New Japan Pro Wrestling has announced the return of the Super J Cup, which will emanate from the US on December 12th – the day after the company’s annual Best of the Super Juniors tournament is due to conclude in Japan.
Due to travel restrictions surrounding the global pandemic, this year’s BOSJ tournament features largely domestic talent (with the exception of Australia’s Robbie Eagles) and as such, the Super J Cup could be viewed as something on an international accompaniment.
The Cup’s field of eight grapplers includes a blend of LA Dojo regulars, as well as performers from other companies including Ring of Honor, Game Changer Wrestling and Impact Wrestling.
The competitors are:
- El Phantasmo (NJPW/Bullet Club)
- Clark Connors (NJPW)
- TJP (Freelance)
- ACH (Freelance)
- Blake Christian (GCW)
- Chris Bey (Impact)
- Rey Horus (ROH)
- Lio Rush (Freelance)
Last year’s tournament was won by El Phantasmo, whose inclusion marks his first sight of New Japan action since the pandemic began. Having been limited due to travel restrictions, ELP will no doubt be looking to make up for lost time.
Joining him from last year’s field are the LA Dojo’s Clark Connors, who himself lifted the Lion’s Break Crown earlier in the year, and 2019 quarter finalist TJP.
Former NXT star ACH has been featured on NJPW Strong (the weekly show emanating from the LA Dojo) since the summer, alongside US indie stand out Blake Christian who also makes the grade.
Another former WWE star entering is Lio Rush who, having seemingly retired post his WWE release, reappeared on the indie scene with choice bouts for GCW against AEW star Joey Janela and fellow entrant ACH.
Ring of Honor is represented in the form of Mexico’s Rey Horus, as the promotion continues to develop its relationship with New Japan.
And in perhaps the most intriguing entry, Impact Wrestling’s former X Division champion Chris Bey enters the field, in what marks the company’s first public co-operation with New Japan is many years.
Impact, or as it was at the time TNA, were initially on good footing with New Japan and were a developmental home to both Kazuchika Okada and SANADA, early in their respective careers. The US company even hosted promotional ace Hiroshi Tanahashi for a short time.
However it has been said that New Japan officials were less than satisfied by the way their talent were utilised by Impact, none more so than generational talent Okada, who was barely featured.
These instances occurred long before the current management team of Scott D’Amore and Don Callis, who previously commentated for NJPW, were installed and as such, it appears as though the early signs of a working relationship are now in place.
Impact’s D’Amore tweeted the following of Bey’s inclusion within the tournament:
— Scott D'Amore (@ScottDAmore) November 2, 2020