Preview: NJPW 49th Anniversary Show (3/4/21)

NJPW 49th Anniversary Show Kota Ibushi El Desperado

New Japan Pro Wrestling has been around for almost 50 years, with the annual anniversary event taking place leading up to a NJPW staple tournament, the New Japan Cup. This year’s anniversary show is a little different, with history being made in the main event. Today, we take a look at the action to come at the NJPW 49th Anniversary Show.

NJPW 49th Anniversary Show Full Card

  • Douki, Zack Sabre Jr, Minoru Suzuki and Taichi vs. Master Wato, Gabriel Kidd, Tomoaki Honma and Hirooki Goto
  • Taiji Ishimori, Jay White, EVIL, KENTA and Chase Owens vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Ryusuke Taguchi, Toa Henare, David Finlay and Juice Robinson
  • Sho, Tomohiro Ishii and Kazuchika Okada vs. BUSHI, SANADA and Shingo Takagi
  • First Round New Japan Cup Match: Satoshi Kojima vs. Jeff Cobb
  • First Round New Japan Cup Match: Tetsuya Naito vs. Great-O-Khan
  • IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental Double Championship Match: Kota Ibushi (c) vs. El Desperado

Satoshi Kojima Jeff Cobb

The New Japan Cup Begins at the NJPW 49th Anniversary Show

Satoshi Kojima vs. Jeff Cobb is the start of NJPW’s annual New Japan Cup. This tournament will crown the first contender for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. The winner will challenge the champion at this year’s Sakura Genesis show on April 4th. Barring the history of the New Japan Cup, these two have been feuding for weeks in the background of the feud between Kojima and Will Ospreay. Consider that Cobb recently returned to NJPW during Castle Attack. This seems like a win for Jeff Cobb, but I wouldn’t count Satoshi Kojima out. The winner will face EVIL on March 11th.

Tetsuya Naito Great O-Khan

Tetsuya Naito vs. Great O-Khan

Tetsuya Naito was unsuccessful in the Castle Attack Tour, losing his IWGP Intercontinental Championship match against Kota Ibushi. Now, Naito looks to face off against someone who was also unsuccessful at Castle Attack with Great O-Khan. Keep in mind that Great O-Khan recently lost against NEVER Openweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi. Naito has a history in the tournament, winning it in 2016. Great-O-Khan doesn’t have such a history. Naito is a heavy favorite for any tournament he’s in, but this tournament might be an exception. Great-O-Khan might pull off a major upset here; it has been a theme for Naito to lose this tournament in recent years, especially in the first round. The winner will take on Toru Yano or Bad Luck Fale on March 11th.

NJPW 49th Anniversary Show Kota Ibushi El Desperado

Crowning the First-Ever IWGP World Heavyweight Champion

As soon as Kota Ibushi would win the IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental Double Championships, he aimed to make history himself with the unification of said titles. Tetsuya Naito tried to stop him, but failed. Recently, NJPW officially unified the titles, the new name for the belt being the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. At the NJPW 49th Anniversary Show, Kota Ibushi will face off against the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, El Desperado.

El Desperado recently became the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion by defeating El Phantasmo and BUSHI. This match took place due to the title being vacated by Hiromu Takahashi. The winner would face the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion at the anniversary event in a non-title match. However, this year is different, as the match is for the title. This match has an interesting history; at Wrestle Kingdom 8, El Desperado came back from an excursion to face off against the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion who was, at the time, with Kota Ibushi. The latter would successfully defend his title.

This upcoming match is also special in that it will crown the first-ever IWGP World Heavyweight Champion in a junior vs. heavyweight bout. Kota Ibushi seems to be a heavy favorite for this match, as many would doubt “Despy 4 Belts.” However, El Desperado may pull off a monumental upset in the main event of the NJPW 49th Anniversary Show. While it’s unlikely he will win, this is one of the most interesting bouts for El Desperado, who has hit a career renaissance in the past year. Whoever emerges victorious will face the winner of the New Japan Cup at Sakura Genesis. History will be made on March 4th.

Stay tuned to 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 New Japan Pro Wrestling on NJPW WORLD.

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