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Csonka’s 2019 NJ Cup 1st Rd Preview

March 7, 2019 | Posted by Larry Csonka
NJ Cup Preview

WELCOME back to column time with Larry! Today, I am going to discuss and preview the 2018 NJ Cup 1st Rd . So today, I will break down and preview the opening round of the tournament, which has some interesting matches. This year’s tournament will run for 12 days, as the field has been expanded to 32 men, and the winner faces Jay White at G1 Supercard. Thanks for reading! It’s wrestling, we love it and will disagree. The only rules are “have a take, be respectful, and don’t be a dick.”

March 8 – Korakuen Hall

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Yuji Nagata vs. Tomohiro Ishii: I have been looking forward to this match since their interaction at New Year’s Dash where they tore it up and showed great chemistry. Nagata is the veteran that seemingly doesn’t age and continues to deliver, while Ishii is consistently one of the top guys that delivers in terms of match quality. I have high hopes for this, and think that it will rule, with Ishii advancing. WINNER: Tomohiro Ishii

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Juice Robinson vs. Chase Owens: I really like this match as well, Juice is great and Owens is vastly underrated and always busts his ass. I see him giving Juice more of a fight than most expect and proving his worth to many. Juice should advance here to get redemption for a lackluster G1 last year. WINNER: Juice Robinson

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Tomoaki Honma vs. Taichi: This is a match they have been teasing for some time with Taichi continually being a dick to Honma. Honma is such a lovable figure that the crowd will be behind him and that should also create some great heat for Taichi. Taichi won’t win the whole thing by any means, but he needs the rebound win here big time and should get it. WINNER: Taichi

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Manabu Nakanishi vs. YOSHI-HASHI: Like the Taichi match, this comes across as a match designed to give YOSHI-HASHI a needed win to help his credibility. Nakanishi shill has enough of a name with fans that it will mean something to help YOSHI-HASHI, plus even in a field of 32, there is just no way Nakanishi should be advancing in the tournament when YOSHI-HASHI needs it so much more. WINNER: YOSHI-HASHI

March 9 – Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium

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Toa Henare vs. Lance Archer: With Archer being a tag guy, this feels like the perfect time for Henare to pick up a huge singles win. Henare has been busting his ass, has become really good, and is just in need of a few signature wins and I really think that the time is now. Pull the trigger Gedo you coward. WINNER: Toa Henare

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Will Ospreay vs. Bad Luck Fale: It’s that time of year kids, the time of year when Fale gets a win over a champion and gets his annual push. The good news is that working with Ospreay, we have the possibility of a good match here. Ospreay may be a heavyweight now, but he’s still the size that he can pinball around and sell his ass off for Fale. I don’t see a clean as a sheet win, but the big man needs his signature yearly push according to NJPW booking. WINNER: Bad Luck Fale

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Kazuchika Okada vs. Michael Elgin: These two have proven to have great chemistry, having several great matches together so this should be a treat as a first round match. Okada is one of the heavy favorites to win the whole thing, so an Elgin win would shock me here. What sucks is that like a Taichi or HASHI, Elgin really needs a big singles win as he has become a complete afterthought as a single in NJPW. I would be pleasantly surprised if Elgin won as Okada losing in the first round would be similar to what they did with Tanahashi in the past. WINNER: Kazuchika Okada

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Mikey Nicholls vs. HIKULEO: Mikey Nicholls left NXT, has joined CHAOS, and faces off with Bullet Club Youngster & son of Haku, HIKULEO. This is a huge math for both, Mikey will be looking to impress; HIKULEO was showing good strides prior to his injury, but now will be performing without the tag team net. I have high hopes for Mikey Nicholls in NJPW and hope he finds success in this next stage of his career. WINNER: Mikey Nicholls

March 10 – Hyogo Baycom Gymnasium

Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Ryusuke Taguchi: David Finlay was supposed to compete here, but separated his shoulder on the ROH shows in Japan. I had Finlay taking this one prior to his injury, but unfortunately injuries happen and plans change. Taguchi will bring the fun and moving parts, and hopefully Tenzan can dig deep and pull out a good performance here. With Taguchi being a junior, I see Tenzan moving on. WINNER: Hiroyoshi Tenzan

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Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Shota Umino: It appears that the former IWGP champion will get a lay up in round one facing off against very promising young lion Umino. I love Umino and think that not only is he great but that he’s a future star for the company. I am really interested to see how much Umino gets in the match and if he can look like he belongs in a singles match with Tanahashi. This one could be a lot of fun. WINNER: Hiroshi Tanahashi

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EVIL vs. Zack Sabre Jr.: And so we circle back to this feud, which was pretty prominent in late 2018. In many ways, EVIL has been way more consistent than SANADA and looking like he could break through as a main event star first, while Zack Sabre Jr. had an awesome 2018, winning last year’s cup with an amazing run. Zack has had EVIL’s number throughout the feud, and coming off of last year’s run, I think he moves on here. WINNER: Zack Sabre Jr

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Kota Ibushi vs. Tetsuya Naito: If I had to put money on it, I’d put it on this match being the best match of the first round, and possibly the whole tournament. I am officially hyped. I see Ibushi taking the win here, and think he actually wins the entire tournament as he’ll give White a great match. They also don’t want Naito losing another IWGP Title match, but a loss here to Ibushi doesn’t hurt him and also sets up an IC Title program between the two, which will rule. WINNER: Kota Ibushi

March 11 – Kagawa Takamatsu City General Gymnasium #1

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Toru Yano vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr.: This will be a very Toru Yano match, complete with all of the shenanigans and clash of styles. I think Smith should win, but NJPW loves moving Yano along in these tournaments. Hopefully they keep it short. WINNER: Toru Yano

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Satoshi Kojima vs. Minoru Suzuki: We have our self an old man fight here, and that’s not a bad thing considering who it is. Suzuki still performs at a very high level, and Kojima can still go and more importantly stays in his lane and to what he does best. I’d love to see Kojima get some run, but a Suzuki makes more sense. WINNER: Minoru Suzuki

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Hirooki Goto vs. SANADA: This is another one that looks really good and has banger potential. Goto has been out of singles title mix for a bit now, but SANADA just dropped the tag titles, and I think that EVIL loses, which gives SANADA a good chance to move on. In all honesty, I wouldn’t be surprised if Goto won as this feels like a real toss up. WINNER: SANADA

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Togi Makabe vs. Colt Cabana: While I wouldn’t label him a big name outsider, I really like the addition of Cabana here as he’s a fresh name that always works hard. Stylistically, this will be interesting, as Colt is know for his comedy stylings, but is also a skilled European style grappler; either way, it will be a very different Makabe match. This feels like the kind of match that Makabe wins in order to maintain some credibility since he’s basically a New Japan dad these days. WINNER: Togi Makabe

My prediction to win the whole thing is…

Kota Ibushi

– End Scene.

– Thanks for reading.

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“Byyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyye Felicia!”