SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
NEW JAPAN CUP 2021
MARCH 20, 2021
AIRED LIVE ON NJPW WORLD
Commentary: Kevin Kelly, Gino Gambino, and Chris Charlton
(1) JEFF COBB & GREAT-O-KHAN vs. JUICE ROBINSON & YUYA UEMURA
The fans were hot for the action. Uemura hit a big slam on Cobb late and went for a Boston Crab, but Cobb shook him off with his powerful legs. Uemura fought valiantly, but Cobb ended up finishing him off with Tour of the Islands.
WINNERS: Jeff Cobb & Great-O-Khan at 8:44. (***)
(Radican’s Analysis: This was a fun way to open the show. The heels won, but it was fun watching Uemura try to get the upper hand here.)
(2) BULLET CLUB (TEXAS HVT. CHAMPION CHASE OWENS & BAD LUCK FALE & JADO) vs. CHAOS (SHO & YOSHI-HASHI & KOPW 2021 PROVISIONAL CHAMPION TORU YANO)
Yano was at a two on one disadvantage late, but the ref took a cane away from Jado. That allowed Yano to hit a low blow on Fale and then another one on Jado with the ref distracted and he got the pin for the win.
WINNERS: Toru Yano & Yoshi-Hashi & Sho at 7:58. (**½)
(3) L.I.J. (SANADA & BUSHI & TETSUYA NAITO) vs. SUZUKI-GUN (TAICHI & ZACK SABRE JR. & DOUKI)
After some chaotic action late, Sanada tapped out Douki with the Skull End.
WINNERS: Sanada & Bushi & Tetsuya Naito at 11:20. (**½)
Naito choked a Young Lion at ringside and taunted Taichi and Sabre after the match. Tsuji propositioned Naito for a singles match a short time later, but Naito told him to chill.
(4) KAZUCHIKA OKADA & HIROSHI TANAHASHI & KOTA IBUSHI vs. BULLET CLUB (JAY WHITE & KENTA & YUJIRO TAKAHASHI W/GEDO)
An earthquake occurred during the match, so the match was paused. Kelly said they were taking a break to decide what to do going forward. Kelly said they were booked in the same venue tomorrow and it would be easy to pick up with the two main event matches from today and have them tomorrow. Okada, Ibushi, and Tanahashi posed for photos in the ring during the delay. It was announced that the show was going to be allowed to continue. The fans applauded. Bullet Club came back out. White had stolen all of the title belts before going to the back. Bullet Club got jumped and the bell rang to restart the match. Okada was going at it with Takahashi, but Ibushi shoved him out of the way and finished him off with a Kamigoye. Okada did not look happy.
WINNERS: Kota Ibushi & Kazuchika Okada & Hiroshi Tanahashi at 10:26.
Okada left quickly after the match. Tanahashi left as well and Ibushiw as left alone to celebrate in the ring.
(Radican’s Analysis: This was pretty surreal with an earthquake taking place in the middle of the match. The fans and everyone handled themselves well considering what happened.)
(5) BRITISH HVT. CHAMPION WILL OSPREAY (W/BEA PRIESTLEY) vs. DAVID FINLAY (W/JUICE ROBINSON) – No Time Limit New Japan Cup 2021 Semi-Final Round match
Kelly discussed how nobody thought Finlay would be alive at this point in the tournament. He mentioned that less than 1% of people picked Finlay to make it this far in Chris Samsa’s Sport of Pro Wrestling Bracket Challenge. The announcers said Finlay wanted to prove to himself that he’s an excellent singles wrestler. Ospreay crotched Finlay up top and booted him to the floor. Ospreay went to work on Finlay’s back. He dropped Finlay back-first over the barricade and then hit him with a double stomp off the top. Kelly mentioned that Ospreay broke his nose during his second round match against ZSJ.
Finlay mounted a comeback and hit a slingshot splash to the floor. Kelly mentioned that Ospreay debuted in NJPW five years ago and he’s a different wrestler today. Charlton said Ospreay used to like to come up from underneath and use the crowd energy to fuel him, but now he liked to control the pace. Ospreay went for a handspring, but Finlay turned it into a blue thunder bomb for a two count.
Ospreay fired back and hit a stunner. They eventually began trading blows up top. Finlay managed to hit a superplex, but it was only good for a two count. Ospreay blocked a Sliced Bread attempt and Ospreay dumped him down to the mat with a modified Falcon Arrow. Both men traded counters and Finlay got a pinning combination for a nearfall. Finlay followed up with a backbreaker, but Ospreay caught him off the ropes with a one man Spanish Fly and the fans fired up with both men down on the mat. Finlay went for Sliced Bread again (Prima Nocta), but Ospreay pushed him to the floor. It looked like Finlay had a nasty landing.
