NJPW New Japan Cup Schedules and 1st Round Prelims Predictions

New Japan Pro Wrestling will be holding their annual New Japan Cup beginning tomorrow, featuring the some of the top heavyweights of the Japanese pro wrestling scene. Let’s take a quick look at the tournament itself and make some (snarky) predictions along the way.

The winner of this single elimination tournament will receive a shot at either the IWGP Heavyweight Title (currently held by AJ Styles), the IWGP Intercontinental Title (currently held by Shinsuke Nakamura) or the NEVER Openweight title (currently held by Tomohiro Ishii). It can be likened to WWE’s old King of the Ring tournament, but with more prestige. You can view the current bracket here:

NJPW bracket NJCup 2015


Let’s take a look at the preliminary matches scheduled to take place on March 6.

Match A: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Toru Yano

Tanahashi (left) vs Yano (right)

Tanahashi is the current ACE OF (NEW JAPAN) UNIVERSE. Yano – or YTR as we prefer to call him – has been going with a comedy wrestler-like routine for the past few years. I don’t think NJPW would be willing to give YTR the win at this juncture over the ACE.

Prediction: Tanahashi wins.

Match B: Kota Ibushi vs Doc Gallows

Ibushi (left) vs Gallows (right)

Ibushi is a very popular up and comer in the NJPW ranks, with a Match of the Year contender already this time of the year (the Wrestle Kingdom 9 match with Shinsuke Nakamura). Doc Gallows should be familiar to WWE fans as the former Straight Edge Society member. It’s a very interesting clash of styles, but unlike Ibushi, Gallows isn’t going to be given any singles push any time soon.

Prediction: Ibushi wins.

Match C: Tetsuya Naito vs “Machine Gun” Karl Anderson

Naito (left) vs Anderson (right)

One of the interesting match-ups in the bracket, mainly because of how the bracket is shaped. Both are also former G1 Climax winners, so they are both legit contenders for any title at any time.

Prediction: Anderson wins, but expect Bullet Club shenanigans.

Match D: Kazuchika Okada vs Bad Luck Fale

Okada (left) vs Fale (right)

One of the matches with interesting history as Okada called out Fale back in February to avenge a previous loss (yes, there’s continuity in NJPW storylines). Also, an Okada loss would be devastating for him.

Prediction: Okada wins, but once again, expect Bullet Club shenanigans.

Match E: Togi Makabe vs Tomoaki Honma

Makabe (left) vs Honma (right)

Probably the stiffest match in the card. Both are fan favorites, and are two of the hardest workers in the NJPW roster. Not for the weak of heart.

Prediction: Honma wins.

Match F: YOSHI-HASHI vs Yujiro Takahashi

YOSHI-HASHI (left) vs Yujiro (right)

Two jobbers face each other in this filler match. YOSHI’s the fan favorite on this one as Yujiro turned his back on the Japanese fans by joining the Bullet Club.

Prediction: Yujiro wins via Bullet Club shenanigans.

Match G: Yuji Nagata vs Hirooki Goto

Nagata (left) vs Goto (right)

Another match consisting of 2 more hard workers in NJPW. This match promises to be another stiff contest for sure. Another match that is not for the weak of heart.

Prediction: Goto wins.

Match H: Satoshi Kojima vs Katsuyori Shibata

Kojima (left) vs Shibata (right)

Kojima’s one of the oldest competitors in the roster (he even had matches with Macho Man Randy Savage in WCW back in the ’90s). On the other hand, Shibata is still quite young and about to reach the apex of his career.

Prediction: Shibata wins.

Here’s the schedule for the New Japan Cup:

NJPW, “NEW JAPAN CUP”, 2015/03/05 (live on NJPW World)Ota Ward Gymnasium

19:00 JST | 11:00 CET | 10:00 GMT | 05:00 EST | 02:00 PST

1. Anniversary Match: Jushin Liger, KUSHIDA, Yohei Komatsu & Jay White vs Tiger Mask, Ryusuke Taguchi, Mascara Dorada & Sho Tanaka

2. New Japan Cup – 1st Round: YOSHI-HASHI vs Yujiro Takahashi

3. New Japan Cup – 1st Round: Togi Makabe vs Tomoaki Honma

4. New Japan Cup – 1st Round: Satoshi Kojima vs Katsuyori Shibata

5. New Japan Cup – 1st Round: Yuji Nagata vs Hirooki Goto

6. Shinsuke Nakamura, Kazushi Sakuraba & Tomohiro Ishii vs Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Manabu Nakanishi & Captain New Japan

7. New Japan Cup – 1st Round: Kota Ibushi vs Doc Gallows

8. New Japan Cup – 1st Round: Tetsuya Naito vs Karl Anderson

9. New Japan Cup – 1st Round: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Toru Yano

10. New Japan Cup – 1st Round: Kazuchika Okada vs Bad Luck Fale

NJPW, “NEW JAPAN CUP”, 2015/03/08 (live on NJPW World)Korakuen Hall, Tokyo

18:30 JST | 10:30 CET | 09:30 GMT | 04:30 EST | 01:30 PST

New Japan Cup – 2nd Round Matches

. plus 4~5 non-tournament matches

NJPW, “NEW JAPAN CUP ROAD”, 2015/03/09 (live on NJPW World)Kumagaya Citizen Gymnasium

18:30 JST | 10:30 CET | 09:30 GMT | 04:30 EST | 01:30 PST

1. Ryusuke Taguchi vs Sho Tanaka

2. Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Jushin Liger & Yohei Komatsu vs Satoshi Kojima, Tiger Mask & Mascara Dorada

3. Hirooki Goto & Katsuyori Shibata vs Yuji Nagata & Captain New Japan

4. Tetsuya Naito, Manabe Nakanishi & Tomoaki Honma vs Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows & Cody Hall

5. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe & KUSHIDA vs Toru Yano, Tomohiro Ishii & Gedo

6. Shinsuke Nakamura, Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI vs Bad Luck Fale, Yujiro Takahashi & Tama Tonga

NJPW, “NEW JAPAN CUP FINALS”, 2015/03/15 (airs on NJPW World tape-delay a few hours after event completion)Hiroshima Sun Plaza Hall

New Japan Cup – Semi-Finals

New Japan Cup – FINAL

. plus, 5~6 non-tournament matches


All images courtesy of New Japan Pro Wrestling. Translated bracket courtesy of r/SquaredCircle

Khrysler Jerikho lackey. Advocate of Haruhism and Bullet Club fan. Also known as the Crimson Ai Nekostar. Would love to hang out with Gen 13.

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