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Kevin’s NJPW New Japan Cup 2020 Finals Review

July 12, 2020 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
EVIL NJPW
6.5
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Kevin’s NJPW New Japan Cup 2020 Finals Review  

 

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NJPW New Japan Cup Finals

July 11th, 2020 | Osaka-Jo Hall in Osaka, Japan | Attendance: 3,318

Hey, actual fans! That’s going to feel different.

Great Bash Heel vs. Yota Tsuji and Yuya Uemura

This undercard doesn’t look very good but NJPW hasn’t been around for much of 2020 so I’ll take it. That being said, I have noted how Makabe looked energized to be back in action and that was the case here again. The same goes for Honma, while the Young Lions always bring it. That made for a match with more fire than I would’ve ever expected. Uemura and Tsuji went after the veterans like they took their lunch money. Makabe pulled out the win with a bridging German suplex in 9:15 and I liked most of that. Hard-hitting, energetic, and Uemura looked fantastic. [***]

Gabriel Kidd and Hirooki Goto vs. TenKoji

Goto is teaming with a Young Lion against two guys past their primes and is still the least interesting guy in the ring. This was pretty similar to the last match in terms of how the guys worked. The veterans looked so happy to have a live crowd again, while Kidd came out with fire. Goto existed. I could watch the New Japan Dads kick the asses of Young Lions all day. Of course, Kidd was mostly there to learn and eat the pin. He did both, losing at the 9:57 mark when he got hit with Cozy Lariat. Solid wrestling and I’m digging this undercard more than expected so far. [***]

DOUKI vs. Master Wato

The official debut of Master Wato, who is former Young Lion Hirai Kawato. He’s got blue hair. Shoutout to Wato for having DOUKI scouted and expecting the pre-match attack. Still, DOUKI mostly controlled this in typical heel fashion. Nothing that either of these guys did really impressed. It all came off as wildly generic. The finishing stretch was decent and Wato won with his Spiral Tap finisher in 7:46. That was pretty lame. [**]

Post-match, Yoshinobu Kanemaru attacked Wato until Tenzan made the save. Tenzan mentored Wato.

BUSHI and SANADA vs. Taiji Ishimori and Yujiro Takahashi

We’re back after a cleaning break. This needs more PIETER. I liked the interactions between BUSHI and Ishimori since they’re both good juniors. I’ve noted that SANADA needs the right opponent and Yujiro isn’t it. Still, their stuff managed to be solid. I liked Yujiro biting SANADA’s hand to get free since he’s not as good and must cheat. I also liked SANADA doing it back to him. That’s a fun little character moment. I was surprised with the result as Yujiro won after hitting BUSHI with Pimp Juice in 9:20. That was pretty solid and maybe Bullet Club are next in line for a NEVER 6-Man Title shot. [**¾]

El Desperado, Minoru Suzuki, Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi, Ryusuke Taguchi & Yuji Nagata

All the babyface team needs is Juice Robinson to become NJPW’s ultimate collection of good boys. The focal point here was obviously the build for the IWGP Tag Team Title match tomorrow pitting the Golden Aces against Taichi and Zack Sabre Jr. The other guys involved were just there to fill things out but they all did fine. I don’t have a lot to say about this match because it gave everyone what they expected. It did the job of building the tag match and delivering solid action. I can’t ask for much more from this portion of the card. Oh, and they worked over Tanahashi’s knee because that has been the story for a while. Desperado pinned Taguchi with Pinche Loco in 12:43. [***]

Hiromu Takahashi, Shingo Takagi and Tetsuya Naito vs. SHO, Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano

This has to be my favorite three guys in their respective stables. It continued the Ishii/Hiromu stuff as well as built towards Shingo/SHO. Both matches in the tournament were outstanding. I enjoyed their interactions here and this was helped along by the fact that Naito and Yano are almost always entertaining. Lots of quick paced action and moving parts here but it came together nicely. I am here to watch SHO and Shingo trade shots and they didn’t disappoint. Yano got hit with a Hiromu superkick and Pumping Bomber before Naito jackknife pinned him to seal it in 15:00. Good, quality tag action from six really good performers. [***¼]

New Japan Cup Finals: EVIL vs. Kazuchika Okada

Their G1 27 match ruled (****) but the title match that year didn’t (***¼). Their next two singles meetings in the G1 28 (***¾) and G1 29 (***) were mixed bags. Since it’s a major NJPW match, they just HAVE to pass the 30 minute barrier, with this clocking in at 31:50. While Okada can certainly go in that situation, EVIL has never been that guy. He’s at his best in shorter, hard hitting bursts. It’s okay to do something different with Okada. His match with ZSJ in the last G1 went 10 minutes and was awesome. Anyway, I did like Okada going for the Cobra Clutch early. It has been effective so it was worth a shot. A lot of the stuff in the first third felt like we were headed towards Okada formula. The difference was when Gedo and Yujiro Takahashi got involved in their continued attempts to thwart Okada. Thankfully, EVIL didn’t win directly with their help but it was still there. EVIL kicked Okada in the dick and won with EVERYTHING IS EVIL. It was a solid match but nothing special. I would’ve done EVIL over Hiromu in the finals, especially given what happens after the bell. [***]

Naito came out to have the friendly staredown with his stablemate only for EVIL to attack him. Bullet Club guys came down and EVIL did the “too sweet” to the camera, joining the tired stable.

6.5
The final score: review Average
The 411
All in all, a solid show. Nothing under ** and nothing over ***¼. Other than the main event, it moved along briskly and was a solid watch all the way through. I’m intrigued by Dominion and hope it’s a good show.
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Kevin Pantoja