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NJPW announced yesterday they are resuming running events in empty arenas starting on June 15. PWTorch sources indicated last week that NJPW would be announcing that the company would be announcing they would resume running shows this month.
The NJPW Cup 2020 brackets were also announced and NJPW is using the NJPW Cup as a bridge to their signature summer event Dominion, which usually precedes the G1 Climax tournament. Running the previously NJPW Cup with similar brackets to the original isn’t a surprise given that NJPW booker Gedo maps out his storylines well in advance.
The NJPW Cup will feature several wrestlers from the junior heavyweight division for the time. Perhaps this change is due to the annual Best of the Super Juniors tournament being canceled for the year. It’s likely that most junior heavyweight wrestlers won’t make it far into the tournament, but if anyone out of that division is going to make a run, it will be SHO. He’s got the size and look to be a star in the NJPW heavyweight division.
It’s pretty easy to narrow down the field of contenders. The biggest names absent from the tournament are Will Ospreay and Jay White. I would have predicted White as the original winner, but he’s been removed from the equation.
The wrestlers most likely to make a run in the tournament, but not necessarily make it to the finals are Minoru Suzuki, Tomohiro Ishii, Hiroshi Tanahashi, SANADA, EVIL, and Hirooki Goto. These men won’t all necessarily make a run, but it won’t be a surprise if a couple of these names make a deep run into the tournament.
The top contenders to win the tournament are former IWGP Hvt. Champions Kazuchika Okada and Kota Ibushi. They were part of the two night mini tournament to crown the first ever IWGP Hvt. and IC Champion and either man would be worthy of the main event slot at Dominion.
I tend to think NJPW would save Okada vs. Naito rematch from the Double Dash For Gold finale, so my pick is to win the tournament is Kota Ibushi.
Contact Sean at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SR_Torch.