Each year, New Japan Pro Wrestling puts on some of the best shows of the year with some of the best storylines. Even during a time where the world seemed to be falling apart, the company found a way to entertain fans safely.
New Japan has had ups and downs this year. Yet, there is no denying that there have been some standout moments in the past 12 months.
Here is a look at the top ten memorable moments in New Japan during 2020.
10. YOSHI-HASHI’s Fairy Tale Ending
One member of the New Japan roster who has always been in the background is YOSHI-HASHI. To many, the CHAOS member has been seen as average in every sense. Also, despite being in the company for over ten years, YOSHI-HASHI had never won a title.
However, an opportunity for gold came in the form of the NEVER Openweight 6-man titles. With Hirooki Goto and Tomohiro, the trio not only managed to make it to the final but beat their faction teammates (Okada, SHO and Yano) for the belts.
As YOSHI-HASHI took the microphone and started pouring his heart out, you could not help but feel some happiness. YOSHI-HASHI may not be the most talented, but he has heart and like normal people, has been knocked down many times. He is proof that, if you work hard enough, good things come to those who wait.
9. Hiromu Takahashi defeats Tomohiro Ishii
In New Japan, the two different divisions have always been set in stone. If you have a match between a heavyweight and a junior, it was more than certain that the bigger man would win. However, this has changed recently. The bout between Hiromu and Ishii during this year’s New Japan Cup was proof of that.
In a match just under 20-minutes, it had everything in it. They had to adapt their styles to their opponent that meant that it was a mix of strikes, strength and athleticism. Hiromu and Ishii are two men who could not be more different. However, in the ring, they had this undeniable chemistry. What was even more shocking was that Hiromu got the win with Time Bomb II.
It was a massive moment for Hiromu to beat someone as large, strong and talented as the workhorse of the company, Ishii. However, more importantly, it was a possible MOTY contender where both men brought out the best in each other.
8. NJPW’s return to the ring
During the pandemic, like many wrestling companies, New Japan had to halt their shows for the safety of their fans and wrestlers. It meant the postponement of tournaments such as the Best of the Super Juniors and shows like Dominion.
On the 15th of June, the company came back with their Together Project Special. Despite having no crowds, for many, it was just great to watch live wrestling from the safety of their homes. On the surface, it just felt like a normal New Japan show.
This show marked a small return to normality. It also showcased how well New Japan handled the pandemic not only for fans but the wrestlers themselves. From this point, things seemed to start rolling again with the New Japan Cup and a series of continuous and safe shows which eventually welcomed back fans.