King of Spring crowned in Nagaoka
After an intense two week run, New Japan Cup hits Nagaoka on March 21, with the tournament final joining a clash for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship and much more.
Main event: New Japan Cup Final- SANADA vs David Finlay
The New Japan Cup is at stake in our main event as SANADA faces David Finlay. For home town hero SANADA, a road to the finals had seemed impossible at tournament start, Cold Skull in the midst of a difficult slump as March rolled around. But after a motivating win against Taichi, SANADA moved on to defeat KENTA, and then Tetsuya Naito, Taichi coming out after his quarterfinal victory to cement SANADA’s move from LIJ to Just Five Guys.
SANADA’s spot int he final four set, he moved on to Gunma this weekend, where a brutal, intense and hard fought victory over Mark Davis put him into the final. His opponent is David Finlay, making his first NJC final to SANADA’s second. Himself starting the tournament in a new faction with BULLET CLUB, Finlay might not have endeared himself to all his group teammmates, but he has been nothing short of remarkable in ring. Victories over Tomohiro Ishii, Great-O-Khan, Shota Umino and Tama Tonga put him into his first final, and with a style that embraces a family tradition of sadism, and with Bloody Hands Gedo by his side, he seems to be unstoppable.
For SANADA, denied a hometown Cup final win in 2019 in Nagaoka and so often the bridesmaid and not the bride against IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada, it would be a fairytale victory for SANADA Tuesday. Yet nothing would suit the Rebel better than crushing the dreams of his opponent in front of his friends and family.
7th Match: IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship- Lio Rush vs Hiromu Takahashi
For the first time since 2016, the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship is defended in Aore Nagaoka Tuesday night, as Lio Rush challenges Hiromu Takahashi. Locked together all tour long, fans across Japan have gotten a taste of what’s certain to be a spectacular meeting of speed and strength. Rush and Hiromu have been trading wins across preview bouts all month long, and both have equal desire to win. Hiromu has been focused on reaching the defence record set by Heat some two decades ago, while Rush, determined to attain Japanese singles title glory since his first appearance in an NJPW ring in the US in 2020, is now within reach of his goal. Can Hiromu reach V2 tonight, or will Rush be the first American to win IWGP Junior gold since 2012, and take that freshly won title to his Washington DC home for Capital Collision next month?
6th Match: CHAOS (YOSHI-HASHI, Hirooki Goto & Kazuchika Okada) vs United Empire (Jeff Cobb, Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis)
For the New Japan Cup winner, Kazuchika Okada and a chance at the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship April 8 at Sakura Genesis awaits. The last time Okada and Jeff Cobb shared a ring back at New Year Dash, it wasn’t the world champion that the Imperial Unit had eyes on, but IWGP United States Champion Kenny Omega. As Cobb continues his hunt for ‘Kenneth’, making a mark on Omega’s January 5 partner would be adequate recompense.
For Bishamon meanwhile, Aussie Open seem certain to be expecting a title match sooner rather than later. Davis’ incredible New Japan Cup run to the semifinals was mirrored by Fletcher’s first round victory over YOSHI-HASHI, and impressive performance in defeat against Hirooki Goto. As Fletcher has spent the last few nights scoring victory over YOSHI-HASHI and Tomoaki Honma, the championship claim for the UE team is all but solidified, and will likely be made official with a strong showing tonight.
5th Match: Los Ingobernables De Japon (Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito) vs United Empire (Aaron Henare & Great-O-Khan)
Tag team action pits Tetsuya Naito and Shingo Takagi opposite Aaron Henare and Great-O-Khan. For Naito, his New Japan Cup ended by now former LIJ partner SANADA, the question will be where to focus next, but for Henare, the focus is clear- Shingo Takagi and the KOPW 2023 title. Sunday in Gunma, Henare issued a challenge to the Dragon, having beaten Shingo in the first round of the Cup. Though KOPW 2023 title matches typically have their stipulations decided via fan poll, Henare demanded that with a singles win over the title holder, he alone should choose the stipulation.
The Ultimate Weapon would go on to suggest some brutal ideas on social media, and may have his ideas solidified by Tuesday. What can Takagi expect if Henare takes the mic again tonight?
4th Match: Ryusuke Taguchi, Toru Yano, Ren Narita & El Desperado vs HOUSE OF TORTURE (EVIL, Dick Togo, Yujiro Takahashi & SHO)
After a clash with Strong Style in Gunma saw them attempt to make away with the NEVER Openweight 6 man Tag team Championships, it seems as if HOUSE OF TORTURE will not leave Ren Narita, El Desperado and Minoru Suzuki be. EVIL and crew have been tied up with the NEVER gold for a very long time indeed, and have not exactly elevated the prestige of the titles in the process in the eyes of purists. Can Strong Style finally put them in the rear view mirror?
3rd Match: Tomoaki Honma, Tomohiro Ishii & Tama Tonga vs BULLET CLUB (El Phantasmo, Chase Owens & KENTA)
Six man action will see NEVER and STRONG Openweight Champions in opposite corners tonight. While KENTA’s next opponent Minoru Suzuki is just awaiting a date and venue, Tama Tonga is awaiting his next challenger. Could they emerge from this trios collision?
2nd Match: Ryohei Oiwa & Shota Umino vs TMDK (Kosei Fujita & Zack Sabre Jr.)
As Zack Sabre Jr.’s education of Kosei Fujita is just starting to bear fruit, Shota Umino may soon be ready to reap a harvest in the form of the NJPW World TV Championship. While Umino has been cagey about making an official challenge, ZSJ has stated that the Roughneck needs to show a little more before the champion deems him worthy. Will that added X factor be seen tonight?
1st Match: Yuto Nakashima & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Just 2 Guys (DOUKI & Taichi)
Hiroshi Tanahashi is back in our opening bout as he and Yuto Nakashima take on DOUKI and Taichi. Just Five Guys represent in the first and last matches of the night; can Taichi and DOUKI set a high standard in the open tonight?