Super J Cup
August 21, 2016
Ariake Colosseum – Tokyo, Japan 

Watch: NJPW World

Meet our previewers

  • John Carroll: Open the Voice Gate co-host and VOW’s official traveling anime con liaison. Don’t follow my Twitter, it sucks.
  • Dylan Noah: Also an Open the Voice Gate co-host and writer of DDT things for VOW. That one Brother Yasshi fan. Follow Dylan on Twitter either making gifs or talking about how much I love deathmatches.
  • Kelly Harrass: Newcomer to the VOW scene that writes about weird stuff like Tanahashi and Makabe on a tokusatsu show. Follow him on Twitter @comicgeekelly.
  • Rich Kraetsch:  One of the principle owners of this cash cow known as Voices of Wrestling. Follow him on Twitter @VoicesWrestling.

Eita, Yuma Aoyagi, & David Finlay vs. Gurukun Mask, Kaiji Tomato & BUSHI

John Carroll: “Here you go non-Bushiroad losers- and, uh, also BUSHI and Finlay- have yourselves a six-man tag.” This will probably be really fun, while simultaneously serving as a reminder to the anti-Bushiroad grumps that no one unaffiliated made it to the quarterfinals. That’s a win-win if you ask me. Finlay is eating the pin of course. Prediction: Garukun Mask, Kaiji Tomato & BUSHI

Dylan: This is arguably the one match I’m actually going to cherry pick out of this spectacle to watch because I happen to like most of these guys a lot and I’m sad they didn’t really make it through to the next round despite predicting not a single one of them actually making it through. But hey, at least they’re back, and they get to be in front of a big audience and have a fun time, and poor Yuma doesn’t have to worry about anyone getting pissed at him and stiffing him in this match. Prediction: Eita, Yuma Aoyagi & David Finlay

Kelly Harrass: Remember all those guys that lost in the first round? They’re back and they’re bringing David Finlay with them for a tag match. This match should be a ton of fun because the non-Bushiroad guys will probably go nuts in an effort to impress viewers on this big stage. Look for BUSHI to pick up more momentum going into his upcoming (at some point) Jr. title match by scoring the pin. Prediction: Garukun Mask, Kaiji Tomato & BUSHI

Rich Kraetsch: If you look at this as the leftovers of the Super J Cup, you’re doing it all wrong. Look at how fun this match is going to be. Look at the amount of talent both old and new that will occupy the ring. Sure, you could argue that a few of these men should be in the quarterfinals of the tournament (and I won’t disagree with you!) but this is a pretty sweet result. Where else will you see Gurukun Mask, Kaiji Tomato and BUSHI facing off against the spawn of Fit Finlay. This should be a hell of an opener, even if it only last a few minutes. Prediction: Garukun Mask, Kaiji Tomato & BUSHI

Quarterfinals match #1: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Taichi

John Carroll: There’s two quaterfinal matches that I would call “if there’s a God…” matches, because in both cases I think we’d pretty much all rather see one advance over the other. Taichi can be okay when he wants to be (I actually really liked a few of his matches during his GHC Jr. Title reign last year) but his opening round bout was a perfect example of the bad, stall-happy Taichi that tends to show up more often than not. It was really the only bad match on the show, in fact. Hopefully with the legendary Jushin Liger in here, presumably with the crowd a thousand percent behind him, we can avoid a second straight bad Taichi J Cup match. Anyway, I could easily see Taichi winning this and moving on to the semis, but I’m gonna go with my heart here and hope Liger can pull this out. Prediction: Jushin Thunder Liger

Dylan: If El Desperado doesn’t come out and further that feud with Liger he started where he said he wanted to have a Mask vs. Mask match with him, this match is just no good. Honestly, these two have feuded with each other before, and it was a blast, but it’s Taichi, and he’s going to go out there and probably be Taichi. While I find him entertaining, a lot of people don’t, so for their sake, I hope Liger makes Taichi lace up his working boots and put on a good match. Taichi was able to have some great matches when he was the GHC Jr. Heavyweight Champion and Liger is arguably better than, like, everyone even still at his age. He’s been having consistently great matches with the younger talent for a while now, and I really hope this is a good one, too, because Liger is looking to retire soon and I want him to get as many good matches as he can. I don’t honestly know who’s going to win, because Liger is a god, but it’s Taichi. I’ll pick Liger, because he’s amazing, and because I love him the most. Prediction: Jushin Thunder Liger

