teamed for most matches. Gedo can also be compensated for having “The Aerial Assassin” Will Ospreay to match rival Hiromu Takahashi’s marvelous athleticism and the cheap moves that will come. Okada will have the most trouble with the men that have pinned him in the past, EVIL and Naito, but the upcoming match with SANADA has a huge win for “Cold Skull” written all over it. SANADA can pin Okada with a Muta Moonsault in non-title action to threaten “The Rainmaker” before they clash for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship on February 10 at New Beginning In Osaka.
IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: The Young Bucks (C) (Matt and Nick Jackson) Vs. Roppongi 3K (Sho and Yho with Rocky Romero)
Sho and Yho have become maybe the most improved tag team in all of pro wrestling. After an excursion in Ring Of Honor Wrestling against a vast variety of opponents, Roppongi 3K have been having the best matches of their careers in NJPW and even won the IWGP Jr. team tournament and the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight tag team Championships. Wrestle Kingdom was a terrific opening match between these two teams and now with the rematch being further down the card you can expect big moments in this title match. The Young Bucks can fly with the best but they have gained so much experience over the years that they employ a more grounded approach. Roppongi 3K may be able to go move for move with Nick and Matt Jackson but they need to out-think the champions as well. It could be time for NJPW to push Roppongi 3K as a tag team of the future but the final say is that The Young Bucks retain with Cease And Desist. This should develop into one of the finest feuds of 2018.
IWGP United States Championship: Kenny Omega (C) Vs. “Switchblade” Jay White
Now is the time for “Switchblade” Jay White to prove the doubters wrong, the main event spot for a championship against one of the world’s best. Jay White Vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi at Wrestle Kingdom for the IWGP Intercontinental championship disappointed and White didn’t capture the title but he got his momentum right back when he teased joining Bullet Club but sent Omega to the mat with Blade Runner instead. Omega has done a very good job as champion since July so far and the winner will go to on to defend surely at Strong Style Evolved at the Walter Pyramid in March. Omega and Cody had tension leading to this match when Omega saved Kota Ibushi from a Bullet Club beat down so it will be very interesting to see if there is involvement from Cody or Kota Ibushi here. This will steal the show in the main event but White needs to come into his own in-ring and as “Switchblade” before he wins gold in NJPW. Omega will retain in a fantastic match that propels White to bigger things and Omega to a match with Kota Ibushi for the IWGP United States Championship.