New Japan Pro Wrestling
New Japan Cup 2020 Night 4
June 23, 2020
Korakuen Hall
Tokyo, Japan

Watch: NJPW World

New Japan Cup 2020 Preview & Predictions

New Japan Cup 2020 Full Preview

Voices of Wrestling New Japan Cup 2020 Staff Picks & Predictions

Welcome to night 4 and the final night of the first round of the 2020 New Japan Cup! After a solid first 3 nights, this is the least exciting night on paper but still has a good chance to deliver. The empty arena aesthetic is one of the better ones in the pro wrestling landscape, as New Japan has done a really good job simultaneously ignoring and acknowledging the fact that there are no fans in the arena.

New Japan Cup First Round – BUSHI def. YOH

This match was an interesting one on paper, as these two were a major part of the IWGP Junior Tag Team Title feud throughout the end of 2018 and the first half of 2019. SHO and YOH ended up getting the better of BUSHI and Shingo Takagi, mainly because the aforementioned Takagi moved up to heavyweight.

The match itself was a solid opener as they spent the entire match going back and forth. BUSHI hit YOH with a neck breaker on the top of the barricade early in the match that led to a short control segment and continues to soften up the neck/head throughout the match. YOH spent the match throwing a lot of kicks and kept going for the dragon suplex which he couldn’t hit and that would be the story of the match. BUSHI hit a cool looking pendulum style DDT from the second rope onto the apron and would follow that up with numerous Codebreaker/facebuster variations to set up the MX, which he hit for the pin. Overall, a good match, but not one that you need to seek out. ***

New Japan Cup First Round YOSHI-HASHI def. Hiroyoshi Tenzan

Man, I was already not looking forward to this match and YOSHI-HASHI sealed that even more with his lifeless entrance. A paper bag shows more emotion than NJPW’s bag of socks. Pair that with Hiroyoshi Tenzan, who can barely move and you have a recipe for disaster.

After starting with a collar and elbow tie-up, this ended up being a decent, hard-hitting match where Tenzan’s chest was beat red after 5 minutes. Throughout the match, they exchanged slaps, clotheslines and chops, enhancing the beat red chest of Tenzan. Towards the end of the match, they both attempted top rope spots to no avail, including a nice looking moonsault from Tenzan, who moved much better than I had seen in some time.

We do need to talk about YOSHI-HASHI’s Butterfly Lock though. Is it the worst submission in the history of wrestling? It doesn’t look painful nor does it look impressive. How am I supposed to believe that someone would quit because of it? Especially after seeing the move right after the Anaconda Vice from Tenzan, it looked like utter shit and was a major downer to end the match. Considering the two combatants, it ended up being pretty good overall but a terrible finish. **1/2

CHAOS (SHO, Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano, Kazuchika Okada) vs Los Ingobernables de Japon (SANADA, Shingo Takagi, Hiromu Takahashi, Tetsuya Naito) – DCOR

From the get-go, I knew this was going to be a fun match. When LIJ started making their entrances, Hiromu came out looking all nervous and scared, knowing full well that king of the shenanigans and the farmers tan Toru Yano was on the other side of the ring. Unlike everyone, I love Yano and his bullshit. Right before the bell, they started yelling at each other, and eventually, Yano takes a hair clipper out of his trunks and runs after Hiromu, who is enraged and worried his hair might get cut. Look, this isn’t for everyone, but Yano pops me with this stuff every time.

This felt like a standard 8 man tag to set up the next night’s matches similar to what we had seen the previous 3 nights but this one hit much different than the others. We saw some good action in the ring until Yano and Hiromu tagged in. At that point, CHAOS ensued. Yano pulled out a second hair clipper and Hiromu proceeds to run away scared up the steps at Korakuen. The ref starts counting when they get on to the concourse and of course Yano takes out the tape and tapes together Hiromu’s legs. At the count of 17, Okada tells Yano to run back to the ring to avoid count out but it is too late. This isn’t for everyone and I understand if you hate it, but damn I loved this. Yano/Hiromu tomorrow feels like it could be the comedy match of the year and I cannot wait. **1/2

New Japan Cup First Round – Hirooki Goto def. Yujiro Takahashi

After a couple of duds when it comes to pure wrestling, here comes ol’ reliable Hirooki Goto to save the day. No matter the spot or opponent, Goto always delivers at the very worst a good match. In the opposite corner is Yujiro Takahashi, who doesn’t get a lot of singles spots. After having a good match against Hiroshi Tanahashi on the New Beginning In USA tour, he gets another shot in singles action.

Starting the match, they exchange back and forth for a bit until Yujiro throws Goto outside the ring, and master heater Jado takes advantage and throws Goto into the barricade. Yujiro gets the advantage for a while and they end up exchanging moves in the middle of the ring where Goto starts slowly bleeding from the mouth which provides a subtle, unintentional touch. The move of the match was Goto suspending Yujiro from the top rope and hitting him with a reverse GTR which looked awesome. When attempting to finish with the GTR, Yujiro grabbed the referee Marty Asami, giving Jado a chance to hit Goto with a kendo stick. Yujiro failed to take advantage and Goto gets the win with the GTR. Good match but the finish came off a bit flat. ***1/4

New Japan Cup First Round – EVIL def. Satoshi Kojima

At the very beginning of EVIL’s entrance, the camera cuts to superfan Milano Collection AT who has a scythe at the broadcast table. The bit is kinda dumb but in a fun way. The match however is primed to be a beefy slugfest and it has me excited.

After some exchanges the first couple of minutes, the story these two want to tell comes to the forefront very quickly. After getting to the outside, EVIL grabs a chair but instead of his signature baseball swing, he puts the strongest arm in the chair and smashes both against the ring post. Throughout the rest of the match, the strongest arm is the focus, working it over with stretches and holds to weaken its effect.

They go back and forth, including a magic killer spot using Red Shoes. Does anyone pop from those spots? They feel so contrived and inorganic, plus it makes Red Shoes look like an incompetent dope. After all this time, shouldn’t he know better by now?

Anyways, they hit the closing stretch soon after and the finish here rules. Kojima is all fired up and the arm isn’t affecting him nearly as much. He attempts a few cozy lariats only to have EVIL catch him for Everything Is Evil to get the three count. Great finish to a kind of underwhelming yet still solid match. ***1/2

Final Thoughts

We have made it through the first round of the New Japan Cup and there are some really interesting second-round matchups, headlined by tomorrow’s card featuring Ishii/Makabe and Okada/Nagata which is going to rule on paper. With tonight behind us, there won’t be another underwhelming card moving forward and that is really exciting.