SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
NEW JAPAN CUP REPORT – NIGHT ONE
MARCH 5, 2021
AIRED LIVE ON NJPWWORLD.COM
(1) ZACK SABRE JR, DOUKI, & MINORU SUZUKI vs. YUYA UEMURA, GABRIEL KIDD, & TOMOAKI HONMA
Minoru Suzuki was kept a bay early on in the match, but eventually got involved with a brawl on the outside of the ring. From there, Suzuki’s team owned momentum with ZSJ working over Gabriel Kidd with submissions and holds. In the end, Suzuki hit is piledriver finisher on Uemura for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: ZSJ, Douki, & Suzuki via pinfall
-After the match, both teams brawled a bit before they left the ringside area.
(Heydorn’s Analysis: A fine little match, but nothing spectacular. The crowd seemed to buy Uemura, Kidd, and Honma, but from a physicality perspective in the ring, it was hard to.)
(2) EVIL, CHASE OWEN, & TAIJI ISHIMORI, & YUJIRO TAKAHASHI vs. YOSHI-HASHI, DAVID FINLAY, TIGER MASK, & HIROSHI TANAHASHI
Tanahashi started the match against Ishimori. Tanahashi got the upper hand out of the gate and put the crowd in the palm of his hand. Both men locked up right after and Ishimori got the momentum right back. He then taunted Tanahashi by flexing at him. After some back and forth action throughout, Dick Togo choked Tiger Mask with the referee distracted. From there, Evil locked in the Scorpion Death Lock submission for the victory.
WINNER: Bullet Club via submission
(Heydorn’s Analysis: A pretty standard Bullet Club finish, though with a bye in the tournament it’s smart to keep Evil strong via heelish tactics.)
(3) WILL OSPREAY, JEFF COBB, & GREAT-O-KHAN vs. MASTER WATO, SATOSHI KOJIMA, & HIROYOSHI TENZAN
Early in the match Ospreay cleared the ring of his opponents which allowed O-Khan to put an arm submission on Kojima. The Empire held control from there with both Ospreay and Cobb getting in offense. Here and there, Wato, Kojima, and Tenzan would take momentum back, but it was short lived. The finish saw Cobb hit Tour of the Islands for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Ospreay, Cobb, and O-Khan via pinfall
-After the match, Cobb taunted Evil with words into the camera, but was then attacked from behind by Evil himself. Togo choked Cobb and then scurried out of the ring when Ospreay ran in it to make the save.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Evil is set to face Jeff Cobb in round two of the New Japan Cup, so this angle makes a lot of sense. I like the mini stories that New Japan tells during their tournaments. As for the match, Cobb looked good in his moments and Ospreay continues to look the part of a leader for his faction.
(4) TORU YANO vs. BAD LUCK FALE – New Japan Cup First Round Match
Yano started the match with some shenanigans, but Fale crushed him with a punch before rolling him up for a two count. Out of the pin, Fale went back to work with punches. Eventually, Yano dodged them and tried to take the ring pad off of the corner post. He continued to dodge Fale’s offense until Fale dropped him with a shoulder tackle. Yano rolled out of the ring after and tried messing with the ring barrier. Fale rolled out of the ring for the attack and beat Yano up around the ringside area. He tossed Yano into multiple barricades as the crowd clapped in support of Yano making a comeback. With Yano laying, Fale rolled into the ring and the referee started his count. Yano took a while, but made it back to the ring at 19. Once he rolled in, Fale was waiting and dropped him with a kick before standing on him. Fale followed that offense with a big body slam and made the cover, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Fale went for a choke slam, but Yano countered with strikes. Yano got a brief wave of momentum, but that was halted with a second body slam. Fale looked to hit an elbow drop with Yano down, but Yano countered by rolling out of the way and out of the ring. From there, the brawl ensued outside the ring again. This time, Yano had momentum after smashing Fale into ring barrier. Again, that momentum was short-lived as Fale used Yano’s tape and taped him to the ring post. Fale tried for more offense with Yano taped. He looked to hit Yano with a running splash, but Yano dodged it while taped which sent Fale crashing into the ring post. From there, the referee started his count as both men were out of the ring. Fale got to his feet, but Yano hit him with a low blow that sent him down to the ground. As the referee counted, Yano was able to jump back into the ring while taped before the count of 20. Fale didn’t make it.
WINNER: Yano via count out
(Heydorn’s Analysis: Just your standard Toru Yano match. It is what it is at this point, but I haven’t changed my negative tune. The finish spot with the tape was unique enough to get some points, though. *3/4)
(5) HIROOKI GOTO vs. TAICHI – New Japan Cup First Round Match
Both men tied up to start the match. Goto pushed Taichi into the ropes and the referee forced a break. From there, they tied up again. Again, Goto pushed Taichi into the corner and then softly slapped him in the face before breaking. For a third time, both men tied up, though this time, Taichi got the upper hand and pushed Goto into the ropes. Like Goto, he looked as if he was going to break clean, but clocked Goto with a punch instead. Goto rolled out of the ring and Taichi followed while in control of the action. Taichi tossed Goto into the ring barrier before choking him with a nearby cord. The beating continued until the referee’s count hit 16. At that point, Taichi left Goto and jumped back into the ring. Goto followed and beat the count. From there, Taichi stepped on Goto’s throat before taunting the crowd and referee. Taichi continued to hold control of the match with his offense. Eventually, Goto turned the tides with some stiff chops. After hitting them he bounced off the ropes and crushed Taichi with a clothesline that left both men laying. Goto got to his feet first and whipped Taichi into the corner. He then charged him and connected with a spinning heel kick. After, he lifted Taichi on his shoulders for a move, but Taichi countered out of it. Goto then ran at Taichi in the corner, but Taichi dodged it and connected with an enziguri instead. It took a while, but both men eventually got to their feet and exchanged clothesline attempts in the middle of the ring. Neither man was able to drop the other. Finally, they both hit a series of double clotheslines on each other which caused each man to collapse to the mat. Goto got to his feet first and tried for another clothesline, but Taichi countered it with a kick to the face. At that point, Taichi ripped off the pants and backed into the corner. Right as he did, Goto charged him and hit him with a splash. Right after, Goto countered with a Ushigoroshi but didn’t make a cover. Instead, he tried to lift Taichi to his feet for move. Taichi tried to counter, but Goto hit a chestbuster-esque maneuver. From there, Goto went for more offense, but Taichi countered it all with a choke slam. After that, Taichi hit a back suplex and made the cover, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Taichi lifted Goto to his feet and tried for a powerbomb. Goto countered as the audience clapped in approval and encouragement. Taichi tried a second time and hit the move before covering for another two count. Out of the pin, Taichi used his momentum for offense, but Goto countered with stiff strikes to his back. Goto tried to capitalize on the momentum, but Taichi dropped him with a punch. From there, Taichi lifted Goto and attempted another punch, but Goto countered it into his vertical suplex into a sidewalk slam. After, both men exchanged kicks until Goto’s put Taichi on the mat. At that point, both men tiredly stood and countered more of each other’s offense until Taichi rolled Goto up for a pin. He only got a two count and tried for a superkick out of it, but Goto countered it into the GTW. Goto then made the cover, but Taichi kicked out at two. Immediately after, Goto lifted Taichi and hit him with the GTR for the 1, 2, 3 win.
WINNER: Goto via pinfall
(Heydorn’s Analysis: Really good match. The pace quickened as the bout went on, but was rooted in the foundation that Taichi laid at the beginning with his slow, but mechanical offense. The near falls were believable in nature and both men looked exhausted as things progressed. ***3/4)