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NJPW Battle in the Valley 2024 Preview

6 months ago

NJPW Battle in the Valley 2024 Preview

New Japan Pro Wrestling returns to San Jose once again for Battle in the Valley 2024

By: R. Faliani

General Information

After the year began with Wrestle Kingdom, the biggest annual event in Japanese wrestling, New Japan of America looks to also start their year off strong with their first show of the year. The card features multiple inter-promotional matches between talents from NJPW, All Elite Wrestling, and the Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre. Once again, Battle in the Valley looks to be a great show by presenting one of the strongest cards top-to-bottom in the Battle in the Valley chronology to date.

This show can be streamed globally on FITE TV, and in Japan using the newly refurbished NJPW World.

Card Rundown

Shota Umino, Fred Rosser & Jacob Fatu vs. Team Filthy (Tom Lawlor, Royce Isaacs & Jorel Nelson)

In 2023, the singles match between Fred Rosser and Tom Lawlor marked the end of their rivalry in NJPW’s events in America with mutual respect. However, as a new year begins for NJPW in the US, the rivalry between Rosser and Lawlor continues. Lawlor will bring the West Coast Wrecking Crew as a backup for Team Filthy, while Rosser has put together an exciting trio consisting of Shota Umino and MLW’s Jacob Fatu, whom Lawlor is well acquainted with.

Mascara Dorada & Volador Jr vs. Rocky Romero & Soberano Jr.

The second match on the card is a preview of the upcoming Fantasticamania tour that will begin relatively soon. The dynamic duo of Mascara Dorada and Volador Jr will team up to take on their long-time rivals, Rocky Romero and Soberano Jr, who’s recently turned into a full rudo.

TJP vs. David Finlay

One of the biggest surprises of Wrestle Kingdom weekend was the appearance of TJP, who took on the persona of the Filipino mythical creature, the Aswang. Alongside Francesco Akira, they avenged their losses against Clark Connors and Drilla Moloney. However, TJP’s fight against Bullet Club War Dogs is far from over, and tonight he has set his sights on their leader, David Finlay, who defeated TJP’s United Empire leader Will Ospreay to become IWGP Global Champion. The tensions continue to mount towards February 11th, when the War Dogs will face the United Empire in a steel cage match.

NJPW STRONG Openweight Tag Team Championships: Guerrillas of Destiny (El Phantasmo & Hikuleo) vs. BC War Dogs (Alex Coughlin & Clark Connors)

In a winner-takes-all tag team match that took place on January 4th, Hikuleo and El Phantasmo emerged victorious, becoming double champions by winning the IWGP and NJPW STRONG Openweight Tag Championships. However, their celebrations were short-lived as they still had unfinished business with the BC War Dogs. In November, they were ambushed by Connors and Coughlin in Texas. While the combination of one-time LA Dojo training partners may seem like the perfect one to defeat the current champions, it remains to be seen if they’ll be able to carry through with their challenge.

NJPW STRONG Women’s Championship: Giulia (c) vs. Trish Adora

On January 4th, the champion officially dissolved her faction Donna del Mondo to once again become a lone wolf, and she’ll be alone as she is challenged by the Afropunk for the STRONG Women’s Championship. Since July, Giulia has held the title, defending most recently against Megan Bayne at Ryogoku Sumo Hall as well as against Ami Sohrei, AZM, Hyan, Risa Sera, and more.

Now, Giulia is preparing for her first defense of the year against Trish Adora, a formidable opponent training under the NJPW Academy. Adora previously made her intentions clear when she confronted the then-leader of Donna del Mondo in November. Will Trish Adora become the one to defeat the woman known as Giulia in San Jose as the Beautiful Madness looks to hit 200 days as champion?

Matt Riddle & X vs. TMDK (Bad Dude Tito & Zack Sabre Jr.)

At New Year Dash, former WWE United States champion Matt Riddle appeared and challenged Hiroshi Tanahashi to a match shortly. However, before that, Riddle will make his in-ring debut for NJPW against Zack Sabre Jr., whom he hasn’t fought since 2018. Sabre will team up with his TMDK partner Bad Dude Tito for this match. But the question is, who will be on Riddle’s team?

AEW Continental Crown: Eddie Kingston (c) vs. Gabe Kidd

After winning the AEW Continental Classic tournament, Eddie Kingston is defending his NJPW STRONG Openweight Championship, along with the ROH World Championship and Continental Crown at Battle in the Valley.

His opponent, Gabe Kidd, attacked him at Lonestar Shootout in Texas. Kidd and Kingston previously fought each other in NJPW STRONG three years ago, but a planned rematch was postponed due to Kingston suffering an injury.

Now, Kidd has the perfect opportunity to challenge Kingston again, but the question is, is the War Ready War Dog ready to take on this challenge, and has he learned and evolved his style since losing to Kingston?

No Disqualification: Shingo Takagi vs. Jon Moxley

Two top singles competitors, Shingo Takagi, and Jon Moxley, will be facing each other for the first time in four and a half years. At Wrestle Kingdom, both men had disappointing results; Takagi lost the NEVER Openweight Championship to Tama Tonga, while Moxley was not involved in the decision that led to the crowning of David Finlay as the first-ever IWGP Global Champion.

After the event, Takagi met with Moxley backstage at New Year Dash and suggested they face off in a big match at San Jose to get back on track. Moxley agreed, but only if it was a no-disqualification match. The two previously fought as part of the 2019 G1 Climax, but now that both men have gained more experience and reached the top of their careers, it will be interesting to see what happens when they meet again in San Jose, especially with Jon Moxley’s specialty in hardcore stipulations.

Will Ospreay vs. Kazuchika Okada

At New Year Dash, it was announced that an enormous main event will take place at Battle in the Valley on January 13th. Will Ospreay challenged Kazuchika Okada before Wrestle Kingdom, and while he was able to defeat Okada cleanly in the G1 Climax, he believes there is still unresolved business between them. NJPW has allowed Ospreay to face Okada on a big stage outside of a tournament setting at Battle in the Valley. Although Ospreay was confident that he would become the first-ever IWGP Global Champion, David Finlay emerged victorious with the white and gold belt, while Okada defeated Bryan Danielson in their special singles match.

The Rise and Retribution of Will Ospreay

Okada has remained an insurmountable obstacle for Ospreay since the beginning of their relationship in 2015 when The Rainmaker defeated the Aerial Assassin on his home turf in England. In the G1 Climax 33, Ospreay finally defeated Okada cleanly, but he wants to finish his full-time journey with New Japan by defeating him outside of a tournament setting, with no objections or controversies. In a clash between the world’s best in 2023, who will come out on top?

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