It wasn’t too long ago that New Japan Pro Wrestling announced that on the advice from the Japanese Ministry of Health that they were canceling the Anniversary Show as well as all cards through to March 15th. This was all due to the spread of Coronavirus around Japan and Asia.
Bad enough right?
But NJPW announced now that the 5 remaining shows on the New Japan Cup tour have been canceled as well, so the New Japan Cup tournament completely has been canceled and the next show scheduled (as if this point) is for March 31, and is Sakura Genesis.
Normally this would be where the winner of the New Japan Cup would face off against the IWGP champion in the main event, but with the tournament itself canceled, that match won’t be an event they will have to plan for. New Japan hasn’t announced what they will be doing at the end of the month, but that show itself is still happening.
To borrow a phrase from the Family Guy show they’d better stand up if they plan to pull an idea out of the obvious place.
As for ideas (no matter where they come from), How about a contenders match of some kind as your main event. You could take guys like Kota Ibushi, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Hiroki Goto, Okada, and guys like that and have them fight it out with the winner getting a title shot at the next show. It’s not really in New Japan’s tradition, but maybe use an American idea like have a Battle Royal be the main event of Sakura Genisis? Get 20 or so contenders and have then fight it out with the winner being the next contender for the IWGP Title match. Yeah, it sucks there isn’t going to be a New Japan Cup winner to name a new contender, but it is not the end of the world.
What’s weird about this is that normally a number one contender for the IWGP Title would be the Intercontinental Champion, But thanks to those two titles being unified during Wrestle Kingdom 14, the IWGP champion Tetsuya Naito IS the intercontinental champion as well.
There is another idea now that the tournament has been canceled. Have the top guys compete in a big main event match or series of matches with the big winner getting the Intercontinental Title itself instead of a big trophy they would have gotten. Make them the contender, but have Naito relinquish the belt and give it to the winner, however, NJPW determines one. Solves that other issue that New Japan has. Kill two birds with one stone.
Then again what happens with who gets the next title shot isn’t the biggest problem that New Japan Pro Wrestling has on its horizon. With the way things are going will they even hold Sakura Genesis at all? Hopefully, the issues with Coronavirus don’t get any worse but there isn’t entirely a guarantee that stuff planned for after the New Japan Cup tournament shows won’t be canceled as well. Let’s hope not!