New Japan Pro-Wrestling has announced the lineup for their upcoming New Beginning tour, which this year will see two major events in Sapporo leading up to the final night of the tour in Osaka.
All three shows will of course air live on New Japan World, and while not confirmed at this time, it is believed that at least the Osaka show, if not all three shows, will also feature live English commentary.
The theme of this year’s tour seems to be Suzuki-Gun vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon, stemming from the angle between the two at this past week’s New Year Dash event after Wrestle Kingdom 13. The 2/2 show in Sapporo will see a tag match between the two factions, while the 2/3 show (also in Sapporo) will see defenses of the IWGP Intercontinental, Tag Team and Jr. Tag Team Championships, which are all currently being held by members of LIJ.
The final night of action in Osaka will not only see Bullet Club’s Taiji Ishimori defending his IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship against Taguchi, but Hiroshi Tanahashi’s first defense of the IWGP Heavyweight title that he won from Kenny Omega at Wrestle Kingdom 13. His opponent? That would be the man who defeated Okada clean in the middle of the ring at the Tokyo Dome, “Switchblade” Jay White.
As expected, there are no members of The Elite booked for this tour. News broke late last night that Kenny Omega claimed he would be leaving New Japan Pro-Wrestling when his contract expired at the end of January, while Cody Rhodes, Hangman Page and the Young Bucks have all signed deals with the fledgling All Elite Wrestling (AEW).
Interestingly, the Killer Elite Squad (Lance Archer and Davey Boy Smith, Jr.) are not booked for the tour.
Here’s a look at the match cards:
New Beginning in Sapporo
February 2, 2019
— Ren Narita vs. Yuya Uemura
— Manabu Nakanishi & Toa Henare vs. Ayato Yoshida & Shota Umino
— Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Tiger Mask vs. TAKA Michinoku & Takashi Iizuka
— Ryusuke Taguchi, Yoshi-Hashi, Tomoaki Honma, Toru Yano & Togi Makabe vs. Bullet Club (Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, Yujiro Takahashi, Chase Owens & Taiji Ishimori)
— Tetsuya Naito, Bushi & Shingo Takagi vs. Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado
— Sanada vs. Minoru Suzuki
— EVIL vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
— Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kazuchika Okada vs. Jay White & Bad Luck Fale
New Beginning in Sapporo
February 3, 2019
— Toa Henare vs. Yota Tsuji
— Tiger Mask & Manabu Nakanishi & Shota Umino & Ayato Yoshida
— Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Ren Narita vs. TAKA Michinoku & Takashi Iizuka
— Ryusuke Taguchi, Tomoaki Honma, Toru Yano & Togi Makabe vs. Bullet Club (Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, Yujiro Takahashi & Taiji Ishimori)
— Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada & Yoshi-Hashi vs. Jay White, Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens
IWGP Jr. Tag Team Championship Match
— Shingo Takagi & Bushi (c) vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado
IWGP Tag Team Championship Match
— Sanada & Evil (c) vs. Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr.
IWGP Intercontinental Championship Match
— Tetsuya Naito (c) vs. Taichi
New Beginning in Osaka
February 11, 2019
— Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima & Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Minoru Suzuki, Taka Michinoku & Takashi Iizuka
— Sanada & Evil vs. Shota Umino & Ayato Yoshida
— Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi & Bushi vs. Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado
— Tomoaki Honma & Yoshi-Hashi vs. Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens
— Togi Makabe & Toru Yano vs. Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa
IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship Match
— Taiji Ishimori (c) vs. Ryusuke Taguchi
— Kazuchika Okada vs. Bad Luck Fale
IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match
— Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs. Jay White