wrestling / TV Reports

Hamilton’s NJPW New Japan Cup 2021 – Night Two 3.06.2021 Review

March 6, 2021 | Posted by Ian Hamilton
NJPW New Japan Cup
The 411 Rating
Community Grade
Your Grade
Hamilton’s NJPW New Japan Cup 2021 – Night Two 3.06.2021 Review  

NJPW New Japan Cup Night Two Quick Results

Taiji Ishimori, Jay White & Chase Owens pinned Yuya Uemura, David Finlay & Toa Henare in 9:38 (**¾)
Jeff Cobb, Will Ospreay & Great-O-Khan pinned BUSHI, SANADA & Tetsuya Naito in 10:55 (***)
New Japan Cup 2021 – First Round: Minoru Suzuki pinned Tomoaki Honma in 14:54 (***½)
New Japan Cup 2021 – First Round: KENTA submitted Juice Robinson in 17:17 (***)
New Japan Cup 2021 – First Round: Shingo Takagi pinned Kazuchika Okada in 23:59 (****)

— If you’re on Twitter, give me a follow over on @IanWrestling – and check out the GoFundMe that’s still open for Larry’s family.

We’re at the Ota City General Gymnasium for this show – the site of New Japan’s first show 49 years ago to the day.

Bullet Club (Jay White, Chase Owens & Taiji Ishimori) vs. Toa Henare, David Finlay & Yuya Uemura
We’re building to Henare vs. White and Finlay vs. Owens on Wednesday…

White mouths off a lot to start, offering Henare “his opportunity”, and instantly heads to the ropes as Henare went for a waistlock to start. Wash, rinse, repeat, before White caught Henare from behind and take him into the corner for some stomps. Shoulder tackles from Henare earn him a poke to the eye as Ishimori tagged in… only to get chopped away as Henare only had eyes for White.

After settling down, Uemura tags in, only to find his brief flurry ended with a back rake, before White returned to dump Uemura with a back elbow… then antagonise Henare some more. Gedo posts Uemura for good measure behind the ref’s back, before Chase Owens tagged in to choke Uemura against the bottom rope.

A clothesline from Owens gets him a two-count, before he dared Uemura to fight back. He gets his wish, as Uemura gets free and tagged in Finlay. There’s a European uppercut off the ropes from Finlay, who then went after former dojo mate Jay White. More uppercuts await Owens as Finlay pushed ahead, only to see an Acid Drop blocked in the corner.

Owens retaliates with back-and-forth right hands, leading to a rebound lariat that knocked Finlay down. Jay White scuttles around ringside to pull Henare off the apron as tags bring us back to Uemura and Ishimori… with White needing to break up a pin from Uemura’s back suplex. A Kanuki suplex is initially blocked, before a release Kanuki suplex lands for a near-fall, before knees from Owens and Ishimori almost get the win. That opens the door for a Bloody Cross though, which gets the win (and two thumbs up from Jay White) – see, Bullet Club can do tags without all of the usual nonsense! **¾

United Empire (Great-O-Khan, Will Ospreay & Jeff Cobb) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, SANADA & BUSHI)
We’re not building up much here – maybe a potential quarter-final with Ospreay and SANADA?

We’ve a jump start as O-Khan went for Naito as he came through the ropes, and as the rest of LIJ scrapped on the outside, O-Khan pulled away on Naito in a chinlock. There’s a brief comeback featuring BUSHI as Naito, erm, used O-Khan’s braid to walk him like a dog with a leash… then made the tag out to SANADA who came in with a double sledge off the top to the hair.

BUSHI’s in soon after with a double axehandle blow, before taking O-Khan into the corner for a dropkick to the knee. Naito’s back with a cravat on O-Khan, before an elbow attempt was caught and unturned into a head-and-arm choke on the mat, forcing Naito to squirm into the ropes. Dragging Naito back inside, O-Khan works over that leg again, before Cobb came in and mocked SANADA by offering a tag out, before instead going back to his corner and holding Naito in the ropes as Ospreay tagged in for a stomp off the top. Knees choke Naito in the corner, before a side headlock took Naito back into the corner as O-Khan bust out some Mongolian chops.

Naito’s tornado DDT attempt was blocked, but he’s able to come in with a neckbreaker before tags brought us to SANADA and Ospreay. They turn up the pace a little, with SANADA’s ‘rana leading to a Paradise Lock, then the obligatory basement dropkick to free Ospreay for just a one-count.

Ospreay catches SANADA in the corner with what used to be the Cheeky Nando’s kick, before Cobb came in with a leaping elbow and a suplex attempt… only for SANADA to reverse the suplex. BUSHI’s in to catch Cobb with an overhead kick, then a missile dropkick, before a short DDT kept the offence going.

