It is a good time to be a New Japan of America fan. With a fair amount of talent unable to travel to Japan during the Pandemic, New Japan of America has made some major moves in recent months. First, they started a limited weekly show called “Lion’s Break Collision” that showcased the LA Dojo talent and other United States-based talent. It was a fun and brief weekly show full of very good wrestling. What would they do for an encore? This is New Japan Cup 2020 USA.
It seems New Japan is starting a weekly television show on Friday nights called “NJPW Strong”. If that wasn’t exciting enough they also announced the first-ever New Japan Cup USA with eight competitors. The winner of the single-elimination tournament will get a shot at the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship. Jon Moxley awaits.
Let us look at the New Japan Cup 2020 USA first round match-ups. The first round will occur on August 7th, the semifinals on August 14th and the final on August 21st. The field looks stacked and the idea of a weekly television show is quite exciting.
New Japan Cup 2020 USA
Karl Fredericks vs KENTA
This first round match-up would have occurred in the main New Japan Cup in March but that was ruined by Corona. We will thankfully get to see this first time match-up on NJPW Strong. These are two competitors on very different paths.
Karl Fredericks has moved on from his Young Lion days/trunks to debut a new attitude and look on the recent “Lion’s Break Collision” shows. He has some success and a competitive match against Jeff Cobb on the season finale. Fredericks has vowed to be a rare New Japan star without a faction. We will see how that works against a member of the Bullet Club.
KENTA hasn’t been as active during the Pandemic. He had a major feud with Tetsuya Naito that ended with a heartbreaking defeat at New Beginning in Osaka back in February. KENTA has had a lot of time to think about that loss. Can he get back on track against the hungry Fredericks?
New Japan Cup 2020 USA
Jeff Cobb vs Tanga Loa
Jeff Cobb has become a very active member of the NJPW roster is recent months. He competed in the G1 Climax last year and got a solid eight points. Cobb was a major part of the New Beginning USA tour and one of the brightest stars on “Lion’s Break Collision” this summer. He seems like a clear favorite for New Japan Cup USA.
Tanga Loa is certainly better known as a tag team specialist as part of The Guerrillas of Destiny that won the IWGP Tag Team Championship six times. This will amazingly be only the second-ever singles match for Tanga Loa. How will he compete against the very physical Jeff Cobb?
David Finlay vs Chase Owens
These two actually have met once before in singles action. Chase Owens actually won their only singles match against each other way back in 2016. But both competitors have come a long way since that match. Chase Owens has had some success in singles action. He actually defeated Finlay’s frequent tag team partner, Juice Robinson, in last year’s New Japan Cup. Owens isn’t above cheating to get the win.
David Finlay has had a different path. He has been dealing with a lot of injuries only returning late in 2019. He had some success winning the World Tag League and the IWGP Tag Team Championship with Juice Robinson. After such a long layoff, what will Finlay look like against the dangerous Owens?
Brody King vs Tama Tonga
The final first-round match will be between a member of Ring of Honor and a long time New Japan veteran. Brody King has appeared in New Japan a few times in 2019. His unique power and athleticism won him a lot of fans in Japan. Can he take advantage of this rare singles opportunity after a long layoff?
Tanga Loa of Bullet Club is no stranger to big tournament matches. While he is also a six time IWGP Tag Team Champion, he has had some real singles success in New Japan as well. He has competed in the grueling G1 Climax tournament multiple times. This match should be the most physical of the first round. It is time for a great tournament.