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Kevin’s NJPW New Japan Cup 2020 Night One Review

June 17, 2020 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
NJPW New Japan Cup 2020
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Kevin’s NJPW New Japan Cup 2020 Night One Review  

NJPW New Japan Cup

June 16th 2020

I’m not sure where these matches are happening but the arena is empty.

New Japan Cup First Round: Togi Makabe vs. Yota Tsuji

Hey, they didn’t dub over “Immigrant Song.” You know what the result of this will be but it’s always nice to see a Young Lion get an opportunity like this. Tsuji brought fire right from the start. Makabe also looked more motivated than usual, probably just happy to be back in action. Usually, he isn’t about taking any bumps but he had a few moments where he made sure Tsuji looked pretty good. Tsuji seems like the kind of Young Lion he’d like. The highlight had to be when Makabe put on the Boston crab and Tsuji reached the ropes. It was something you’d probably see him losing to. The rollup after was pretty great, too. That was Tsuji’s last effort, though, falling to a German suplex in 8:41. Quality little match here. [**¾]

New Japan Cup First Round: Jado vs. Toru Yano

Goddammit, it’s Jado. I honestly don’t have the energy to go through anything he does. This was filled with the typical shenanigans. On Yano’s side, they’re fun. On Jado’s they’re annoying, especially since he had Gedo and Yujiro Takahashi with him. Jado’s shirt said, “So what, I don’t care.” Basically his style in the ring and with the book as he’s just going to do what he wants and how he wants. This went on for far too long at 9:07 before Yano won with a rollup. Garbage. Plus, Yano’s act works best with a live audience. [¾*]

Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi, Yuji Nagata & Yuya Uemura vs. Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Zack Sabre Jr.

I totally forgot the Golden Aces were IWGP Tag Team Champions. I just assumed Guerrillas of Destiny were in their 17th reign or something. Guess what? Suzuki-Gun attacked their opponents before the bell. NEW JAPAN IS OFFICIALLY BACK, BABY! Look, I didn’t care who it was against, I was just happy to see Tanahashi wrestling again. Suzuki-Gun were up to their usual tricks, mostly destroying Tanahashi’s knee with a chair. I appreciated them giving me a bit of Sabre/Ibushi, which is always a good time. Ditto for Suzuki/Nagata. It all eventually led to Suzuki hitting a Gotch Piledriver on Uemura, who was only in the match to eat a pin, at the 13:27 match. A multi-man tag with some entertaining bits. Sounds like NJPW to me. [***]

Post-match, Suzuki and Nagata slapped each other around. It also seemed like Sabre Jr. and Taichi would be challenging for the tag titles as they posed with the belts over Ibushi.

New Japan Cup First Round: Hiromu Takahashi vs. Tomoaki Honma

Here’s something interesting. Although Hiromu is Jr. Heavyweight Champion, he’s in the tourney. I’ve been hoping to see him mix it up with heavyweights for a while. I love me some Hiromu but Honma hasn’t done much for me since about 2016. Although Hiromu is usually high energy, he was a bit slow to start here. Not in terms of his skills but just that he was kind of sizing up Honma. Once they got going, it felt a bit like vintage Honma in that he brought energy and the match was hard hitting. I got a kick out of Hiromu attempting his own version of Kokeshi after Honma missed one. Hiromu’s apron DVD showed that the man was still about hitting some of the craziest offense anywhere. He ended up scoring a big win with Time Bomb in 18:45. Went a bit longer than it probably needed to but it made sense since Hiromu should have trouble with heavyweights. It was a good, hard hitting match with quality back and forth. [***¼]

New Japan Cup First Round: El Desperado vs. Tomohiro Ishii

I’m actually really excited about this. El Desperado has long been an underrated junior heavyweight (his matches with Hiromu are spectacular) and Tomohiro Ishii is in the conversation for the best in the world. Desperado quickly realized that he was outmatched in terms of size and strength so he opted to go after the leg. It’s smart work and the way he went after it made sense. It was all stuff that fit his character, including exposing the turnbuckle after wearing it down. Of course, Ishii responded by battering him at every opportunity. I liked Ishii firing up because he’s tough but then still getting kicked in the leg and having to take a breather. Desperado escaped some of Ishii’s best offense and hit Guitarra de Angel for an actual great near fall. Ishii blocked Pinche Loco twice, survived a big forearm, and hit a Brainbuster. Desperado shockingly survived that and got a rollup but then Ishii hit a lariat and Brainbuster to win in 20:17. That ruled. It wasn’t spectacular but it was great. They did a great job in making me believe Desperado might sneak out with the upset (early tourney nights are known for that), Ishii sold like crazy, and the late drama was superb. [****]

The final score: review Good
The 411
To get the obvious out of the way, skip anything involving Jado. He’s the worst. Other than that, you’ve got a fun show. Makabe/Tsuji is fine, the multi-man tag is good, Hiromu/Honma is better, and then that main event rules. Plus, the whole thing runs just over two hours. You can’t beat that.

article topics :

New Japan Cup, Kevin Pantoja