Csonka’s NJPW New Japan Cup Semifinals Review 3.19.17
Csonka’s NJPW New Japan Cup Review 3.19.17
– David Finlay, Juice Robinson and Yomoyuki Oka defeated Hirai Kawato, Katsuya Kitamura, Yuji Nagata @ 9:40 via pin [**½]
– Jado and Gedo defeated TAKA Michinoku & El Desperado @ 7:35 via pin [*]
– Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Takashi Iizuka & Minoru Suzuki defeated Tiger Mask, Jushin Liger, Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan @ 10:04 via pin [**½]
– Ryusuke Taguchi, KUSHIDA, Michael Elgin and Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Tetsuya Naito, SANADA, BUSHI & Hiromu Takahashi @ 11:33 via pin [***]
– YOSHI-HASHI, Toru Yano, Hirooki Goto and Kazuchika Okada defeated Kenny Omega, Yujiro Takahashi, Tama Tonga and Tanga Roa @ 12:50 via pin [**¾]
– NJ Cup Semifinal Match: Bad Luck Fale defeated EVIL @ 12:12 via pin [**½]
– NJ Cup Semifinal Match: Katsuyori Shibata defeated Tomohiro Ishii @ 22:34 via referee stoppage [****¾]
– Here are the reviews of the earlier New Japan Cup shows and matches.
– The show will officially start at 2AM ET.
Hirai Kawato, Katsuya Kitamura, Yuji Nagata vs. David Finlay, Juice Robinson and Yomoyuki Oka: Kitamura is the jacked to the gills young lion who recently debuted, dude’s a monster. It’s take your kids to work day for Nagata. Oka and Kitamura started things off, working a basic power vs. power opening stretch, and then they started throwing bombs. They hossed around a bit, with Kitamura finally taking Oka down. This transitioned to Kawato and Finlay, they picked up the pace with Kawato again showing good fire. Finlay quickly hit a backdrop suplex and slam before tagging in Juice. Juice worked the heat, with Kitamura making a save as Oka tagged back in. The micing feels off tonight, Nagata tags in and works over Oka; they’ve had good interactions in the past and work well together because Nagata trains him. Nagata lit him up with forearms, hit the corner kick but Oka fought off the XPLODER. He fired up with strikes, but Nagata quickly fired back only for Oka to hit a belly to belly. The sound is better now as Juice tags in and cleans house. He worked back and forth with Nagata, with Nagata getting the arm bar and Finlay making the save. It broke down with Nagata and his kids working over Juice and Kitamura covering for a near fall and then locking in the crab Nagata and Kawato also worked crabs; Juice then hit a lariat o Kitamura for a near fall. Everyone brawled, pulp friction on Kitamura by Juice and that’s that. David Finlay, Juice Robinson and Yomoyuki Oka defeated Hirai Kawato, Katsuya Kitamura, Yuji Nagata @ 9:40 via pin [**½] Solid little opener here, we didn’t get a lot of Kitamura but he looked fine so far. Everyone got a little chance to shine, and it was about what you’d expect from the basic opener.
Jado and Gedo vs. TAKA Michinoku & El Desperado: The CHAOS vs. Suzuki-gun feud continues. Desperado attacked Jado right away, leading to Jado tossing him to the floor. Desperado stalled on the floor a bit, and Gedo tagged in. TAKA attacked Gedo from behind, but Gedo fired back with jabs and eye pokes to TAKA and Desperado. Jado and Desperado brawled to the floor as TAKA worked over Gedo in the ring. He and Desperado then worked quick tags, isolating Gedo in their corner. TAKA continued his attack, working over Gedo with some help by Desperado, who tagged in and worked a Gory special. Desperado laid the boots to Gedo, but Gedo fired up with jabs and cleaned house for a bit. Tag to Jado, he strolled mildly and hit clotheslines. Draping DDT countered by Desperado and he levels Jado and tags in TAKA. TAKA hits the corner knee to Jado and then a high kick for a near fall before transitioning to the cross face, which Jado countered into one of his own. TAKA then countered, rolling back to the cross face. Gedo made the save, superkicked Desperado but TAKA cut him off; Jado hit the draping DDT and pinned TAKA. Jado and Gedo defeated TAKA Michinoku & El Desperado @ 7:35 via pin [*] Not a good match at all; it was slow, had no sense of urgency and simply felt lazy (even sloppy at times). This gives Jado & Gedo momentum as they look to challenge Taichi & Kanemaru for the junior tag titles. Oh boy.
