New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) held its tournament for the Young Lions (young fighters trained in the company’s dojo), the Young Lion Cup 2017. The tournament counted on 6 of the fighters that are currently developing, among which were: Katsuya Kitamura, Tomoyuki Oka, Hirai Kawato, Ren Narita, Tetsuhiro Yagi and Shota Umino.
After several shows, Katsuya Kitamura managed to rise as the winner of the tournament by defeating Tomoyuki Oka on the final day, held on December 21 at Lion’s Gate 10. Kitamura, who before the match was tied in points with Kawato, needed to win to be with the tournament. After more than 10 minutes of the match, Kitamura overtook Oka after a Spear followed by a Jackhammer for the count of three. In this way, Kitamura managed to impose victories on all his opponents.
At 32, Kitamura gets his first big break in New Japan Pro-Wrestling. Kitamura arrived in NJPW in 2015, where he began training in the dojo under the tutelage of Yuji Nagata and Manabu Nakanishi. Kitamura had his first professional fight against Tomoyuki Oka in the initial show of Lion’s Gate, territory development of the company. In March of this year, he had his first televised match, teaming up with Oka in a duel against Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa). During the year Kitamura has been making a name for his impressive physique and his growing popularity. He also participated in the World Tag League 2017 with David Finlay, getting 0 points after losing all the Tag team matches in the tournament.
After his victory, Kitamura has made comments pointing to a possible trip to the United States. This period is fundamental in the training of the fighters, where they go to other countries to continue their training and finish forming their characters.
After more than 12 years of absence, New Japan announced the return of the tournament dedicated to the memory of Kotetsu Yamamoto, the head of the NJPW dojo, where he worked as a fighter, referee, and commentator. Yamamoto died in 2010 after an encephalopathy. The tournament goes back to the decade of the 70s, being the continuation of the old Karl Gotch Cup. In 1985 there was the first edition and since then it has been made in different formats and in different years, without a fixed calendar. Katsuya Kitamura joins in the eleventh edition the prestigious list of winners of the competition, among which are: Shunji Kosugi, Jushin “Thunder” Liger, Masahiro Chono, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima, Manabu Nakanishi, Kendo Kashin, KENSO, Rysuke Taguchi and Hirooki Goto.