These tournament matches took place on May 24th and 25th, at Yamagata and Ichinoseki respectively.
Let’s get straight to it.
May 21st, 18:30 from Korakuen Hall, Tokyo
Welcome to the first day of 2016’s Best of the Super Juniors tournament. Today’s show is headlined by KUSHIDA vs. Kyle O’Reilly – a repeat of last year’s final – and also features Sydal vs. Taguchi, BUSHI vs. Gedo and Finlay vs. Romero, as well as an undercard of tag matches with most of New Japan’s top stars involved.
May 19th, 19:00 from Shinjuku FACE, Tokyo
As with Project 1, this card is primarily a showcase for the Young Lions of New Japan and youngish wrestlers of NOAH, with a couple of veterans from both companies making an appearance. Naomichi Marufuji vs. Jay White, Yoshinari Ogawa vs. David Finlay, and Go Shiozaki vs. Juice Robinson are among the matches on what looks like being a solid show.
May 3rd, 17:00 from the Fukuoka Kokusai Centre, Fukuoka
New Japan follows up last month’s excellent Invasion Attack with Wrestling Dontaku. Due to the recent earthquakes in Kyushu, Dontaku’s sister show – Wrestling Hinokuni – was cancelled and its matches rescheduled. The Junior Tag and NEVER title matches were added to today’s show, which means that all but one of the company’s titles are being defended. The show is headlined by Naito vs. Ishii for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
April 27th, 19:00 from Hakata Sutaren, Fukuoka
Wrestling Hinokuno was due to take place on April 29th in Kumamoto. As I’m sure you’ve heard, there were earthquakes in the region a few weeks ago and as a result the show was cancelled. The matches set for that card were rescheduled, so the Junior Tag and NEVER title matches have been added to Wrestling Dontaku on May 3rd, while the CHAOS vs. Los Ingobernables de Japón eight-man tag, Tanahashi vs. Fale, and Omega vs. Elgin for the Intercontinental title were added to today’s show.
April 10th, 16:00 from the Ryōgoku Kokugikan (Sumo Hall), Tokyo
Big show today headlined by Okada vs. Naito for the IWGP Heavyweight title, with all but one of New Japan’s titles also being defended. Will Ospreay makes his debut against KUSHIDA in a much-anticipated bout, CHAOS vs. Los Ingobernables de Japón continues, Shibata battles another of The Old Bastards* (*not actual stable name), and Yoshi Tatsu returns after a broken neck and disastrous attempt at English-language commentary (which today is provided by Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino).
March 12th from Aomiori, Japan
A week after Rounds One and Two we reach the Finals of the New Japan Cup. The semi-finals are Naito vs. Yano and Goto vs. Elgin, with the winner of the tournament to be determined in the main event. The rest of the card featured tag matches that will likely set up matches April’s Invasion Attack.
March 4th, 18:30 from Korakuen Hall, Tokyo
Yesterday’s Round One show was good from top to bottom, with several big announcements made as well. Aside from a should-be-good Naito vs. Ishii bout, today’s Cup matches aren’t so promising on paper, with the route to the final appearing clear. But, who knows, we might get an upset or two.
March 3rd, 19:00 from Ota Gymnasium, Tokyo
The New Japan Cup is a sixteen-man, single elimination tournament, the winner of which gets to choose to challenge for the IWGP Heavyweight, IWGP Intercontinental, or NEVER Openweight Championship at an upcoming show (most likely April’s Invasion Attack). Each of the eight singles matches today are part of Round One of the tournament, Round Two is tomorrow, and the semi-finals and final take place on March 12th.
February 25th, 19:00 from Shinjuku FACE, Tokyo
Primarily a showcase for the Young Lions of New Japan, the card also features the younger wrestlers of NOAH, and a couple of veterans from both companies. The long-term goal is to develop an NXT-style sub-promotion where young wrestlers from all over the world come to compete. Project 1, as the name suggests, is the debut show.
February 14th, 16:00 from the Aore Nagaoka, Nagaoka
The second of The New Beginning shows is headlined by Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kenny Omega for the vacant Intercontinental title. The Junior and Tag belts are also on the line in a promising card. Thursday’s show in Osaka was highlighted by an excellent bout for the NEVER title – can anything today match it?
February 11th, 16:00 from the Edion Arena, Osaka
2016 has been a tumultuous year for New Japan Pro Wrestling thus far. The dust hadn’t settled on Wrestle Kingdom 10 before news of several major departures broke. First AJ Styles, then Shinsuke Nakamura, with Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows expected to follow in the near future. The name of this pair of shows (the second of which takes place on Sunday) has never been so apt.
January 4th, 16:00 from the Tokyo Dome
New Japan Pro Wrestling’s biggest show of the year. Huge stadium, huge matches, huge expectations.
Happy New Year one and all! As most of us emerge blearily from several weeks of excess, New Japan Pro Wrestling prepares for its annual January 4th spectacular from the Tokyo Dome. I’ll be reviewing the show on Monday, but for those of you interested in watching but unsure as to what to expect, here’s a primer…