New Japan Showdown Rolls Into California
NJPW's First Shows Under The New Japan Pro Wrestling of America (NJoA) Subsidiary
New Japan Showdown takes New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) into the next stage of the company’s international expansion. The November 9th and 11th events mark the first two cards officially under NJPW’s recently unveiled New Japan Pro Wrestling of America (NJoA), their North American based subsidiary operating from California.
The event on the 9th will air live on New Japan World from the San Jose Civic Center and will feature Jyushin Thunder Liger’s final match in the United States before his January 5th in-ring retirement.
Featured November 9th Matches
Liger teams with Aaron Solow, who recently trained at the NJPW affiliated Fale Dojo in New Zealand and took part in the New Japan Southern Showdown tour in Australia earlier this year. Their opponents of Colt Cabana and Toru Yano are also taking part in the upcoming World Tag League, and will likely give fans more than one opportunity to laugh.
SHO of CHAOS and Roppongi 3K’s fame challenges El Phantasmo (ELP) for RevPro’s British Cruiserweight Championship in a build-up to Roppongi 3K’s January 5th challenge for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship against Bullet Club’s ELP and Taiji Ishimori.
The match takes place after ELP and Ishimori stole the Junior Tag League trophies from SHO and YOH after their tournament victory at Power Struggle. The IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship is receiving more promotion than it has in recent memory before this year’s Wrestle Kingdom, this match is a key part of that build.
Lance Archer defends his newly won IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship against the returning David Finlay who last wrested on February 23rd, in a match where he suffered a shoulder injury. Archer’s title defense will make for only the second time the championship has been defended within the United States this year.
On February 2nd, Juice Robinson made a successful v1 (first) defense against Berreta during The New Beginning In USA 2019 tour from the Grady Cole Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Archer has used Twitter to mock Finlay and throw shade at Jon Moxley who had to vacate the championship due to missing a flight due to weather in mid-October when Japan was hit by a sizeable typhoon.
Finlay previously unsuccessfully challenged for the title on April 24, 2018, against ‘Switchblade’ Jay White who made his v2 defense.
The co-headline matches for the event start with a tag team showdown where IWGP Intercontinental Champion ‘Switchblade’ Jay White and Tetsuya Naito are on opposite sides. At the most recent Wrestle Kingdom press conference, it was announced the two would meet on January 4th during the first night of Wrestle Kingdom a part of the Double Dash Gold tournament and for the Intercontinental crown. The winner will then go on to face the winner of Kazuchika Okada (C) and Kota Ibushi, in a double title match on January 5th, the second night of Wrestle Kingdom.
Shingo Takagi has recently squared up to Minoru Suzuki during the Power Struggle tour, leading to many believing the two could meet at Wrestle Kingdom. Chase Owens has the opportunity to shine in a big match, during 2019 he shown himself to be a capable tag team competitor no matter his partner. His World Tag League partner will be Bad Luck Fale.
Kazuchika Okada and Kota Ibushi steal the headlines in the main event, as many anticipate their January 4th collision at the Tokyo Dome. With Wrestle Kingdom implications surrounding their part in the match, fans in California will also see IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Will Ospreay once again square off against Amazing Red.
Earlier in the year, NJPW convinced Red to come out of retirement after encouragement from Ospreay. The two wrestled in a critically acclaimed match on August 22nd from the Temple Theatre Plaza Grand Ballroom in Tacoma, Washington, USA a part of the Super J Cup tournament. While there aren’t in Wrestle Kingdom implications, as Ospreay will defend the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship against the returning Hiromu Takahashi on January 5th; it remains an attraction in the minds of NJPW fans.
Since the announcing of the full card, ticket sales began to steadily move in the days prior to the event. While a sellout is not expected, the San Jose Civic Center will likely provide a hot atmosphere.