Cobb kicks out at two after that hattrick, before he’s taken into the corner by Naito who ran in for Combinacion Cabron. SANADA’s in to help out too as Cobb eats a trio of low dropkicks for a near-fall… but BUSHI’s search for a swinging neckbreaker just sparks a big ol’ Parade of Moves, ending with Cobb spinning Naito with a lariat before BUSHI’s Codebreaker was turned into a German suplex. From there, he’s pulled into a Tour of the Islands, and there’s the win. A lively undercard tag that more than teased a potential quarter-final for two weeks’ time. ***

We’re going 2-3 on this card – interval first, then a trio of New Japan Cup matches…

New Japan Cup 2021 – First Round: Minoru Suzuki vs. Tomoaki Honma
A first-time match here, as Suzuki looks to improve on last year’s form, when he lost a firecracker of a match to Yuji Nagata in the first round.

We start with a staredown that quickly gives way to overhand chops as the Tokyo crowd clapped along in time. Honma starts aiming a little high on his chops, staggering Suzuki before a slam led to… a missed Kokeshi. Yep. Too soon. He tries (and fails) again, before Suzuki caught him in the ropes with a hanging armbar.

On the outside, Suzuki chucks Honma into the guard rails, before a cravat on the floor forces the referee to separate the pair. Suzuki throws Honma back into the rails, and virtually clears Milano Collection AT’s commentary table in the process, before rolling back inside. Honma beats the count, but gets stretched as Suzuki went back to the neck, but it all ends in the ropes before elbows knocked Honma down.

A PK from Suzuki follows, but Honma stays seated, and fought back with a DDT and a bulldog before finally landing the Kokeshi. Elbows from Honma just earn some clubbing forearms from Suzuki that knocked him down… but Honma returns with paintbrushing slaps and a leaping Kokeshi, before Suzuki just walked through a series of elbows.

More elbows trap Suzuki in the corner, then knock him onto his arse before a back superplex attempt from Honma ends when he opted to just headbutt Suzuki back down to the mat, before climbing the ropes himself for a torpedo-like Kokeshi for a near-fall. Honma keeps chipping away on Suzuki, including busting out the Gannosuke clutch, but eventually the strikes start to come in return as Suzuki trades elbows, knocking Honma loopy once more.

Honma’s losing steam in his responses, and eventually gets caught with a rear naked choke before Suzuki spun him into a Gotch piledriver… but Honma blocks it and almost upset Suzuki with a roll-up! The response? More elbows, and a swift Gotch piledriver as Suzuki shut the door on any chance of an upset. Having seen Honma look decidedly dodgy in recent months, this was much better than “it had any right to be,” as they say – sure, they cribbed parts of last year’s Suzuki/Nagata match, but this was pretty good, save for the crowd not really feeling Honma as a winner. ***½

New Japan Cup 2021 – First Round: KENTA vs. Juice Robinson
There’s some backstory to this, with KENTA costing Juice (and David Finlay) the World Tag League finals… that was meant to have led to KENTA vs. Juice and WrestleKingdom for the US title shot briefcase, but an injury to Juice meant that match didn’t happen.

KENTA goes for Juice’s frizzy hair from the start, taking him into the ropes by it, before avoiding a push-off from a side headlock by grabbing it. Juice busts out a Dusty punch before knocking KENTA into the corner for a clothesline… but he can’t follow up as KENTA rolls outside and grabbed the ring bell… which he donks Juice with as the referee had been pushed aside.

Back inside, KENTA works over Juice’s head, then took him outside to chuck into the guard rails, before he squeezed Juice’s head between the gate. Some right hands from KENTA inside take Juice to the corner, before KENTA used the top rope to rake the eyes…

Juice elbows out of a side headlock, but KENTA goes back to the eyes before he ran in at high speed into a spinebuster. Clotheslines knock KENTA down, before KENTA went back to the eyes to avoid Dusty punches. Juice replies in kind though, but ends up taking KENTA’s flying Kane clothesline off the top for another two-count.

The Game Over looks to follow, but Juice scrambles to the rope, only to get booted off the apron as KENTA knocked him back into the rails. They stay outside as KENTA drops Juice into a table, before he looked to head up top for the mother of all leaps… but Juice leaps over the rails and tries to press slam KENTA to the floor, only for another eye rake to stop him.

