IWGP World, Global titles both set for Sapporo

Big weekend in snowy Sapporo



The New Beginning series will culminate in Sapporo this year as two nights in Hokkai Kita Yell February 23 and 24 round out the tour. Three championship matches are official for the weekend, with a lot more besides to come. 


Night 1: Global, TV titles on the line!

Two championship matches are official for February 23, chief among them the IWGP Global Championship in its first ever defence. David Finlay emerged from a wild three way on January 4 as the very first IWGP Global Champion having pinned Will Ospreay to lift the gold. A victory of that calibur would have anyone ready to fight the world, and Finlay spied a target in ringside guest Nic Nemeth, but after trash talk between the two saw Finlay spit at Nemeth, the result was a fist fight that carried overt into the backstage area. Nemeth would state after the incident that he couldn’t forgive Finlay for his disrespect to the fans; counting himself as one of their number, he was apologetic. Now though he steps into Sapporo not as a fan but a competitor in the cerulean blue for the first time. Willthis global superstar become the second Global Champion, or will the Rebel’s reign claim a significant defence?

Hiroshi Tanahashi will defend the NJPW World TV Championship for the second time as he takes on Matt Riddle. Riddle issued a challenge to the Ace at New Year Dash as he sets out on a very different chapter in his career. Will he be able to put Tanahashi away under 15 minutes, or will the Ace put his superstar ego in check?

Five on five action will pit Los Ingobernables De Japon against Just Five Guys. One day before a series of singles matchups between the two groups is headlined by the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship between Tetsuya Naito and SANADA, who will have the upper hand?

Night 2: IWGP World Heavyweight Championship! LIJ vs J5G!

The IWGP World Heavyweight Championship will be on the line when Tetsuya Naito defends against SANADA. Naito was victorious over SANADA at Wrestle Kingdom, but when EVIL tried to crash Naito’s victory party it was the outgoing champion that ensured Naito had his moment in the spotlight and a four year overdue rollcall. After Just Five Guys scored victory at new Year Dash, SANADA issued a challenge, showing perhaps more fire in chasing the gold than when he held it. Naito accepted and the match is on. In the town where SANADA won his first singles championship in NJPW in 2022, could he shock Naito to regain the world belt?

All members of Los Ingobernables De Japon and Just Five Guys will be facing off in singles matches in Sapporo, with TAKA Michinoku taking BUSHI on, DOUKI battling Hiromu Takahashi, Yuya Uemura facing Yota Tsuji, and perhaps the highlight of a glittering card, Shingo Takagi taking on Taichi. Every clash between these two has been a hard hitting stunner, and Taichi will be extra motivated to show out in his home town. 

Both nights in Sapporo will see Hokkaido promotion EMMA part of the Frontier Zone. The Noboribetsu based wrestler and local politician Tomoya will be teaming with the town’s sightseeing ambassador Toru Yano as they face a pair of partners TBD!