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New Japan loads up opposite NXT UK, and Will Ospreay gets a dream match

Coming out of the G1 Climax 29 Final on Monday, interest was high in what New Japan’s next events would look like. We didn’t have to wait long - likely due in part to NJPW learning from their recent big international shows that announcing the card more than a few days in advance doesn’t work as well overseas as it does in Japan.

The company’s next tournament starts a week from this Thursday (Aug. 22), and will take place on the Pacific coast of the U.S.A. Super J Cup returns for the first time since 2016, and New Japan’s released the 16 man line-up, the bracket, and the card for night one in Tacoma, Washington.

In addition to the fact tournament inventor Jushin Thunder Liger will be wrestling on all three shows as part of his farewell tour ahead of his retirement at next January’s Tokyo Dome shows, the big takeaway is probably Will Ospreay’s return to the super juniors after recently moving up to heavyweight and competing in the G1. He gets a first round dream match that indie legend Amazing Red has said will be his last.

Here’s the bracket and the line-up for Tacoma:
  • Will Ospreay vs. Amazing Red
  • SHO vs. Taiji Ishimori
  • Clark Connors vs. TJP
  • Robbie Eagles vs. El Phantasmo
  • Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Jonathan Gresham
  • YOH vs. Dragon Lee
  • Caristico vs. BUSHI
  • Rocky Romero vs. Soberano Jr
  • Jushin Thunder Liger & Karl Fredericks vs. Shota Umino & Ren Narita

The second round will take place on Aug. 24 from the San Francisco University Student Life Events Center; the tournament concludes Aug. 25 with the semi-finals and final in Long Beach, California at the Walter Pyramid.

But that’s not all!

New Japan also has a show on Sat., Aug. 31 - a very busy day of pro wrestling. That’s the date of AEW’s All Out show in Chicago, of course, but NJPW will be competing more directly with WWE, as both of their shows take place in the United Kingdom. To go head-to-head with NXT UK’s WALTER vs. Tyler Bate and Toni Storm vs. Kay Lee Ray in Wales, they’re loading up Royal Quest in London with all the big guns:

  • Kazuchika Okada (c) vs. Minoru Suzuki for the IWGP Heavyweight championship
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (c) for the RPW British Heavyweight title
  • Tomohiro Ishii (c) vs. KENTA for the NEVER Openweight championship
  • Guerrillas of Destiny (c) vs. the winners of the RPW Road to Royal Quest tournament for the IWGP Tag Team titles
  • Tetsuya Naito & SANADA vs. Jay White & Chase Owens
  • Will Ospreay & Robbie Eagles vs. Taiji Ishimori & El Phantasmo
  • Kota Ibushi & Juice Robinson vs. Yujiro Takahashi & Hikuleo
  • Ryusuke Taguchi, Shota Umino & Ren Narita vs. Rocky Romero, SHO & YOH

Noticeably absent is any mention of Katsuyori Shibata, which gives credence to Wrestling Observer’s report that he hasn’t been cleared for anything beyond what he did in Tokyo yesterday. The angle with KENTA will continue with the new Bullet Club member facing the tag partner he turned on and hit with a GTS at the G1 Final, with Ishii’s title on the line. We’ll have to wait and see if/when his betrayed friend & trainer Shibata re-enters the story.

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