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Wrestle Kingdom 15 is done and dusted and in the books, and after a week of rest, New Japan Pro Wrestling have announced the cards for this year’s New Beginning tour. As usual there are a whole cycle of Road to... shows that are mostly just tag matches to get reps in, but one of them is more equal than others and we’re gonna shine a spotlight on that one. Let’s list ‘em out and break ‘em down!
Road to New Beginning (Jan. 23, 3AM Eastern / 12AM Pacific)
- Suzuki-gun (DOUKI & Minoru Suzuki) vs. World Class Tag Team (Gedo & Jado)
- Bullet Club (Dick Togo, EVIL, & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Chaos (Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, & YOSHI-HASHI)
- TenCozy (Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima) vs. UNITED EMPIRE (Great-O-Khan & Will Ospreay)
- Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi, Master Wato, SHO, & Tomoaki Honma vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, Hiromu Takahashi, SANADA, Shingo Takagi, & Tetsuya Naito) (Elimination Match)
- Bullet Club (El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori) vs. Suzuki-gun (El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) (c) (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship)
New Beginning in Nagoya (Jan. 30, 3:30AM Eastern, 12:30AM Pacific)
- Bullet Club (EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Chaos (Kazuchika Okada & Toru Yano)
- Kota Ibushi, Master Wato, SHO, & Tomoaki Honma vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, Hiromu Takahashi, SANADA, & Tetsuya Naito)
- Great-O-Khan vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan
- Satoshi Kojima vs. Will Ospreay
- Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Shingo Takagi (c) (NEVER Openweight Championship)
New Beginning in Hiroshima Night One (Feb. 10, 4:30AM Eastern, 1:30AM Pacific)
- Gabriel Kidd, Yota Tsuji, & Yuya Uemura vs. Suzuki-gun (El Desperado, Minoru Suzuki, & Yoshinobu Kanemaru)
- BUSHI vs. Master Wato
- Bullet Club (Dick Togo, El Phantasmo, EVIL, Taiji Ishimori, & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Chaos (Hirooki Goto, Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano, & YOSHI-HASHI)
- Kota Ibushi & Tomoaki Honma vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (SANADA & Tetsuya Naito)
- Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) (c) vs. Suzuki-gun (Taichi & Zack Sabre, Jr.) (IWGP Tag Team Championship)
- Hiromu Takahashi (c) vs. SHO (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship)
New Beginning in Hiroshima Night Two (Feb. 11, 1AM Eastern, 10PM Pacific)
- Chaos (Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii, YOSHI-HASHI) vs. Gabriel Kidd, Yota Tsuji, & Yuya Uemura
- Bullet Club (El Phantasmo, Taiji Ishimori, & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Suzuki-gun (El Desperado, Minoru Suzuki, & Yoshinobu Kanemaru)
- Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, Hiromu Takashi, & Tetsuya Naito) vs. Master Wato, SHO, & Tomoaki Honma
- Bullet Club (Dick Togo & EVIL) vs. Chaos (Kazuchika Okada & Toru Yano)
- Bullet Club (Jado, Tama Tonga, & Tonga Loa) vs. Suzuki-gun (DOUKI, Taichi, & Zack Sabre, Jr.)
- Kota Ibushi (c) vs. SANADA (IWGP Heavyweight / IWGP Intercontinental Championship)
Okay, so first off, no big surprises here.
These cards flow pretty naturally from the events and challenges of Wrestle Kingdom 15 and New Years Dash!!, for the most part.
SANADA’s challenge for the double titles at the end of WK15 Night Two has been accepted by Ibushi in his first act as god (no, I’m never letting this bit drop, folks, sorry), no surprise there. Cut and dry, the outcome isn’t really in doubt but it should be a great match, and hopefully the beginning of SANADA getting out of the shadow of being the fourth coolest guy in the cool guy stable and recovering from his long purgatory joined at the hip with EVIL.
Ah, speaking of EVIL, Bullet Club now find themselves on a war of two fronts. One side of the faction seeks to retain the heavyweight tags they wrenched out of Suzuki-gun’s hands while gaining the junior heavyweight tags, while EVIL, his pareja Dick Togo, and Yujiro Takahashi seem hell bent on taking it to Chaos in general and Kazuchika Okada in specific. But there’s no singles match between the Rainmaker and the King of Darkness on this tour, which stood out as interesting to me until I realized NJ have Castle Attack at the end of February and that seems like a logical main event for one of those shows to continue building EVIL up as a believable upper midcarder.
Moving on, Los Ingobernables de Japon are feuding with the main babyface roster this month, leading to title defenses for Hiromu Takahashi, who will be defending against SHO, and Shingo Takagi, who gets to put the NEVER on the line to beat the hell out of Hiroshi Tanahashi, both of which had ought to be good friendly violent fun.
Last but not least, Hiroyoshi Tenzan makes his triumphant return from the beating the UNITED EMPIRE handed him at NYD!!, first in a tag with fellow dad Kojima and then in singles action against Great-O-Khan. I wasn’t terribly enthralled with O-Khan’s work at Wrestle Kingdom, but old man Tenzan has a way of digging deep and turning the fumes in his gas tank into gold, so I’m looking forward to it.
There you have it, folks
Excited for the New Beginning tour, Cagesiders?