RADICAN’S “Super J Cup” Round 1 Review – Ospreay, KUSHIDA, Liger, Sydal, more compete; Overall Reax


Super J Cup 2016 logo (c) New Japan Pro Wrestling

RadicanSean_profileSUPER J CUP STAGE 6 (ROUND 1) REPORT
JULY 20, 2016
TOKYO, JAPAN
AIRED LIVE ON NJPWWORLD.COM
Report by Sean Radican, PWTorch columnist

This show is taking place at the famous Korakuen Hall in Tokyo Japan.

(1) Matt Sydal (ROH) vs. Tomato (Kaientai Dojo) in a 2016 Super J-Cup First Round match. Tomato came out with Tomato theme gear and pom poms. He danced around once he got into the ring. Tomato folded up some of the pieces of his outfit into little tomatoes.

Tomato hit a big splash to the floor during the early going that fired up the fans. Sydal fired back a short time later and hit his standing leg drop. Sydal tied up Tomato in a bridging chin lock a short time later that he combined with a leg submission, but Tomato managed to get to the ropes. Sydal blocked a kick and hit a standing moonsault for another 2 count and the fans fired up. Tomato mounted a spirited comeback.

Both men went at it up top. Sydal eventually hit a head scissor takedown on Tomato, who was seated up top. Tomato hit a tiger suplex with a bridge for a 2 count. He then hit a second one with more impact for a near fall. Sydal hit a meteora for a near fall. He then hit a SSP off the top or the win.

After the match, Tomato offered Sydal one of his tomatoes. They then had a toast with the tomatoes.

WINNER: Matt Sydal at 7:56 to advance to the Quarterfinal Round of the 2016 Super J-Cup

Star rating: (**3/4) – This was a fun opener with some nice fast-paced action. Tomato might be Japan’s answer to ROH’s Cheeseburger.

(2) Kenoh (NOAH) vs. Gurukun Mask (Ryukyu Dragon) in a 2016 Super J-Cup First Round match. Both men wanted to utilize kicks during the early going. Gurukun sent Kenoh to the floor with a dropkick and went for a dive, but Kenoh’s partner nailed him with a kendo stick from the floor that the ref didn’t catch. Kenoh worked over Gurukun on the outside before tossing him back into the ring and applying a single leg crab. Gurukun tried to mount a comeback, but Kenoh raked his eyes. Gurukun finally fired back and hit a top rope hurricanrana. He then hit a big splash over the top to the floor and the fans fired up.

Kenoh got the upper hand and applied an ankle lock, as he continued to target the leg. He hit a kneeDT and got an ankle lock with a grapevine. Gurukun struggled towards the rope slowly and finally managed to get the bottom rope to break the hold. They got up and began trading big kicks to the chest, but neither man would go down. Gurukun asked for quiet and nailed Kenoh with a load kick. Kenoh then returned the favor. Kenoh finally hit a kick on Gurukun with a big kick to ground him as he came off the ropes. Kenoh then came off the ropes, but Gurukun surprised him with a huge clothesline for a 2 count.

Gurukun hit a big moonsault off the top a short time later, but Kenoh managed to kick out at the last second. The fans fired up with Gurukun in control. Gurukun hit a big roundhouse to the kick, but Kenoh countered a suplex and hit a Pele kick and both men were down. WOW! They went back and forth after getting up and Kenoh hit a PK for a near fall. Kenoh then hit the Rago (Cross Arm 360 Flip Powerbomb) for the win.

WINNER: Kenoh at 11:34 to advance to the Quarterfinal Round of the 2016 Super J-Cup

Star rating: (***3/4) – This was really good, as it felt like both men were evenly-matched and were willing to test each other to see who could kick the hardest. Kenoh did a lot of work on Gurukun’s leg before finally finishing him off with Rago. This was a really fun match.

(3) Taichi (Suzuki-Gun) vs. Yuma Aoyagi (AJPW) in a 2016 Super J-Cup First Round match. Taichi did a long elaborate entrance through the crowd with a female valet where he pretended to lip-sync to heavy metal. Milano Collection AT took pictures of Taichi and his valet when they got to the commentary booth. Taichi’s valet kept going after Aoyagi when they got into the ring, but he managed to fend her off. She then did a grind on the ref in the corner and he very sternly made a back-off motion when she was done. She wanted a kiss from Taichi, but he denied her. They embraced in a long hug before the formal introductions began.

Taichi tagged in El Desperado to go at it with Aoyagi. He jawed with Aoyagi, but the ref told him to go. He finally left when Taichi got back into the ring. The bell rang and Taichi leaned in the corner with his entrance gear and mask still on. Aoyagi tried to jump Taichi, but he ducked though the ropes. Taichi finally took off his mask and entrance gear. Aoyagi finally hit a big running kick. He then hit a dropkick to send Taichi to the floor. He went after Taichi on the floor a short time later, but Desperado got in his way.