Kelly Harrass: Tonight’s the night that we could possibly see Taichi do his pants ripping off spot three times in one night. What a joyous night this could be. Realistically, we’ll only get that once, maybe twice. I don’t know why, but I pop for it every time. There’s a solid chance of Liger losing this match purely to further his feud with El Desperado. Had Liger not made it to the second round, I would have guessed that Taichi wouldn’t have made it past this round, but I really think that we’ll see Taichi make it to the semi-finals. Liger might be a legend, but Taichi and Desperado will bring more grimey tricks then he’ll know what to do with. Prediction: Taichi

Rich Kraetsch: There’s absolutely no reason for Taichi to be in the quarterfinals of this tournament. None, zero. Now we have to stare at the horrifying reality that he may beat Liger in this match and move on in the tournament. The western fan in me rooted for Yuma Aoyagi to pull off the huge upset and meet his maker in the second round but it was not to be. Save us Beast God. Prediction: Taichi

Quarterfinals match #2: KUSHIDA vs. Kenoh

John Carroll: This is the toughest match in the quarterfinals to predict, at least in my opinion. KUSHIDA is New Japan’s junior ace and as such you would expect him to go at least to the semis, but he’s up against a rising star in Kenoh and the question becomes, who benefits from this win more? KUSHIDA, a guy who is already at the absolute top of the junior world, or Kenoh, a very talented wrestler who could use a major win here? The winner of this match is gonna face the Liger-Taichi winner, neither of whom really needs a big win over KUSHIDA. Of course, it’s very possible we’re going to a KUSHIDA-Ospreay J Cup final, but I’d like to see them keep those two apart for a little while longer. So I’m gonna give Kenoh the upset win here, which would also set up a rematch between the two of them for the IWGP Jr. Title on a future show. Either way though, this could easily end up as the match of the night. Prediction: Kenoh

Dylan: I would like to say that Kenoh takes this match, goes over KUSHIDA, and takes that momentum into his match with Kanemaru. Up until Team NOAH beat Team New Japan in the eight-man tag from the G1 finals, I would have sworn up and down that New Japan guys would get the preferential booking because other than Kanemaru, who isn’t really signed to NOAH anyway, they have. But even with that kernel of doubt planted in my mind, I can’t really say that I think Kenoh is going to take this match. KUSHIDA is the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion and while that doesn’t always seem to carry a lot of weight, it probably does here. So I’m going to go with KUSHIDA, which sets up Liger-KUSHIDA, which makes sense because they wanted to fight each other again anyway. Prediction: KUSHIDA

Kelly Harrass: Here comes the big upset! I’m calling it now, Kenoh will pin the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion and it’s going to be awesome. Until the G1 finals, I was convinced that KUSHIDA had this tournament locked up. After that NOAH/NJPW brawl, I’m convinced that we’ll be getting a company vs. company show down the road. What better time to set up a junior division match for that show than right here? You can give Kenoh a huge win over the champ and you can give KUSHIDA an excuse for losing with some sort of interference from Kenoh’s partner Ohara. While I could easily see KUSHIDA winning the whole thing to further establish him as the junior ace, I think this story is too good to pass up. Plus, who doesn’t love an upset? Prediction: Kenoh

Rich Kraetsch: The big question surrounding this match will be how to deal with IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion KUSHIDA. It makes all the sense in the world to have Kenoh upset KUSHIDA here, move on in the tournament and take part in fresh matchups for the remainder of the Cup. You also have a built-in future title match for KUSHIDA and one that makes sense given the company’s relationship. It’s still KUSHIDA though and despite narrative’s surrounding him, he’s been one of the most protected juniors in the company’s recent history. He’s also their junior champion, that carries weight. I have my reservations but I think Kenoh wins here. Regardless of the outcome, we’re in for a treat. Prediction: Kenoh

