New Japan Cup Starts, Rising HAYATO Wins Junior Title in All Japan + More | Weekly Puro Guide


New Japan Pro Wrestling

The New Japan Cup started last week and this year the tournament features 28 participants with the winner getting an IWGP World Championship shot against Tetsuya Naito at Sakura Genesis. Four prior winners of the tournament received byes to the second round. The matches started on the Anniversary on March 6 and will continue over the next week to the final on March 20 in Nagaoka. The tournament’s first round is now over, and had only a handful of highlights, with most matches disappointing.

On the first night of the tournament and the Anniversary show of New Japan, a shocking development happened in Jack Perry’s debut in New Japan against Shota Umino. After a good start to a match, surprisingly the House of Torture, whom Shota Umino has been feuding with since Ren Narita turned on him, interfered and helped Jack Perry to pick up the win. After the match, Perry officially joined House of Torture and is teaming with them on the current tour.

One of the few matches that delivered was Yuya Uemura facing Shingo Takagi on March 8. It was a longer match again, but this time Yuya stepped up big time and delivered. They are preparing Yuya for a World title match this year and he is slowly stepping up. It started a bit slow, but the match got really good when Shingo took over the control. The final 10 minutes were great and the crowd was by far the loudest for them. The finishing sequence was great, with Yuya actively having a chance and making me believe he could pull off the upset, but Shingo finished him off and advanced to the second round.

Another highlight and the best match of the first round was Yota Tsuji facing Jeff Cobb on March 10th. Both were motivated in this match and seeing Yota in more of an underdog role, with Cobb playing a cocky veteran, was great. With Cobb having the strength advantage, Tsuji needed to rely more on his Lucha moves to get the upper hand. The crowd was into it and the ending stretch just ruled with Tsuji picking up an important win after a hard-fought battle to advance in the tournament.

Overall, the first round has been fine, but the booking is just bad and predictable, with Tanga Loa & Chase Owens advancing to the second round as an example. The young guys have been featured fine with Ren Narita & Yota Tsuji advancing with two big wins, while Yuya had a good showing against Shingo before losing. Shota Umino lost by interference after nearly winning his match. It could have been worse for the four and it’s better than expected.

The New Japan Cup Bracket after the First Round:


On top, the Anniversary match between IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Tetsuya Naito and IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion SHO delivered, because they let SHO wrestle for the most part combined with his good antics and trolling moments, which made him somewhat entertaining as a House of Torture Wrestler in this match. SHO’s offense featured fantastic heel work and him going over the knees of Naito that created a cool comeback sequence by the World Champion, who sold his ass off for SHO for the majority of the match. The House antics were down to a minimum with finally some smart faces in LIJ, who helped Naito here to pick up the win and defeat SHO in the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion vs. IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion match.

Pro Wrestling NOAH

NOAH continued the Victory Challenge Tag Team tournament with the winning team earning the right to challenge the GHC Tag Team Champions Jack Morris & Anthony Greene at the Yokohama Budokan show on March 17th. The winners were decided in a final between the team of Saxon Huxley & Timothy Thatcher facing Kaito Kiyomiya & Ryohei Oiwa, who had the tie-breaker over Alpha Wolf & Dragon Bane.

In the final, Kaito Kiyomiya & Ryohei Oiwa defeated REAL in over 20 minutes in a good match. Both teams have different styles, and their match worked out here well. Oiwa and Kaito have good chemistry as a tag team and will now challenge Jack Morris & Anthony Greene next week for the GHC Tag Team Championships and are the favorites to win the match.

Overall the tournament has been a successful one and gave Wrestlers like Alpha Wolf & Dragon Bane, who have been the standouts together with the winning team, the spotlight in a more prominent spot that they deserve after carrying the Junior Tag Division in the second half of 2023.

Official Victory Challenge Tag League 2024 Standings

10 – Saxon Huxley & Timothy Thatcher (5-2-0)
9 – Kaito Kiyomiya & Ryohei Oiwa (4-2-1)
9 – Alpha Wolf & Dragon Bane (4-2-1)
7 – Atsushi Kotoge & Go Shiozaki (3-3-1)
6 – Takashi Sugiura & Ulka Sasaki (3-4-0)
5 – Manabu Soya & Shuji Kondo (2-4-1)
5 – Daiki Inaba & Masa Kitamiya (2-4-1)
5 – Kenoh & Yu Owada (2-4-1)


All Japan Pro Wrestling

AJPW held a Korakuen Hall show on March 9 with seven matches including two championship matches with the AJPW Tag & Junior Title on the line. On top, All Japan announced the line-up of this year’s Champion Carnival Tournament. The opening night of the tournament will be held on April 18th at Korakuen Hall, and the championship match will be held at Yokohama BUNTAI on May 12th.

This year 14 Wrestlers will take part in the tournament, with the winner getting a Championship match for the Triple Crown Championship that is currently held by Katsuhiko Nakajima, who is not part of the tournament line-up. Next to the All Japan Wrestlers, the tournament has a few surprise entries with Kuroshio TOKYO Japan, Cyrus, Hideki Suzuki, Hartley Jackson, and Lord Crewe. Also, Rei Saito, who is not in the tournament line-up, announced that he wants to take part in the tournament. It’s yet to be revealed whether he is in the tournament or not.

AJPW Champion Carnival 2024 Line-Up
A Block:

– Shotaro Ashino
– Kento Miyahara
– Yuma Aoyagi
– Hokuto Omori
– Ren Ayabe
– Kuroshio TOKYO Japan
– Cyrus

B Block:
– Suwama
– Ryuki Honda
– Jun Saito
– Yuma Anzai
– Hideki Suzuki
– Hartley Jackson
– Lord Crewe

In the first championship match of the show, Hideki Suzuki & Suwama defeated Kuroshio TOKYO Japan & Shotaro Ashino to retain the AJPW World Tag Team Championships for the first time in a solid match. The Champions continued to have issues with each other throughout the matches but still ended up winning when Suwama pinned Ashino. The booking of Ashino since coming back has been terrible, and it continues this way heading into the Champion Carnival. After the match, TARU announced that Jun Saito will challenge together with the returning Rei Saito at the March 30th Ota Ward show. The Saito Brothers vacated the Championships not even a month ago due to Rei’s injury, but are now back in hunting for the titles.

In the main event of the show, Rising HAYATO defeated Dan Tamura in a great match to win the AJPW Junior Heavyweight Championship. These two showed up big time here in the main event of the Korakuen and delivered a Junior Epic that delivered big-time Dan was dominating HAYATO for the most part and just showing pure dominance which led to a fantastic comeback in the longest Junior Title match in AJPW in a decade The title change was the right decision and HAYATO is finally on top of the AJPW Junior Division. After the match, MUSASHI challenged HAYATO for the March 30th show in Ota Ward.

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