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Kevin’s NJPW Super J-Cup Semifinals And Finals Review

October 2, 2019 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
NJPW Super J-Cup
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Kevin’s NJPW Super J-Cup Semifinals And Finals Review  

NJPW Super J-Cup Semi-Finals and Finals
August 25th, 2019 | Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, California | Attendance: 2,512

Time to wrap this baby up with the final three matches.

Super J-Cup Semifinals: Caristico vs. Dragon Lee
More CMLL stuff. Commentary still sounds hollow but we’re back to a multi-camera setup. Lots of empty seats near the top. If you’ve seen one of these CMLL meetings you’ve seen them all. A lot of what they did looked highly choreographed. I notice it more with Caristico than anyone else. He’s a guy who takes you out of the show and reminds you that it’s all staged. Caristico got booed by the crowd and he didn’t seem happy. Dragon Lee won with Desnucadora in 11:10. That was kind of a snooze fest. The crowd didn’t like it, the pacing was off, and things looked cheap. [**]

Super J-Cup Semifinals: El Phantasmo vs. Will Ospreay
ELP beat Ospreay in the BOSJ (***½) in a match that I thought was good but nowhere near the level others seemed to put it. This feels like Gedo’s new favorite Jr. match so get ready to see it a lot. This is their second meeting and a third is set for October, not to mention the Jr. Tag Title matches. Kevin Kelly spent Will’s entrance gushing over him as WOTY due to performances. Keep it kayfabe, baby. Who cares how many stars you get? It was the issue I had with Kenny Omega. I don’t care if he’s a “7 star” boy, it mattered that he was champ. Anyway, I’m ranting on NJPW and I’m sure people won’t like that. ELP jumped Will before the bell. Babyfaces are dumb. Who booked this, WWE? See, I gave WWE shit too. Will still nearly won as soon as the bell rang and that would’ve been dope. Their actual exchanges were other than the ones that looked hokey like Will awkwardly standing there as ELP set up a moonsault to the outside. Ospreay’s Canadian Destroyer sell was comically terrible. ELP eventually had help from Taiji Ishimori and own with the CR2 in 11:25. I appreciated how short they kept this. There were flashes of something really good in there. The cheap finish, awkward spots, and a few truly bad moments held this back. I’m over this pairing before their Jr. Title match. It is better in tags. [***]

I get the story they’ve been telling with ELP but they’re driving it home as if their audience is stupid. There’s way too much BS for a tournament that is supposed to be prestigious. I’ll take a clean tournament winner like Baron Corbin.

Super J-Cup Finals: Dragon Lee vs. El Phantasmo
I’m not big on ELP but I really like Dragon Lee. It’ll be interesting to see where I fall on this match. Red Shoes kicked out Bullet Club from ringside at the start. Then he got inconsistent with his officiating. Like, he counted a near fall off a distraction from getting rid of BC but then refused to count for another villainous act. Pick a side. I will say that the first third or so of this match was pretty lackluster. It served a purpose and wasn’t simply spots for the sake of it but it wasn’t all that engaging. Around the time that ELP got busted open, this picked up. The crowd got invested and the pack quickened. There were problems, like no selling each other’s Destroyers which is always a bit much or the diving double stomp spot that always looks contrived. However, I liked the bits where Lee got vicious and tasted ELP’s blood before slapping him. The closing stretch is a wild one. ELP went into his usual cheating tactics, using a low blow to set up a sequence capped with CR2 to win the tournament in 25:33. A very good way to close the tournament. One of the better matches of the whole thing. It had clear problems but was mostly enjoyable and the good outweighed the bad. [***¾]

The final score: review Average
The 411
Three matches here. One of them was wildly average, one was pretty good, and one was very good. Two out of three ain’t bad. I can recommend the tournament but there are plenty of better ones out there. The New Japan Cup had a higher ceiling but a lower floor. The G1, BOSJ, King of the Ring, Dusty Classic, and 205 Live tournament were all stronger.