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Pantoja’s NJPW New Japan Cup 2022 Night 12 Review

March 20, 2022 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
NJPW New Japan Cup Image Credit: NJPW
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Pantoja’s NJPW New Japan Cup 2022 Night 12 Review  

NJPW New Japan Cup 2022 Night 12

March 20th, 2022 | Ao-re Nagaoka in Nagaoka, Niigata

Time for the quarterfinals and knowing New Japan, they’ll likely go with the most boring possible options for the semis. Let’s find out.

New Japan Cup Quarterfinals: Jeff Cobb vs. Tetsuya Naito

Naito beat Cobb in the G1 29 (***) and they mat again at WK this year (***½). I feel like their best match is yet to happen. I appreciate that The Empire was at ringside but didn’t get involved. They just support each other. Naito looked to go after the knee again, which has worked for him in the past. However, Cobb was able to withstand some of it and still do his big power offense. The squat suplex will never not be impressive. Still, Naito kept to his game plan and tried to chop Cobb down to size. Naito would try Destino but Cobb could just launch him off and avoid it. Interestingly, Naito hasn’t won with that in this tournament, only using rollups. He finally found a way to hit Destino but of course, that didn’t end it because that move is a joke. His next attempt was countered, which was followed by him turning the Tour of the Islands into a rollup for the win in 19:04. This was another good match between them but it again never really sniffed being anything great. [***½]

New Japan Cup Quarterfinals: CIMA vs. Kazuchika Okada

I’m actually intrigued here as Okada is Okada and CIMA is a guy who I’ve liked for a while. Plus, it’s a rare first time ever meeting. In a lot of ways, this is what I was expecting from these two. CIMA likes to work the mat and Okada did what he could to combat it. He hit a lot of his signature stuff and the slow start made this feel like that old, tried and true Okada formula. That man will never abandon it. I may not like it but I get it. I liked the idea of CIMA trying to hit Meteora a bunch and Okada having it scouted so he had to find innovative ways to do it. That made part of the bout feel like a chess match, which I always appreciate. The biggest issue was that this never really felt exciting. Usually, the Okada formula leads to a ramp up and a furious finishing stretch that tricks you into thinking what you saw was great throughout. Here, the closing stretch was kind of just average. It comes as no surprise that Okada won with the Rainmaker in 20:52 and CIMA bowed to him afterward in a sign of respect. A really good match that again just never touched greatness. Also, Okada/Naito 17 or whatever we’re up to is not at all interesting. [***½]

The final score: review Good
The 411
Two good matches make for a good show but this tournament just isn’t exciting or all that interesting.

article topics :

New Japan Cup, NJPW, Kevin Pantoja