SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
NEW JAPAN CUP REPORT – NIGHT THREE
MARCH 7, 2021
AIRED LIVE ON NJPWWORLD.COM
(1) YOTA TSUJI vs. YUYA UEMURA
This match followed typical “Young Lion,” rules with limited moves allowed. The match ended with Yota Tsuji getting the roll up pin of Yuya Uemura.
WINNER: Yota Tsuji
(Sage’s Analysis: A straight forward young boys match. This crop of young lions seems really strong in general. I think New Japan in 5 years will still have top tier talent.)
(2) TOMOAKI HONMA & SATOSHI KOJIMA vs. GREAT-O-KHAN & JEFF COBB
This match started with Satoshi Kojima and Great-O-Khan trading strong man offense that yielded no winner. Tomoaki Honma entered and he teamed up with Kojima briefly. After this O-Khan and Jeff Cobb traded working over Honma for a good while. Honma eventually got the hot tag to Kojima, who then knock Cobb off the apron and hit numerous chops on O-Kahn, and landed an elbow off the top rope. O-Kan took control after, eventually tagging in Cobb. Honma was then tagged in, he tried a brain buster on Cobb, but couldn’t pick him up. After an exchange where both teams hit near falls, Cobb hit The Tour of the Islands twice and pinned Honma.
WINNER: Great O-Khan & Jeff Cobb
(Sage’s Analysis: A normal NJPW tag match. I am not loving the O-Khan character as of yet. The character itself is good, I just worry about his work rate, at this point he is maxed out in his placement on the card.)
(3) RYUSKE TAGUCHI & JUICE ROBINSON & TOA JENARE & HIROSHI TANAHASHI vs. DICK TOGO & KENTA & JAY WHITE & EVIL
The match started with Bullet Club members avoiding any and all combat, eventually Kenta and Juice Robinson started the fight. All four members of team Tanahashi took turns throwing forearms on Kenta in a comedic style. After this Bullet Club had Taguchi alone in the ring and teamed up to start the beatdown on him, all members of BC were tagged in at one point to beat Taguchi.
The hot tag was eventually made to Toa Jenare, who evened the odds for a moment. Jay White was the one who cut down Jenare, who was able to tag in Tanahashi. Dick Togo was the victim of this tag, Kenta entered the ring illegally and Juice Robinson fought him off. Tanahashi was able to hit a sling blade and the diving elbow on Dick Togo for the win.
WINNER: Ryuske Taguchi & Juice Robinson & Toa Jenare & Hiroshi Tanahashi
(Sage’s Analysis:I also suggest people skip this tag matches. I really think that top acts like White, Tana, Kenta, and Evil are downgraded selling for Taguchi and Dick Togo. But, these are as much a part of NJPW as epic main event bouts.)
(4) SHO & HIROOKI GOTO & TOMOHIRO ISHII & KAZUCHIKA OKADA vs. BUSHI & TETSUYA NAITO & SANADA & SHINGO TAKAGI
Shingo Takagi and Hirooki Goto started the match and showed off their hard nosed style, Takagi ended up in the Chaos corner and Sho was tagged in, who continued what Goto had started. Kazuchika Okada was tagged in and worked over Takagi, until LIG members interfered and then all teamed up on Okada. When the dust settled Tomohiro Ishii and Sanada were trading chops. Sanada was able to cut down Ishii with a drop kick, leading to a double tag that had Goto and Takagi battling again. Sho and Tetsuya Naito entered to help their compatriots, leaded to a near fall of Sho. After interference by both teams, Takagi hit a clothesline and his finisher to pin Sho.
WINNER: Bushi & Tetsuya Naito & Sanada & Shingo Takagi
(Sage’s Analysis: A better tag match that had more of a sports feel. It was basically the inversion of the previous faction tag match. But, it was solid action from start to finish.)
(5) GABRIEL KIDD vs. ZACK SABRE JR. – NEW JAPAN CUP FIRST ROUND MATCH
Zack Sabre Jr. tried to tie up Gabriel Kidd to Strat the match, but he was able to counter the attempts to start, leading to him getting partial wrist control of ZSJ. Sabre was able to get to the ropes to create a reset, where he was able to grab control of both Kidd’s hands setting him up into a choke with his own arms. But, Kidd was able to counter that and do the same. Sabre was then able to work the inner thigh of Kidd, who was favoring that part of his body when they both stood back up.
Kidd was able to takedown ZSJ and work his left foot briefly, but again the were both standing, the match at this point being fairly competitive. Sabre then had control of Kidd’s Left wrist, Kidd was able to slam his way out of the hold, he then slammed Sabre again and began to work on the left wrist. After an exchange ZSJ stepped on the head of Kidd, transferring the momentum of the fight. ZSJ was in control for several minutes, but Kidd was able to make a small comeback while in a headlock.
Kidd hit a shoulder block and then some offense in the corner, the two men then traded chops, then pinning attempts. Kidd then locked in a half Boston crab, but Sabre got to the ropes. The two then traded forearms to extend the match, will Kidd winning the exchange. But Sabre Jr. was able to regain control once more, Kidd hit a suplex when Jr. had a hanging choke. Kidd then had a near fall, after that Sabre locked in a submission and then got Kidd to tap out.
WINNER: Zack Sabre Jr. in 17:14 (**1/4)
(Sage’s Analysis:A pretty solid Zack Sabre Jr. match. Young Boys like Kidd are a bit of a blank slate, so this felt like a very typically ZSJ match. That is not a good or bad thing really, just typical. Kidd looked green in a few transition spots, but overall he hung with a great technical wrestler for over 17 minutes. I want to see him let loose a bit, it seems like he might hav some upside in the ring.)
(6) HIROYOSHI TENZAN vs. WILL OSPREAY – NEW JAPAN CUP FIRST ROUND MATCH
Hiroyoshi Tenzan was able to get Will Osprey out of the ring as soon as the match started, on the outside he started to attack. But, Osprey was able to counter and they battled equally on the outside. Back in the ring, Ospreay hit a neck breaker using the ropes, he then took it to Tenzan again on the outside, culminating in a double stomp on the apron. Osprey remained in control for minutes after the stomp, Tenzan was able to hit a side kick and Mongolian Chops to get some momentum.
Tenzan hit a move off the top and then had two near falls in close succession, after those he and Osprey traded forearms. Ospreay hit the Chip Chip Cheerio, leading to a near fall of his own. Ospreay then hit a Spanish Fly variant move in the ring leading to another near fall. A springboard push attempt by Ospreay was countered and Tenzan once agin hit some chops and then got his opponent into a hold.
Ospreay was able to power out and he hit a running and spinning forearm for a two count. This was followed by several head kicks to Tenzan’s head. But, Tenzan hit a slam anyway and had a near fall on Ospreay. Tenzan quickly locked in an anaconda vive and then tried to pin once more. Ospreay then hit a power bomb and got a very close near fall. He then hit the Oscutter for another near fall. Ospreay finally hit the Stormbreaker for the pin.
WINNER: Will Ospreay in 13:37 (***)
(Sage’s Analysis: These two really didn’t mesh well. The first 8 or 9 minutes were fairly bland. But the last 5 minutes really picked up. It was still a pretty one sided match, and that was for the best. Tenzan’s offense was either not very believable or poorly executed. The surprising near falls and execution by Ospreay made the match pretty solid in the end.)