A few weeks ago I wrote an article looking at New Japan Pro Wrestling’s  upcoming tour on the American east coast. The event will take place the weekend of May 13th-15th and will feature a tournament that will crown NJPW’s first ever Intercontinental champion. In the first article only one match had been announced for each of the three shows, and the line up for the IC tournament hadn’t been announced, but now with only one week away to go a majority of the cards have been revealed. Let’s take a look
Friday 5/13/11 in Rahway, New Jersey at the Rec Center
*The Strong Style Thugz, Homicide and Low Ki vs. Jushin Thunder Liger & Tiger Mask IV.
*IWGP champion Hiroshi Tanahashi & Tiogi Makabe vs. Rhino & Charlie Haas.
*IWGP Intercontinental championship Tournament: MVP vs. Kazuchika Okada.
*IWGP Intercontinental championship Tournament: Dan Maff vs. Toru Yano.
*IWGP Intercontinental championship Tournament: Tama Tonga vs. Tetsuya Naito.
*IWGP Intercontinental championship Tournament: Hideo Saito vs. Yujiro Takahashi.
*Satoshi Kojima vs. Kenny Omega.
*Eight Man Tag Team Battle: IWGP Tag Team champions Giant Bernard & Karl Anderson & Prince Devitt & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Jado & Gedo & Davey Richards & Shinsuke Nakamura.
This is our first look at the complete line up for the tournament to crown the first ever New Japan Intercontinental champion. Looking at the wrestlers invovled most of them are New Japan regulars. Dan Maff is a regular for Jersey All Pro Wrestling who is co-promoting the event with New Japan. MVP is a former WWE wrestler who signed a multi-year contract with New Japan. I think  MVP is going to go far in this tournament, I think he may even win it, but I’m not sure if New Japan wants their first holder of the new title to be someone relatively new to the promotion even though he is a big name.

In the opening round we have MVP vs. Okada. I definitely see MVP winning here as Okada has been spending msot of the past year on a training excursion working for TNA and hasn’t done much there except for getting beat up alot. I see Dan Maff going over Toru Yano as Maff is one of the top names for JAPW who is co-promoting this event so I don’t see him eliminated in round one. Tama Tong is the son of WCW/WWF star Meng but is still pretty much a rookie so I see Naito getting the win. For Saito/Takahashi I’m not sure but i’m going to go with Saito.

Beside the tournament there are 3 other huge matches. The 8 man tag is stacked and should be a great match, I expect the team with the tag champs and junior heavyweight champ to get the win. Kojima vs. Omega I’m thinking Omega may get the win here to give him the rub. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Tiogi Makabe vs. Rhino & Charlie Haas is a preview of two matches for alter in the weekend. I think Haas & Rhino will get the win to hype the title match the following night. The match of the night and my guess for the main event is Homicide and Low Ki vs. Jushin Thunder Liger & Tiger Mask IV this match should be off the charts and I think Homicide & Low-Ki will pick up the win.

Night one is pretty stacked, let’s look at Night 2. We don’t know the exact bracket set up for the tournament, so I’m going to assume it’s as listed above.

Saturday 5/14/11 in New York at Basketball City
*IWGP Heavyweight champion Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Charlie Haas
*IWGP Junior Heavyweight champion Prince Devitt vs. Low Ki
*IWGP Intercontinental championship tournament Semi-Finals.
*Additional Matches to be announced.
As the tournament continues my production is Saito defeats naito to advance and MVP one ups Dan Maff in a well fought contest. We then have two title matches, but I don’t see any titles changing hands on this tour as it might take away from crowning the new champ. Haas will put on a good show but lose to Tanahashi, Devitt vs. Low-Ki should be great but again I don’t see a title change happening here so Devitt retains.

Night 3 we will see the first ever New Japan Intercontinental champion crowned, and a stacked card to go with it.

Sunday 5/14/11 in Philadelphia at the Asylum Arena
*IWGP Heavyweight champion Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Davey Richards
*South Philadelphia Street Fight: Togi Makabe vs. Rhino
*JAPW Light Heavyweight champion Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Kenny Omega.
*IWGP Junior Heavyweigh champion Prince Devitt & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Low Ki & Homicide
*IWGP Intercontinental championship tournament final.
*Additional Matches to be announced.
I’m goign to go against my previous statement of no title changes since I forgot one of JAPW titles is being defended Sunday when Liger faces Kenny Omega. I think Omega will win to get the rub and bring the title back to a JAPW regular. With it this show at the ECW arena Rhino will win his street fight. Lowki & Homicide will win their tag match when Low-Ki pins Devitt to avenge his lose the night before.  MVP is my pick to win the tournament as he is a big name that is recognizable both in Japan and the U.S. The match of the night should be Richards/Tanahashi I don’t think there is anyway in hell Richards leaves with the title as I don’t see them putting their top title on an American on a show that takes place outside of Japan unless they hot shot it off him at the next Japan show.

So far this weekend looks like a great line up of Japanese stars and well known American talent with some big name U.S. indy guys sprinkled in. I’m still not sure if I’m going to the Sunday show or not. If I do I may set something up with Rob to text live results. If I don’t go I’ll have a review of the show results sometime the following week.