Tiger Mask, Jushin Liger, Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Takashi Iizuka & Minoru Suzuki: NEW JAPAN DADS vs. Suzuki-gun. They started with the predictable floor brawl, Taichi and Liger worked into the ring and went back and forth. Liger then fought off Taichi and Kanemaru with palm strikes until Iizuka pulled Liger to the floor and the mass brawl continued. Suzuki worked over Kojima with a chair, trying to rip his arm off. Back in the ring, Taichi tried to rip off Liger’s mask. He almost got it off, but Liger managed to fight him off until Iizuka choked out Liger while Suzuki worked a knee bar. Suzuki-gun worked the heat on Liger, with Taichi working Tenzan like chops to mock the New Japan dad. He then ripped off Kojima’s corner chops and continued to beat down Liger. Liger managed a roll up but Taichi escaped, tagging in Iizuka. Liger fought him off with boots, and hit a palm strike. Kojima got the hot tag and ran wild, clearing Suzuki-gun to the floor and hitting the chops on Iizuka. Kojima up top and hits the elbow drop for 2. Iizuka fought back, hitting an atomic drop and tagging in Suzuki. Suzuki ran wild, hitting the PK for a near fall. Suzuki worked the sleeper, but Tenzan made the save, working the chops and corner clothesline; the suplex followed and then he and Kojima double-teamed Suzuki. Tiger Mask tags in, working over Kanemaru and Taichi as it broke down. Tiger Mask hit the top rope head butt on Suzuki but he kicked out. He then hit Suzuki with the tiger driver for a good near fall. Suzuki locked in the sleeper and quickly transitioned and hit the Gotch piledriver for the win. Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Takashi Iizuka & Minoru Suzuki defeated Tiger Mask, Jushin Liger, Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan @ 10:04 via pin [**½] It started slowly but they worked themselves into a solid match; the Tiger Mask vs. Suzuki portions were actually very entertaining.
– Go Ace still sucks donkey balls as a theme song.
Ryusuke Taguchi, KUSHIDA, Michael Elgin and Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Tetsuya Naito, SANADA, BUSHI & Hiromu Takahashi: The adventures of Tanahashi and friends vs. LIJ continues. Tanahashi in to begin with Naito, I was expecting Naito to bail be he actually stayed in and locked up with Tanahashi. Naito looked to take control, but Tanahashi hit a high cross. Tanahashi and friends worked over Naito with repeated corner attacks until Naito slammed Tanahashi’s face into Taguchi’s ass. BUSHI tagged in, did the shirt choke spot, as the rest of LIJ cleared Tanahashi’s friends to the floor. SANADA tagged in, but Tanahashi fought he and Takahashi off. Elgin in off the tag, he ran through some power spots to wake up the crowd and followed with corner clotheslines. Naito and BUSHI in to cut him off, but Elgin picked them both up and hit slams. The bridging German to SANADA got 2. SANADA fought off the powerbomb with a RANA, hit a dropkick and was then leveled with a lariat. KUSHIDA got the hot tag, and worked a spirited back and forth with Takahashi. Great back handspring elbow by KUSHIDA, he then worked over Naito and hit the basement dropkick. KUSHIDA chased Takahashi, and then locked in the hover board lock and transitioned to the arm bar, but Takahashi made the ropes. KUSHIDA kept attacking the arm, but ran into a pop up powerbomb. BUSHI tagged in, and he and SANADA tried to double team KUSHIDA, but KUSHIDA was too fast and fought them off. Taguchi tagged in, ass attacks for all until BUSHI cut him off and hit a missile dropkick. It broke down. LIJ did the corner attacks on Taguchi an everyone is in now. BUSHI up top, MX try on Taguchi who ducks, and counters into a la magistral cradle for the win. Ryusuke Taguchi, KUSHIDA, Michael Elgin and Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Tetsuya Naito, SANADA, BUSHI & Hiromu Takahashi @ 11:33 via pin [***] The match was the usual good Tanahashi and friends vs. LIJ match, but it only topped out at good. Sadly this was the best thing on the show so far. This was here to again continue Elgin & Naito’s feud and to help set up the KUSHIDA vs. Takahashi rematch.
