NJPW Kazuchika Okada Shingo Takagi
Image Credit: NJPW

IWGP World Title Bout, Loser Leaves Japan Match Set For 2/11 NJPW New Beginning In Osaka

New Japan Pro-Wrestling has announced the card for NJPW The New Beginning in Osaka.

The star-studded lineup will feature several major matches. Kazuchika Okada will defend the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship against Shingo Takagi, and El Phantasmo will challenge Tama Tonga for the NEVER Openweight Championship. Plus, Jay White will battle Hikkuleo in a Loser Leaves Japan match, and Hiroshi Tanahashi will face KENTA.

The full card is as follows:

  • IWGP World Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada (c) vs. Shingo Takagi
  • NEVER Openweight Championship: Tama Tonga (c) vs. El Phantasmo
  • Loser Leaves Japan: Jay White vs. Hikuleo
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. KENTA
  • Taiji Ishimori vs. Master Wato
  • Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado, & Ren Narita vs. EVIL, Yujiro Takahashi, & SHO
  • Tetsuya Naito, SANADA, Hiromu Takahashi, & BUSHI vs. Tomoaki Honma, Shota Umino, Tiger Mask, & Ryusuke Taguchi
  • Toru Yano & Oskar Leube vs. Great-O-Khan & Aaron Henare

The official announcement, courtesy of NJPW’s website, is as follows:

The IWGP World Heavyweight Championship will be at stake when Shingo Takagi challenges Kazuchika Okada. Takagi would confront Okada after the Wrestle Kingdom 17 main event, stating that he still remembered losing to the Rainmaker in the exact same spot one year earlier, but that in the intervening 12 months, he had put together a more than worthy resume. Shingo has to prove that point tonight, and could secure his second IWGP World Heavyweight Championship reign should he do so. But can anyone defeat the ‘last boss of professional wrestling’?

The NEVER Openweight Championship will be on the line when Tama Tonga defends against El Phantasmo. In six man action at New Year Dash, the NEVER Openweight Championship just happened to be in the clutches of El Phantasmo when an itchy trigger finger saw ELP level the newly crowned champion with the belt for the disqualification. Phantasmo acted on instinct, and will have paid the price in his paycheck, but has come out on the upper end long term as he now challenges Tama Tonga. This intriguing clash of styles will make for a thrilling title bout, but can Tama’s second reign be ending like the first at V0?

After an emotional defeat at the hands of Kazuchika Okada on January 4, Switchblade Jay White was ata  loss for what went wrong, before his search for a scapegoat landed on Hikuleo. White blamed Hikuleo’s defection from BULLET CLUB to join his G.o.D family in Hontai as the first domino to fall in his immaculately land plans, and vowed to ‘hurt you like you hurt me’.

The next night, White assaulted Hikuleo with a chair before issuing a dangerous challenge- that this match should be a Loser Leaves Japan bout. After building himself up over years on NJPW STRONG, Hikuleo stands to capitalise on his success in Japan, but that Japanese career stands to be ended before it even begins, with the Swicthblade’s big match experience clearly setting himself as the favourite for this bout- but if Hikuleo does claim the biggest victory of his career, what next for the Catalyst of Professional Wrestling?

With KENTA vs Hiroshi Tanahashi, Taiji Ishimori versus Master Wato, Narita Suzuki and El Desperado in non title action with HOUSE OF TORTURE and more, it’s a loaded card February 11!

WrestleZone will have coverage of the show once it airs.