Instead, KENTA leaps off into Juice, but he’s caught and dumped on the floor with a death valley driver. Back inside, a falling powerbomb lands for a two-count, before Juice pulls KENTA up for Pulp Friction as my feed dropped out. It recovers briefly as KENTA surges ahead with a running kick and a hesitation dropkick in the corner… and drops again. Sigh.

We’re back as KENTA tries to pull Juice into Game Over again, but Juice rolls free and ducks a back chop before dumping KENTA with the Juice Box gutbuster for a near-fall. A Pulp Friction looks to follow, but KENTA spins out and teases a Go 2 Sleep, but it’s caught as Juice rolls him up for a near-fall. A spinning chop from KENTA sparks a fresh resurgence, but another one’s caught as KENTA’s knocked spark out with a Right Hand of God. Pulp Friction followed, but again KENTA counters, this time rolling him into Game Over, eventually locking on the hold as Juice was forced to submit. KENTA takes on Minoru Suzuki in the second round. This was fine, with KENTA constantly going for the eye as a reference to their cancelled Dome match… but the feed issues meant that I just couldn’t get into this. ***

New Japan Cup 2021 – First Round: Shingo Takagi vs. Kazuchika Okada
How on earth is this a first round match?? The winner of this faces Hirooki Goto next Saturday in Aichi.

We start with a lock-up as Okada took Shingo into the ropes… but Shingo fires back on the clean break and knocks Okada down with some double sledges. Shoulder tackles follow, but a drop toe hold and an elbow drop has Okada ahead, before a neckbreaker put Shingo down for barely a one-count.

Shingo breaks a chinlock in the ropes, before he’s sent outside with a basement dropkick. He baits Okada to the outside though, throwing him into the ring apron before a whip was reversed, as Okada saves his back back by taking Shingo into the railings. Just as I type that, Shingo charges Okada between the rails and the apron, before a DDT on the floor left the former IWGP champion laying.

Back inside, Shingo charges through Okada again, following up with a suplex for a two-count before grounding Okada with a chinlock. Getting free, Okada tries for the Money Clip, but Shingo backs into the corner, only for Okada to return with a big boot to leave both men laying.

Okada picks up pace with a back elbow off the ropes, then again with a DDT before an attempt to dropkick Shingo off the top rope was blocked. Instead, Shingo jabs and clotheslines Okada down, before a back elbow off the top rope kept Okada down… so he could then mock the Rainmaker pose, only for a ripcord Pumping Bomber to be avoided, with Okada hitting a flapjack in return.

Shingo tries to fire back with elbows, but Okada returns in kind, only to miss a dropkick as Shingo looked for a Last of the Dragon. The pace quickens as a Pumping Bomber’s countered into a Money Clip, before Shingo countered a backslide into noshigami. Okada’s back with a dropkick and a scoop tombstone, before he rolled back in for a Money Clip, but that ends in the ropes.

Okada’s feeling his back after a slam to Shingo, which perhaps makes the trip up top for an elbow drop unwise… he’s caught by Shingo too, who brings him down hard with a superplex. A sliding lariat follows for a two-count, before Okada ducks a Pumping Bomber and looked to roll up for a Rainmaker… only for Shingo to counter with Made in Japan instead for a near-fall.

Shingo batters Okada with 1-2 elbows, but Okada responds with another dropkick before another Money Clip was almost escaped… but Okada comes in with a backbreaker before reapplying the hold, but Shingo slithers into the ropes for a break. A shotgun dropkick from Okada just sets up Shingo for a Pumping Bomber… but Okada doesn’t go down, and grabs the wrist of a knackered Shingo for a short-range clothesline.

A second one’s ducked as Shingo… comes in with a Rainmaker for a near-fall?! A Pumping Bomber followed, before Okada almost beat Shingo with a folding press… Okada pushes on, but gets dropped with a nasty looking backbreaker, before a Pumping Bomber flips him to the mat for a near-fall. Another ripcord lariat from Okada’s attempted, but Shingo ducks it and snaps into a Last of the Dragon… and there’s your win! Okada falls at the first hurdle amid reports of a long-standing back injury… and it’ll be Shingo Takagi who moves on to face Hirooki Goto in the second round after a typical New Japan main event that started slow and picked up speed into the final stretch. ****

We’re back for an early start tomorrow in Yamanashi, with Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Will Ospreay main eventing in cup action.

The final score: review Good
The 411
Across the board, this felt like a “bigger” show, perhaps because it wasn’t yet-another night at Korakuen! Throwing in three Cup matches certainly elevated things, and for the most part, they delivered - but if you’re going to watch, you’re likely going to be picking and choosing, such is the rapid-fire output of the shows on this tour.

article topics :

New Japan Cup 2021, NJPW, Ian Hamilton