New Japan Pro Wrestling
New Japan Cup 2019 Night 2
March 9, 2019
Dolphins Arena
Nagoya, Aichi, Japan

Watch: NJPW World

2019 New Japan Cup
Lance Archer def. Henare

We start off by teasing a quick upset for Henare. This is Henare’s highest-profile match yet, which is a shame since he is tremendously talented. He has been moved out of young boy status about a year ago but has done little of note since then. Facing off against Archer doesn’t really give him a chance to show off his stuff either.

This match is very one-sided with Archer just beating down Henare outside and inside of the ring. It is also a fairly slow and plodding affair as well, with a few bursts of energy from Henare sprinkled in. In the end, though Archer manages to score a pretty dominant victory. I’m not sure what to make of this booking decision. Archer is 42 years old and broke his back two years ago. His upside is limited at this point and he wouldn’t lose anything by going out in the first round. On the other hand, someone like Henare could gain a bit of momentum by at least making it out of round 1.

2019 New Japan Cup
Mikey Nicholls def. HIKULEO

Mikey Nicholls making his big return to Japan after leaving WWE after a pretty disappointing 3 year run in NXT. While Nicholls trained in the original New Japan LA dojo back in the day, this is only his fourth match in New Japan proper. HIKULEO on the other hand recently made his return from an ACL tear and is still very green with less than a hundred matches under his belt. So far the only thing he has going for is his size, which is genuinely impressive. If he manages to work to that size and fill out the frame he has the potential to become a decent monster.

Like the previous match this a fairly slow affair, but made worse by outside interference from Jado. However, it is impressive seeing Nicholls lift up HIKULEO for his power moves. Nicholls moves on after hitting his Mikey Bomb, which is a pretty dorky name for a finisher.

2019 New Japan Cup
Will Ospreay def. Bad Luck Fale

Yeah, so this wasn’t good. Fale is the worst wrestler in New Japan and its not even close. He has become very sloppy and lazy. I have seen Ospreay have good matches with a variety of opponents, but he wasn’t very good here either. Then again Fale gave him very little to work with, but him overselling Fales offense didn’t help.

New Japan pulled Ospreay from OTT’s big Scrappermania show to work this tour. He was scheduled to face Scotty Davis, who is one of OTT’s biggest prospects. In the past Ospreay has been willing to take falls against fairly unknown guys in order to make and I don’t doubt he would have put over Scotty as well. Instead, New Japan is sending Liger to Ireland as a replacement. This is still a very big match Scotty, who is only 18 years old. Yet he is already an incredibly smooth wrestler, with some devastating looking offense. The match has the potential to be a breakout moment for him, as Liger will attract the attention of a ton of people.

Anyway, Ospreay wins the match with a sloppy roll-up.

2019 New Japan Cup
Kazuchika Okada def. Mike Elgin

This is the fourth singles match between these two, with the other three happening at G1s. Okada is currently carrying a perfect 3-0 record. While the first match was just ok, the other two were great matches. This, unfortunately, has more in common with first match than the other two. Nevertheless, it was the best match of the night by far. But I never had the feeling that Okada was in danger of losing here, which normally is something that he excels at. Still, Elgin was showing off his power moves, which always look great. This tour is Elgin’s return to New Japan as he had been absent from the promotion since the World Tag League. Okada was mostly going through the motions and seems to be saving his best stuff for later in the tournament. After a decent closing stretch, Okada hits the Rainmaker and keeps his perfect record over Elgin to move on to the next round.

Final Thoughts

You can skip this night. The first three matches were outright bad and the main event was just fine. After a very good night one this show was a disappointment. Lets hope the rest of the tournament is more like Night 1.