New Japan Cup 2015 – Finals
Sunday March 15, 2015
Hiroshima Sun Plaza Hall
Hiroshima, Japan

The New Japan Cup finals are here today, and we’ve got four dudes ready to risk it all to win the cup and challenge for the title of their choice at Invasion Attack. Tetsuya Naito, Kota Ibushi, Hirooki Goto and Togi Makabe all vye for the big prize tonight, and the big question is if we’ll see any classic matches as we usually see on a New Japan show. I’ve already seen the results (I love to spoil myself because I’m like that) and it looks like it could be a hell of a main event. I’m excited, and I know you’re excited because this is up so late in the afternoon (I like to sleep really late, if you’re wondering why I can cover all of these shows in the middle of the night) so let’s skip pleasantries and get right into the action!

Editor’s Note: We’re also pleased to announce our three prize-winners in the New Japan Cup pick’em contest, you can find our winners and full standings at the bottom of the review.

Tiger Mask, Mascara Dorada and Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Jushin Liger, Jay White and Kushida: Dorada has a new look and outfit, complete with topless mask to let out that long, flowing hair. Hey, I noticed it confined in that mask a few times, so I guess it makes sense to just show it to the world finally. I was hoping for a more mullet-y look but I guess we can never really get what we want in life. Everyone did huge splashes on the outside, with Kushida finishing it off with a big tope suicida off the turnbuckle. It’s down to White and Dorada, so you know where this goes. Dorada hits a rope walk moonsault followed by a Michinoku driver for the win. Pretty fun opener. ***

Jushin Liger grabbed a mic and exchanged words with Tiger Mask after the match, with them shaking hands. So it’ll be a nice, clean technical bout on 3/22!

Yuji Nagata and Sho Tanaka vs. Satoshi Kojima and Yohei Komatsu: As one would expect, Nagata and Kojima exchanged back and forth, as well as the Young Lions, both pairing off with each other. Interesting finish. Kojima and Nagata isolate themselves on the outside, allowing Komatsu to roll into the half crab, Tanaka eventually tapping out. It’s usually not the young lion getting the win here, so maybe it’s the start of something more for the two? Probably not, but I found it interesting regardless. The match was pretty good, but nothing noteworthy. **3/4

(New Japan Cup Semi-Final) Togi Makabe vs. Hirooki Goto: They started off strong by going to the outside, with Goto whipping Makabe into the barricade. He started working on his knee. Makabe comes back with some strong punches and lays him out with a lariat, then another one in the corner. Goto punches him back into the tree of woe position, gets behind him and hits a draping neckbreaker for a nearfall. Makabe tries for a comeback, but Goto gets the leg and wraps it around him, transitioning into a pin and getting the win. This was good, but certainly not even close to the same level as their previous matches, though that’s to be expected as both Makabe and another guy will have to wrestle twice tonight. **3/4

(New Japan Cup Semi-Final) Kota Ibushi vs. Tetsuya Naito: Golden Stardust explodes! And it’s almost virtually guaranteed to be a better match than the last time a Golden Stardust fought. A lot of this match was Ibushi getting worked on repeatedly. Naito did his comeback, a huge german suplex, everything. Naito missed a dragon suplex when Ibushi opted to land on his feet (!) and start a comeback of his own. Naito, however, comes back with a huge reverse rana off the top rope, Ibushi spiking his head in the process. Holy cow. Natio spikes him again with a hurricanrana but only gets a nearfall. Ibushi catches him in a wheelbarrow position and drops him RIGHT ON THE BACK OF HIS NECK. GEEZ, do these guys want to end up like Yoshitatsu or Bushi? Ibushi finally gets the win with a press powerbomb. A great match with some downright crazy spots. ****

Katsuyori Shibata and Tomoaki Honma vs. Cody Hall and Tama Tonga: Honma wanted to start the match, but Shibata would have none of it and threw him to the outside. Shibata tags in Honma and he ends up getting worked on by Tonga until he catches him with a deadlift suplex. Tonga comes back and tags in Hall who hits his awesome discus lariat. Hall is green, obviously, but has showed tons of potential since starting out on the road this month. Shibata holds up Hall for a lariat but Honma instead hits Shibata by accidently, allowing the heels to come back. They eventually come back and do it again, this time Honma hitting a torpedo kokeshi. Shibata wipes out Hall with the penalty kick and Honma follows with a kokeshi from the top rope for the win. This was actually a really good match with great heat since, well, it’s Honmamania here! ***1/2

Honma and Shibata have a staredown after the match. It seems pretty likely they’re building to something between these two.