Quarterfinals match #3: Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru

John Carroll: And here we have “if there’s a God…” match #2. Taguchi and Kanemaru are almost mirror universe versions of each other: Taguchi works super hard every night despite a goofball character and a very up-and-down push, while Kanemaru in NOAH has been one of the laziest, most disinterested looking wrestlers I’ve ever seen despite being pushed as the GHC Jr. Heavyweight Champion since basically the moment he returned from All Japan. His match with BUSHI during the first round just made it clear how little he actually tries in NOAH, because that match was pretty darn good and showed flashes of the old Kanemaru. I would expect him to thus be better than his usual NOAH self here as well, but he still does not deserve to move on. If there’s a God, Taguchi wins this. But I’m agnostic, so I’m going with Kanemaru (unfortunately). Prediction: Yoshinobu Kanemaru

Dylan: Just about everyone who has had an opinion on this match has projected that Taguchi goes over Kanemaru here and that sets up a GHC title match later on down the line, which sounds realistic to me because Taguchi has messed around with the Suzuki-gun juniors before. I have no idea otherwise what to expect from this match, because we could get serious badass Taguchi here, or the presence of Kanemaru could bring out the joking, playful Taguchi that everyone tends to hate. Hard to tell either way. Kanemaru is actually one of the wrestlers I like the most in this tournament despite his performance in NOAH (how much motivation is holding that junior title at this point, really?) and I’d like to see him go on despite everything else, but I would also like that Taguchi/Kanemaru match for the title just a little bit more. Prediction: Ryusuke Taguchi

Kelly Harrass: This match will be as good as Kanemaru wants it to be and if he’s taking the loss, I don’t expect him to put a whole lot of effort into this one. While Kanemaru might be the NOAH junior champion right now, I feel like it is best for him to lose for a couple of reasons. Firstly, if he loses to Taguchi that sets up a future title challenge at whatever the NJPW/NOAH show ends up being. Secondly, the potential story to be told with this night of matches works much better with Taguchi moving on to the semi-finals (I’ll explain more about this as we go on). And finally, Taguchi is capable of having higher level matches at this point than Kanemaru is. Chances are that Taguchi will pull off a victory in some comedic way. Prediction: Ryusuke Taguchi

Rich Kraetsch: There’s really no gray area with this match — it’ll either be really awesome with Kanemaru channeling the great performances of his past or really terrible and filled with Taguchi butthole (literally) comedy. Taguchi has stepped up big throughout this year including stunningly great performances throughout the Best of the Super Juniors tournament. Does he have another one in him? Prediction: Ryusuke Taguchi

Quarterfinals match #4: Will Ospreay vs. Matt Sydal

John Carroll: The all-gaijin affair sees the reigning Best of the Super Jr. winner Ospreay up against “ROH representative” Matt Sydal. Yes, it is indeed funny seeing a guy who has been on like every other NJPW tour this year listed as an outside rep for another company, but anyway. This match should be quite good, filled with flips and ranas and such. It would surprise me heavily to see Sydal win this, as I think Ospreay is pretty much a lock to at least go to the finals, but I guess stranger things have happened. Prediction: Will Ospreay

Dylan: So I forgot this match was on the card. Needless to say, I’m not a fan of Will Ospreay. In fact, I may be one of the biggest detractors he has because the guy just does not connect with me. Sydal is a little better, but he’s a guy where I can watch his matches when they come on, but I don’t go out of my way to look for them, and he otherwise doesn’t leave much of an impression on me. Will Ospreay is also hurt. He’s stated in a shoot interview recently that he has back problems and a damaged shoulder, he had a knee injury during BOSJ, and he’s just plain tired. He’s held together with duct tape, the hopes of the Britwres community that he can keep pulling through to the next challenge, and his own stubborn unwillingness to take the break that his body so desperately needs to heal from the punishment that he puts it through. That being said, I don’t really know who’s going to win this match. I tried to flip a coin to pick a winner, but the coin rolled away under my desk, proving it is more done with this than me. Let’s go with Sydal and pray that Ospreay takes a nap before he has to retire before the age of thirty. Prediction: Matt Sydal

Kelly Harrass: This will be the first of two battles with his past for Ospreay. When he was first making his name outside of the U.K., one of Ospreay’s most notable feuds was with the man he meets in the quarter finals, Matt Sydal. While Ospreay could take the loss because of his recent injuries, the better story is in Ospreay winning. I have no doubt that these two will put on a great show as long as Ospreay’s health holds up. Sydal is a great, great wrestler, but it isn’t his place to win here. Prediction: Will Ospreay