A doctor checked on Finlay’s leg at ringside. The ref began his count and Finlay rolled into the ring right into a springboard dropkick from Ospreay. Ospreay hit a powerbomb for a two count. He then applied a figure 4. Ospreay unlaced Finlay’s boot. He tossed it to the floor and then began cranking on Finlay’s injured foot. Robinson teased throwing in the towel, but Finlay managed to get to the ropes. The fans fired up behind Finlay as Robinson pounded on the mat. Ospreay went for an Os-Cutter, but Finlay turned it into a cutter of his own for a nearfall! WOW! Finlay went for Prima Nocta, but he collapsed due to his ankle injury. Finlay went for it again, but Ospreay countered him. Ospreay went for a Stormbreaker, but Finlay turned it into a Dragoncanrana for a nearfall. He then wiped Ospreay out with a clothesline. Finlay went for Prima Nocta, but Ospreay countered it and a powerbomb. He held on and hit Stormbreaker for the win. What a match!
WINNER: Will Ospreay to advance to the finals of the 2021 New Japan Cup at 21:04. (****½)
(Radican’s Analysis: Amazing performance from Finlay having to fight from behind for most of the match with an injured ankle. The crowd heat was fantastic given their limitations. The nearfalls late in the match given Finlay’s condition were incredible.)
Finlay walked out of the match under his own power after pushing away the help at ringside.
(6) EVIL (w/DICK TOGO) vs. SHINGO TAKAGI – No Time Limit New Japan Cup 2021 Semi-Final Round match
Takagi chased Togo into the ring during the early going, which allowed Evil to wipe him out with a clothesline. Evil drove Takagi right into the barricade, which in turn sent Takagi into the timekeepers table. Shingo fired back and took Evil down with a lariat. Shingo went on the attack and knocked Togo off the apron. The fans fired up with Takagi in control. He hit Noshigami a short time later. Evil fired back and tripped Shingo into the exposed turnbuckles. Evil hit a superplex. He then locked in a scorpion deathlock.
They traded counters around Everything Is Evil a short time later. Shingo hit his own version of the maneuver and both men were down at the 15 minute mark. Togo got up on the apron and Evil broke a chair over Takagi’s head with the ref distracted. Evil then got a running start and hit a big lariat for a nearfall. Evil followed up with Darkness Falls for a two count. Takagi blocked an EIE attempt. Shingo eventually hit Made in Japan for a nearfall. The fans fired up with claps as Takagi regrouped.
Shingo set up for a Pumping Bomber, but Evil pushed the ref into his way. He then shoved Shingo into the ref. The ref went flying to the floor. Togo got into the ring and went after Shingo with punches. Shingo lifted up Togo, but Evil hit him with a low blow. Togo and Evil hit a Magic Killer on Shingo. The fans fired up and Togo went and got the ref. Evil made the cover, but Shingo managed to kick out. Togo choked Shingo with his steel wire, but Shingo broke out of it. Takagi wiped out Togo and Evil with a double clothesline. Takagi blocked a low blow and hit a headbutt. He then hit a Pumping Bomber. Shingo then struggled, but he lifted up Evil and got the win with Last of the Dragon.
WINNER: Shingo Takagi at 22:43. (****)
(Radican’s Analysis: This was a really good match. The fans were hot for the action and wanted to see Shingo beat Evil. The cheating in Evil’s matches has worn thin, but it was a good formula tonight to establish Shingo as being on top of his game.
The prospect of seeing Ospreay vs. Shingo again is extremely exciting. Their first two singles matches in New Japan have been incredible, especially their match in the BOSJ Finals in 2019.)
Takagi cut a promo after the match. He said he had one match left to go. He said if he wins, he gets to beat the crap out of Ibushi. He said he had beaten Goto, Kenta, and Evil. He said he had beaten them all. He said mentally he’s been tested and he’s stronger than ever. He said next up is the final against Will Ospreay.
Will Ospreay came down to ringside and Takagi told him to come into the ring. He said he remembers the 2019 BOSJ finals. He said, “I will win! Do you understand?” The fans applauded. He handed the mic to Ospreay. Ospreay punched him with the mic and went for a Stormbreaker, but Takagi back dropped Ospreay and clotheslined him over the top to the floor. Shingo got back on the mic and said Ospreay talks about conquering, but he’s going to conquer him tomorrow. Takagi said he will bring everything he has to crush Ospreay as he looked Ospreay in the eye to close the show.
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