On Monday, New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) held a press conference to announce the return of NJPW to live events, with the Together Project Special on June 15, 2020. It will be a secret show, with all matches announced prior to each match. But the biggest news was the announcement that the New Japan Cup, which traditionally runs in April of each year, was going to commence the following day, June 16, 2020, and run through July. These will be the first New Japan live events since February 26 of this year. These first announced events will be held with no audience but air live on NJPW World. The winner of this year’s New Japan Cup will face Tetsuya Naito for both the IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental Championships on July 12, at the also rescheduled NJPW Dominion. You can watch the full press conference below (with English subtitles):
As well as the announcement of the New Japan Cup, all-first round matches were revealed, with a drastically different field than the much larger original New Japan Cup planned earlier this year. The first round match-ups are as follows:
June 16, 2020
- Togi Makabe vs. Yota Tsuji
- Tomohiro Ishii vs. El Desperado
- Toru Yano vs. Jado
- Tomoaki Honma vs. Hiromu Takahashi
June 17, 2020
- Kazuchika Okada vs. Gedo
- Yuji Nagara vs. Minoru Suzuki
- Yuya Uemura vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru
- Gabriel Kidd vs. Taiji Ishimori
June 22, 2020
- Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Taichi
- Kota Ibushi vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
- Ryusuke Taguchi vs. SANADA
- SHO vs. Shingo Takagi
June 23, 2020
- Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. YOSHI-HASHI
- YOH vs. BUSHI
- Satoshi Kojima vs. EVIL
- Hirooki Goto vs. Yujiro Takahashi
The second round of the New Japan Cup will take place between June 24 and July 1, with the quarter-finals on July 2, semi-finals on July 3, and the final on July 11 at the Osaka-Jo Hall. As noted earlier, the winner will face Naito on July 12 at Osaka-Jo Hall at NJPW Dominion. The Osaka-jo Hall shows will see the first return of a live audience, but only 1/3 capacity will be allowed to attend due to on-going safety precautions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite New Japan star BUSHI teasing the return of Best of the Super Juniors 27 this year as well, so far no announcement has been made concerning its 2020 fate.
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.