Rich Kraetsch: Pinch me… is this match really in the quarterfinals of the Super J Cup?! I’d be content with this as a Finals, to get it as a quarterfinal is an absolute treat. Sydal hasn’t had many chances in NJPW to spread his wings and show his immense talent on a singles level, this is his chance. It doesn’t hurt that his dance partner is arguably the most dynamic pro wrestling in the world today, Will Ospreay. Sydal has zero chance of winning this match but I know full well I’ll be jumping out of my chair at every near fall, spectacular move and death-defying leap. This has Match of the Night written all over it. Prediction: Will Ospreay

Titan, Caristico, & Volador Jr. vs. Gran Guerrero, Euforia, & Ultimo Guerrero

John Carroll: I know several of these men! Look, I’m definitely not a lucha expert by any stretch, so I’m afraid I don’t have much to say about this one. I’m sure it will be fun and Tokyo will eat it up, just like they generally do for anything Fantasticamania. And when you have no real idea what’s going to happen, never a bad idea to just pick the babyfaces to win. Prediction: Titan, Caristico, & Volador Jr.

Dylan: I skim around through CMLL to watch a handful of guys that I really enjoy, and some of them are actually in this match, so that’s fun. Everyone in this match is pretty good at what they do and this is a great way to break up the tournament matches, and I’m sure the crowd is going to love it because they like the lucha style a lot. And it’s not that often they get to see these guys since they’re used to them just coming in for Fantasticamania and one of them maybe during a tournament or two. It’s great that they’re here, I have no idea what’s going on in CMLL, so I’ll pick Volador’s team because he’s my favorite out of this group. Prediction: Titan, Caristico, & Volador Jr.

Kelly Harrass: Outside of when New Japan brings in the CMLL guys, I don’t really follow Lucha. That being said, I’m psyched for this one! Hopefully these guys will go all out and the crowd will go nuts. I’ll go with the team that has the most guys I know on it for my prediction. Prediction: Titan, Caristico, & Volador Jr.

Rich Kraetsch: Look, I know who all these guys are but trying to get an expert opinion on the world of Lucha, particularly CMLL from any of us regulars at Voices of Wrestling is usually not a great idea… so instead of having me fumble through some vague references to each guy, I enlisted the help’s thecubsfan to preview this match, enjoy:

Thecubsfan: CMLL’s trios contribution to Super J final should be 10 minutes of fast-paced lucha. Los Guerreros are the right opponents to take the loss to the spectacular flying of Volador and Titan, but it’s their partner Caristico who’s worth watching. This will be the first appearance of the 63rd IWRG Junior Heavyweight Champion since the initial FantasticaMania, where he was the centerpiece of the CMLL/NJPW relationship. It’s a tremendously different junior division today, but Caristico remains popular in Japan and there’s a chance this is more than a one-off appearance. Prediction: Caristico, Volador, Titan

Semi-Finals Match #1
Winner Match #1 vs. Winner Match #2

John Carroll: I have this as Liger vs. Kenoh, and assuming that is indeed the semifinal I think it’s pretty clear Kenoh goes over here, continuing his very strong night after having beaten the reigning IWGP Jr. Champion in the quarterfinals. Liger will probably be an uber-babyface to this crowd if he’s in the semis with a chance to advance to his third J Cup final (he won the tournament in 1995 & 2000, defeating Gedo & CIMA respectively), and I would expect Kenoh to really heel it up in response, which would make this a very memorable, heat-filled semifinal. Prediction: Kenoh

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Dylan: My predictions led this to being Liger vs. KUSHIDA, and to me that means that KUSHIDA is going to go over Liger. They had a match earlier this year that I cherry picked off of that show to watch and it was very enjoyable as KUSHIDA showed himself as the one to take over the ace role from Liger. But they did agree that they wanted to have another match with each other, and this would be a great place to have it as Liger has won this entire tournament twice before. If this was fantasy booking, I’d honestly have given Liger the third win, but that’s only because I love him dearly. As it is, KUSHIDA will go over him to prove that he really is officially the better man for the job. Prediction: KUSHIDA

