This morning, in a press conference, New Japan Pro Wrestling announced the 16 men who would be competing in this year’s edition of The New Japan Cup, a single-elimination tournament with the winner getting a shot at the singles title of their choice at April’s Sakura Genesis event (which presumably includes Jay White’s IWGP US Championship this year) With last year’s winner, Katsuyori Shibata going on to have one of the best title defences of Kazuchika Okada’s reign, even with the bittersweet ending.
This year’s tournament features two men who have previously won the tournament in the form of 2015 winner Kota Ibushi, who would unsuccessfully challenge AJ Styles for the Heavyweight championship and Hiroshi Tanahashi, who won the very first New Japan Cup, back in 2005 before it had championship implications and then again in 2008 where he failed in his challenge against Shinsuke Nakamura for the same prior mentioned championship.
With CHAOS represented by current PWG World Champion Chuckie T, nine-time previous New Japan Cup competitor, Tomohiro Ishii, his tag-team partner Toru Yano and YOSHI-HASHI, Suzuki-Gun represented by former IWGP Tag-Team Champions Davey Boy Smith jr. and Lance Archer as well as Rev Pro Heavyweight and Tag-Team Champion, Zack Sabre jr., recent Heavyweight graduate, Taichi, Los Ingobernables de Japon by former IWGP Heavyweight champion, Tetsuya Naito and one half of the current Tag-Team Champions, SANADA, Taguchi Japan by Tanahashi, Juice Robinson & Michael Elgin and Bullet Club by current NEVER Openweight Tag Team Champion Bad Luck Fale and Yujiro Takahashi. Of course, having mentioned Bullet Club last and with his current tag partner, Ibushi in the tournament, conspicuous by his absence is another man without a title currently, ‘The Cleaner’ Kenny Omega.
Talking of Omega, it has also been confirmed that at NJPW Strong Style Evolved, on March 25 from Long Beach California aswell as the previously announced match of Rey Mysterio jr. and Jushin Thunder Liger, it has been confirmed that Bullet Club’s Hangman Page will challenge ‘Switchblade’ Jay White for the IWGP US Championship and Omega and Ibushi, otherwise known as Golden Lovers will take on the newly Heavyweight team of Nick and Matt Jackson, The Young Bucks.