New Japan’s focus in the United States has thus far been on the west coast, and specifically California. That’s where their 2017 G1 Special show took place, and all three of their 2018 events. They also opened the American branch of their Dojo in Los Angeles.
We already knew that would change in 2019, as New Japan’s name is prominently featured on the Madison Square Garden show Ring of Honor (ROH) is running on WrestleMania 35 weekend in New York. But that’s not all. During the press conference for their upcoming Jan. 4, 2019 Tokyo Dome event today (Dec. 10), the company announced a pair of January/February dates in the U.S. The shows will not only tie into an established set of events NJPW does in Japan, but will see them plant their flag in a southern rasslin hotbed for the first time...
New Japan is headed to Flair Country.
The first of two The New Beginning USA events will be held in familiar territory for New Japan - Los Angeles. The Jan. 30 show will be at the Globe Theater. Two days later, they’ll be across the country in Charlotte, North Carolina for a show at the Grady Cole Center on Feb. 1.
NJPW’s usual post-WrestleKingdom events will happen in Japan on Feb. 2 - 3 when they hold The New Beginning in Sapporo. The company will use talent not booked on those shows for the L.A. and Charlotte dates; as their announcement says, “This is our first foray of the US expansion that is not determined by the schedule in Japan.” They also plan to use the Young Lions being coached by Katsuyori Shibata at their U.S. Dojo.
The Globe is a typically indie-sized venue, but the Grady Cole Center holds more than 3,000. How will New Japan do in North Carolina? Especially since it’s not inconceivable they’ll be without some of their biggest gaijin names by Feb. 1?