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Views from the Hawke’s Nest: Super J Cup 2016

August 25, 2016 | Posted by TJ Hawke
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Views from the Hawke’s Nest: Super J Cup 2016  

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I did not review stage 1 of the 2016 Super J Cup, but that Liger/Eita match was fucking fire!

August 21, 2016
Tokyo, Japan

BUSHI, Gurukun Mask & Kaji Tomato vs. David Finlay, Eita & Yuma Aoyagi
The big story of this interpromotional junior trios match was that BUSHI was a member of Los Ingobernables. Whatever. A handful of dives happened. Other things happened. It all felt rather meaningless though. It’s hard to understand the mentality that led to Eita being reduced to this role in the tournament. BUSHI won after a diving Codebreaker on Finlay. (**¼)

 

Super J Cup 2016 Second Round Match
Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Taichi
Oh my fucking god. Oh. My. Fucking. God. Taichi took two hours to come to the ring, and then El Desperado helped him beat Liger by countout after a few minutes of “action.” For this, Eita was eliminated in the first round and do not get KUSHIDA/Liger III. Oh. My. Fucking. God. (DUD)

 

Super J Cup 2016 Second Round Match
Kenou vs. KUSHIDA
Why am I receiving conflicting information on if it’s “Kenou” or “Kenoh”? Who has time for figuring that out? Anyway, this was a fun little match. They worked a good pace. Packed in plenty of fun action. KUSHIDA went after the arm. He later won with the kimura. All good here. (***)

 

Super J Cup 2016 Second Round Match
Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru
HOW IS THIS A SECOND ROUND MATCH IN A 2016 SUPER J CUP MATCH? What the fucking is going on. Where am I? Who thought this was a good idea? I think I legit blacked out during this match out of pure and utter confusion. I regained my senses by the end though and saw Kanemaru win with a Touch Out. The fact that this existed was completely baffling to me. Where is the vision? Where is the youth movement? Where is the passion? Where is the inspiration? (¼*)

 

Super J Cup 2016 Second Round Match
Matt Sydal vs. Will Ospreay
These two wisely did not go for an epic in a tournament setting. Instead, they focused on pacing out some bigger spots while making sure the action never really let up. We got a very fun and reined in match as a result which made for a nice change from the usual Ospreay spotfest quite frankly. Sydal winning was also the right decision for the tournament, as he is by far the more consistent performer. This was fun. Sydal won with the shooting star press. (***½)

 

Euforia, Gran Guerrero & Ultimo Guerrero vs. Caristico, Titan & Volador Jr.
This was a mix of good and bad which are often the feelings lucha leaves me with unfortunately. The first third to half of the match felt rather useless, and the comedy fell flat for the most part.

They turned it on for the second half at least and definitely provided some fun action. With that said, the second half did just go on way too long though and really overstayed its welcome. The last second sprint of big movez at least ended the match on a high note and further spotlighted Volador Jr. who was clearly the star of the match. Volador Jr. won the match after a Spanish Fly. (**½)

 

Super J Cup 2016 Semifinal Round Match
KUSHIDA vs. Taichi
The main positive about this match was that they built to a number of spots that made it seem conceivable that Taichi could win. That probably speaks more to the credibility that NJPW actually seems stupid enough to put Taichi over here, but, nonetheless, it made this match more dramatic in a bubble. However, this was still a Taichi match which made it quite trashy and unwelcome in the semifinals of a Super J Cup. KUSHIDA won with a small package. (**)

 

Super J Cup 2016 Semifinal Round Match
Matt Sydal vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru
This was a solid battle. Kanemaru went after Sydal’s back for a while. Sydal fought back. They did a measured back-and-forth sequence to close out the match. Kanemaru eventually needed two Touch Outs to finish him off. Sydal would have been a better choice to move on, but the motivation to do a champion vs. champion final was at least understandable. (***)

 

Momo No Seishun Tag (Atsushi Kotoge & Daisuke Harada)(c) vs. ACH & Taiji Ishimori [GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship]
The effort was there, but the match was not structured in a desirable way to produce a compelling story. Loosely of course, the match had the typical tag structure of a babyface shine, heat segment, and then a back-and-forth closing sequence. Maybe the structure was not the actual issue then though, and the execution was to blame. There was no sense of purpose or urgency to the shine or the heat. It just felt like stuff happening. That created a disconnect that prevented true investment for the extended closing sequence. As a result it was hard to care too much about this one. There was some decent action at least though. Harada pinned Ishimori with a bridging German to win. (**½)

Kotoge and Harada challenged Jado and Gedo to a title match afterwards. It was accepted.

 

The Young Bucks(c) (Nick & Matt Jackson) vs. Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin) [IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship]
The effort was there, and the Guns even looked less broken than they have during their ROH return. However, this match just went on way too long and did not provide nearly enough exciting action or the type of stupidity that can make fast-paced spotfests work really well. The match just sort of went on and on and felt mostly meaningless. This happens a quite often with the Bucks when they are not working a red hot crowd. They really need to start working compact sprints in NJPW more often. The Bucks pinned Sabin with a Meltzer Driver. (**½)

 

2016 Super J Cup Final
KUSHIDA vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru
This was a fine conclusion to the tournament. It was not exactly The Great Sasuke vs. Wild Pegasus, but it was never going to be. Instead, we got some solid action worked at a fine pace.

The logic behind Kanemaru targeting the injured neck of KUSHIDA with a million DDTs only for KUSHIDA to fight back over and over again was certainly sketchy though. That just makes Kanemaru seem very weak, and there has to be a more clever way of executing the story of KUSHIDA surviving the match despite a heavily injured neck.

The Suzuki-gun involvement late in the match was also eye-rolling to say the least though. They need to be removed from professional wrestling permanently.

Anyway, despite the fairly prominent issues, this match was not too bad. KUSHIDA won with the kimura. (***)

 

Watch some NJPW juniors matches for free.

PAC vs. Bushi

Low Ki vs. Alex Koslov

Kota Ibushi vs. Ryusuke Taguchi

Brian Kendrick vs. KUSHIDA

Prince Devitt vs. Kenny Omega

Kota Ibushi vs. Mascara Dorada

Mistico vs. Averno

5
The final score: review Not So Good
The 411
Overall, this was a rather sluggish show. The big tag matches did not deliver, and Taichi's involvement really dragged down the actual tournament. However, a handful of matches were quite pleasant, and those ***+ matches are worth checking out.
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