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Michinoku Pro Wrestling presents Super J-Cup 3rd Stage
Michinoku Pro Wrestling presents
Super J-Cup 3rd Stage

April 1st & 9th, 2000
Finals: April 9th at Ryogoku Sumo Hall in Tokyo.


We're at it again! Last week, SLAM! Wrestling presented an in-depth preview and history of All Japan Pro Wrestling's annual Carnival Tournament. This week, we are proud to present a full preview of Super-J Cup 3rd Stage, hosted by Michinoku Pro Wrestling (aka North Eastern Wrestling in Japan). The two-day tournament provides the ultimate wrestling showcase, bringing together the best junior heavyweights from several Japanese promotions. Boasting a list of previous competitors like Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Jericho and Dean Malenko, the Super-J Cup has a tremendous legacy of providing the best wrestling action in the world. Fans unfamiliar with this special event should check out our story on its history. In handicapping this year's event, we've focused on the top eight wrestlers in the tournament, examining what their chances are. And because this is such a special event, we've got insights and predictions from a panel of experts: SLAM's resident international wrestling expert John Molinaro and Live Audio Wrestling's Jeff Marek & Dan "The Mouth" Lovranski.

A LOOK AT THE FIELD


Jushin "Thunder" Liger

Promotion: New Japan Pro Wrestling
Best move(s): Lyger Bomb, La Magistral
Previous Super J-Cup appearances: 2
Outlook for this tournament: Current IWGP Junior Heavyewight champ. Because of his political clout as the booker of New Japan's Junior heavyweight division, he adds instant credibility to this year's tournament. Therefore, he's the odds on favourite to win it all. At the very least, he'll lose in the finals.

Tiger Mask

Promotion: Michinoku Pro Wrestling
Best move(s): Rolling Solebutt, Tiger Suplex
Previous Super J-Cup appearances: None
Outlook for this tournament: Current British Commonwealth Junior Heavyweight champion. Ever since beating Michinoku Pro president The Great Sasuke in October, Tiger Mask has been pushed as the promotion's top worker. He would be a stong pick to win this tournament, but because he faces Liger in the first round, he'll be eliminated early.

Men's Teioh

Promotion: Big Japan Pro Wrestling
Best move(s): Teioh Lock
Previous Super J-Cup appearances: None
Outlook for this tournament: Former Michinoku Pro star wrestled in the WWF for a bit. Now wrestling for Big Japan Pro Wrestling, the top Japanese "garbage wrestling" promotion. He's got a tough draw in the first round facing Katsumi Usuda from BattleArts so he likely won't be a factor in the tournament.

Gran Hamada

Promotion: Michinoku Pro Wrestling
Best move(s): Huracanrana
Previous Super J-Cup appearances: None
Outlook for this tournament: Japanese legend is slowly winding down his career. He's the most decorated Junior Heavyweight wrestler in history and this could be his last hurrah. Faces New Japan's Shin'ya Makabe in the first round. Should get by him and hook up with his old rival Liger in the quarter-finals.

Sasuke The Great

Promotion: Michinoku Pro Wrestling
Best move(s): Spider German Suplex,
Previous Super J-Cup appearances: None
Outlook for this tournament: Not to be confused with The Great Sasuke, Sasuke the Great is the top heel in Michinoku Pro. Tough first round match against FMW star Ricky Fuji could see him eliminated early.

The Great Sasuke

Promotion: Michinoku Pro Wrestling
Best move(s): Atomic Senton, Quebrada
Previous Super J-Cup appearances: 1
Outlook for this tournament: The owner of Michinoku Pro is a heavy favourite to win it all. Lost in the finals in '94 to Benoit. Tough first round match against WCW star Kaz Hayashi, but he should go to the finals.

Curry Man

Promotion: WCW
Best move(s): Moonsault
Previous Super J-Cup appearances: None
Outlook for this tournament: Real name Christopher Daniels. Just signed a contractw ith WCW. Should easily beat Onryo in the first round. Quarter-finals will be tough as he'll have to face either CIMA or Ricky Marvin.

CIMA

Promotion: Toryumon
Best move(s): Mad Splash, Perfect Driver
Previous Super J-Cup appearances: None
Outlook for this tournament: Another top prospect trained by Ultimo Dragon. This event could make his career. He's in tough, though, as he faces EMLL star Ricky Marvin, one of the top young prospects in Mexico, in the first round.

