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New Japan Cup 2018 (March 9th through March 21st)


Jiji
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Ibushi vs. Naito potentially. There are always upsets in this thing to avoid huge matches given away in a lesser tournament but Tanahashi I think could be a lock for his bracket with Juice looking the likeliest semi-finalist waiting for him. SANADA could end up facing Naito here in the semi-final but I doubt we see that. Zack vs. Naito is probably the best of the opening round matches.

I know some aren't a fan of Chuck, but I love the guy and am interested in seeing how he works a relatively big singles match in New Japan. Probably a lot like his PWG title matches with fewer weapons. 

Not bad. Not great, but not bad.

Series line-ups announced so far:

Friday, March 9th @ Korakuen Hall:

  1. Tomoyuki Oka, Shota Umino & David Finlay vs. Chuckie T, Toru Yano & Hirooki Goto
  2. Tanga Loa & Bad Luck Fale vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer
  3. BUSHI, SANADA & Tetsuya Naito vs. El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Zack Sabre Jr.
  4. Toa Henare, Togi Makabe & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Taichi, Takashi Iizuka & Minoru Suzuki
  5. YOSHI-HASHI & Kazuchika Okada vs. Chase Owens & Kota Ibushi
  6. New Japan Cup 2018 1st Round: Juice Robinson vs. Yujiro Takahashi
  7. New Japan Cup 2018 1st Round: Michael Elgin vs. Tomohiro Ishii

Saturday, March 10 @ Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium:

  1. Ren Narita & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru
  2. Shota Umino & Yuji Nagata vs. David Finlay & Juice Robinson
  3. Tomoyuki Oka & Michael Elgin vs. Toru Yano & Tomohoro Ishii
  4. Toa Henare & Togi Makabe vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Takashi Iizuka
  5. BUSHI, SANADA & Tetsuya Naito vs. TAKA Michinoku, Zack Sabre Jr. & Minoru Suzuki
  6. Chuckie T, YOSHI-HASHI, Hirooki Goto & Kazuchika Okada vs. Tanga Loa, Chase Owens, Yujiro Takahashi & Kota Ibushi
  7. New Japan Cup 2018 1st Round: Bad Luck Fale vs. Lance Archer
  8. New Japan Cup 2018 1st Round: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Taichi

Sunday, March 11 @ Amagasaki Memorial Park Gymnasium:

  1. Tomoyuki Oka & Yuji Nagata vs. Tetsuhiro Yagi & Ryusuke Taguchi
  2. Shota Umino vs. El Desperado
  3. Toa Henare, David Finlay, Juice Robinson & Michael Elgin vs. Tanga Loa, Chase Owens, Yujiro Takahashi & Bad Luck Fale
  4. Toru Yano, Tomohiro Ishii & Hirooki Goto vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Davey Boy Smith Jr., Lance Archer
  5. Togi Makabe & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Taichi & Takashi Iizuka
  6. Chuckie T & Kazuchika Okada vs. BUSHI & SANADA
  7. New Japan Cup 2018 1st Round: YOSHI-HASHI vs. Kota Ibushi
  8. New Japan Cup 2018 1st Round: Tetsuya Naito vs. Zack Sabre Jr.

Monday, March 12 @ Takamatsu City General Gymnasium #1:

  1. Ren Narita & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru
  2. Tomoyuki Oka, Shota Umino & Yuji Nagata vs. Tanga Loa, Yujiro Takahashi & Bad Luck Fale
  3. David Finlay & Michael Elgin vs. YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto
  4. BUSHI & Tetsuya Naito vs. TAKA Michinoku & Zack Sabre Jr.
  5. Toa Henare, Juice Robinson, Togi Makabe & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Taichi, Takashi Iizuka, Lance Archer & Minoru Suzuki
  6. Tomohiro Ishii & Kazuchika Okada vs. Chase Owens & Kota Ibushi
  7. New Japan Cup 2018 1st Round: Toru Yano vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr.
  8. New Japan Cup 2018 1st Round: Chuckie T vs. SANADA

Wednesday, March 14 @ Fujisan Messe, Shizuoka: 

  1. Winner of Elgin/Ishii vs. Winner of Juice/Yujiro
  2. Winner of Tanahashi/Taichi vs. Winner of Fale/Archer

Thursday, March 15 @ Korakuen Hall:

  1. Winner of YOSHI-HASHI/Ibushi vs. Winner of Naito/ZSJ
  2. Winner of Yano/DBS Jr. vs. Winner of Chuckie/SANADA

Friday, March 16 @ Korakuen Hall:

  1. Semi-final #1

Saturday, March 17 @ Act City Hamamatsu, Shizuoka:

  1. Semi-final #2

Wednesday, March 21 @ Ao-re Nagaoka, Niigata:

  1. Final
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42 minutes ago, EVA said:

I like Sabre to upset Naito here.  Looks like they're slowly building an LIJ/Suzukigun beef and probably toward Naito/Minoru at Dominion, which is just....*kisses fingers*

Shouldn't Naito/Jericho happen at the Dominion? Or will they drag it even further to KoPW..? Besides Naito winning IC title would feel like character regression to me and I'm not sure if Suzuki beating Naito in a big match makes any sense at all. But I'm all for Suzuki/Sanada.