Kelly Harrass: I’ve got Taichi vs. Kenoh for this one in a NOAH showcase. Kenoh won’t fall for the grimey heel tactics of Taichi because Kenoh can be pretty grimey himself. Where Liger went wrong by not having backup to neutralize El Desperado, Kenoh will have Ohara by his side with kendo stick in hand. After a hard match in the quarter finals, Kenoh has an easier road this time around. There’s no way Taichi wins this match. Prediction: Kenoh

Rich Kraetsch: Did I book a Taichi vs. Kenoh semifinal match? I don’t want to live in a world where Taichi has a chance at winning the Cup. Seriously, though, I’m too hard on Taichi. He’s…fine. He won’t drag a match that has the potential to be great down (just as he’s not likely to bring a match up). Kenoh is more than capable of having a good match with Taichi so let’s keep our fingers crossed. More than that, I’m praying for a Kenoh victory. I’m not sure I want to live in a world where Taichi is in the Super J Cup finals. Prediction: Kenoh

Semi-Finals Match #2
Winner Match #3 vs. Winner Match #4

John Carroll: Here I have Kanemaru vs. Ospreay, and I’ll go with Ospreay picking up the win to move on to the finals. It would set up a possible GHC Jr. Title match if they want to go in that direction in the future (which would also give them the chance to stall Ospreay-KUSHIDA III some more…), prevent Kanemaru from going to the finals (phew), and give Ospreay the chance to follow up his BOSJ win with a Super J Cup win as well. The match itself probably will be just OK- it’s got Kanemaru in it and Ospreay will probably be saving himself for the finals at this point, plus I have it following a super-heated Kenoh-Liger match that would probably be a tough act to top- but they can’t all be classics. Prediction: Will Ospreay

Dylan: So this is Taguchi vs. Sydal and I wished I’d come up with something more creative because I’ve already seen this match but here we are. I’m sure it’ll be a great match between the two of them as Sydal tends to be a hard worker and Taguchi is fantastic when he decides he wants to be. I don’t really know what to say other than that. We’ve seen it happen before, so probably expect what you saw then and hope they can one-up that match because there’s no point in having rematches unless you can prove that you’ve learned more about your opponent and about yourself in the process. That got fake deep, but you get the point. Prediction: Taguchi

Kelly Harrass: I’ve got Will Ospreay taking on Ryusuke Taguchi in Ospreay’s second battle with his past. Last round, Ospreay defeated his former rival. This time he has to face the man that he bested to become the winner of this year’s BOSJ tournament. We’ll get serious Taguchi here and he’ll want to avenge his loss to Ospreay. What makes this match really hard to predict is if Ospreay is able to have three matches in one night in his current state. Ideally, I would say that Ospreay bests Taguchi yet again and moved onto the finals. If his health is a concern, Taguchi could win and as we saw in the BOSJ finals, he could deliver another fitting end to this tournament. Prediction: Will Ospreay

Rich Kraetsch: I booked a Best of the Super Juniors final rematch with Taguchi taking on Ospreay. It’s unimaginative and you could argue that Kanemaru should win given he holds a title in NOAH. But, we always tend to forget how much Taguchi is protected in this company. We may laugh at him, think he’s a complete joke and some of us don’t enjoy his work but he’s a big deal to them. A few months ago he was arguably the second biggest star of the Best of the Super Juniors tournament. Yes, we’ve seen Ospreay/Taguchi before but the first one was pretty great, why not do it again? I have Ospreay in a mortal lock moving onto the finals regardless of his eventual opponent. Prediction: Will Ospreay

GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship
Atsushi Kotoge & Daisuke Harada (c) vs. ACH & Taiji Ishimori

John Carroll: I’m as excited for this one as I am for anything else on the show. ACH & Ishimori were a pretty fun team in the couple of matches I saw them in together, and they’re challenging a perennially underrated tag team that probably has a pretty strong argument for Tag Team of the Year so far. Given where they are here, third-from-the-top on a big show, I expect both teams to pull out all the stops and put on a fantastic match. Don’t see a title change happening though. Prediction: Momo no Seishun Tag