SUPER J-CUP 3RD STAGE PREDICTIONS

Full Tournament Schedule

1st round Match - A Bracket John Molinaro Jeff Marek Dan "The Mouth" Lovranski
Jushin "Thunder" Liger vs. Tiger Mask Liger Liger Liger
Men's Teioh vs. Katsumi Usuda Usuda Usuda Usada
Shin'ya Makabe vs. Gran Hamada Hamada Hamada Hamada
Ricky Fuji vs. Sasuke the Great Sasuke the Great Fuji Fuji
1st round Match - B Bracket John Molinaro Jeff Marek Dan "The Mouth" Lovranski
The Great Sasuke vs. Kaz Hayashi Sasuke Sasuke Sasuke
Naoki Sano vs. Judo Suwa Sano Sano Sano
Onryo vs. Curry Man Curry Man Onryo Curry Man
CIMA vs. Ricky Marvin CIMA CIMA Marvin


What the experts say

  • John Molinaro: I don't see any major upsets in Bracket A. Liger will get by Tiger Mask and then take care of Usuda in the quarter-finals. As a gesture to appease the host Michinoku Pro, New Japan's Makabe will put over Hamada. The BattleArts promotion will be protected somewhat, so Usuda should go over Teioh. Liger will beat old rival Hamada to win Bracket A. There might be a few upsets in Bracket B. If there are, expect CIMA to be the beneficiary. CIMA will beat Ricky Marvin and face Sasuke in the Bracket finals. Sasuke will win but he'll make CIMA look strong, elevating him to the next level.

  • Jeff Marek: Looking at Bracket A, the Liger vs the Tiger Mask could be a great opening night match. Surprising that Katsumi Usuda was picked from BattleArts and not Minoru Tanaka. Could be read two ways; either the BattleArts representative is going over and this is a chance to elevate him or the opposite and BattleArts doesn't want to damage anyone they see as significant. In the other bracket I will be looking at how Curry Man (Christopher Daniels) fairs. He just signed with WCW so this may be a "one night only" for him. And while we're talking about WCW, Kaz Hayashi will definitely do a great job in there with Sasuke. This could be the best match of the whole tournament. The future star in this bracket is CIMA of Toryumon.

  • Dan "The Mouth" Lovranski: Certainly the first thing that you notice is that there really isn't any of the high calibre match ups that the past two J Cups offered. In Bracket A, I see Liger coming out on top of everybody else. Gran Hamada is too old, but I do think he will win his match, giving us a Liger vs Hamada final for bracket A. That should be a good one, because Hamada is still a good worker for his age and he and Liger have fought each other many times. In Bracket B, there could be some good matches. I'm interested in seeing Hayashi take on Great Sasuke because that has potential to be an exciting match. Ricky Marvin and Curry Man could be really good too, but I think Marvin will come out on top just because he is so popular in Japan. Great Sasuke is the logical choice because he has always been a rival of Liger's, but his work is not what it once was due to all the high flying and injuries. And I think Liger vs Ricky Marvin has a chance to be a fine match, with the popular Marvin getting a rub from Liger that can only help.



    WHO WILL WIN?

      John Molinaro Jeff Marek Dan "The Mouth" Lovranski
    FINALIST A Jushin "Thunder" Liger Jushin "Thunder" Liger Jushin "Thunder" Liger
    FINALIST B The Great Sasuke The Great Sasuke Ricky Marvin
    WINNER Jushin "Thunder" Liger Jushin "Thunder" Liger Jushin "Thunder" Liger


    What the experts say

  • John Molinaro: This is Liger's tournament to win or lose. It's expected he'll win in exchange for agreeing to work the tournament. Without his involvement this year, there's no J-Cup. Liger is set to face IWGP Heavyweight Champ at the Tokyo Dome next week so he'll have to be kept strong, which means he'll win the J-Cup. Bottom line. Expect Sasuke to face him in the finals (he is the one that put this tournament together) where Liger will get the duke.

  • Jeff Marek: For the finals I have to go with Jushin Liger against The Great Sasuke. I don't think he would be participating in the tournament if he wasn't going over. It would be nice to see him in the finals against CIMA but I have a feeling they will go for the star match up with The Great Sasuke. This is the best money combination for the tournament. Liger wins and Sasuke is your runner up.

  • Dan "The Mouth" Lovranski: I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that the final match will be Liger vs Ricky Marvin. This way New Japan is protected because its become quite obvious that they want to elevate several of the Jr Heavyweights (just look at the matches at the April 7 Tokyo Dome show). And a young rising star that deserves the rub will get it. Liger will win with the Shoda palm blow.


    History of the Super-J Cup

    With files from Michinoku Pro USA Fanpage


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