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Kevin’s NJPW New Japan Cup 2020 Night Five Review

June 24, 2020 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
New Japan Cup 2020 Night Five
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Kevin’s NJPW New Japan Cup 2020 Night Five Review  

NJPW New Japan Cup Night Five

June 24th, 2020 | Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan

I didn’t have time to review night four but I did watch. Here are the ratings.


Tenzan/HASHI – **

LIJ/CHAOS tag – ***

Goto/Yujiro – **¼

EVIL/Kojima – ***¼

New Japan Cup Second Round: Taiji Ishimori vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru

Ishimori has never defeated Kanemaru. Even in last year’s BOSJ, where only Shingo pinned Ishimori, Kanemaru still beat him via countout. That sneaky Suzuki-Gun member Kanemaru still felt the need to jump Ishimori before the bell. For the most part, the match was a case of Kanemaru pulling out underhanded tactics while Ishimori fought from behind. It’s an interesting place to find Ishimori, who has played the villain since joining the Bullet Club. That meant this harkened back to his NOAH days, complete with a Suzuki-Gun bad guy in the mix. They packed some solid action into the time and there was a sense of late drama as you wondered if Ishimori would just lose again. Thankfully, he finally broke the streak and won with the Bloody Cross in 9:18. I dug this for an opener. [***]

New Japan Cup Second Round: Togi Makabe vs. Tomohiro Ishii

I remember when NJPW ran this match into the ground. They met in the G1 23 (****), Wrestle Kingdom 9 (***¾), Wrestling Hinokuni 2015 (***½), Dominion 2015 (***¼), King of Pro Wrestling 2015 (****), G1 26 (***½), and the G1 27 (***¼). When they battle, you know you’re in for something hard hitting. Though Makabe has waned in ability and effort in recent years, he looked rejuvenated here and put forth a mid-2010s level performance. It was a case of two badass dudes just beating the hell out of each other. Honestly, that’s all I really want from them at this point. Makabe got in all his signature stuff, including a German suplex and some stiff lariats. Of course, no matter how tough he might be, Ishii is just flat out better right now. That’s what did him in, as Ishii could take more punishment and put him down with a Brainbuster in 13:28. The best I’ve seen from Makabe in quite some time. [***½]

DOUKI, Taichi and Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi and Ryusuke Taguchi

They’re still building towards the Golden Aces against Sabre Jr. and Taichi. Plus, Ibushi/Taichi is a tournament matchup. This time, the babyfaces jumped Suzuki-Gun as they looked for revenge. That gave us a brawl around the ringside area for a while, even as stuff was happening inside. The rest of the match was pretty straightforward. That included giving us a preview of Ibushi/Taichi, Tanahashi having his knee worked over, and giving the ending to Taguchi and DOUKI. That made sense so nobody of importance would eat the pin. Taguchi put down DOUKI with Dodon shortly after his partners hit dives onto Sabre Jr. and Taichi. The whole thing went 13:55. I was surprised at the amount of focus on Tanahashi’s knee. I’m guessing it plays a factor in a Tag Title match since he’s out of the tournament. Solid match that did what it had to. [**¾]

New Japan Cup Second Round: Hiromu Takahashi vs. Toru Yano

Honestly, this is kind of a dream match. Two incredible personalities. Hiromu came out with a hard hat, while Yano brought hand sanitizer. Yano wanted to cut Hiromu’s hair, hence the hat. They built the match around that and I loved it. From Yano surprising him and the referee by having them at the bell to Hiromu stealing them to them not being charged, it was all fun. Scissors were also involved. Eventually, Yano used tape to tie Hiromu leg to Yota Tsuji’s and he actually cut some of his hair. However, Hiromu and Tsuji went after Yano and tied him up as well. They threw him in an elevator and sent him away before getting back inside to beat the countout in 9:17. Hell yeah. That was a blast. It was especially great because Hiromu remained tied to Tsuji and kept hugging him as he left to the back. Hiromu/Ishii in the next round sounds GODLY. [***¼]

New Japan Cup Second Round: Kazuchika Okada vs. Yuji Nagata

Their G1 25 match (****) was great. I liked the story they told here. It was actually less about Okada than expected. This felt like a case where they built it all around Nagata going for one last major push. The win over Suzuki was big but one over Okada would be monumental and could get him through the whole tournament. At times, he looked like he could do it. Big near falls and cases where he simply outsmarted Okada with his veteran knowhow. Of course, Okada could just stop him by flat out being more athletic, quicker, and better at this stage of his career. Okada using the modified Cobra Clutch more is welcome. I never bought into the Nagata Lock close call because Okada wasn’t tapping. Still, Nagata got aggressive and did things like slap away at Okada’s head to teach the youngster a lesson. Ultimately, Okada won with the Cobra Clutch in 20:14 in what was a big step up from his trash match with Gedo. Smartly worked, some intensity, and a story about an all-time great giving it his all. [***½]

Okada/Ishimori sounds really interesting, while Hiromu/Ishii is incredible on paper. Tomorrow, we get YOSHI vs. BUSHI (meh), SHO vs. SANADA (could be good), Ibushi vs. Taichi (ok), and Goto vs. EVIL (should be solid).

The final score: review Good
The 411
Five matches. Two hours. Nothing under **¾ or over ***½. Pretty much exactly what I’m looking for with the New Japan Cup. I don’t expect stuff to blow me away until later rounds but this was an easy watch with some fun, fresh matchups.

article topics :

New Japan Cup, NJPW, Kevin Pantoja