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New Japan Pro Wrestling “Road to THE NEW BEGINNING”, 1/30/2016 [Sat] @ Korakuen Hall in Tokyo – Preview & Predictions




WRESTLE KINGDOM is over, Okada is still IWGP Heavyweight Champion and four of NJPW‘s finest are leaving for WWE. It’s safe to say that January has been an amazing month as far as the New Japan spectrum is concerned. Next week we begin the road to the first non-WRESTLE KINGDOM PPV of the year; NEW BEGINNING. This is a preview and predictions for the 1/31 Road to THE NEW BEGINNING event live from Tokyo’s Korakuen Hall where IWGP Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura will be having his last match before going to abroad.

New Japan Pro Wrestling “Road to THE NEW BEGINNING”, 1/30/2016 [Sat] @ Korakuen Hall in Tokyo

(1) David Finlay Jr. vs. Hirai Kawato

The opening of the night pits young lion against young lion. Finlay has been with the company for around a year and Kawato just joined back in December and is making his in ring debut. The opening match is guaranteed to be well worked because the young lions have very little leeway to mess up. Pay attention to this match because both of these men have a bright future.

Prediction: Kawato is a new young lion so Finlay is guaranteed to win this, by boston crab as is tradition.

(2) Jay White vs. Teruaki Kanemitsu

The second match of the night is yet another young lion match as New Zealander, Jay White faces Teruaki Kanemitsu in his in ring debut. Jay White has been with New Japan for around 9 months and out of all the young lions many believe has the highest ceiling. Watch this one because you don’t know how long it will be before White leaves to go on excursion and you can say six months from now that you saw Kanemitsu’s first match.

Prediction: Kanemitsu are Kawato are the replacements for Tanaka and Komatsu. White will win as well; with said boston crab submission.

(3) Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima & Juhsin Thunder Liger vs. Yuji Nagata, Manabu Nakanishi & Tiger Mask IV

The third match of the night is a vintage NJPW fan’s wet dream as we see Tencozy (Tenzan & Kojima) team up with Jushin Thunder Liger to take on Yuji Nagata, Manabu Nakanishi and Liger’s bitter rival Tiger Mask IV. You can expect a lot of spots during this match that will make the crowd cheer and be nostalgic for the old days.

Prediction: I like Tencozy so…let’s go with that! Does that mean Liger is playing heel in this match?

(4) Toru Yano, Kazushi Sakuraba & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Bad Luck Fale, Yujiro Takahashi & Tama Tonga

Match number four is a case of CHAOS vs BULLET CLUB as the always entertaining Toru Yano teams up with MMA legend Kazushi Sakuraba and fellow CHAOS stalemate YOSHI-HASHI to face Bad Luck Fake, Yujiro Takahashi and Tama Tonga. This match should be pretty good. The length of it will be determined by how long it takes Yano to remove the turnbuckle covering.

Prediction: Looks like  a match made for Bullet Club to win pretty handedly with probably YOSHI-HASHI taking the fall.

(5) KUSHIDA, Ryusuke Taguchi & Captain New Japan vs. Tetsuya Naito, EVIL & BUSHI

Whereas match 4 was a case of sometimes good guys, sometimes bad guys against always bad guys, this match is a clear cut case of good guys vs bad guys as former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion KUSHIDA teams up with Ryusuke Taguchi and Captain New Japan to take on the dominant force that is Los Ingobernables de Japon; their leader Tetsuya Naito, The King of Darkness EVIL and former CMLL Welterweight Champion the mascadora; BUSHI. I am a huge fan of Los Ingobernables de Japon so you know who I’m rooting for, but even if I hated them they’re unstoppable at this point…or are they?

Prediction: Anything other than Naito and the gang winning is utter non-sense and short-term thinking and booking; Los Ingobernables de Japon will continue their tag team domination.

(6) Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma, Michael Elgin & Juice Robinson vs. Kenny Omega, Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows & Cody Hall

Match number six sees G.H.B. (Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma) team up with powerhouse Michael Elgin and Juice Robinson take on the BULLET CLUB ELITE; Kenny Omega, Guns & Gallows (Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows) and Cody Hall. I don’t have much to say about this one, except look for it as a way for Omega to gain momentum in the road to his title match next month.

Prediction: This one is actually harder to decide…Let’s go with The Elite winning and Kenny taking the win and one of G.B.H. taking the fall. Actually, probably Juice.

(7) Nakamura’s Send-Off Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Hirooki Goto & Katsuyori Shibata vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii

Well this is it, the main event. The final match of now former IWGP Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion; Shinsuke Nakamura before he joins WWE. Shinsuke teams up with fellow CHAOS stalemates, the reigning IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada and former NEVER Openweight Champion Tomohiro Ishii to take on the former ACE of New Japan Hiroshi Tanahashi, the reigning NEVER Openweight Champion Katsuyori Shibata and the upcoming challenger for Okada’s title Hirooki Goto. This match should be amazing, because it certainly has enough star power and talent. I’m sad to see him go, but I don’t see a better way Nakamura could have gone out. You cannot miss this match, it’s guaranteed to be amazing.

Prediction: There is absolutely no possible way Shinsuke Nakamura goes out losing. I’ll pick the “good guys” getting the win with Ishii taking the fall. There is literally too much star power for Tanahashi (possible opponent X for Omega), Goto (challenging Okada for the belt, don’t want him to look weak.) and Shibata (the NEVER open-weight Champion should not take the fall, he’s just now getting pushed.). Okada is the champion and fans would riot if The King of Strong Style leaves Japan with a loss, so the only logical answer is Ishii, the loss won’t hurt him. I just hope he takes it for Shibata or lets Shinsuke leave on a high note.

This weekend is shaping up to be an amazing event that won’t soon be forgotten. Although a star is leaving, it opens up a door for tomorrow’s stars to finally get a chance to shine. The farewell match will more than likely end with hugs and tears between all six men. Thank you for everything you’ve done Shinsuke; I wish you the best in WWE.

You can watch Shinsuke Nakamura’s farewell match on NJPW WORLD  for just 999 yen a month. It features over 40 years of footage and is well worth the around $8.50 price.