With Wrestle Kingdom 11 still fresh in the memory of fans and critics alike, New Japan Pro Wresting have gone ahead and announced the match cards for their next two big shows. The New Beginning will come to us from Sapporo and Osaka this year, and both shows have a plethora of Championship matches headlined by two huge main event bouts.
The New Beginning is traditionally an apt name for NJPW’s February shows, but is that true in 2017?
The New Beginning in Sapporo will be headlined by a huge IWGP Heavyweight Championship match, as Kazuchika Okada defends his championship against the returning Minoru Suzuki. Minoru and his Suzukigun faction returned to NJPW at New Year’s Dash, putting the entire roster on notice.
This won’t be the first time the two have faced off with the top title on the line, but both men are in a very different place in 2017.
Elsewhere in Sapporo, Hirooki Goto will defend his newly-won NEVER Openweight Championship against Juice Robinson, the IWGP Tag Team Championship will also be on the line in a 3-way featuring CHAOS (Ishii & Yano), G.B.H (Makabe & Honma) and Killer Elite Squad (Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr.), and the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships will be defended by new champs Roppongi Vice, who defend against the Suzukigun duo of TAKA Michinoku and Taichi.
One week later NJPW moves to Osaka, with The New Beginning show in Japan’s second city headlined by an IWGP Intercontinental Championship match that sees Tetsuya Naito defend against Michael Elgin, who returned recently.
It was Naito who injured Big Mike last year, breaking the former champ’s orbital bone. Will Big Mike get revenge on Los Ingobernables de Japon and regain his Championship in the process?
That isn’t the only LIdJ Championship match of the evening, as EVIL, SANADA and BUSHI look to regain the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship against new champs Hiroshi Tanahashi, Manabu Nakanishi and Ryusuke Taguchi.
Katsuyori Shibata could defend his RPW Heavyweight Championship against Will Ospreay, Hiromu Takahashi will defend his IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship against Dragon Lee and the IWGP Tag Team Championship 3-way from Sapporo will be repeated.
Both cards feature the usual collection of tag team and multi-man matches on the undercard. The New Beginning in Sapporo takes place on February 5, with The New Beginning in Osaka taking place on February 11, and both shows will be available live on New Japan World (njpwworld.com), and both shows will come complete with commentary in English.
Send us news tips at email@example.comPublished 11 Jan 2017, 15:24 IST