2023 New Japan Cup Bracket Officially Set

The New Japan Cup is back on the books for 2023. Early today, NJPW unveiled the lineup for this spring's single-elimination tournament with a field of 24 this time around, a drastic reduction from last year's bracket of 48 competitors, which was its largest roster of participants ever. The tourney kicks off on March 5 and runs through March 21; the winner of the New Japan Cup earns a shot at the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship at April's Sakura Genesis event. 

This year's field is made up of the following: SANADA, Taichi, KENTA, Tetsuya Naito, El Phantasmo, Chase Owens, Ren Narita, EVIL, Jeff Cobb, Toru Yano, Mark Davis, Will Ospreay, YOSHI-HASHI, Kyle Fletcher, Hirooki Goto, Shingo Takagi, Aaron Henare, NEVER Openweight Champion Tama Tonga, David Finlay, Tomohiro Ishii, Great O-Khan, Shota Umino, Yujiro Takahashi, and New Japan TV Champion Zack Sabre Jr. 

Additionally, first-round byes were given to KENTA, Owens, Cobb, Ospreay, Goto, Tonga, O-Khan, and ZSJ, definitely giving them a slight advantage in the brackets.

While Kazuchika Okada may reign as the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion now, there is no guarantee he'll be standing opposite the New Japan Cup winner come April. He'll have to get past former champion Hiroshi Tanahashi first, as the long-time rivals square off this weekend with the title on the line at Battle In The Valley in San Jose. That bout was just recently added to the highly anticipated card that already features Mercedes Mone vs. KAIRI going head-to-head for the IWGP Women's Championship.