Dylan: I want a title change here more than I can really put into words. Momo are fantastic, and I love them, but there’s really no one else in the division to beat them right now and as fun as the Kenohara feud has been, I really want some kind of change in the division. Taiji and ACH have been one of the most exciting, fun, high-flying teams in wrestling today and they’ve gotten two wins over the champions so far because of the tag tournament in NOAH. Pray for them to get a third win and bring something a little fresh and a little new to NOAH in the process. Prediction: Taiji Ishimori & ACH

Kelly Harrass: I haven’t had the opportunity to check out any of the NOAH Jr. Tag League yet, but I loved the team of ACH and Ishimori since it was first announced. Momo no Seishun Tag has had a great run as the tag champs and their matches have consistently been the best stuff on NOAH shows. That being said, I think it’s time for their reign to end. I loved when Kenoh and Ohara won the belts and was actively upset when they lost them back so soon. I’d be lying if I said that didn’t affect my decision on who I want to win. The ACH/Ishimori team is fresh and I have no doubt that they’re awesome together. This match has a very good chance to be the best match of the whole show. I’m so excited for this one! Prediction: Taiji Ishimori & ACH

Rich Kraetsch: How great is this matchup? One of America’s premier high-fliers ACH teaming with one of Japan’s premiere juniors Taiji Ishimori, winners of the NOAH Jr. Tag League facing perhaps the best junior tag team in the world in Momo no Seishun Tag. The juniors have been one of the lone bright spots in Pro Wrestling NOAH over the last year but despite that, there’s a staleness in their tag division. No, I’m not complaining that Momo no Seishun Tag and Kenoh/Ohara faced off numerous times throughout the year—it was great almost every time—but NOAH could really use another junior tag team in their title picture. All signs point to Ishimori and ACH pulling off the big win and adding another wrinkle to NOAH’s crown jewel division. Prediction: Taiji Ishimori & ACH

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship
The Young Bucks (c) vs. Motor City Machine Guns

John Carroll: The other junior heavyweight tag title match is interesting too, in a “whoa, did we all take a trip back to 2009” kind of way. I think we all kind of know not to bet against the Young Bucks delivering in a big match by this point, so I wouldn’t expect them to have any trouble following what will likely be a great match as well. The crowd heat should be a little better than you might expect for two gaijin teams anyway, simply because the Bucks are well known by now and Alex Shelley had a long run in NJPW as one-half of the Timesplitters. I have the Machine Guns picking up the win and the titles, because A) the IWGP Jr. Tag Titles change hands all the damn time, B) it would give the Machine Guns an excuse to come back to Japan and defend them, & C) it would probably make ROH happy, with two of their top teams trading New Japan’s belts for a little while. Prediction: Motor City Machine Guns

Dylan: I’m sure everyone will enjoy the match, but yet again, this is not one of those matches that is my cup of tea. I don’t enjoy the Young Bucks and I haven’t been able to for a long time because their act got old and they haven’t really done anything fresh and exciting in a long time other than changing up how they want to cheat in their matches or which of the Bullet Club members they want to involve in their finishes. I’ve gotten to the point with these titles that I don’t really even remember who holds them at any point in time— I had honestly forgotten the Young Bucks had them until I saw a graphic on Twitter with them holding the belts— and I don’t really care who does, because they never hold them for long, and it usually doesn’t end up meaning very much in the grand scheme of things. Let’s say MCMG because why not? Prediction: Motor City Machine Guns

Kelly Harrass: This is the kind of match that I see on paper and I start to giggle in anticipation. I love both of these teams and I love them even more when they’re given a chance to shine. This is a junior tag match in the semi-main spot that’s not some crazy three or four way match. This is a huge rarity in New Japan and I fully expect that these two team know what kind of awesome opportunity this is. It’s weird to say, but in this match, the belts are secondary to the match itself. The IWGP Junior Tag Titles get bounced around so much that they’re just an excuse to have a match at this point instead of an honorable title to fight over. Who wins this is irrelevant, we know that they’re going to put on an awesome show and I can’t wait. The titles change all the time, so why not here too? Prediction: Motor City Machine Guns

