ROH and NJPW announce historic Madison Square Garden show during WrestleMania weekend

Kazuchika Okada, left, or Hiroshi Tanahashi, right, would make for a great first rival for Brock Lesnar if he signed with NJPW. NJPW / TV Asahi

Madison Square Garden is widely regarded as the pro wrestling mecca -- the unofficial home arena of the WWE dating back many decades to a time when the promotion was known as WWF or even the WWWF. The first WrestleMania happened at MSG, as have numerous other major pay-per-views and major moments for the company.

Over that stretch, WWE held a stranglehold on the New York City venue, preventing any other pro wrestling company from running shows there -- but a shift in the relationship over the past seven years has opened the door to a change. In 2019, for the first time in a long time, the "World's Most Famous Arena" will host a show from another brand, as Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling run a historic show during the busiest week of the year in pro wrestling.

On Thursday, ROH and NJPW announced a co-promoted wrestling show, G1 Supercard, at Madison Square Garden on April 6, 2019. The significance of that date is that it puts ROH and NJPW in MSG the night before WrestleMania 35 takes place at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey -- and on the same night that WWE's NXT brand will run a major show of its own at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

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

"This is destined to join a long list of historical wrestling moments and where better to hold it than at Madison Square Garden," added Joe Koff, ROH chief operating officer. "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."

An ROH-MSG partnership had been in the works for some time, but Koff claimed in an interview with PWI's Mike Johnson that WWE got involved in the early stages -- forcing MSG to initially back out on the deal. Though WWE is one of the brands most identified with Madison Square Garden, expensive broadcasting fees have led WWE to air only three shows in recent years -- an episode of Monday Night Raw in November 2009, Survivor Series in November 2011 and a WWE Network Special in 2015.

It's not yet clear if ROH and NJPW intend to broadcast G1 Supercard live.

Past WWE events at MSG had a capacity of over 20,000, but G1 Supercard has the potential to be the biggest show in ROH history. Tickets will go on sale Aug. 8 at 10 a.m. ET for HonorClub members and Aug. 10 for the general public.