New Japan loves a tournament, and they used one to anchor the launch of their Friday night NJPW Strong series on their streaming service.
The first ever New Japan Cup USA tournament wrapped up on Strong last night (Fri., Aug. 21) with a finals showdown between KENTA and David Finlay. In typical Bullet Club style, the former Hideo Itami took advantage of a ref bump to low blow Finlay. Fit’s son kicked out of the pinning predicament that followed, but had no answer for the GTS.
With the win, KENTA gets a briefcase good for a shot at the IWGP United States championship. As soon as he got it in his hands, he called out the reigning champ, AEW’s Jon Moxley. Exciting!
But there are a few obstacles in the way of a Mox/KENTA showdown. One, unless something’s changed in the relationship between AEW & NJPW, it will likely have to happen in Japan. Tony Khan has been okay with his guys doing New Japan dates, but not in the U.S. where it dilutes his own television product.
The other obstacle is Jeff Cobb. KENTA beat Cobb in the New Japan Cup USA semi-finals with the help of his signature low blow (did Shinsuke Nakamura give his countryman permission to use his old signature move?), and the IWGP U.S. title shot briefcase has to be defended just like the G1 Climax’s IWGP Heavyweight title shot briefcase. Cobb attacked KENTA last night to make it clear he’s gunning for the Cup winner, and his title shot.
This could play out on the Fighting Spirit Unleashed tour, which NJPW announced during Strong would start next week. No matches have been announced the upcoming shows, however.
Ready for more KENTA vs. Cobb? How about either vs. Mox?