NJPW has lost some of its buzz after an initial spark following their New Japan Cup 2020 and NJPW Dominion shows earlier this summer. With WWE and AEW dominating the scene as well as the renaissance of IMPACT Wrestling, New Japan Pro Wrestling has seen the wrestling world talking less about Japan's top promotion.
After weeks of speculation and teases by Kazuchika Okada, NJPW has announced the introduction of the KOPW (King of Pro Wrestling) 2020 Championship at a press conference following NJPW Sengoku Lord. As previously noted, the title will not have a Championship belt, which makes it different from other titles in the promotion as well as around the wrestling world. The tournament to decide the first champion will conclude on August 29th at the huge Jingu Stadium Summer Struggle finale show in a Fatal Four Way Match.
With a limited roster due to travel restrictions, it makes a slim field to choose from to decide who will be the inaugural KOPW 2020. However, NJPW has one of the best rosters of any promotion in the world so there are quite a few potential first champions for the company to choose from.
Here, we will take a look at the five most likely wrestlers to become KOPW 2020 in NJPW. They all have the name value, credentials and credibility to be the inaugural champion.
#5 Kazuchika Okada as NJPW's King
We have to start with the most likely candidate for the KOPW 2020 title, which is Kazuchika Okada. The Rainmaker is the man who introduced this controversial idea to the company and has the credibility to be a formidable first champion. The top star in all of NJPW has been somewhat directionless since losing the IWGP Heavyweight Title at WrestleKingdom 14 earlier this year. This new title gives Okada a new direction in New Japan, which has been something fans have wanted for a while.
The King of Pro Wrestling 2020 gives The Rainmaker a brand new goal and accomplishment to add to his Hall of Fame resume. Okada is a former five-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion and owns the record for the most consecutive title defenses in the history of NJPW's top title. He also is the longest reigning champion, with his 720 day run as IWGP Heavyweight Champion from 2016 to 2018.
Adding the first-ever KOPW title to his list of credentials would elevate The Rainmaker to an even higher status in NJPW than he already has achieved. However with his presence during the announcement of the title, his victory would be too obvious and seemingly telegraphed. There are also other wrestlers on the roster who would benefit more from being the inaugural champion right now which is why Okada is at this No. 5 spot and not higher.