New Japan Pro Wrestling’s version of SummerSlam takes place in just a few short days on June 9. With that in mind, here is our full preview for the event for New Japan that could have major implications on next year’s Wrestle Kingdom.
Suzuki-gun (El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru) (c) vs. Roppongi 3K (Sho and Yoh) — Tag Team match for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship
With the Young Bucks moving upward and onward to the heavyweight division, it would stand to reason that the junior heavyweight division would take at least a little bit of a hit. Matt and Nick Jackson were a staple of that scene for the last couple of years, elevating that division to must-see.
In the post-Bucks era, these two teams have taken the baton and have kept this division in the limelight. That especially is the case for Roppongi 3K, who had good showings in the Best of the Super Juniors.
This one should get the crowd hot early with the junior heavyweight style and should set the stage for an incredible night.
Taguchi Japan (Juice Robinson and David Finlay) vs. Chaos (Jay White and Yoshi-Hashi)
Here is a match that has a lot of potential with the likes of Juice Robinson and Jay White. 2018 was made to be Jay White’s year from the moment New Year’s Dash went down. A victory over Kenny Omega for the IWGP United States Championship had fans expecting big things from White.
Now, still holding that championship, this certainly feels like a pre-cursor to a potential Juice Robinson-Jay White title match down the road. That’s probably the most telling thing to watch for in this match.
Chaos (Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano) vs. Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki and Zack Sabre Jr.)
Anything with Tomohiro Ishii and Minoru Suzuki has the potential to be like when Thanos fought the Avengers. Entire worlds could end here people.
Ishii and Suzuki have fought one-on-one only once, according to CAGEMATCH. The potential of this setting up an Ishii/Suzuki match should make every New Japan wrestling fan happy.
Oh yeah, and one of the best technical wrestlers on the planet is in the match as well.
Hirooki Goto (c) vs. Michael Elgin vs. Taichi — Three-way match for the NEVER Openweight Championship
Mark this one down as the sneaky pick for match of the night. Hirooki Goto has done this before. Remember Wrestle Kingdom 12? All the hype around the two co-main events and his match with Suzuki was one that a lot of people were talking about when the night was over.
That could be the same thing here. Elgin, in the ring, is a good worker that has put on great performances in the past and Taichi is an up-and-coming star that can also go. These three styles should create for an interesting mix, one that if it gels properly, could steal the show.
Los Ingobernables de Japon (Sanada and Evil) (c) vs. The Young Bucks — Tag team match for the IWGP Tag Team Championship
The Young Bucks are moving up to heavyweight. Now that the Bucks clock in just north of 205 pounds, they are setting their sights for the IWGP Tag Team Championships. Matt and Nick Jackson are thought of by some as one of the greatest tag teams to ever step foot between the ropes. They certainly have the accolades to back it up. Adding a championship from a different weight class would certainly bolster their claim.
Their problem? Across the ring from them is a very impressive tag team. Sanada had a great match with Kazuchika Okada, allowing fans to catch up to how good Sanada truly is and these two as a team stand as a great challenge for the boys from California.
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Jyushin Thunder Liger and Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Bullet Club (Cody, Hangman Page and Marty Scurll)
This match has the feel of one of those Expendables movies, where Hollywood just takes a number of well-known actors and throws them together for two and a half hours of explosions and fighting.
The ace of New Japan, the legend of the Juniors division and one of the greatest Lucha Libre performers of all time forming their own version of Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Then there are the foes in the conflict, the Bullet Club. Cody, Hangman Page and Marty Scurll won’t care about the stature of those across from them — they are there for wins. Scurll is an interesting one to watch as he started something with Mysterio back in Long Beach. Perhaps NJPW sets something up between the two for the Cow Palace.
Will Ospreay (c) vs. Hiromu Takahashi — Singles match for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
There is a movement going on in the world of professional wrestling. That movement is seeing the Junior Heavyweight division of New Japan become the talk of wrestling circles. The BoSJ churns out quality match after quality match.
Ospreay constantly is putting his body through hell in order to entertain the fans and he is now doing so as champion. Takahashi, fresh off of his BoSJ victory, will now set his sights on reclaiming what he believes is rightfully his.
The Aerial Assassin successfully defended this belt against Takahashi back at The New Beginning in Febuary. Will he be able to repeat or will Takahashi continue the hot streak he’s on?
Tetsuya Naito (c) vs. Chris Jericho — Singles match for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship
The first of the two big main-event level matches on this card sees a familiar face to the American wrestling audience. Free agent Chris Jericho returns to his new home of New Japan for another high-profile match. After being unsuccessful in his pursuit of the IWGP United States Championship and more importantly, a victory over Kenny Omega, Jericho set his eyes quickly on Naito.
A post-match beatdown during New Year’s Dash set the course for this match, but it was bit of a bumpy road to finally get here. It didn’t happen in Long Beach like many thought, and Jericho did a good job of throwing us off the scent of him flying back to Japan to make this match a thing.
Alas, here we are, with Jericho looking to get a victory during this run with New Japan and Naito looking to avenge the number of beatdowns he’s suffered at the hands of Jericho.
Kazuchika Okada (c) vs. Kenny Omega — No time limit two-out-of-three falls match for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship
Okada/Omega IV. No time limit. Two-out-of-three falls. That’s all this match needs to be great. It’s known at this point that these two are going to out there and steal the show.
Any worries that this two wouldn’t be able to raise their game to the proper levels were squashed when the second installment in this now historic rivalry was better than the first. Omega’s lone victory against Okada came during the grueling G1 Climax and it wasn’t for the title. For Okada, Omega is the one major blemish on this otherwise ungodly run he is on.
That set the stage for what should be the most anticipated wrestling match since the last time these two were slated to meet. Will the fourth match be able to live up to the previous three? That’s almost a guarantee. Who wins? That one….that one is a little bit more up in the air.
Surprise and suspense have been a lost art in wrestling lately. New Japan has brought those two things back. This whole card is an example of that. There’s no bigger example of that then this main event. This one may break the entire wrestling world, let alone a rating system.
Enjoy it. We might not see something like it for a long time.