New Japan Pro Wrestling recently returned to action for the first time in several months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In doing so, the New Japan Cup is underway. The tournament will eventually result in one man getting a shot at Tetsuya Naito and both the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Championships at July's Dominion event at Osaka-jo Hall. That event will also feature a return of live fans at 1/3 capacity.
NJPW running Osaka-jo Hall in July marks the first announced return to live events with a crowd in attendance for any of the world's largest professional wrestling organizations and is certainly some very exciting news. The company's last live event was on February 26th. With Japan lifting their nationwide stage of emergency on May 25th, the wheels were put into motion for a return to live events.
New Japan has also announced the beginning of a new weekly show that will air in July on their NJPW World streaming service every Friday night during the month at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. That show, titled Lion's Break Collision, will feature mostly U.S. talent as well as talent training at their Los Angeles area based dojo/wrestling school. The idea is there will be veterans and new names on the show with "future meets present" being one of the tag lines for the show.
The card for the first show, which was taped last week at the Oceanville Pavillion in Port Hueneme, California, has been announced. The tapings were a closed set without fans.
The first show is scheduled to feature:
- Clark Connors vs. Alex Coughlin
- Jeff Cobb and Rocky Romero vs. TJP and Karl Fredericks
Below is the official announcement from NJPW's Twitter page.
Coming to Friday nights on @njpwworld!June 20, 2020
The announcement on the company's website pushes hard the fact that Tom Lawlor will be part of the series. Lawlor is a UFC and MLW veteran.
The series begins on Friday, July 3rd. Subsequent shows will air on July 10th, July 17th, and July 24th.