On Monday, NJPW revealed the lineup for this year’s 48-man New Japan Cup tournament that runs from March 2-27.
The highlights include the return of Kota Ibushi after suffering a shoulder injury last October in the finals of the G-1 Climax, Will Ospreay’s return to Japan for the first time since Wrestle Kingdom, and Jeff Cobb coming back from a knee injury.
There will be sixteen wrestlers that receive first-round byes with the following automatically advancing to the second round: Minoru Suzuki, Guerrillas of Destiny, SANADA, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Bad Luck Fale, Tiger Mask, El Phantamso, DOUKI, Taiji Ishimori, Master Wato, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Gedo, Satoshi Kojima, Kosei Fujita, and Dick Togo.
The largest field in the history of the tournament will see the following opening round matches, which will stream on New Japan World:
March 2nd from Budokan Hall:
*Kazuchika Okada vs. El Desperado
*Tetsuya Naito vs. Yujiro
*Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. YOH
*Taichi vs. Toru Yano
*Togi Makabe vs. Jeff Cobb
*Hirooki Goto vs. Yuji Nagata
*YOSHI-HASHI vs. Tomoaki Honma
*CIMA vs. Taka Michinoku
March 6th in Fukushima:
*Kota Ibushi vs. Great O-Khan
*Will Ospreay vs. BUSHI
*Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Ryohei Oiwa
*Aaron Henare vs. Yuto Nakashima
March 7th at Ota Ward Gymnasium:
*Shingo Takagi vs. Tomohiro Ishii
*Hiromu Takahashi vs. SHO
*EVIL vs. Ryusuke Taguchi
*Chase Owens vs. Jado
March 9th at Korakuen Hall:
*Master Wato vs. Okada/Desperado winner
*Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Taichi/Yano winner
*Dick Togo vs Nagata/Goto winner
*Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. CIMA/Michinoku winner
March 10th in Yamanashi:
*Bad Luck Fale vs. Tanahashi/YOH winner
*Kosei Fujita vs. YOSHI-HASHI/Honma winner
*Gedo vs. Naito/Yujiro winner
*Satoshi Kojima vs. Makabe/Cobb winner
March 12th in Aichi:
*El Phantasmo vs. Ospreay/BUSHI winner
*SANADA vs. Henare/Nakashima winner
*Taiji Ishimori vs. Ibushi/O-Khan winner
*DOUKI vs. ZSJ/Oiwa winner
March 13th in Hyogo:
*Minoru Suzuki vs. Hiromu/SHO winner
*Tama Tonga vs. EVIL/Taguchi winner
*Tiger Mask vs. Owens/Jado winner
*Tanga Loa vs. Takagi/Ishii winner
The third-round matches are scheduled for March 15th, March 17th, and March 18th.
The quarterfinal matches will take place on March 20th and March 21st.
The semi-finals are scheduled for March 26th and the finals are on March 27th with both taking place at Osaka-jo Hall.