Taichi then went to work on Aoyagi with a chair on the floor with the ref distracted a short time later. Desperado distracted the ref again so Taichi could hit Aoyagi with the bell hammer. He then choked him with it before tossing it back to the outside. The fans booed as Desperado put a beating on Aoyagi on the floor as Taichi distracted the ref inside the ring. Aoyagi mounted a comeback and hit a big dropkick on Taichi. He set up for a dive and Desperado got up on the apron.

Aoyagi nailed him with a running kick and then wiped out Taichi and Desperado with a corkscrew dive over the top to the floor. The fans fired up and Aoyagi hit a big splash off the top on a standing Taichi for a 2 count. Aoyagi hit a sloppy running SSP as it appeared Taichi moved too much and the spot didn’t come off smoothly. Taichi fired back and hit a roundhouse kick to the head, but Aoyagi kicked out.

Taichi grabbed the ref when Aoyagi went for a German. He caught Aoyagi with a clothesline a short time later. He tore off his pants and went for a roundhouse kick, but Aoyagi rolled him up for a near fall. Aoyagi then got a bridging pinning combination for a near fall a short time later. Taichi set up and hit a big jumping kick to Aoyagi’s head and made a cocky cover with one knee over his chest for a near fall. Taichi followed up with a superkick. He then hit the last rights powerbomb and made a lewd looking folding pin for the win.

After the match, Desperado and Taichi put the boots to Aoyagi and also tossed aside the ringside attendants that had come in to check on him. They then posed with the Suzuki-Gun flag.

WINNER: Taichi at 12:05 to advance to the Quarterfinal Round of the 2016 Super J-Cup

Star rating: (**1/2) – Of course, Suzuki-Gun provided loads of interference, but I enjoyed Aoyagi making a series of spirited comebacks to combat them. This was a fun match at times, although the constant interference dragged it down a bit.

(4) EITA (Dragon Gate) vs. Jushin Liger (NJPW) in a 2016 Super J-Cup First Round match. EITA jumped Liger as he made his entrance. He then nailed him with a huge flip dive over the top to the floor and the fans fired up HUGE! He slammed Liger’s arm on the ringpost a short time later. EITA went after Liger’s arm inside the ring as he continued to work him over. Liger fired back and hit a big spinning back breaker and EITA rolled to the floor. Liger hit a big suplex on the exposed floor a short time later. EITA appeared to have suffered a cut above his right eye, which was bleeding. Liger hit a big powerbomb, but sold his arm after.

Liger methodically began picking apart EITA while continuing to favor his arm. EITA finally fired back with a kick from the apron and then a springboard missile dropkick. They went back and forth and EITA hit a rolling dropkick and a standing moonsault for a 2 count. EITA grabbed a Fujiwara arm bar on Liger as he came off the ropes. The fans gasped as EITA began pulling apart Liger’s fingers and working over his arm. Liger finally managed to get top the ropes to break the hold. They went back and forth and EITA slickly rolled around Liger and got a sick arm submission with his leg over Liger’s arm. EITA then bent Liger’s arm backwards.

EITA continued to maintain the hold, but Liger finally got his foot on the bottom rope. Liger hit a big palm strike a short time later. He followed up with a brainbuster and it was good for the win. WOW! That’s a shock.

After the match, Liger showed respect to EITA and the fans chanted for EITA before he headed to the back. Liger then celebrated in the ring before leaving.

WINNER: Jushin Liger at 9:12 to advance to the Quarterfinal Round of the 2016 Super J-Cup

Star rating: (***3/4) – This was an excellent match, as EITA worked over Liger’s arm the entire way and appeared to be on the verge of tapping him out only to fall victim to a big palm strike and a brainbuster. I thought for sure EITA would win were here. This has to be the surprise of the tournament.

(5) Titan (CMLL) vs. Will Ospreay (NJPW/CHAOS) in a 2016 Super J-Cup First Round match. They had a great fast-paced exchange and Titan took Ospreay down with a helicopter style head scissors. They went back and forth near the apron and Titan got knocked down by Ospreay, but popped up and nailed him with a kick. Titan went for a dive and Ospreay got out of the way, but Titan landed on his feet. Ospreay nailed him with a sliding dropkick through the ropes and followed up with a SSP off the apron. Holy s—!

