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The latest moves in New Japan’s U.S. expansion

New Japan toured the west coast of the United States for their Super J-Cup shows last weekend (which will be added to New Japan World next month, but NJPW published the results of the first and second rounds in the line-up for the final show on their website, and Wrestling Observer has results/spoilers from the semis and finals here). On night two in San Francisco, the company announced their return to Northern California in November. New Japan Showdown will emanate from the San Jose Civic on Sat., Nov. 9.

The venue in San Jose is listed as holding 2,850 fans. Tickets go on sale Fri., Sept. 13, and the company says pricing and news about who’ll be appearing will be made available via their website.

Before then, New Japan will be on the other side of the U.S. with their three night Fighting Spirit Unleashed tour at the end of September. According to, standing room and balcony tickets are still available for Fri., Sept. 27 in Lowell, Massachusetts. Sat. Sept. 28 in Manhattan, and Sun., Sept. 29 in Philadelphia are already sold out.

While the buildings aren’t huge (Lowell Memorial Auditorium, the Hammerstein Ballroom, and 2300 Arena all seat less than 3,000), it’s still impressive to move tickets like that with no announced card or line-up. NJPW finally announced 15 wrestlers for the dates, mostly grouped by group allegiance as they promise “faction warfare”.

  • New Japan’s “main unit”: Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kota Ibushi
  • CHAOS: Kazuchika Okada*, Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto and YOSHI-HASHI
  • Los Ingobernables de Japón: Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, SANADA, Shingo Takagi and BUSHI
  • Bullet Club: Jay White, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa and KENTA

* The IWGP Heavyweight champ is not working the Philly show.

Last year’s Fighting Spirit Unleashed show in Long Beach also featured Ring of Honor talent, but there’s no word on if that will be the case in 2019. It certainly doesn’t seem like NJPW needs any help from their U.S. partner to move tickets in the Northeast, which has traditionally been ROH’s home turf.

Interesting times... thoughts on New Japan’s U.S. schedule? In general or as it applies to an increasingly crowded wrestling marketplace?

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