Wednesday, January 27, 2021

NJPW New Beginning 2021 Preview & Predictions UPDATED

Welcome to another round of NJPW PPV Predictions, here at!

After a pretty fantastic two-night Tokyo Dome extravaganza, New Japan is back with the annual follow-up, the New Beginning tour.  We have some new champions defending their titles for the first time, we have a couple of grudge matches pitting legendary veterans against upstart heels, we have an epic G1 rematch, and then a bunch of multi-man tag bouts.  As always, I'll only be predicting the really important matches on this tour, so let's get started....  


Great O-Khan vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan

After going 0 for 3 at the Dome, The Empire stable is looking to redeem themselves in a pair of matches against Tencozy.  First up we'll see the young monster heel O-Khan facing the veteran bruiser Tenzan, in a match where the loser can never again use the Mongolian Chop.  I assume this rather antiquated stip is meant to serve as a passing of the torch.  Although, O-Khan relies on the Mongolian Chop so heavily he'd probably be better off never using it again.  But he shouldn't lose here.  Give the young guy the win.

Pick: O-Khan

No Disqualification: Will Ospreay vs. Satoshi Kojima

Much more promising is this bout, with the magnificent Will Ospreay facing the scrappy Kojima in a no disqualification fight.  This will be Ospreay's first prominent singles win since his heel turn, and should get him back on track as a rising villain.  I expect he'll have a strong showing in the New Japan Cup, perhaps even win the whole thing.  A decisive win here will get the ball rolling.

Pick: Ospreay

NEVER Openweight Championship: Shingo Takagi vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi

I like this pairing quite a lot.  To my knowledge Tanahashi has never contended for the NEVER Championship, and it'll be interesting to see if he adjusts his style to fit Shingo's.  Smash-mouth Tanahashi would be a fun thing to see.  This match should be great, and a successful defense over the Ace will cement Shingo as the centerpiece of the NEVER division.

Pick: Shingo retains

Hiroshima Night 1

IGWP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: Guerrillas of Destiny vs. Dangerous Tekkers

These teams had a fine match at the Dome and I expect as much here.  They'll probably get more time than they did last month as well, since this is the semi-main event.  I don't see much of a reason to switch the belts back so soon, so I'll go with the champs to retain.

Pick: GoD

IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship: Hiromu Takahashi vs. Sho

This right here could steal the entire tour.  Takahashi won back the Jr. Title in spectacular fashion at the Dome and will be looking to equal that performance against the eminently talented Sho.  Sho will be dominant in the power department, while Hiromu will have the speed advantage.  I'm a little sad that Sho is just likely to be a transitional challenger at this point, as he's one of the best on-paper Juniors in the business.  This will be a mindblowingly awesome main event.

Pick: Takahashi retains

Hiroshima Night 2

NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Championship: Tomohiro Ishii/Hirooki Goto/Yoshi-Hashi vs. Jay White/Tama Tonga/Tanga Loa

Well that was quick - Jay White said after WrestleKingdom that he was leaving New Japan and speculation ran rampant that his contract was up (it wasn't) and that he might jump to WWE (he isn't).  I figured it was similar to 2017 when Kenny Omega teased leaving the company after failing to unseat Okada for the belt.  Omega returned for the New Japan Cup two months later.  But White didn't even wait that long.  Not sure if he originally planned to take more time off or what, but this return seems sudden and a little underwhelming, as he's just challenging for the six-man belts.  At any rate this should be a find six-man tag match.  I can't imagine they'd have White challenge for these belts if he wasn't winning them.  So I'll pick the Bullet Club.

Pick: White & GoD

IWGP Double Championship: Kota Ibushi vs. Sanada

This is sadly the only singles match on the final night, but what a singles match.  A rematch of their 2020 G1 Final, this bout should see both guys rise to the occasion and eclipse their previous encounter.  Ibushi will want to make a statement in his first title defense since the Dome, and Sanada wants to finally establish himself as a bona fide main eventer.  I still think the titles should be separated again so Sanada can have an IC Title run.  This will easily go past thirty minutes and should be another early MOTY contender.

Pick: Ibushi retains

So those are the six matches I'll be watching closely; the rest should be fine but non-essential.  Enjoy the 2021 New Beginning tour!

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