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NJPW Wrestling Hinokuni / Wrestling Dontaku 2018

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Day 1 (May 3rd)

Ren Narita/Shota Umino vs Yujiro Takahashi/Chase Owens

Tetsuhiro Yagi/Tomoyuki Oka/Yuji Nagata vs Ryusuke Taguchi/Tiger Mask/Jushin Liger

SHO/YOH/Rocky Romero vs Takashi Iizuka/DBS Jr/Lance Archer

Toa Henare/Michael Elgin/Togi Makabe/David Finlay/Juice Robinson vs YOSHI-HASHI/Toru Yano/Tomohiro Ishii/Jay White/Hirooki Goto

Never 6-man Tag Title Match: Tanga Loa/Tama Tonga/Bad Luck Fale vs Marty Scurll/Young Bucks

Hiromu Takahashi/BUSHI/SANADA/EVIL/Tetsuya Naito vs El Desperado/Yoshinobu Kanemaru/Taichi/Zack Sabre Jr/Minoru Suzuki

Hiroshi Tanahashi/KUSHIDA vs Kazuchika Okada/Will Ospreay

Kota Ibushi vs Cody

Kenny Omega vs Hangman Page

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Day 2 (May 4th)

Ryusuke Taguchi/Tiger Mask/Jushin Liger vs Ren Narita/Shota Umino/Tomoyuki Oka

Yujiro Takahashi/Chase Owens vs Tetsuhiro Yagi/Yuji Nagata

SHO/YOH/Rocky Romero vs Takashi Iizuka/TAKA Michinoku/Taichi

Toa Henare/Togi Makabe vs Toru Yano/Tomohiro Ishii

Michael Elgin/David Finlay/Juice Robinson vs YOSHI-HASHI/Jay White/Hirooki Goto

Hiromu Takahashi/BUSHI/SANADA/EVIL/Tetsuya Naito vs El Desperado/Yoshinobu Kanemaru/DBS Jr/Lance Archer/Minoru Suzuki

Tanga Loa/Tama Tonga/Bad Luck Fale/Kenny Omega/Kota Ibushi vs Marty Scurll/Young Bucks/Hangman Page/Cody

IWGP Jr Heavyweight Title Match: Will Ospreay vs KUSHIDA

IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Kazuchika Okada vs Hiroshi Tanahashi

The 3rd and 4th are the beginning of the 2nd part of Golden Week this year. It's a three day weekend followed by two school days then a four day weekend.

 

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The Bucks going heavyweight, only to find themselves once again challenging for the NEVER belts is some Sisyphus booking, and the Bullet Club will never stop exploding (if they've formally started?)... but I love it.

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Since it fits nicely with the "Road to" shows (one of which has the US title match), and is only a few days before Dontaku on April 29, hopefully no one will mind if I drop the Hi no Kuni card here as well. It strikes me that the conversations could converge somewhat anyway.

Tetsuhiro Yagi and Yuji Nagata vs. Shota Umino and Tomoyuki Oka

Ryusuke Taguchi, Tiger Mask, Jushin Thunder Liger, and David Finlay vs. Sho Tanaka, Yoh Komatsu, Rocky Romero, and Jay White

Toa Henare and Togi Makabe vs. Toru Yano and Tomohiro Ishii

Chase Owens, Yujiro Takahashi, Kenny Omega, and Kota Ibushi vs. Taka Michinoku, Taichi, Takashi Iizuka, and Zack Sabre Jr.

KUSHIDA, Michael Elgin, Juice Robinson, and Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Will Ospreay, YOSHI-HASHI, Hirooki Goto, and Kazuchika Okada

BUSHI  vs. El Desperado

Hiromu Takahashi  vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru

Tag titles: Davey Boy Smith Jr. and Lance Archer vs. Seiya Sanada and “King of Darkness” EVIL

IC title: Tetsuya Naito vs. Minoru Suzuki

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HANDSOME BATTLE TWOOOOOOO

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That's some high end faith in the Lovers Gedo has if he's running Suzkui/Naito at Hi no Kuni and using Kota/Cody and fucking Omega/Page as the top matches on Dontaku Night 1.  

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2 hours ago, Beech27 said:

Since it fits nicely with the "Road to" shows (one of which has the US title match), and is only a few days before Dontaku on April 29, hopefully no one will mind if I drop the Hi no Kuni card here as well. It strikes me that the conversations could converge somewhat anyway.

I think this thread should be dedicated to entire Dontaku tour including Hinokuni and Road To shows since it is all part of the same big puzzle. Also, one could make an argument that Hinokuni actually has the best card.

My early prediction would be that winner of Naito/Suzuki will challenge Okada at Dominion.

