We are just one week away from the next major New Japan Pro Wrestling event, Sakura Genesis. It’s set to be a major event for one particular faction, that being The United Empire. Their leader Will Ospreay was the winner of the 2021 New Japan Cup, and will face the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Kota Ibushi in the main event slot.
However, this isn’t the only potential highlight for the faction. Earlier in the night, they will have a six man tag team match against Los Ingobernables De Japon members Tetusya Naito, SANADA and Shingo Takagi. What makes this interesting is that we only know two of the three men involved for The United Empire, those being Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb.
The third man is a mystery, to be revealed at the time when the match starts. This will be the second time The United Empire introduced a member like this, with them previously doing this in World Tag League 2020 when Jeff Cobb was revealed as a member. Today we will look at three potential options on who this mystery man could be.
It’s Time For Yota Tsuji To Graduate From Young Lion Status
During the New Japan Cup tour, there was an underlying story early on between Young Lion Yota Tsuji & The United Empire. Great-O-Khan was trying to pull him into their ranks, but Tsuji stuck to his guns and refused to help the group. Tsuji would fail to make the second round of the tournament, losing to Yuji Nagata.
He’d spend the rest of the tour trying to set up another big singles match, this time with Tetsuya Naito but was denied. With no sign of excursion due to the global pandemic, Tsuji needs to make a bold move to step out on his own. Joining a group like The United Empire could help him build some more character.
Tsuji has proven to be rock solid within the ring, his recent showings against Nagata or Ishii during multi-man tags shows that he’s ready to move to the next stage of his career. The United Empire already showed interest, so the door could still be open.
Robbie Eagles Is A Faction Hopper, Could The United Empire Be Next?
Another option to join The United Empire is a member of the CHAOS faction. Robbie Eagles is one of the lower card Junior Heavyweights in the company, despite being as skilled as anyone else. He originally came into New Japan Pro Wrestling as a member of Bullet Club, but jumped ship to join Will Ospreay in CHAOS.
They formed a tag team called The Birds Of Prey, and while they never won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships, were a fan favorite group. While Ospreay turned his back on CHAOS, Eagles is so detached from the group anyways that it might have not impacted his relationship.
At the end of the day, Ospreay just wanted to get out of the shadow of Kazuchika Okada. The United Empire does not have a Junior Heavyweight in their ranks, and Eagles is overshadowed by SHO in CHAOS anyways. He’s already jumped from one faction to join Ospreay, why not do it again and have a chance to truly stand out?
A Refresher For Toa Henare
The final option that came to mind is Toa Henare. Henare is in a weird spot in New Japan Pro Wrestling, as he is no longer a Young Lion, but never had a chance to build an identity while on excursion. This was due to him suffering an injury right before he was to leave on his excursion, and when he came back he quietly joined the main roster as an undercard member of the roster, and didn’t join a faction.
He’s been in New Japan Cups and World Tag Leagues, where even teaming with Hiroshi Tanahashi didn’t bring him much success. Herare is a hard hitter, with many comparing him to a young Togi Makabe, but without any of the charisma or character. This is what would make him a solid addition to The United Empire.
It would add another heavy hitter to the group, and finally give Henare a foundation to build a character from. He just needs to refocus and refresh his point of view, much like Jeff Cobb did when he joined the faction.
Who do you want to see team with Jeff Cobb & Great-O-Khan at Sakura Genesis? Let us know what you think in the comment section down below.
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