SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
NEW JAPAN CUP – NIGHT 6
JULY 1, 2020
UNDISCLOSED LOCATION IN JAPAN
AIRED LIVE ON NJPWWORLD.COM
REPORT BY RICH FANN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
(1) YOSHI-HASHI vs. BUSHI – New Japan Cup 2020 Second Round Match
BUSHI jumped YOSHI-HASHI before the bell, and tried to push that advantage for the first few minutes of the match. YOSHI-HASHI however, stopped an M-X attempt and lariated BUSHI out of the air, which was an awesome visual.
YOSHI-HASHI smelled blood in the water and went for his Butterfly Hold for a submission, but BUSHI was well aware and instead made it to the ropes. YOSHI-HASHI didn’t care about that however, and simply hit Karma for the pin.
This was a relatively quick match – but the point was made. YOSHI-HASHI is a legitimate threat going into the quarter finals.
WINNER: YOSHI-HASHI by pinfall (Karma) in 10:22 (**)
(Fann’s Analysis: After winning prior matches with the Butterfly Lock, I assumed once YOSHI-HASHI had it locked in on BUSHI, it was over. Seeing him use KARMA to get the win was cool. Shorter match, but YOSHI-HASHI got the point across quite clearly he wasn’t going to be the easy out he may have been in matches past.)
(2) SHO vs. SANADA – New Japan Cup 2020 Second Round Match
Both men opened the match with exchanges of their acrobatic skill and mat ability, until SANADA pushed the pace and got SHO outside. SHO however, quickly returned to the ring and began to assert himself, with a particularly nice spot where he hit a series of lariats as counters mid two Irish whips.
SHO aggressively went for a German suplex, but SANADA held the ropes. SHO kicked SANADA’s hands, then when SHO returned from the ropes the younger starlet ate a basement dropkick to the knee. SANADA attempted his leapfrog when the opponent was behind him off the ropes, but SHO caught him and turned it into a high angle German suplex, which SHO rolled into two other Germans, finishing instead with an armbar instead of a pin. SANADA fought the submission and turned it into a one armed powerbomb to break it up.
Both men got to their feet and began to trade forearms to the face, but SHO hit a knee to the head, and SANADA followed with a hurricanrana attempt. SHO held onto SANADA and instead hit his Power Breaker for a near fall.
SHO again went for the German suplex, but SANADA flipped out and slapped on his Skull End, which led to several exchanged counters and concluded with a SHO deadlift German pin for a 2.9 count. SHO then set up for Shock Arrow, but SHO eventually flipped into a Skull End for the submission win.
WINNER: SANADA by submission (Skull End) at 14:43 (***)
(Fann’s Analysis: This was a great showing again for SHO, who continued to illustrate why he will be successful whenever he transitions full time to a singles competitor. SHO and SANADA were neck-and-neck until the Skull End reversals caught up to SHO. Despite the loss, SHO looked like a player in the singles scene as a heavyweight.)
(3) Yota Tsuji & Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii vs. L.I.J. (Hiromu Takahashi & Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito) – Six-man tag team match
Tsuji’s role in this match was the punching bag of the LIJ, while Yano’s continued reminder to Hiromu of the locks the master thief had remained in a bag ringside. Between beatings of Tsuji we were treated to a preview of Ishii and Takahashi, who had no fear of the bigger man.
Tsuji tried to get cute with Takahashi with a new submission attempt, but the Time Bomb master instead beat the young lion with a Boston Crab – the go-to young lion finish.
WINNERS: Hiromu Takahashi via submission (Boston Crab) at 13:04 (**)
(Fann’s Analysis: The biggest story from this match was the preview of the next round match. Ishii and Hiromu seemed to be ready to roll in this match, with poor Tsuji catching L’s left and right otherwise. Shingo and Tsuji also paired off a good bit, which is a nice young lion “you’re gonna learn today” match. Naito kept it cool and breezy with his traditional 6 man/no consequence to him tag match garb and style.)