They got back into the ring and Ospreay decked Titan with a vicious forearm. Titan matrixed out of a clothesline and hit some big forearms. They went back and forth and Ospreay caught Titan with a spinning kick near the apron. Titan fired back and took Ospreay to the floor with a hurricanrana. He then hit a sick springboard moonsault to the floor with some serious height to deck Ospreay. WOW! Titan hit a big springboard splash back inside the ring for a 2 count. Ospreay went for a pop-up kick, but Titan caught it and hit a dragon screw and applied a modified figure four. Ospreay struggled and teased tapping, but managed to get to the ropes.

Ospreay tied Titan’s head between his legs in the corner a short time later and nailed him with a superkick. He then hit the Sasuke special to the floor and a springboard forearm, a running SSP, and a phoenix splash off the second turnbuckle for a near fall. Ospreay hit a corkscrew kick on the mat that didn’t look like it connected followed by another series of moves capped by a springboard ace crusher for the win.

Both men showed each other respect after the match. Ospreay raised Titan’s arm and they shook hands.

WINNER: Will Ospreay at 9:14 to advance to the Quarterfinal Round of the 2016 Super J-Cup

Star rating: (***3/4) – This was fantastic for the time it was given. They had some flashy exchanges and both men showcased some incredible high-flying. This was a blast to watch while it lasted.

(6) BUSHI (L.I.J.) vs. GHC Jr. Hvt. Champion Yoshinobu Kanemaru (NOAH) in a 2016 Super J-Cup First Round match. BUSHI surprised Kanemaru with a dropkick off the turnbuckles when he was doing his entrance pose. He went for a dive, but Kanemaru nailed him with a chair as he came through the ropes. Kanemaru used the chair to choke BUSHI on the floor after hitting a DDT on the exposed floor. They brawled into the crowd. BUSHI countered a suplex in the stands and hit a DDT. He then jumped off the area where the stares come into the venue and hit a big splash to wipe out Kanemaru.

BUSHI went back into the ring and took a rest while waiting for Kanemaru to come all the way back to the ring. BUSHI worked over Kanemaru inside the ring and used his shirt to choke him. Kanemaru ended up distracting the ref, which allowed Desperado to trip BUSHI from the floor. Kanemaru and BUSHI went back and forth a short time later. BUSHI hit a fisherman neck breaker for a 2 count and the fans fired up. BUSHI went up top, but Kanemaru caught him with a dropkick.

They had an awkward sequence, but Kanemaru regrouped and hit a pair of suplexes and a jumping DDT out of the corner for a 2 count. BUSHI tried to distract the ref and he blew mist at Kanemaru, but Kanemaru kicked him right in the junk and hit the Touch-Out (twisting brainbuster) for the win.

After the match, Kanemaru tossed BUSHI out of the ring unceremoniously.

WINNER: Yoshinobu Kanemaru at 10:25 to advance to the Quarterfinal Round of the 2016 Super J-Cup

Star rating: (***1/4) – The match featured some good back and forth action. They did some standard crowd brawling before going back to the ring for the bulk of the match. The match got a little sloppy late, but ended up closing strong.

(7) Ryusuke Taguchi (NJPW) vs. Daisuke Harada (NOAH) in a 2016 Super J-Cup First Round match. Taguchi tried to sit down on Harada out of a sunset flip, but he got out of the way. Harada then began working over Taguchi’s backside only to eat a flying hip attack. Taguchi used his backside to begin working over Harada’s legs. He continued to work over both legs before tying him up in a combination submission. Taguchi then went after Harada’s chest with a series of backside drops followed by a big slingshot backside drop for a 2 count. Harada fired back and caught Taguchi with a belly to belly suplex and both men were down on the mat. He then wiped out Taguchi with a big running clothesline a short time later.

The fans fired up and chanted for Harada. Taguchi fired back and hit his mock Nakamura poses only to eat a huge dropkick from Harada. He hit a northern lights suplex a short time later, but it was only good for a 2 count. Taguchi fired back and hit a basement dropkick on Harada’s leg. He rolled through on Harada a short time later and hit a dropkick to his knee after a quick exchange and both men were down. Both men got up and began trading. Taguchi grabbed Harada’s leg and eventually got an ankle lock. Harada struggled, but managed to get to the ropes. Taguchi rubbed his backside on Harada and hit a series of flying hip attack son him against the ropes. He went for a kick from the floor to the apron, but Harada popped out of the way and nailed him with a slingshot splash on the apron!

They went back and forth on the apron. Harada eventually caught Taguchi and hit a big DVD and the fans gasped. Both men ended up in the ring a short time later. They began exchanging blows from their knees. They got up and Harada hit several shots, but ended up getting countered by Taguchi. It looked like Taguchi was going for a big atomic bomb, but Harada slipped out and wiped him out with a big dropkick off the ropes!