Evil is not in it, but I hope they manage to fill enough content between now and his return so that Evil/Sanada don't have to drop their titles.

Tana/Taichi is interesting match up since Tana often loses to someone participating in his first G1 and Tana has dropped out 3 last times in the first round so it all points out to Taichi winning. But at the same time everyone expects Tana to win this so this probably be the time that Tana bucks this bad trend.

On the other hand idea of Taichi/Fale is hilarious.

On paper B block has more "draws" since asides of Tana, I'd say, everyone is lower on the totem pole than Naito, Ibushi and Sanada. Even Zack could be argued to be on the same level as Ishii/Elgin/Juice. Since they are making this tour bigger than previous years (if I'm not mistaken all shows will be broadcast) I assume that it would make sense to keep Tana at least till the semi finals (assuming he is not winning entire thing) while either Yoshi or Zack will advance in the first round. Zack sounds more likely, but at the same time Yoshi needs a big win if he is to stay above pin-eater status that he is slowly approaching. But again, Zack picking up wins against Naito and Ibushi could really elevate him and, in theory, Okada/Zack could be very fresh match up.

Anyway, lots of possibilities here. I even saw some theory that Tana might end up facing Taichi, Archer and Zack in the finals so that after winning entire thing he would go after Suzuki. Not what anyone expects I think, but looking at the brackets even that sounds plausible.

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I've been thinking that if Tanahashi wins, he may end up choosing to get revenge on Suzuki rather than try to protect his title defence record (I'm thinking there would still be time for him to get the 12th defence shot further down the road). Either way, I think it's a great way for him to return and remind people he's not just A Guy now. I think he'll have a really, really fun match with Taichi though. Heavyweight Taichi is a beautiful thing. 

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10 minutes ago, Brian Fowler said:

I think all the nights are on World, but only a handful with English commentary.

From what I remember last year lots of matches were on hard cam without any commentary and were posted on World like day or two later. This year everything gets streamed so I assume that shows that won't have English commentary will still have Jap commentary which means that NJPW is investing more in these shows.

18 minutes ago, Oyaji said:

I've been thinking that if Tanahashi wins, he may end up choosing to get revenge on Suzuki rather than try to protect his title defence record (I'm thinking there would still be time for him to get the 12th defence shot further down the road). Either way, I think it's a great way for him to return and remind people he's not just A Guy now. I think he'll have a really, really fun match with Taichi though. Heavyweight Taichi is a beautiful thing. 

Okay, now I remembered previous Wonderland interview with Tana where he said that he wants to have champ vs champ match with Okada (it might have been a bit more ambiguous wording, but thats what he meant I think) so... Gets his revenge against Suzuki and challenges Okada? Yeah, there are lots of possibilities in this Cup. 

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Rooting for: Ishii

Expect: Tanahashi

Things I am stoked about: Ibushi (assuming he wins) vs Sabre or Naito, since I loved their G1 matches; Naito possibly facing SANADA; if Juice makes an underdog run to the semis, I'd be sad for Ishii, but love it anyway; Tanahashi vs anyone in the finals will be scalding, and of course, really really good.

 

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17 hours ago, Archibald said:

Shouldn't Naito/Jericho happen at the Dominion? Or will they drag it even further to KoPW..? Besides Naito winning IC title would feel like character regression to me and I'm not sure if Suzuki beating Naito in a big match makes any sense at all.

I'm working on the assumption that Tanahashi wins the Cup, challenges Suzuki to redeem himself, and takes the belt back in April. That frees up Suzuki to work Naito at Dominion, where I don't think the Jericho match is happening.

But regardless of if it happens at Dominion or not, I think this is definitely the road they're headed down.   They've mined LIJ/CHAOS for all its worth over the last 6 months, and with Bullet Club wrapped up in their own issues for the foreseeable future, Suzukigun is next logical feud for LIJ.  There aren't many coincidences where Gedo's booking is concerned, so it's pretty easy to see Naito getting matched against two SZG guys consecutively as the start of the slow boil. 

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Added all the match listings we've got so far to the OP. Lots of Ibushi/Okada tag matches... HMMMMMM...

