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Ring of Honor, New Japan Pro-Wrestling set for Madison Square Garden show in 2019

For The Baltimore Sun

For the first time in decades, a non-WWE wrestling company will run a show at Madison Square Garden in New York, as Ring of Honor announced they were partnering with New Japan Pro-Wrestling to put on a show at The Garden on April 6, 2019.

While WWE (or more specifically, NXT) runs the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., on the Saturday night of Wrestlemania Weekend, ROH and NJPW will run the building that was once synonymous with the WWE. However, because of rising costs and restrictions, WWE has not run a pay-per-view, or any televised show, at “the mecca” since 2011.

Enter Ring of Honor, which will be trying to make an even bigger splash after breaking its attendance record at this year's Wrestlemania Weekend show, where they sold 6,000 tickets even while going up against NXT Takeover. Despite earlier reports that WWE was trying to block ROH from running MSG, ROH announced Thursday that they would be hosting a show on the night before Wrestlemania.

In the release, ROH COO Joe Koff said: “This is destined to join a long list of historical wrestling moments and where better to hold it than at Madison Square Garden. I am extremely proud of what we have been able to achieve as a company and am very appreciative of how great our relationship with New Japan Pro-Wrestling has become. However, none of this would be possible without our fans, who are truly the best in the world. Madison Square Garden would not be possible without them and for that I am most grateful.”

Graham Cawthon, who wrote “Holy Ground: 50 Years of WWE at Madison Square Garden” about the history of wrestling at Madison Square Garden, estimated that the last wrestling show at MSG that didn't have a McMahon in charge would have taken place in the 1940s.

Joel Fisher, executive vice president of MSG Marquee Events, said in the release: “We are thrilled to welcome Ring of Honor Wrestling and New Japan Pro-Wrestling to Madison Square Garden for the much anticipated G1 Supercard. We expect April 6th to be another memorable night of wrestling at The World’s Most Famous Arena.”

While the show is still nine months away, top NJPW stars Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Tetsuya Naito were already announced for the show. Tickets will go on sale in August, months before any WWE-related tickets for the weekend will go on sale.

Questions? Thoughts? Leave them in the comments section here, email me, or find me on Twitter: @TheAOster. You can also hear my podcast, Jobbing Out, at https://soundcloud.com/jobbingout

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