New Japan Pro Wrestling
New Japan Cup 2015
Saitama, Japan
March 9

When the email came up asking who wanted to review tonight’s card, I happily volunteered. After all, I originally thought tonight would be the semifinals of the New Japan Cup tournament. It wasn’t. I always write out the best reports to you, the Voices of Wrestling universe, but, I looked at this card, and man was it the definition of a house show event. Even the usual one or two interesting singles matches on paper aren’t here. The only singles match features Ryusuke Taguchi. Who finds that interesting? Not me! Even the main event is dull, with the likes of Yoshi-Hashi and Tama Tonga up in the mix. So, it won’t be the most engaging card of all time, but I’ll try my best!

Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Sho Tanaka. Taguchi’s changed his look in recent weeks, wearing heart shaped glasses, has a new catchphrase and a new pose. All of it masks the fact that he’s dull as dirt in the ring and is charismatically inept. People are kind of into him enough though he gets a pass. A lot of the match was Taguchi working on Tanaka’s legs, applying submissions so he can set up for the ankle lock. Tanaka counters with a gutwrench. He tries the half crab but his leg won’t allow him to fully execute it. Taguchi comes back into control, but Tanaka comes back and applies the boston crab, only for Taguchi to grab the ropes. They go back and forth, but eventually Tanaka falls to a dodon. This was perfectly acceptable, but nothing more. **

Satoshi Kojima, Tiger Mask and Mascara Dorada vs. Jushin Thunder Liger, Yohei Komatsu and Hiroyoshi Tenzan. As usual with every New Japan six man, each man pairs off with another and wrestle for a bit. People were into Tenzan and Kojima since they had a pull apart on the last show. They exchanged bumps for a bit but it was nothing noteworthy. Dorada and Komatsu went at it and Komatsu nearly got it with a boston crab but Kojima broke it up. All the other guys brawl around on the outside as Dorada lays out Komatsu and pins him with the tornillo, probably the most interesting and fascinating move on tonight’s card. I know it won’t be until the Super Juniors, but Dorada needs more singles matches. He’s better than just being the guy coming in to do all the fun spots that wake people up. **1/2

Captain New Japan and Yuji Nagata vs. Hirooki Goto and Katsuyori Shibata. Goto and CNJ started off, then it shifted to Nagata and Shibata. They first started to strike, but it turns into a brawl as they whip each other into the barricades. CNJ actually gets the heat on Shibata for a bit, but soon he comes back in full control, and hands it over to Goto. Eventually, it boils down to CNJ versus Shibata and Goto. I think we all know how this goes. CNJ tries to fight them off, but gets cut off Shibata nails the penalty kick for the win. I mean really, is there any logic in teaming with Captain New Japan? He loses every time. And it’s not like Honma where it’s super close. He’s a straight up jobber who broke Tanahashi’s heart when he didn’t tag with him in Taiwan. That also makes him kind of an idiot, I mean you’re teaming with one of the best in the business and you don’t want to keep it going? What a dimwit. OH, the match. Right. Nothing special. **1/2

Tetsuya Naito, Tomoaki Honma and Manabu Nakanishi vs. Bullet Club (Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows and Cody Hall). Gallows and Nakanishi started off and they did a bunch of big guy power moves. Honma went for an aided kokeshi with Naito but Anderson dodges and soon it turns into a brawl, with Bullet Club isolating Honma as the rest are destroyed out in the crowd. Eventually this led to Cody Hall and Naito going at it once the faces recover. Hall busts out a great looking discus lariat but Naito kicks out. Honma hits torpedo kokeshis on the heels as Naito goes for a crossbody but Cody rolls through, only for Naito to take him out anyway. He allows Honma to hit the kokeshi and follows that with the stardust press and pins Hall for the win. ***

Gedo, Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kushida and Togi Makabe. Ishii and Makabe go at it, then Tanahashi comes in and wants Yano. Ishii obliges, but Yano immediately scurries away and tags in Gedo. Kushida takes care of Gedo, but he’s the one they all end up working over. Tanahashi finally comes in and gets Yano all to himself, but Yano cuts him off and it’s back to Makabe and Ishii. Gedo is tagged in and of course, he’s the one pinned as Tanahashi and Kushida fly off with crossbodies to the floor as Makabe picks up the win with the king kong knee drop. **3/4

Shinsuke Nakamura, Yoshi Hashi and Kazuchika Okada vs. Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga and Yujiro Takahashi. Fale and Okada opted to start off and things don’t go well for Okada who gets thrown into the barricade. Nakamura pairs off with Tonga, and Yujiro with Yoshi Hashi. Again, the Bullet Club manage to take out all the faces and fling them around the arena at their will. After working on Yoshi Hashi a bit both Okada and Fale are tagged in again. Okada tries to gain momentum but Fale cuts him off, only for Okada to cut HIM off and dropkicks him after a grenade attempt. Next up are Tonga and Nakamura, and Nakamura wipes out Tonga with the boma ye off the middle rope, then another on the ground for the win. Completely by the numbers match. **1/2

Final Thoughts: A pretty boring house show. I don’t mind New Japan tags too much, but they all have a formula and usually don’t deviate from them, leaving to pretty predictable matches. It’s a house show card, though, so that’s to be expected. Really a nothing show overall though.