It’s already time for the first major tournament of 2021 in New Japan Pro Wrestling. The New Japan Cup starts this Thursday, March 4th. It’s a single elimination tournament, which was won by EVIL last year. The winner will go on to face Kota Ibushi for the new IWGP World Heavyweight Championship at Sakura Genesis, later this month. It’s a simple tournament, but even in the first round we will see some interesting match ups. The bracket has been released, so let’s preview what’s to come, day by day.
Opening Round Of The New Japan Cup Has Many Huge Matches
During the 49th anniversary special, we will see our first two tournament matches. Satoshi Kojima takes on United Empire member Jeff Cobb, who he beat in tag action at Castle Attack. Great O-Khan has Tetsuya Naito in the first round, a potentially huge upset victory. March 5th will bring a classic of Toru Yano & Bad Luck Fale, as well as Hirooki Goto & Taichi, which should be a hard hitting affair.
On March 6th, we get the biggest opening round match as Kazuchika Okada meets Shingo Takagi, whoever wins being a favorite to win the whole tournament. Two other matches come that day, in Minoru Suzuki vs. Tomoaki Honma & KENTA vs. Juice Robinson. That concludes the left side of the first round.
March 7th is when the right side begins, with Hiroyoshi Tenzan facing Will Ospreay, and Gabriel Kidd facing Zack Sabre Jr. On March 9th, we have Yuji Nagata taking on Yota Tsuji, a young lion on the verge of graduation, as well as Tomohiro Ishii taking on SANADA. Finally, on March 10th we have three more matches, those being Jay White vs. Henare, YOSHI-HASHI vs. Yujiro Takahashi, and Chase Owens vs. David Finlay.
Lot’s of great matches to come. EVIL has a first round bye on the left side and faces the winner of Cobb vs. Kojima, and Hiroshi Tanahashi has one on the right side, getting the winner of White vs. Henare
Potential Matches To Look Out For
While anything can happen in NJPW, there are a couple of big matches set up for the second round on paper here. One that stands out is Will Ospreay vs. Zack Sabre Jr in the second round on March 14th. Two of the greatest British wrestlers today, they always create magic. Jay White could get Hiroshi Tanahashi on March 15th, reigniting their rivalry.
Should White win there, and Finlay beats Owens & the winner of Takahashi/YOSHI-HASHI, they’d match up in an old rivalry from their young lion days. Minoru Suzuki vs. KENTA also looks possible, with that potentially coming on March 13th.
Who is your pick for the 2021 New Japan Cup? Let us know what you think in the comment section down below.
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