Rich Kraetsch: Without a doubt my most anticipated match of the entire weekend. (I’m being serious, by the way). The Motor City Machine Guns are among my favorite tag teams ever and to see them reunite, on a Super J Cup event, against The Young Bucks has all the makings of an all-time special match. The Bucks have bored me in New Japan this year by almost no fault of their own. They’ve simply been there so long and faced any and all challenges—many times in the same overbooked, bloated multi-man IWGP Junior Tag match. This match presents an entirely different dynamic in that it’s a fresh matchup, against a team that’s reuniting after some years apart and it’s one-on-one… what’s not to love? I’m expecting a more serious Bucks team, a great match and a mild upset with the MCMG winning the titles in their return. Prediction: Motor City Machine Guns

Super J Cup Finals Match

John Carroll: If I’ve been right so far (which, granted, is certainly a big if) this would be Kenoh vs. Will Ospreay, which would honestly be one hell of a J Cup final. It would be a bit unexpected on one side and not at all unexpected on the other, which seems right to me, having one guy who was expected to be here and one who really wasn’t. My winner of the J Cup would be Ospreay, and I’ll tell you why- first of all, he gets the bragging rights of being J Cup & BOSJ winner in the same year. Secondly, under my scenario Kenoh has already had such a fantastic night (with wins over KUSHIDA & Liger) that he doesn’t even need the tournament win; people will still remember his big victories, especially if you follow up on them. Finally, you have some big matches coming out of this and can stall on giving us KUSHIDA-Ospreay again until the January 4th Dome show; KUSHIDA can defend the IWGP Jr. Title against Kenoh, while Ospreay can challenge Kanemaru for the GHC Jr. Title, both based off the results from earlier in the night. Anyway, it all makes a lot of sense, so watch absolutely none of it happen. Enjoy your Taichi-Kanemaru final, everybody! Prediction: Will Ospreay

Dylan: So I have this match as being KUSHIDA-Taguchi which is honestly all right with me, the two of them have done nothing but put on great matches together and this match means more than any other match you could put together on this card because Taguchi is the man KUSHIDA hasn’t been able to beat. It was something I thought about a lot during BOSJ. KUSHIDA has to beat Taguchi, he just has to. He’s here to prove himself as the junior ace, and the way to do that is to beat the man who ended his first reign and really cement that he’s the best. And even though the J Cup is an international tournament with a ton of different wrestlers in it and it doesn’t seem like New Japan would throw this very NJPW-centric storyline right into the forefront of everything, that is precisely a New Japan thing to do, and hey, the match will rule and KUSHIDA will look like a badass in the process, the way that he should have been able to the first time. Prediction: KUSHIDA

Kelly Harrass: If I’ve been right so far, the finals will be Kenoh vs. Will Ospreay. This match doesn’t have the history of the past two matches for Ospreay. This new challenger is an unknown quantity to Ospreay and what he doesn’t know might hurt him. Kenoh is a dangerous opponent to say the least. Having Ohara by his side makes him an even greater threat. Young Will has to step up and fight through the pain of two prior matches to find victory here. I predict that Kenoh will put in a valiant effort, maybe even sending Ohara to the back so he can decide this match on his own. Try as he might to win, Kenoh will fall to the ever rising star. Ospreay is destined to win this tournament and Kenoh is the last roadblock he’ll have to burst his way through. Even in loss, Kenoh will gain from being in this match. Ospreay may go home with the trophy, but Kenoh could be the breakout star of the tournament. Prediction: Will Ospreay

Rich Kraetsch: Did I really book a Kenoh vs. Will Ospreay Super J Cup Final? Not the sexiest final matchup but on paper, what a match. The goal of this tournament, in my mind, is to continue the ascension of Will Ospreay. Winning Best of the Super Juniors and the Super J Cup in a single calendar year is a tremendous accomplishment and one worthy of someone at Ospreay’s level. He still can’t top KUSHIDA, so he still has something to reach for but why not have him sweep the year? If he’s your guy, give him everything you can. Could Kenoh pull off the upset? It’s possible but not likely. The way I booked him, he’ll get a title match against KUSHIDA by virtue of beating him earlier in the tournament, he won’t need the overall win. Regardless of what path you take with the top end of the bracket, Will Ospreay is winning the Super J Cup and adding yet another page to his storybook year. Prediction: Will Ospreay