NJPW New Japan Cup
March 8, 2015
To those who joined Voices of Wrestling’s New Japan Cup pick’em contest (sponsored by IVPVideos.com), head over to voicesofwrestling.com/njcup15/standings to see where you stand after the second round. Let’s get right to it…
The second round of the New Japan Cup begins tonight! We’ve already seen some upsets in the first round as Okada was once again pinned by Bad Luck Fale, and Hiroshi Tanahashi fell to Toru Yano’s dreaded hair pull roll up. Fale and Yano, along with Tetsuya Naito, Yujiro Takahashi, Kota Ibushi, Togi Makabe, Katsuyori Shibata, and Hirooki Goto, advance to the next round of the tournament. While we have eight here tonight still in contention, by show’s end we’ll be down to four.
Jay White vs. Yoshi-Hashi: Wow, Yoshi Hashi in a singles match. This is fresh new territory, which speaks volumes of his push here. Really simple match. Y-H was on offense forever before White made a good babyface comeback. Y-H tried for his neckbreaker finish, but White transitioned into a rollup for a nearfall. Like most young lions, he fails, however, as he loses to a senton. The crowd was, at least, into the match and enjoyed it, but really nothing special. *3/4
Mascara Dorada, Ryusuke Taguchi, Tiger Mask, Manabu Nakanishi and Satoshi Kojima vs. Kushida, Jushin Liger, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Captain New Japan and Tomoaki Honma: The usual rivals squared off with one another. Tiger Mask and Liger exchanged some mat wrestling, Kushida and Dorada exchanged some great back and forth (hope this is a match somewhere down the line), and even Honma and Nakanishi went at it. He and Taguchi go at it at one point with Taguchi hitting his own version of the kokeshi and actually connecting. Tenzan and Kojima tag in and Kojima lays into him with the chops. Crowd is really into this. CNJ is tagged in and headbutts Kojima to a big reaction. Everybody comes in and gets laid out by Taguchi’s butt attacks. Dorada comes off with a huge moonsault to the floor, wiping out a good majority of the wrestlers. CNJ gets a rollup on Kojima for a nearfall, but Kojima comes to his senses and eventually pins CNJ after a lariat. Pretty good match with good heat. ***¼
After the match, Kojima and Tenzan exchange words with one another. They have to be pulled apart, but it doesn’t end there. Kojima tears from his team and goes after Tenzan but it’s quickly. Kojima gets a mic and yells at Tenzan. He replies by cooly telling him off, at least I think that’s what happened. There’s hostilities brewing as they head toward their NWA title match, that’s for certain.
Yohei Komatsu and Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Yuji Nagata and Sho Tanaka: This is interesting. People popped big time when Tanaka got in the ring and chanted his name when the bell rang, facing off against Tanahashi. Tanaka got some spots in, but Tanahashi dominated him. Tanahashi tags in Komatsu and they go at it a big before Nagata is tagged in and he and Komatsu go at it. Nagata destroys him, working on his bum shoulder and pelting him with kicks before tagging to Tanahashi, who goes at it a bit before Nagata tags in Tanaka, who fires back with a huge deadlift gutwrench suplex. Komatsu comes in, wipes out Tanaka, then wipes out Nagata standing on the apron to the floor, which causes him to come back to the ring but Tanahashi wipes him out. Komatsu lays out Tanaka with a half nelson bridging suplex for a nearfall, then locks in the boston crab while Tanahashi and Nagata duke it out on the outside. Tanaka escapes, but Komatsu beautifully transitions into another boston crab. Tanaka tries valiantly to escape, but can’t, and soon taps out. Really great stuff, the crowd was super into this and that helped things a lot. ***½
