IWGP Heavyweight Championship Challenge Right Certificate
Kenny Omega vs. Hirooki Goto

Rich Kraetsch: Match quality wise, sure, this will be good, it could even be great… but why is this match happening? What in the world has Goto done to deserve this important spot? As Omega even elluded to on commentary short of walking into the ring after a match, Goto has done absolutely nothing to put him in this spot, on this show. I’ll try not to let the story ruin what could be a great match but it’s hard to ignore. You’re better than this, New Japan. Prediction: Kenny Omega

Case Lowe: Hirooki Goto is a dork, and somehow, he has worked his way into the soft spot of my heart. He’s not winning. Don’t even think about that fantasy. He’ll be in match number five on the Dome card and the world will continue to spin. This is the Kenny Omega showcase and I expect he and Goto to do amazing things, just like they did on a warm August night in this same building. Prediction: Kenny Omega

John Carroll: I was hating Goto’s G1 during the actual round-robin portion, but boy did he redeem himself with an excellent match in the finals against Omega. Kenny is of course absolutely right that Goto doesn’t deserve this shot at his briefcase, but that doesn’t mean they won’t have another really great match. He’s going to win, of course. Prediction: Kenny Omega

Matt MacLean: Goto’s in a big match, so he’s going to lose. Project Omega is full steam ahead to WK, so he will win. But if getting there comes remotely close to the G1 classic these two put on, count me in to watch and enjoy every second. Prediction: Kenny Omega

IWGP Heavyweight Championship
Kazuchika Okada © vs. Naomichi Marufuji

Rich Kraetsch: The great Okada/Marufuji G1 Climax Night 1 match may as well have been years ago. With as crazed as this year has become and how insane the last two nights of the G1 was, their match got overshadowed when in actuality, it may have been the best match (or at the very least in the conversation) to happen in a New Japan ring this year. Seriously, go back and watch it. I have reservations about how great this match will be in comparison to that for one reason: time. Marufuji excels in quicker, shorter spurt matches. As fans (or haters!) of NOAH know, when you give Marufuji 30+ minutes to ply his craft, it’s not always the most exciting or well done wrestling. Cut that in half and he thrives. We’re obviously getting more than 15 minutes with this main event so let’s keep our fingers crossed Marufuji comes to play. Look for an awesome back and forth match with stiff chops, loud kicks and good looking dropkicks. The finish? Unfortunately, it’s not really in doubt as Okada is going to win. However, part of me wants to see the NOAH/NJPW feud ramp up a bit and would love to see some interference, even slightly from the NOAH camp. Nothing too egregious but would holding Okada’s leg or trying to take slight advantage of the New Japan star really ruin the match? No way. It would however continue to shine light on NOAH and build this interpromotional feud to be more than simply a mutli-man match thrown together on a card every so often. Too long, didn’t read: Marufuji is better when matches are short, this one won’t be short so let’s hope he delivers. Can’t wait. Prediction: Kazuchika Okada

Case Lowe: Their G1 gets overlooked in hindsight because of the amazing Sumo Hall shows, but Okada vs. Marufuji from the G1 was one of the very best matches of the tournament. Okada does not disappoint in Sumo Hall. This is his building. Think about the classics he’s had in this building, and now he’s going to add another to the list with Marufuji. Marufuji isn’t winning, but I hope he sticks around in New Japan for the time being. He’s so much better here than in NOAH. NOAH just isn’t fun. Come to the fun place, Marufuji. Again, this result is pretty obvious. Okada is putting Marufuji flat on his back with a Rainmaker. All hail to the great one. Prediction: Kazuchika Okada

John Carroll: If you follow me on Twitter you know I haven’t been overly enamored with Okada’s 2016. There’s just been something missing from him this year, and it may very well be that he’s trying too hard to be the all-encompassing ace he’s booked as, feeling the pressure from the departures of other top talent. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t still been in some really great matches, though, and one of them was the Okada-Marufuji G1 match that sort of got lost in the shuffle by the end of the tournament. Marufuji is a guy that is very capable of having outstanding matches when he actually cares, and I would expect him to care an awful lot here given this crowd will likely be about the same as what NOAH draws in an entire month. This should be a really good match, and from Okada’s perspective, it kind of has to be. Prediction: Kazuchika Okada

Matt McEwen: Speaking of G1 rematches, the match between these two to kick off the G1 has been overshadowed by later matches, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t great. Okada is clearly winning to even their series, but again, a forgone conclusion of an outcome doesn’t matter when two guys capable of matches like they’ve had are in the ring. At some point, I’m sure I’ll be convinced Maru is going to take it, but he will be on the wrong end of a rainmaker eventually. Prediction: Kazuchika Okada