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Just changed the thread title to include Hinokuni. Note: the 29th is a national holiday but since it's a Sunday, the holiday (Showa Day, if you are interested) will be recognized the following Monday.

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12 minutes ago, Archibald said:

My early prediction would be that winner of Naito/Suzuki will challenge Okada at Dominion.

Would you expect both titles be on the line? I'm not sure. Okada just winning the IC title too would be moonsaulting the shark, somewhat, in terms of winning every goddamn thing.

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I doubt it. That's not New Japan's style. 

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Yeah, you're right about that. I don't think this will happen*, but if they wanted to ditch the IC title, Naito winning it, then the IWGP, would be a good premise, considering his stated disdain for secondary belts. Or he could just... give it to SANADA or something. I mean I don't know. Suzuki challenging Okada, then losing, is still the most likely outcome, weird hypotheticals aside.

*It's the only consistently over secondary title they have, and can consistently headline big shows. So. No.

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They've had lesser champs challenge the Heavy champ before (at least, the First Okada/Naito Dome match at WK 7, Naito was the NEVER champ when he challenged Okada), so it would just be the IC belt (if the IC Champ challenged) wouldn't be on the line, and if they'd win the big belt, vacate the lesser belt.

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Yeah, that would be the idea. If Okada wins then he just gets another V, if Naito wins then he'd probably throw IC belt into the garbage bin. Suzuki would probably try to keep both since he wants more treasures. Realistically speaking if Naito wins against Suzuki then he probably should win at Dominion too since Okada getting another W over him might be taking things a bit too far.

Talking about taking things a bit too far, what should happen with Jr. Tag belts? Kanemaru/Desperado now twice in a row stole the win from Hiromu/Bushi, should that really happen again? And if not, who would Hiromu/Bushi face at Dominion? Ropongi 3k? Would anyone care? This whole thing feels like a mess to me now.

4 hours ago, Beech27 said:

The Bucks going heavyweight, only to find themselves once again challenging for the NEVER belts is some Sisyphus booking, and the Bullet Club will never stop exploding (if they've formally started?)... but I love it.

One of the reasons why I never really minded Bucks being stuck in Jr. Tag division is that I struggle to figure out where would they exactly fit in heavyweight tags. Last year when division was completely ran into the ground with War Machine/GoD/KES it made some sense, but since then we got Evil/Sanada, Golden Lovers, Okada/Goto (no reason why it can't happen again) and I think that Zack/Suzuki is bound to happen as well. Not that easy in such case to justify YBs being aces of the division and if they are stuck in opening matches with the likes of Yujiro/Chase? Feuding with Hiromu/Bushi would probably have been way bigger than that. As for the match with Golden Lovers at SSE, could have happened either way since no titles were involved. Alternatively sure, they could just get a match with Evil/Sanada (or KES) at Dominion because why not, but it doesn't look like it is going to happen with how cards are laid out.

In other words, amount of heavyweights that NJPW uses is slowly increasing. Most of them are improving and warrant better booking. Unless NJPW introduces even more singles titles we are bound to get more and more tag teams that are made out of good singles wrestlers. Due to that it will be harder for teams like YBs to stay on top.

Side topic that is somewhat relevant to this, but I really hope that Sho and Yoh enter BotSJ this year since they have, in my opinion, hit a dead end and shouldn't get into the Jr. tag titles picture till at least KoPW.

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Sho and Yoh mentioned maybe teaming with Rocky to go after the NEVER belts themselves, which, again, the Bucks could be wrestling their most recent junior rivals—one of whom is their old, old nemesis—already. (So I should specify, when I say I love this, it’s not so much that it's objectively good, as I just find the endless soap opera quality of this all weirdly entertaining.)

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Here are the cards for the rest of the tour and next Tuesday's Lion's Gate show that'll air on World...

Lion's Gate Project 11, Tuesday 04/10 @ Shinjuku Face

  1. Ren Narita vs. Yuya Uemura
  2. Tomoyuki Oka vs. Yota Tsuji
  3. Tetsuhiro Yagi & Tiger Mask vs. Gedo & Hiro Saito
  4. Manabu Nakanishi & Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Ken45* & Manjimaru (Michinoku Pro)
  5. Shota Umino & Yuji Nagata vs. Go Asakawa & Ayato Yoshida (K-DOJO)

Road to WRESTLING DONTAKU 2018, Friday 04/13 @ Korakuen Hall

  1. Tetsuhiro Yagi vs. Yuya Uemura
  2. Manabu Nakanishi vs. Tomoyuki Oka
  3. Ren Narita, Ryusuke Taguchi & Togi Makabe vs. Shota Umino, Tiger Mask & Yuji Nagata
  4. Sho, Yoh & Rocky Romero vs. TAKA Michinoku, Taichi & Takashi Iizuka
  5. Toa Henare & Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii
  6. Hiromu Takahashi, BUSHI, SANADA & EVIL vs. El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer
  7. Special Elimination Match: KUSHIDA, Michael Elgin, David Finlay, Juice Robinson & Hiroshi Tanhashi vs. Will Ospreay, YOSHI-HASHI, Jay White, Hirooki Goto & Kazuchika Okada

