Every New Japan Cup Winner (2005–2024)

Hamish Woodward

The New Japan Cup is an annual knockout tournament run by New Japan Pro Wrestling. It features between 16 and 48 wrestlers from NJPW, with the winner of each match advancing to the next round. This continues until there are only two wrestlers left, and the pair have a match together at the New Japan Cup Finals event that year.

The winner of the tournament is given a trophy for their efforts, as well as a title match against the reigning IWGP World Heavyweight Champion (except for Shinsuke Nakamura in 2014, who instead challenged for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship).

Kazuchika Okada shaking hands with Katsuyori Shibata, after winning the 2019 New Japan Cup.

The first New Japan Cup took place in 2005, with Hiroshi Tananhashi winning the tournament. Since then, with 14 winners in the past 21 tournaments. On Tanahashi (2), Yugi Nagata (2), Kazuchika Okada (2), Zack Sabre Jr (2) and Hirooki Goto (3) have won the cup more than once, with many wrestlers reaching the final multiple times without winning.

Here is a list of every winner of the New Japan Cup since 2005. Below lists the winner, the year and date they won the cup, as well as who their final opponent was and the match rating for the bout (as voted by fans on Cagematch.net.

YearWinnerDateFinalMatch Rating
2005Hiroshi TanahashiApril 24, 2005Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Manabu NakanishiNot Rated
2006Giant BernardApril 30, 2006Yuji Nagata vs. Giant Bernard7.67
2007Yugi NagataMarch 21, 2007Yuji Nagata vs. Togi Makabe6.75
2008Hiroshi TanahashiMarch 23, 2008Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Giant Bernard7.65
2009Hirooki GotoMarch 22, 2009Hirooki Goto vs. Giant BernardNot Rated
2010Hirooki GotoMarch 22, 2010Togi Makabe vs. Hirooki Goto8.00
2011Yugi NagataMarch 20, 2011Yuji Nagata vs. Shinsuke Nakamura7.69
2012Hirooki GotoApril 8, 2012Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Hirooki Goto8.22
2013Kazuchika OkadaMarch 23, 2013Hirooki Goto vs. Kazuchika Okada7.93
2014Shinsuke NakamuraMarch 23, 2014Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Bad Luck Fale7.29
2015Kota IbushiMarch 15, 2015Hirooki Goto vs. Kota Ibushi7.95
2016Tetsuya NaitoMarch 12, 2016Hirooki Goto vs. Tetsuya Naito7.92
2017Katsuyori ShibataMarch 20, 2017Katsuyori Shibata vs. Bad Luck Fale7.58
2018Zack Sabre JrMarch 21, 2018Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Zack Sabre Jr.9.03
2019Kazuchika OkadaMarch 24, 2019Kazuchika Okada vs. Sanada8.66
2020EVILJuly 11, 2020Kazuchika Okada vs. Evil5.55
2021Will OspreayMarch 21, 2021Shingo Takagi vs. Will Ospreay9.03
2022Zack Sabre JrMarch 27, 2022Tetsuya Naito vs. Zack Sabre Jr.8.48
2023SANADAMarch 21, 2023Sanada vs. David Finlay7.57

Here are some facts about the winners of the New Japan Cup.

  • Giant Bernard, Will Ospreay and Zack Sabre Jr are the only foreign wrestlers to win the tournament (with two of those being English, and one American).
  • The 2018 and 2020 finals are the only ones to be rated over 9.00 by Cagematch.
  • Hirooki Goto has the most New Japan Cup wins (3) and most final appearances (6). However, he has never won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
  • Hirooki Goto, Giant Bernard, Zack Sabre Jr and Katuyori Shibata are the only New Japan Cup winners to never win the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship.

Want to learn more about the New Japan Cup? Check out our guide to NJPW to learn more.

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