Wednesday, April 27, 2016

NJPW Wrestling Dontaku 2016 Predictions

Welcome to another set of PPV Predictions!

Today we're looking at the upcoming NJPW Wrestling Dontaku show taking place this Tuesday, May 3rd.  Initially this was to be the second of a double-shot, as Wrestling Hinokuni had been scheduled for April 29th.  But after the earthquake that took place in Kunamoto on April 14th, New Japan opted to cancel Hinokuni and spread those nine scheduled matches across three shows.  Two of them will now take place at Dontaku, while the rest will happen on Road to Dontaku shows.  I was actually more excited about the Hinokuni lineup than Dontaku's, but the additions to this card have made this quite a stacked show.  So let's take a look...

Bad Luck Fale & Yujiro Takahashi vs. Juice Robinson & Captain New Japan

This'll be another basic opening squash for Fale, who's been feuding with Hiroshi Tanahashi.  Nothing more, nothing less.

My Pick: Fale & Takahashi

Kazushi Sakuraba, Will Ospreay, Yoshi-Hashi & Gedo vs. Ryusuke Taguchi, Tiger Mask, Jay White & David Finlay

This one should be a lot of fun actually.  Ospreay is really something to behold, and the idea of him mixing it up with Tiger Mask and especially Jay White is quite appealing.  I'd love to see a singles feud between Ospreay and White.  I'd also like to see more done with Tiger Mask, as he's always fun to watch.

My Pick: Team Chaos probably wins here, given the other team has two Young Lions

IWGP Jr. Tag Team Championship: Roppongi Vice vs. Matt Sydal & Ricochet

A rematch from Invasion Attack, this match should be just as good as that one.  The jury's still out on whether Ricochet is jumping to WWE, but the fact that he and Sydal dropped the titles so quickly kinda points to that scenario.  This match is likely just to cement RPG Vice as the top dogs in the division.

My Pick: RPG Vice

Hiroshi Tanahashi, Michael Elgin & Yoshitatsu vs. The Elite

Another rematch from IA, their first encounter was loads of fun and I expect more of the same.  Tatsu has adopted a "Bullet Club Hunter" gimmick, complete with Triple H-style mannerisms and ring gear.  Get it?  Hunter?  Anyway, should be another fun match, though I'm not sure why the Six-Man straps aren't on the line. (UPDATE: The straps are now up for grabs!)

My Pick: Since these belts have been jumping around like crazy I'll go with The Elite to regain.

IWGP Tag Team Championship: Guerrillas of Destiny vs. Great Bash Heel

Yeesh, the first go-round between these two teams was not good.  The third Invasion Attack rematch on this card, this one's not likely to be much better, but hopefully Tama Tonga and his brother Tanga Roa will get their shit together.  This tag division desperately needs some depth.  Maybe bring back the Briscoes to help out?

My Pick: I could see Makabe and Honma regaining the straps until the Guerrillas improve their in-ring game.

NEVER Openweight Championship: Katsuyori Shibata vs. Yuji Nagata

This one should be BRUTAL.  Both of these dudes spent some time in MMA and work a very stiff style.  I anticipate some crazy strike battles and a good submission game on both sides.  Shibata has been working his way through the older guard stars, so a win over their de facto leader would be a feather in his cap.

My pick: Shibata

IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship: Kushida vs. Jushin Thunder Liger

Along those same lines, Kushida has been an excellent custodian/representative for the Jr. division and is now facing probably the greatest Jr. of all time in Liger.  This has a real "passing of the torch" flavor to it and I look forward to seeing if Liger's able to keep up with Kushida in 2016.  Meanwhile I hope New Japan has a host of newbies ready to challenge Kushida next.

My pick: Kushida

Evil vs. Hirooki Goto

These two wrestled last fall and it was more of an angle than a match.  I think this will be a much stronger showing.  Evil has been improving and Goto seems more motivated now that he's involved with Chaos.  Should be an entertaining brawl.

My pick: Evil needs the win to move up the card a bit and maybe challenge Shibata next

Kazuchika Okada vs. Sanada

The former IWGP Champ vs. the newest Ingobernable.  I'm not very familiar with Sanada's work, as I didn't catch his time in TNA, but he's apparently a good hand in the ring.  I expect loads of outside interference, with Okada eventually overcoming the odds to keep him looking strong after dropping the belt.

My pick: Okada

IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Tetsuya Naito vs. Tomohiro Ishii

I love this matchup.  Naito's been playing a great douchebag heel and Ishii is a no-bullshit bruiser who isn't gonna be amused or thrown off by Naito's mind games.  On paper this match actually looks more fun to me than Okada-Naito did.  Ishii will look to punish the crap out of Naito and I imagine there will be some shenanigans from Naito's stablemates.  Obviously Ishii isn't winning the strap here but it's nice to see him headline a PPV.

My pick: Naito

There's your lineup.  Looks like a helluva fun show with a lot of variety and five title matches.  While I still miss Nakamura, Styles and Ibushi on NJPW shows, it's a fun time to be a fan of this company.  Thanks for reading!  Comment below with your picks!

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