Preview: NJPW Sakura Genesis 2018 (4/1/18)

For the first time in months, the IWGP Champion Kazuchika Okada is in real trouble, because a man who has submitted every top star in NJPW within days challenges him for his title. Will Okada tie Hiroshi Tanahashi in his amount of title defences, or are we going to witness the crowning of the first ever British-born IWGP Heavyweight Champion ? It is Okada vs Zack Sabre Jr. for the top prize in NJPW at Sakura Genesis 2018.

Bullet Club (Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi) vs The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson)

The implosion of the Bullet Club continues in this match. After the Young Bucks lost to the Golden Lovers last week in Long Beach, Matt got attacked by Cody and Nick got shoved to the ground by him. Cody wasn’t shocked by his actions like Kenny was when he shoved Matt to the ground, no, he proceeded to take his jacket off like he wanted more. In recent BTE episodes, Cody tried to convince Matt & Nick to go singles by speaking to them individually. In episode 98 Nick came to the conclusion “We can’t trust this guy”. It will be interesting to see which groups in the Bullet Club will stand together and who might be getting involved in the match.

Prediction: The Young Bucks

CHAOS (Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii) vs Suzuki-Gun (Taichi & Takashi Iizuka)

Ishii is going to face Zack Sabre Jr. for the Undisputed British Heavyweight Championship in New Orleans (4/06). He lost to ZSJ at Strong Style Evolved but this is far from over. This match is a little insight into the Main Event, CHAOS vs Suzuki-Gun. Every faction, except Bullet Club, in NJPW, is currently in possession of at least on big IWGP title. CHAOS has Okada with the Heavyweight Championship, Suzuki-Gun has Minoru Suzuki with the Intercontinental Championship and Los Ingobernables De Japon are the current Heavyweight Tag Champions. This will be a match to groom Ishii for Zack next week in the US.

Prediction: Tomohiro Ishii & Yano

NEVER OPENWEIGHT 6-MAN TAG CHAMPIONSHIP: Bullet Club (Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & Bad Luck Fale) (c) vs. Ryusuke Taguchi, Michael Elgin & Togi Makabe 

Photo: NJPW

The challenger team really has the perfect mixture of styles. Taguchi is the quick, flying risk taking part, Elgin is the strong powerhouse who is also able to fly and keep the pace up and Makabe is the pure Strong Style element with stiff elbows and lariats that can take everyone down. The champions are working like a well-oiled machine with two original Bullet Club members Tama Tonga and Bad Luck Fale. Tonga is going to try to speed things up, while Fale will just try to overpower everyone, although this could be a tough task when you go up against Michael Elgin and Togi Makabe.

Prediction: and NEW: Ryusuke Taguchi & Michael Elgin & Togi Makabe

David Finlay, Juice Robinson & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs CHAOS (YOSHI-HASHI, Jay White & Hirooki Goto)

Photo: NJPW

David Finlay challenged his old friend/nemesis Jay White for the IWGP United States Championship at Dominion in June. These two will always be attached to each other in their careers, maybe one can compare it to Steen & Generico from their ROH days. Tanahashi comes into this match after a devastating loss to Zack Sabre Jr. at the New Japan Cup, where he lost the final match in an over 30-minutes technical classic. His movements are getting a little influenced by his knee problems although “The Ace” is doing everything to work at a 100% every night. Speaking of the New Japan Cup: The match between Kota Ibushi and YOSHI-HASHI is one that needs to be seen, visit to watch.

Prediction: David Finlay & Juice Robinson & Hiroshi Tanahashi

Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, SANADA & EVIL) vs Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki, Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer)

Photo: NJPW

Suzuki and Naito have been fighting and brawling with each other over last few weeks. Obviously, this will lead to an Intercontinental Title match along the way, probably during the “Wrestling Dontaku” shows in May. Archer and Smith (Killer Elite Squad) are looking to challenge the IWGP Tag Team Champions SANADA and EVIL in the future. So there will be some LIJ vs Suzuki-Gun matches over the next months. Suzuki is set to face Jeff Cobb next week at RevPro´s NOLA show during WrestlingCon. In May he will defend his British Tag Team Title (which he always brings to the ring) with ZSJ against CCK (Travis Banks & Chris Brookes) at “Epic Encounter“. One day later Suzuki will go one-on-one with the new PWG Champion Keith Lee at OTT Scrappermania IV, this will probably be the loudest “KAZE NI NARE” with over 2000 people screaming in the National Stadium in Dublin.

Prediction: Suzuki-Gun Ichiban

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Triple Threat: Suzuki-Gun (El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) (c) vs. Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH) vs LIJ (BUSHI & Hiromu Takahashi) 

Photo: NJPW

Roppongi 3K are looking to regain their titles from Suzuki-Gun. This will be a fast-paced and crazy match. Takahashi is known for not holding back in any way or regards for his well-being. SHO and JOH are the perfect partners for BUSHI and Hiromu to make this a show-stealing match-up. The champions are going to use every tactic they can come up with to retain the belts. Rocky Romero is going to try and prevent Suzuki-Gun from cheating their way to victory and instead get the win for Roppongi 3K.

Prediction: Suzuki-Gun retain

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion: Will Ospreay (c) vs. “The Villain” Marty Scurll

Photo: NJPW

These men know each other by heart. They have proven to be able to counter every move they have. If Ospreay goes for his Oscutter Marty will lock in the Chicken Wing. They have wrestled all over the world and even multiple times for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship. Marty took the title from Ospreay at “Power Struggle” last year but lost it back at “Wrestle Kingdom” this year. There are so many options for this match: They could keep it completely on the mat and do an old-school British technical match but they could also do a highflying match with Highspot after Highspot. Scurll has been trying to recruit people for his “Villian Club” to make it more than just a shirt during recent BTE episodes. Maybe he needs a title around his waist to bring the Bullet Club back together or maybe to lead it…

Prediction: Marty Scurll wins his second IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship

The Golden Lovers (Kenny Omega & Kota Ibushi) vs. Bullet Club (Cody Rhodes & Adam “Hangman” Page)

Photo: NJPW

This will be the last time Kenny and Cody will meet before their long-awaited singles match at ROH “Supercard of Honor” next Saturday. Kenny and Kota are both hurting from their match with the Young Bucks last week. Kenny said in an Interview after the match he might broke his Orbital Bone (which can´t be the case if he is able to compete here) and Ibsuhi might be concussed. This match will be the third time for the Golden Lovers to show their abilities in 2018. Cody has been depicting his heel role to perfection and should be praised for that, one of the last men who can draw heat to the storyline and not to his person. The Young Bucks will watch this closely to see the development between Cody and Kenny. This feud is far from over.

Prediction: “Hangman” Page & Cody by cheating their way to victory

IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada (c) vs. Zack Sabre Jr.

Photo: NJPW

One of the most believable challenges for the champ who could tie Hiroshi Tanahashi with 11 title defences in a row if he wins. Zack Sabre Jr. won the New Japan Cup in convincing fashion and was catapulted to the top with his submission (!) victories over Tetsuya Naito, Kota Ibushi, SANADA and Hiroshi Tanahashi who tapped out to his new finishing move “Orienteering with Napalm Death”. ZSJ could be the first British born IWGP Heavyweight Champion. Sabre has been made a Topstar within a couple of days during the NJPCup and will stay there. That is how a believable challenger is booked. After every match he won, Taka Michinoku cut a great promo to get Zack over and no matter if he wins or loses, he is the Submission Master and they will all JUST TAP OUT!

Prediction: Kazuchika Okada retains and ties Tanahashi

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