As per tradition for New Japan Pro Wrestling, the first major show after the New Japan Cup is Sakura Genesis. Due to various circumstances, this will be the first time the major show has run since 2018. Although the card is shorter, with fewer titles on the line, the stakes are just as high.
With a majority of multi-man matches, New Japan is building on storylines stemming from the New Japan Cup. On top of that, there is the big match crowning the first-ever IWGP World Heavyweight Champion in a match between Kota Ibushi and New Japan Cup winner Will Ospreay.
With so much going on, here is a look at the card for New Japan’s 2021 Sakura Genesis show.
Match One – Suzuki Gun v Bullet Club
In the words of Beauty and the Beast, the rivalry between Suzuki Gun and Bullet Club can only be described as ‘a tale as old as time’. As the top two heel factions in the company, there always seems to be some animosity. Like always, there is something more to just faction animosity. This time, it is the IWGP Heavyweight tag titles.
After the Guerrillas of Destiny retained their tag titles against TAICHI and Zack Sabre Jr via disqualification, it seems as if the duo is not ready to let go of the titles. After an unsuccessful run in the New Japan Cup, their next target ‘saving’ the tag division. With such a diverse style between the four men, and their willingness to break the rules, anything is possible. If that was enough, fans will get to see the feud of the century in the form of DOUKI v Jado.
Whether the Guerrillas of Destiny will accept the offer for a rematch is one question. It seems as if the titles are once again being fought for by the same two teams. However, it will be interesting to see them wrestle again and whether it is enough to inspire other teams to have a shot.
Match Two – CHAOS v Bullet Club
If Bullet Club has a long-standing feud with Suzuki Gun, their relationship with CHAOS is full of deep hatred. Within this match, there are countless rivalries between the various members. There is the battle for the NEVER 6-man titles, the King of Pro Wrestling trophy and YOSHI HASHI’s staff. With so many men in the ring, anything is possible.
From the outset, it is hard to deny that this match is full of talent. The five CHAOS members have so much experience and a range of wrestling styles from hard-hitting, athletic and full of heart. Even Bullet Club has the likes of KENTA and Ishimori, who can easily put on stand-out matches. It’s only the antics of the other members which overshadow the talent in the faction.
The match could go in many ways. Bullet Club could utilise their rule-breaking and find a way to beat the CHAOS team by any means. On the other hand, the CHAOS team could either fight through adversity to win clean or take inspiration from Yano to get the pin at any cost.
Match Three – Los Ingobernables de Japon v The Empire
Although there has been no clear feud set between the members of LIJ and The Empire, this match could have huge implications for the future. Although all the men are extremely talented, that will not be the focus for the fans. The biggest thing in this match the prospect of finding out who the newest member of the Empire is.
Within the match, there are five men who all had very different experiences in the New Japan Cup. Naito broke brackets losing in the first round, Cobb and O-Khan fell in round two and SANADA just missed out on a place in the semi-finals. Only Shingo succeeded in the tournament, to an extent. Even he will feel annoyed at getting so close to winning but losing out at the last moment.
At the end of the day, all eyes will be on The Empire. After fans were shocked when Jeff Cobb showed his allegiance to the Empire, it proved that anyone could be a possible prospect for the rising faction. The identity of the new member could prove to be more important in the long run.