New Japan Cup 2020 Brackets Revealed

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New Japan Cup
Photo: NJPW1972

Update: NJPW has canceled a number of the New Japan Cup shows due to the Coronavirus outbreak

Here lies the new bracket

New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) has had a heck of a way to start off with the new decade. With the retirement of Jyushin Liger being one of the major parts of Wrestle Kingdom 14, we would also finally get #Naito2Belts with Tetsuya Naito fulfilling his destino and becoming double champion. We would also see two more retirements from Tiger Hattori and Manabu Nakanishi. We are now heading towards March which means it’s time for one of the most important tournaments to start off the year, the New Japan Cup!

The New Japan Cup which made its first appearance in 2005 was a tournament to crown a future contender for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at that month’s biggest show. The winner of this trophy will go on to face Tetsuya Naito for both of his titles at Sakura Genesis. New Japan will be holding 13 separate shows for this tour with all of them being available on NJPW World with all of them including English Commentary. With a total of 31 Tournament Matches on this tour, there will also be tag matches throughout this tour. For timings for these shows, I recommend checking out the schedule for when these shows air. Let’s get to the participants.

Left Side Of The Bracket

  • Togi Makabe
  • Jeff Cobb
  • Tomohiro Ishii
  • Toa Henare
  • Toru Yano
  • Chase Owens
  • Colt Cabana
  • Bad Luck Fale
  • Kazuchika Okada (2013 & 2019 Winner)
  • Jay White
  • Yuji Nagata (2007 and 2011 Winner)
  • Minoru Suzuki
  • Juice Robinson
  • Young Lion Alex Coughlin
  • David Finlay
  • Tanga Loa

Right Side Of The Bracket

  • Hiroshi Tanahashi (2005 and 2008 Winner)
  • Taichi
  • Kota Ibushi (2015 Winner)
  • Zack Sabre Jr (2018 Winner)
  • Mikey Nicholls
  • SANADA (Finalist in 2019)
  • Will Ospreay
  • Shingo Takagi
  • Hiroyoshi Tenzan
  • Yoshi Hashi
  • Young Lion Karl Fredericks
  • KENTA
  • Satoshi Kojima
  • Evil
  • Hirooki Goto (2009, 2010 & 2012 Winner)

Synopsis

The first round of the New Japan Cup should be interesting with many major rematches from the previous year. Kazuchika Okada and Jay White both are even more determined than ever before to get back their respective championships. Nagata and Suzuki face off for the first time since 2013. We also get matches to hype up the upcoming tag bout between Tanahashi/Taichi and Sabre/Ibushi. But one of the more anticipated matches on the 3/8 show will be Ospreay vs. Takagi. The last time both of those guys went against each other was in the finals of last year’s Best of Super Juniors.

The tournament continues a trend of expanding its bracket just like the previous year with 32 Participants instead of 16. The winning percentage of New Japan Cup winners going on to win the world championship is a bit mixed. Out of the 14 tournaments, 8 of the winners of this tournament would lose the resulting title bouts with five of them going on to win a championship with Okada being the last one to pick up gold. (2005 would be an exception since it was prize money)

Another small thing to note is also the impact of this tournament for the winners. Yuji Nagata would have his likely final IWGP Heavyweight Reign, Okada’s first win marked Okada as one of the top rising stars of New Japan, the same could be said for Naito when he won the trophy, SANADA would join Los Ingobernables and so on. While the 8-5 record isn’t something impressive, the five people that did win the tournament and go on to win titles would go on to define the year in some way and it could lead to even bigger moments down the line. The only thing that is certain is that New Japan Cup is an exciting time to be a New Japan fan, The First Major Tournament of the year in New Japan. Very Exciting.

Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. Make sure to watch NJPW on NJPW World.

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