Wednesday, April 10, 2024

NJPW Windy City Riot 2024 Preview & Predictions

As if there wasn't enough wrestling last weekend, we have yet ANOTHER PPV this Friday, namely NJPW's Windy City Riot!

Unlke a lot of recent NJPW shows, this one looks pretty stacked from top to bottom, thanks in large part due to some special attraction-type names on the card.  This one is a good mix of the New Japan full-timers and a handful of North American guest stars, and some of what happens here could play into the eventual lineup for Forbidden Door in June.  Let's get after it....

Minoru Suzuki vs. Ren Narita

It's the grizzled old sadist vs. the young upstart rulebreaker.  This could be good if there isn't too much House of Torture nonsense but it could also be yet another annoying clusterfuck of ref bumps and run-ins.  Either way I think Narita probably steals a win.

Pick: Narita

Hiromu Takahashi vs. Mustafa Ali

Here's a pretty exciting NJPW vs. TNA matchup, pitting the top star of the Jr. Heavyweight division facing off against TNA's current X-Division Champion.  This should be a pretty blazing contest and I'm very intrigued to see Mustafa outside of WWE (this will be my first time).  I imagine Mustafa will be protected as the current title holder, while Hiromu can withstand a loss.

Pick: Mustafa

Riot Rules: Eddie Kingston & 3 TBA vs. Gabe Kidd & 3 TBA

No idea who the other six guys will be in this one, but it should be a very fun car wreck of a match.  Violence and carnage galore.  I have to think Team Eddie wins here.  

Pick: Eddie & friends


Shota Umino vs. Jack Perry

This might be the one I'm most looking forward to, provided the House of Torture nonsense is kept to a minimum.  Shota is great, and Jack is being positioned as a crossover star for both promotions (stay tuned for more on Dynamite).  If they let the wrestling here speak for itself this should be a great match.  I think Jack probably gets the win since he'll have just been reintroduced on AEW television.

Pick: Jack Perry wins, in Pepsi Phil's hometown.

Nic Nemeth vs. Tomohiro Ishii

This one should also be fantastic.  Ishii is great with pretty much anyone, and IWGP Global Champion Nemeth is out to show WWE what they're missing out on.  Nemeth obviously wins here.

Pick: Nemeth

Strong Openweight Tag Team Championship: Guerrillas of Destiny vs. TMDK vs. Fred Rosser & Tom Lawlor vs. West Coast Wrecking Crew 

Another chaotic tag match, but I have no idea who wins this.  GoD have held the belts for six months so they could drop them.  I guess TMDK is the most likely team in this field to dethrone them?

Pick: TMDK

NJPW TV Championship: Matt Riddle vs. Zack Sabre Jr.

This should be a helluva grappling contest between a legit MMA dude and one of the two best technical wrestlers on the planet.  Riddle just won this title like six weeks ago so I imagine he's holding onto it.  Maybe via time limit draw?

Pick: Riddle retains

Strong Women's Championship: Stephanie Vaquer vs. AZM

I know little about either of these two but I'm absolutely here for this match.  The Strong Women's division always delivers, and if given ample time this could steal the show.  I think Stephanie probably keeps it since she hasn't held this title very long.

Pick: Stephanie retains

IWGP World Championship: Tetsuya Naito vs. Jon Moxley

Alright, so NJPW once again failed to pull the trigger on Yota Tsuji being the new top guy.  And the only logical reason I can think of is so Jon Moxley can win the title here and AEW's involvement can get more eyes on NJPW's struggling product.  Otherwise that's a cosmically baffling booking decision.  This should be quite good as Mox is great and Naito, while limited these days, usually delivers big against a strong opponent.  I guess let's put this title on Mox and see if he can help get some of these young NJPW stars over.

Pick: Moxley

So yeah, very strong lineup for this show.  On paper this could actually eclipse WrestleKingdom.  And they have a good 6000+ crowd on hand for it, which should lend the show a great sense of excitement and urgency.

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