NJPW releases brackets for 30-man New Japan Cup tournament

Originally published at NJPW releases brackets for 30-man New Japan Cup tournament

NJPW has released the brackets for the annual New Japan Cup that begins Thursday at the Anniversary show with the winner challenging for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship.

The tournament will now be a 30-man version with first-round byes awarded to Hiroshi Tanahashi and EVIL on opposite ends.

The winner will challenge for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship at Sakura Genesis on Sunday, April 4th. The IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental titles will be merged to form the newly named championship with Kota Ibushi defending the titles against El Desperado this Thursday at Budokan Hall.

Below are the tournament dates and matches:

March 4 at Budokan Hall
*Satoshi Kojima vs. Jeff Cobb
*Tetsuya Naito vs. The Great O-Khan

March 5 at Korakuen Hall
*Toru Yano vs. Bad Luck Fale
*Hirooki Goto vs. Taichi

March 6 at Ota City Gymnasium
*Kazuchika Okada vs. Shingo Takagi (a huge match for the first round)
*Minoru Suzuki vs. Tomoaki Honma
*KENTA vs. Juice Robinson

March 7 in Yamanashi
*Will Ospreay vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan
*Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Gabriel Kidd

March 9 in Okayama

*Yuji Nagata vs. Yota Tsuji
*Tomohiro Ishii vs. SANADA

March 10 in Kyoto
*David Finlay vs. Chase Owens
*Yoshi-Hashi vs. Yujiro
*Jay White vs. Toa Henare

March 11 in Ehime
*EVIL vs. Kojima/Cobb winner
*Naito/O-Khan vs. Yano/Fale winner

March 13 in Aichi
*Goto/Taichi winner vs. Okada/Takagi winner
*Suzuki/Honma winner vs. KENTA/Robinson winner

March 14 in Hyogo
*Ospreay/Tenzan winner vs. ZSJ/Kidd winner
*Nagata/Tsuji winner vs. Ishii/SANADA winner

March 15 at Korakuen Hall
*Owens/Finlay winner vs. Yujiro/Yoshi-Hashi winner
*Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. White/Henare winner

March 16 at Korakuen Hall
*Two quarter-final matches

March 18 in Shizuoka
*Two quarter-final matches

March 20 in Sendai
*Two semi-final matches

March 21 in Sendai

*The finals


This looks awesome.

March is gonna be fantastic. A great time to have a birthday too.:+1:

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Threw together a New Japan Cup bracket, feel free to get in on it.



Somewhat surprised to see Tsuji and Kidd get the nod over Uemura, but that’s nitpicking. This is a really fun bracket, and with all respect to Bushi, Gedo, Jado, and Makabe, it’s nice to see the NJC more or less back to full strength after last year. Apart from the obvious appeal of Okada/Shingo, I think Kojima/Cobb and Ishii/Sanada could be good sleeper matches.

You rock thanks for setting this up!!

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I do love that they’ve been setting up some of the first round matches on the Road To shows and otherwise. In particular, that ZSJ-Kidd match will be fun to see. There’s some really interesting first round matches here, even before the obvious of Okada-Shingo.

Ishii and Sanada had a killer G1 match a few years ago at the end of the B Block that I think was their last meeting (and the winner gets Nagata in what will be great to watch). Unless they’re going to put other matches on top of some of these cards, it looks like Toa Henare is going to get his first main event against Jay White. He pretty much had a lost year but this will be a great moment for him to show off where he’s at. The contrast of characters between Naito and O’Khan is definitely something I’m waiting for. I have no idea what they’re going to do there.

And that second round matchup possibility… Don’t think Suzuki and KENTA have fought since NOAH. So that’s where my eyes are at here.

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I take it EVIL received a bye because he won the 2020 New Japan Cup. Not sure about Tanahashi outside of being Tanahashi.

Regardless, looks like a fun tournament.