Toru Yano and Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi and Captain New Japan: One of the first parts of this match were Hiroshi Tanahashi and Sakuraba chain wrestling. Then Tanahashi tags in Captain New Japan, who wants him, and Sakuraba outclasses him. I said in the preview the other day that this would be a match that would be better than people thought. Was I on something that day? This actually looks really lame on paper. But in the end, I was right, so HA. They had a match people were into, at least. They got the heat on CNJ. Tanahashi comes in and chain wrestles Sakuraba again, then Yano comes in. Tanahashi tries the high fly flow but Yano gets the knees up and a quick two count. Yano messes with CNJ’s mask, taking him out, allowing Yano to get the win after a kick by Sakuraba and flash pin by Yano. Yup, these two are totally having a match at Invasion Attack. Deal with it. **3/4

Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Doc Gallows, Karl Anderson and Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Chaos (Yoshi Hashi, Shinsuke Nakamura, Tomohiro Ishii and Kazuchika Okada): Hashi is worked on a bit, but Nakamura is tagged in and does his comeback on Anderson. Ishii and Gallows come in and the announcer goes MAD when Ishii hits a big suplex on him.  Okada is tagged in, and Fale follows, but Okada has him down until Yujiro grabs his knee, allowing the heels to come back and work on him. Everyone runs around for a second before it’s back to just Okada and Fale. Okada takes him out with a dropkick and does the pose, but when he tries for the rainmaker gets caught and hits the grenade for a nearfall. Bad Luck Fall time but the rest of Chaos come back and help Okada. Nakamura comes back with a boma ye, and that allows Okada to hit the rainmaker and pin Fale, setting up their Invasion Attack match most likely. A solid match. ***

New Japan Cup Finals – Hirooki Goto vs. Kota Ibushi: Goto takes out Ibushi early with a lariat that sends Ibushi doing a 360 onto the apron. Ibushi comes back with a hurricanrana and his big moonsault off the turnbuckle to the floor. Ibushi hits a german, but Goto pops right back up only to be taken down with an enziguri. Ibushi tries for something off the top rope, but Goto keeps fighting him off, only for Ibushi to launch off with a huge hurricanrana off the top rope, sending Goto careening to the floor! He cuts him off and gets some near falls, but Ibushi responds with a lariat. After some more back and forth, Ibushi hits the press powerbomb that won him the semifinal but Goto kicks out. Ibushi responds with a phoenix splash, and that secures him the match and the New Japan Cup. I think the semifinal was better, but this turned out to be a pretty good match, just something missing that is usually here in big New Japan main events. ***1/2

Ibushi is awarded the New Japan Cup (which is an incredible looking trophy I might add) as well as FIVE MILLION YEN. I guess he’s not going broke anytime soon. Shinpei Nogami comes to the ring and asks Ibushi which title he’s going for- the Intercontinental, NEVER, or Heavyweight titles? Ibushi mulls it over, but eventually decides that he wants AJ, which the crowd pops for. So it’s set that at Invasion Attack, it will be Kota Ibushi challenging AJ Styles for the IWGP Heavyweight championship. Sounds like a hell of a match!

Final Thoughts: A good, but not great show. The crowd was fine, the wrestling was fine, but only one match really stood out and that was the Ibushi/Naito semifinal. That was a hell of a bout with some sick spots. Everything else was solid to good, but just kind of there. A lot of interesting storyline development as well, with Yano getting another win over Tanahashi, Fale losing to Okada and Shibata/Honma starting up some tension between one another. For those who say that NJPW is getting stale, at the very least next month’s big card is hoping to change that perception.

