Tatsumi Fujinami, Yoshiaki Fujiwara, Minoru Tanaka part of NJPW anniversary lineup

Originally published at Tatsumi Fujinami, Yoshiaki Fujiwara, Minoru Tanaka part of NJPW anniversary card

Several legends were announced for the main event of New Japan’s anniversary card next week at Budokan Hall.

Tatsumi Fujinami and Yoshiaki Fujiwara will be on opposite sides of the six-man main event.

The 68-year old Fujinami will team with IWGP world heavyweight champion Kazuchika Okada & Hiroshi Tanahashi against Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr. & the returning Yoshiaki Fujiwara.

Fujinami was a six-time IWGP heavyweight champion with his first reign beginning in May 1988 and the first holder of the championship after inaugural champion, Antonio Inoki. Fujinami’s six and final run as champion ended in August 1998 when he lost the title to Masahiro Chono.

Fujinami has been active with his Dradition promotion and wrestled for New Japan at Wrestle Kingdom 14 in January 2020 as part of Jushin Thunder Liger’s retirement match, and appeared in the New Japan Ranbo this past year.

Fujinami wrestled on the first New Japan event on March 6, 1972, from Ota Ward Gymnasium, which was headlined by Antonio Inoki vs. Karl Gotch.

Fujiwara, 72, was the first graduate of the New Japan Dojo in 1972, which is the year he made his professional debut.

Fujiwara and Suzuki were part of the contingent that launched Pro Wrestling Fujiwara Gumi. Suzuki would leave the group in 1993 to help launch Pancrase.

In 2021, Fujiwara wrestled one-offs with All Japan and Pro Wrestling NOAH in multi-man tags. This will mark his first appearance wrestling inside of a New Japan ring since January 2016.

Minoru Tanaka, a student of Fujiwara’s, will also make his return to New Japan on the anniversary card. The 49-year old is a former four-time IWGP junior heavyweight champion and five-time junior heavyweight tag champion, who last wrestled for New Japan in 2009.

Tanaka will team with Taichi & Taka Michinoku against El Phantasmo, Taiji Ishimori & Bad Luck Fale.

The card will stream at 3 a.m. ET on Tuesday, March 1st with the following matches announced:
*Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr. & Yoshiaki Fujiwara
*Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato
*Shiro Koshinaka, Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano, Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma vs. SANADA, Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi, Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI
*Kota Ibushi, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima & Yuji Nagata vs. Will Ospreay, Jeff Cobb, Great O-Khan & Aaron Henare
*CIMA, T-Hawk & El Lindaman vs. El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & DOUKI
*Minoru Tanaka, Taichi & Taka Michinoku vs. El Phantasmo, Taiji Ishimori & Bad Luck Fale
*Tiger Mask, YOH & Ryohei Oiwa vs. SHO, Yujiro & EVIL