wrestling / TV Reports

Pantoja’s NJPW New Japan Cup 2022 Nights 10 & 11 Review

March 19, 2022 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
New Japan Cup Chase Owens New Japan Cup Chase Owens
The 411 Rating
Community Grade
Your Grade
Pantoja’s NJPW New Japan Cup 2022 Nights 10 & 11 Review  

NJPW New Japan Cup 2022 Night Ten

March 17th, 2022 | Twin Messe Shizuoka in Shizuoka, Japan | Attendance: 456

Okay, so I’m a bit behind on these due to the NCAA Tournament but here we go.

New Japan Cup Third Round: The Great-O-Khan vs. Zack Sabre Jr.

I really liked their G1 outing last year (***½). One thing that helps ZSJ stand out from the rest of this roster is that his matches feel different. He’s going to go out there and grapple for 15 minutes which is great when everyone else is just getting their stuff in and looking for high star ratings. A lot of this match was just a bunch of grappling and it worked well. O-Khan showed a willingness to compete with ZSJ in his habitat. He did a good job of holding his own against the master and even had him on the ropes. At one point, he applied a submission that had Sabre Jr. on the verge of passing out. O-Khan made a key mistake by releasing the hold to try and win with the Eliminator. Sabre was able to quickly trap him in an armbar and when O-Khan tried to powerbomb out of it, Sabre dropped his weight and pulled on the arm even harder, getting a submission in 20:03. That was some really good grappling and the best singles match from O-Khan I can think of. I wasn’t expecting him to compete with ZSJ on the mat but he did. I’m down for a third match. [***¾]

New Japan Cup Third Round: SANADA vs. Will Ospreay

They met in the G1 29 (***¾) and last year’s New Japan Cup (***¾). They work well together. The early stages here seemed like it was meant for a 30+ minute encounter. They were going at a slower pace than expected given who they are. The pace picked up with quicker arm drags and offense, leading to the Paradise Lock. This was a match where neither guy ever gained a clear advantage. If it looked like one had it, the other would find a counter or something to turn the tide back in their favor. They were really trying to sell it like they were on the same level. SANADA nearly had it with Skull End but did his stupid gimmick of letting go to try the moonsault, which failed and led to a Hidden Blade near fall. Willy fired off elbows and forearm strikes to the head relentlessly until the referee called for the bell in 16:56. The finish to this was kind of abrupt but it mostly worked. Yet another ZSJ/Sabre Jr. match in the next round, though their bouts peaked in 2016. [***½]

NJPW New Japan Cup 2022 Night Eleven

March 18th, 2022 | Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan | Attendance: 1,019

New Japan Cup Third Round: Chase Owens vs. Shingo Takagi

This is such an odd matchup. Owens knew that he was outmatched here so he came in with a good game plan. The fact that he got in more offense than expected, especially early on, made some sense because he had set himself up for this position. However, it is still Owens and Shingo, so he got in too much offense. This is one case where I think interference would’ve helped. Owens had Fale with him and the big man should’ve gotten in more cheap shots to really make it more believable that Owens would have the upper hand. Some of the work done by Owens made it so even a superplex by Shingo felt like a big deal. Shingo withstood Owens’s offense, dealt with Fale, and won with Last of the Dragon in 15:41. I thought this was good but far from anything that I’d consider great. [***]

New Japan Cup Third Round: EVIL vs. Hiromu Takahashi

They actually met in 2020 for EVIL’s double titles (***½) but it was way too long. Here, EVIL had help from Dick Togo again, with this starting as a brawl given that Hiromu went after him during his entrance. He brought the energy of a guy who was still not pleased with EVIL for turning on LIJ. Despite not being on EVIL’s level in terms of size, Hiromu didn’t back down, much like what happened against Suzuki. They made sure to have a wild brawl. At one point, Togo was taken out and Hiromu hit Time Bomb to give us a near fall that everyone bit on. I appreciated that when Hiromu looked on the verge of winning, EVIL could bust out something big like a lariat. Hiromu had it won again with a rollup but that damn Dick Togo distracted the referee. Whatever EVIL threw at Hiromu wasn’t enough as this pesky little guy refused to die. Then, in a surprising finish, Hiromu won with Everything is EVIL at the 15:52 mark. A hell of a match that didn’t overdo the House of Torture stuff, was kept short, and had a lot of action and drama. [***¾]

The final score: review Good
The 411
That’s more of what I want from the tournament. Matches that don’t go too long, are good, and feature plenty of action while also being different from each other.

article topics :

New Japan Cup, NJPW, Kevin Pantoja