• 04/12/2019 (8:00:34 am)
  • Bob Mulrenin

Frank Sinatra said in the past “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere”. In New York City lays the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden. If those walls can talk, they would have stories of Bruno Sammartino selling out night after night during his historic multi-year world title run, the night of the most anticipated rematch in boxing history with Ali/Frazier 2, the New York Rangers winning the Stanley Cup in 1994…

In 2019, New Japan Pro Wrestling has teamed up with Ring of Honor to bring it’s biggest and brightest to the mecca in New York City. ROH has a long relationship with NJPW and no doubt will have some matches that will blow the roof off the place. However, in one of the more anticipated matchups on the night will be an IWGP Heavyweight Championship showdown that will be an instant classic.

Every spring, a single-elimination tournament is held. This year a record 32-men entered the battlefield for a chance to become the New Japan Cup 2019 winner. Besides bragging rights, this also guaranteed that person a shot at “Switchblade” Jay White’s championship. The winner of that tournament -“Rainmaker” Kazuchika Okada.

Okada and White are no strangers to one another as they were former CHAOS stablemates. “Switchblade” has manipulated the system to get what he wants. When himself and Okada’s former long-time manager GEDO broke off from the group to join Bullet Club, the war was on. White this year managed to defeat Okada at this year’s Wrestle Kingdom event and win the world title a month later by defeating Hiroshi Tanahashi, both of whom are arguably the two biggest stars in New Japan.

Since losing the championship after a record-breaking title reign, Okada floundered a bit. After the loss to White, a fire was ignited that all thought was put out for good. The New Japan Cup tournament showed the world that Okada still has plenty of fuel to keep the engine going. The ultimate redemption story is him avenging CHAOS by beating Jay White for the 10 pounds of gold on the biggest platform to date in front of a sold-out show in the heart of New York City.

All this and so much more in Part One of a Special Two-Part Two Hour episode of New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. Experience it for yourself FRIDAY 8p/7C.


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