The participants for this year’s New Japan Cup have been revealed.
This year’s tournament format has changed. Instead of the usual 16 man tournament, the number has now doubled to 32 participants. The tournament will kick off on 3/8 at Korakuen Hall and will end on 3/24 in Niigata.
The most notable name for this year’s tournament is Mikey Nicholls, the former Nick Miller of the NXT team TM61. He had asked for this release from NXT back in December of last year, splitting the long-running team formerly known as TMDK with Shane Haste/Shane Thorne. Rocky Romero noted on Twitter that he has also joined CHAOS in the process.
Michael Elgin will also be making his return to the company, having recovered from a knee injury. HIKULEO will also return to the promotion after being out nearly a year due to an ACL injury and training at the NJPW US dojo. Colt Cabana is also coming in for this tour, taking on Togi Makabe in the opening round.
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All shows will be streaming live on New Japan World with English commentary. The second round will take place 3/13, 3/14. 3/16 and 3/17. Quarterfinals will take place on 3/20 and 3/21, and semi-finals on 3/23.
Here are the first round matches for the tournament:
March 8 – Korakuen Hall
Yuji Nagata vs. Tomohiro Ishii
Juice Robinson vs. Chase Owens
Tomoaki Honma vs. Taichi
Manabu Nakanishi vs. YOSHI-HASHI
March 9 – Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium
Toa Henare vs. Lance Archer
Will Ospreay vs. Bad Luck Fale
Kazuchika Okada vs. Michael Elgin
Mikey Nicholls vs. HIKULEO
March 10 – Hyogo Baycom Gymnasium
Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. David Finlay
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Shota Umino
EVIL vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
Kota Ibushi vs. Tetsuya Naito
March 11 – Kagawa Takamatsu City General Gymnasium #1
Toru Yano vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr.
Satoshi Kojima vs. Minoru Suzuki
Hirooki Goto vs. SANADA
Togi Makabe vs. Colt Cabana