YOSHI-HASHI, Toru Yano, Hirooki Goto and Kazuchika Okada vs. Kenny Omega, Yujiro Takahashi, Tama Tonga and Tanga Roa: CHAOS vs. Bullet Club action. Tonga and Yano to begin, Tonga is sporting some new gear and chased Yano around. HASHI tagged in, Yujiro tried to distract him and we had Bullet Club miscommunication, allowing CHAOS to take control and work over Tonga. Roa in to make the save, allowing Tonga to choke out HASHI. We got some brawling on the floor as Tonga worked over HASHI in the ring, Omega tagged in and beat down HASHI in the corner. Bullet Club isolated HASHI in their corner and slowly beat him down. HASHI tried to fight back on Yujiro, but Roa tagged in and cut him off. Solid work from Roa here, using his power game and tagging in Tonga. He worked ground and pound on HASHI, Roa back in and they double-teamed HASHI, and then cleared CHAOS to the floor. The heat is feeling really long and honestly uninspired; HASHI fought back again and hit Roa with a neck breaker. Tag to Goto, he runs wild and actually brings some energy to this, scoring a near fall on Roa. But Roa cut him off, tagging in Omega. They went back and forth, and Goto tagged in Okada. He and Omega picked up the pace, Okada hit the DDT and running uppercut for a near fall. Okada up top, but Omega avoids the elbow and dropkicks the knee before hitting the leg lariat for 2. It broke down, Bullet Club worked over Okada, hitting rapid-fire offense. They cleared out CHAOS, and Yujiro hit the fisherman’s buster for a near fall. Goto made the save, hit ushigoroshi and Yano arrived as it broke down again. HASHI saved Okada from guerrilla warfare, and Okada wiped out Yujiro with the dropkick and followed with the top rope elbow drop. Rainmaker on Yujiro and that was that. YOSHI-HASHI, Toru Yano, Hirooki Goto and Kazuchika Okada defeated Kenny Omega, Yujiro Takahashi, Tama Tonga and Tanga Roa @ 12:50 via pin [**¾] This was a pretty good, but disappointing match. It just felt as if it was missing something, like a hot stretch with Okada & Omega.
NJ Cup Semifinal Match: EVIL vs. Bad Luck Fale: They brawled on the floor right away, EVIL used the chair and worked over Fale, but Fale fought back (countering the chair around the head spot to the post) and slammed him to the post. They then brawled up the entrance way and into the crowd. Fale slammed EVIL to the wall, and choked him out with a belt and then slammed part of the barricade on him for the Gedo Special count out tease. EVIL beat the count, only for Fale to lay the boots to him. Fale slowly beat on EVIL in the corner. stomping on him and working the back. Slow clubbing strikes by Fale followed and then the camel clutch. Fale then covered for 2. Fale hit a slam but missed the splash. EVIL then clotheslined him to the floor. Floor brawl again. EVIL gets the chair and wraps it around Fale’s head and uses another chair to hit it off of him. EVIL then rolled Fale back in, went up top and hit the clothesline for the near fall. EVIL then grounded the big man, but Fale fought up to his feet. He then hit a big spear as EVIL hit the ropes for the double down. Fale then hit the corner splash and then a running splash for the near fall. Fale called for the grenade, EVIL countered out and BUSHI misted Fale, allowing EVIL to hit clotheslines, but Tonga pulled out the ref and BUSHI took him out. They brawled to the back, EVIL escaped the bad luck fall, but Fale countered the STO. Superkick by EVIL, but Fale decapitates him with the lariat. Fale hits the grenade and then the bad luck fall for the win. Bad Luck Fale defeated EVIL @ 12:12 via pin [**½] I felt that this started out rough, and while I would not call it good, they worked themselves into a solid and mildly fun match. Fale pick up the dominant victory heading into the finals.
