The New Japan Cup has now begun. 32 men were announced for the 2019 iteration of the tournament creating the biggest line up ever seen in the annual NJPW event. This year’s tournament also has the caveat that the winner will be facing IWGP Heavyweight Champion Jay White at the G1 Supercard in April. The WrestleMania weekend show will be one the biggest in company history when they join ROH and CMLL at Madison Square Garden.
Here’s the NJPW Cup bouts for the event in Korakuen Hall (03/16):
- Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Ryusuke Taguchi (NJPW Cup Second Round Match)
- Kota Ibushi vs Zack Sabre Jr (NJPW Cup Second Round Match)
It is still believed that the favourites for the tournament are Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kota Ibushi. Okada defeated Elgin in the first round on March 9th. Tanahashi defeated Young Lion Shota Umino on March 10th and Ibushi took the win over Tetsuya Naito on March 10th.
With the huge high profile bout on offer it is likely that a top name will win this tournament. New Japan have used the Cup in previous years to help elevate a newer talent, such as Zack Sabre Jr last year. With a date against Jay White and the IWGP Heavyweight Championship set in stone this more unlikely this year.