New Japan Pro Wrestling released a press conference this evening addressing their return to the pro-wrestling industry following a shutdown of operations due to COVID-19. Here are the highlights.
-Chariman Naoki Sugabayashi begins by thanking everyone for tuning into the live broadcast. He says that NJPW will resume all operations on June 15th, exactly 110 days since their last show in February. In that time he reveals that 53 events had to be canceled due to the virus outbreak, but assures fans that they will be playing things smart going forward.
-Sugabayashi says that all wrestlers and staff have been tested, and will continue to be given antibody tests. In this time off they have been prepping venues.
-The first event on June 15th will have no audience, with the match card being revealed by the ring announcer on the day of the show. It will be streamed on New Japan World.
-June 16th begins the previously canceled New Japan Cup tournament. It will run through July 3rd. There will also be no audiences for these shows. Due to the circumstances Sugabayashi says that Junior-Heavyweight superstars will be able to participate in the tournament, which is normally reserved for heavyweights. They will all stream on New Japan World.
FULL NEW JAPAN CUP 2020 OPENING ROUND MATCHUPS:
-Togi Makabe versus Yota Tsuji
-Tomohiro Ishii versus El Desperadoo
-Toru Yano versus Jado
-Tomoaki Honma versus Hiromu Takahashi
-Kazuchika Okada versus Gedo
-Yuji Nagata versus Minoru Suzuki
-Yuya Uemura versus Yoshinobu Kanemaru
-Gabriel Kidd versus Taiji Ishimori
-Hiroshi Tanahashi versus Taichi
-Kota Ibushi versus Zack Sabre Jr.
-Ryusuke Taguchi versus SANADA
-SHO versus Shingo Takagi
-Hiroyoshi Tenzan versus YOSHI-HASHI
-YOH versus BUSHI
-Satoshi Kojima versus EVIL
-Hirooki Goto versus Yujiro Takahashi
-Second round NJ Cup matches (4 total)
-Second round NJ Cup matches (4 total)
-Quarterfinals NJ Cup matches
-Semifinals NJ Cup matches
-TWO SPECIAL MATCHES
-Sugabayashi then says that on July 12th the NJ Cup will be awarded at Osaka Jo Hall, where the winner faces Tetsuya Naito in a double title match for the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental championship. A live audience will be attendance but only about 1/3 full. Ticket info will be announced soon.
-The Hokkaaido Tour is canceled. New health guidelines will be available on the website soon.
-NJPW superstar Hiroshi Tanahashi addresses the press. He says the cancellation of shows hurt wrestlers and the fans. He was concerned the return would take longer, but he’s thrilled that they are coming back on the 15th. He promises to give fans everything they couldn’t these past 110 days. He says a fresh NJPW is on the way.
Check out the full conference below.
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