Welcome to Koala Mask’s quick-ish predictions for tonight’s New Japan Dominion from Osaka. All predictions are completely based on heresay, conjecture, and what the other Koala Masked wrestlers told me in the tree. You’ve been warned!
Tonights show has a total of five title matches – three of them involving members of The Bullet Club, with two of those matches against members of rival group, CHAOS. The other Bullet Club vs. CHAOS match is Ishii and Okada up against Styles and Takahashi.
The Bullet Club has been having there way with CHAOS (and New Japan in general) over the past few months. Styles took the title from Okada with help from the CHAOS traitor Takahashi at the Back to Yokohama Arena show, and CHAOS lost the big 8-man tag match against The Bullet Club at the last Best of Super Juniors show.
Will CHAOS get some retribution? Probably not. Will The Bullet Club continue to dominate? Probably yes. Will YOSHI-HASHI take the pin even though he’s not on the card? Undoubtedly. That we can always count on.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Bad Luck Fale for the IC title
Nakamura and Fale are both coming off wins in the UK. I think the last time they faced each other one on one was in the New Japan Cup main event. Nakamura all bloodied and bruised won what was probably Fale’s best singles match ever.
Here’s hoping Nakamura can get another good showing from Fale, whose monster status hasn’t got me completely sold. A big, clean win tonight over Nakamura could really help Fale’s “big strong monster” character get over.
Nakamura having just come off a very dreary program with the Gracies is in need of a spark. Whether it be a solid match, or another title retention. He needs something to help him move forward and to help us forget about the Gracies fiasco.
Prediction: YOSHI-HASHI sacrifices himself for Nakamura and CHAOS. Fale gets the title.
Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Togi Makabe for the IWGP tag title
I don’t know about you, but Makabe got me all kinds of fired up after his flurry of F bombs on the Bullet Club after Tanahashi’s 6-man tag match at the Best of Super Juniors final. Makabe came out and made the save when the Bullet Club was putting a post-match beatdown on Tanahashi. He then got on the mic and unleashed a big ol’ bag of fury on The Bullet Club, particularly Gallows and Anderson.
I was hoping for a Tanahashi and Shibata feud, but as that doesn’t look likely at the moment, with Shibata and Nagata starting to get into something. With that being the case, it looks like Tanahashi and Makabe could be together for a while, so putting the titles on them for a while is not entirely unlikely. That said, Gallows and Anderson don’t quite look ready to drop those belts. The Bullet Clubs’ dominance is going to continue to rise before it starts to fall.
Prediction: I’d like to see Tanahashi and Makabe get the win, but I think Gallows and Anderson will retain, probably with some interference.
Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii vs. A.J. Styles & Yujiro Takahashi
Styles has beaten Okada on I think three different occasions: first at Wrestling Dontaku where he won the title, then at The Return to Yokohama Arena show in the return match, and most recently in the 3-man title match at New Japan/ROH War of the Worlds. Okada also lost his last big match – the 8-man tag at the Best of Super Juniors final show.
The momentum is clearly going Styles’ way, but if you believe in the rule of opposite momentum, Okada and Ishii should come out on top tonight.
But they won’t. The Bullet train is going to continue their rise to…not being losers?
Prediction: Styles and Takahashi win, pinning YOSHI-HASHI.
Kazushi Sakuraba & Toru Yano vs. Minoru Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka
So…how about that Game of Thrones finale? I can’t wait for the next season to start. The Suzuki/Yano feud is basically the opposite of GoT. It can’t end soon enough!
Prediction: We’re all losers in this one.
Kota Ibushi vs. Ricochet for the IWGP jr. title
Ricochet earned his title shot by defeating KUSHIDA the Best of the Super Juniors final. So while there’s no personal conflict going into this one, I think everyone expects this to be the match of the night.
Ricochet is having the best year of his career (which you can read about here), and Ibushi is well, he’s Ibushi, and Ibushi is AWESOME!
I would expect Ibushi to retain against the challenger, but Ricochet has been full of surprises lately. He was recently the Dragon Gate Open the Dream Gate champion, he’s the current DGUSA Open the Freedom Gate champion, and he surprised many (me) with his win over KUSHIDA to earn his title shot against Ibushi.
Prediction: Ricochet continues on his roll and defeats Kota Ibushi for the IWPG Jr. title in the match of the night.
Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer for the NWA tag titles
Not a lot of heat going into this one. Kojima recently lost the NWA title. Going by that, tonight Tencozy will probably lose the tag titles. Or not, it doesn’t really bother me either way. I’m not expecting too many thrills in this one. But I might be pleasantly surprised. I do like Kojima’s lariat.
Prediction: Davey Boy Smith Jr. and Lance Archer capture the gold.
Yuji Nagata & Tomoaki Honma vs. Hirooki Goto & Katsuyori Shibata
This match could be the surprise show stealer if given the time and everyone involved is on their game. Nagata can still go despite getting on in age. Honma had an awesome showing against Ishii not too long ago. And Shibata and Goto can certainly deliver the goods with the right opponents. If the stars are aligned, this could be something special.
Unfortunately for Honma, he too suffers from YOSHI-HASHI syndrome, and will probably take the loss for his team.
Prediction: YOSHI-HAS– I mean Honma gets pinned by Goto. Shibata and Nagata brawl after the bell.
Tetsuya Naito vs. Tama Tonga
Naito really needs a win. The Bullet Club has been making him look like chump lately. Fale pinned Naito
at the Yokohama Arena show, so Naito needs to get some heat back. Tonga is basically the Bullet Club’s YOSHI-HASHI so he can take a pin.
Prediction: Tetsuya Naito wins.
Young Bucks vs. Alex Shelley & KUSHIDA for the IWGP jr tag titles
Despite coming off a loss to Ricochet in the Best of the Super Juniors final, KUSHIDA’s stock id really on the rise. Shelley however, had to pull out of the tournament due to injury. Let’s hope that he’s all healed up, because KUSHIDA and Shelley will need to bring their A-game if they want to dethrone the Young Bucks.
The Bucks are on fire at the moment. Their tag match at War of the Worlds agains Fish and O’Reilly blew everyone away. Win or lose, this should be a really fun opener.
Prediction: Young Bucks retain.