Two of New Zealand’s top exports collide for New Japan Pro-Wrestling tonight.
“Switchblade” Jay White and Toa Henare meet in the final first-round match of the 2021 New Japan Cup tournament in Kyoto, Japan.
The bout headlines a six-match card and is believed to be the first all-Kiwi main event for an international promotion in more than 60 years.
On top of its historic implications, tonight’s main event provides Henare a rare singles match in NJPW.
“Last year I was supposed to have [Tomohiro] Ishii in the New Japan Cup and this pandemic stopped it,” Henare said.
“Jay, there’s nothing stopping me coming at you in Kyoto. I saw the fear in your eyes running away from me. Kyoto is my chance to break through. In Kyoto, the fans will see an upset.”
Anniversary Event Mar.4 2021 Backstage comments!
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The winner of the 30-man New Japan Cup tournament will earn a match for the newly-created IWGP World Heavyweight Championship against Kota Ibushi at Sakura Genesis on April 4.
With the stakes so high, White said he expects Henare to bring the fight. However, Switchblade promises to be unlike anything Henare has faced before.
“Henare, I am a different animal to anything else that you have ever encountered on the streets of Auckland or in a New Japan ring. I will make you understand how insignificant you are.”
The New Japan Cup continues live tonight from 10:30pm (NZDT) on New Japan World.