Taguchi tried to fire back, but Harada elevated him off the ropes into a big knee to the head for a near fall. Taguchi fired back and countered a German into an ankle lock. Harada countered and grabbed an ankle lock of his own. Taguchi then slipped around him and got an ankle lock. Harada tried to roll through, but Taguchi held on! Taguchi then let go and hit a big face buster for a near fall. WOW! Taguchi then lifted up Harada for a double underhook into a lung blower for the win. WOW!

After the match, both men agreed to go at it again. Taguchi made a hole with his hands and Harada put his index finger in it. That was weird. Taguchi then did a wacky dance.

WINNER: Ryusuke Taguchi at 14:56 to advance to the Quarterfinal Round of the 2016 Super J-Cup

Star rating: (****) – This was fantastic. They got more time than most of the other matches on the card. Taguchi worked over Harada’s leg throughout the match and he couldn’t get him to tap out, which lead to some big near falls down the stretch.

(8) IWGP Jr. Hvt. Champion KUSHIDA (NJPW) vs. Taiji Ishimori (NOAH) in a 2016 Super J-Cup First Round match. The fans chanted for KUSHIDA after the bell rang. They had a fantastic exchange early that ended with Ishimori hitting a dropkick. KUSHIDA fired back and set up for a dive, but Ishimori ran into the ring and took him down with a hurricanrana. He set up for a dive, but caught himself in the ropes when KUSHIDA got out of the way. KUSHIDA fired back and ended a big sequence with a huge running kick to Ishimori’s arm.

They began exchanging chops a short time later. They went back and forth and Ishimori eventually connected with a springboard dropkick. He then sold his arm as KUSHIDA went to the floor. Ishimori set up and wiped out KUSHIDA with a big flip dive to the floor that saw KUSHIDA do a nice job of catching him as his dive was a little off the mark. KUSHIDA tried to fire back and eventually scored with a big dropkick on Ishimori against the ropes as he went for a handspring. KUSHIDA then went up top and wiped out Ishimori with a big flip dive to the floor.

Ishimori took a long time to get back into the ring and when he did KUSHIDA nailed him with a dropkick. He went up top for a moonsault, but Ishimori got his knees up. Ishimori went up top, but KUSHIDA nailed him with a handspring kick. KUSHIDA then got a flying arm bar off the top! Ishimori tried to clasp his hands together. He eventually lifted KUSHIDA onto his shoulders, but KUSHIDA got a standing kimura. Ishimori then transitioned KUSHIDA into the tombstone position and hit a double lung blower! Holy s—!

Both men were slow to get up. They got to their knees and began exchanging blows. They got to their feet and continued to exchange forearms. They continued to go back and forth. KUSHIDA hit a baseball punch and the fans gasped. KUSHDIA then bounced off the ropes, but Ishimori turned him inside out with a huge lariat for a near fall. WOW! KUSHIDA got a kimura up top a short time later. Ishimori fought out of it and hit a moonsault slam for a near fall. Holy crap! The fans fired up huge for KUSHIDA.

Ishimori went up top for a 630, but KUSHIDA got his knees up! KUSHIDA then hit a big running kick to Ishimori’s arm. Ishimori blocked two hover board lock attempts, but KUSHIDA nailed him with a kick to the head. He then went for a kimura. Ishimori fought it and tried to roll through, but KUSHIDA rolled with him and got the submission win!

KUSHIDA cut a promo after the match as the fans chanted his name. He seemed to promise to win the tournament.

WINNER: KUSHIDA to advance to the Quarterfinal Round of the 2016 Super J-Cup

Star rating: (****1/4) – Excellent match. They started the match setting up KUSHIDA’s arm work right off the back. Ishimori did a good job of selling the arm and mounting comebacks. The finishing was fantastic as Ishimori shook off two hoverboard lock attempts before KUSHIDA got finally grabbed the hold to get the submission win.

Overall Thoughts: (7.5) – In some ways this show was disappointing given that all of the wrestlers remaining in the tournament are under the control of NJPW management. It’s especially disappointing given that I would have loved to see some of the outside talent invited by NJPW into the Super J-Cup advance. Although, I didn’t mind most of the winners here, it was truly baffling that EITA didn’t advance to the completion of the tournament on Aug. 21.

On the other hand, this show featured a ton of great action. Some of the matches weren’t given a ton of time, but ended up in the high three-star range. Ospreay vs. Titan was really good, but they didn’t even go 10 minutes.

If you’re really pressed for time, watch the last two matches. Taguchi-Harada and KUSHIDA vs. Ishimori were both excellent matches. The KUSHIDA match was the best match on the show and the crowd was as hot as they were all night if not hotter for the fantastic back and forth action. Although I have some reservations with the booking, I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of the tournament on Aug. 21. It was a lot of fun seeing talent I don’t normally get to see. Titan, Harada, and Ishimori were all impressive on this show. Thumbs up!

***

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