NJ Cup Semifinal Match: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Katsuyori Shibata: Both guys were tentative to begin, they’ve battled before and know each other well. Shibata grounded Ishii with a top wristlock and attacked the arm early. Ishii struggled and made the ropes, and then fired away with chops by Shibata took him to the corner and beat him down. Ishii fire up and cut him off with the shoulder block and then went back to the chops. This finally took Shibata down, so he continued lighting Shibata up in the ropes. Shibata then fired back with chops, and they beat the hell out of each other center ring. Ishii delivered corner forearms, beating Shibata down to the mat. Shibata then cut him off with the running corner kick and forearm strikes. The running dropkick followed, and then a suplex for the near fall. Shibata then locked in an abdominal stretch, but Ishii powered to the ropes. Great struggle spot from Ishii, but all of that fight earned him a kick to the chest and more beating from Shibata. Ishii finally had enough of this shit and traded strikes with Shibata. They started to throw bombs center ring, beating the hell out of one another. Ishii was throwing so hard his elbow wrap started to come undone. Shibata staggered Ishii, and then kept throwing until Ishii fired up and dropped him. Ishii hit repeated corner clotheslines, and followed with a vertical suplex for 2. Shibata looked to fire up and fight back, but Ishii kept throwing strikes and slowing him down. Ishii hit the powerslam but Shibata popped back up and dropped him with a kick and the crowd is into this battle. It’s simply a matter of who can throw the hardest and most strikes as they are essentially daring the other to keep fighting. Shibata works a head crank, but Ishii makes the ropes. Ishii escapes the sleeper and then the kick, planting Shibata on the mat. Shibata then laid in kicks to Ishii, stomped on his head but that pissed Ishii off. Ishii then kicked Shibata in the head, delivered chops to the throat in the corner. German by Ishii as Shibata grabs at his throat, trying to catch his breath; Ishii connects with the powerbomb for 2. he followed with lariats, but Shibata is still standing. Ishii leveled him but Shibata pops back up because he’s a grown ass man! The sliding lariat by Ishii gets a near fall. My word they just keep throwing big time strikes, Ishii finally drops him again and both men struggle to their feet. Head butts by Ishii, but Shibata takes a seat and brushes it off. Ishii drops to the mat and they trade strikes from the sitting position. HIT ME FUCKER! Back to the feet, they trade suplexes and this crowd is INTO this big time. Ishii blocks the PK and locks in an arm bar. Shibata barely makes the ropes. Ishii now lays in kicks, but Shibata catches one and then drops Ishii with a jumping enziguri. They again struggle to their feet, sleeper by Shibata but Ishii works to fight out. Shibata keeps the hold, SLEEPER SUPLEX by Shibata, Ishii no sells the PK but runs into a dropkick and kicks out at one, hits the lariat and Shibata kicks out at 1! Sweet Jesus this match! Head butt by Ishii, but Shibata hits strikes and the sleeper. Ishii fades, BIG PK and then Shibata drops back for the sleeper with the body lock. Ishii fades, and the ref calls for the bell. Katsuyori Shibata defeated Tomohiro Ishii @ 22:34 via referee stoppage [****¾] I loved this, this was a battle of two bad ass dudes fighting with all they had to make this final. Ishii has been the MVP of this tournament, and is again killing it and he remains one of the most consistent high-level performers in all of wrestling. His fight spots to escape the chokes were so great, the back and forth strikes and those fight segments made this feel so raw and different than most matches. I love the wrestling. This kicked ass because it felt like a fight, like making the finals was THE most important thing and that they were willing to give their all to make it there. This is a MOTY contender for sure.
– The finals are Bad Luck Fale vs. Katsuyori Shibata, and take place tomorrow morning; I’ll have live coverage as always starting at 2AM ET.
– End scene.
– Thanks for reading.