JKJ & Thirteen|10 are back with your New Japan royal Quest preview! What will happen when Strong Style returns to the UK?
Three years ago I was introduced to NJPW and a huge thanks must go out to Kenny Omega & Kazuchika Okada.
The Epic clashes between Okada & Omega most notably at Wrestle Kingdom 11 & Dominion that same year were then headed up by Omega winning the gold at Dominion 2018! What a roller-coaster ride of a feud that proved to be.
My subscription to NJPWorld began in October 2017 when Chris Jericho debuted during World Tag League and brutally assaulted Kenny Omega, therefore announcing “Alpha Club” which led to a Match of the year candidate at WrestleKingdom 12, this was a feud that led to thousands of more people attending the Tokyo dome and subscribing to this awesome content.
Fast forward 2 years and here I am, Royal Quest ticket in hand, London weekend all planned and with only the headache of not knowing what merchandise to wear or even buy on the day, oh life’s problems!
I cannot wait to be amongst the thousand of NJPW fans at the Copper Box arena screaming “Kaze Ni Nare” during Minoru Suzuki’s entrance before he challenges “Rainmaker” for the IWGP Heavyweight championship or even shouting “Destinooooo” just like Kevin Kelly so often delivers with utter perfection.
This brings me to this blog, or for this instance, fantasy writing. The Card is stacked. Four title matches is going to whet the appetite for us UK fans who have never experienced NJPW and I can assure you that we are going to want so much more every year. Will NJPW make Royal Quest an annual show? if we fill the copper box and make enough noise then surely we cannot be ignored in the future!
How very exciting…….
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Match 1: Shota Umino, Ren Narita & Rasuke Taguchi vs Roppongi 3K
What interests me here is the Shota Umino story, will he show any slight heel persona to his partners for this match? Will the Jon Moxley attitude slowly rub off? I sure do hope so. I want to see Shota completely layout Ren Narita after defeat in this opening match, I fully expect Shota to leave Ren laying motionless and as Taguchi steps in he attacks their mentor. Shota & Ren are fantastic Young Lions and a mini-story feud throughout the pending Destruction tour will be welcome viewing for us all.
Match 2: Kota Ibushi & Juice Robinson vs Bullet Club (Hikuleo & Yujiro Takahashi)
Kota Ibushi is on the road to WrestleKingdom and at some point will be required to defend his Briefcase/contract, Juice, on the other hand, is waiting for the now-injured IWGP US Champion Jon Moxley to return for the no DQ title match. I see this as a showcase for Ibushi & Juice to get a fairly straight forward win here. Keep an eye on Hikuleo who has been performing in the UK for around 4-5 weeks and would have grown a fan base here. Nothing more and nothing less than exposure for a few fan favorites here!
Match 3: Will Ospreay & Robbie Eagles vs Bullet Club (El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori)
This could be a potential show-stealer, there are so many great stories that could come from this and we could easily see these exact 4 showcase their abilities again at WrestleKingdom in January. Will is destined to now (Spoiler Alert) face Super J Cup winner ELP after his tournament win. Robbie Eagles is slowly making a name for himself since breaking away from BC and Taiji Ishimori will always be in the frame for a future Jr Heavyweight title match. I can see Bullet Club picking up the win with ELP pinning Ospreay again, yes again, thus setting up a title match on the destruction tour. Eagles will impressive so keep an eye on the sniper of the skies!
Match 4: LIJ (Tetsuya Naito & SANADA) vs Bullet Club (Jay White & Chase Owens)
Oh man, I love Chase Owens, all-round great guy, and fantastic worker but he really is here to take the pin isn’t he?! Naito & White have an IC title match scheduled for Destruction and they will brawl and beat the living hell out of each other. I can see SANADA (who will be extremely popular) making Chase Tap out with Skull end.
Time to pick up a new Chairshot shirt!
All this action so far and we are now about to hit the title matches! What a memorable night this is going to be!
Match 5: IWGP Heavyweight Tag Titles: GOD (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) (c) vs ????
So, The challengers will be determined at RevPro Summer Sizzler on Friday night as Josh Bodom & Sha Samuels (#EAST) take on Aussie Open, Kyle Fletcher & Dunkzilla Mark Davis. I have to go with Aussie Open becoming the challengers, is this a way for them to get one hell of a crowd pop by winning the Tag Titles in a country that they have made their own?!
Aussie Open WILL win the IWGP tag titles to make this a memorable night, they can also defend and perform in Revpro and will, in my opinion, enter NJPW World Tag League in October. This will be a fun back and forth match but will be the first huge pop of the night!
Match 6: Never Openweight Championship: Tomohiro Ishii (c) vs Kenta
Kenta is Bullet Club, Kenta, despite a few defeats in the G1, looks great and has fitted perfectly into his heel Bullet Club role. But…..”The Wrestler” Katsuyori Shibata will be in town and I fully expect Shibata to get revenge for his recent beatdown, thus costing Kenta the title. This is going to be a hard-hitting affair and as a huge Ishii fan since his G1 match and win over Kenny Omega in 2018 I cannot wait to be sat on the edge of my seat listening for the chops and kicks in this one. Ishii retains!
Match 7: Rev Pro British Heavyweight Championship: Zask Sabre Jr (c) vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
Well, well, well, what do we here?! One of the finest British wrestlers that we have ever seen is facing one of NJPWs greatest EVER! Could Zack really lose on home soil? Will Tana travel back and forth to the UK to make defenses? Perhaps Not so I am booking ZSJ to roll up the challenger and continue his personal dominance of the gold strap. Nothing that we haven’t seen before here other than a potential MOTY “wrestling” match. I cannot wait!
Match 8 (Main Event): IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada (c) vs Minoru Suzuki
We have had time limit draws in the rain with these 2 before so lucky the roof will be intact at the Copperbox arena on Saturday but expect the roof to blow off not once, but twice. The “KAZA NI NARE” entrance from the King is going to be goosebump worthy for me and everyone else in attendance but this will only be the first. Suzuki will kick out of Rainmaker, he will go on to reverse the Rainmaker attempt and the hit that gotch style piledriver to win yes WIN the IWGP Heavyweight title in a country that he is adored! This moment is what will separate this show from any other in the UK this year!
All I can say is let’s make some serious noise, share our appreciation and welcome them back next year for another Royal Quest.
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Thanks again for taking the time to read this preview, it means the world that you take the time out of your busy schedules to read another fans thoughts on upcoming shows but please remember to interact with me on the socials, let me know your thoughts on all the above and so much more.