New Japan Pro Wrestling
New Japan Cup Night 3
March 10, 2019
Baycom Gymnasium (Amagasaki Memorial Park Gymnasium)
Hyogo, Japan

Watch: NJPW World

2019 New Japan Cup 1st Round Match
Ryusuke Taguchi Def. Hiroyoshi Tenzan

This is the perfect match to kick things off for the tournament matches of the night. It was nice, simple work, Taguchi can turn off people because of all his goofy comedy but bell-to-bell he’s always really good and Tenzan isn’t at the Nakanishi stage yet. I winced when Taguchi put Tenzan in the Ankle Lock because of the state of his ankles. Taguchi scores the upset with the Kido Clutch. ***

2019 New Japan Cup 1st Round Match
Hiroshi Tanahashi Def. Shota Umino

The ace versus the future ace. This was really good, Shota is more than ready for excursion and should be sent off ASAP, he just shows so much fire that a lot of young wrestlers lack, he gets the ‘Harley Duncan certified superstar guarantee’. There was an incredible near fall when Shota caught Tanahashi in a roll up that absolutely sucked me in. Really good stuff, worth watching. ***1/2

2019 New Japan Cup 1st Round Match
Zack Sabre Jr. Def. EVIL

These two had a really good match last month and this one was better in my humble and correct opinion. There was some really great technical wrestling which you can obviously expect from Zack but you don’t see it so much from EVIL so it was cool to see that here. I know it’s a bit hokey but I always pop when EVIL does the referee assisted magic killer. The closing stretch to this was great filled with tons of cool back and forth counters until Zack finally catches EVIL in the Hurrah! Another Year, Surely This One Will Be Better Than the Last; The Inexorable March of Progress Will Lead Us All to Happiness and EVIL is forced to tap. Great match. ****

2019 New Japan Cup 1st Round Match
Kota Ibushi Def. Tetsuya Naito

These two can’t help but have a banger everyone time they wrestle. There was a fantastic opening exchange that really set the pace for the match. There so many head and neck drops it got scary. There were a few things in this match that that really exemplified the fact that Naito is the best total package in the world right now for me and none more so then the little wry smile he gave before and after Tombstoning Ibushi on the apron. Ibushi picks up the win that is sure miff some of my fellow Naito stans, but this is a fine result, it gives Naito a challenger (and someone to take the title off him) before he gets ready to win the G1. Superb pro wrestling. ****1/2

Final Thoughts

In my opinion, the strongest show of the tour so far. All the tournament matches are worth watching for their own reasons. I got really nothing else to say, if you like wrestling then just watch this show.