New Japan Pro Wrestling
Super J-Cup 2020
December 12, 202
Oceanview Pavillion
Port Hueneme, California

Watch: New Japan World

Super J-Cup 2020 Round 1
Chris Bey def. Clark Connors

Chris Bey is one of Impact’s brightest talents and this is a chance for him to show a bigger audience what he can do. He is also main eventing Impact’s Wrestling PPV on the same day and he is far from the only guy pulling double duty today as time and space has become weird. Clark Connors is playing the New Japan guy defending his home promotion against the outsider. Bey is dominating most of the match but Connor’s offense looks great whenever he gets the chance to show it off. Especially his pounce is looking really good and Bey sold his ass off for it. Good match overall that showed Connors’ progression and gave Bey a chance to show off some of his stuff while not going all out.

Super J-Cup 2020 Round 1
ACH def. TJP

This match has the chance to be one of if not the best of the whole tournament. TJP with a quick offensive flurry before ACH slows it down, which is still a weird thing to write. With that said I am a big fan of crafty veteran ACH. TJP remains in control in the early going though as he gets to show off his mat wrestling skills. It becomes more of a back and forth match afterward. This match is hurt by not being in front of crowd. Both men also clearly held back a bit as well given that it’s only a first-round match. It was a good match but a bit disappointing given my high expectations.

Super J-Cup 2020 Round 1
Blake Christian def. Rey Horus

Blake Christian has a lot of potential but is somewhat let down by the current US indie scene which has not given him the chances to develop properly and is put mostly in mindless spot fests. The difference is already apparent from the few times he has worked New Japan which has led to him improving quite a bit. On the other side of the match is Rey Horus who is constantly underwhelming. I just like the idea of Rey Horus way more than the actual execution. They do the usual flippy US indie standoff sequence which doesn’t really work without a crowd. This feels very much like a GCW match and doesn’t have a lot of structure. Blake Christian gets busted during the match and is bleeding pretty hard. Somehow this is the longest match of the first round so far, which is a choice. Christian moves on and hopefully, he gets a chance to show off some more stuff in the next round.

Super J-Cup 2020 Round 1
El Phantasmo def. Lio Rush

ELP fucks up his entrance as he stumbles on his top rope flip. Though him holding up New Japan to allow them to play his theme is a tremendous gimmick. Seems like him slipping is a work as he slips again early on a kip-up. Commentary is pointing out that its ring rust as ELP has not wrestled regularly for most of the year. He gains control of the match shortly thereafter and starts taking Rush apart. Still not a huge fan of Phantasmo’s offense but it is undeniable that he has a lot of charisma and that comes across even on a no fans show. This is my favorite match of the first round as it has a clear heel-face dynamic and a well-built story with Lio trying to overcome the dastardly ELP. But like last year Phantasmo wins the match after an eye poke and a low blow. So much for my prediction but I hope New Japan keeps using Rush going forward and it seems like they will be based on Rush’s post-match comments.

Team Filthy (JR Kratos & Danny Limelight) def. Rocky Romero & Fred Rosser

JR Kratos has gotten a lot out of having a fun match at Bloodsport a couple of years ago and he is just not very good. He had a brief All Japan run last year that where he did not impress to say the least. He had been working mostly lower-level California indies before that but never impressed in any way. Rosser on the other hand has been a positive surprise of New Japan Strong as he has been very solid. He has adapted to New Japan’s style very quickly and does not look out of place. Here he is struggling to get something out of Kratos but there is not a lot to work with. The exchanges between Rocky and Limelight are pretty fiery though, which makes sense given that Danny turned on Romero. Decent enough match but nothing special.

Super J-Cup 2020 Semi-Final
ACH def. Chris Bey

This match was surprisingly quick. I expected it to go much longer as it had been pretty one-sided. Bey really dominated most of the match before getting caught by ACH after a brief comeback. Bey got a lot despite losing and I hope he gets to come back in the future. ACH did a good job selling for Bey and he put him over well.

Super J-Cup 2020 Semi-Final
El Phantasmo def. Blake Christian

The outcome of this match isn’t in much doubt as Phantasmo vs ACH makes a ton of sense as a final. Christian getting busted open gives this match an easy story as ELP is working over his face. It helps that this means Christian won’t have to do limp selling which is not his strong suit at the moment. He still gets a good chunk of offense though that he executes well for the most part. Nevertheless a fairly dominant win for Phantasmo. Another quick match as both semi-finals were shorter than any of the first-round bouts.

BULLET CLUB (KENTA & Hikuleo) def. Kevin Knight & Ren Narita

Due to Karl Frederick’s injury, we get the debut of a new Young Lion Kevin Knight. It’s a shame that Narita’s excursion got derailed by the pandemic, but generally a bad excursion doesn’t tend to hurt these guys in the long run. Knight doesn’t get to show a lot as his role here is to get beat up by the Bullet Club team. Narita’s offense is still very much a young lion offense so its hard to say what he will be like once he comes back from to Japan. Very one-sided match as expected.

Super J-Cup 2020 Final
El Phantasmo def. ACH

Phantasmo attacks ACH from behind during his entrance and then beats him up using the trophy. ACH has tape on his back so the story of the match is clear. The tape gets ripped off by ELP almost immediately who continues to work over ACH’s back. Like his previous matches, ELP’s matches stand out in this tournament because of the clear heel-face distinction and the storytelling in the match. His offense isn’t the best but he knows what his limitations are and does well with what he has. The rest he makes up with his charisma and storytelling. He keeps being overconfident and ACH is making him pay for it. ACH as well does a good job selling his back and refusing to back down from the challenge. He just keeps coming back when ELP thinks he has finally put him down. He’s only getting some very brief flashes of offense but he is making the most of it. ELP hits ACH with a low blow but even that isn’t enough. But then puts manages to get the win with the CR2 soon after. Somewhat surprised by ELP winning the Super J-Cup back to back but it makes a lot of sense booking-wise.

Final Thoughts

Very solid overall tournament. Nothing was must-see but the final and Lio Rush vs ELP were both really good matches and the rest flew by. ELP has earned the win by being the MVP of the tournament and delivering a great performance after a couple of months away from the ring.