New Japan Cup 2015 Pick’Em Final Results

Jody Plante566522
David Peacock763521
David Penton763521
Ewen M763521
Mitch Parsells763521
Paul Völsch763521
Alan Counihan743519
Dan Atwood563519
Matt Nielson743519
Abrasive Obelisk643518
Aidan Daly643518
Antonio Edwards643518
Ben Drake643518
J Wong346518
Paco Silva643518
Ryan Foster643518
Trent Williams463518
Albert Ambou "Capu"543517
Ben Brunette543517
Chris Burnett543517
Derek Drago543517
Ed Burns723517
Greg P723517
Jason Bullock543517
Jesse Von Ruden543517
JoJo Remy543517
Sean Flynn543517
van Order543517
Wyatt Eddy543517
Bastian Sauer623516
Chris Maffei443516
Monty Rimorin623516
Niall Hallinan443516
Rene Valdez443516
Brennan Bajdek523515
Connor Murphy663015
Daniel Mason663015
Darren Lyne663015
Eddie Merrill523515
Jonathan Parsons703515
Keith Campbell663015
Lawrence O'Brien343515
Marcus Origer343515
Gin Malkavar563014
J Mull743014
João Passos423514
Alex Pena760013
Jordan Benterman643013
Matt Pecolatto323513
Rob Barry323513
Callum Hodges223512
Nello De Angelis223512
Allen Vick443011
Bill Knust740011
Brian Brennan740011
Jared Welch443011
Jason Felix623011
Lee Thomas443011
Luuk van Egeraat740011
Alejandro Giménez640010
Caitlin Lipinski640010
Damon McDonald640010
David Rapp640010
Jonathan Stanley640010
Josh Engleman640010
Phil Williams640010
Tenese Sarwieh640010
Andrew Bates54009
Andrew Rich54009
Berry Meijer54009
Brendan Quinn54009
CJ Lowe54009
Drew Wardlaw54009
Joe Gagne54009
Joseph Currier54009
Kenny Ortiz54009
Kevin Hare72009
Kyle Conzett54009
Lee West42309
Mario Morrison54009
Matt McEwen72009
Max S72009
Michael Spears54009
Neil McNerlan54009
Oliver Court72009
Will Young72009
Alex Giardini62008
alex panos62008
Brandon Gordon (BackLash)62008
Brian Kline62008
Chris Harrington44008
Dan Brookes44008
Danny Hernandez44008
Gregg Mixdorf44008
Jesse Belsom62008
Junito Villafranca44008
Kyle Blevins44008
Lou Pickney44008
MacLean Craig44008
mark berlowitz44008
Patrick Fleming62008
Richard St. Hil44008
Sean N62008
Theo Wilson62008
Andy Fitzgerald52007
Benjamin Devasir52007
Christopher Duarte34007
Daniel MacKinnon70007
Eric Clingersmith52007
Filip Pejic52007
gabriel perez52007
James Hagan52007
John Cunningham34007
Kris Britland52007
Matt Gerardi52007
Matt Hargrove52007
Rich Kraetsch52007
Rob Reid52007
Ru Gunn52007
Scott Glover52007
Taylor Gibson22307
Tommy Livingstone52007
Will Housell52007
Anthony Perillo42006
Azri Firman Bin Aqil42006
Jamie MacDonald (The Scrap)42006
Joel Kizewski42006
Jon (Empire)42006
Joseph Roche42006
Kent Sinkler42006
Matt Rolder42006
Michael Levy42006
Robert McCarron42006
Sean Sedor42006
Adrian Gaskin32005
Allan Blackstock32005
Chris Hernandez32005
David Dunn32005
Greg Nasty32005
Henry Rivers32005
Jake R.32005
Keith Harris50005
Mike Langford32005
Tim Kelly32005
Balint Mario40004
Dave Christian40004
Matt Schorr40004
Rana Murphy40004
Victor van Zoest40004
David Naismith30003
Jason Owen30003
Ryan Smith30003
Santiago Tomasi30003
Paul Whitmore10001

Thanks to everyone who participated this year, be sure to support our sponsor! Congratulations to our three prize winners:

  • 3rd: David Penton took home third place as a result of the tiebreaker and wins 4 free discs from IVP.
  • 2nd: Jody Plante outsmarted all but one en route to second place and wins 6 free discs from IVP.
  • 1st: Congratulations to our winner, the thumbster who nailed all the results from today’s show and will win himself 10 free discs at IVP.

Special thanks to Jason Felix (@Felix824) for inspiring us to run this contest and Josh Engleman (@JoshEngleman) for running most of the back-end operations of the process. Follow these good people and once again, thanks to all who participated!