Korakuen Hall was home to the opening day of the New Japan Cup. The first four matches were determined tonight, with four men advancing to the second round.
Here are quick results from tonight’s undercard:
– Bad Luck Fale, Taiji Ishimori and Hikuleo defeated Will Ospreay, Mikey Nicholls and Rocky Romero
Ishimori pinned Romero with the bloody cross.
– Minoru Suzuki, Davey Boy Smith Jr. and Lance Archer defeated Satoshi Kojima, Toa Henare and Toru Yano
Smith defeated Henare with the Bulldog Bomb.
– EVIL and BUSHI defeated Zack Sabre Jr. and Taka Michinoku
BUSHI defeated Michinoku with the MX.
– Tetsuya Naito, SANADA and Shingo Takagi defeated Kota Ibushi, Hirooki Goto and SHO
Takagi defeated SHO with the Last of the Dragon.
– Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe and Hiroyoshi Tenzan defeated Michael Elgin, Colt Cabana, Ryusuke Taguchi and Shota Umino
Okada pinned Umino with the Rainmaker
A vignette for El Phantasmo, who wrestles regularly for RevPro, aired, as he’s coming soon. At the end of the video, a Bullet Club logo appeared, so it appears he already has a direction.
New Japan Cup matches:
YOSHI-HASHI defeated Manabu Nakanishi
This was good given Nakanishi’s limitations. He worked hard here, and while not everything looked pretty, but this was good and the crowd was into it.
YH catches Nakanishi was he was entering the ring and starts attacking his legs. Nakanishi no sold YH’s offense but he fired back after falling to the ground, targeting the legs again. Nakanishi very slowly countered YH with a northern lights suplex, at least i think that’s what it was.
YH slammed Nakanishi and went for the swanton but Nakanishi got up to the middle rope and unleashed a big suplex, sending YH to the floor. Nakanishi actually went for a top rope dive to the floor, but instead hopped over, jumped off the apron and took YH down with a chop. He then followed with a decent-looking crossbody back in the ring for a near fall.
Nakanishi puts YH in the torture rack but YH grabbed the ref’s shirt, distracting him. This was a pattern tonight. Nakanishi slapped YH, but he started to fire back with some clotheslines until Nakanishi took him down with a spear. YH counters with with the butterfly lock. Nakanishi tries to power out, but YH traps him in again and with no other solution, submits.
Taichi defeated Tomoaki Honma
This felt really, really long. It shouldn’t be a shock to anyone but Honma just isn’t the same since returning from the injury that kept him out for so long. Taichi was Taichi and the two ending up having a long, plodding match that wasn’t that interesting.
Honma started off hot, but naturally misses his first kokeshi attempt, which lets Taichi gain an opening. Taichi attacks him with a chair, sending him around the ring. Taichi continues to beat him down until Honma responds with a slap. He makes a comeback until Taichi hits a enziguri.
Taichi treis for the last ride powerbomb, but Honma blocked it. Honma takes down Taichi and counters with a kokeshi off the middle rope, but Taichi kicks out. Honma goes for another one, but Taichi pulls the ref down and distracts long enough to cut off Honma.
Honma hits a sunset flip bomb and a diving kokeshi, but Taichi still kicked out. He followed with an SOS but Taichi kicked out, then took him down with a standing crossface. He escaped, but Taichi hit a Saito suplex and applied it again. This time, Honma submitted.
Chase Owens defeated Juice Robinson
This went over 20 minutes and felt every bit of it. It ended up being pretty good at the end but this was another match that just went way too long. I think this would have been a much better 15 minute match than a 20 minute match, but this was still pretty good.
Owens stalled early, eventually coming in the ring to do some mat wrestling. Out of the ring, Owens side russian leg sweeps Juice into the barricade. Chase works on him for awhile until Juice slowly fights his way back, firing off some punches, a bulldog and a senton.
Chase cuts him off, but Juice quickly rebounds, only for Owens to counter after a cannonball attempt and sends him down to the floor. Juice takes Owens to the floor and charges at him, but Owens counters, grabs Juice and suplexes him into the barricade.
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The two trade blows back in the ring. Owens superkicks Owens following a front suplex. Juice sends Owens to the outside and smacks him with a left, followed by a tope. Juice follows with a cannonball to the floor. Owens suddenly pushes Juice into the barricade and takes off the protective mats around the ring. Owens goes for the package piledriver, but Juice back body drops him on the exposed area instead.
Juice connects with a cannonball and launches off the top rope but Owens dodges, sending Juice crashing to the floor. The two trade pinfall attempts until Owens hits the Jewel Heist then follows with the package piledriver in what is probably his biggest win in New Japan so far. That’s also very likely a future title match.
Tomohiro Ishii defeated Yuji Nagata
So this was a wild sprint with a hot crowd, just as expected. This was very much a war, and while some of the spots were downright scary, this was a classic strong style battle that both Ishii and Nagata are well renown for.
I thought they would be brawling to start things off, and after a minute they pretty much did. Ishii took him down with headbutts and taunted him in the corner. Nagata fires back with some vicious kicks and plants Ishii with an overhead belly to belly suplex.
Ishii fires back with a flurry of offense They trade kicks, punches and chops until Ishii gets Nagata for a sunset flip bomb. Nagata held on, but Ishii instead plants him with a last ride powerbomb. Ishii then follows that up with a superplex for a near fall.
Nagata grabs Ishii and puts him in an armbar, then takes him up top for an exploder. Ishii comes alive with a German suplex but Nagata immediately gets to his feet as they start taking some heavy shots. The two slap the hell out of one another. They keep striking until an elbow sends Ishii down.
Nagata unleashes a giant German suplex. He drops a kneepad but Ishii strikes back with a lariat, only for Nagata to kick out at one. Nagata unleashes his exposed knee but Ishii counters and hits a sliding D and a brainbuster and that is it.
This makes the second round matches YOSHI-HASHI vs. Chase Owens and Tomohiro Ishii vs…Taichi. Oh yes.