Road to WRESTLING DONTAKU 2018, Saturday 04/14 @ Korakuen Hall

  1. Ren Narita vs. Yota Tsuji
  2. Yuji Nagata vs. Shota Umino
  3. Tetsuhiro Yagi, Tiger Mask & Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Tomoyuki Oka, Ryusuke Taguchi & Manabu Nakanishi
  4. SHO, YOH & Rocky Romero vs. TAKA Michinoku, Taichi & Takashi Iizuka
  5. Toa Henare & Togi Makabe vs. Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii
  6. KUSHIDA, Micahel Elgin, David Finlay & Juice Robinson vs. Will Ospreay, YOSHI-HASHI, Jay White & Hirooki Goto
  7. Special Elimination Match: Hiromu Takahashi, BUSHI, SANADA, EVIL & Tetsuya Naito vs. El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Davey Boy Smith Jr., Lance Archer & Minoru Suzuki

Road to WRESTLING DONTAKU 2018, Monday 04/23 @ Korakuen Hall

  1. Ren Narita vs. Yota Tsuji
  2. Manabu Nakanishi, Yuji Nagata & Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Tetsuhiro Yagi, Shota Umino & Tomoyuki Oka
  3. SHO, YOH & Rocky Romero vs. TAKA Michinoku, Taichi & Takashi Iizuka
  4. KUSHIDA, Toa Henare, Michael Elgin, Togi Makabe & Juice Robinson vs. Will Ospreay, YOSHI-HASHI, Toru Yano, Tomohiro Ishii & Hirooki Goto
  5. Ryusuke Taguchi, David Finlay & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Gedo, Jay White & Kazuchika Okada
  6. SANADA, EVIL & Tetsuya Naito vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr., Lance Archer & Minoru Suzuki
  7. IWGP Jr. Tag Team Championship: El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru (c) vs. Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI

Road to WRESTLING DONTAKU 2018,  Tuesday 04/24 @ Korakuen Hall

  1. Tetsuhiro Yagi vs. Ren Narita
  2. Shota Umino & Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Tomoyuki Oka & Yuji Nagata
  3. SHO, YOH & Rocky Romero vs. TAKA Michinoku, Taichi & Takashi Iizuka
  4. KUSHIDA, Toa Henare, Michael Elgin & Togi Makabe vs. Will Ospreay, YOSHI-HASHI, Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii
  5. Hiromu Takahashi, BUSHI, SANADA, EVIL & Tetsuya Naito vs. El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Davey Boy Smith Jr., Lance Archer & Minoru Suzuki
  6. Ryusuke Taguchi, Juice Robinson & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Gedo, Hirooki Goto & Kazuchika Okada
  7. IWGP US Heavyweight Championship: Jay White (c) vs. David Finlay

Road to WRESTLING DONTAKU 2018, Friday 04/27 @ Hiroshima Green Arena Sub Arena

  1. Tetsuhiro Yagi vs. Ren Narita
  2. Shota Umino, Tomoyuki Oka & Yuji Nagata vs. Ryusuke Taguchi, Tiger Mask & Jushin Thunder Liger
  3. SHO, YOH & Rocky Romero vs. TAKA Michinoku, Taichi & Takashi Iizuka
  4. Toa Henare, Michael Elgin, Togi Makabe & David Finlay vs. YOSHI-HASHI, Toru Yano, Tomohiro Ishii & Jay White
  5. Hiromu Takahashi, BUSHI, SANADA, EVIL & Tetsuya Naito vs. El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Davey Boy Smith Jr., Lance Archer & Minoru Suzuki
  6. NEVER Openweight Championship: Hirooki Goto (c) vs. Juice Robinson
  7. KUSHIDA & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Will Ospreay & Kazuhika Okada

Uemura and Tsuji debut at the Lion's Gate show! No Kitamura still. :( I hope the big lug is getting better; concussions are a real bitch and so random when it comes to recovery. I've lamented how New Japan's elimination matches are such a wasted opportunity when compared to the elimination style matches of New Japan from the '80s and the captain's fall matches from NOAH's heyday, but they always seem to be very good matches and Korakuen eats that over-the-top rope shit up. There are a lot of ugly lookin' house shows with no 2v2 tag matches let alone singles matches on them in-between the 4/14 and 4/23 Korakuen cards. It looks like they're cooling down Roppongi 3K thankfully, as I have a hard time seeing them even pinning Iizuka on the untelevised tag match against Iizuka & Taichi on the 22nd. They need to struggle some in the undercard and maybe then move back up to where they were. Their push didn't feel earned at all even with the tournament win. The junior tag division is basically where the heavy tag division was last year, with the same three teams facing each other over and over again. They need a few foreign or outsider teams in the worst of ways to keep things interesting.