(4) Kota Ibushi (w/Hiroshi Tanahashi) vs. Taichi (w/ZSJ) – New Japan Cup 2020 Second Round Match
Both men’s seconds from the start of this match were in each others’ faces as much as the wrestlers in the ring were fighting each other. Early on, Ibushi was nearly counted out due to Taichi’s borrowed page from Suzuki’s handbook – as Taichi slammed the Golden Star’s head onto the bleachers and tried to have Ibushi lose by count out.
Taichi then exchanged a few kicks with Ibushi, then swapped that offense for a vicious dangerous backdrop for a near fall. Taichi then went for a Last Ride, but Ibushi snuck out and hit one of his own. At this point ZSJ decided he would get involved in the match, and went so far as to get halfway into the ring. ZSJ would get into the ring fully however after a ref bump sent Marty Asami to the floor. Tanahashi did not stand for cheating and interjected.
As ZSJ was handled by Tanahashi, who screamed for Ibushi to take care of business, Taichi loaded Iizuka’s Iron Claw, which Taichi then slammed into the head of Ibushi and threw out of the ring. Taichi then called for the ref and hit Black Mephisto for the win.
Post match, Taichi laid down both IWGP heavyweight tag team belts in the center of the ring, a reminder that the Suzuki-gun member had defeated both champions back to back.
WINNER: Taichi by pinfall (Black Mephisto) at 18:08 (***1/2)
(Fann’s Analysis: Taichi has been a great performer throughout this New Japan Cup. This match allowed him to show how vicious and hard-hitting a son of Kawada could be, as Ibushi is no shrinking violet to the kick game. While the distractions and cheating via other members of Suzuki-gun got old similar to the shenanigans of Bullet Club, Taichi proved that yet again he doesn’t need to cheat – just wanted to. With each win, Taichi cements his status as a great foil for Naito as NJ Cup winner.)
(5) Hirooki Goto vs. EVIL – New Japan Cup 2020 Second Round Match
Main event time. EVIL waited for Goto outside of the ring after his entrance, and once Goto made it onto the floor the two men brawled and the match began.
Back into the ring, both big men continued their assault on one another with kicks and running attacks. For about 3 minutes, EVIL finally got the advantage, and peppered Goto with kicks, and followed through with a cannonball into the corner. In desperation, Goto attempted to elbow his way out of a move, which led to both men criss-crossing the ring for lariat counters. EVIL tried to swap into a bounce to the corner for a pounce which left Red Shoes Uno perched onto the second rope to avoid the goth meat train.
EVIL couldn’t hit his pounce however, as Goto dropped the LIJ member with an ushigoroshi. Back in the driver’s seat, Goto dared EVIL to rise and absorb chest kicks from his knees. EVIL got to his feet and tried to match lariats with Goto, but eventually succumbed to the power of Goto and crumpled.
EVIL then snuck in a vicious punch and dropped Goto with Darkness Falls for a 2 count. EVIL went for Everything is EVIL, but Goto tried to counter into GTR, which EVIL then tried to counter into Everything is EVIL. Goto however got sick of the reversals and dropped EVIL with a headbutt. EVIL would not be denied however, and Goto finally fell to Everything is EVIL for the pinfall loss.
WINNER: EVIL by pinfall at 18:25 (****)
(Fann’s Analysis: Okay, this was fun. Both men started hot, ended hot and in the middle looked to dominate the other. This was a quality HOSS FIGHT and EVIL’s post match promo illustrated how much was taken out of him, with the big man’s fight for air while talking. Watch this match.)
FINAL THOUGHTS (8.0): New Japan Cup Night 6 was a solid show. Taichi-Ibushi was very good despite the interference, as was SHO vs. SANADA, and the main event was a proper big man brawl. Even the opener now has the question remaining of “how far can YOSHI-HASHI go?”, with the big hearted member of CHAOS in his hopeful bid for respect and a place in the G-1 after the Cup.
Definitely watch the Goto vs. Evil match if you are in need of a wake up and a hoss fight.
Contact Rich at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/rich_fann.