Wednesday 6th March will mark the 47th Anniversary for New Japan Pro-Wrestling and with their anniversary comes a celebratory show in Tokyo. The event will include title matches for the IWGP Junior Tag Team Championship and IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship as well as a main event between the current NEVER Openweight Champion Will Ospreay and IWGP Heavyweight Champion Jay White. Before the event takes place we’ve got you covered with a preview for all the matches! But first, could we see the long awaited return of Hiromu Takahashi?!Hiromu Takahashi Return
Hiromu has stated that he will return to the ring once he is 1000% (that’s not a typo). During his recovery from injury he has sporadically given updates via social media as to what percentage he is currently at. Thanks to the work of @luchablog on Twitter, the math reveals that he should be 1000% on the day of the anniversary show, this Wednesday! And if the math isn’t enough to fuel your hopes of a return, the man who injured Hiromu, Dragon Lee, is ominously set to compete on the show. Whilst nothing is guaranteed, it does seem like everything is aligned for the LIJ member to make his return! Perhaps we’ll see him in-ring return at Madison Square Garden against Dragon Lee or challenge for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship he was forced to relinquish.The trio of Young Lions taking part in this match have been making their presence known in NJPW recently. So much so that Shota Umino is a participant in this years New Japan Cup. The unison of the Bullet Club team will likely be too much for the mix of veterans and Young Lions to overcome. A match that guarantees to kick things off with some fast paced action and some mischievous antics once Yano steps foot in the ring.
4 men who are competing in the New Japan Cup will look to gain some momentum before the Cup kicks off on Friday. The animosity between Nagata and Ishii has been building for months now and the pair are set to face off in the first round of the NJCup. Expect some hard slaps and chops in this one from both. Henare will be making his NJCup debut and picking up a victory alongside Nagata will be a huge boost for the young warrior whilst YOSHI-HASHI will be hoping for more success than he has previously had.
Suzuki-Gun has the edge in this one as a faction going up against a mix of wrestlers. Who wants to bet that Suzuki-Gun gets the fight started before the bell is officially rung? However the opposing teams mix of styles including a returning Dragon Lee won’t be beaten easily.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Match
Shingo Takagi & Bushi (C) vs SHO & YOH
The current Champions will be making their 2nd defense of the titles against Roppongi 3K’s SHO and YOH. Since joining NJPW, Shingo has been an unstoppable force in the Junior Heavyweight division and has controlled the majority of matches he has been a part of. Despite SHO and YOH winning back to back Super Junior Tag Tournaments in 2017 and 2018, the pair are not favourites for this match against the Los Ingobernables de Japon team.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship Match
Taiji Ishimori (C) vs Jushin Thunder Liger
In a turn of usual tradition, the current Champion Ishimori made the challenge to Liger for this match. The Bullet Club member has reason to be confident, having won the title against Kushida at Wrestle Kingdom 13 and having a successful defense against Taguchi. But Liger proved during Honor Rising that he is more than capable of picking up a win as he pinned Ishimori with a quick roll up after the pair had only been in the ring for a matter of seconds. Despite Liger’s age, he has proved time and time again that there is a reason he is still idolized as the greatest Junior Heavyweight of all time, and there’s every chance that he could walk away with the Championship around his waist for a unthinkable 12th time.
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada & Hirooki Goto vs Tetsuya Naito, EVIL & SANADA
6 men with high hopes of winning the NJCup enter the fray. The dream-team of Okada and Tanahashi are joined by Goto for this one to take on the combined force of LIJ. This is a match that could headline almost any wrestling card in the world and with the star-power on show, expect a thrilling contest. EVIL, SANADA and Tanahashi will all be looking to get back to winning ways having lost titles recently.
Special Single Match (Non-Title) – Champion vs Champion
NEVER Openweight Champion Will Ospreay vs IWGP Heavyweight Champion
It seems as though NJPW are very high on Ospreay. He headlined last year’s Anniversary event against then IWGP Heavyweight Champion Okada and is repeating that role again as he faces current Champion Jay White. The 2 previously met in Ring of Honor in a match that garnered a lot of deserved attention. Since then, White has donned the wicked Switchblade persona and joined the Bullet Club, so don’t expect the same match again, expect a lot better. Both men are sure to come out of this looking like megastars, even in defeat. Ospreay has an innate ability to make average wrestlers look great, and great wrestlers look even better. Given how special it seems Jay White already is, this will be another string in White’s bow to help cement himself for any doubters he may have. This match has the potential to drive the crowd into a frenzy as the devilish Switchblade will look to punish a beloved Ospreay.
Be sure to catch all the action live on NJPWWorld.com from 7pm JST with English commentary available from Kevin Kelly and a host of fellow commentators. With a card that has incredible matches from beginning to end quickly followed by one of the most exciting tournaments of the year kicking off just 2 days later, March is a great month to be a NJPW fan.