Young Lion Cup

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"Young Lions Cup" redirects here. For the championship competed for in Chikara, see Chikara Young Lions Cup.

The Young Lion Cup is an in-frequent professional wrestling tournament promoted by New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) as a means of showcasing the younger talent on their roster. The tournament is the successor to the Karl Gotch Cup that NJPW promoted in the 1970s. The Young Lion Cup is a round-robin tournament in the same style as NJPW's annual G1 Climax tournament. NJPW has held the tournament twelve times since 1985, with the most recent tournament held in 2005. Wrestlers traditionally earn 2 points for a victory, 1 point for any sort of draw and 0 points for a loss. The two wrestlers with the most points at the end of the round-robin tournament will then face off in a singles match for the Young Lion Cup trophy.[1] The winners of the Young Lion Cup would also be rewarded with an learning excursion overseas.

Young Lion Cup winners[edit]

Tournament Year Winner Total won Reference
Young Lion Cup 1985 Shunji Kosugi 1 [2]
Young Lion Cup 1986 Keiichi Yamada 1 [2]
Young Lion Cup 1987 Masahiro Chono 1 [2]
Young Lion Cup 1989 Naoki Sano 1 [2]
Young Lion Cup 1991 Michiyoshi Ohara 1 [2]
Young Lion Cup 1993 Hiroyoshi Yamamoto 1 [2]
Young Lion Cup 1994 Satoshi Kojima 1 [2]
Young Lion Cup 1995 Manabu Nakanishi 1 [2]
Young Lion Cup 1996 Tokimitsu Ishizawa 1 [2]
Young Lion Cup 2000 Kenzo Suzuki 1 [3]
Young Lion Cup 2002 Kenzo Suzuki 2  
Young Lion Cup 2004 Ryusuke Taguchi 1  
Young Lion Cup 2005 Hirooki Goto 1 [4]


Shunji Kosugi defeated Keiichi Yamada by pinfall (21:00)[2][5]


Keiichi Yamada defeated Tatsutoshi Goto by pinfall (12:49)[2]


Masahiro Chono defeated Shinya Hashimoto by pinfall (14:11)[2]


Naoki Sano defeated Hiro Saito by pinfall (10:43)[2][6]


The 1991 Young Lion Cup featured a league with at least four wrestlers, although more may have participated. The four confirmed participants were Michiyoshi Ohara, Koji Kanemoto, Hiroyoshi Yamamoto, and Osamu Nishimura.

Block structure
Michiyoshi Ohara Winner
Koji Kanemoto Runner up
Hiroyoshi Yamamoto Unknown
Osamu Nishimura Unknown


Hiroyoshi Yamamoto defeated Osamu Nishimura by pinfall (14:11)[2]


The 1994 Young Lion Cup featured a league with at least four wrestlers, although more may have participated. The four confirmed participants were Satoshi Kojima, Manabu Nakanishi, Nobukazu Hirai from WAR, and Tatsuhito Takaiwa. The league scores remain unclear but Kojima and Nakanishi qualified for the finals where Kojima defeated Nakanishi by submission.[2][7]

Block structure
Satoshi Kojima Winner
Manabu Nakanishi Runner up
Nobukazu Hirai Unknown
Tatsuhito Takaiwa Unknown


The 1995 Young Lion Cup featured a league with at least six participants, although more may have participated. The confirmed participants were Manabu Nakanishi, Yuji Nagata, Yuki Ishikawa from Pro Wrestling Fujiwara Gumi, Tokimitsu Ishizawa, Tatsuhito Takaiwa, and Shinjiro Otani. The final league scores remain unclear but Nakanishi and Nagata both qualified for the final match, this was the second time Nakanishi had made it to the main event. In the finals Nakanishi defeated Nagata to claim the Young Lion Cup trophy.[2][8]

Block structure
Manabu Nakanishi Winner
Yuji Nagata Runner up
Yuki Ishikawa Unknown
Tokimitsu Ishizawa Unknown
Tatsuhito Takaiwa Unknown
Shinjiro Otani Unknown


Tokimitsu Ishizawa defeated Yuji Nagata by pinfall (12:27)[2][9] Nagata is the only wrestler to have lost in two semi-finals.


NJPW brought back the Young Lion Cup in 2000 with a round-robin tournament that took place between April 14 and May 5, 2000 during NJPW's "Strong Energy II 2000" tour. The tournament featured five rookies from NJPW, Shinya Makabe, Kenzo Suzuki, Wataru Inoue, Katsuyori Shibata and Hiroshi Tanahashi as well as Masakazu Fukuda from the G-EGGS promotion. The tournament was marred by a tragedy on the first night when Masakazu Fukuda was hurt by a flying elbow smash from Shibata. Following the blow he collapsed on the mat and was taken to the hospital. He died five days later from an internal brain hemorrhage. The rest of the tournament was dedicated to Fukuda's memory. Both Shinya Makabe and Kenzo Suzuki remained undefeated after the first four rounds, qualifying them for the final before they had even wrestled the final match of the league. On April 30, 2000 Makabe defeated Suzuki, making him the only undefeated wrestler in the tournament.[1] On May 5, 2000 during Wrestling Dontaku 2000, Kenzo Suzuki defeated Makabe to win the 2000 Young Lion Cup.[3]

