Thursday, May 2, 2024

NJPW Wrestling Dontaku 2024 Preview & Predictions

Another busy wrestling weekend, as in addition to WWE's Backlash show there's also a pair of NJPW Wrestling Dontaku shows.  And they're.....kinda thin, but there should be a few bangers on there.

We've got a pair of big title matches headlining their respective shows, plus some very promising undercard title matches, plus one special singles match between two of the company's biggest rising stars.  As usual I'll skip predictions for the undercard tag matches as they don't really matter.

Let's take a gander...

Night 1

NJPW TV Championship: Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Jeff Cobb

This one could steal the entire weekend.  ZSJ is one of the best doing it right now, and Cobb is always awesome.  These two have lit up the ring together in the past and this should be no different.  Zack just won this title in a killer match with Matt Riddle at Windy City Riot, so he's not losing yet.

Pick: ZSJ retains

Yota Tsuji vs. David Finlay

I'm very interested in this one, as it's two guys who keep hitting the glass ceiling, at a time when both need to be elevated.  Tsuji is coming off a New Japan Cup win followed by his second unsuccessful IWGP Title attempt, while Finlay led his team to victory at Windy City Riot.  I'd say Tsuji needs this win more than Finlay does.

Pick: Yota Tsuji

IWGP Global Championship: Nic Nemeth vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi

This one could be rough; Tanahashi is so banged up I'm not sure he should be wrestling right now.  Nemeth proved at WCR he can hang with one of NJPW's toughest in Ishii, so we'll see if he's up to a match that hides Tanahashi's myriad of mobility issues.  I would say putting any major title on Tana right now is insanity, so I think Nic retains.

Pick: Nemeth retains

Night 2

IWGP Tag Team Championship: Bishimon vs. Kenta & Chase Owens

Man, do we need some new teams in this division.  These two have been going back and forth all year.  I'd keep the belts on Goto and Yoshi until an exciting new team can step up.

Pick: Bishamon retains

Never Openweight Championship: Shingo Takagi vs. Gabe Kidd

This one should be pretty great.  Shingo is a monster, Kidd is a hungry up-and-coming heel.  They'll beat the snot out of each other to the delight of thousands.  I think Shingo probably holds onto the title for now, although you could have Kidd win this and defend it against Eddie next week.  But I imagine they'll keep those two things separate.

Pick: Shingo retains

IWGP World Championship: Jon Moxley vs. Ren Narita

And finally Jon Moxley will defend his newly won IWGP Title for the first time in Japan, against the man who attacked him in Chicago.  Mox's closing line "You started out a young boy, you're gonna end up a dead man" was gold.  This may devolve into House of Torture bullshit but again, if anyone can make that stuff work and keep the match from sucking it's Moxley.  Mox is obviously keeping the title so he can defend against his student Shota Umino.

Pick: Mox retains

So three matches of interest per night - it'll be easy to keep up with these two shows at least, and there should be a few gems in there.

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