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    Sunday, December 13, 2020

    #CafePuro: Super J-Cup 2020 Predictions

    After an epic Best of The Super Juniors tournament, Hiromu Takahashi was about to challenge IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Taiji Ishimori to a match at Wrestle Kingdom 15. This is the norm after all—the tournament winner earns the opportunity to earn the belt after all. What was unexpected was that Hiromu says he wants to challenge the winner of the 2020 Super J-Cup.

    The 2020 BOSJ winner's declaration is the reason behind this article. Today we're talking about which participant in the Super J-Cup Hiromu could face on January 4 in the Tokyo Dome. We have the following wrestlers contending for the prestigious golden jacket:

    1. Clark Connors (NJPW-LA Dojo)

    Connors is one of the wrestlers who joined the rebooted LA Dojo of NJPW and has participated in several multi-man tags and opening matches for the company. He began his wrestling journey training under Lance Storm in Canada before joining New Japan in 2018. Connors made his debut at Fighting Spirit Unleashed in 2018 where he defeated Alex Coughlin after referee stoppage. As part of the LA Dojo, Connors has faced the likes of El Phantasmo, Rocky Romero, and even Yoshinobu Kanemaru.

    The Young Lion has gained a ton of experience over the last two years and I feel like if it wasn't for the pandemic, Connors would already be on an excursion somewhere like Impact or some other North American wrestling company.

    Clark Connors is going to face Chris Bey in the first round of the Super J-Cup and I have a feeling we will go through the traditional route for a Young Lion and see him lose. He's going to give a heck of a fight though. 

    Tournament Position: First Round Exit

    2. Chris Bey (Impact Wrestling)

    Oh boy. Impact Wrestling found a hidden gem in Chris Bey. Watch any of his matches on Impact and you'll quickly realize how smooth his transitions are from one move to the next. To see Bey at his best, you just need to watch any of his matches with Willie Mack to see how good the "Ultimate Finesser" truly is. 

    Bey is facing the Young Lion Clark Connors in the first round and I have a feeling he can go as far as the final round in the tournament. Having Bey at the final of the Super J-Cup could also be a sign that NJPW is finally willing to work with Impact full-time and we'll have rematches that we haven't seen in years. I don't think we'll see Bey win the tournament overall, but he'll show why he is the "Ultimate Finesser" and make viewers watch. 

    Tournament Position: Finalist

    3. ACH (Freelance)

    After a controversial run in WWE, ACH makes his return to New Japan. I have a good feeling we won't be seeing the ACH of old who was more of a comedy wrestler that the fans loved.

    ACH is going to be hungry for a win and he will have to go through a former Young Lion of the original LA Dojo in TJP. I have a good feeling ACH will win the match and move to the second round but he'll be stopped by Chris Bey. 

    Tournament Position: Second Round Exit

    4. TJP (Freelance)

    The former Young Lion of the Original LA Dojo has become a journeyman of sorts as he has competed in every major wrestling company in the world except AEW.

    The half-Pinoy wrestler has showcased his skills most recently on Impact and had a short run in NJPW shows prior to the pandemic taking place. 

    I don't see TJP going far with a hungry ACH who wants to prove the world wrong. TJP is probably going to lose.

    Tournament Position: First Round Exit

    5. Rey Horus (ROH)

    The high-flyer has done his fair share of bouncing between companies. Rey Horus was in the independent circuit from 2007 to 2020 with occasional full-time stints in companies such as Lucha Underground and Major League Wrestling. 

    Horus would go full-time with Ring of Honor in 2020 and win the ROH Six-Man Tag Championships with Bandido and Flamita. Horus's participation in the Super J-Cup happens because it looks like NJPW and ROH have made up after the debacle that was the ROH matches in G1 Supercard.

    Horus's interview with Kevin Kelly discusses how he has always been overlooked by many fans over the years. At the age of 36, Rey Horus is just hitting his wrestling prime and he wasn't even a wrestler first. Horus actually played baseball as a child and didn't become a wrestler until much later. 

    After defeating Blake Christian in the first round, I think he will eventually lose to the winner of ELP vs. Lio Rush. I'm sure the winner of that match will be the winner of the entire tournament.

    Tournament Position: Second Round Exit

    6. Blake Christian (GCW)

    I'll be honest. Blake Christian is another wrestler whom I'm not very familiar with. Despite the fact that he participates in NJPW Strong, he just hasn't stood out for me. I love NJPW, but I need to watch more matches before I fully judge his work. 

    I think Christian will lose in the first round simply because he's not as experienced as Rey Horus. Blake Christian still has a lot of time to develop as a wrestler and I bet we'll see more of him in the main New Japan shows one day.

    Tournament Position: First Round Exit

    7. El Phantasmo (NJPW-Bullet Club)

    The former Junior Heavyweight Tag Champion is also the defending Super J-Cup winner. El Phantasmo made his debut last year as part of the Bullet Club. He was able to become a top heel foreigner because of his attitude in and outside of the ring. 

    I have a feeling that ELP will enter as his usual overconfident and cocky self but his opponent is going to be entering NJPW with a ton of hype. When it comes to ELP, I think he will be eliminated in the first round for shock. Lio Rush is just too good to go out in the first round.

    Tournament Position: First Round Exit

    8. Lio Rush (Freelance)

    There's a reason why Lio Rush's nickname is The M.O.T.H. (Man of The Hour). Whenever you see him wrestle, you have to watch every move. You just don't know what kind of move he can pull off. Lio Rush has proven himself in nearly every major wrestling company except for New Japan. That doesn't mean Rush hasn't faced any NJPW stars before he has faced the likes of Hiromu Takahashi (as Kamataichi) in ROH and even formed a tag team with Jay White before he joined Bullet Club.

    Someone as hyped as Lio Rush isn't going down in the first round. When you have someone as good as Lio Rush, you are going to push him to the moon. I can see Lio Rush winning the 2020 Super J-Cup.

    Tournament Position: Winner

    That's it for our preview of the 2020 Super J-Cup. Who do you think will win this year's tournament? The Super J-Cup is available on NJPWWorld.com and FITE TV


    Steven Tan (@steviesaidyup) works for an e-commerce company by day and operates The Geeky Juans podcast and blog by night. He's a fan of the Anaheim Ducks hockey team, comic books, and the Moomin franchise. You can find more of his geeky thoughts on Twitter.

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    Item Reviewed: #CafePuro: Super J-Cup 2020 Predictions Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Steven Maxwell Tan
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