NJPW News: Manabu Nakanishi, Naito vs KENTA, CMLL “Fantasticamania Tour”, “New Beginning” USA Tour

At the post-Wrestle Kingdom press conference, Manabu Nakanishi announced the following: “I have decided to retire on February 22 this year. As a result of a neck injury, I haven’t been able to wrestle to the level I wanted, and rather than drag things out, I wanted to draw a line in the sand. Rather than think about how I could do x, y, z a long time ago, I want to put everything that I have into February 22. I want to head into this retirement having given everything I have and end things properly.”

The former Olympian will have wrestled for over 27 years professionally after debuting with NJPW in October 1992 and being a superstar of the Third Generation. The 52-year-old Nakanishi debuted for NJPW in 1992. He won the Young Lions Cup in 1995 before going on an excursion in America with WCW that same year. Returning a year later, Nakanishi became a true powerhouse for the company. He won the G1 Climax in 1999 while also winning the NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Titles, the IWGP Tag Team Titles three times and the IWGP Heavyweight Championship once.

He is hoping to talk to NJPW about an extended role following his retirement. When it came to who he would want to face in his final match, Nakanishi did not have an opponent in mind. “I came here because I know that NJPW is the best, and that’s always been the case,” Nakanishi went on to say. “Whoever they put in front of me, it’ll be the best match there is. That’s what I want and that’s what I’m focused on.”

 

Still at a post-Wrestle Kingdom press conference, the main event of February 9’s New Beginning in Osaka Jo Hall was revealed. The first-ever Double IWGP Intercontinental and Heavyweight Champion Tetsuya Naito will put both titles on the line against challenger KENTA.

After a gruelling combined 69 minutes 31 seconds in the ring against first Jay White and then Kazuchika Okada during the 2 nights of Wrestle Kingdom 14, Tetsuya Naito finally attained his lifelong goal of victory in a Tokyo Dome main event and etched his name in history as the very first dual IWGP Champion. Yet before Naito could celebrate with the ultimate role call, he was blindsided by KENTA, who stole his moment to a chorus of boos in the Tokyo Dome.

The next night at New Year Dash!!, KENTA continued a relentless assault on Naito during a tag team main event, and after SANADA scored a flash pin victory on Jay White against the run of the match, the BULLET CLUB members responded with a sickening assault armed with steel chairs. While KENTA was not victorious over Hirooki Goto during his NEVER Openweight Championship bout at Wrestle Kingdom, KENTA’s vile actions have seen him push his way to the front of the title contendership line, as Tetsuya Naito will be eager to get swift and brutal revenge.

 

Following a successful Wrestle Kingdom event, New Japan Pro Wrestling returns to action with its annual Fantasticamania event. Teaming with CMLL, the tour starts on January 10, with the final 4 nights of the tour (January 16, 17, 19 and 20) airing on NJPW World. A major highlight will be the return of the CMLL Family Tag Team Tournament. The tournament involves wrestlers related to one another competing for a title and glory.

Here are the full match lineups (first night and main nights) for Fantasticamania:

January 10 – OSAKA PREFECTURAL GYM #2

* OKUMURA, Barbaro Cavernario & Ultimo Guerrero v. Satoshi Kojima, Stuka Jr. & Caristico
* Dulce Gardenia, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Yota Tsuji v. Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI
* Angel de Oro, Niebra Roja & Titan vs. Sanson, Cuatrero & Forastero
* Soberano Jr. & Flyer v. Negro Casas & Tiger
* Audaz, Guerrero Maya Jr. & Yuya Uemura v. Euforia, Luciferno & Namajague
* Fuego & Ryusuke Taguchi v. Yoshinobu Kanemaru & DOUKI

January 16 – Korakuen Hall

* Angel de Oro & Niebra Roja v. Negro Casas &Tiger – CMLL Family Tag Tournament
* Euforia & Soberano Jr. v. Sanson & Cuatrero – CMLL Family Tag Tournament
* Satoshi Kojima & Caristico v. Ultimo Guerrero & Barbaro Cavernario
* Titan & Stuka Jr. v. Forastero & OKUMURA
* Flyer, Dulce Gardenia & Hiroshi Tanahashi v. EVIL, Shingo Takagi & BUSHI
* Audaz & Guerrero Maya Jr. v. Luciferno & Yoshinobu Kanemaru
* Fuego & Ryusuke Taguchi v. Namajague & DOUKI

January 17 – Korakuen Hall

* CMLL Family Tag Tournament final
* CMLL Family Tag Tournament third-place match
* Satoshi Kojima & Caristico v. Ultimo Guerrero & Barbaro Cavernario
* Titan v. Forastero
* Audaz, Dulce Gardenia & Hiroshi Tanahashi v. EVIL, Shingo Takagi & BUSHI
* Stuka Jr., Flyer & Guerrero Maya Jr. v. OKUMURA, Namajague & Yoshinobu Kanemaru
* Fuego & Ryusuke Taguchi v. Luciferno & DOUKI

January 19 – Korakuen Hall

* Black Cat memorial match — Caristico, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Tiger Mask v. Negro Casas, Euforia & Barbaro Cavernario
* Ultimo Guerrero (c) v. Satoshi Kojima – CMLL World Heavyweight Championship
* Dulce Gardenia, Fuego & Ryusuke Taguchi v. EVIL, Shingo Takagi & BUSHI
* Stuka Jr. v. OKUMURA
* Angel de Oro, Niebra Roja & Titan v. Sanson, Cuatrero & Forastero
* Soberano Jr., Flyer & Guerrero Maya Jr. v. Tiger, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & DOUKI
* Audaz & Yota Tsuji v. Luciferno & Namajague

January 20 – Korakuen Hall

* Caristico (c) v. Barbaro Cavernario – NWA World Historic Middleweight Championship
* Sanson, Cuatrero and Forastero (c) v. Angel de Oro, Niebla Roja and Titan – National 6-Man Tag Championship
* Satoshi Kojima, Soberano Jr. & Stuka Jr. v. Ultimo Guerrero, Negro Casas & OKUMURA
* Dulce Gardenia, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Yuya Uemura v. EVIL, Shingo Takagi & BUSHI
* Flyer, Audaz & Guerrero Maya Jr. v. Euforia, Luciferno & Namajague
* Tiger Mask v. Tiger
* Fuego & Ryusuke Taguchi v. Yoshinobu Kanemaru & DOUKI

 

NJPW has recently announced their full cards for their USA Tour, New Beginning USA. The tour starts on January 24 in Tampa, FL. During the tour, IWGP Tag Team Champions David Finlay and Juice Robinson will defend their titles against Guerrillas of Destiny. The cards of the 5 US shows are available on NJPW website (click on the links in the tweet below).

Talents like Colt Cabana, TJP, The Rock N Roll Express, or Jeff Cobb will face the new talents of NJPW of America and the cream of the crop of the NJPW roster, like Kota Ibushi, YOSHI-HASHI, Yujiro Takahashi, Toru Yano, Yuji Nagata, Ren Narita, Jado, or Hiroshi Tanahashi.

All pics and videos courtesy of NJPW and CMLL

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