Block structure
Shinya Makabe 10
Kenzo Suzuki 8
Katsuyori Shibata 6
Hiroshi Tanahashi 4
Wataru Inoue 2
Masakazu Fukuda (Deceased) 0
Young Lion Cup Fukuda Inoue Makabe Shibata Suzuki Tanahashi
Fukuda X Inoue (Forfeit) Makabe (Forfeit) Shibata (Forfeit) Suzuki (Forfeit) Tanahashi (Forfeit)
Inoue Inoue (Forfeit) X Makabe Shibata Suzuki Inoue
Makabe Makabe (Forfeit) Makabe X Makabe Makabe Makabe
Shibata Shibata (Forfeit) Shibata Makabe X Suzuki Shibata
Suzuki Suzuki (Forfeit) Suzuki Makabe Suzuki X Suzuki
Tanahashi Tanahashi (Forfeit) Inoue Makabe Shibata Suzuki X


Kenzo Suzuki defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi by pinfall (12:41). This made Suzuki the only wrestler to have won the Young Lion Cup twice.


Ryusuke Taguchi defeated Kazuya Yuasa by pinfall (11:20)


The 2005 Young Lion Cup was the twelfth and most recent tournament held by NJPW and ran from to March 3 to March 23, 2005. The league matches took place during NJPW's "Big Fight Series 2005" tour and the final was on their NJPW "Nexess V" show. The tournament was scheduled to feature seven wrestlers but Tommy Williams was injured and had to withdraw from the competition without wrestling a single match, forfeiting all matches. The tournament also featured Naofumi Yamamoto, Yujiro, Hiroshi Nagao and Akiya Anzawa, in addition to the top two point scores Hirooki Goto (9 points) and Hiroyuki Ito (11 points). In the league Ito wrestled to a draw against Goto and won the other five matches, making him the only undefeated participant.[10] On March 23, 2005 Hirooki Goto defeated Hiroyuki Ito to win the 2005 Young Lion Cup.[4]

Block structure
Hiroyuki Ito 11
Hirooki Goto 9
Akiya Anzawa 8
Hiroshi Nagao 6
Yujiro 4
Naofumi Yamamoto 4
Tommy Williams (Withdrew) 0
Young Lion Cup Anzawa Goto Ito Nagao Williams Yamamoto Yujiro
Anzawa X Anzawa (08:51) Ito (07:59) Anzawa (07:42) Anzawa (Forfeit) Anzawa (07:16) Yujiro (10:04)
Goto Anzawa (08:51) X Draw (20:00) Goto (06:03) Goto (Forfeit) Goto (05:53) Goto (07:19)
Ito Ito (07:59) Draw (20:00) X Ito (03:54) Ito (Forfeit) Ito (06:56) Nagao (08:47)
Nagao Anzawa (07:42) Goto (06:03) Ito (03:54) X Nagao (Forfeit) Nagao (09:02) Yamamoto (06:05)
Williams Anzawa (Forfeit) Goto (Forfeit) Ito (Forfeit) Nagao (Forfeit) X Yamamoto (Forfeit) Yujiro (Forfeit)
Yamamoto Anzawa (07:16) Goto (05:53) Yamamoto (06:05) Nagao (09:02) Yamamoto (Forfeit) X Yamamoto (06:05)
Yujiro Yujiro (10:04) Goto (07:19) Ito (06:56) Nagao (08:47) Yujiro (Forfeit) Yamamoto (06:05) X


  1. ^ a b "STRONG ENERGY II 2000". Strong Style Spirit. April 14–30, 2010. Retrieved June 2, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). "Japan: New Japan Young Lion Cup Champion". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. p. 376. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4. 
  3. ^ a b "NJPW "Wrestling Dontaku 2000 - Epilogue of Dragon 1st", 5/5/00". Strong Style Spirit. May 5, 2000. Retrieved June 2, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "NJPW "Nexess V", 3/26/05". Strong Style Spirit. March 23, 2005. Retrieved June 2, 2010. 
  5. ^ "NJPW "Super Powers Clash", 4/24/89 (WPW)". Strong Style Spirit. Retrieved June 2, 2010. 
  6. ^ "NJPW, 4/18/85 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan". Strong Style Spirit. Retrieved June 2, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Partial results from 1994". Strong Style Spirit. Retrieved June 2, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Muscle Storm 1995 (3/7/95 to 3/27/95)". Strong Style Spirit. Retrieved June 2, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Partial results from 1995". Strong Style Spirit. Retrieved June 2, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Big Fight Series 2005 (3/4/05 to 3/21/05)". Strong Style Spirit. Retrieved June 2, 2010.