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Chaos squad of Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii, and YOSHI-HASHI win the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship

It’s been four nights in Korakuen Hall, and now New Japan has new NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Champions!

The tournament finals came down to a battle of the Chaos teams with Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii, and YOSHI-HASHI prevailing over Kazuchika Okada, SHO, and Toru Yano, but it’s no hard feelings in the Chaos camp, as after SHO succumbed to Ishii’s vertical drop brainbuster, the losers were good sports and put the belts around their stablemates’ waists, including Tacos getting the honor of being crowned by the Rainmaker himself!

Chaos pose with the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship New Japan Pro Wrestling

It’s a reasonable choice on New Japan’s part— reset the trios belts, often neglected for long stretches of time and then hot potatoed again and again, by putting them in the hands of two steady hands and a YOSHI-HASHI who is hungry to grow his legacy with his first-ever title victory. It creates a natural story for the title without requiring too much effort or attention needing to be paid to it to make it work.

But that’s not the only tournament NJPW is running right now, as New Japan Cup USA’s first round is in the can! Let’s look at the bracket, shall we?

Semifinal bracket for New Japan Cup USA New Japan Pro Wrestling

So that gives us KENTA vs. Jeff Cobb and David Finlay vs. Tama Tonga for our semifinals. Not results that are hugely shocking, and I might have preferred Brody King advancing, but this should give us two semfinals that are quite satsifying, and any finals combination is probably pretty good. The curious part of me kinda wants it to be KENTA vs. Tama Tonga in the finals, just because Bullet Club vs. Bullet Club tournament matches are always interesting, but I’m betting on KENTA vs. Finlay, personally.

Back to the mothership, the KOPW 2020 tournament is starting to take shape. Nothing has as yet been confirmed an announced by New Japan, but the challenges are flying! Kazuchika Okada has called Yujiro Takahashi out for his opponent, and built himself a hard row to hoe already, suggesting that his choice for stipulation will be a one-on-three handicap match to bake Bullet Club’s version of That Damned Numbers Game right into the match. Yujiro, for his part, has suggested a lumberjack match wherein all the lumberjacks are armed with leather belts to beat the competitors up with, so either way this one isn’t likely to be a classic, but was it ever going to be?

Plus Satoshi Kojima and El Desperado are circling each other, with Despy suggesting a match in which only finishing maneuvers are legal, which is... a choice, for sure. Such a choice, in fact, that when Kojima seemed to approve of that stipulation, Desperado turned himself around and insisted that he’s actually pitching a match in which finishers are not allowed, which seems to set the fan vote right up between those two options, and they both allow for some creativity, although I think the window for “finishers only” to be anything but a squash or completely absurd is rather smaller.

Plus, the card for Summer Struggle in Jingu is heating up, with IWGP Tag Team Champions, Suzuki-gun’s Taichi and Zack Sabre, Jr., accepting Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kota Ibushi’s challenge to a rematch for the tag titles. And, more excitingly for my money, Minoru Suzuki is calling for Shingo Takagi to defend the NEVER Openweight Championship against him, which should be a dose of good friendly violent fun for us all.

There you have it, folks

D’you like your new NEVER champs, Cagesiders? What about the rest of New Japan’s new developments?

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