I'm going to be lazy and cross-post...

...from something I did over at In This Very Ring. New Japan is doing a big Tokyo Dome show on 1/4/04, which will incorporate everyone on their active roster who isn't injured. I was asked for my predictions, and thus, here they are (last time I did this was Strong Style Spirit's G-1 Climax prediction competition, and I was one of like 10 people out of 120 who predicted the semifinals and finals correctly, almost right down to the finishing moves).

Dark matches:

1. Naofumi Yamamoto vs. Hirooki Goto

This it the Young Lions match between the losers of the competition they held on some midnight special they just had. Actually, Hirooki Goto beat Akiya Anzawa, but the two places in the Young Lions match that will make TV were decided by phone-in vote, and Anzawa's brave display (he lasted almost 7 minutes for the first time in his career) got him in. Meanwhile, I follow NJPW's results religiously, and Goto is quite far ahead of Yamamoto, it seems. Goto wins in 6 minutes with a crab hold.

2. El Samurai vs. Katsushi Takemura

For some reason, Takemura isn't coming to mind....checking SSS now...ohhhh...right...he's the guy that's hanging out with Jado and Gedo these days. They were pushed to somewhat of a ridiculous level lately, but that push has hit a wall...Jado lost the IWGP Junior Heavyweight belt convincingly to Heat, for example. Sammy wins in 6-8 minutes with the chickenwing armlock.

3. Enson Inoue, Hiro Saito, Tatsutoshi Goto & Michiyoshi Ohara vs. Makai #1, Makai #5, Ryushi Yanagisawa & Ryota Chikuzen

The Old Guys and Other Guys match. Enson's presence is the only thing that separates these teams, really. It goes around 10, and Enson wins with a front sleeper or some such thing.

4. Blue Wolf & Wataru Inoue vs. Shinya Makabe & Toru Yano

Openweight U-30 match here. Toru Yano is well behind everyone else win/loss-wise, so despite his partner getting somewhat of a push lately, Wolf sinks him with a Mongol Slam in 7 minutes.

5. Masayuki Naruse vs. Tadao Yasuda

The last of the dark matches, and by far the most interesting one. They're doing a "Heavyweight Hunter" gimmick with Naruse the last few weeks...but, Yasuda is going to cheat like mad, and probably have one of the Makai Club guys interfere. This'll go around 12-15, and Naruse is going to get a few real close falls with the Crazy Cyclone, but Yasuda will cheat, then Tiger Driver him for the duke.

Televised Matches

6. Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Akiya Anzawa

Taguchi is WAY ahead of Anzawa. He'll coast to victory in 4-5 minutes with a dropkick (Hey Ryusuke, get a real fucking finisher, will you please?)

7. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Title: Jado & Gedo (c) vs. Heat & Tiger Mask

New Japan is realizing their mistake with these guys....halfway decent tag team, but not worthy of all the junior belts. Heat and Tiger Mask 4 flip them like cheese omeletes, Tiger pinning Jado in 5 minutes with the Tiger Suplex Hold.

8. GHC Jr. Heavyweight Title: Takashi Sugiura (c) vs. Jushin Thunder Liger

This is the hardest one to predict so far. NOAH has already lost the GHC Tag Team titles to New Japan opposition, so in one respect, I can't see them handing over their junior belt too. However, only a moron bets against Liger in a title match...the guy ALWAYS seems to win them. But, Liger has never won this title, and I'm sure backstage-wise, he'll be pressuring NJPW to pull strings to get him to wni it. Also, Suguira beat Liger clean as a sheet in the BOSJ, so Liger brainbusters him for the title in 12 minutes or so.

9. U-30 Openweight Title: Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs. Yutaka Yoshie

I think this one may be the easiest to call for the entire night, outside of Anzawa's match. Tanahashi does not need the title anymore, and Yoshie probably needs it right now, as he's about to turn 30. This'll probably get 16-17 or so, with Yoshie coming off the top with the big splash for the title.

10. Josh Barnett & Takashi Iizuka vs. Kazunari Murakami & Katsuyori Shibata

This'll be a wild bloodbath, most likely. Iizuka's been losing a lot of matches lately, but I can't see the Strongest Foreigner's team losing at the Dome. Barnett gets one or the other with the Captured Buster in 6 minutes.

11. Osamu Nishimura vs. Minoru Suzuki

The Pancrase star hasn't lost in NJPW in an age and a half, but I think they're about set to push Mr. Muga...he's already won the Tag Titles with Hiroyoshi Tenzan, and something tells me that Suzuki will fall to the dreaded backslide in 9-12 minutes.

12. Manabu Nakanishi vs. Genichiro Tenryu

Nakanishi's in a pretty bad run of form for him, and Tenryu isn't going to come in to lose this one, I think. Tenryu in 11 with the 53 Years Old.

13. Yuji Nagata vs. Kensuke Sasaki

Sasaki supposedly has a lot of heat with NJPW types for the way he left the company for the now-doomed World Japan...so, what better way to capitalize that then give him a big win at the Dome, and cash in on a perfect natural heel? Sasaki wins in 20 mintues with two consecutive Northern Lights Bombs.

14. Masahiro Chono Return Match: Masahiro Chono & Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Keiji Muto & Bob Sapp

This is so going to suck, I bet. Most people tend to lose in return matches, even if they don't get pinned themselves. Tenzan is coming off a bad IWGP Heavyweight title loss to Nakamura, so Muto gets him with the Shining Wizard off of Sapp's back.

15. Unification Match - IWGP Heavyweight Title & NWF Heavyweight Title: Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs. Yoshihiro Takayama (c)

Takayama has had one of the better win-loss records in all of Japan in 2003, but, I think NJPW is really starting to realize what they have with this Nakamura guy (who I'd love to see wrestle sooner or later). In 27 minutes, Nakamura locks in the Shining Triangle for the tapout and both titles.


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