MLW today announced Shinjiro Otani vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr. in an opening-round match for the 2019 Opera Cup tournament at the Melrose Ballroom in New York City on December 5. The event will be a MLW FUSION TV taping for beIN SPORTS. The historic opening round of the Opera Cup is global in scale with several countries represented.
Representing ZERO1 of Japan, the decorated Shinjiro Otani has made it his goal to claim the prestigious Opera Cup and he has the credentials to be an instant favourite to go all the way. A former Pro Wrestling ZERO1 World Champion, 4-time Fire Festival winner and J-Crown titleholder, Otani also has the distinction of being the first-ever WCW World Cruiserweight Champion and is a former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion.
Otani has been a force in ZERO1 for 2 decades. It was in ZERO1 that Otani challenged then reigning MLW World Heavyweight Champion Satoshi Kojima for the championship in 2003. Now, 16 years later, Otani’s mission is simple: bring the antique Opera Cup trophy home to Japan.
The December 5 MLW event will feature the return of the Opera Cup tournament after a 71-year hiatus. Featuring 4 opening round bouts, the league has invited some of the best wrestlers from around the world to compete in this one-night single-elimination tournament.
Standing in Otani’s way is the man whose grandfather last won the Opera Cup in 1948: Davey Boy Smith Jr. Smith, along with the Hart family, has donated the family heirloom to the league and has revived the historic Opera Cup tournament to celebrate the sport’s history and reintroduce the coveted cup.
Fighting for his family’s legacy and the coveted Opera Cup trophy, Smith promises to match Otani hold for hold, move for move and strike for strike, as the two strong style combatants collide in New York City.
Matches signed thus far:
- OPENING ROUND OPERA CUP: Davey Boy Smith Jr. vs. Shinjiro Otani
- OPENING ROUND OPERA CUP: MJF vs. Alex Hammerstone
- OPENING ROUND OPERA CUP: TJP vs. Brian Pillman Jr.
Major League Wrestling’s coverage will be enhanced by one of the best new voices in the sport with Alicia Atout. She will be joining MLW as a correspondent in the field bringing her knowledge, experience and analysis across all MLW platforms.
“Alicia is both incredibly talented and hardworking, and has been a standout with her Vlog series AMBY,” said Court Bauer, MLW CEO and founder. “We couldn’t be more pleased that she’ll be joining MLW starting this December on MLW FUSION.”
Atout has developed a portfolio of content over the past few years with her hit YouTube series, AMBY, which is an award-winning interview vlog with music and wrestling videos aplenty, hosted by the talented Atout.
Atout, who previously worked for Impact Wrestling and AEW, will serve as a correspondent for MLW’s weekly series FUSION on beIN SPORTS, as well as additional assignments including hosting programming for MLW’s emerging catalogue of content.
The tradition of pro wrestling on Thanksgiving will return next Thursday night when MLW presents FUSION ON THANKSGIVING at 6 pm ET (11 PM GMT) exclusively on YouTube for free.
On this week’s FUSION, Josef Samael on behalf of the reigning World Heavyweight Champion Jacob Fatu made an offer the Von Erich boys couldn’t refuse: a shot at the 300-pound Samoan Smashing Machine. While Tom Lawlor watched on, the brothers Von Erich selected Marshall, fresh off of a win against CONTRA’s Ikuro Kwon, would step up and challenge for the World title.
The title bout marks the first time a member of the Von Erich family has world championship title since May 6, 1984, when their uncle, Kerry Von Erich beat “Nature Boy” Ric Flair in a historic match, in front of over 45,000 fans at Texas Stadium. Now 35 years later Marshall Von Erich begins his quest. Will destiny favour the 6’4″ 3rd generation grappler? Or will Jacob Fatu conquer the third challenge to his championship?
All pics courtesy of MLW