Some of the undercard tags are lookin' real jacked, baby. Naito/Suzuki in some tag matches, building up the idea of we're heading towards LIJ vs. Suzuki-gun as previously mentioned. I am for that. Chuck tagging with long boy Kaz. 

Are people interested in doing a bracket contest? I could set one up if there's some interest. It's pretty hard to predict because of the nature of the NJ Cup and all of its upsets. Tanahashi could go in so many directions. WHAT IF THEY BROUGHT HIM BACK ONLY TO PUT HIM ON THE SHELF LONG TERM THO?!

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Ibushi winning would be a perfect way to prove Omega’s a changed man... or not. He could potentially fear Ibushi’s passed him again, already; and for the first time since that infamous time, he could be ringside as Ibushi fights for the IWGP title—and he’d do it against the man Omega couldn’t beat for the title himself. I mean, that’s soap-opera level drama, which I’d love. (Not that Ibushi’s just a plot device for Kenny’s character development, and the match would be incredible.)

LIJ/Suzuki-Gun means Naito and co are going from tweener heels to tweener faces, right? God knows the crowd’s ready.

I’d also do picks. Horribly, but I’d do them.

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They haven't been tweener faces for the past year plus? BUSHI is kind of a wiener but even then. EVIL is not particularly EVIL and the crowd loves him, SANADA is cool as all heck, and Naito is the top babyface in Japan right now.

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Yeah. I just mean in terms of the ~faction wars~, New Japan basically only books nominal heel vs nominal face. It’s a semantic distinction, but LIJ has been feuding with CHAOS and Team Good Guy New Japan forever now; putting them against Suzuki’s not so lonely warriors marks a shift in presentation, if not perception. 

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I think there’s a pretty good chance it ends up being something like (in no order):

Heel: Suzuki-gun, BC Cody, (Jay White won’t stop talking about leading a faction, so I think he gets one somewhat soon), BCOG

Face: LIJ, CHAOS, Golden Elite, Taguchi and Friends

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Fuckin' guy. Says his biceps on BOTH arms are torn and won't recover to 100% without surgery, jokes that it's at least equal on both sides. Says he has the same knee issue that plagued Mutoh but it's not as bad as Keiji's and doesn't need arthroplasty. He talks about how he's lost some weight and trains differently, like he'd never do leg training and he's been doing it every days since 1 February. Jokes that his legs aren't still nice enough for shorts. 

His autobiography hasn't been translated, has it? I'm more interested in reading his thoughts than Nakamura's honestly, though I will definitely eat up Shinsuke's books when they're translated. Big Dave talks about his book on the regular, how did he manage? 

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Tana’s gonna be cosplaying The Yeti if he’s not careful. 

As for the factions, the main event balance will be interesting. I think they’re intent on establishing White on that level, and Cody could get there if they wanted. But you’re right that—even if he mostly stays in tags—Omega and Naito potentially going Office Approved Face leaves the heel roster lacking credible main event opposition. Jericho isn’t around enough; there’s no obvious “invader” in another promotion or freelancing; Okada COULD run with the boos and turn, but he’s above our petty human moral binary; and I don’t think WWE is firing any easily slotted antagonists.

All of this is to say, as always, I don’t know but I’m interested, because I think I can make sense of a dozen possibilities—and there are certainly more I haven’t thought of. Mostly I just feel like, if last year was about cementing inevitabilities—Naito’s long climb, Okada’s godhood, etc—this year could be way more disruptive. (Though yeah, Okada hasn’t stopped winning.) 

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On 2018-02-27 at 1:07 AM, EVA said:

I'm working on the assumption that Tanahashi wins the Cup, challenges Suzuki to redeem himself, and takes the belt back in April. That frees up Suzuki to work Naito at Dominion, where I don't think the Jericho match is happening.

First part makes sense and I agree with it as being realistic possibility, but when you would then place Naito/Jericho?

Okada has 3 tags against Ibushi and 1 against Sanada. Ibushi/Sanada semi-final?

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On 2/27/2018 at 8:23 PM, Beech27 said:

Ibushi winning would be a perfect way to prove Omega’s a changed man... or not. He could potentially fear Ibushi’s passed him again, already; and for the first time since that infamous time, he could be ringside as Ibushi fights for the IWGP title—and he’d do it against the man Omega couldn’t beat for the title himself. I mean, that’s soap-opera level drama, which I’d love. (Not that Ibushi’s just a plot device for Kenny’s character development, and the match would be incredible.)

LIJ/Suzuki-Gun means Naito and co are going from tweener heels to tweener faces, right? God knows the crowd’s ready.

I’d also do picks. Horribly, but I’d do them.

 

They of course won't put the belt on Ibushi, but Ibushi winning the belt, than Omega winning the G1 would be awesome.

 

In terms of main event heels- you've always got Minoru as well.  

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