New Japan Pro Wrestling
New Japan Cup 2019: Night 4
March 11, 2019
Takamatsu City Gymnasium
Takamatsu, Kagawa, Japan

Watch: NJPW World

2019 New Japan Cup – 1st Round
Toru Yano def. Davey Boy Smith Jr.

These two met in the opening round of last year’s New Japan Cup, and Yano won that one via count out. The english commentary team (during the undercard tags involving these two) have been putting over the fact that Davey Boy Smith Jr. was still upset about that loss, and wanted to get payback. During the first few stops on this tour, DBS and Yano got pinfalls over each other in undercards tags in the build up to this rematch (Yano pinned DBS on Night 2, while DBS pinned Yano in Night 3). Their bout kicked off the final night of first round action and, unfortunately for DBS, he fell victim to Yano once again. This time, Yano caught DBS in a rollup in just under six minutes. There really wasn’t much to this one. DBS chased Yano around the building before the bell even rang, and then proceeded to kick Yano’s ass for the majority of the bout. I don’t even think Yano hit an actual offensive move in the match at all. The only things he did were roll ups and other pin attempts until one actually worked out for him. This was a quick and easy match to sit through, but if you’re short on time, you can easily skip it. **

2019 New Japan Cup – 1st Round
Colt Cabana def. Togi Makabe

I really wasn’t sure who was going to come out on top in this one. While I wanted Colt Cabana to win, with the hopes of getting that highly anticipated Colt Cabana/Toru Yano rematch in the 2nd Round (I’m sure many others were hoping for that as well), I wasn’t totally confident about him beating Togi Makabe, who is still treated like a semi-big star on the babyface side of the roster (for reasons that are well documented). To my surprise, Cabana managed to defeat Makabe after catching him in his Superman pin. This only went about seven minutes or so, but it was fine while it lasted. Cabana did some of his typical stuff (a little bit of comedy early before going into his World Of Sport offense), while Makabe seemed to treat this as a night off (maybe because he knew he was losing)? The crowd seemed to get a little more into Cabana as the match went on, and finish did get a big reaction. A perfectly average bout that (to me, anyway) was more about establishing Cabana and setting up his showdown with Yano. It wasn’t terrible by any means, but again, if you don’t have a ton of time, you don’t need to seek this one out. **1/2

2019 New Japan Cup – 1st Round
Minoru Suzuki def. Satoshi Kojima

This was where business finally started to pick up a bit. Of course, these two have a long history with each other. They’ve been rivals for many years (not just in New Japan), and the faction that we now know as Suzuki-gun was at one point Kojima-gun (Suzuki stole the leadership role from Kojima several years back). I was really looking forward to this one, and while it wasn’t a truly stellar match, it was a lot of fun to watch from start to finish. The only real downside to this one was the crowd brawling early on, which culminated with Suzuki nailing Kojima in the head with a chair. Outside of that bit, the rest of the match was very entertaining. Two veterans beating the crap out of each other with hard chops and vicious strikes? What’s not to love about that? It was really cool to see Kojima in a spot like this again, and he gave it his all against Suzuki. At one point, he nailed this awesome vertical drop brainbuster for a nice nearfall. The final few minutes featured some great back and forth action, but Suzuki ultimately emerged victorious after hitting a quick Gotch Piledriver (almost out of nowhere). A super enjoyable match between these two. If you’re a fan of both guys, then I’m sure you’ll have a blast watching this one. ***1/2

2019 New Japan Cup – 1st Round
SANADA def. Hirooki Goto

After Hirooki Goto was in the ring for the closing angle at the 47th Anniversary Show (along with Ibushi, Okada, and Tanahashi), some saw that as a sign that he was going deep into this tournament. Well, that didn’t happen, as Goto got knocked out in the final first round match after SANADA hit him with a moonsault. This main event was a little slow to get going (they spent the first minute or two playing to the crowd), but the intensity picked up as the match progressed, and it eventually turned into a great match. The second half of the bout was particularly strong, as both men nailed some of their signature moves. There were plenty of cool counters as well, and the crowd in Takamatsu was very much into the by the end. These two have such good chemistry with each other. They never give you that really exceptional match, but they always deliver quality singles bouts. It should be interesting to see how far SANADA goes in this tournament. I don’t think anyone expects him to win, but he certainly has the chance to make a deep run. ****

Final Thoughts

Night 4 of the 2019 New Japan Cup was very similar to Night 2. The main event is well worth checking out, but the rest of the tournament matches weren’t nearly as good. If I had to pick one over the other, I would say Night 4 would have the edge over Night 2, because Kojima/Suzuki was definitely better than any of the other tournament bouts from the second night (aside from Okada/Elgin). DBS/Yano and Cabana/Makabe aren’t really worth your time, but the important thing to take away from those two bouts is that they set up the Cabana/Yano rematch in the second round. Some hits and misses on this show for sure, but the hits are certainly worth watching.