First round matches for the 32-man New Japan Cup

New Japan has announced the first round matches of this year's New Japan Cup tournament, which will feature 32 participants for an IWGP title shot.

New Japan Pro Wrestling has announced the participants of the New Japan Cup tournament, which kicks off Friday, March 8th.

This year’s tournament will feature 32 participants as they have doubled the field from previous years. The finals will take place Sunday, March 24th with the winner challenging Jay White for the IWGP heavyweight title at the G1 Supercard on Saturday, April 6th at Madison Square Garden.

The tour will feature Mikey Nicholls (Nick Miller in NXT) returning to Japan and starting with New Japan as a member of the CHAOS faction.

Below are the first-round matches, which will stream on New Japan World:

Friday, March 8th at Korakuen Hall
*Yoshi-Hashi vs. Manabu Nakanishi
*Tomoaki Honma vs. Taichi
*Juice Robinson vs. Chase Owens
*Tomohiro Ishii vs. Yuji Nagata

Saturday, March 9th in Aichi
*Mikey Nicholls vs. Hikuleo
*Kazuchika Okada vs. Michael Elgin
*Will Ospreay vs. Bad Luck Fale
*Lance Archer vs. Toa Henare

Sunday, March 10th in Amagasaki
*Kota Ibushi vs. Tetsuya Naito
*EVIL vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
*Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Shota Umino
*Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. David Finlay

Monday, March 11th in Kagawa
*Togi Makabe vs. Colt Cabana
*Hirooki Goto vs. Sanada
*Minoru Suzuki vs. Satoshi Kojima
*Davey Boy Smith Jr. vs. Toru Yano

The second round matches will be spread out from March 13th – 17th. The quarter-final matches will take place March 20th and 21st with the semi-finals on March 23rd and finals on March 24th.

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Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.