Preview: NJPW New Beginning In USA Charlotte (2/1/19)

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Photo: NJPW

Many NJPW faithful and new fans alike have been very harsh about the booking for the NJPW New Beginning In USA tour for New Japan Pro Wrestling featuring too many Gaijin competitors and not enough of the bread and butter of the company. The New Beginning Tour kicks off in Sapporo on February 1 so there will be plenty of traditional NJPW action for fans on NJPW World. There were issues with NJPW management getting Visa’s for the Japanese talent, Tomohiro Ishii and several others were originally scheduled to be there for these USA events but there is still a solid card for all three nights in USA as the North American expansion continues to grow for New Japan. Many breakouts matches will take place with members of the NJPW Los Angeles Dojo on the cards. Fans will get to see a whole new glance into the future instead of cards full of rematches. The IWGP United States Championship will be on the line in the main event live from New Beginning In USA from Charlotte, North Carolina on February 1.

Karl Fredricks vs Clark Connors

Karl Fredricks debuts for NJPW after wrestling for All Pro Wrestling (APW) as the Internet champion. The Nevada native has a wide frame to take on Clark Connors. Trained by Lance Storm, this charismatic athlete from Washington has been wrestling since 2017. Connors needs more seasoning and this just the way to do it with a win in the opening match. Connors has impressed in DEFY Wrestling from Washington, he could use the win to perfect his heel persona and more importantly his in-ring performance against a bigger opponent.
Prediction: Clark Connors wins.

John Skylar & Colt Cabana vs Shane Taylor & Lance Archer

John Skylar has wrestled for Ring Of Honor Wrestling (ROH) for years and he has made several matches in WWE NXT but he has yet to appear on an NJPW card until now. Skylar has some very heavy fists but he may be better suited for a couple matches in the Junior Heavyweight division. This should be a very fun opening match with Colt Cabana involved but Cabana is sure to bring more than comedy to the dance. Cabana perhaps never thought he would wrestle for NJPW but now he can show off his massively underrated move-set that features the Chicago Skyline. Shane Taylor will use his size to wear down Cabana and Skylar and that should be enough to pick up the win. Taylor hasn’t been the force he wants to be just yet but an alliance with one of the best tag team wrestlers in the game should improve Taylor’s determination.
Prediction: Jeff Cobb and John Skylar win.

Tracer X vs The-Great-O-Kharn

Tracer X may only be twenty-six years old but he has a wealth on in-ring knowledge already and some big wins under his belt like the Style Battle tournament for WWN Live. Many don’t ever get up from the 450 Splash from Tracer X, this very well could be Tracer X making his way from North Carolina to the Juniors division is NJPW full-time. The Young Lion formerly known as Tomoyuki Oka went on an excursion to the United Kingdom for Rev Pro in 2018 as a whole new persona: The-Great-O-Kharn. This is Kharn’s big opportunity to show how far he has come beyond the gimmick, a great technical wrestler could morph into a big match performer. This is the most interesting match on the card because of the unique styles involved but it’s Kharn’s match to win in his return to NJPW.
Prediction: The-Great-O-Kharn wins.

Jeff Cobb & Jonathan Gresham vs Villain Enterprise (Brody King & “The Villain” Marty Scurll)

Jeff Cobb is the reigning ROH TV champion but NJPW is already familiar with Cobb after an unsuccessful NEVER Openweight challenge against Hirooki Goto and two back-to-back appearances in the World Tag League teaming with Michael Elgin. Cobb is due for a major match in NJPW again soon and perhaps the G1 Climax tournament this Summer will be Cobb’s s ticket to those big matches. The NJPW/ROH relationship is the most beneficial to Cobb because he can wrestle anyone and make it incredibly entertaining, Jonathan Gresham will compliment his style perfectly. Gresham is so technically proficient to go along with Cobb’s Olympic background but this team runs into a roadblock named Villain Enterprises. Marty Scurll brings his new faction to NJPW for the very first time, the dirty tactics and some new tag team combinations should propel Scurll, PCO and King to championship gold sooner rather than later. King possesses one of the most dangerous and devastating moves finishing moves in pro wrestling with the Fire Thunder Driver. Villain Enterprises will start a win streak that may lead to many more featured matches in NJPW in the future.
Prediction: Villain Enterprises win.

Alex Coughlin vs Davey Boy Smith Jr

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Alex Coughlin is a member of the New Japan Los Angeles Dojo and he last faced Clark Connors in a referee stoppage loss at Fighting Spirit Unleashed. The match was a dark match for the former WWE Tough Enough contestant. The former Leo Blackstone on the independents will have to bring his best to Davey Boy Smith Jr. The Suzuki-Gun member loves to intimidate opponents and fans but it’s Smith’s impressive strength that makes him stand out. Davey Boy Smith Jr doesn’t receive a lot of singles matches in NJPW but he has won some big matches in the past in the G1 Climax tournament. Caughlin shouldn’t make it an easy win in his first singles test.
Prediction: Davey Boy Smith Jr wins.

Lifeblood (Tracy Williams & David Finlay) vs CHAOS (Rocky Romero & Chuck Taylor)

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“Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams celebrates his 10th anniversary as a pro wrestler by making his debut for NJPW in the main event. The thirty-year-old from New York made himself known in EVOLVE Wrestling as a member of the Catch Point faction, formerly led by WWE 205 Live roster member Drew Gulak. Williams is a technician like almost no other, utilizing Crossfaces and fluid submissions like Zack Sabre Jr with a similar frame of 185 pounds. David Finlay will have his first NJPW main event teaming with Tracy Williams, Finlay showed he can hang at this level when he challenged former Young Lions rival, “Switchblade” Jay White, last year for the IWGP United States Championship. This is Rocky Romero and Chucky T’s match to win unless of course there’s a clash in personalities. Chucky T has teased he may leave the CHAOS faction for Bullet Club by arguing with Rocky Romero and Best Friends partner, Trent Baretta, mid-match during tag team encounters. It’s entirely possible Chucky T ruins this union with Rocky Romero because he only wants to team with Trent Baretta. A Stunner victory from David Finlay would sure be a stunner and a likely outcome.
Prediction: Tracy Williams and David Finlay win.

IWGP United States Championship: Juice Robinson (c) vs Trent Baretta

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Juice Robinson won back the IWGP United States Championship from Cody Rhodes at Wrestle Kingdom 13 in a match where Cody tried everything but the kitchen sink to retain against Robinson. Trent Baretta is great at just about everything in the ring, the superb athlete gets his rematch after losing to Juice Robinson at ROH Global Wars: Toronto when Robinson had to replace an injured Cody. Trent may have not been picking up singles wins very often in the past year but Trent was marred by an injury and Trent was the one to get every pinfall victory for Roppongi Vice when Baretta and Rocky Romero were the IWGP Tag Team Champions. Both wrestlers will look to perform the best match of their career being former WWE superstars in the NJPW main event with the gold on the line. Baretta has the Dude-Buster but it can’t be pulled off at any time like the champions Left Hand Of God. Robinson is always the underdog even as a champion, it will be up to the flamboyant one to get the fans on their feet before setting up Pulp Friction.
Prediction: Juice Robinson retains the IWGP United States Championship.

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