Several major matches have been added to NJPW New Beginning in Sapporo.
NJPW has announced that Kazuchika Okada's final match with the company will be at NJPW New Beginning in Sapporo on February 24. There, he will team up with Hiroshi Tanahashi, Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI, and Tomohiro Ishii to face Matt Riddle, Jeff Cobb, HENARE, Great-O-Khan, and Callum Newman.
Additionally, Tama Tonga's farewell has been added to the February 24 event. Tonga and Tanga Loa will team up to face El Phantasmo and Hikuleo in a clash of the two Guerrillas of Destiny duos.
Kazuchika Okada’s final NJPW match will be in ten man action opposite an intriguing combination of Matt Riddle with the United Empire. Riddle and Jeff Cobb combined to re-form the ‘Chosen Bros’ tag team at Battle in the Valley, after which the two went, in Cobb’s words ‘to talk business’. Does such business involve Riddle being Empire-affiliated in the wake of Will Ospreay’s departure?
A pair of emotional goodbyes will see NJPW bid farewell to Tama Tonga in our third match of the night. That last bout in the cerulean blue will see a dream tag team match of GoD vs GoD, the record setting seven time IWGP Tag Team Champions of the original Tongan brothers facing the new generation and recently deposed IWGP champs in Hikuleo and ELP. There are no titles onthe line tonight, but the prospect of going out on a high against passing a legendary torch.
Plus, multiple matches have been announced for NJPW New Beginning in Sapporo on February 23. El Desperado will defend the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship against SHO, and Zack Sabre Jr. will face Yuji Nagata.
SHO and El Desperado will tangle in a special singles match on night one in Sapporo. After El Desperado started the month of February with his first dcefence of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight title against former partner Yoshinobu Kanemaru in Korakuen, SHO thought he had next. Beating down the champion backstage, he made away with the champion’s mask and thought a title shot was a done deal. Yet Desperado said that ‘championship matches don’t come so cheap’ and flatly refused to put the gold on the line. Instead, Desperado levelled up the score with SHO by stealing his ‘torture tool’ of an iron wrench, and has said he’d be willing to put the stolen ‘toy’ on the line in return for his pinched mask.
That changed in Osaka, as El Desperado grabbed his hood back, only for the junior heavyweight title belt to work its way into SHO’s hands. After a war of words on the microphone, the stakes have now changed, and Desperado will indeed put the title on the line for a second time, hopefully in his second hammer shot to the nails that are HOUSE OF TORTURE.
Finally recognized by Bryan Danielson as the best technical wrestler on the planet, Zack Sabre Jr. has promised to change all of professional wrestling in his quest to become IWGP World Heavyweight Champion in 2024. Starting that quest, he faces a man Danielson faced one on one recently in Yuji Nagata. This is the first time the two have faced off one on one since Nagata’s final G1 back in 2017. Victorious that night, will Nagata be able to counter 2024 Tekkers?
Here is the current lineup for NJPW New Beginning in Sapporo:
NJPW New Beginning in Sapporo (2/23)
- IWGP Global Championship: David Finlay (c) vs. Nic Nemeth
- NJPW World TV Championship: Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs. Matt Riddle
- NEVER Openweight Championship: EVIL (c) vs. Shota Umino
- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: El Desperado (c) vs. SHO
- IWGP Women’s Championship: Mayu Iwatani (c) vs. Mina Shirakawa
- Los Ingobernables De Japon (Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi, Hiromu Takahashi, Yota Tsuji & BUSHI) vs. Just Five Guys (SANADA, Taichi, Yuya Uemura, DOUKI & TAKA Michinoku)
- CHAOS (YOH, YOSHI-HASHI, Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii & Kazuchika Okada) vs. United Empire (Callum Newman, Jeff Cobb, Francesco Akira, Great-O-Khan & TJP)
- Boltin Oleg, Togi Makabe & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. HOUSE OF TORTURE (Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Yujiro Takahashi & Ren Narita)
- Yuji Nagata vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
- Kickoff: Frontier Zone - Toru Yano & Tomoya vs. Shoma Kato & Tomoaki Honma
NJPW New Beginning in Sapporo (2/24)
- IWGP World Heavyweight Championship: Tetsuya Naito (c) vs. SANADA
- Hair vs. Hair: Yuya Uemura vs. Yota Tsuji
- Shingo Takagi vs. Taichi
- Hiromu Takahashi vs. DOUKI
- TAKA Michinoku vs. BUSHI
- Nic Nemeth & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. David Finlay & Gedo
- Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) vs. Guerrillas of Destiny (El Phantasmo & Hikuleo)
- Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada, Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI & Tomohiro Ishii vs. Matt Riddle, Jeff Cobb, HENARE, Great-O-Khan & Callum Newman
- Boltin Oleg, YOH, Togi Makabe, El Desperado & Shota Umino vs. HOUSE OF TORTURE (EVIL, SHO, Ren Narita, Dick Togo & Yujiro Takahashi)
- Kickoff Match- Frontier Zone: Toru Yano & Tomoya vs. Katsuya Murashima & Tomoaki Honma
Fightful will have coverage of NJPW New Beginning in Sapporo once the shows air on February 23-24.
Click here to catch up on our coverage of NJPW New Beginning in Osaka.