The New Japan Cup Final takes place this Sunday (March 15th) at 17.00 JST in Hiroshima Sun-plaza Hall. The winner of the cup gets a shot at the championship of their choosing. We will also see the direction things are heading as we approach the next major show, Invasion Attack.
Jushin Thunder Liger, KUSHIDA & Jay White vs. Tiger Mask IV, Ryusuke Taguchi & Mascara Dorada
Dorada looks to be challenging for the IWGP Jr heavyweight championship against Kenny Omega at Invasion Attack. He has been picking up solid wins lately and it should be more of the same here. There’s a lot of talent in this one so it should be the usual fun juniors opening match.
Satoshi Kojima & Yohei Komatsu vs. Yuji Nagata & Sho Tanaka
The young lions and Nagata had an amazing match last weekend with Hiroshi Tanahashi involved. It might have been Komatsu and Tanaka’s best performances ever and this should be more of the same with Kojima involved.
Semi Final Match:
Togi Makabe vs. Hirooki Goto
Goto is sometimes given the nickname “Mr New Japan Cup” after winning it three times, in 2009, 2010 & 2012. This would see his fourth win and it certainly looks likely that he will, at least, get to the final. Makabe will probably get his rematch for the NEVER championship at Invasion Attack and he doesn’t really need to win the cup for that. These two have had great matches in the last two G1 tournaments so he will get another physical scrap.
Semi Final Match:
Kota Ibushi vs. Tetsuya Naito
This will be the polar opposite of the first semi final. Ibushi & Naito have briefly teamed in the past and have talked about becoming a regular tag team under the name Golden Stardust. They beat the IWGP tag team champions in singles matches in earlier tournament rounds so they should be in line for a title shot soon. The Kingdom might be in line for the next shot at Invasion Attack, so if that is the case there is an outside chance that one of these two could win the cup. If Ibushi advances (and he should), it would make sense for him to lose in the final. If Naito advances he has a chance of winning the cup, but he has recently lost to AJ Styles, the IWGP heavyweight champion. It goes without saying that this match will probably be incredible between two of NJPW’s greatest flyers.
Katsuyori Shibata & Tomoaki Honma vs. Tama Tonga & Cody Hall (Bullet Club)
Shibata & Honma are certainly an odd team. Shibata will get the win here as Honma never wins, Tonga rarely wins and Hall is nowhere near ready for a win over anyone yet. Hall looked impressive in his NJPW TV debut and has a lot of potential. Let’s see how he handles getting kicked very hard by Shibata. NJPW don’t seem to have any real interest in giving Shibata a proper singles push, so it’s hard to tell what his future holds.
Hiroshi Tanahashi & Captain New Japan vs. Toru Yano & Kazushi Sakuraba
Wrestling’s oddest tag team , Yano & Sakuraba are back together again as they face wrestling’s oddest looking man, Captain New Japan & Hiroshi Tanahashi. It looks like Tanahashi will face Yano at Invasion Attack in an attempt to get his win back. It will be interesting to see what Tanahashi can do with Sakuraba.
Shinsuke Nakamura, Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI (CHAOS) vs. Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows, Bad Luck Fale & Yujiro Takahashi (Bullet Club)
Okada took another step back when he lost to Fale for a fourth time. They will likely face again at Invasion Attack and that will surely be where Okada gets the big win. Nakamura doesn’t have a title challenger for Invasion Attack yet, so we will see where he goes coming out of this match. This match will probably be all about furthering Okada vs Fale, but CHAOS vs Bullet Club matches are always a lot of fun.
New Japan Cup Final
My guess is that the final will be Goto vs. Ibushi with Goto moving on to challenge AJ Styles at Invasion Attack, but we have seen quite a few upsets this far in the cup, so we will see what happens.
The show is of course live on NJPW World.