After the cancellation of Wrestling Hinokuni, Wrestling Dontaku has become a can’t miss show. On paper the card looks like a show of the year contender and something that could easily top April’s Invasion Attack show. The show hosts six championship matches and some big time singles matches.
Dontaku will be live on NJPWWorld.com on May 3rd at 17:00 JST (4AM EST/9AM UK) from Fukuoka.
Captain New Japan & Juice Robinson vs. Bad Luck Fale & Yujiro Takahashi
After Fale suffered a loss to Tanahashi a few days ago, I would expect Fale to easily win this one, much like he did at Invasion Attack.
Tiger Mask IV, Ryusuke Taguchi, Jay White & David Finlay vs. Kazushi Sakuraba, YOSHI-HASHI, Will Ospreay, Gedo
What I’m looking forward to most here is the possible interactions between Jay White and Will Ospreay. Ospreay should be getting the pin in this one. No one else needs it, and in his second NJPW match Ospreay needs this win to establish himself going forward and heading into the Best of the Super Juniors. This should be a fun match, with Sakuraba being the odd man out mixed with the juniors.
IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championship
Rocky Romero & Beretta vs. Ricochet & Matt Sydal
RPG Vice won these titles from Sydal & Ricochet in an outstanding match. This will be just as good. Every time the junior tag titles are defended in a straight tag match it is something special. RPG Vice deserve a proper run with the titles, but it wouldn’t be a shock to see Sydal & Ricochet take them back given how much these titles change hands. There were rumours that Ricochet would be finishing with NJPW, but he says he will be in the Best of the Super Juniors. His future in NJPW should lie as a singles star if he is staying around.
NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championship
Michael Elgin, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Yoshitatsu vs. Kenny Omega, Matt & Nick Jackson
This match was made a title match after team Tanahashi successfully defended a few days ago. Just like the Jr tag belts, these could change hands at any time. You’d have to imagine they won’t go back to Bullet Club. I don’t think they should have lost them. A long Elite run with the titles would have gave them some meaning. This will be another really fun match. Tatsu has some work to do to get back on form. Thus far he has been a step behind everyone else.
IWGP Tag Championship
Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa vs. Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma
The Guerrillas of Destiny took the tag titles from Honma & Makabe in their first shot at Invasion Attack. I think they got the titles too quickly. That being said, the match was great and a match that would have seemed much better on a show that wasn’t as stacked. Loa & Tonga have been finding their rhythm as a team, so this match should be better than the last. I can’t see Makabe & Honma winning this. Loa & Tonga will likely take the titles into the ROH/NJPW May tour that they will be appearing on. GOD vs The Briscoes could be a lot of fun.
NEVER Openweight Championship
Katsuyori Shibata vs. Yuji Nagata
This is the latest chapter in Shibata vs the 3rd generation. Shibata has defended to NEVER title against Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan. Now Nagata gets his shot in a match that NJPW have been teasing since the day after Wrestle Kingdom. These guys had a sensational match in the G1 a couple of years ago and their interactions in tag matches over the last few weeks have been war! These two will beat the absolute hell out of each other and could easily steal the show. Nagata will once again prove that he truly is Mr. Anti-aging and remind everyone how great he is. The end of this should see Nagata and even the rest of the 3rd generation put over Shibata and shake his hand in the ring.
IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship
KUSHIDA vs. Jushin Thunder Liger
Much like the NEVER title match, this is something designed to be a passing of the torch so to speak. Liger has a chance to become Jr champion for the first time in 15 years, a title that he was synonymous with for the most of his career. Liger wants to prove that he is still as good as he ever was and reach the top of the mountain once again. This match will be the sleeper match of the show. KUSHIDA is easily the best junior heavyweight wrestler in the world and Liger is a guy that turns it on in big match situations. In tag matches, Liger and KUSHIDA have had some amazing exchanges. Liger even attacked the leg of KUSHIDA with a chair, which is completely uncharacteristic of him. KUSHIDA’s dirty side has came out too when he had to be dragged off Liger in a post match assault of his arm.
Hirooki Goto vs. EVIL
At Invasion Attack Goto & EVIL had to be pulled apart when a huge brawl broke out between them. This match should be one hell of a fight between two of the most physical guys on the NJPW roster. When EVIL returned to NJPW at King of Pro Wrestling, one of his first targets was Goto. They clashed in a singles match at Power Struggle, but EVIL has really found himself in NJPW since then and has had some break out performances against Ishii. Goto is the perfect guy for him to continue his momentum against. Goto himself has had new vigour since joining CHAOS, so this will be a really hard hitting strong style battle. A win here for EVIL would be huge and would be the biggest win of his career. With NJPW’s willingness to get new guys over lately, it wouldn’t be out of the question.
Kazuchika Okada vs. SANADA
This is a mouth watering match on paper. It’s their first ever singles meeting and the singles NJPW debut of SANADA. SANADA played a part in Okada losing the title at Invasion Attack and since then SANADA has laid Okada out several times with the dragon sleeper. SANADA is an incredible talent and a guy that will likely be a major star for NJPW in the future. These guys compliment each other well and with a personal grudge between them, this could be something really special. It would take a lot of balls for NJPW to give SANADA the win, but if they did he’d be an instant made man. Okada will likely get his win back after dropping the title last month.
IWGP Heavyweight Championship
Tetsuya Naito vs. Tomohiro Ishii
What a main event this is going to be. This match has classic written all over it. When Naito took the title from Okada last month, Ishii was right in his face in one of the most hated face offs you’ll ever see. Ishii is out for blood against the anti authority and disrespectful Naito. Ishii & Naito have had several amazing collisions in the past. Ishii won the NEVER title from Naito at The New Beginning in 2014 in an instant classic and a match that put Ishii on the map as one of the top performers in NJPW. This past March they had another incredible match in the New Japan Cup. It’s safe to see they have plenty of in ring chemistry together, but never before has there been so much on the line. This is Ishii’s first ever IWGP title shot. With Ishii being one of the most sympathetic and loved guys on the roster, you’d imagine the crowd would be full force behind him in a title match. However, with the reactions Naito has been getting lately, that might not be the case. I expect this to be an extremely heated championship match and something that further plants Naito as the top guy in NJPW.
This card is beyond loaded. Several major title matches and a three match CHAOS vs Los Ingobernables de Japon series, this could be a show of the year contender. It will be live on NJPWWorld.com