@Archibald Bucks need to be built up, much like R3K. They can't go from junior aces to heavyweight aces without working their way up the ladder, especially now as you say they have some real competition. I doubt half of those teams will be around in 8 months or so, whereas if they re-sign, they could slowly become the top heavyweight tag team.

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So based on RoH Supercard results I suppose it is safe bet that Cody goes over Ibushi and we have a stand off between Cody and Omega once he beats Page? Would make sense right?

Another thing that would make sense, and I think was written by someone here in some thread, would be GoD/Fale turning on Golden Lovers during that 5vs5 match for maximum heat potential and throwing Omega out of Bullet Club.

So far makes sense, I think. But here is the weird part:

1. This pretty much guarantees that we are getting either Naito or Suzuki against Okada in Dominion. Ibushi doesn't really have any momentum due to being third wheel in this storyline and Kenny might be busy with Cody at Dominion. And even if he isn't busy with Cody then he doesn't have that much momentum either with loss to Cody and being thrown out of BC.

2. Doing Cody/White and Omega/Okada would be good for next USA show, but if Cody/Omega is happening at Dominion then it would look rather stupid, I think, if both of them would get title shots considering that one of them would have to eat a pin before that.

3. Will Japanese audience really care that Cody beat Omega in RoH show? Basically, would it make sense to give another win for Cody over Omega? Part of me says yes, because Omega eventually beating the shit out of Cody, at say KoPW or even WK13, would be way bigger moment than him just picking a win at Dominion, but at the same time it means that Omega is 99,9% unlikely to get a title shot this year. And Ibushi is getting fucked over by proxy. But maybe they don't have anything planned for Ibushi (which sounds crazy) and this is better than nothing.

 

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It may just be the case that Omega and Ibushi really will be (G1 aside) tag competitors for the rest of the year, and neither one gets many big singles matches. Obviously that's a bit risky, but it's basically what Kenny has said he wants. I don't necessarily think this will happen before another big Kenny/Cody contest (that Kenny wins), but it would be one way to work around some of those issues. It would also, in a weird sort of way, allow both guys to win: Cody gets to achieve his obvious ambition; Kenny is free from the BC burden he very clearly no longer wants, and can go change the world, etc etc. 

(I don't expect it, but if either is to get an IWGP title match, I think it should be Ibushi first. It allows Kenny to demonstrate that he's moved past those fears of being left behind, while showing Ibushi isn't just along to help in that redemption, but still has his own goals.)

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Part of me is really hoping  its Kitamura under the mask

 

 

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Probably should go to general thread since I think nothing hints that Bone Soldier is returning on this tour?

Either way Captain Japan was pretty bad and everyone, including NJPW, agreed on that so it would be really, really weird if they brought him back so someone new as Bone Soldier makes sense. On the other hand nobody cared about that gimmick so it doesn't really make sense to give it to some new guy either...

So my money is on Taguchi playing around for couple of shows, like he did with that horse wrestler thing during Road To WK.

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Wondering if the disappointing news rumor was just the return of Bone Soldier instead of any Kitamura stuff.  1 Bone Solider is like -2 Kitamuras.

 

 

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One thing that I noticed now looking at the cards is that Elgin is in good position to challenge either White or Goto for Dominion. White is 99.99% sure to retain so maybe Elgin/White? Would kinda make sense to feed him to White, I think, since after Page and Finlay he needs to get someone a bit more credible. And Elgin obviously needs to put someone over while people in Japan still care about him, doing that for White makes more sense than doing it for Goto.

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So yeah, another Road To Show in the cans and Elgin picks up a win against Yoshi-Hashi making me feel more convinced that we are moving towards Elgin title match. And who else keeps getting wins in tag matches? Taichi against Ropongi 3k. So maybe White/Elgin and Goto/Taichi at Dominion?

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I like both of those ideas. Elgin losing while hitting a dozen bombs is always frustrating, but White could use the putover—especially considering his previous two defenses will have been against Page and Finlay. And yeah, I would feel similarly about Taichi winning the NEVER: not a match that would thrill me, and the belt is whatever, but it could be an important step for him. 

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I know the card headlined by the Suzuki/Naito elimination tag drew a bit better—and maybe is a little hotter in general—but I didn’t expect Okada to go blaming Tana for not selling out so blatantly: “You made the challenge and now we have empty seats.” (It rules.)

 

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