One of the major parts of post-Wrestle Kingdom New Japan is the annual single elimination tournament, the New Japan Cup. With the winner getting a shot at the IWGP Heavyweight Champion, it is a quick way to shoot yourself up the NJPW totem pole. Last year it was won by Kazuchika Okada who would capitalize on his victory by going G1 Supercard Event in Madison Square Garden to beat Jay White for the title. The 32 man tournament will begin again on March 4th, 2020 and here are the men who will make up the tournament.
The Entrants Of The 2020 New Japan Cup And Their Matches
Starting from the March 4th event, we will see Togi Makabe vs. Jeff Cobb, Tomohiro Ishii vs. Toa Henare, Toru Yano vs. Chase Owens and Colt Cabana vs. Bad Luck Fale. On March 7th, we will see Kazuchika Okada vs. Jay White, Yuji Nagata vs. Minoru Suzuki, Juice Robinson vs. Alex Coughlin, and David Finlay vs. Tanga Loa. March 8th, we will see Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Taichi, Kota Ibushi vs. Zack Sabre Jr., Will Ospreay vs. Shingo Takagi, and Mikey Nicholls vs. SANADA. The first round concludes on March 9th, with Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Yoshi-Hashi, Karl Fredricks vs. KENTA, Satoshi Kojima vs. EVIL, and Hirooki Goto vs. Yujiro Takahashi.
The Must See Matches
There is a lot to unpack there, and a lot of matches to see over those few days. There are no matches truly worth skipping, as even matches like Juice Robinson vs. Alex Coughlin & Karl Fredricks vs. KENTA have the possiblity of a major upset with a Young Lion getting a chance at early glory in the company. However, there are a few absolute must see matches here.
The first is Okada vs. White. This is their fourth encounter, and every match with them has been brilliant. Okada took the IWGP Heavyweight Championship from White after winning the tournament last year, and have met in the G1 Climax and at Wrestle Kingdom. They are magic together and that is what makes this a huge match, especially for Round One.
Another that hops off the bracket is Yuji Nagata vs. Minoru Suzuki. We don’t get to see Nagata compete in singles matches often at this stage of his career, and Suzuki is a classic rival of his. Their history and chemistry will shine through in this one, being their 11th encounter since 2003. They have each beaten the other 5 times, making this potentially the final tie-breaker in a 17 year long feud.
Despite those two matches being interesting, the biggest one in the field is Will Ospreay vs. Shingo Takagi. They have only met one time previous, and that was in the finals of last years Best of The Super Juniors tournament. It is considered by many to be the best match in all of 2019. The combination of incredible action, and the story of Ospreay trying to hand Shingo his first defeat of the tournament made it an instant classic, and one of the best matches in NJPW history.
Who is your favorite to win this years New Japan Cup? Let us know in the comment section down below.
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