Bullet Club (Tama Tonga, Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows and Cody Hall) vs. Chaos (Kazuchika Okada, Shinsuke Nakamura, Kazushi Sakuraba, and Tomohiro Ishii). Anderson and Shibata starts things off, and after some shadow boxing, Anderson spars with Sakuraba to less than desirable results.Nakamura and Tonga follow. Nakamura tags in Ishii and proceeds to no sell everything that Tonga gives him, including a dropkick. Tonga finally gets the heat with a botched thesz press as the rest of Bullet Club brawl on the outside. Cody Hall is tagged in and he’s up against Ishii. Never thought I’d see this, I gotta say. Overall, he looked green at times but wasn’t in long enough to look bad or anything. Jury’s still out here. Gallows continues the heat until he misses an elbow and Ishii lays him out with a deadlift suplex, which gets the crowd into the match. Okada is tagged in and cleans house. Nakamura is in, but it quickly turns into a free for all. Hall comes in and goes back and forth with Nakamura. He lays him out and motions for the razor’s edge but Ishii takes him out. Everyone comes in and brawls for a bit. Hall with a chokeslam but Nakamura dodges and hits a boma ye off the middle rope, then another one for the win. ***1/4
Togi Makabe vs. Yujiro Takahashi. Yujiro’s date for the evening was wearing quite the revealing outfit, and you know the New Japan cameramen made sure to zoom in to leave little to the imagination. Yujiro attacks early, taking him to the outside for the usual barricade shot. Makabe tries to make a comeback but Yujiro clips his leg and works it over. He hits the Miami Shine, but Makabe kicks out. Yujiro follows with a big buckle bomb that looked brutal, but Makabe comes back with a polish hammer and a big lariat. A spider german and the king kong knee drop secures the win for Makabe. ***1/4
Toru Yano vs. Kota Ibushi. Yano makes sure to have every gimmick in the book to wipe out Ibushi. He throws water at him, then trips him into a chair and rolls him up for a nearfall. Yano then fakes being low blowed for a rollup, then grabs the referee and rolls him Ibushi AGAIN for another nearfall. Ibushi comes back with some momentum. Yano tries to whip him into the exposed turnbuckle, but Ibushi hops to the top rope and launches off with a sunset flip for the win. This was the right length needed (read: short) and overall it was pretty entertaining while it lasted. *1/4
Bad Luck Fale vs. Tetsuya Naito. It’s back and forth to start, but when Naito tries for a dive on the outside Fale grabs him and bodyslams him to the floor. He takes Kiddani’s tie (he was on commentary) and chokes Naito with it before taking him back to the ring and working him over. Naito finds an opening by taking out Fale’s knee, securing an indian deathlock. Fale comes back to his feet, grabs Naito and throws him to the turnbuckle. He tries for the grenade but Naito blocks it, then Fale goes for it again but Fale transitions into the indian deathlock again. Fale powers out, but walks into a tornado DDT. He tries for the stardust press but Fale grabs him for the bad luck fall, only for Naito to escape. Fale nails him with a lariat and a grenade but Naito some how kicks out. Another Bad Luck Fall attempt, but Naito hurricanranas him into a pin for the win. Some really sloppy stuff, but the crowd was into it, so this was good. **¾
Hirooki Goto vs. Katsuyori Shibata. Mat wrestling to start things off. Another indian death lock. Maybe Shibata got the idea from the previous match. But of course, things soon break down and it becomes a back and forth slugfest. Shibata puts Goto in a figure four, but after reversing it Goto is lured back in but they eventually reach the ropes. A lot of back and forth here, both looking completely stiff in the process. Shibata drills him with kicks in the corner before dropkicking him right in the face. Goto comes back with his head to knee signature move. Shibata blocks a clothesline and lays out Shibata, selling his arm. He walks into an armbar by Goto but Shibata manages to escape. Two headbutts put Shibata down. Big backhand sends down Goto. He immediately motions for the GTS but instead opts for the penalty kick when Goto escapes, but Goto grabs the knee and hits a discus punch for a one count. A spinning side face slam doesn’t get it either. Goto tries for the shouten kai, and even though he tries his best to avoid it, Shibata is laid out with it and is pinned. Not as good as their other matches, but still a really good main event. ***¾
Final Thoughts: A very good card from top to bottom, with nothing being especially bad. We have Makabe vs. Goto and Naito vs. Ibushi in the semifinal to look forward to, and both of those sound pretty promising. Who will end up winning, I have zero idea at this point. But since the NEVER title is in play for whoever wins, it makes the most sense for Makabe to take this and challenge Ishii at Invasion Attack. Not the most interesting idea, but that’s my best guess right now.