New Japan Cup Brackets Revealed

New Japan Pro Wrestling has announced the brackets for their annual single-elimination tournament, the New Japan Cup. One notable omission from the brackets could use some explaining.

Kenny Omega has not entered the New Japan Cup this year. He spoke with Tokyo Sports about his decision, telling reporters he has to deal with the rift in Bullet Club before he can focus on something like the New Japan Cup.

We’ve run Omega’s comments to the Japanese-language media outlet through Google Translate below:

“I do not want to disappoint the fans …. I think there is a battle that I must focus first, I have to prepare to fight with my friends.”

Google translate starts to lose Omega’s meaning a little near the end of the article. 

“We will put off the chance of the throne challenge including the IWGP heavyweight championship and give priority to battle in the BC.”

Throne challenge is usually how Goolge translate interprets someone saying they wish to challenge for a championship.

New Japan Cup 2018

  1. Michael Elgin vs. Tomohiro Ishii
  2. Juice Robinson vs Yujiro Takahashi
  3. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Taichi
  4. Bad Luck Fale vs Lance Archer
  5. YOSHI-HASHI vs Kota Ibushi
  6. Tetsuya Naito vs Zack Sabre Jr.
  7. Toru Yano vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr.
  8. Chuckie T vs. SANADA

The tournament begins March 9th, 2018 on New Japan World and will continue until the finals on March 21st, 2018. The winner will receive a title shot at a champion of their choosing. Current options include Hirooki Goto (NEVER Openweight), Minoru Suzuki (Intercontinental), and Kazuchika Okada (Heavyweight).

New Japan World will air the entire tournament this year, though English commentary will only be available on the 1st night, the quarter-finals, semis, and finals.

After having to pull out of the remainder of the New Beginning tour, Hiroshi Tanahashi will return in time for the tournament. He could arguably be considered one of the favourites to win.

Toru Yano and Davey Boy Smith Jr will meet in the opening round as well. Smith Jr had been critical of Yano’s inclusion in the G1 last summer, seemingly taking issue with the comedy matches Yano produced during the tournament.